This was going to be the year Alex Martin took Miura Regtech, his start-up, to the British market.
At the start of March, he had agreed two significant deals to begin testing the Miura compliance platform with a bank and a broker in Britain. By mid-March, however, he realised that his plans to trial his technology in the field would have to be put on hold.
Instead, Martin decided to concentrate on developing the second version of the platform he had created in Dublin in early 2019 with Lorcan O’Flynn, Miura’s co-founder.
“Both of the UK projects will go ahead but, due to Covid-19, we made the decision to focus on product development during the summer. We thought potential clients would have too much going on to cope with large-scale integration projects,” Martin said.
“We’re now ready to engage with clients again, but we’ll have a bigger focus on the funds industry here in Ireland than we’d planned, because travel is now so problematic.”
Originally from Goatstown in south Dublin, Martin worked for two decades in the banking sector in London before setting up Miura, which he describes as a “full lifecycle” compliance platform for banks, funds and brokers.
A software-as-a-service platform, Miura will combine document scanning with natural language-processing technology to help financial services firms comply with the raft of fast-changing regulations governing the sector in different jurisdictions.
“There are other regtech start-ups out there already like Corlytics, which is very good at collating regulatory data and feeding it to firms. Then you have companies like Clausematch, which focus on documentation scanning,” Martin said.
“We are the only regtech start-up I know of that’s focusing on the entire regulatory lifecycle, starting and ending with the regulators.”
According to Martin, Miura will be able to import the rules made by these regulators, automatically updating clients’ policies, procedures and systems.
“The plan is to scan firms’ data architecture to make sure they comply with the regulatory rules,” he said.
“If the regulations change, we will then be able to workflow the changes through and update their compliance framework and documentation.
“This will all be monitored in real-time by their compliance and audit people and, ultimately, by the regulators themselves.”
Martin is well-versed in the regulatory field. After working in London in derivatives systems and regulatory roles for employers such as State Street and Northern Trust, he ran Miura Consulting for six years before returning to Dublin. The consultancy specialised in the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and other banking regulations.
“Keeping on top of all these regulations is a massive undertaking. Banks will typically have compliance departments and complex monitoring programmes,” Martin said.
“They have compliance frameworks with hundreds of policies, procedures and documents, and they produce detailed regulatory reports providing evidence of compliance.
“Added to that, there’s the cost of hiring in the legal and consultancy firms needed to keep on top of everything. We want to automate the bulk of that and, by doing so, hopefully save them a lot of time and money.”
Miura Regtech employs four people at the Digital Exchange in Dublin city centre. The start-up took part in the ArcLabs programme at Waterford Institute of Technology last year.
Run by the National Digital Research Centre, Arclabs is a 12-week accelerator for digital start-ups. Participants receive a €50,000 cash investment and additional supports valued at €25,000. As the overall winner of the ArcLabs investor showcase, held last November, Miura received an additional €25,000 in prize money.
The company also topped the Best New Start category in last year’s IntertradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition, winning a further €20,000, and has received €50,000 in competitive start funding from Enterprise Ireland.
“We’re working with Enterprise Ireland now to plan our entry into the UK market. We’re using their office in London and they’ve already introduced us to mentors over there,” Martin said.
“Over the next 12 months, the plan is to have our data architecture scanning system built and live at a number of test clients.”