Barracuda has been named as a finalist in the 2013 E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year awards for 2013.
First published: Mon, Jun 10, 2013, 01:00
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year emerging finalists
Kieran Fitzpatrick and Maurice Curran, Barracuda FX
Kieran Fitzpatrick & Maurice Curran from Barracuda FX
Maurice Curran and Kieran Fitzpatrick founded financial software business Barracuda FX in 2009 after identifying a niche in the foreign exchange market.Curran had worked for 10 years in IT operations with the Investment Bank of Ireland and with Group Treasury. He joined Cognotec in 1998 to learn more about ecommerce, teaming up with Fitzpatrick in 2008 when Cognotec took a different direction.
Fitzpatrick has more than 20 years Foreign Exchange experience, and has worked in senior management roles in financial technology and quantitative trading firms developing innovative FX systems.
Barracuda FX, which employs 25 people at its Dublin office, provides trading and risk management software solutions to banks and financial institutions. It is one of the leading providers of specialised order management technology in the $4 trillion a day foreign exchange market.
What moment or deal would you identify as the “game changer” or turning point for the company?
Through serendipity or perseverance, we’re never quite sure, in our first year of business we signed one of the top five banks in the world as our first client. We were still at a product concept stage, so it validated our vision, helped accelerate our product development and ensured we were revenue generative from the beginning.
What were the best and worst pieces of advice you received when starting out?
The best piece of advice was to believe in your vision, follow your gut and not to listen to the naysayers.
In terms of worst advice, it was the idea that you need to raise large amounts of capital very quickly to develop an enterprise offering.
What is your greatest business achievement to date?
Seeing our Dublin-based technology implemented and operational in several global foreign exchange banks just three years after we set up; banks with hugely complex requirements and demanding clients who would only accept the best.
What was your “back-to-the-wall” moment and how did you overcome it?
Growing organically, from your own revenues, from day one forces you to be very disciplined in how you spend and when you invest. In the early stages, there was a lot of uncertainty in the business – when will we sign the next client, when will we get paid, what’s next – that kept us constantly on our toes.
Do you plan to extend your services to a new customer demographic or penetrate a new sector in the next 12 months?
Yes, we plan to extend our product offering to penetrate the buy-side of the market (hedge funds, asset managers, large corporate treasuries) by working with a leading equity-based provider and also to extend our reach considerably with a new cloud-based offering.
What top tips would you give entrepreneurs starting out today?
Do proper market research, talk to potential customers and listen to their feedback, because they are the people who will ultimately purchase your product. Ignore the people who say it can’t be done, as they are often the people who have never tried themselves. Failure is not a bad thing provided you learn from it.