Sector: education, technology
Texthelp Systems, led by CEO, Mark McCusker, designs and develops innovative software to help struggling readers and writers.
The software is targeted at education, education publishing and corporate sectors and within those communities it specifically helps dyslexic, English language learners, mildly visually impaired and functionally illiterate users.
The technology is supported by a library of independent research which evidences the quantifiable benefits of using the software.
Based in Antrim, the company sells its products into a number of global markets, including North America where it has offices based in Boston.
Mark became the Chief Executive of Texthelp Systems in September 1998, at a time when the company had just six employees.
He immediately realised the market potential for the product, which coupled with a young enthusiastic team who, as McCusker puts it, “didn’t know what they didn’t know”, made for an irresistible challenge.
Since those early days, Mark has transformed the company from a technology-led, opportunistic enterprise to a thriving and customer-led, market-focused business with over 100 employees, and distribution of products worldwide.
The company is proud of its highly-committed team that produces assistive software which changes the lives of its users.
From a chance-attendance at a trade event in Boston in 1998 - which the company could barely afford to do - the company has built a fully operational North American business that now employs 40 staff.
The company has been recognised in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 for 11 consecutive years and has won many local and international accolades.
Mark’s mantra is “fear is the most destructive emotion in business” and his track record demonstrates a willingness to take calculated risk.
Texthelp is now moving into non-English speaking markets, specifically targeting the technology assisted language learning market in South America and the Far East.
108 staff are currently employed in the company’s in three divisions: Education and Workplace, Speech Services and Education Publishing.
Products: Texthelp specialises in the development of software to assist, support and develop the literacy skills of individuals who have difficulty reading and writing.
The products support life-long learning and enable users to achieve what would previously have been impossible, and add further value by ultimately building confidence and self-esteem of its users.
Customers: Texthelp customers range from individuals with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, to corporate clients, such as schools, colleges, universities, education publishers, libraries, corporations, local government, emergency service authorities, and health authorities.
Describe your progression from start-up to current status? Initially, we were a single product company focused upon the UK market and serving the needs of the dyslexic community.
In 1998 we started to target the US market, followed by Canada, Australia and New Zealand, focusing on the education sector.
Parallel to this we established two new divisions that focused on the corporate and education publishing sectors.
Within all the market segments served by the company, Texthelp has been a market leading brand associated with innovative, high quality technology.
What advice would you give an entrepreneurs starting out today? Go East!