Dubliners head up online payments firm


29 Aug 2005

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A predominantly Irish management team is leading an online payments company responsible for processing up to one million card payments a month valued at US$200m a quarter for major firms such as Ikea and Finnair.

FreeStar Technology Corporation is led by chief executive Paul Egan, chief financial officer (CFO) Ciarán Egan and operations director Fionn Stakelum. It’s wholly owned subsidiary Rahaxi Processing Oy, based in Helsinki, has a robust Northern European BASE24 credit card processing platform. Rahaxi Processing Oy currently processes in excess of one million card payments per month for such companies as Finnair, Ikea and Stockman.

The company’s Enhanced Transactional Secure Software is aimed at empowering consumers to consummate e-commerce transactions with a high level of security using credit, debit, ATM (with PIN) or smart cards.

The company is based in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and maintains satellite offices in Dublin, Helsinki and Geneva.

In recent days it emerged the company secured a deal with Dutch online poker company Metropolitan Poker to provide its website with a state-of-the-art payment management system.

Earlier this month the company revealed transactions averaged 1.3 million a month, with more than 15.5 million individual transactions in the fiscal year ended 30 June. Egan has predicted by the end of the year the company will average two million transactions a month, a gain of 25pc per month, as a result of a gain in new customers.

A graduate of Terenure College Dublin, Egan was vice-president of Inter-Leisure in South Africa before founding ePayLatina. He also worked with South African firm Engen to oversee its new project division after it acquired Mobil Oil South Africa. Prior to this Egan was employed by Trafalgar House Construction division, working on major building projects in the London banking district.

CFO Egan, also a graduate of Terenure College as well as Rathmines College of Commerce, was previously managing director of Medipro International Recruitment in South Africa where he was responsible for establishing new markets in Ireland and the UK and was successful in obtaining contracts with the Ministry of Defense and Aviation in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He also implemented contracts with the National Health Service in the UK.

Stakelum, a graduate of NUI Galway, has a strong software localisation background and served as senior software localisation engineer at Microsoft, Lotus and Symantec in Dublin.

The company’s technology integrates a consumer side-swipe terminal called the ePayPad with a bank-end host-processing centre. The swipe terminal encrypts sensitive financial data at the consumer’s PC before sending the data over the internet to a secure third-party processing centre for decoding and subsequent forwarding of the credit, debit, ATM or smart card information to the online merchant.

According to research by Business Communications, the worldwide e-commerce market grew to an annual volume of US$4.3 trillion in 2004.

According to Freestar’s last published financial information, the company at the end of 2004 recorded an 18pc growth in revenues to US$424,772 and recorded a 6pc increase in net losses of US$1.3m.

By John Kennedy