Making it Work

Making it Work: European expansion on the cards for SME specialists Grid Finance

The firm plans to hire an additional five staff this year

Derek Foley Butler, founder, Grid Finance. ‘We provide small businesses with capital, advice and our analytics solution’

Grid Finance, an online platform which aims to help small businesses with their financial health, plans to add another five staff this year as it moves towards an international expansion in 2026.

Founded by Derek Foley Butler in 2013, the business has 18 staff and has raised €65 million to date.

“We provide small businesses with capital, advice and our analytics solution,” Foley Butler told the Business Post. “The analytics solution is designed to help small business owners, who are not financially trained, to understand the financial health of their businesses. We are helping these SMEs to build financially stronger businesses.”

Company Details

Grid Finance

Founded by: Derek Foley Butler in 2013

Staff: 18

Funding: €65 million

The idea for Grid Finance grew out of Foley Butler’s own experiences working for PwC in the US, as well as with Goal, the aid charity.

“At PwC, I saw just how concentrated and institutionalised the banking system is. Small businesses are a world away from modern banking and that’s why they find it so hard to navigate,” he said.

“I also have a lot of experience with microfinance from working with Goal in Uganda and Haiti. I spent four years seeing how simple banking can be in reality. Banking does payments and it connects people who have capital with those who need it.”

Following those two radically different formative experiences, Foley Butler came back to Ireland in 2013 to start Grid Finance. The post-pandemic period has proven particularly prosperous for the business.

“We’re ambitious but we’re also small for now. We’ve helped 2,500 small businesses and lent €125 million in total, with over €100 million of that in the last three years,” he said.

He said that Enterprise Ireland had played a big role in aiding the growth of Grid Finance.

“If you’re trying to build a business in this country, you couldn’t find a better partner than Enterprise Ireland. They helped us at the start in 2014 and then through the pandemic. Subsequent to it, they’ve helped us build up our analytics product,” Foley Butler said.

“Quite frankly, we wouldn’t be where we are today without their help. We want to keep diversifying the business. To do that, we need to keep launching new products on SME financial health in Ireland. Beyond the next 18 months, we want to try to internationalise the business again.

“We’d really like to do that. We’re very optimistic about Europe. We’ve explored opportunities in the likes of Portugal, Greece, Czech Republic and Sweden. Those will be our four first target markets.”

This Making It Work article was produced in partnership with Enterprise Ireland