A Chat with Martin Hartley, MD at Global Management and Technology Consulting Firm: emagine Consulting

Originally founded in 1986, emagine Consulting has firmly established itself as a leading provider of professional consultancy services to some of the world’s biggest financial institutions, having grown both organically and via mergers and acquisitions over the decades.

Working with the likes of HSBC, Royal Bank of Canada, Credit Suisse, Bank of America, and other Tier 1 investment banks, we provide pioneering business and technology services to the banking and financial services sectors. We’re headquartered in Copenhagen but operate from 24 locations across the UK, Europe, and Asia.

I joined in 2019 and we’ve experienced hypergrowth for nearly three years in a row, including, in 2021, a merger with ProData, considered a ‘behemoth’ in its space across Europe. It’s an exciting time in our 40 years of history as we’ve seen remarkable revenue growth from €115 to €500 million in the last year and aim to double this again to €1 billion by the end of 2025.

I owe this ambition and success entirely to a long line of exceptional people who deliver exceptional results. Anybody can find you good people to complete a project; we go beyond this by partnering with our clients to solve challenges through tailored, high-end consulting services.

What do you think makes this company unique?

We’re at the very top end of banking and financial services specialists because of the calibre of the people we hire; only the top 10 per cent of the market and this is reflected in our client portfolio. It may sound elitist, but our competition is the Big Four, so we have to guarantee excellence. ‘Reassuringly expensive,’ as they say – facilitated by a forensic interview process and online assessments to filter out the top percentile – and there’s certainly something to say for a smaller, agile firm which can move more quickly. We don’t drop in, perform a service, and leave. We partner with our clients to drive ongoing strategic initiatives and execute long-term plans.

Now that we’ve merged with ProData, we’re the number two provider in Poland with over 3,000 consultants in three different locations offering a full service from the people and the leadership to the laptops and teas and coffee. The goal being that you don’t have a business in a certain location, we create and build it for you. As such, our nearshore service offering is new in the space but unrivalled for technology consulting needs across Europe.

How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

Our growth has been exponential since 2019, bolstered by M&A growth which has successfully positioned us as a European powerhouse, but organic growth too, despite the pandemic. We didn’t use any government furlough support, nor did we make cuts or redundancies, instead keeping the talent pipeline flowing throughout.

You only have to look at the airline industry now to see how detrimental it is to rid yourself of or fail to look after your most important assets – your people – in such a volatile market. As a result, we were in an even stronger position once the pandemic subsided, and the upward trajectory has continued.

What can we hope to see from emagine Consulting in the future?

The success we’ve driven is showing no signs of slowing down, and we’ll continue to provide world-class services to our clients as technological developments and needs ramp up in the banking and financial sectors. What’s more, I expect there to be additional demand for our expertise across insurance and fintech as the recession nears. Eventually we’ll be looking to break into the US market, where there is no shortage of opportunity, but the UK and European market is our focus for now.