About Us


OUR HISTORY

Keelvar is a university spin out company from University College Cork (UCC) and is headquartered in Cork, Ireland. The company was founded by Alan Holland, a former research fellow and lecturer specializing in Artificial Intelligence, Auction Theory and Optimization.

The company was formed to address a problem encountered by the founder’s parents chemical company, Acorn Water. They wished to communicate richer and more expressive bids in procurement events that allowed them to play to their strengths and communicate their weaknesses so they could avoid unprofitable contracts. Expressive bid processes rely on optimization technology to calculate winning combinations of offers.

Alan Holland’s PhD research focused on electronic commerce and mechanisms for improving economic efficiency in complex trading environments such as energy storage, transportation, print, packaging, waste, chemicals and maintenance services. Spotting the inefficient outcomes in numerous sourcing events he decided to turn his attention to helping buyers source more efficiently. And this is something we have been doing ever since.

APPROACH TO AI & OPTIMIZATION

We are passionate about enabling our customers to take charge of their sourcing events and use our tool to empower their sourcing strategy and execution of events on a large scale. We add intelligence to the software where it’s needed in order to make life easier. We help clients reach best practice levels and then reduce our involvement as they become more proficient and confident with optimization.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Modern software should empower users to take more control over strategic decision making whilst automatically taking care of mundane background calculations. We pay particular attention to design, ensuring that our application is easy to use and intuitive. We’ll hold your hand through the first few engagements, then we look to hand the controls over to you.

INTEGRITY AND HONESTY

We engage closely with Enterprise clients in Roadmap development and planning. We believe in finding win-win outcomes with suppliers and that sustainable savings foster collaborative mechanisms for finding efficiencies.
We believe that users of existing procurement software solutions have been getting a raw deal both on the buy and supply side. Many solutions are based on out-dated technology stacks with user interfaces that are complex and unintuitive.

Customers realize more value when tools simplify complexity. We don’t aim to support every conceivably complex scenario because it would come at the cost of having a tool that was too difficult for most users to adopt. We want to bring the benefits of optimization to a much wider audience with a more competitively priced solution.

PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE

The Keelvar team consists of graduates with backgrounds in Computer Science, Mathematics and Engineering. We share a passion for using the latest advances in Computational Mechanism Design, Optimization and Artificial Intelligence to tackle issues that previously seemed insurmountable.

We are also ‘design led’ and are motivated to create a solution our users can use without needing consultants to ‘explain it’ or engineers to ‘configure it’.

WE FOSTER EDUCATION

The Keelvar team consists of graduates with backgrounds in Computer Science, Economics, Financial Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering. We share a passion for using the latest advances in science to tackle issues that previously seemed insurmountable. We are also ‘design led’ and are motivated to create a solution our users can use without needing consultants to ‘explain it’ or engineers to ‘configure it’.

Valuing research and innovation, the company retains strong ties with the Department of Computer Science in UCC that hosts Europe’s largest AI lab. Keelvar will continue to be supportive of education and academic excellence in Computer Science and related disciplines.

Our customers are located in all major industrial countries and this growth is now extending to South America and Asia. We have offices in Ireland, Texas, Brazil and Germany.
 
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    2005-2012: University Research

    The Founder, Alan Holland, was based in Europe’s largest AI research lab in UCC. He conducted research on optimization for complex sourcing projects and engaged in consulting

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    2012: Company Spin Out

    Keelvar spins out of UCC. Approx $1m in VC seed funding from ACT and Enterprise Equity.

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    2013: First Product Release

    2013: First deals with major public bodies including the United Nations and UK Government.

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    2014: First Enterprise Deal

    Keelvar signed a contract with the UK’s largest insurance company. This was the first of many enterprise deals that allowed us to work with best in class teams.

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    2015: Going Global

    Keelvar signed deals with some of the worlds largest entperises and began supporting many €100m+ sourcing projects. Marquee brands such as Siemens, M&S and Associated British Foods became customers. Keelvar also opened an office in the US.

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    2016: Self-Service Take-Off

    Up until 2015, customers tended to require more support for events but in 2016 more than 50% of sourcing events were operating on a self-service basis. Keelvar’s growth continued with more hires and new offices in Berlin and Rio de Janeiro.

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    2017: Breaking the Billion Barrier

    From early 2017 over €1bn in spend was being optimized each month by customers. With customers joining each week, growth is accelerating.

 

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