The chief executive of a top US software sales house has warned Irish fintech companies to follow their international peers and engage with a selling process, rather than making the move to New York themselves.
According to Dubliner Feargal O'Sullivan, when Irish startups with an original product want to break into the world's top fintech centre, founders typically feel they have to move over to New York and immerse themselves in the city.
"We find that companies from other countries want the revenue, rather than the experience, and this is something that the Irish fintech industry should also take advantage of - making sales rather than memories," said O'Sullivan, CEO of USAM Group, which aims to help startup and scale-up firms grow revenue.
"We have clients from Canada, Russia, the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and the US, but although our model is established in the industry, hiring a sales process rather than a salesperson doesn't seem to resonate with many Irish software companies."
Fintech, or financial technology, is one of Enterprise Ireland's high-growth industries with more than 200 Irish financial services companies in its portfolio, but they must look globally to survive and prosper.
"The UK has 1,100 fintechs, all of which could live off the UK market alone. Ireland has 200 fintechs, who can't live off the Irish market alone and so must scale internationally from day one - that is the challenge," says Eoin Fitzgerald, senior development adviser fintech at Enterprise Ireland.
USAM Group represents a stable of tech companies selling products into the $249bn global fintech market in New York, Chicago, Toronto, London and Singapore as well as closer to home.
When an Irish company establishes its sales process in the States, generally, one of the founders has to get up and move over there. They do a lot of the legwork themselves, including establishing an office and hiring a salesperson, according to O'Sullivan. "At an estimated cost of $245,000 per annum, this does not include commission, time taken to manage the person, or the fact that it will take approximately a year to close the first deal," he said.