Genesis: Tackling banking’s ‘buy v build’ dilemma with low-code software

21 Mar 2022

Billy Morris, CFO of Genesis. Image: Genesis

The global start-up with strong Irish links provides major banking names like Citi and HSBC with low-code software to speed up digital innovation.

The “core differentiator” of Genesis is its focus on capital markets and financial services organisations, according to company CFO Billy Morris.

The start-up’s low-code platform aims to offer clients an alternative to the ‘buy versus build’ dilemma faced by many top tier legacy banks and financial organisations that want to improve their tech functionality in a way that doesn’t slow down their other operations.

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As Dublin-native Morris explained, the process of moving to next-generation services can be incredibly complicated for some of these organisations as they operate on a large scale. When companies are stacking various different technologies and systems, tweaking can be complicated and can even “slow that innovation down”.

‘Where Genesis comes in is we allow financials to buy to build’
– BILLY MORRIS

Historically, Morris said, companies in the finance space had the choice to either buy legacy systems and integrate them internally or else have their internal developers build and customise tech.

“There’s been that decision point where they’ve had to either buy or build; where Genesis comes in is we allow financials to buy to build,” he explained.

“We sell into top tier banks, asset managers, fund administrators, exchanges and capital markets infrastructure providers. We help empower and enable developers within those financials to build applications and build software quicker and more efficiently.”

Genesis’s customers now include Citi, ING, HSBC, London Clearing House and B3 in Brazil.

The company was founded by CEO Stephen Murphy and CTO James Harrison in London in 2012. While it is growing its customer base globally and has offices in several countries, including Ireland, its core headquarters remain in London.

Murphy is half Irish and his father lives in Galway, and he “obviously has always had a keen interest in building an Irish hub” explained Morris. Currently, Murphy is based in Miami and is helping to build out the platform in North America, but will travel over to keep an eye on the Irish hub’s progress later in the year.

Morris is the man tasked with the development of Genesis’s team in Dublin. The company arrived on these shores last October, and has hiring plans with a new office due to open in the city centre in May.

Of the Dublin operation, Morris said there has been “fantastic growth in a short period in the Irish market around establishing the company and growing it from there”.

“We’ve got 10 individuals today, we’re expecting to grow that to about 50 in the next 18 to 24 months. I’ve helped to establish the team here around accounting, finance, data and analytics. We’re also adding some sales individuals and then looking at the technical side as well; we just hired a technical recruiter who will be building out our European presence on engineering and the development teams and obviously that will also include Ireland.”

Morris said the goal is for Dublin to be a hub to support Genesis’s European operations.

“But equally, we have global operations here in Ireland for a number of functions. The finance organisation and our head of data and analytics is here in Dublin. We will be building other teams here as well.”

Morris’s work involves liaising globally as he builds out the Irish team. North America is a large commercial centre for Genesis and it also has an R&D hub in São Paulo in Brazil.

‘We have global operations here in Ireland for a number of functions … We will be building other teams here as well’
– BILLY MORRIS

As with most start-ups, the company has been focused on growth and investment. It secured a Series C funding round of $200m in February of this year led by Tiger Global Management.

At the time, Tiger Global partner John Curtius said that “the rise of low-code development as a centrepiece of every information technology stack is undeniable” and Genesis represents the next generation of low-code for the “highly complex, highly regulated and extremely valuable financial markets”.

Post-funding, Morris said the plan is to expand in particular on the go-to-market side with sales and marketing, as well as growing its technical capabilities with its platform engineering and client application delivery teams.

The previous year, the company had a “fantastic Series B” led by Accel, netting $45m. Other Genesis investors include Salesforce Ventures, GV, Illuminate Financial, Insight Partners and Tribeca Early Stage Partners. Citi is a strategic investor as well as a customer. According to Morris, all of the start-up’s previous investors participated in the Series C funding last month.

Having such big names on board, he said, sets the company up for fantastic growth over the coming years. “Not only just from a fundraising perspective, but they’re fantastic partners in the growth journey, through providing guidance and consulting with their portfolios, and they have mass reach and mass resources which we can now tap into.”

In 2021, Genesis experienced “meaningful growth in both top line as well as operationally” in terms of its employee base. The company started last year with 45 employees globally, ended the year with 165, and recently hit a milestone of 200 global staff.

Now, Morris said that “the goal is to continue to grow at scale and grow aggressively in 2022”.

“Obviously, our investment is going to drive a lot of the hiring and bringing more top talent into the company across Europe, North and South America, and we’re going to be growing our presence in APAC as well.

“It’s definitely an exciting path,” he concluded.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com