Tell us what your business does?
Fund Recs provides reconciliation software to Global Fund Administrators. Our software allows these companies automate the reconciliation of Cash, Position and FX holdings on the Funds they administer. We’re providing an alternative to having this work carried out in low cost bases such as India and as an upgrade to legacy in-house systems.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
We were having initial success with another idea that we were working on in New Frontiers called Task Messenger but struggling to build a business model around it. Then a couple of months ago a friend of a friend asked us to take a look at building their Fund Administration Company a new Reconciliation system.
That conversation opened our eyes to the opportunity and considering our industry and technology expertise made it a sensible path to follow. As well as being a good business opportunity the chance to create and protect Irish jobs is something we’re passionate about.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
It’s a bit cliché for an Entrepreneur to say but, yes, I’ve always had an ambition to run my own company. I find creating things enjoyable and the challenge doesn’t come much bigger than creating a company from scratch.
What planning did you do before you started up?
The pitch we did to the Fund Administration Company helped us flesh out our idea initially. I already had a fairly good sense of what was needed from my experience working in Fund Administration. It was mostly a case of taking what I’ve been taught on the DIT Hothouse New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme and using that to create a Business plan for the Fund Recs idea. Stuff like Value Proposition, Channels, Marketing and Finance were all areas that we’ve received expert coaching over the last 5 months on the programme.
Which entrepreneurs do you admire?
The entrepreneurs I admire most are home grown ones who I’ve been lucky to meet or hear speak a couple of times. Paddy Cosgrave is doing amazing things with the Websummit, creating Europe’s biggest technology event basically from a spare room. Another one to watch is Pat Phelan of Trustev.
They are tackling the massive problem of online fraud. Pat’s personal story of success from adversity is inspirational. On an international stage you have John and Patrick Collison taking on and beating giants like Paypal with online payments. All three demonstrate that Irish people can have an impact on the global stage.
What challenges have you faced & how have you overcome them?
For us the leap of leaving permanent secure jobs to going full time on our start-up was a stressful period. We took a lot of advice from as many people as we could but at the end of the day you just have to back yourself and make the commitment. The help and support we’ve received from New Frontiers and Waterford Enterprise Board helped make getting started possible.
How have you promoted your business?
In one sense we’re lucky that as a B2B company we have a limited amount of potential customers and in fact have access to public directories where we can find their contact details. So at the moment a lot of our promotion is direct sales.
Activities like tapping contacts in our network for introductions, attending trade events and generally getting the word out there is our main focus. We’re also pushing content such as Whitepapers through our online channels like our website, Twitter account and LinkedIn company page.
Are you optimistic about 2014?
We’re the most optimistic we’ve been since pre 2008. I’m not saying the good days are coming back but there’s a real sense of optimism and the Irish start-up scene is thriving. I expect we’ll see 2-3 home grown companies emerge with IPO scale potential in the next few years and we’d like to be one of them.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Idea’s are pretty much worthless on their own so forget about keeping them to yourself worrying that they’ll be stolen. You need to tell as many people as possible in order to get feedback. Preferably these people would be potential customers and not just family and friends. When you’ve validated your idea find a Co-founder that compliments your skill set.
The easiest thing to do in a start-up is give up and if it’s just you there’s nobody to answer to. Having someone that you don’t want to let down will help you through the dark days where it’s easier to give up than continue. Finally, there has never been a better time to start a technology company and our country has never been in more need of new innovative businesses. What are you waiting for?