Belfast opens its first fintech co-working space, Catalyst Belfast Fintech Hub, on the newly-refurbished ground floor of the Danske Bank city centre’s headquarters.
The capital of Northern Ireland now has a dedicated fintech co-working space, the first of its kind in Belfast. The Catalyst Belfast Fintech Hub is the first time Catalyst Inc has had a presence Belfast’s city centre. Members will also be able to access Catalyst Inc’s other sites in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter, Derry, Letterkenny and Ballymena.
According to InvestNI, “Belfast is the world’s number one destination for FinTech development investment projects and the top city in Europe for new FDI software development projects.”
“The potential of the fintech sector in Northern Ireland is yet to be fully realised, but we believe there is a real opportunity for local startups and financial institutions to work together to put it on the global map,” said Vicky Davies, MD of Strategy and Corporate Development at Danske Bank, in a statement.
“To grow any part of the tech sector it is important for early stage companies in the field to feel like they have a community,” she added.
The new fintech co-working space offers 24/7 access for members and features dedicated office suites, permanent desks, hotdesking space, a break out coffee area and a unique event space inside a former safe that can seat up to 50 people for meet-ups and workshops. It also provides members access to a dedicated Growth Adviser and Community Manager, as well as the networks of both organisations.
Catalyst Inc and Danske Bank have announced Finmondo, a fintech company run by Conor Logue and Conor Houston, as the first member company to join the new startup hub and said it expects to confirm more new members the comings weeks.
“We were supported from the very start by the team at Catalyst Inc who brought Conor and I together. The Catalyst Belfast Fintech Hub is the perfect home for Finmondo,” said Houston.
“It’s the first dedicated space for fintech startups — the facilities are incredible and the ecosystem is brilliantly supportive. Finmondo wants to play its role in putting Belfast on the global map as the home for fintech companies – Catalyst Belfast Fintech Hub, right in the city centre, is the perfect launch pad for us to do that,” he added.
Finmondo is a financial intelligence platform that harnesses relevant data to provide SMEs with the same level of insights and analytics that a large corporate has access to, but that an SME wouldn’t necessarily have the time, expertise and resources to produce themselves.
According to a report in Irish Tech News in July, “Belfast has become home to a thriving tech startup cluster,” and “the number of digital businesses born in the region has accelerated by 143% between 2011 and 2016. A total of 97 digital tech businesses were born in the city in 2016.”
The city is also the top international destination for US cybersecurity development projects and home to CSIT – the UK’s Innovation & Knowledge Centre (IKC) for cyber security at Queen’s University, according to InvestNI.
On the new fintech co-working space, Direct of Connect at Catalyst Steve Orr said, “This is an exciting opportunity for Belfast and the wider region to grow our existing Fintech sector by nurturing, supporting and encouraging Fintech entrepreneurs and innovators.”
“We are delighted that the Catalyst Belfast Fintech Hub is now open as it allows us to showcase this fantastic working space in the heart of the city centre,” he added.
Catalyst Belfast Fintech Hub is located on the ground floor of Danske Bank’s city centre headquarters in a specially designed space next to the bank’s flagship branch in Donegall Square West.