A look at some of the players leading Galway’s fintech scene

30 Oct 2019541 Views

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Blackrock Diving Tower in Salthill, Galway. Image: © Chopard Photograhy/Stock.adobe.com

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We have rounded up some of the firms to watch in Galway’s fintech scene, from blockchain for credit unions to businesses that help firms manage compliance and AML.

Galway has an impressive reputation when it comes to medtech start-ups and medical device spin-outs, thanks to its proximity to NUI Galway and the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT).

As part of our month-long focus on the west of Ireland, Siliconrepublic.com has outlined some of the most notable university spin-outs operating in the city, but that’s not all that is going on in Galway. Indeed, the City of the Tribes is also home to a flourishing fintech community.

As we detailed earlier this month, there are a number of hubs at the core of Galway’s start-up ecosystem, including academic institutions such as GMIT and NUI Galway, as well as spaces such as the PorterShed and Galway Technology Centre (GTC), where you will find many of Galway’s growing fintech players.

Fintech in the GTC

While GMIT and NUI Galway have a strong focus on medicine and engineering, GTC’s manager Niamh Costello told Siliconrepublic.com: “Technology is at the heart of what we do.”

An overwhelming majority of the companies based in the GTC are ICT companies, many of which are developing technology for the financial services industry.

One of the GTC’s fintech tenants is CorribPoint, a former Siliconrepublic.com Start-up of the Week, which has developed cloud technology for credit unions to meet AML obligations.

Co-founded by Caitriona McGuckian and John Rushe, who have substantial expertise in the area of audit and compliance, CorribPoint’s Akula technology targets the credit union market in Ireland and the UK, automating the process of identifying, analysing and reporting potentially suspicious financial transactions.

As well as indigenous fintech companies, the GTC also provides a space for multinationals operating in the fintech and insurtech space.

For instance, Arizona-based CyberScout has operations in the GTC, offering identity protection, breach protection, response and remediation services to businesses in the financial services.

Acquisitions

The fintech scene in Galway is also a hive of activity when it comes to mergers and acquisitions. In 2017, the insurtech division of indigenous Galway company Vulcan Solutions was acquired by Applied Systems, which operates in the GTC.

Applied Systems provides the tools for brokers around the world to build a digital strategy, connecting with customers, insurance business partners and employees any time, anywhere.

In July 2018, another Galway fintech, Amatech, was acquired by Paragon ID, a French leader in identification solutions in the e-ID, transport, smart cities, traceability and brand protection sectors. At the time of the acquisition, Paragon ID lauded the work of AmaTech in the banking and payment card sector.

Paragon ID CEO Julien Zuccarelli said: “Amatech has an exciting range of technologies, including some unique innovations and patents, which we are looking forward to developing further and rapidly bringing to market.”

Another notable 2018 acquisition was the sale of Galway and Wicklow-based fintech PerfectCard. The company, which offered employee reward and company expensing tools, was sold to Australian payments giant EML for €6m.

Galway’s wider fintech scene

While the GTC certainly plays a role in hosting many Galway fintech companies, there are also numerous businesses thriving outside of the centre.

For instance, there’s Bitcub. The Galway start-up is an offshoot of Girt Mobile, an Irish-American company that specialises in online and mobile banking products for credit unions as well as corporate clients operating in payments, transport, sport, media and health.

Bitcub itself offers AI-based optimised blockchain solutions to credit unions and building societies, and was founded by Aonghus O’hEocha.

Then there is data sharing platform Priviti, which helps organisations manage data sharing consent and execute transactions securely. With a head office in the PorterShed in Galway’s Innovation District, Priviti also has a presence in London, Singapore, Dublin and Sydney.

The start-up uses an API-based platform to enable companies to capture, record and manage consent for data sharing, transferring data to third parties securely, while reducing compliance risk. Customers can give or revoke their data sharing or transaction consent with the click of a button.

Ones to watch

Another one of Galway’s most exciting fintech companies is Pip IT Global, which was founded in 2014 and has also previously been featured on Siliconrepublic.com. Last year, Pip IT announced plans to create 25 new jobs in Galway on the back of a €1m funding round led by private investors.

The company has developed a secure and private online payment platform that helps customers spend cash digitally. It enables migrants around the world to pay bills and transfer money overseas, targeting markets including Ghana, India, South Africa, Canada and the UK. The company operates out of Eyre Square’s PorterShed.

Then, of course, there is Blockdaemon. Another Galway fintech start-up focusing on blockchain solutions, Blockdaemon’s platform enables users to orchestrate complex networks across multiple clouds and data centres without the costly and time-consuming overheads.

Its Node Marketplace provides the comprehensive list of protocols, add-ons and services that are available on the platform, enabling users to find the perfect fit for their application. The company currently has live partnerships with GCoin, Citizens Reserve, Shell and IBM, among others. With these companies, Blockdaemon aims to provide a unified, collaborative experience.

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com