Why Australian fintech BlackArrow targeted Scotland

Impressed by the supportive business networks and university ecosystem, BlackArrow Financial Solutions relocated its head office from Sydney, Australia to Glasgow.

In June 2021, BlackArrow Financial Solutions confirmed Scotland would be the new home for its global operations. BlackArrow relocated its head office from Sydney, Australia to Scotland after being introduced to a delegation from Scottish Development International. 

The fintech firm, which has developed a financial planning app using artificial intelligence, opened an office in Glasgow city centre in September 2019 alongside its operations in Dublin and Sydney. It's new headquarters in the heart of Glasgow will create around 45 new software developer and technical support jobs in Scotland following support from Scottish Enterprise (Scotland's national economic development agency), including a £573,00 grant award. 

Access to support and talent

"I first met the Scottish Development International team when they came over to Sydney along with a delegation from the UK Department for International Trade," said Gopal Hariharan (pictured), who founded BlackArrow in Sydney in 2014.

"We talked predominantly about access to talent, access to Scotland’s university ecosystem, and other inventive, innovative environments where Scottish Development International could provide support."

Gopal Hariharan, founder, BlackArrow Financial Solutions

Gopal has always travelled between Australia, the UK and the USA through his role in banking and made a point of visiting Scotland during a trip to the UK in late 2017.

"I got the opportunity to meet a lot of people across the university ecosystem in Scotland across Edinburgh and Glasgow," he explained. "I also met with FinTech Scotland and its then chief executive Stephen Ingledew. That's where the journey realistically started for us in terms of thinking purely about a Scotland-based setup."

During return trips to Glasgow, Gopal was introduced to multiple business and professional contacts by FinTech Scotland – which promotes Scotland as a global fintech centre.

"That started creating lots of relationships for us," he said. "And I then went through my entire Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa process. We were targeting Glasgow, firstly, because of the university ecosystem. A large contingent of Glasgow’s population also works in the banking sector or in compliance. So, generally, you tend to find more experienced middle to back office financial professionals here in Glasgow, which has been our predominant focus so far."

Glasgow has four universities and three 'super' colleges and is the UK’s third largest financial centre, with more than 50,000 people working in financial and business services. Benefiting from access to that local talent, BlackArrow’s team includes data scientists, mathematicians, software developers, analysts, product managers and mortgage experts.

"Glasgow felt like the right place where we could create a truly innovative company, the next Scottish unicorn."

Gopal Hariharan, CEO and founder, BlackArrow

Financial freedom

The ethos of BlackArrow is based around 'financial freedom'. Using its innovative technology, the company provides valuable insights to guide its customers to improve their affordability scenarios.

The company is currently working through regulatory clearance to launch its first product. The BlackArrow app learns about a user’s financial behaviour through linked bank accounts and sends notifications to help them with financial goals such as saving for a mortgage.

"We’re focused on financial wellbeing and want to promote the message that wealth building can be for everybody, provided you have the right tools and the right education throughout the process," said Gopal.

"We know the complexities of planning a financial journey, which is why our platform will give customers the best framework to be the master of their own financial journey," he added.

BlackArrow helps with financial goals like saving for a mortgage. Credit - Photo Mix on Pixabay

Home from home

Having lived in Australia his whole life until now, Gopal says he and Mrs Tasha Goundar-Hariharan prefer the climate in Glasgow.

"We’ve always liked cooler climates and Glasgow tends to be a better gateway for us to the Highlands, which we feel a real affinity for," he said. "The biggest thing I’ve found ever since moving to Glasgow is that I can get to Glencoe really quickly. It’s a great reset, it lets you introspect and reflect a bit more deeper. It connects you a bit more to that true innovative feel that the land has overall."

“We also love the people culture here. The kind of like-minded people I’ve met in Glasgow, and the way they’ve introduced me to other people, has been phenomenal. Glasgow has always felt a bit like a second home to us."

If you’d like to hear more about the experience of BlackArrow and how Scotland could be an ideal location for your financial services or fintech business, we’re here to help.

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