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Funding helps Digitary expand

Digitary, a provider of educational security software, has launched a e1.2 million funding round to aid expansion into new markets. ‘‘We are in the middle of a funding round, which is going well and should be finalised within the next few months.We are looking to a combination of venture capital, Enterprise Ireland and private investment ,’ ’ said Jonathan Dempsey, chief executive of Digitary.

The company will use the funding to market its flagship product a security software system that del ivers and authenticates third-level graduation documents.

‘‘We have worked really hard on product, market and standards, and we have had very good success in all three areas. Now, we can take a good product, with an excellent market reputation, and go with all of those to potential partners in new markets,’’ said Dempsey. Andy Dowling, Digitary’s chief technology officer, established the company in 1999 as Framework Solutions. Initially, it provided consultancy services to corporate clients in the area of software security, before moving into education in 2001.

The First Sale

‘‘Myself and Andy were working quite ad-hoc on the business at first. I joined Andy in 2003.We formed the board in 2004 and had our first sale to the University of Limerick in 2005, which convinced us that this was where we wanted to focus,’’ said Dempsey. Educating the market proved challenging for the company at the outset.

‘‘It took time for the sector to appreciate the concept and to be comfortable that Digitary was the right solution. That was a big draw on our resources. It has changed now and the institutions have said there was nothing to stop them implementing, because it just makes sense,’’ said Dempsey.

New Clients

The firm rebranded as Digitary in February 2007,and now employs seven staff in Glasnevin on the outskirts of Dublin. Among the new clients it has signed up this year are Australian National University, London School of Economics, University of Cambridge,University of Manchester and University of Porto.

‘‘These are some of the leading institutions in the world and they trust Digitary to help them protect their reputations. They do not want people out there saying either that they have an award fromtheir institutionwhenthey do not,or that they achieved better results than they did,’’ saidDempsey.

Digitary has raised roughly e950,000 in funding to date. On its board of directors, it has Danny O’Hare, founding president of Dublin City University, and Michael Quinn, former chief executive of ICC Bank.

Approaching The Education Market

‘‘We used our own contacts and those of the board to raise BES investment in 2005 and got Enterprise Ireland matching investment in 2006. We went again in 2007 and got some more funding through BES. Having a strong board also informed our thinking in terms of how to approach the education market,’’ said Dempsey.

Contributing to the development of international standards has helped to position the company as a leading market player.

‘‘We have been very involved in standards development, such as co-founding the Rome Student Systems and Standards Group with other European companies in 2007,’’ said Dempsey.

‘‘This led to invitations to present at education conferences, which have been the mainstay of our marketing activity and has meant that we have not had tomake a huge investment in marketing.’’

Original Appeared in THE SUNDAY BUSINESS POST, DECEMBER 13 2009
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