A young card payment processing entrepreneur has been listed by Forbes as one of 30 Under 30 across Europe to watch in the finance sector.
Ciaran Savage founded Card Industry Professionals in Grimsby in 2017, and now has a team of 100 sales professionals recruiting customer-facing businesses around the UK.
Moving on to Eurparc in early 2019, he has doubled the footprint there, with a 10-strong administration base within The Innovation Centre.
“It will be a really valuable tool to help me grow, to get my foot in the door with other people, inspirations, fellow founders and entrepreneurs,” he said of the flattering listing.
“It will give me exposure to different channels, such as investment and PR. It is a really strong platform, very exciting and testimony to what we are doing.
“The UK fintech and payment market is held in very high esteem worldwide, and there is so much focus now on the recovery. We are in a strong industry to make some traction and we have strong customers with good reputations, highlighting the focus of Forbes.”
The icing on the cake could be this week’s Card & Payments Awards 2021. The company is shortlisted for Best Payments Industry Newcomer and Innovation in Retail Payments categories, up against the likes of Barclays, Lloyd’s, NatWest and Mastercard.
Mr Savage, who turned 30 in February, sees partnerships forged with payment solution providers Elavon, Evo Payments and Paypal-acquired Zettle as key, having gone to market and selected those he wanted to work with.
“We are seeing growth month-on-month, and we have diversified into e-commerce gateways, virtual terminals and order and pay platforms,” he said. “We have shifted the business model rapidly to work through the pandemic, but it was always the plan.”
The son of an early Cardsave employee – under Grimsby’s card payment pioneer Paul Bentham, whose legacy is a niche cluster in the area – he would hear of the sector’s successes and frustrations at home.
He quickly learned, and loved what he heard.
Mother Lyn and sales director John Selby then bolstered the management.
Now in its fourth full year of trading, it has seen 100 per cent growth year on year. “This year is the first year we passed the £1 million mark, and we should finish with a turnover of £1.4 million.
“I got into it and started working under my Mum, field selling” he said. “I realised the industry wasn’t transparent enough up front. I wasn’t going to climb the management ladder at a corporate, so I decided to go out and do it myself. I had to dig deep, the first 12 months were tough, but we got some direction.
“We’re looking forward, post-Covid, to a full year of consistent sales and transactions to see where the revenues go then.
“We had the experience of traditional card machines in salons, bars and butchers, we looked at what else there was a need for. There is such a market out there now desperate for help to set up, and I’m a believer that if you get that right, people will remain with you long term.”