A few years later, Annrai O’Toole, co-founder and CTO at IONA Technologies in Dublin, offered Clarke a job in product management. O’Toole first met Clarke when he was lecturing at Trinity College, and Clarke was a student. “I could see David was a pretty smart individual,” O’Toole recalls. IONA, which specialized in service-oriented architecture (SOA) technology, launched a successful IPO on NASDAQ in 1997 and helped put the Irish technology industry on the map.
By 1999, Clarke decided he wanted a change. He and O’Toole left to start Cape Clear in Dublin. “These things called web services had emerged, and we could instantly see that they could be the next generation of integration technology. That’s what led to the Cape Clear ESB,” says O’Toole.
Clarke and O’Toole made frequent trips to Silicon Valley to build their business, and that’s where they met Aneel Bhusri, co-founder and CEO at Workday. The three developed a good relationship, and the Cape Clear team was acquired by Workday in 2008.
“Many connections and integrations are needed to continue in this new world of cloud computing, and the Cape Clear technology enabled that,” explains Clarke. “Workday’s core foundation has certainly gotten bigger and more powerful over the years, but Cape Clear’s ESB is still the kernel of integration.”
After establishing operations in Dublin with the acquisition, Workday went on to make the city the home of its European headquarters. In 2015, the headquarters was moved to a larger space in Dublin’s north inner city to accommodate Workday’s rapidly growing local workforce, which now exceeds 850 people.
Clarke moved back to Ireland from California in 2017, switching his primary workplace to the European headquarters. O’Toole also works out of Dublin, serving as chief technology officer, Europe. The European headquarters employs engineers from a wide range of countries, all of whom are tasked with solving some of the most complex challenges and opportunities for scaling and managing enterprise applications in the cloud.
“At Workday, we’re using an advanced spectrum of technology—a lot of components of the modern web, and front-end and back-end stacks, to solve interesting problems,” Clarke says.