Co Cork-based Global Shares is to create more than 200 jobs by the end of next year, and has revised its revenue guidance upwards after reporting a huge surge in demand for its products.
The Clonakilty-headquartered fintech, which creates solutions for employee share ownership in both public and private companies, is now expecting full-year revenues of $44 million (€ 37.5million). This compares to a previous forecast for a 58 per cent increase in turnover to $39 million.
Speaking to The Irish Times, chief executive Tim Houstoun said Global Shares has easily surpassed internal revenue projections, including for new business with $70 million in total contract value secured so far, as against a target of $43 million.
The new roles are in addition to 150 jobs announced in September 2020. Mr Houstoun said the company had filled these and another 58 roles during the pandemic to bring total headcount to just over 550 people.
Founded in 2005, the company originally operated as a low margin service business. However under Mr Houstoun’s stewardship it has transitioned to becoming a leading global provider of employee share management products. Its main competitors are Morgan Stanley and the Australian company Computershare.
Mr Houstoun has made no secret of his ambition to make Global Shares west Cork’s first tech unicorn. He hopes to float the company in 2024 once it reaches a valuation of more than $1 billion, which would give it the converted status. He estimates that revenues would need to be in or around $125 million for it to hit its target, which he aid is achievable.
“We’re ahead of where we expected to be. We have recorded CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 41 per cent over the past five years, whereas our nearest competitor, Morgan Stanley’s Solium is at 10 per cent. So we’re growing at a rate that is four times greater and that is during Covid as well,” he said.
“Global Shares is a relatively unknown brand compared to our competitors so we have to be better to beat them. We think we are and that is showing in terms of winning business with 90 per cent of growth coming from new customers,” Mr Houstoun added.
Motive Partners, a US private equity company backed by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), took a 40 per cent stake in Global Shares in 2018. Mr Houstoun said he expects the company to raise capital next year as it edges closer to an initial public offering (IPO).
“I see us doing another round before we IPO in part to allow early investors to get a partial exit. People are keen to stay in but also want to cash in and we want to facilitate this, said Mr Houstoun.
“We make our cash go a long way and are not wasteful. We’ve only raised $28 million while one of our main competitors has raised $500 million, he added.
Mr Houstoun is a former EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist while Global Shares is ranked in Deloitte’s Fast 50 list of fastest growing Irish companies.
He said further growth will come through a recently launched product that targets smaller private companies. It also has a freemium solution, which is a way to capture more clients who typically go on to adopt paid products.
“We have $120 billion in private assets and one of the next stages for us is to work out how to monetise that, but it is an absolutely huge number to have generated in just over five years,” Mr Houstoun added.