Tag Archives: Incubators

LFP077 – Capital Markets Fintech with Mark Beeston founder Illuminate Financial

Today we aim at the beating heart of FS – its IT systems. I am delighted to be joined by Mark Beeston founder of Illuminate Financial who has over two decades of hardcore FS experience trading derivatives, COO- and CEO-ing, to discuss Capital Markets Fintech.

A lot of Fintech is B2C, some is B2B but there is a whole chunk trading under the Fintech rubric which aims not to disrupt the provision of FS but rather enhance the incumbents. Disrupting existing IT vendors to FS not FS.

Illuminate Financial are Capital Markets VCs extraordinaire. Their claim is “we cross the chasm between enterprise Fintech and the Financial Institutions it should serve”. I can do no better than quote further re where this gulf comes from:

Regulation is increasing, the industry is deleveraging, and compliance is becoming ever stricter.

Financial institutions have been slow to adopt new technologies, while vendor management and procurement processes are focused on contracting multi-million dollar enterprise solutions from billion dollar corporations.

In doing so, they often overlook the innovative lower cost and highly scalable solutions offered by newer and more entrepreneurial suppliers.

Organisations know that the answers may lie in Fintech. Yet the ever-growing hype around the subject has made it more and more difficult to distil the signal from the noise.”

Topics discussed include:  Continue reading

LFP067 – Rethinking Banking: Marketplaces and App-Only Banks with Tom Blomfield CEO Monzo Bank

LFP Banner MonzoReformation or refactoring of banking is the Holy Grail of the Fintech Revolution. Do that and the revolution is a big deal. Get nowhere near and its all rather marginal. So-called challenger banks have ended up rather same-y. Will “App-only” banks end up going down the same route forced my micro-regulation and micro-supervision into the same tight mould. Or will they somehow remain within the constraints of the mould but somehow break it at the same time?

Its that paradox that faces Tom Blomfield CEO and founder of Monzo Bank. (and co-founder back in the day of GoCardless who were on the show in LFP046) A long way towards full authorisation as a bank will they become merely “me-too” or will they refactor banking as we know it?

Tom BlomfieldI have been an interested spectator on the sidelines for come time wondering which way the ball will bounce. At Lendit Europe 2016 I finally succumbed and took one of Tom’s pre-paid Mastercards – not least as which they offer wholesale exchange rates abroad and I was just off on holiday. It’s actually quite cool and more useful than expected. Certainly one gets a clear idea of what its like to feel like the business is really focusing on you as a customer-centric organisation with great design and service.

But back to the big picture – will Tom change the mould or will the mould change Tom?

Topics discussed include: 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

LFP016 – New Year’s Special – Behind the Scenes, UK Fintech 2015 and Occupy Fintech!

LFP016 banner

The New Year is a time of reflection, a time for looking forwards and a time to take stock. So in this light this will be a special, somewhat off-piste episode with just me at the microphone. This episode has three parts:

In Part 1 I talk about some of the behind the scenes stories that go into making the LFP and share some of my thoughts about the challenges of the creative journey – a journey which many fintechs will have been through and are going through.

In Part 2 I discuss the five themes that I expect to see in UK Fintech in 2015.  These all go under the overarching banner of “2015 – The Year When Fintech Grows Up”.

  1. Less Spin
  2. A Shake-Out
  3. Fintech Maturing and Breaking-Up into Subsectors
  4. Group-Think in the Subsectors
  5. #NewFS Getting More Solid

If Xmas is a time for traditional rituals like family, over-eating, and hitting Amazon Prime bigtime 😀 it’s also a time for thinking of those less fortunate than ourselves.

If you work in Canary Wharf you will probably never see a homeless person there (I never have – are they kept out?). Meg Hillier the MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch points out that in Hackney a staggering 47% of children live in poverty :-O 🙁

In Part 3 I discuss the wider societal impact of Fintech and its media narratives.

Will Fintech, driven by the “billion dollar IPO narrative” end up being just another “get rich quick scheme” for a tiny few and become self-centred and greedy like the existing widely-disliked banking system?

Is Fintech just about creating some new mega-corporates that will live in tall shiny buildings?

Can Fintech be more than this?  Can it have a social conscience, can Fintech contribute to society and make the world a better place?

 

Let me know what you think!  In my pre-Xmas mode of thinking of those less fortunate than ourselves I tweeted a few socially pertinent tweets under the hashtag #OccupyFintech.  For those of you interested in this topic please feel free to use and amplify.  You don’t even have to sleep outside in the cold in a tent 😀

In the next episode  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