Friday 21 September 2018

Analysis: Wifi humming, Paddy keeps digs to a minimum

Attendees at MoneyConf in the RDS. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/MoneyConf via Sportsfile
Attendees at MoneyConf in the RDS. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/MoneyConf via Sportsfile
Paddy Cosgrave, CEO, Web Summit, on Centre Stage during day one of MoneyConf 2018 at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/MoneyConf via Sportsfile
Olga Feldmeier, CEO, SMART VALOR, on the CryptoConf Stage during day one of MoneyConf 2018 at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/MoneyConf via Sportsfile
Anne-Lous Van den Ende, CMO, Coin Governance System, on the PITCH Stage during day one of MoneyConf 2018 at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/MoneyConf via Sportsfile
John Sun, Co-Founder, Spring Labs, on the Centre Stage during day one of MoneyConf 2018 at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo: Harry Murphy/MoneyConf via Sportsfile
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

'I've very little left to troll the establishment about in Ireland."

So began a cheerful Paddy Cosgrave at Moneyconf, the 5,000-strong financial technology conference being held in Dublin's RDS this week.

But with Paddy, there are always some convictions churning to get out.

So when one reporter asked whether he might bring up the topic of homelessness with Leo Varadkar when he hosts the Taoiseach this morning, he grinned.

"Today my primary focus is fintech," he said, before quickly adding: "And not the fire sales happening right now in Dublin 6."

Another reporter tried to ask about something else, but it was no use. He was gently interrupted by Paddy, who hadn't finished on the subject of suspicious property deals, which he links to the overall accommodation problems Ireland is facing.

"Check the property register to look at those fire sales," he continued, referencing a number of individual deals.

"Those are unusual. Very worrying. Actually, I hope they're not fire sales, I just hope it's low-level fraud."

With that out of the system, it was back to topic of financial technology ('fintech').

Cosgrave may have more at stake than just hosting conferences on the subject. According to a US securities exchange filing, he wants to raise $50m (€42m) in venture capital, presumably to take advantage of his exposure to so many promising start-ups he sees passing through his various events.

On this subject, though, he was succinct.

"Under SEC regulations, I can't comment on that at this time," he said.

The fund, to be called the 'Amaranthine Fund', is being set up to "connect, support and invest in the world's top technologists through the f.ounders platform".

Meanwhile in the conference halls, there was a consensus among attendees that the event was relatively frictionless and productive.

"I've had at least 20 productive conversations with valuable contacts," said one delegate, Maurice O'Gorman, representing the Galway-based start-up Priviti. "And that's through serendipity, not previously arranged stuff."

Everyone agreed that the wifi wasn't a problem. Then again, that may be because bankers and lawyers don't use their devices as heavily as developers at the Web Summit.

There were even BlackBerrys on show.

Irish Independent

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