Bobby Healy of CarTrawler Talks Travel Tech and Why Ireland are Global Leaders in the Space

Bobby Healy of CarTrawler is a pure techie at heart. “I’m a programmer, and have been since I was 13 years old.” He explains. “I used to send in my code in to UK magazines. They would print them, and I’d get a check for 50 quid in the post,” he laughs. With his eyes set on programming, he flunked his final exams at school and went straight to work for Nintendo at age 17. There he wrote several Billboard top 10 games. Clearly someone who is led by his passions, he’s now CTO of CarTrawler, an Irish company and global leader in travel technology.

Bobby is speaking at the 404 London event on Feb 10th, where, he says, “I’ll be talking about the technology we have internally, how we use it, and all the cool stuff and all the numbers behind it.”

You can get your free tickets to the event here.

“The Original Guys That Built It Are Still Here”

Healy enjoys the fact that, despite significant growth, CarTrawler has retained a startup feel. “The original guys that built it are still here and very much pushing things forward. So, you’re in a company that has close to a billion customers a year, with a fantastic, successful business that has grown, and you’re working with the guys that started it off.” Instead of big decisions being made in a faraway office, Healy says, “All the decision making happens here. All the innovation, all the products, the strategy – all those discussions.”

Bobby Healy

Looking for All Levels of Talent

The company is always on the lookout for new talent and is currently hiring a diverse number of roles at all levels of experience. They also foster talent through their CarTrawler Tech Incubator programme. Healy explains, ‘“We believe that you don’t learn how to program in university. If someone comes to us and they want to leave uni and they have a great attitude and aptitude for programming, we’d be interested in hiring them. We’re looking for people who really love programming, where it’s their hobby not just their career. But if it happens to be their career too that’s a great bonus.”

Dublin Differs from London

Dublin tech has a different feel to London, Healy notes, “The companies in London tend to be more mature and large and I think entrepreneurial tech people don’t belong in those types of companies. The cost base for startups is too high, and as a result the jobs mix tends to be with bigger, more formal companies using older technologies that move more procedurally. There’s less risk taking and it’s not to say there aren’t great opportunities in London, but they don’t tend to be for people at the earlier stages of their career.”

For Healy, the tech scene in Dublin has the perfect mix of technical depth and commercial success. “I think it helps we have English as the core language,” he explains. “If you were to compare us with France or Germany or any of those countries, they produce a lot of good tech, but it doesn’t get out of their international borders. In contrast, the tech scene in Ireland is full of all sizes of fish in the ecosystem. I’d say if we had a peer it would be Tel Aviv.”

Quality of Life

Healy is enthusiastic about the diversity and openness of the tech scene in Dublin, two areas in which he thinks it differs from London. “The people and the culture in Dublin are welcoming, diverse and happy and it is such a great environment to be in. That doesn’t exist in London. People don’t look at each other on The Tube, but you get on the Luas or the bus here and someone is going to be talking to you. It’s such a healthy place to be, to meet friends and have the craic. People come to Dublin and instantly get a social life, and that’s difficult in a big city, particularly in London.”

“Hurry Up!”

So, what advice does Healy have for techies considering moving to Dublin? Well, it’s simple – ‘Hurry up!’ He laughs. “You’ll be very welcome. You’ll find it easy to get a job that suits exactly what you want because there’s such a diverse range of companies here. You will find something that suits you and you’ll have an absolute blast.”

Interested in finding out more about moving to Ireland? Bobby Healy will be speaking at the Tech/Life Ireland 404 London event in CodeNode, Shoreditch on the 10th of February. Get your free tickets here.