How Scurri built a global e-commerce giant from Wexford

Podcast Ep 195: Having shipped close to $11bn of value last year, Scurri founder and CEO Rory O’Connor proves you can start a global tech success story in any corner of Ireland.

In the pantheon of scaling Irish tech businesses, the regional origins and endurance of some of our successful businesses cannot be emphasised enough.

Think of Transfermate in Kilkenny, now a unicorn. Or how about Payslip in Mayo. Or HR Duo in Meath? How about HRLocker in Clare? Or Global Shares in Clonakilty? Think of Nearform in Waterford or Teamwork in Cork.

“I always wanted to build a big business. This wasn’t going to be a lifestyle business. It was going to be a decent-sized business and I would be all-in from the beginning”

And then there’s Scurri in Wexford. Locally born but globally successful e-commerce player Scurri recently revealed that 40 new jobs are to be created at its new state-of-the-art European headquarters in Wexford.

The new HQ will function as a new operational base for more than 100 workers. The 40 new roles will be recruited across sales, marketing, support and engineering over the next 24 months.

Speaking on the latest ThinkBusiness Podcast, founder and CEO Rory O’Connor explained how Scurri’s new headquarters will support both the planned expansion and staff across the UK and Europe. The company has become a leading player in the delivery management software space across Ireland, the UK and now Europe, supporting notable European e-commerce retailers.

Timing meets opportunity


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Looking back at the origins of the business O’Connor said he developed his skills in logistics while working at Waterford Crystal. “I was involved in a study with a researcher who was doing a PhD for Harvard around entrepreneurs and he had this theory that people whose grandparents had their own businesses were more likely to be entrepreneurs than the normal population. And my grandmother had a sweet shop and she worked 364 days of the year and never took a holiday.

“I certainly had a desire to do something myself and I was just waiting for the right time and opportunity.”

The eureka moment if there was one occurred while O’Connor was trying to source alloy wheels for his car and was struggling to get them shipped down from Monaghan. The logistical deficiencies when it came to doing what would be considered simple today inspired him to go into business.

Based in the heart of Wexford Town on Selskar Street, Scurri is an innovative delivery management platform that connects and optimises the entire online ordering, shipping and delivery process for retailers.

Following the company’s launch in 2010, hugely successful enterprise Scurri has grown its global footprint, processing over €10.5bn worth of shipments worldwide in 2023 alone. To date, it has raised €15.3m in investment through Gresham House, ACT & Episode, Enterprise Ireland and private angel investors.

Before starting Scurri, O’Connor left Waterford Crystal to focus on consultancy work. While business was good, his idea for simplifying e-commerce fulfilment began to grow in his mind and he researched his move into entrepreneurship.

“I always wanted to build a big business. This wasn’t going to be a lifestyle business. It was going to be a decent-sized business and I would be all-in from the beginning.”

While taking part in the New Frontiers programme, O’Connor attended a talk by Eric Ries, author of The Lean Start-up, which he felt spoke to the kind of problems that Scurri was trying to solve.

“If I had known what I know now I probably wouldn’t have started Scurri, but we could see the model was broken. Scurri powers not only the delivery of a product but everything in between including tracking information. But it also gives businesses the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell during the delivery period. It takes the friction out of the process, not just organising the delivery, but it’s about communicating and keeping customers up-to-date.”

One of Scurri’s biggest customers is eBay along with footwear brand DuBarry and sports clothing business O’Neills.

Business was steady from the start but it was around 2013 when O’Connor said the business really started to scale as more businesses started to use its technology.

Today the business boasts a wide variety of skillsets and nationalities and its regional location is proving an attraction point for tech talent returning from places like the US and Canada.

“We have people from Brazil, from Germany, from Spain, we’ve attracted people from all over the world as well as Irish people who want to come home from places like London or Australia.”

The art of the start

Large group of colleagues celebrating.

The new state of the art headquarters designed by Wexford architect Dermot Troy, is based around enhancing team collaboration. Its unique design features a modern central spine and a cutting edge glass interface which aims to encourage employees to build meaningful connections, while maintaining openness with the wider Wexford community.

Other key features include an on-site gym, canteen, rooftop terrace and ‘chill and connect’ rooms for staff. Surri’s central location also ensures employees can walk everywhere as part of the company’s wider mission to scale sustainably whilst enabling workers to perform at their best and helping to build those all important social connections.

Another highlight of the new headquarters is its ‘Art in the Lobby’ initiative, which invites local artists to showcase their creations each month. Scurri is also an avid supporter of the South East tech community, recently sponsoring and hosting the re-launch of the Wexford Tech Meetup. 

O’Connor is adamant that while Ireland’s success at foreign direct investment (FDI) is to be applauded, more effort is needed in terms of State supports for scaling businesses. “We can give more opportunities for people to create more businesses.”

Looking to the future, he feels he’s barely scratched the surface in terms of what’s possible. “We have shipped more than $11bn worth of value via our platform just last year, which is mind blowing. When we started in 2010 we didn’t think we could get to that level. But you know, it is still only a small proportion of the amount of value that is being shipped and there’s so much more opportunity to help more companies.

“The future is really bright. And you know in 10 years it could be 10 times more. We are really making a real dent in the world of e-commerce delivery.”

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John Kennedy
Award-winning editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.