Featured in picture above, Geraldine Gibson, Managing Director, AQ Metrics; Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Leo McAdams, Divisional Manager ICT & International Services, Enterprise Ireland and Brett Meyers formerly CEO of Currency Fair, Giles O’Neill, Head of FinTech, Enterprise Ireland.

By @SimonCocking. We spoke with Giles O’Neill Head of Fintech at Enterprise Ireland to learn more about their Fintech Competitive Start Fund launched earlier this year. 

What is the aim of this initiative?

The FinTech Competitive Start Fund was developed by EI in direct response to the IFS2020 Strategy, developed and launched in 2015. We had never run a dedicated FinTech CSF before and based on the work we do with high potential start ups in FinTech we believed we needed to get involved at an earlier stage. The CSF provides €50,000 in investment for a 10% stake in the company.

As you can imagine, the companies that applied were at various different stages of development. The €50,000 is aimed at accelerating that a bit and providing them with some investment to get the product/service to a point that it can be tried and tested and possibly validated by a customer or two. This isn’t always possible and we recognise that but it’s a goal. The other point worth noting is that many of these companies are technically strong but need help on the commercial side and what better way of supporting that than introducing them to entrepreneurs that have strong commercial teams. EI has that network and they are happy to help.

The next step then is to get the companies involved in other activities to help them progress even faster. Each successful client has been offered a place in Dogpatch for three months, to be in the IFSC, alongside other start ups and in the midst of a significant FinTech and Services community.

How it’s going?

Alongside the FinTech and Payments Association of Ireland, Ulster Bank and Dogpatch, we ran an initial kick off day with all 10 clients. The aim of this was to set the scene for the next three months and provide them with some frameworks and expertise around developing a compelling value proposition and to start exploring some possible routes to market, the sales piece. The feedback from the clients on this piece was very positive.

This was followed by our first “masterclass” – consisting of two elements, selling in to large financial institutions, which was led by Ulster Bank. The second, led by another client of ours, a piece on sales and building the pipeline.

We ran another masterclass last week, in partnership with Citi Bank, Bank of Ireland and another Irish client this covered risk and compliance in the FinTech world, AML, KYC, data protection and regulator engagement.

There are 3 – 4 more masterclasses planned between now and the end of the year, involving specialists, large MNCs and start ups that are further down the line in terms of their own businesses.

It’s very important to note that through EI and FPAI, the MNCs and Irish companies are all very willing to contribute their own experience to help start ups, it’s something we are very open to in Ireland, it does set us apart from competing nations.

EI, FPAI, Ulster Bank, Dogpatch – we all see great potential in this and will continue to work closely together to make it one of the most successful FinTech CSFs.

We have a demo day planned in December, which will include all of the client companies, offering them the ability to demonstrate and talk about their products and services to an audience of other relevant start ups, large financial institutions, investors and the wider FinTech community.

Finally, you can’t really talk about EI’s FinTech CSF in isolation, as there is so much other complimentary activity happening in Ireland. The NDRC and their pre accelerator for FinTech, Accenture’s FinTech Accelerator Programme, the focus Dogpatch has on FinTech and all the FinTech and Tech initiatives they run and of course the FPAI, the body that was established as part of IFS2020. This isn’t an exhaustive list of players, just a sample of what’s out there and happening in 2016.

2016 has been a big year for FinTech in Ireland. If we can hone a few aspects of our overall position and messaging, I think 2017 will be even bigger.

Fintech 20 Ireland event, November 24th, meet Ireland’s top Fintech talent, tickets available

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking<

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