Ireland is quickly becoming a global Fintech leader – but why?

John Howe / September 25, 2015

Ireland IT FintechThe Fintech industry in Ireland has quickly emerged as one of Europe’s largest Fintech hubs. More over, there are a number of key reasons why Ireland is uniquely positioned to becoming a leading global centre for fintech in the near future.

We have a wealth of talented and educated people on our little Island, many with backgrounds in financial services, technology and some with a mix of both. Ireland’s start-up scene has exploded in recent times, and not just in the Fintech space but also in the technology industry as a whole.

The growth in this area has been partly enabled by innovations such as TCube and Dogpatchlabs which both offer coworking space for tech start-ups at a low cost. Not to mention Ludgate@Skibereen, Corks new digital hub which will soon house many tech start-ups and employ roughly 500 people within the next couple of years.

The presence of US and European multinationals such as Facebook, Google, Apple and Twitter coupled with truly global events such as the Web Summit have had a huge part to play with international investment becoming available for Irish Tech start-ups. However the Irish government also plays its part by lowering taxes and making more government funding available for entrepreneurs with unique ideas.

After the global financial crisis of 2008 which saw Ireland lose confidence in itself. Many lower to middle income earners were left without access to credit and were forced into the arms of payday lenders or loan sharks. Companies such as Acorns, Digit and Mint who have started up in the US have come to the fore to offer lower income earners the opportunity to manage their own finances without the need for financial advisors. The US has seen Peer to Peer lending platforms emerge that bypass traditional intermediaries to get access to finance. Ireland should not have to wait too long before we see similar services appear in the main stream. The emergence of peer to peer lending platforms, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and apps that help you manage your personal finance, show that financial technology can be used in a way to empower people and relieve burden on lower and middle income earners which make up the majority of the Irish workforce.

One of Ireland’s finest success stories of recent years has been the growth of Fenergo, Irelands Fintech start-up that has emerged from the ashes of the financial crisis and the worst recession Ireland has ever seen to have 140 staff in total. Fenergo operate in locations a far as Melbourne and New York and are now looking to expand into the MENA and APAC markets. Fenergo have recently secured €75 million investments which will help them realize their goals to grow to 250 staff and open 5 new International offices. They are assisting financial services institutions in their move towards a more digitalized environment offering client lifecycle management solutions into the financial services industry.

When you combine all points mentioned in this article, it becomes clear that Ireland really has an opportunity to develop the Fintech industry further by introducing incentives for technology start-ups i.e. making grants and funding more accessible for entrepreneurs, lowering taxes for SME’s and promoting initiatives such as coderdojo to educate and inspire the next generation to do great things in the future.

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