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NDRC FinTech Day 3

Guest blog by Thomas Duignan

After a week of idea validation by all teams, day 3 of NDRC FinTech began with an assessment of the progress each team had made over the fortnight.


Dave Anderson, Head of Consulting at Ammeon, came in to speak about the huge Fintech ecosystem that is present in Ireland. Encouraging the teams to engage with their competitors within the 242 Irish Fintech companies, Dave emphasized how helpful the environment is here in Ireland and pushed them to build on their experiences.

After a quick recess, CEO of Turley Communications Rosemary Turley was welcomed to give the third module of the programme, ‘Define the Customer’. By thinking about the industry, region and company you can narrow your focus and understand the key issues of your customers, thus refining your idea of who exactly your customers are.

The customer validation aspect of the day resonated with idea owner Conor Mulvihill who comes from a credit analyst background. “I applied to NDRC FinTech to form a team to help critically analyse a business concept so this intense focus on the customer is exactly what I was looking for”

Similarly, Victoria Procunier, originally from Canada, has been working in sales and marketing for 10 years and is volunteering as a team member:

I heard about the programme through the ‘Startup Grind’ event and decided to get involved as a skilled participant. The programme is great, a lot more in depth that I expected. It’s really interesting to see an idea form into a company and getting to grips with those key things needed that are needed so early on”

This week’s ‘Lunch and learn’ session was given by Paul Kerley, Chairman at FPAI Ireland, who shared the lessons he’s learned about Fintech entrepreneurship. Paul’s deep expertise, both as an entrepreneur and an investor, brought great value to the teams, especially in how to add a global appeal to their business. In 1998, Paul founded Norkom Technologies, a global financial crime and compliance solutions provider. As CEO, Paul took this award-winning company public in 2006, following a successful IPO. Norkom would go on to win critical acclaim with industry analysts and publications, ranking on the Global Fintech 100 listing of the world’s top financial technology firms, before being acquired by BAE Systems for €217m in 2011.
Following on from his Norkom experience, Paul invested in another Irish RegTech success story, Fenergo. In 2012, he assumed the role of Chairman of Fenergo.

Russell Banks, CEO of Investor Sheet and a former start-up resident at NDRC, gave up his valuable time to deliver a powerful presentation on Customer Development to the teams. Drawing on his experiences in the start-up arena proved to be extremely valuable. With the message of a ‘customer orientated focus’ given supreme emphasis during the program, having someone to introduce and highlight the techniques involved in customer development suddenly made everything clearer.


Finally, David Tighe, Head of Innovation at Bank of Ireland, finished off the day with a talk about the current trends in Fintech that the banking sector is following. David also gave us a quick insight into the reasons behind Bank of Ireland’s huge support behind NDRC FinTech, his hopes for the program and words of advice for participants:

david tighe

David Tighe, Bank of Ireland

“NDRC FinTech highlights what our customers are looking for. Their ways of innovating, building and thinking about products is different from how banks think about it.

I hope we meet great people and that NDRC will build incredible models using their resources such as lean canvas, pitching their business and understanding their business. If a product, service or a partnership come from it, all well and good but that’s not the key aim. It’s about the people.

The support and information from Dave Anderson and Russell Brands is second to none so I hope the teams take it with both hands, learn from it and engage with it. They also have a real opporrtunity to learn about how to approach and talk to banks, to be clear with their questions and what they’re looking to gain from that engagement. And don’t be afraid to ask for it!

The teams then finished with some work-ons with the help of David Scanlon and Fergus O’Dea before Helen wrapped up proceedings. Having reached the half-way point of the program, the teams now had some real lesson with which to work with to really drive their ideas onto the next stage.