GTC Alumni Series – Ex Ordo

Our second video in our alumni series features Galway based software company Ex Ordo. Founded in Galway by Paul Killoran  Mike Rockall and Dermot Lally, Ex Ordo began in NUI Galway before building a team here at GTC. The company is now located in the west end of Galway city, employing a team of 15 who serve customers across 60 countries.

Paul may be from Galway, but it is not why he and Mike built their team and company here. Paul elaborates on the video in the article below.  

Paul Killoran Co-Founder and CEO of Ex Ordo shares why Galway is home for his team and product

You get to choose how you want to live your life.

Being in Galway, down here in the west by the Claddagh, lets people have a quality of life that they just would not be able to have in a business park or in cities like Dublin or London.

I walk to work in 2 minutes. There is no such thing as the M50. There is no long commute. Everyone in the team walks, cycles or skateboards to the office. We are deliberately down in the middle of the city. Right where you can feel the pulse of the city.

Step outside and there is a canal that goes right by our door – you can follow it and walk along the sea to the end of the prom in Salthill. Nearby is an arthouse cinema, the city museum and arts centres. Want a nice lunch? You can grab a burrito from around one corner or you can dine in a Michelin star restaurant around the other.

Within an hour I can be in the middle of the Connemara mountains.

It started as a promise to my old professor

He was running a conference at which I had previously published and the software was terrible. I made him a promise to build something better. And later that year we ran our first conference.

The smartest people in the world, the people who are solving some of the biggest problems that face us, deserve to have great software. I fundamentally believed that I could do better. That I could build a team that would believe in the same things that I did. That together we could change that experience for every researcher in the world.

Our mission is to build exceptional software for researchers.

And we deliver on it every day. Today over 1,000 communities use our technology. We power conferences in nearly 60 countries. We work for 11 of the top 20 universities in the world. Universities like Stanford, UC Berkley, Columbia, John Hopkins, Oxford, Cambridge, and Nanyang University in Singapore. We also work for the European Space Agency. It is a huge privilege for us to build software for the people whose mission is to advance our society.

And we do it all right here – by the Canal in Galway city’s west end. 

And for me, as the owner of the business, I get to do this while employing 15 people. It’s a wonderful place to be where you can have such a positive effect on the world and simultaneously help people in your own local community. 

Galway has always been a place where we build things 

It goes right back to the days of Digital in the 80’s and 90’s. However, in the last five years, we have seen an explosion in what we needed in our tech community. 

Not so long ago we had only the Galway Technology Centre – a shining light for us – but it was the only light. That inspired other initiatives like the Portershed, Bank of Ireland’s Startlab and Workbench. We now also have innovation centres in our universities – NUI Galway’s Business Innovation Centre and Blackstone as well as GMIT’s Innovation Hub.

The community of Galway is providing these spaces for those early stages. The next challenge is to encourage more people out of the woodwork to take up these spaces and run with ideas. To encourage people to solve big problems and to support them to do it from Galway.

Galway is our home

Everything happens here. Everything from product design to the development of software to our customer service and sales.

We’ve built a great team that is passionate about our mission and committed to our values. Our company is built on the graduates that have come from the universities in Galway and they are the DNA of what makes us different. Without our people, we wouldn’t build great software. We wouldn’t connect with researchers in the way that we do.

The people of Galway are some of the most creative, warmest, friendliest people you will meet anywhere on the planet. 

To have those people on your doorstep allows you to accelerate through your start-up years, build a sustainable SME and then power on as a multinational company. When you are on a journey you want people that will drive you on. You want people that will stick with you, you want people that will get the best out of you. 

The internet allows services to move anywhere and be consumed from anywhere. The only thing that makes you different is your people. In Galway we are fortunate to have really creative people, really bright people and really friendly people. People that will walk the journey with you, that will remain with you, that will drive you on.

Without those people, it would just be a heap of code.