Interview with Paul McDowell

On supporting small businesses like Kairos

We spoke to Paul McDowell about his Investment in Sports Tech company Kairos.

I’m Paul Mc Dowell, SVP & Treasurer at Genesys.  I am originally from outside of Ballymoney in Co Antrim, and obtained a BA (Hons) in Accountancy from Ulster University.

Can you tell us about the journey from Northern Ireland to the USA?

I have worked for several companies within Europe and the US.   I initially started working in London, which took me to New York, and back to Ireland working in Dublin.   From there I moved to Zurich in Switzerland and then to the US again.   I was based in Boston in the US, then transferred to Minneapolis and finally now reside in Scottsdale, Arizona.

What are you most proud of?

Difficult to pick a specific subject.   I think having the opportunity to work and travel globally, and of course, coming from Northern Ireland (proud of my roots!!!)

Can you tell us about your decision to get involved with Kairos?

I have always maintained close ties to Northern Ireland and have always returned three to four times a year (pre covid!!!).   I still view Northern Ireland as my home, and I am very proud to come from here. 

At this stage in my life, I am looking towards my next career/chapter post where I am now, and something that has interested me is investing in fast-growth start-ups, within a unique market and unique product.  

I have invested in a few start-ups and small business over the past couple of years and came across Kairos via a news feed on social media.  I reached out to the team and was impressed by the management team/founders, their drive, vision, product and untapped market.   When investing in a company, I weigh up the management team, probably more so than the product.   The product needs to have a USP, but it will be the management team’s drive, commitment, enthusiasm, and ‘get up and go’ attitude, which will ensure success.   This is transparent at Kairos.

Was it important for you to give something back to NI?

NI has had its fair share of challenges and baggage.  However, it is the people and way of life that makes NI and Ireland unique.   Anywhere I have lived, I have been proud to say I am from Ireland.   NI gave me a good education and has grounded me, and I am very thankful for that.  

I believe NI has among the smartest and hardest working folks in the world, and I want to promote that.  It is my home and of course, since it’s my home, I am extremely loyal and hence want to give back. 

What are your thoughts on the important role that diaspora can play in helping local companies export and promoting NI as a location for investment/doing business?

The diaspora is vital in promoting NI as a location.  In addition, the diaspora can use their success, (which I expect is due to their Northern Irish upbringing and good education) to give back and use their contacts and relationships to support local companies.

Would you encourage others to do so?  

Yes, without a doubt.

What do you think about the technology sector in NI and its strengths on the global stage?

NI technology sector is booming, and I believe has already established itself globally and with the US.   Its strengths are its people, and the good education provided in Northern Ireland.

What do you miss about home?

Living in Arizona, believe it or not, it has got to be the wind and the rain, and of course an Ulster fry!


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