Financial information

Bangor entrepreneur joy after his £1.6m fintech start-up

A former Bangor software engineer said he was “delighted” after his fintech start-up was valued at £1.6million.

Campbell College alumnus aron Shaw (29) moved to London in 2018 to start his own business after working in Belfast.

When he ran into problems filing and processing invoices and financial information, he realized the process could be streamlined.

And so Ember, the “all-in-one tax solution for your business”, was born.

“It was about a year before Ember was founded, I had moved to London to start my own business,” he explained.

“But I constantly struggled with issues like billing, how to pay myself, bookkeeping, taxes, recruiting employees, basically everything that happens when starting a business.

“After about a year the models started connecting and it became painfully clear to me that it could be made so much easier for people like me, and I started to dig a little bit to see what I could To do.”

Mr Shaw said changes to government legislation enabled the creation of Ember, such as the launch of “Open Banking” in 2017.

“Open Banking” is defined by the government as allowing “consumers and small and medium-sized businesses to securely share their banking and credit card transaction data with trusted third parties who are then able to provide them with apps and services that save them time and money.” .”

By this definition, Ember acts as a third party that helps customers calculate and save money on taxes by performing their administrative work.

“It became clear to me that this was one of the first times in the industry that it was possible to solve these problems for people like me,” he said.

Mr. Shaw then moved into a coworking space and started working full-time on Ember.

In the co-working space, he met his co-founder, Daniel Hogan, an Australian trained accountant, who was also struggling to work in the sector. The two then combined their experience in the software and finance industries and their “Ember” app was born.

Ember then entered funding rounds and was introduced to potential investors, where it enjoyed early success and was valued at £260,000 when it launched in April 2020, at the height of the pandemic.

Mr Shaw said it had not all gone smoothly despite raising more than a quarter of a million in its first year, noting that Ember had encountered some pushback from investors.

He added: “It’s always inevitable, but our general trajectory has been as expected, but of course, as with everything, there have been hiccups along the way, changes in business plans and things. which were well received that we had to withdraw.”

Once launched, the company, which in its first round of funding had just three employees, grew from strength to strength at a time when most new businesses were stalled due to the pandemic. It was that early success that Mr Shaw says led to the £1.6million valuation last year.

“When we first got the 260k our product wasn’t live, but now we were able to show the potential of the business and knew we had to raise capital to get where we wanted to be,” said he added.

“What really stands out about Ember is the quality of our reviews and the fact that customers love the product, and that’s because it solves a huge problem for them.”

Mr Shaw said the company is due to release information on its third round of investment and hints the figure is now higher than the previous £1.6million.