Evolve Technologies was founded in 2000 by Clare man Mike Linnane in response to the significant demand from many organisations for a dedicated and accessible software development partner.

Based originally in Limerick’s National Technology Park and then in Lahinch, the company’s development offices moved to the Ennistymon Digital Hub in 2017.

Evolve, which has been internationally recognised for its WayWyser trail management system, provides custom software solutions and development across a range of industries and sectors.

The company, in Mike’s words, are “high value problem solvers”.

Mike explains, “It has taken us into whole world of different needs. We provide solutions for mining, mass transit, medical devices, marine based industries, in the area of compliance. It’s a lot of different areas. We have about 100 or so customers, ranging from government bodies, blue chip companies to small and medium businesses and some micro-businesses. Some of our customers, we’ve had for 15 years or so.”

He continues, “We’re a small company and people us as problem solvers. We are high value problem solvers. It’s about being good enough to solve the problem the customer has. We don’t have a sales marketing team. We’re a bit like a soccer player; we’re only as good as our last match!”

Mike started out in mechanical engineering before moving to software and e-banking.

Evolve started life in Limerick but as soon as the conditions allowed, Mike wanted to bring the company home to Lahinch.

“We’re in the town now in Ennistymon in a great facility, the digital business hub. It’s a really excellent facility”, he says,

“We moved back to Lahinch in about 2005 and as soon as the Internet was up and running and good, we were back like a shot”, he recalls.

Mike says there are challenges with being a small tech company based in the West of Ireland.

“It can be hard to get people to work in the tech sector here and it is a challenge in terms of marketing and sales. We are technical people not sales or marketing. Our focus is always on trying to get as much value as we can for our customers

“But we are focused on what we are about and what we are doing. One of our big targets to switching from service to product and that is an area that is progressing”.

The support of Clare Local Enterprise Office (LEO) has been key in this regard.

Mike explains, “The LEO has been a great help. They gave us a small business expansion grant, supplied mentors who have been excellent, they’ve assisted us in website development. Most importantly we were able to access an agile research and development grant which has really opened doors for us”.

Key to Evolve’s evolution as a company has been the development of six different software products, one of which is WayWyser.

Developed by rural community trail managers, WayWyser makes it easy to monitor and maintain tracks and trails, hiking paths, geoparks, recreation resources, agricultural land, heritage sites, waterways and more.

Mike explains, “It’s an App that sits on your phone. It can take photos. It has a gps system that allows for dynamic mapping. We worked with LEADER groups and the Geo-Park so it is something that was really born out of North Clare. It can be used for field studies, basically for things like litter surveys, environmental surveys, studying invasive species, tracking visitor numbers to an area. We’ve built onto it. So now it has features like motion sensors, water depth sensors. We are developing it all the time. It is a monitoring and management system. In principal what we have is a climate change and biodiversity management tool”.

Clare Local Development Company nominated WayWyser for an International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) award, alongside hundreds of entrants from around the world.

The future for Evolve is one of expansion, both in terms of markets and company size.

Mike says, “We’ are currently expanding into Northern Ireland and we hope to go into the UK. We are trying to push our products into America, We’re hoping to go to an American trade symposium in April, so that would be great. We’re always looking for good sales people and technical people. We are looking for people who are interested in the environment  and who want to live in the Mid West.”

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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