The Irish Invasion (of Fintech)

Last century saw not one, but two British invasions when it comes to music, but a different sort of invasion has sprung up lately from Britain’s near neighbor, Ireland. This one isn’t sonic-based (though we’d be remiss if we didn’t note our love of The Pogues), but rather focused on fintech. The Emerald Isle has been exporting an impressive array of financial technology over the past decade or so, and indeed has become one of the global hotspots.

We were reminded of this during our attendance at the SXSW festival earlier this month; among the organizations with the biggest presence was Enterprise Ireland, which had one of the biggest booths at the conference. The state economic development agency for the country has made fintech a big focus of its efforts. Last year, for example, it launched a €750,000 fund for startup fintechs --  and it has become one of the largest and most successful fintech investors in the world.  

So it’s no surprise that many innovative firms have come out of Ireland, and quite a few have caught our eye. One of those is the regtech firm, GECKO Governance. The startup has developed a blockchain-based suite of products designed to allow funds and banks to more easily track and audit compliance matters. They’ve even created a compliance solution for ICOs; an industry that surely could use some more oversight. Another regtech, AQMetrics, was named one of the top 50 European businesses transforming financial services in 2017 and has already forged partnerships with many top-tier financial institutions, including US Bancorp.

Dublin-based Swrve is another one to note; it provides mobile customer engagement tools that allow companies to deliver personalized marketing messages. Fenergo, a client management solution for investment and private banks, has also been making waves in the fintech world; this year it announced it is expanding its offering to retail and commercial banks. In the robo-investing space, MyWallSt has seen a rise in growth with its tools around education, guidance and making the investing journey understandable to a mass audience.

As its neighbors across the Irish Sea wrestle with how – or if – to go forward with Brexit, some speculate that many U.K. finance and tech firms may look to Ireland to move some or all of its operations. All in all, the Irish fintech sector is in the midst of interesting times.