By @SimonCocking

Dan Feaheny FinTech Data Science IT Recruitment

Your background

I am from Detroit, son to an automotive engineer and physicist-Montessori School owner.  After 20 years across Detroit, San Diego and Chicago in retail operations and merchandising, B2B sales, and general management, I moved to Ireland in early 2009.  I have been consulting, coaching and recruiting during my time in Dublin.  Looking into 2016, I am actively planning the next five years to 2020.

As an American in Ireland, what’s your take on the tech scene develop since you’ve been here?

In 2009, the Irish state was undergoing a major hangover after years of Celtic Tiger exuberance.  The level of risk aversion and fear of failure was extremely high at the time.   Commenting purely on the Dublin scene, advisory and funding supports were provided mainly by Enterprise Ireland, DBIC and NDRC.  DCU and UCD were early campus incubators for entrepreneurship.  There was little if no seed capital and zero bank lending for start-ups.  A few courageous individuals persevered.  Colm Lyon, Ray Nolan, Dylan Collins, and Paddy Holohan come to mind from those days.

The tech scene has greatly matured around Dublin over the past few years.  Networks such as ITLG and IIBN continue to connect and inspire.  Events like Web Summit and Startup Grind bring ideas and thinkers together.  The Irish Government is listening and supporting if not effectively restructuring the tax incentives to keep up with rival markets.

What differences between Irish fintech / startup scene and US?

A couple stark differences need to be pointed out.  In Ireland, the group generally trumps the individual.  Conversely, in America, the individual is celebrated and even worshipped.  Look at the current Presidential cycle’s the cult of personality.  Also in Ireland, there seems to be an embedded conservative and conforming culture which treats start up entrepreneurs as eccentric or even daft for taking the risk of possibly failing.  I believe the Irish under 30s don’t buy into this mode of thinking which bodes well for the coming years.

What are you excited about in fintech?

Three things:

Banks must upgrade their creaking and outdated IT infrastructures. So much legacy Cobol code is still embedded in the architectures.

Mobile-led platforms are leading innovation in the emerging markets teaching a thing or two to the developed markets.

Data volumes are increasing exponentially. The companies that can analyse commercially in real time will win.

What do you know about the FintechMafia? your thoughts on it?

I enjoy observing the contrast between the slow speed of change amongst traditional brick-mortar banks and the hyper speed to market adoption by Unicorns like Powa, Transferwise and Crowdcube.  Of the Twitterati spreading influence globally, I admire Ron Shevlin, Duena Blomstrom, Simon Taylor and Brett King.

How is the ongoing IT talent scarcity impacting recruitment?

Where do I start?  Recruiting for InSource in Dublin, there simply are not enough quality CVs given the demand.  I would urge more favourable visa treatment for IT professionals from India, Brazil, Philippines, Mexico, Serbia, Ukraine, etal.  This is clearly a candidate driven market with salaries rising 10-20% annually for hard to fill roles.  Too much churn and poaching is not helping companies grow and scale.

What impact will the Irish Diaspora returning to Ireland have?

I am very pleased by Minister Deenihan’s outreach and leadership over the past year.  He championed the Global Irish Civic Forum a few months ago with hundreds of Irish expat community organisers planning to “welcome them back.”  With so much educated and intelligent Irish talent outflow over the past few years and the Irish economy now growing sustainably, I look forward to more private and public collaboration during the fourth Global Irish Economic Forum next month.  The overly political budget last week was certainly a disappointment in this area.

How does the London fintech scene compare to Dublin or US cities?

London, Dublin and Belfast can become the FinTech Triangle.  I believe London is definitely the global centre of FinTech with its mix of capital, people and institutions.  Dublin can’t compete with London on scale/volume but can certainly specialise in niche areas like middle office operations and data analytics.  Minister Harris’ IFS2020 should now bear dividends and jobs especially with the launch of FPAI last month.

The 70+ million Irish diaspora in key cities around the world also should be proactively assisting Dublin attract talent, ideas and funding.  IIBN and Tangible Ireland are a couple networks to foster connections, share excellence and pay it forward.

What should we have asked you / would you like to add?

Here are a couple questions I ask when wearing my thinking cap:

How has the new economy smashed the boundaries between product, service and solution providers?

How can companies deal with key talent attraction and retention in the borderless digital economy?

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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