Stephen Walsh has seen the European banking industry and fintech world transform over the course of his professional career. He worked at some of the biggest companies in the space, like Kindle Banking Systems (acquired by Misys), Perot Systems Corporation. He was also the Director with Dell Services’ outsourcing work with the Bank of Ireland. He ultimately struck out on his own with the launch of Keeper Solutions, an Irish-based software development company focused specifically on serving fintechs looking to build out new products.
The team has grown its outsourcing business and team across Ireland and Croatia. But when Walsh and his team started eyeing the US, Atlanta was a natural next extension.
As Keeper looked to the US market, Walsh said the team intentionally focused on activity on the East Coast. That is strategic, given the five hour time zone change allows for overlap in when the two continents are working. But it was also a natural place to look for clients working on interesting problems. Atlanta is a well-known hub for financial technologies. But Walsh realized early on that many startups, regardless of geographic location, have a hard time finding the technical talent they need.
That’s where Keeper’s team comes in. Walsh has scaled the team to 91 current employees, mostly concentrated across Europe. Several of Keeper’s clients – like the fast-growing startup Momnt – are in Atlanta.
Unlike traditional software development agencies that come in and work on a specific project, Walsh said the Keeper team looks to develop “long term, strategic engagements” with clients over multiple years, even if teams are in different locations. That can be important as a fintech leader moves an MVP into a robust, customer-centric platform.
What Fintechs Need To Scale
Walsh has a unique front-row seat into what fintech leaders really need to scale.
In previous years, Java and C Sharp were the most in-demand programming languages for fintech-specific platforms. But the rise of generative AI has shifted that need.
“Now at a technical level, Python seems to be the preferred language. It’s pretty well geared to data management and integrating data from various different sources and synthesizing it into services,” Walsh told Hypepotamus.
He also has a wealth of information around hiring in a remote and hybrid world. Well before COVID, Keeper Solutions built up a remote-first workforce that was intentionally built across different time zones.
While the workforce landscape has changed, Walsh’s view on hiring talent hasn’t changed all the much.
“It’s the same now as it’s always been,” he told Hypepotamus. “We look for people that have got a positive attitude, good interpersonal communication skills, and that are genuinely interested in working with us.”
His advice: Hire team players over rock stars.
The team is made up of people with “outstanding capability,” but those people are team players above anything else, Walsh told Hypepotamus.
“If you go looking for rock stars, then ego becomes a big thing. And you can get a critical dependency on a very small number of people,” he added. “We’re looking for genuine people who are interested in helping our clients to succeed in the FinTech sector.”