US software boss praises Belfast's hi-tech potential
The head of another USA point of sale software firm which came to Belfast in February said that the company is set to expand must faster than first anticipated.
When Jason Richelson, founder and chief executive of ShopKeep POS, originally set up in the city earlier this year, his first expansion outside of America, the plan was to create 35 jobs over three years in a £3m investment.
However, he said that there are now already 21 staff in the office at Alexander House on Ormeau Avenue and that the original jobs figure will definitely be exceeded.
"I will be back in Belfast on Thursday," he said. "Our experience has been amazing so far and we are already looking to expand.
"We love it and we want to grow. We have built a great culture and we have recruited some really smart engineers.
"The fact that a firm like Revel has followed us to Belfast shows what great people and what great opportunities there are here.
"While I am in Belfast I will be meeting with Invest NI to see what we can do and how we can grow with them and work on a plan."
The Brooklyn-based businessman said that he was keen to let the rest of the world know the benefits of trading in Belfast.
"I love how entrepreneurial the culture is, and that is something that I saw when I first visited Belfast in October 2013.
"There are really hardworking people and a strong engineering culture.
"The city is not enormous but it has huge potential."
Mr Richelson ran his own grocery and wine store and developed ShopKeep in 2008 to solve some of the problems he was facing in his own business.
He initially began selling the software to coffee shops and bakeries and the product is now being used by more than 10,000 small businesses in the US and Canada.
Mr Richelson added that having more than one PoS software firm in Belfast would be good for the wider tech workforce.
"Our team in Belfast are software engineers so we won't be competing directly for jobs with Revel," he said. "Having lots of different software companies and jobs available really does help the entire community, and even if we may end up competing for some individuals in future, there are always new technologies and skills to learn, young people coming into the workplace can get more experience, it helps everyone."
He added that if the company expands out of the current premises, he still would like to see the main office based in the city centre.