Square1 was founded by Ciarán Maher (CEO) and Diego Solorzano (COO) in June 2013. They are the designers, developers, and project managers behind some of the most high profile and recognisable websites in Ireland today.
As part of our Members Series, we spoke with Diego to understand more about his background, how he and Ciaran made the decision to set-up Square1, and why they felt Iconic was the right fit for them and their team. Each of our 16 workspaces are unique in design and offering, Diego and a number of the Square1 team are based at The Masonry, a rare repurposed warehouse in Dublin city. It was important to Diego and the team that their workspace fit with their brand by providing a creative and inspiring space.
Tell us a little about Square1?
Square1 is an award winning creative online, web and mobile software development company. Through our experience and vast knowledge we have been responsible for building and maintaining some of the most recognised and visited websites operating in Ireland.
Before Square1, what did you do?
I started as a software developer back in 1998, and then moved on to project management and other responsibilities within the IT and Web Development industry. Before Square1 I was the Operations Director for Adverts.ie, where I met my co-founder Ciaran Maher.
When did you first become interested in web design?
I studied Industrial Engineering in college, and my first job was in desktop software development. At the time, in 1998, it was only the start of the web applications as we know them today. I was very interested in how we could create better distributed applications via the web, allowing for quicker deployment and delivery; rather than relying on desktop installations of enterprise software.
When did you and your partner Ciaran set-up Square1?
Ciaran and I met while I was working in Adverts.ie. He was the CTO of the Distilled Media Group which owned Adverts.ie. We were also neighbours and used to frequent the same pub, so inevitably over a couple of pints one day we decided to set up our own business. At the time we could see how difficult it was to form good development teams, and keep developers happy and interested. We decided we could put together a multi-disciplinary team and become the tech team of other companies, which would allow those companies to focus on their core business.
How big is the team at Square1?
We have a distributed team; with our headquarters here in Dublin, where we are 10 people, and an office in Alicante, Spain, that counts more than 30 people. We also have a team in Turkey and another one in Argentina. Overall we are around 60 people.
What was it about The Masonry that felt like the right fit for you and your team?
The Masonry is an inspiring place, from the design to the atmosphere to the level of detail. Everything feels premium and well thought out. We were delighted to be able to move here nearly 3 years ago, and have been very happy enjoying the building and the staff. Its central location is a great plus, but definitely the design and comfort of the building are the main reasons we have our Dublin office here. Before the pandemic; all our clients that would visit us would fall in love with the place!
How have you found working alongside a community of fellow business professionals?
It is definitely an advantage to share the building with other companies that are in the same space; it’s a great opportunity for networking, but also a great way for our young staff to connect with people.
What made you choose a flexible workspace over a traditional office?
Our company has a distributed team, and a lot of our developers work from home most of the time. In Dublin we always had a traditional office; but with the start of COVID-19 in March 2020 we decided to try a hot desk model for our Dublin staff. Based on our experience with the team in Spain, South America and Turkey, we knew it would work for us.
What did you find was your greatest challenge when setting up your own business?
The greatest challenge is always to be able to grow: how to make sure that you have the clients to be able to afford growing your team; and grow your team at the right pace.
Has business been affected by the pandemic?
At the start of the pandemic we had to take measures to be able to cope with the potential consequences of the pandemic. We lost a few clients and had to reduce the team accordingly. But luckily we’ve seen a surge of projects and clients that were looking to adapt to the pandemic and required more web and mobile solutions to deliver their products and services. As a result our team today is bigger than in early 2020 when the pandemic started.
Can you tell us about a project you’re particularly proud of?
I’m very proud of our Publisher Plus platform; a modular solution for online publishers. Our platform currently powers some of the biggest and most recognised online publishers in Ireland; and our plan is to continue growing our customer base around the world.
What’s next for Square1?
We are heavily investing in our own products and solutions, specifically in the area of online publishing. We will continue the growth of Publisher Plus, but also our paywall solution Tollbridge.
Looking to find your unique workspace?
There’s no one size fits all solution when it come to finding workspace. That’s why at Iconic Offices we create a flexible workspace contract that’s unique to your business. If you want to chat to one of our workspace specialist to learn more, enter your details below and a member from the team will reach out.