SaaS firm Futrli announces £5.5 million delivery centre in NI with 80 new jobs

Futrli chief executive Hannah Dawson with Invest NI's Steve Harper (left) and Graeme Wilkinson from the Department for the Economy
Gary McDonald Business Editor

BRIGHTON-based Futrli, a cloud-based business decision-making platform, plans to create 80 high-paying operations and software engineering jobs in Belfast as part of a £5.5 million technology investment.

And the company says it could go way beyond those initial recruitment projections "because we want to continue hiring the best to aid our rapid growth and help us build the most game-changing product on the market".

Founded in 2014 by Aberdeen-born Hannah Dawson (whose husband hails from Bangor in Co Down), Futrli has just raised £4 million in venture capital funding to expand its UK operations.

It currently has a workforce of around 100 at its Brighton headquarters and satellite offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland.

The company uses its fully cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) products (this is a method of delivery and licensing in which software is accessed online via a subscription, rather than bought and installed on individual computers) to support 45,000 businesses and 1,200 accountants in 130 countries.

But it will utilise the Belfast skills base to design a brand new platform exclusively for small businesses, utilising artificial intelligence and machine learning to turn business data into actions, helping small companies manage the business of doing business.

Chief executive Hannah says: “We've already filled a small number of engineering roles in Belfast but quickly plan to add another 60 high quality people from Belfast Met through the Department for the Economy's Assured Skills programme.

“Customer demand is rapidly accelerating as we continue to scale our release of Futrli Platform, and our new Belfast delivery centre will be a huge asset to the business as we seek to make it available to small businesses globally and revolutionise how small businesses work."

She added: “The tremendous wealth of local talent, access to top universities and proximity to our GB base were key factors in our decision to locate in Northern Ireland.”

Futrli has been offered close to £850,000 in government support, made up of £440,000 from Invest NI towards creating the jobs and another £406,000 in training grants, and when the jobs are all in place it will generate around £2.5 million a year in wages.

Hannah added: “Futrli was born from my own typical experience as a small business owner. I needed a way to run my business that looked to the future, as making decisions is hard and full of risk when you haven’t got all of the information in one place.

“Today, our sole purpose is to change how small businesses’ teams make decisions so they get it right. We plan to drive further innovation within the platform to continue to revolutionise how small business teams work.

Initially Futrli will be based at the Glandore business centre in Belfast city centre, but as it ramps up recruitment it will move to a permanent base, most likely in Titanic Quarter.

Steve Harper, executive director of international business at Invest NI said: “Futrli’s first investment here is a further endorsement of the strength of the local financial services technology sector.

“The creation of 80 high quality jobs, with the average salary above £30,000, offers a range of attractive opportunities for graduates and experienced professionals.

“Encouraged by increased demand within the flourishing cloud accounting software sector, Futrli are implementing ambitious growth plans in new and existing markets. It is great news that this project will be delivered by a team based here in Northern Ireland.”

Once in place, the new jobs, which will be predominantly operations and software engineering roles, will generate almost £2.5 million in additional annual salaries for the local economy.

The company has been offered £440,000 towards creating the jobs by Invest NI. The Department for the Economy will provide training through the Assured Skills programme up to the value of £406,000.

Graeme Wilkinson, director of skills at the Department of the Economy, added: “Our Assured Skills programme has a proven track record of providing skilled people to local employers through collaboration with further and higher education providers.

“This support for Futrli will deliver 60 high quality, industry-relevant pre-employment training places at Belfast Met. Participants will gain the skills they need to progress a career in financial services and secure a guaranteed interview at the company on successful completion of the training.”

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