Leading US cyber security firm forecasts 20% growth a year in Belfast
A SENIOR member of one of the world's leading cyber security companies has said Belfast has "exceeded expectations" and has forecast continued growth in the city.
US software engineering firm Rapid7, which has locations across the world and works with over 7,000 organisations across 125 countries, launched a development centre in Belfast four years ago, with the city chosen ahead of nine other international locations.
Since then the company has gone from strength to strength and now employs over 100 people at its base in Arnott House on Bridge Street, while the city has become a European hub for cyber security investment.
Speaking to the Irish News, chief product officer, Lee Weiner explained that Belfast is now Rapid7's second largest office and its biggest for R&D.
"We knew it would go well and probably in some ways it has exceeded our expectations," he said.
"I think it's really about the people we've been able to hire in Belfast. There's a great innovation and engineering culture that we've been able to tap into and I think a lot of the work that we've done with the universities to be able to attract that talent has been great."
The strong working relationship with both Queen's and Ulster University has been a key factor in Rapid7's expansion in Belfast, with the company taking on as many as 15 placements each year, many of whom are offered a full-time contract. The company's Belfast operation is currently growing at an annual rate of up to 20 per cent a year and Mr Weiner sees no reason why that will not continue.
"I definitely think we will continue to see growth there for sure," he said.
"I wouldn't put a number (in relation to new staff) on it, but I definitely think we will continue to grow that office as we have, probably roughly by 15 to 20 per cent a year. We're very happy with the investment there. We always look at locations to make sure we can get the right talent, the right location and things in Belfast have gone well for us and we believe they will continue to do so."
"Companies like us that are trying to defend and protect companies from attack, we have to invest in innovation and we will continue to do that and Belfast is definitely a place we will do that."
Mr Weiner is happy with the company's central location in Belfast, but has not ruled out moving to larger premises in the future as it continues on an upward trajectory of growth.
"In all of our offices around the world we have to consider real estate and space and at some point we may have to think about that, but right now we feel good about where we're at," he added.
Rapid7 employs almost 1,200 staff worldwide and is currently recruiting for a number of positions in Belfast, including several software engineer roles.