Preparing for the launch of an innovative application programme interface (API) testing product at the end of September, Kerry start-up Expert Software Test is aiming to develop global sales to the digital banking sector.
APIs allow software applications to communicate with each other and “are the veins of our connected world,” explains Expert Software Test chief executive Fergal Hynes, who identified a gap in the market for a product which could be used by API developers to test their products.
An engineer with 23 years experience in the software development and test industries, Mr Hynes saw an opportunity two years ago to set up a consultancy company specialising in API testing.
He subsequently identified an opening for a software product which could be used to automate aspects of the API development process.
He set up Expert Software Test in Killorglin in April 2015 and almost immediately signed up Australian company ipSCAPE, which is a cloud-based call centre, as his first consultancy client.
With early stage support from Kerry Local Enterprise Office, he has since taken on a staff of four and the company now has customers in Ireland, the UK and Australia — mainly API developers, ranging from small- to medium-sized companies as well as some large multinationals.
Although the company has achieved solid growth providing consultancy services, Mr Hynes decided that the best way to scale internationally was to develop a product which would automate the testing process.
“The concept is to create a world-class product that automates process steps and limits the need for human interaction.
“Instead of solving customers’ problems on a one-to-one basis this will allow us to reach thousands of customers simultaneously.”
While there are a number of API testing products on the market already, Mr Hynes said that none is as comprehensive as the ‘Expert API Test’.
“Our product improves efficiency and reduces costs associated with continuous deployment, continuous automated testing, and continuous compliance,” he said.
“It will also be the only one on the market which provides cradle-to-grave API process automation.”
Development of the new product started last October, at which time Mr Hynes enrolled in Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme.
This helped him acquire the skills necessary to change Expert Software Test from being a consultancy company to one which develops software as a service (SaaS) products.
Having developed the basic working product by the start of this year, he and his team added features over the last six months and have just completed beta testing.
Mr Hynes is planning a soft launch of the Expert API Test product at the end of September.
“In November we are also planning a hard launch at the Eurostar testing conference in Denmark,” he added.
While the product has wide application across a range of different sectors, the company has identified the digital banking sector as the key target market for its launch.
Digital banking is being targeted because of the implementation in 2018 of EU PSD2 Regulation.
“This requires banks and the wider financial ecosystem to develop APIs as part of a new, more open approach to the banking market,” explained Mr Hynes.
He sees this as a ripe opportunity for a company that is offering a product which allows digital banks the opportunity to validate their APIs and fulfill their testing and compliance requirements.
The company is now actively targeting this sector and has already engaged in discussions with banks in the UK, Ireland and Australia, including some major players.
The company, which to date has been self-funded, plans to use online marketing to grow sales this year.
It also plans to increase staff numbers.
“In 2018 we plan to add some additional features and by the end of the year we expect to double the staff size to ten,” said Mr Hynes.
The goal for Expert Software Test over the next 12 months is to become well-established in the digital banking sector in all three markets.