Firm seeks to tap into Irish engineering talent
Goldman Sachs-backed fintech company Blockdaemon plans to expand its presence in Galway as it looks for acquisitions.
The American company, which develops under-the-bonnet blockchain technology for financial services firms, opened a base in Galway in 2018 and has since begun hiring on a remote basis throughout Ireland.
It currently has 10 staff, with seven of those in Galway and the others scattered around the country.
Blockdaemon raised $28m (€24m) earlier this month led by Greenspring Associates with Goldman Sachs and others participating in the round. It marked the latest crypto and blockchain investment for Goldman Sachs.
The company builds and hosts the computer nodes that operate blockchain networks. Its clients are financial services firms, including Citigroup, and other companies in the blockchain space, such as cryptocurrency exchanges.
Chief operating officer Cecily Mak, who joined the company earlier this year from ConsenSys, said that Blockdaemon plans to double the size of the company over the next year, including more hiring in Ireland, which is its only international base.
“We flirted with opening in other countries as well but so far and for the foreseeable future, it appears that we're going to be focusing on Ireland and the US,” she said.
“Ireland is our fastest growing hub of blockchain talent, particularly engineering.”
She said that the company will be hiring across the country on a remote basis for certain roles as well as at its Galway base.
With its new funding in place, Blockdaemon will be looking to grow through acquisitions, Mak added, with a view to acquiring teams with much sought-after skills in the blockchain space.
Galway will serve as a perch for scouting out deals in the European region.
“The sweet spot is a smaller start-up that's heavy in engineering talent. We've been looking across the board at a range of different categories in the crypto and blockchain space.”
Last week cryptocurrency values took a battering, with Bitcoin dipping to $30,000 for the first time since January. It was valued at more than $60,000 just a few weeks ago.
The plummeting prices were driven in large part by stringent regulatory clampdowns in China, including bans on financial services firms accepting Bitcoin, which led to sell-offs from investors.
Mak said Blockdaemon’s business is largely shielded from volatile prices in cryptocurrencies as it provides services to companies that are invested for the long haul, especially financial services companies that are using blockchain technology.
“The interest level hasn't shifted despite the pricing of tokens as we've seen volatility-wise over the last couple of months,” she said.
“Organisations, financial institutions, others that have a need for the infrastructure solutions that we provide, they need them regardless of whether the price of Bitcoin is up or down.”
She added that clients are investing with long-term views.
“I think that notion of whether or not crypto is going to be relevant and important in fintech, that question is long gone. Now there is a little bit of a scramble to see how quickly folk can get up to speed.”