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exclusive Trust Stamp to float for €29m in year's first IPO here

Euronext Dublin listing of US tech firm planned for September


Photo: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Photo: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Photo: Charles Platiau/Reuters

American identity technology firm Trust Stamp will list on Euronext Dublin later this year in what will be the Irish market's first flotation of 2020.

The Atlanta-based authentication services partner to credit card giants Mastercard and Synchrony Financial chose Dublin over New York's Nasdaq and the London Stock Exchange. It expects to start trading here in September at a valuation of €29m, or €7 a share - a price set as part of its current funding round.

Chief executive Gareth Genner confirmed the move to the Irish Independent ahead of a formal announcement.

The five-year-old firm, with just 47 employees worldwide, has built a proprietary technology called EgHash that thwarts digital fraudsters and allows undocumented people to prove their identity without handing over biometric data.

EgHashes already are used to identify more than 150 million people, from credit card users to children needing vaccines in parts of the world with no internet or medical records.

Mr Genner said Trust Stamp intends to use its Dublin listing to fund acquisitions of niche tech partners in the US and Europe - but will issue new equity only when shares rise much higher than the launch price.

"We would not be willing to issue new equity at this price," he said. "When we issue new equity for acquisitions, before the end of 2020, it will be at a significantly higher value."

Trust Stamp will be the first firm to float on Euronext Dublin since pharmaceuticals distributor Uniphar in July 2019. Two Irish firms - software maker Fineos and waste management firm Kollect - held IPOs last year in Australia and Sweden, respectively.

Davy Stockbrokers confirmed it is advising Trust Stamp on the listing. Euronext Dublin declined to comment.

Mr Genner said his firm had long expected to list on Nasdaq in New York, but found it would be simpler in an English-speaking part of the EU.

"And with Brexit, that means Dublin. But this isn't really a Brexit story," he said, singling out Euronext Dublin's head of listing, Orla O'Gorman.

"The deciding factor was the speed and proactiveness of Orla and the quality and responsiveness of professional introductions she made."

Trust Stamp will this week open an R&D base in Malta supported by a €1m government grant.

That facility will grow to 20 specialists in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and biometrics by the end of the year.

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It does not have a base in Ireland - not required for the listing - but expects to hire a country director soon and build an Irish R&D centre.

This would complement the R&D base it already has in Cheltenham, England, the imminent opening in Malta, and a third taking shape in the Netherlands. It also operates an AI unit in Warsaw, Poland.

Its first major equity investor was Synchrony, the largest provider of store credit cards in the US, including to Amazon. Mastercard picked Trust Stamp for its 2018 accelerator programme and has acquired a stake that gives it observer status in the boardroom.

It won 2019 support from the UK's National Cyber Security Centre in Cheltenham, and has just named two former tech chiefs at the UK's intelligence arm, GCHQ, as advisers.

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