Guest Blog: Sonru – From Going Live to Going Global

hand holding small globe - symbolising sonru globalisation

In our latest guest blog, Edward Hendrick, Founder & CEO of Sonru, reflects on the humble beginnings of Sonru 10 years ago, as well as the achievements enjoyed since the organisation was officially launched.


A lot of numbers have been knocking about Sonru over the past few weeks. Recently, we published a white paper with 1 million insights and we also celebrated our official 10th birthday. Reaching such significant milestones inevitably invites contemplation of our beginnings, our journey and the road ahead.

Back in 2007, when YouTube consumption had exploded and everyone was keeping in touch with family overseas via Skype, I founded Sonru to unleash the potential of online video to solve the pain points of the early stages of the recruitment process largely experienced by my friends and fellow graduates.

With the initial idea of building a database of video CVs to enable companies to see candidates before meeting face-to-face, I enrolled on the New Frontiers Programme in WIT and the rest they say is history. Two years of intense Research and Development, many late nights and three pivots later, we launched our beta Online Video Selection product in 2009 having changed our focus to an application that automated the first round interview.

When I think back to the morning of our launch day 10 years ago, the only word I could use to describe the mood was sheer panic. As reporters, local business people and politicians were arriving, we were putting the final pieces together on the Sonru.com public facing website. Paul Kehoe, now Minister of State at the Department of Defence was finishing off his speech notes when our “about to go live” beta app had gone down for no apparent reason. In the end, we couldn’t get the app working until that evening but the website went live. We ended up giving demos using powerpoint only. It was a crazy day but such an exciting one at the same time and the reaction we received was so positive.

When I look back and reflect on this, launching was really just the easy part. We were lucky to launch the right product at the right time but the real work was just beginning. Our ambition has always been to deliver a service that once people use it, they can not live without and that has been reflected in both the calibre of our clients and their loyalty over the years. I still get a kick out of thinking that CERN in Geneva, one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research that won a Nobel Prize for the invention of the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989, is using our technology to select some of the smartest people in the world to continue their work in inventing global networks and splitting atoms. I’m so proud of our client list that includes Rolls-Royce, Volvo, Sony and Lego.

We have transitioned from an indigenous Irish start-up to a high growth international player in the video interviewing space, headquartered here in Wexford, Ireland, with operations across Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and North America. Our position most recently solidified by receipt of ISO 27001:2013 certification, global recognition for how we manage the risks to the security of the information we hold, no small feat given the highly sensitive nature of interview data.

To be one of the market leaders in this space 10 years later is a great achievement and a testament to the sterling work from every team in Sonru. Here’s to the next 10 years!


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Edward Hendrick
CEO
Ed holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agribusiness & Rural Development and a Higher Diploma in Enterprise Development and Entrepreneurship.

Since founding Sonru in 2007 with the vision of introducing Video Interviewing to mainstream recruitment, Ed has established the organisation as a global leader and one of the top recruitment SaaS companies worldwide.

With numerous accolades to his name such as the Sunday Business Posts ‘Top 40 Under 40’ and IIA Net Visionary award for innovation, Ed is recognised as one of the world’s leading experts in video recruitment technology and is a renowned industry speaker.

With a passion for new technology and how it can be used to make life easier for people in the real world, Ed has been instrumental in shaping the current landscape of the Video Interviewing industry.
Chris Horan
CTO at Sonru
Chris graduated from Trinity College Dublin with an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics and Computer Science and went on to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Science in Physics and Computer Science as well as a Higher Diploma in Enterprise Development.

With almost 20 years’ experience in the software engineering and computer science space, Chris has worked with leading technology companies such as Accuris, CAPE Technologies and BearingPoint.

Chris has been at the forefront of Sonru’s product development since the company’s inception in 2007.
Daniel Richard
Managing Director EMEA
Sonru’s Europe MD, Daniel Richard, graduated from Queen’s University, Canada with a Master of Science in Industrial and Organisational Science.

A trained Occupational Psychologist with more than 15 years of sales and consulting experience in multinational recruitment and HR services companies, Daniel leads Sonru’s sales efforts within EMEA, helping to grow its rapidly expanding customer base.

Prior to joining Sonru, Daniel spent 10 years at Oracle Taleo helping to build the company from a small regional start-up to a true industry leader. Daniel has held a variety of sales and consulting positions on various continents, including the US and Europe.
Fergal O'Byrne
Non-Executive Director
Fergal holds a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering from Dublin Institute of Technology and is an experienced Internet industry entrepreneur.

Since founding Interactive Return in 1998, Fergal has been a member of the Board of Directors of IGOpeople.com, WINC, and CCD Limited and was a previous chair of the Project Advisory Group for Fáilte Ireland’s eBusiness Support Initiative.

A recognised influencer within the industry, Fergal has served as CEO of the Irish Internet Association and has published four books including ‘10 Online Marketing and Search Engine Essentials’ and ‘10 Technologies Every Executive Should Know’.

In 2015, Fergal was inducted into the IIA Internet Hall of Fame in recognition for services to the internet industry.
George Pennock
Chairman
George holds an MA in History from Oxford University and is a previous Partner and Head of Saphir UK at Saphir Capital Partners.

George spent several years with the Goldman Sachs Group as a mergers and acquisitions banker before moving into private equity where he has spent most of the past 15 years. He has served as a Senior Investment Manager and COO at Pi Capital, and worked with Botts & Company Ltd where he made private equity investments in the leisure, publishing, branded goods, retail, and technology sectors.

Having spent the past two decades working with a myriad of talented and unconventional entrepreneurs, investing in everything from online employee benefits platforms to river boats and book publishers, George is passionate about backing exceptional people and interesting businesses and believes that while a mediocre management team can ruin even a great plan, a great management team can make a success of almost any business opportunity.
John Penning
Director
Currently, I am a Director of Sonru, the leading Online Video Interviewing company. Previous career highlights include; CEO of the Irish Internet Association, Chairman of IGOpeople.com and Founder and CEO of Interactive Return. In 2015 I was very honoured to be inducted into the IIA Internet Hall of Fame in recognition for services to the internet industry.
Rodolphe Verhaegen
Non-Executive Director
Rodolphe is currently an Operational Advisor with Digital Ventures in Brussels having previously worked in Ebay, most recently as Director of Customer Innovation.

Rodolphe is an innovative and creative business leader, with a strong interest in technology and agile software development practices. He holds an Masters Degree in Business Information Management and a BA in Business Economics from the Vrije Universiteit, Brussels.
Georges Schmit
Non-Executive Director
A native of Luxembourg, Georges graduated with degrees in Economics from the University of Louvain, Belgium (BA) and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (MA). Besides his native Luxembourgish, Georges is fluent in French, English and German.

Georges served the Government of Luxembourg from 1981 to 2016 and throughout most of his career he focused on innovation and technology policy, economic development and trade and investment promotion.

During his time with the Government of Luxembourg, Georges served as Secretary General of the Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy and was a member of several European Union high-level advisory bodies including the European Commission's "Enterprise Policy Group”. He also served as both Vice-Chairman and Executive Chairman of the National Credit and Investment Corporation (SNCI) of Luxembourg.

Georges has served on the Board of Directors of both listed and private companies including the world's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal, the Luxembourg-based global satellite operator SES, the Luxembourg Post and Telecommunications Company, and the Luxembourg State and Savings Bank, among others. Most recently, he contributed to the design and launch of several major Luxembourg Government innovation policy initiatives and sits on the Luxembourg Government’s Advisory Board on Space Resources.
Clément Helinckx
Non-Executive Director
Clément is a member of the Saphir Capital Partner's Team. Clément worked at PwC Luxembourg for 6 years in Private Equity Audit and then as Manager in the Corporate Finance practice in Valuation, Buy-side and Sell-side advisory. He holds a MSc from IÉSEG School of Management.

Patrick Sweeney
Non-Executive Director
Patrick holds a Bachelor of Business Studies Degree in Accounting, Management, Human Resources, Marketing and Economics from University of Limerick as well as Masters of Education in Management, Human Resources and Training and Development from University of Sheffield.

For 25 years, Patrick held the position of Human Resources and Public Affairs Director for Aughinish Alumina where he was involved in change management, restructuring and international mergers and acquisitions.

Patrick also undertook many other leadership roles including operations management, training and development and employee relations management. In addition to sitting on the Board of Directors at Sonru since 2011, Patrick has operated his own strategic management and human resources consultancy firm for the past 8 years.