Contrast Security to create up to 120 jobs with Invest NI funds boost
A US cybersecurity firm is creating up to 120 jobs paying an average of £30,000 a year at a new centre in Belfast.
Contrast Security in California specialises in making software safe from cyber attacks.
The business said its centre in Northern Ireland was part of its international expansion in markets like financial services, e-commerce, retail, insurance and technology companies.
It's setting up in the city's River House office block and has received £786,500 in funding from economic development agency Invest NI.
Chief executive Alan Naumann said the firm had weighed up other locations for its new centre, where agencies also offered funding, but that Belfast had won out because of the quality of software talent. It had considered setting up a new office in India, other parts of the US and eastern Europe.
It had decided on Europe because of the opportunity it presented to the company. And he said Belfast was a desirable setting as the IT talent was not being sucked up by large tech companies - unlike Dublin.
"Belfast was unique in that it's not completely discovered yet. But 100 miles away, you have some large tech companies who have tried to absorb all the tech talent."
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He said it was easier to grow a company without competition for talent from major online retailers or social media firms.
And he said the company had sought assistance from Invest NI to create 120 jobs, which will mainly be in software development though there will also be posts in technical support, marketing and telesales support.
"We think our pace will be 120 jobs over a three-year period," he told the Belfast Telegraph.
"We've gone from a standing start of zero this year and we think we'll have roughly 20 on board by the end of the calendar year. We're already up to nine now, and our 10th person has just accepted a job."
He said the company was making a long-term commitment to Belfast. "Our plan is not a transitory thing because we'll need great software development talent for the long-term and we think Europe is a terrific market." Brexit was not a major issue, but hopes were for a "clear and defined exit plan".
"We already travel globally through passport, emigration control and customs and as we grow globally, we have to get used to growing across borders ... For us being here is about the numbers of talent, the stability of the talent and the proximity of European markets, and those will not be changing."
Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI, said the new jobs would contribute nearly £4m in additiontal salaries when the roles are filled. "In today's digital world every major company across almost every industry is building software to empower the digital experiences consumers expect," he said.