In conversation: Darren Upson, Soldo

Darren Upson, Soldo
Darren Upson, Soldo

Fintech player sees Dublin as 'powerhouse' behind ongoing success



17 December 2020 | 0

In association with Soldo

Darren Upson is vice president of small business in Europe at Soldo, one of Ireland’s fastest growing fintech companies.

Soldo’s pre-paid company cards offers a unified solution to manage and control spending, for businesses of all sizes. Employees can use Soldo Mastercard cards to set custom budgets and spending rules. Soldo can also be integrated into existing accounts packages through its API.




How has Soldo prepared itself for Brexit?

We secured an e-money licence from the Central Bank of Ireland in 2019 as part of our Brexit strategy. Our European headquarters is based in Dublin, the powerhouse to service our thousands of customers across Europe. 

Dublin is a fantastic base for our business, from our highly skilled workforce here, to the open trading market with Europe, we are really pleased with Dublin as a location for Soldo HQ.

What other measures has Soldo taken? 

We have taken extensive measures to ensure our business runs smoothly no matter what happens on 1 January 2021 and therefore our customers can rest assured that there will be no disruptions. We have built a full parallel financial services operation to our UK business that is based in Ireland to service our growing customer base across Europe. 

How do you think a no-deal scenario will impact Soldo and the fintech sector in Ireland?

While we all accept that there will be very few winners when it comes to Brexit, because our headquarters is based in Dublin we are prepared for whatever the outcome may be.

Similar to the pandemic, fintech companies tend to be agile and find it easier to adapt to radical changes in circumstances than more traditional sectors. In saying that, we are all still keenly watching to see what the outcome will be and to review the consequences afterwards.

It may also be sometime before our sector can fully appreciate the full impact and consequences of whatever happens in January 2021, but nonetheless we are confident that we have made all the possible preparations.

Soldo founder Carlo Gualandri predicted that by 2020, more than 50% of Soldo’s business would be led from Dublin. Is that the case today? 

We now service more than half of all our customers from Dublin, which is above our initial target. As we grow our presence in new European markets, we intend the grow that again in 2021. Dublin is a fantastic base for our business, we see it as central to fuelling our continued growth in Europe in 2021.

How has Soldo been impacted by Covid-19?

Like many other companies, Soldo had to adapt quickly to the huge changes that have been brought about by Covid-19. Our first concern was for our employees; making sure they were able to work in a safe environment and to support their wellbeing. 

Early in the pandemic we launched a new solution, Soldo Care to enable governments, local authorities, and NGOs to distribute emergency aid to vulnerable citizens via Mastercard prepaid cards.

The Municipality of Milan, which governs an estimated 1.3 million citizens, was the first authority to adopt the cards, helping thousands of their most vulnerable citizens get access to food aid. So aside from the challenges, this year has allowed us to explore new opportunities with our innovative technology. 

What do the coming months look like for Soldo?

We have really ambitious plans for the coming months as we look to expand our presence across Europe in both existing and new markets. Brexit aside, we see Soldo continuing to grow and very much see Dublin as the powerhouse behind this growth. 

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