Influence business around the world

Irish people can sometimes be guilty of overestimating our influence around the world, but when it comes to business, it’s most certainly a trump card.

And if anyone should know, it’s Bobby Healy, founder of Ireland’s most valuable tech company, CarTrawler, which facilitates airlines, online travel agents and accommodation providers by connecting their customers with car rental, private transfers and rail connections all over the world.

Before CarTrawler – long before, in fact – Bobby founded travel software firm Eland Technologies as a young twenty-something back in Mexico City back in the 1980s.

Speaking on The Capital B podcast about the rise of Eland Technologies in Mexico over 30 years ago, Bobby said: “There was no Internet, there were no mobile phones, we had a real tangible business that was selling magic. No-one knew what software was, but we were making millions of dollars selling stuff to them.”

Asked by host Nick Webb about how he grew the company, Bobby explained that getting the right talent was the most important thing and how he discovered just how much of an advantage being Irish really was.

“The same applied back then, nearly 30 years ago, as it does now,” Bobby said.

“It was getting really good technology people that sometimes aren’t the best at vocalising their abilities or commercialising them and forming a team with really strong tech people”.

“I think what was unique about me and us at the time, was that we were able to commercialise it. It’s something I would always say that the Irish, for whatever reason, we’re accepted, like American Express, in every country; we’re just universally accepted and that is an inherent cultural advantage we have.”

“My company, everywhere we’ve been, we’ve always seemed to capitalise on that.”

A fascinating character, in an excellent interview with Nick Webb, Bobby also spoke about being held at gunpoint in Mexico, losing millions after 9/11 and being dressed up as Willy Wonka while Northern Irish rockers Ash, performed in his back garden.