Northern Ireland news

Multi-million pound expansion by 'big data' firm AquaQ creates 123 jobs

Announcing the AquaQ Analytics expansion are economy minister Diane Dodds and Invest NI's Brian Dolaghan with the firm's chief technology officer Jonny Press and business development director Ivy McFarlane
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A 'big data' firm set up in Belfast nine years ago is investing £8.3 million in a government-backed expansion which will create 123 jobs.

AquaQ Analytics, which captures data such as stock market prices for hedge funds and investment banks, says it has largely ridden the storm of the coronavirus pandemic and needs to grow its business.

It already has a 160-strong workforce but will start recruiting immediately for the new posts, which will be a mix of graduates and senior hires, earning what the company says are "industry-competitive salaries".

Although it is also investing in new premises in Queen Street in Belfast, it says its future staff will have both an office and remote presence.

Invest NI, which has worked with AquaQ Analytics since its inception, is offering the company £860,000 towards the creation of the jobs, which in turn will contribute £3.2 million a year in salaries.

The firm's chief technology officer and director, Jonny Press, who previously spent nine years as a computer programmer with First Derivatives in Newry, said the expansion is necessary to cope with AquaQ's hugely-expanding client base of global investment banks and hedge funds.

He said: “While we have many consultants working out of our Belfast HQ, we will have just as many based directly on clients' sites all over the world, not just the UK but in Canada, the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia.

“These new jobs will enable us to broaden the skill-set across our team, increase the global reach of our business and meet the needs of that growing client base, and we're grateful for the support of Invest NI, now and in the past.”

AquaQ Analytics, whose ultimate owners Dr Ronan Pairceir and James Bradley both graduated from Ulster University, had equity of more than £4.4m at the end of last July, according to its company accounts.

Economy minister Diane Dodds said the tech sector has been "remarkably resilient" throughout the pandemic.

"The fact AquaQ Analytics, a company born and bred in Northern Ireland and now operating on the global stage, is reinvesting in its local operations makes this a great news day."

She added: "We will never give up supporting traditional sectors like manufacturing and agri-food, tourism and hospitality.

"But digital and technology offer a host of opportunities, and we're thrilled to see AquaQ moving quickly to hire so many new software engineers, developers, data analysts and, of course, new graduates.”

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