Based locally since 2020, Trust Stamp is one of the most promising technology start-ups to be attracted to Malta in recent years. Trust Stamp co-founder and CEO Gareth Genner explains to Laura Bonnici how Malta Enterprise was instrumental in showcasing the island as a competitive, international business location.
In early 2019, tech entrepreneur Gareth Genner was speaking at a financial services conference in London – and Malta was not on his radar. Yet connecting with Malta Enterprise that day would change that. It was a providential introduction that would quickly prove to be the catalyst for a new Malta adventure, not only for his tech start-up Trust Stamp, but also for Genner himself.
“Malta Enterprise did an excellent job of proactively pitching the benefits of Malta to me. Having lived in the US for 25 years, I wasn’t up to date on the EU and must admit I didn’t know Malta had become a member. I was keen to hear from Malta Enterprise about developments on the island because, with Brexit looming, we were looking for a base in the EU and Malta sounded ideal,” he explains.
Before long, Genner had been persuaded to make a brief visit to the island from the US – and Malta Enterprise ensured it was productive, he recalls.
“Over three very intensive and highly-effective days on the island, Malta Enterprise had set up a comprehensive range of meetings with everyone relevant to us setting up locally, such as ministers, banks and even potential clients,” he said.
While the Trust Stamp team was considering Trust Stamp’s EU strategy in 2019 and 2020, Malta Enterprise kept in touch with updates – and it was this open line of communication that would eventually seal the deal in the island’s favour.
“We would not be in Malta without Malta Enterprise,” he continues. “Other EU countries were offering us significant support and were much larger markets, but Malta was proactive, open and exceptionally supportive – and that continued after we arrived in Malta and were setting up the business. In Malta, not only do we have the unique ability to interact closely with the relevant authorities, but everyone here is incredibly friendly and will happily go the extra mile for you. The community genuinely cares that everyone moving here has a good experience.”
Other EU countries were offering us significant support and were much larger markets, but Malta was proactive, open and exceptionally supportive
As the only economic development agency of the Maltese government, Malta Enterprise is well placed to micro-target companies such as Trust Stamp in the sphere of foreign direct investment (FDI). It was Malta Enterprise’s intrinsic involvement with the country’s economy that Genner was most impressed by when viewing the country as a potential business location – to the extent that word is now spreading throughout the wider business world via Genner.
“There are three more companies that we work with that are moving to Malta in the coming months from US and UK to join the growing cyber-hub,” he explains.
“They made that decision based on their relationship with us, so our staff have been virtual tour guides while Malta Enterprise has supported us and them throughout. The presence of these companies strengthens the local AI ecosystem, so it is great for us at Trust Stamp for them to be here.”
Such is Genner’s belief in the island through Malta Enterprise’s collaboration that he moved to Malta with his wife in 2020 – in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic – while several other Trust Stamp team members from the UK and US have also made the move based on their local experience. Together, they have created a firm Malta base for the artificial intelligence company that specialises in identity solutions combining biometrics, privacy and cybersecurity.
And, with the company launching an IPO on EuroNext stock exchange and, more recently, being also listed on the OTCQX market in the USA, Trust Stamp shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, its upwards trajectory is evidenced by a launch value of $28 million in 2020 that has increased to just over $72 million today, a milestone that is propelling Trust Stamp into its next round of funding and further growth through mergers and acquisitions.
“We have recently acquired PixelPin, which offers an alternative product when biometric solutions are not appropriate, boosting our product range,” Genner continues.
“We have also been recently announced as a finalist in the Hague Innovators Challenge with our medical QR Code technology, which again draws attention to Malta as somewhere a small tech company can grow.”
While enjoying his new life in Malta, Genner’s plans are not solely focused on promoting it to the rest of the world – his newfound love for the island has also inspired philanthropic efforts within it.
“We offer a three-month training programme whereby people can study full-time with no obligation to work with us at the end of it. Education is close to my heart and I hope to enhance it via internships and mentoring. From co-sponsoring Science in the City to creating opportunities for women in technology, we are determined to give back to the local ecosystem as much as, with Malta Enterprise’s input, Malta has welcomed and nurtured us.”
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