King in Serbian acquisition of over 1 million euros
Former Dublin-born banker Ken King and a co-founder have invested over € 1million in a Serbian software engineering outsourcing company that will target the telecommunications and financial services sectors in the UK and in Ireland.
A graduate of Trinity College, King previously held technological leadership positions at Swiss private bank Lombard Odier and Deutsche Bank.
London-based Navan Digital will specialize in digital identity, digital transformation and blockchain-based technology. From 30 recruits initially, the company plans to grow to 300 people. It will raise additional funds for the expansion if necessary, King said.
King co-founder Jason Mochine has 30 years of experience in financial and technology business development.
The company acquired OutsourceCentral, a Serbian company with strong experience in providing remote development teams to international clients in Belgrade and Novi Sad. The amount paid for the acquisition was not disclosed, but it is understood that it currently has a balance sheet of over € 1 million to fund its initial growth.
Salaries for software engineers in Serbia start at around $ 30,000 (€ 26,000) – a fraction of the Irish and UK salary levels for such roles. There are about 3,300 new software engineering graduates each year, said King, who has spent time in the country in recent years.
Economic reforms since 2018 have made Serbia a prime target for FDI, with Bosch, Michelin, Siemens, Microsoft and Panasonic investing there. Twice in the past three years, the Financial Time ranked the country first for the performance of entirely new FDI.
King, the son of a guard superintendent who grew up on Navan Road in Dublin, began his career with Irish Life in Dublin before moving to London in 1990.
Previously, he had spent five years working on microfinance and aid projects in Kenya, also writing a book, The Endeavourist, about his time there.