Bank of Ireland opens its new fintech-focused Startlab on Camden Street

17 Nov 2017

Bank of Ireland group CEO Francesca McDonagh launching the new Camden Street fintech Startlab. Image: Connor McKenna

Start, scale and succeed – that’s the mantra of the new cohort of fintech start-ups.

In a suitable kick-start for its 17th National Enterprise Week, Bank of Ireland has officially opened its new Startlab incubator on Camden Street in Dublin.

This is the bank’s third Startlab. The first Startlab opened in Galway in 2016 followed by the New York Startlab in May this year.

‘This is where an old building meets the new economy’

The first cohort of fintech start-ups consists of eight companies and, according to entrepreneur-in-residence Gene Murphy, there is room for four more in the present space.

Located above the Bank of Ireland branch on Camden Street, Startlab provides the companies with space and quality mentoring to boldly go ahead and create the products of the future.

Innovation and enterprise

Bank of Ireland Group CEO Francesca McDonagh said that the launch marked the start of National Enterprise Week, forming part of its endeavour to support businesses of all shapes and sizes.

“This is where an old building meets the new economy. It is one of three Startlabs we have at the moment, including Galway and New York City.

“The new Startlab in Dublin represents our support of innovation and enterprise across Ireland.”

Bank of Ireland’s National Enterprise Week runs from 17 November to 24 November and will see up to 26 events take place across the country for SMEs with an interest in growing their business. Each event has been carefully planned to support specific industry sectors, including areas such as manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, agri-business, finance, fisheries and export markets.

Garvan Callan, director of strategy, innovation and digital at Bank of Ireland, said that the key role that Startlab has to play is to create the environment and space to grow.

‘Entrepreneurs are brave. But being brave is also about being vulnerable and being willing to engage’

“We have eight teams here and we want more teams to come to Startlab. We are proud in Bank of Ireland to have our third Startlab up and running focused on banking and fintech.”

He said that, until now, most entrepreneurs begin their journeys through conversations around kitchen tables, in pubs and in garages and factory floors. But the key is to provide a more solid ground for start-up to not only start, but start well.

“Entrepreneurs are brave. But being brave is also about being vulnerable and being willing to engage. Those engagements have traditionally happened around kitchen tables, in pubs and in garages and elsewhere.

“How do we enable the sector? Galway was our first foray. It is about creating a community and an environment. And if we can connect that community, we empower economies. It is important for our society and our economy’s well being.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years