Ireland launches €5m fintech project amid drop in VC funding

Ireland launches €5m fintech project amid drop in VC funding

The Irish government has continued its bid to develop the country as a European fintech hub with the launch of a five year, €5m fintech research and development project.

The FinTech Fusion project, which will be run by the ADAPT Centre for Digital Content Technology, will be based in Trinity College in Dublin and will run from 2018-2022.

The initative wil focus on blockchain, digital payments and the use of emerging technology in retail and wholesale banking as well as insurance.

According to Ireland's Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe, the FinTech Fusion programme will also aim to foster more collaboration between Ireland's academic institutions and industry. “The collaboration between industry and third level institutions in research programmes, such as FinTech Fusion, gives Ireland an early advantage in emerging technologies," he said.

“Coupled with our open economy and strong background in both technology and financial services, this will add to the opportunities already available for the creation of higher value jobs."

However the bullish enthusiasm that accompanied the launch of FinTech Fusion has been tempered somewhat by news of a decline in venture capital (VC) in Irish tech firms. 

According to figures compiled by the Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA), funding for tech firms has dropped  by 9% to $453m for H1 in 2018, the first drop since 2011. Meanwhile seed funding for early-stage start-ups crashed by almost 40%.

The IVCA's chair Alex Hobbs warned that the figures should serve as a wake-up call for the Irish Government to devise new ways to back Ireland's indigenous tech sector at a time when Brexit is looming and foreign direct investment faces challenges.

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