Business Plus



Entreprene­ur Donal Daly, founder of Future Planet, made his fortune in October 2019 when his previous venture Altify was acquired by Upland Software for $84m. Nasdaq-quoted Upland, based in Texas, has a strategy of acquiring online services with strong annual recurring revenues, which in Altify’s case amount to c.$24m per annum.

Altify’s specialty is a customer revenue optimisati­on cloud solution for sales and the extended revenue teams. The origin of the Altify venture was the purchase of sales management software called OnTarget in August 2005. Orcale inherited OnTarget after buying Siebel, and decided that the business was surplus to requiremen­ts.

At the time, Donal Daly was working out of an office in D4 in Select Selling, a small SME. Daly had also done some work for the Enright family in logistics company Walsh Western. With their funding and capital provided by Trinity Venture Capital, Daly sourced the $10.5m required to acquire OnTarget.

From the off, Target Account Selling Group Ltd incurred heavy losses, booking a loss of $5.4m on sales of $12.9m in 2007. In 2018, the year before the sale to Upland Software, the company, renamed as Altify Ireland Ltd, booked a loss of $2.7m on turnover of $23.8m. Capital invested by shareholde­rs in January 2019 stood at $24.5m, and accumulate­d losses were $32.3m.

The Profit and Loss account tells only one part of a business story. “In a software as a service business with recurring revenue, it’s all about cashflow,” Daly explains. “The important thing about an SaaS business is to maintain growth. My objective in Altify was always to be cashflow break-even. We didn’t have to make a profit, but we couldn’t run out of cash.

“People used to ask me whether I had an exit strategy. I would tell them that I didn’t, but I have a value creation strategy. When you create value, an exit will happen.”

The subscripti­on fee is €1,500 per month and there are additional charges for each sustainabi­lity ‘journey’, such as low-carbon procuremen­t, circular economy, energy-management systems etc. The target market is corporates with an annual spend of €100m and over on goods, services and people.

“I would love people to turn us off because they’re done, but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen,” says Daly. “All these carbon emission issues centre on multi-year targets, and the goal is to see if we can help move the needle. I’m reaching out to the large corporates that I used to deal with in Altify, and initially we only expect a small number of customers. I could end up partnering with somebody in order to scale Future Planet.”

Daly adds that he’s working as hard as he ever did, driven by the same sense of urgency that inspired the thousands of street protestors at COP26. “Global warming is a problem we have to solve. In the sales methodolog­y sense, you’d ask where’s your burning platform to make something happen? Unfortunat­ely, the burning platform is all around us,” says Daly.

“Even those people who have tweeted me to say that they turned on their dishwasher at 10.30pm last night, that’s a good thing. I’m trying to scale that. I have no pride of ownership or authorship of any of this stuff, I really don’t. I’d rather be golfing.”

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 ?? ?? Donal Daly (left) and Canice Lamb developed a smart email marketing applicatio­n during the dot-com boom
Donal Daly (left) and Canice Lamb developed a smart email marketing applicatio­n during the dot-com boom

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