By @SimonCocking

Describe the company – the elevator pitch …

GRID Finance fundamentally helps move money from those that have it to those that need it. Our core service offering is loan finance for businesses and investment opportunities for individuals.

GRID Finance is transforming banking and financial services in Ireland by building innovative financial products for every generation. GRID Finance’s vision is to lead change in banking, both in Ireland and globally by building practical financial products that support and respond to people’s modern lifestyles. We want these financial products to help real people, local businesses and community organisations to:

  • – Access the money they need
  • – Get a return on the money they have
  • – Better manage and budget their money

We believe that by creating an online community that finances itself through modern online financial products, the traditional idea of a community bank can be redefined and transformed to meet people’s changing financing needs.

How are you different?

What we are doing is democratising money by enabling and empowering people to choose where they want their money to go and how they want it to work for them. Whether you have €50 or €50,000 you can choose to lend that to a local business and not only will you be supporting that local business you will be earning a return on what you lend. You essentially become your own bank.

Where are you based, how is the broadband? How long will you stay there?

The Trinity Enterprise Tower, Grand Canal Quay. We have our good and our bad days with the broadband. Tethering from our phones is not an unusual thing. We have no immediate plans to move from the tower. We are in a fantastic location, right in the heart of Grand Canal Docks. As a FinTech company, we are in an ideal spot.

When was the company launched?

GRID Finance as a company was launched in 2013. We launched our peer to peer financing platform the ‘GRID’ in October 2014.

What type of people are you trying to attract to your product?

We have two distinct but complementary customers. First are our business owners who can be sole traders, early stage SMEs or trading start-ups and established businesses who are looking to access finance to grow and expand their business. Our lenders can be anyone over the age of 18 and previous investment experience is not required. The GRID team essentially act as the middle man, bringing lenders and businesses together. Businesses access finance faster and often cheaper than they can from traditional sources, while lenders can lend out their money, get repaid monthly at a significantly higher interest rate than can be achieved in saving schemes. It’s about people helping people, with ‘win-win’ being the core outcome.

What have been your biggest wins to date?

Since we launched, we have been unwavering in our vision and purpose. Our customers are at the centre of everything we do and despite the abundant distractions that are inevitable in start-up land, we have remained true to that. We attribute achieving this to the team that we have at GRID. The immediate and wider team of founders, employees, shareholders, advisors and directors are all amazingly passionate people who have a wealth of experience in their respective industries and we are pooling that passion and experience to service our customers better and more cost effectively than anyone else in the market.

Senior Mgt Team

Tell us about your team?

Derek F. Butler (CEO): Derek is an experienced senior manager and chartered accountant who has worked in a variety of organisations, across industries around the globe. He started his professional career in Goodbody Stockbrokers and Ernst and Young. He subsequently worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dublin, Boston and Los Angeles with a specific focus on financial services and private companies. He also led a variety of special projects within the firm. Following PwC he worked for 4 years with aid agency GOAL, initially as Financial Controller in Uganda but then as Country Director in Haiti following the 2010 Earthquake. He returned to Ireland in 2013 to build a global business out of Ireland.

Sean O’Riordan (COO): Sean is a specialist in Financial Services. He spent 5 years with PricewaterhouseCoopers working in Dublin, London, Boston and New York working with a variety of private companies, large banks and financial services clients. He followed this by spending 3 years working with KPMG as an associate director continuing his specialism in financial services providing assurance and advisory services to large investment management clients. During his time with KPMG he was part of the special liquidation team that liquidated IBRC under order from the Minister for Finance.

Andrea Linehan (Head of Sales and Marketing): Andrea is a marketing professional with over 12 years of international experience in branding, sales and marketing across a range of products and services. Andrea completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Accounting in 2004, after which she moved to the Middle East with Aer Rianta International. She spent 9 years in Oman developing commercial and leisure brands for the Omani Government during which time she also founded the Irish Business Network Oman, co-founded the Omani Irish Friendship Society and Oman GAA Club. Andrea is a Postgraduate of the Chartered Institute of Marketers, has a Professional Diploma from the Digital Marketing Institute and recently completed the MBA at Trinity College Dublin.

Vinny Reynolds (Head of Product): Vinny is an experienced IT professional and the Product Manager at GRID Finance. He has 12 years experience in IT in a range of research, industrial and entrepreneurial roles. As a published post-doctoral researcher, he has coordinated European research teams and contributed to the research community at both national and European levels. He is an experienced founder and entrepreneur and is a continued presence in Dublin’s vibrant startup and development community. He has worked with many startups and has successfully raised finance whilst using his wealth of technical skills to bring a wide range of successful web and mobile products to market.

John O’Callaghan (Credit Leader): John O’Callaghan has 25 years in banking and financial services having worked for Bank of Ireland, EBS and Postbank. He led the set-up and development of Postbank’s credit department. More recently he was chief executive of the Irish Country Women’s Association leading them through a period of significant change.

Damian Young – Director

Damien worked in Bank of Ireland for over 20 years and subsequently went on to work as Director of Banking EMEA for Ireland and the UK at Nomis Solutions where he was responsible for the development of cutting edge portfolio optimisation technology and modelling for banks, across both lending and deposits portfolios.

Gary Grimes – Client Solutions Responsible for bringing business borrowers through the sales pipeline and has worked in Citi Bank, Bank of Ireland, and HSBC Retail Banking.

What are your long term plans for your product / company?

We are an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Up and with that comes the near future intention to internationalise. Ireland is a fantastic market to robustly test and refine a product and service offering but to really scale means going global.

What are your favourite tech gadgets?

Derek’s is his iPhone 6 Plus. Sean and Andrea are big wearable device fans, and are never without their FitBit, Gary’s is his Chromecast.

What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?

The complexity and clumsiness that still exists when trying to connect gadgets is something for which a solution would be enormously useful. Wires and general software incompatibility is something we still manage everyday especially with an office full of Apple, Mac, Android and laptop users. Sharing becomes restricted.

For more details contact us here


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 @SimonCocking


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