MAdme Technologies founder Triona Mullane says the company may look to raise fresh capital towards the end of the year, as it strives to recover from a “horrendous” experience during the pandemic.
The company, which sells software to mobile operators to allow them to communicate digitally with their subscribers, recorded losses last year of about €900,000, bringing the deficit on its balance sheet to about €8.4 million, according to financial statements for the year to the end of June 2021.
Ms Mullane, a former director of newspaper publisher Independent News & Media (now Mediahuis Ireland), said the company was now recovering and hoped to regain the ground lost during the pandemic by the end of 2023.
MAdme, whose investors include Denis O’Brien, was “on track” in 2019 before the pandemic hit, Ms Mullane said. Its accounts suggest it had made a €300,000 profit that year.
“We were onto a good thing in 2019. We had loads of trials with potential customers. But then the pandemic hit and the rug was literally pulled from under us,” she said.
Ms Mullane said many of the mobile operators that the company targets as customers retrenched their spending on customer engagement during the pandemic, to focus instead on investing in their infrastructure and networks to ensure that they could cope with demands during lockdowns.
“It has been horrendous, to be honest. The type of stuff we do for mobile operators was put on the back burner. We had to ride out Covid.”
The company managed to hang on to its 21 staff members, with the help of State wage subsidies. But Ms Mullane said that by June 2021, when the company was becoming hopeful of improvement, it was hit again by the impact on its clients of fresh waves of coronavirus.
She insisted, however, that mobile operators are now once again putting emphasis on digital engagement with customers, beefing up demand for her company’s services.
“We are in a positive place now. It became obvious over the course of the pandemic that digital customer engagement would eventually become more important. Mobile operators were losing access to their contact centres in India, the Philippines and other places.”
She said it will take “another few years” to get the business back on the trajectory it was on prior to the pandemic, although she hopes it will exceed its 2019 financial performance in its 2023 accounts.
“We have a lot of paid trials happening now, which is great,” Ms Mullane said.
When asked if the business needs to raise more capital to strengthen its balance sheet, she said it would “look at the funding side of things at the end of the year to see if it is needed”.
She said the business would first look to fund itself, but it may need to raise funding to hire sales and marketing staff to help it drive business as part of its recovery.
Ms Mullane, a former executive with NewBay Software, founded the group in 2013.