First Derivatives bets big on Kx as it looks to double revenues

Newry-based firm plans new strategy centred on the in-demand database technology

Kx is "the most exciting technology in a generation", according to First Derivatives chief executive Seamus Keating as the company he leads announced a multimillion investment aimed at doubling revenues by 2025.

The Newry-headquartered company on Tuesday unveiled a new strategy largely centred on the technology, with the company set to invest £16 million (€18.5 million) this year alone as demand for real-time continuous intelligence grows.

Kx is a database technology that delivers high-speed processing of both real-time streaming analytics and historical data. It is used in financial modelling and data analysis by financial institutions but more recently has started to be adopted by other industries.

First Derivatives’s goal is for Kx to become the market-leading technology for real-time streaming analytics, which Mr Keating said represents a $39 billion (€31.9 billion) addressable market by 2025 and one which is currently growing at 30 per cent a year.


He said the group is targeting annual recurring revenue growth “of at least 25 per cent for the current financial year”.

Scale rapidly

He told The Irish Times that using streaming analytics to inform and automate operational decisions is one of the most important growth areas in technology today.

“During the past year we have positioned the business to scale rapidly to address this opportunity, by accelerating our technology roadmap, strengthening our leadership, developing our commercial strategy and putting in place enhanced systems and processes to scale the group.”

First Derivatives originally took a controlling stake in Kx Systems, the leading provider of the technology, in October 2014. It took full control of the company in a $53.9 million (€44 million) deal in 2018.

Customers who are already using the technology include Airbus, Formula One, SMBC and Flutter, the parent of Paddy Power.

First Derivatives, which employs more than 2,000 people, on Tuesday said it plans to rename itself as FD Technologies, comprising three businesses – Kx, First Derivative and MRP – with each brand having a distinct identity and market, and maximising its growth opportunity.

It said its business remained robust despite the ongoing pandemic, with momentum picking up towards the end of the financial year.

Results were largely as expected for the year ended February 28th, 2021. FD said revenue was flat for 2021, at £237.9 million (€276 million), while gross profit was £101 million (€117 million). Pretax profit fell 39 per cent to £11.1 million (€12.8 million).

For the current financial year, the board is forecasting revenue for the year will be in the range of £255 million (€296 million) to £260 million (€302 million), with adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in the range of £31 million (€36 million) to £33 million (€38 million).

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist