By David Bloxham GCS MD of GCS – technology, engineering and financial services recruitment.
At the start of 2016 KPMG called Dublin a “booming FinTech hub”, noting Ireland’s impressive pool of talent, the number of emerging Irish startups, and the level of FinTech investment being seen across the nation – but KPMG also noted that, in the eyes of many, Ireland is still the poorer relation to FinTech hotspots including New York, Hong Kong and London.
As a FinTech recruiter with offices in Dublin, NYC and London, we know that Ireland, and Dublin in particular, is somewhere which offers incredible opportunity for those at all stages of their career in finance and tech. You would be hard pushed to find a city of a similar size with the same concentration of FinTech companies, and Dublin is only the fourth city in the world to receive funding from Accenture’s accelerator funding. The first three? Those giants of the sector mentioned above.
Six Irish startups have been selected to take part in the Accenture FinTech Innovation Lab accelerator – Cogni, a data analytics tool that matches customers with potential finance providers, Juggle, a consumer-facing platform for managing money, Touctech Payment, which is a security startup aimed at online payment protection, legal news startup courtsdesk, and Coinprism, a Bitcoin venture from the same founder as Open Assets Protocol.
The sixth firm selected was Ostia, a tool that helps businesses with product implementation or enhancement, and seeks to streamline the process.
As specialist recruiters in this area, we stand at the forefront of developments in the FinTech industry. Since we opened our office in Dublin last year, our fourth office alongside London, New York and Reading, we have seen a 31% increase in registrations for jobs in the finance and technology sector, demonstrating the rapidly increasing demand for people with skills in this area.
We see Dublin as a place of real opportunity – the city is home to the European headquarters of household names including Facebook, Twitter, Google and eBay, and there are thousands of smaller and emerging FinTech firms dotted around. These include Uphold, which allows users to “upload” cash from their accounts and transfer it across currencies for free, as well as CurrencyFair, Trustev, Orbiscom and Fenergo.
Many are based at the city’s Silicon Docks, an area which rivals Silicon Valley and Silicon Roundabout in London in terms of the concentration of companies and opportunities available.
Figures quoted in the Guardian in May this year state that Dublin has the same number of startups as Amsterdam, a much larger city, and our candidates certainly benefit from the closer knit atmosphere in the Irish capital compared to more sizeable FinTech hubs. Links between companies are strong, and impressive candidates can more easily make themselves known within the community, widening their job prospects.
This year has been a notable one for Irish FinTech. At the start of the year Dublin Castle played host to the European Financial Forum, backed by the Financial Times. The event brought together some 600 key players and figures in the international and Irish financial sector, and FinTech and its future was a key topic.
In May, Enterprise Ireland announced a fund of half a million Euros for FinTech startups – burgeoning firms can apply for funds of up to €50,000 in equity support to help their venture get off the ground.
2017 looks to be another big year in the FinTech sector, and one of the key challenges is the focus on regulation. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has already called for firmer regulation of the FinTech sector, and in a report earlier this year Financial Services Ireland called regulation” a major opportunity for Ireland”.
“Having experienced a rapid and painful adjustment to one of the most demanding regulatory environments for financial services in the world, Ireland now has the opportunity to benefit from this by becoming a centre of excellence in Risk and Compliance technology,” the report went on to state.
We look forward to the challenges of 2017, and to helping more people enter the lucrative FinTech sector.
David Bloxham, Managing Director at GCS Recruitment
For more information on Ireland’s FinTech scene visit us online