Newry’s First Derivatives looks beyond Wall Street for growth

Partnership with UK investment firm will employ database tool in various sectors

Newry-based financial software and consultancy group First Derivatives (FD) is looking to expand its market beyond its historical base among Wall Street banks.

The company announced on Tuesday that it has agreed a partnership with Business Growth Fund (BGF), a UK investor in small- and medium-sized businesses, to use the Northern Irish company's high-performance database, Kx, to "turn bright ideas into disruptive companies" across various sectors.

“Over the course of the last year, FD has received increasing numbers of requests from established, start-up and scale-up firms as well as researchers and incubators at academic institutions interested in understanding how Kx . . . could help them solve problems, build a business or even unlock entire new markets,” First Derivatives said.

“These companies, working in areas as diverse as smart meters, personalised medicine, genome research and interpretation of satellite data, have helped underscore the relevance of Kx to markets far removed from the financial services arena, where Kx has established a market-leading position.”


Traditional niche

Incorporated 21 years ago, First Derivatives 's Kx technology is used by 19 out of the world's top investment banks. It chief executive Brian Conlon has been seeking in recent years to extend beyond its traditional niche into the digital marketing, retail analytics and utilities sectors. Tuesday's deal is expected to accelerate this.

“The partnership, aimed at developing companies, will combine access to FD’s technology and support with access to BGF’s balance sheet and network of board-level executives,” according to the statement, adding that target areas include cybersecurity, blockchain, robotics, nanotechnology, life sciences, neurology and machine learning.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times