US fintech BlueSnap sees Ireland as the ideal place to grow its Europe business

12 Oct 2022

Ralph Dangelmaier, CEO, BlueSnap. Image: BlueSnap

Ireland has the financial expertise and regulatory know-how to understand what BlueSnap is trying to do, the company’s leaders told

Like most fintechs that have their European or EMEA headquarters in Dublin, BlueSnap’s big reasons for picking the Irish capital were accessibility from the US and access to talent.

Since it opened its European base in Dublin in early 2021, the Massachusetts-headquartered fintech has grown its Irish operation steadily.

As a payments facilitator, BlueSnap had another reason to move to Ireland – and that was Brexit. When its UK licence was no longer valid in the EU, it had to move fast to pick a new base for its European business.

“We decided on Ireland for a few reasons,” BlueSnap’s global CEO Ralph Dangelmaier told “One, there was already a really great established talent pool in Ireland around fintech. That’s noted by the 10 or 11 people who we just hired there.

“Secondly, we were confident that the regulators understood what we were trying to do in our business – which by the way is really important, and you can’t say that about many of the other European countries.”

The third reason, Dangelmaier said, was that “it’s easy to get in and out of Ireland” from its headquarters in Boston and its nearby UK operations.

“So, we said, it probably makes sense to take a shot at Dublin and we thought we could also easily expand in Dublin – which we’re starting to do now.”

BlueSnap has spent the last number of months building out its senior leadership team, with several execs hired to helm its Dublin office. One of those hires is Brian Gaynor, BlueSnap’s Europe CEO.

Growing its Irish staff

Gaynor told there are more people being hired, albeit on a gradual basis as the company expands. “I’d say we’ll probably double our headcount over the next year or so.”

He is keen to point out that although Dublin has become well known as a fintech hub, it’s not just the capital but the whole country that should be recognised.

BlueSnap has hired people based in Dundalk and Wexford, and Gaynor also mentioned the Belfast-Dublin fintech corridor.

“There is a depth of experience here in Ireland. We have a community now of fintechs, and people who have been involved with payments over the last number of years. Obviously, it’s a very competitive market, but people are here. It’s not like in other jurisdictions where there just isn’t a payments industry.”

People sitting around a table, with wine glasses and dishes. They are employees of BlueSnap.

The team at BlueSnap Ireland, including Europe CEO Brian Gaynor (second from left) and global CEO Ralph Dangelmaier (third from left). Image: BlueSnap

But the competition is healthy as it means there is a pool of people with fintech knowledge that BlueSnap can tap into. According to Gaynor, it has been able to find skilled staff across the country.

Although based in Blanchardstown, the company operates a hybrid model. There is a focus on flexibility because BlueSnap’s other offices are based in different time zones.

“We’re very flexible in terms of how people work because Boston is five hours behind us. We have a development centre in Israel that we deal with which is two hours ahead of us. So, Ireland is a perfect base to be able to span those different time zones,” Gaynor explained, adding that “a lot of our time is spent working on Zoom”.

Towards a multi-dimensional payments service

BlueSnap develops a payment platform and works with B2B and B2C customers to support online and mobile sales, subscriptions, marketplaces and more. The company is now eyeing expansion in Europe, bringing its product to as many markets as possible. So, what makes this fintech unique compared to all the other payments providers out there?

Dangelmaier said that a lot of payments companies are domestic only, whereas BlueSnap is global and deals with multiple currencies. It can also handle what the industry calls multiple use cases, meaning a customer can purchase from a website, but also pay by other ways such as from invoices.

“A lot of payment providers are only set up for one use case,” said Dangelmaier. “Like, we only do invoices and we only do websites, or we only do marketplaces, so [merchants] end up getting multiple payment providers for the type of use case or channel that they accept payments on.”

BlueSnap’s goal is to provide an all-in-one platform for its users with everything built in. Its other services include integrations with platforms such as Salesforce, as well as compliance, tax, chargebacks and refunds know-how for merchants.

“We’re kind of like an all-in-one platform for that merchant to go globally,” said Dangelmaier. He thinks that most don’t ask enough of their payments facilitators, adding that they should think of payments as being multi-dimensional.

“Payments is a lot like a Rubik’s Cube and people think of it as a square piece of eight by 11 paper.”

At this point, Gaynor gently interrupted to tell Dangelmaier that Irish people would call that an A4 sheet of paper. He also picked up on the point being made, adding that BlueSnap endeavours to expand with its users, helping them to grow internationally and ensure they are fully compliant within each market and up-to-speed on authorisation rates.

Future plans

As for BlueSnap’s future plans, Dangelmaier and his team will be happy to keep at its current growth trajectory of 50pc a year. This may seem ambitious given the current economic slowdown, but Dangelmaier reckons there is more market demand than ever.

“We have a lot of B2B and a lot more necessity type items, and so I think we’re going to weather the recession pretty well. If anything, I think we might come out of it stronger because people are looking for efficiencies.”

He joked that the company is fortunate it doesn’t rely on a lot of luxury handbags, and suggested that perhaps it might be no harm to start bringing on board merchants who can sell Aran jumpers to Irish customers to keep them warm this winter.

That’s not to say BlueSnap is blasé about its current position, but Dangelmaier does not foresee “a degradation” in its growth any time soon.

Gaynor said he thinks Ireland’s track record of hosting multinationals over the past few decades will be of further advantage to BlueSnap as it grows its Europe business.

Irish people are not just good at tech, he added, they understand finance and the regulatory constructs that go with it – “what you need to do to be able to be compliant and operate in the European environment.”

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.