What's your name?
Derek Foley Butler
What position do you hold?
CEO of GRID Finance
What are your day to day responsibilities?
I am responsible for driving the growth and development of GRID Finance. We are building a non-bank SME lender powered by technology. I am responsible for development of the business, its product lines and overall purpose and strategy. I work closely day to day with our teams in Dublin, Limerick and Portugal.
What is your professional background?
I am chartered accountant, having qualified with PwC and have recently become a fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland. Following 5 years with PwC I worked with GOAL in Uganda and Haiti as Country Director before returning to Ireland to found GRID Finance.
You are speaking at the 2019 Growth Capital Summit. What are you speaking about?
I will be speaking about the role of advisors in the fundraising process. They are key to a successful fundraise for a business, but the business needs to know how to engage and get the best from their advisors. What’s also vital is understanding how to manage advisor costs as they can materially impact the overall cost of capital being raised.
What have been your highlights in business over the past year?
Its been a great pleasure to see the growth and development of GRID in the last year. We have grown over 100% and I take pride in seeing the team drive this growth and progress. When GRID is growing at such a strong pace it means that we are supporting an ever-growing number of small businesses that are creating value and employment in Ireland. As a team we are in business to support SME’s and seeing them grow with our financing is a real highlight.
What’s next for your company?
Further growth and development in Ireland. We see enormous need for a competitor to AIB and Bank of Ireland in the micro and small business lending segment. We believe that we can fill this gap and provide SME’s with a greater level of service and access to finance with our technology platform married with our unique credit-scoring model ‘The GRID Score’
What new trends are emerging in your industry?
We are seeing continued contraction of the main banks’ balance sheet exposure to the SME sector. This further underpins the opportunity for GRID to fill the gap that the banks are leaving behind as they continue to withdraw from the SME segment.
What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?
An economic correction could pose a challenge but only a short-term one. The main challenge for the non-bank lending industry is to build awareness of its existence. There is a plethora of options available to SMEs to finance and grow their business outside of the main pillar banks that most SME’s are not familiar with. The non-bank finance industry is the primary source of finance to SME’s in the US and Europe will inevitably follow this trend but it will take time for the industry to fulfil its true potential.
Derek Butler will be speaking at the 2019 Growth Capital Summit on May 30th at the Clayton Hotel Burlington Road. You can book your place at capitalsummit.ie.