ID Finance, the emerging markets fintech company, has been accepted into the Belarus Hi-Tech Park (HTP) in Minsk as it seeks to strengthen its R&D team and take advantage of the favourable business environment on offer to technology companies.
ID Finance joins over 190 companies currently registered with the Park, 59 per cent of which are under foreign or joint ownership. Established in 2005 by a special law designed to enhance the tech industry, the Park was the brainchild of Valery Tsepkalo, Belarus’ former ambassador to the US.
In 2017, the HTP generated c. $1.1bn in revenues and attracted $191m in foreign direct investment. Today HTP resident companies have customers in 67 countries worldwide including five of the 10 world’s largest companies. The Park’s members include Yandex, Wargaming (creator of online game World of Tanks) and messaging app Viber. HTP members are exempt from all corporate taxes including VAT and profit tax.
The HTP is also set to become a key innovation hub for all cryptocurrency related activities following a new law legalising all crypto-related businesses in Belarus, including exchange services, initial coin offerings (ICOs), mining, and smart contracts.
ID Finance plans to grow its R&D headcount to 100 employees by the end of 2018 and aims to have 200 by the end of 2020. As a HTP resident company, ID Finance hopes to attract the wealth of computer science and software engineering talent from across the region.
“The availability of talented STEM graduates was a key incentive for joining the Hi-Tech Park,” comments Boris Batine, co-founder and CEO, ID Finance. “We are one of the fastest growing fintechs in Europe and our growth is down to the efforts of our people and the strength of our technology. Our R&D centre is a core part of our business and we’re looking forward to expanding the team here in Belarus.”
Software engineers at the park earn around $1600 a month. This compares to average Belarus salaries of $400. In contrast software engineers in London are paid an average of around $5,000 a month. In addition to the tax breaks offered to corporates, employees of HTP companies receive a 30 per cent reduction in personal income tax compared with other sectors of the economy and pay nine per cent instead of 13 per cent.
In support of IT education in the country and as part of its recruitment strategy, ID Finance is collaborating with local STEM focused colleges and high schools and plans to launch an internship programme and a graduate scheme later this year.
ID Finance is a balance sheet lender which uses machine learning and advanced data science techniques to improve access to competitive financial services. Founded in Russia in 2012, ID Finance moved its headquarters to Barcelona in 2016 and now has over 520 staff spread across its operations in Spain, Georgia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Poland, Brazil, Mexico and Belarus. According to The Financial Times’ FT 1000 Europe, ID Finance is the 36th fastest-growing startup in the region.