You were born in The West of Ireland (Breaffy, Co.Mayo) – when did you move to Dublin?
I moved to Dublin for college at 18 and studied Commerce in UCD, majoring in Finance.
How did you start working in Finance?
My first entry into Finance was working for the FT (Financial Times) Interactive Data. I spent 2 years there as a market researcher, and had an inspiring boss who taught me so much about how to bring out the best in people in a manner which allows you to express yourself.
After the FT I was introduced to trading by a friend who worked in the Chicago Board of Trade. My interest grew and soon after this I started a career in financial markets. It was during my time with Cantor Fitzgerald that I noticed the need for a digital verification process to save clients time and money. Ultimately this led to starting up ID-Pal.
What was the greatest challenge in establishing a startup?
I think the most difficult thing was finding a way to be able to support oneself while building a company. I’ve often been asked the question about what financial support networks are available.
Although they are limited ID-Pal is grateful for the support from Entreprise Ireland and Jobs Ohio (USA), along with our angel investors. The Guinness Enterprise Centre and The Bank of Ireland Innovation Programme also provided us with office spaces, before we established our current location in Dublin’s financial district.
What have been your best achievements to date with ID-Pal?
Hard to distinguish a single best achievement, I would say watching the growth month on month has just been incredible.
The whole journey has been a series of challenges. From securing initial funding, to developing our idea, to turning that idea into a viable product, to starting to sign paying customers, to securing partnerships with industry leaders to working with multi-nationals.
What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs?
Don’t be foolish in thinking you know everything. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take all the advice you can on-board BUT make your own decisions.
Also, make sure your prepared for roller coaster ride, and a long, long journey!
What are your hobbies? What do you do when you are not working?
I love most sports, but Gaelic Football is my passion, I have played championship football for Mayo at all levels – Under 16, Minor & Under 21. I had the privilege of spending one of the best years of my life with the Mayo Senior team in 2006, playing in the final match at Croke Park.
I am not sure if the phrase “when you’re not working” applies when you’re involved in a start-up! With a young family it takes up most my spare time and every now and then I get out for a free afternoon on my motorbike.
Finally, where do you see yourself in ten years?
I will always have a dream to achieve, I don’t think that bug will ever leave me. Ten years is a long time but I think whatever I am at, it won’t be lying on a beach!
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