Global Shares in Clonakilty has grown to become a global fintech and plans to employ 1,000 people by 2024 as it vies to be Cork’s first unicorn.

Global Shares, a fintech company headquartered in Clonakilty, west Cork, has announced 150 new jobs, with hundreds more to follow.

An employee owned company, Global Shares is seeking to increase its headcount from 370 currently to 1,000 by 2024, and fill the 150 high-skill, high-value roles immediately.

“People often ask how a company on the edge of Ireland, on the edge of Europe, could succeed on a global stage, competing with the world’s biggest financial services giants … yet here we are”

The company’s CEO Tim Houston told ThinkBusiness that it is set to reach coveted ‘unicorn’ status – a valuation of more than $1bn – over the next three years and plans to go public on either the New York or Tokyo stock exchange in that time period.

Global Shares is a finalist in the 2020 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Programme.

Cork’s first unicorn in the making

Houston told ThinkBusiness that the company was originally a services-based business, but the decision was made in 2015 to become a full products-based business. The leap of faith paid off and the company now is now in the top three in its field globally.

Global Shares is one of a handful of companies globally that offers fully outsourced employee share plan management.  

It provides the administration services through its team of expert share plan analysts, financial, legal and compliance professionals, but also provides a software platform where employees can view, manage and sell the shares they own, online or through an app. 

Global Shares’ success is also down to a global network of banking and brokerage partners.  A combination of the company’s software and partner banking and custody supports makes it the ideal solution for many global companies. 

Global Shares clients include Italian insurance firm Generali, Krispy Kreme, Cargill, Fujitsu and many more global, household names.  

The perfect pivot in the perfect storm

Founded in 2005 as a service only company, Global Shares spotted a gap in the market for a fully global software solution that would help companies and their employees better manage their equity.

In 2015, it launched its proprietary software platform, and since then it has grown from strength to strength, taking on global banks and large multi-nationals.

It claims to be the only remaining independent global company in this space and currently employs 370 staff in 16 offices globally, including London, Barcelona, New Jersey, Nashville, Tokyo, Miyazaki, Hong Kong and Beijing. 

The company was set up in Clonakilty, where it remains headquartered today and employs 167 staff. In addition, Global Shares has an office in Cork city centre, where 35 staff are based, bringing the total staff in Ireland to 202.

The jobs which are coming onstream now are supported by Enterprise Ireland.

“I love that we are writing software in Clonakilty that transforms people’s lives worldwide through the momentum and wealth created by employee ownership,” said Tim Houston.

“Our growth over the past couple of years has been enormous, but over the next few years, we’re aiming to be West Cork’s first Unicorn, and we’re on track to achieve that.

“This is something that is exciting for many reasons – including the fact that as an employee owned company, many of our own staff will reap the rewards of the hard work they’ve put in over the years.

“We have also just launched a new offering to help venture-backed private companies to create and manage employee options as well as help their investors track the value of their ownership.

“People often ask how a company on the edge of Ireland, on the edge of Europe, could succeed on a global stage, competing with the world’s biggest financial services giants … yet here we are. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you back yourself, think globally and empower your team to succeed,” said Houston.

From little acorns …

The jobs which are coming onstream immediately are supported by Enterprise Ireland.

“Global Shares is a world-class company and a great example of what’s possible for innovative Irish businesses on the world stage,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon.

“Enterprise Ireland has worked closely with Global Shares for many years and supported its growth from Clonakilty into over 100 markets worldwide.

“We are delighted to support the new jobs announced today which will help further Global Shares’ innovation focus and look forward to continuing to support their global ambitions for many years to come.”

Global Shares is currently seeking applications for roles including software development, product owner, compliance, cyber security, financial reporting, project management and many more.

The new jobs were welcomed by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, TD, who visited the firm’s headquarters in the West Cork Technology Park on the outskirts of Clonakilty town.

Speaking in the almost empty office space, the majority of employees have been working from home due to Covid 19 guidelines, Martin said: “The story of Global Shares is a remarkable one, illustrating how from small beginnings a company can grow and develop a global footprint.  It is an inspiring example of what can be achieved through talent and ambition.

“At the heart of Global Shares is its people.  This hard-working, determined and highly skilled workforce has driven the company’s success and growth.

“Today’s jobs announcement marks another step in what is an exceptional journey.”

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 11 September, 2020

Recommended