Tag Archives: Accelerators

LFP089 – Dating and Mating with Fintechs Alexander Ball, Fintech Manager ING

The best post-“post crisis” banks have leaped ahead and are well on the way to leveraging Fintech to make themselves even stronger. Alexander Ball Fintech Manager at ING talks to us about a bank which has over 100 partnerships with Fintechs, the best known of which perhaps is Kabbage whereby ING clients can borrow up to €100,000 online within minutes.

All incumbents, all banks are absolutely not the same. Whilst the slowest and least well organised of the incumbents aren’t doing a great job adapting to the digital world the best organised are.

When a firm with 50,000 staff and €50bn of equity start to leverage new digital ideas and innovations doesn’t this start to leave disruptive Fintech far behind?

How does Alex and his team of scouts and analysts organise this?

How do they date and mate with the right Fintechs?

What are the challenges?

What are the opportunities?

How have they had to change to make all this happen?

All these topics and more are discussed on the show including: Continue reading

LFP061 – InsureTech the 30,000 Feet Guide with Jonathan Howe UK Insurance Lead at PwC

PwC Banner_Orange_JGI am delighted to be joined today by Jonathan Howe UK Insurance lead at Price Waterhouse Coopers. As long time listeners will know I am very reluctant to give anyone a big picture topic on anything. Most folks are experts on one coalface and very few on the whole coal mine.

Jonathan HoweHowever Jonathan is a rara avis in the modern world in many ways. His linkedin career is perhaps the shortest I have read – one entry – 23 years at PwC. Now that’s the lifetime employment model that used to exist back in the day and exists for very few today. That’s also, compared to many butterflies in the modern world, an opportunity to dig a very deep well of experience and knowledge in a sector.

Secondly Jonathan leads the UK insurance practice (over 1,000 employees) and is responsible for PwC’s services for the UK Insurance Industry across all their range including audit, regulatory compliance, actuarial, consulting, tax and deals.

Thirdly PwC have been involved in a series of reports on the sector. Now plenty of reports are out there the more cynical amongst you may say and quality varies. True. However in “InsureTech a force for good”  Jonathan and colleagues have gone more than an extra mile. Amazingly they and their report partners Startupbootcamp have surveyed over 1,300 insurance startups. Wow.

Add that to decades in the industry and we have another of the rarest birds in the real world – someone who really is an expert.

The subtitle of “InsurTech a force for good” is an interesting overview “How InsurTech can reconnect insurers with their customers while simultaneously boosting the bottom line”

I met Jonathan at an event recently. It wasn’t a game of Top Trumps but if it had been Jonathan would have won hands down … when you have a database of 1,300 startups that’s a hell of a lot of facts to bring into any debate.

Topics discussed include – Continue reading

LFP042 – Bumper Fun-Packed New Years Show On Fintech & Star Wars, Beer, Media, 2015 review & 2016!

source: focusrs.org

source: focusrs.org

This is London Fintech Podcast episode 42, the answer to life, the universe and everything. Well a bit of everything anyway. And I have the pleasure to be joined today by – er – myself.

In the now traditional (um – can doing something twice be a tradition?) first podcast of the year step away from diving into a topic with an esteemed guest and take a more top of the mountain view of the landscape.

As it’s a bumper funpack we will cover a whole range of topics all of which pertain to Fintech.

So we start today’s show with the relevance of Star Wars; move on to beer and deep dive into a topic that applies to Fintech and to the whole of our perception of the world, the media – mainstream and indie.

Next a review of key themes from 2015 UK Fintech and finally we wrap up with some thoughts about the future.

In the next episode I’ll be back to the far easier task of asking folks smarter than I the answer to life the universe and everything or at least what’s going on in their corner of the Fintech phenomenon

Share and enjoy!

Happy New Year to all 🙂

~~~

Links I reference are:

LFP040 – The 7 Strategies of Banks in Response to the Fintech Revolution with Anna Irrera Financial News

FN Fintech banner

In episode 40 it’s a good time to turn to the response of the banking sector (used here as a proxy for all FS incumbents) to the Fintech revolution – both Fintech’s #newFS and its #newTech/#newIT side.

anna irreracropI couldn’t think of anyone better to discuss this with than Anna Irrera who is perhaps the only full-time journalist working on Fintech in London. She spearheads the Fintech section of what is now the Financial News but was decades back when I recall getting the first edition the London Financial News, now owned by the Dow Jones Group.

FN also has a quarterly fintech-focused publication Fintech News, Specific areas of focus within fintech include: alternative finance, blockchain, big data, robot advisory, cyber security, trading platforms and digital payments systems.

Anna is well known in London FS on both the Fintech and #oldFS sides of the current divide and always talks from the perspective of speaking to the miners at the coalface rather than the warmth of the press office.

Topics we discuss include: Continue reading

LFP039 – A Deep Dive Into the World of Startup & Small Fintechs with Alexandre Gaillard CEO InvestGlass

greatstories

In this episode we are taking a break from talking to the biggest players in London Fintech and dive instead into the far more numerous, if lower profile, world of small Fintechs.

Given the outburst of tech and business creativity right now there have been plenty of new and young companies forming in this sector – both from the Fin side and the Tech side of the FinTech phenomenon.

It’s admirable that so many folks are foregoing the wage slavery and potential necessity to be a clone to fit into giant FS or IT firms and starting out on their own. Equally as all the stats show it’s a highly risky path with the vast majority falling by the wayside.

How do startup and small Fintechs alter the odds?

What is it like working at the smaller end of the Fintech ecosystem?

Alexandre Gaillard

I am delighted to be joined to discuss this topic by Alexandre Gaillard. He is uniquely qualified being the founder and CEO of a small Fintech Investglass and the Founder of the Swiss Fintech Meetup.

 

 

There’s plenty to talk about in this world and amongst the many topics we discuss are: Continue reading

LFP024 – Lessons from my 25yrs in Fintech, #oldFS, #newFS and VC with Nigel Verdon Founder of Currency Cloud

Currency Cloud

I am delighted to be joined on the show today by Nigel Verdon founder and Chairman of Currency Cloud (who have always been my “Fintech insiders” Fintech of choice and have now done over $10bn of business) and also partner at OGC Capital – Anglo-Dutch VCs.

NIgel VerdonOn LinkedIn Nigel modestly describes himself as:

“Broad range of experience from tech guy to trader guy with deep industry experience in capital markets, foreign exchange, international payments and technology.”

It’s both novel and refreshing to see modesty in the modern world and (as generally) it’s massively misplaced.  Nigel has been – on anyone’s measure – a colossus in both the #oldFS and #new FS worlds and has now moved into the VC world.

He wrote an excellent piece last year entitled So What Is Fintech? which I recall for having been clearly and deeply thought-through – as rare in s-called “social” (selfcast?) media as modesty.  Only having discussed his career journey on this episode with him do I realise what it has taken to achieve that degree of insight and understanding.

In this wide-ranging and deeply insightful conversation about the long roots of Fintech we cover a broad range of topics including: Continue reading

LFP017 – Innovation Bridge Building between Startups and Incumbents with Samad Masood of Accenture

Accenture_Logo25

Innovation may be great but it leads to challenges – for #newFS how to get it out there (I think the “how to do it” is going well right now”).  For #oldFS the challenge is “how to absorb it”.

This bridging is being done by both new and established firms. In LFP002 Warren Bond of matchi.biz (a smallco/fintech) discussed their dating/database approach to bridge.  In this episode Samad Masood who previously ran Accenture’s Fintech Innovation Lab and is now Open Innovation Lead at Accenture shares his experience of how a big, established player sees this challenge.

Samad has a deep background in this area having been involved in reporting on the startups just as the dot-com bubble was hitting its peak.  One of the key takeaways from that experience for him was that “the best technologies aren’t always the best businesses” – a lesson which needs to be borne in mind in the current boom. A further lesson was that innovation has a great impact than people expect but it also takes longer than they expect.

The fintech stone has been lobbed into a very large pool and the ripples have spread far. Accenture is a multinational management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Measured by revenues, the world’s largest consulting firm and has over 300,000 staff.

Notwithstanding this “large oil tanker” scale it has proved remarkably nimble and agile in orientating itself to the new world (and perhaps see their Ad above). Its reports on Fintech investment patterns are the most widely quoted of all. It was perhaps the first to set up a fintech accelerator program (in New York in 2012) which is now in NY, London, HK and now Dublin.

In terms of bridge building Samad describes his threefold topology of Fintechs: Continue reading

LFP014 – Lifting the Bonnet on Fintech Accelerators with Nektarios Liolios of Startupbootcamp

sbcfintech

In the hot Fintech sector there are few places hotter than being a Fintech in a 3 month accelerator program. But what are they? What’s the inside track? What works well, what is surprising and how is it all changing?

Plenty of dynamics to discuss in today’s episode with Nektarios Liolios, the co-founder of Startupbootcamp Fintech. Prior to that he had over a decade’s FS experience and in particular spent several years In charge of Swift’s Innotribe Startup Challenge. Many of you may not be familiar with that but you will certainly be familiar with some of the alumni of that program – real Fintech royalty such as Transferwise, Currency Cloud (more below the radar but the cognoscenti’s Fintech perhaps), and Azimo.

So who better than Nektarios to “lift the bonnet” today?

Startupbootcamp is a global network of industry focused startup accelerators. It was founded in Copenhagen in 2010 with the core idea of supporting the best entrepreneurs as they grow their startups. So it is a rara avis in terms of not coming out of the US tech scene. It is now the largest in Europe and one of the top 3 worldwide – another rare European triumph. They have helped 200 startups raise a total of over Eu64m creating well over 800 jobs and are in 8 locations worldwide.

 

A Quick Overview of Accelerators, Incubators and Co-working Spaces

Where did the accelerator concept come from? Continue reading

LFP012 – Gluing Fin & Tech Together, Next Gen Consultancy with Farid Tejani of Ignitr

Ignitr bannerLike a huge boulder dropped into the middle of a pond the ripples from Fintech spread far and wide and have plenty of implications, opportunities and threats for surrounding professions. Consultancy is one of these – many have become “too like” the “Old FS” sector they serve. Re-inventing this is a major opportunity.

I am delighted to be joined today by Farid Tejani founder of Ignitr to discuss this and how Ignitr are going about “Innovation Software Engineering” – he has a whole career’s worth of relevant experience.  Ignitr serves the whole FS waterfront – from mentoring startups at accelerators to working with Tier 1 banks – this is certainly a unique perspective in line with the LFP’s mission of “bridging the worlds of suits and t-shirts”.

Before we get into Ignitr we discuss the fascinating question – one which has resonated down the ages – of gluing together “Fin” and “Tech”.  One hears the phrase Fintech so often it’s easy to forget that its comprised of two separate things even if the overly excited pronounce that they are converging. Just for clarity Fin – is a social (or perhaps at worst antisocial) activity between human beings and the Tech – is the method of recording and transacting.

These are old concepts. Some of the first accounting entries (the Fin) were chiselled thousands of years ago in stone (the Tech). Bankrupt (definitely a Fin concept in recent decades) comes from the custom of breaking the bench (the Tech) of an insolvent medieval italian moneylender. Reuters got the jump on stock exchange information by utilising the first telegraph wires.

Farid discusses examples from the first ATM (anyone know where that was?) and Continue reading

LFP008 – London Fintech’s Strengths and Weaknesses with Richard Goold of Wragge Lawrence Graham

wragge lawrence graham fintech

I have given this episode a huuuge write-up as it’s such a vital topic. So if you don’t want to read 2,500 words, listen instead 🙂

Let’s simplify a Fintech’s journey into three schematic stages:

  • Stage 1 “turning an idea into a product”
  • Stage 2:  “turning a product into a business
  • Stage 3: turning a business into a grown-up business” (IPOs, M&As etc)

In recent months I have come to see as London Fintech’s greatest strength in-depth right now as Stage 1. We could call this a Fintech-Startup … building your plane, taxiing to the runway, then accelerating down the runway and trying to get the wheels off the ground (clients).

Stage 2 is the bleeding edge in London which many are struggling with. The Fintech-Scaleup, going beyond a handful of early-adopters, Crossing the Chasm to use Geoffrey Moore’s famous title.

Stage 3 is a rarefied level where very few are at (generally the ones with eight figure funding). You might perhaps call this moving from being “a Fintech” to a “Mature Business in the FS sector” – they gradually start looking, feeling and acting more like young corporates.  They may IPO, they may remain private, they may sell themselves to an incumbent – but they are recognisably a mature business.

Historically a successful journey from inception to IPO/exit takes up to a decade. If you look at UK Stage 3s who aren’t at the exit yet eg Zopa was founded in ’05, Funding Circle in ’10, Crowdcube in ’10, Transferwise in ’11.

The bleeding edge phase changes of Stages 2 (“gas to liquid”?) and 3 (“liquid to solid”?) generally require accessing two elements – Capital Markets and Savoir Faire. It is the relative lack of these two factors perhaps that is proving a real “invisible barrier” for many London Fintech Startups and Scaleups right now.

In this episode we discuss why this is the case in London. How did it come about? What can we learn from the US? What advantages do we have under our nose?

Quite a lot for one episode!

 

RICHARD GOOLD

Richard GooldI am extremely fortunate to be joined in this episode to discuss these issues by a man who has spent his whole career to date working with tech companies, and now Fintech companies, at all of the above three stages. Richard Goold is a partner at international lawyers Wragge Lawrence Graham who are the premier Fintech lawyers in London (they have the largest IPO practice on AIM for example).

Richard co-chairs the firm’s global Tech Sector Group which comprises 125 lawyers & travels a lot to San Francisco, New York and Boston.

He works with all stages of Fintechs from very early Stage 1 (who make use of the firms Jumpstart platform – a suite of free advice and documents) through to nine-figure deals for Stage 3s.

He started his career at the firm working with 3i on over 30 transactions in the days when 3i was the biggest investor in technology in Europe.  Thus he has a deep historical understanding about why we are where we are right now.

We have a wide-ranging conversation – Continue reading