Wednesday 12 December 2018

Fexco invests €500,000 in fintech firm Cambrist

Cambrist founder Jacob Claflin
Cambrist founder Jacob Claflin
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Kerry financial services firm Fexco has invested €500,000 in Dublin-based fintech outfit Cambrist as part of an €841,000 fundraising.

The deal has valued Cambrist at more than €4m and is a fledgling investment by Fexco in Cambrist.

Fexco's chief financial officer, Maurice Clifford, has also been appointed a director of Cambrist.

Backed by Kansas-based businessman David Shewmaker, Cambrist has a system that optimises foreign exchange rates and margins applied by card issuers and processors to payment transactions.

Founded two years ago, the company's chief executive is Jacob Claflin. The co-founders are Blake Newman and Victor Mikhailov.

Last year, the firm secured its first paying customer, Perfectcard, which is the leading corporate Mastercard gift card provider in Ireland.

Mr Claflin said earlier this year that Cambrist planned to go live this year with a UK bank, and also expected to double in size during 2018.

Other backers of Cambrist include Enterprise Ireland, which invested €150,000 in the company last year.

The cumulative redeemable convertible shares that Enterprise Ireland originally secured for its investment were converted recently into ordinary shares in Cambrist.

Mr Shewmaker invested €341,000 in Cambrist as Fexco became a shareholder. He had not previously held any shares in the business, although he was a director. Mr Shewmaker paid €1.50 per share for his holding, while Fexco paid €3.52.

The Kansas businessman is also a director of Australian fintech firm Frollo. Frollo's app is designed to help people improve their personal finance management.

Founded by Brian McCarthy in 1981, Fexco has grown to become a major financial services firm. It had accumulated profits of €304m in 2016.

It employs 2,000 people in 29 countries across the world and maintains its headquarters in Killorglin, Co Kerry.

Fexco owns Dublin-based Goodbody Stockbrokers, which it acquired majority control of from AIB in 2010 for €24m.

The Kerry firm is expected to imminently close a deal to sell the stockbroking firm - Ireland's second-biggest - to a Chinese investment consortium that is a subsidiary of China's state-owned aerospace, defence and electronics company AVIC.

The deal has been rumoured to value Goodbody at about €100m.

Earlier this year, Fexco made its seventh UK acquisition, buying specialist retail foreign-exchange operator Changelink, which is focused on the London market. Purchasing Changelink gave Fexco a more than 10pc share of the British retail foreign exchange market.

Since 2012, Fexco has grown its share of the UK market from zero, to now employing more than 400 people and serving the travel money requirement of over three million customers through 110 branches.

Irish Independent

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