Tag Archives: Networking

LFP102 – Special Episode! Entrepreneurship + Can App Banks Become Proper Businesses? w/Ricky Knox CEO Tandem Bank

App Banks are following many courses with many motivations. Who better to guide us through this ever more complicated maze of motivations and destinations than Ricky Knox, Founder and CEO of Tandem Money/Bank and serial entrepreneur sans pareil.

inter alia (alia being things like Insead) Ricky founded GSM Systems in 2003 (where he remains non-exec chairman) which now has partnerships with >170 mobile operators in >70 countries.

In 2005 he founded Small World Services taking it from inception to a Top10 global money transfer businesses with nigh on $5bn annual turnover.

Not content with these laurel leaves he founded the well-known Fintech Azimo in 2012 which does remittances to 198 countries globally, has half a million customers and more than 270,000 cash pick-up locations worldwide.

In 2015 he founded Tandem Bank, which (another inter alia) bought Harrods Bank – which certainly makes it a standout in Fintech as a whole, let alone in the App-Banks sub-sector.

All of which background (and more not included!) makes him ideal to discuss whether the current crop of App Banks are going to turn into real businesses – you know those businesses that are self-supporting and whose revenues are higher than their costs 🙂

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP056 – “Everything You Wanted to Know About Fintech Venture Capital But Were Too Afraid To Ask” with Rob Moffat Partner at Balderton Capital

Balderton BannerI am  delighted to welcome Rob Moffat, Partner at Balderton Capital to dive into the topic of Venture Capital and Fintech.  As I aim to present London Fintech in the round I have been – for a long time – keeping my eye open for a friendly VC to have on the show. This has taken two years would you believe!

Viewed from Mars you might think this is curious given how the whole mainstream tech media is so focused on fund-raisings, so-called valuations (and fantasy animals with one horn), and the whole machismo around money.

Viewed not from Mars the VC sector globally is perhaps rather problematic. If this is a surprise to you then I recommend as an entry point Diane Mulcahy’s 2014 Harvard Business Review article Venture Capitalists get well paid to lose money. As a former VC she knows where to direct the fire – high fees, illiquidity and underperformance. As I recall in the greatest tech boom ever, in the US the aggregate stats are something like that the average VC hasn’t even returned to the investors the funds they raised, let alone got a carry cheque (the performance related fee).

Furthermore as we heard way back in LFP008 with Richard Goold the UK/European venture capital market was very thin indeed in most of the 20th Century (post-WW2 the UK basically had the (originally government) 3i as the only player for a long time) and returns were poor.

Set against this virtually every Fintech that scales needs VC money – without which there would be no boom at all.

Equally like in all industries there are always some good players with a reputation for adding value. It was such a lead that led me to Balderton Capital who are one of the real players in the London Fintech scene.

Rob MoffatRob also writes a lot on the industry – I recommend his blog – and is on the board of seven of Balderton’s investments, the best-known of which in UK Fintech are perhaps GoCardless and Nutmeg. Balderton invests around £20m per annum into Fintech.

Above and beyond this Rob is – finally – someone who is happy to talk on air about the reality of VC and Fintech. As he joined the firm in 2009 (from Google) he has experienced the Fintech world from roots through shoots and now into a rather varied garden.

There is more than plenty discussed on the show, key topics include: Continue reading

LFP044 – How can Fintechs Scaleup, get more Robust yet preserve their Culture? Alex Langridge Director at Digital Recruitment Firm The Up Group

Connecting digital leadersToday I am delighted to welcome Alex Langridge Director of The Up Group on the show to talk about the very hot topic of whether Fintechs can grow up without, as it were, turning into their parents.

Less metaphorically what will mean that Alternative Finance remains alternative and doesn’t just end up like a Moorish house, inward looking into its own courtyard. Will they become like banks with levels and levels of internal committees, office politics and a lack of focus?

There are two key factors here.

Firstly the firm has to decide what its culture is. Which parts of that were just startup land? For many client or business facing AltFis suits are de rigour and t-shorts were startup. Which parts do they want to keep.

Secondly who do you recruit? It’s a good gossip topic over drinks for insiders on the London Fintech scene to discuss the obvious “don’t fits” – the imported investment bankers oozing arrogance and entitlement – sticking out like a sore thumb. Quite in contrast to real Fintechs who, having grown from nowhere know that they have been lucky to survive a perilous path that most of their compatriots have fallen off. And there but for the grace of God they could too have fallen.

It’s at this Nexus that the role of “a professional search firm” – aka head-hunters is key.

Alex Langridge LIThe Up Group was formed in 2007 with a vision to become the primary destination for digital talent. They must be doing well given the number of gigs they have worked on in Alternative Finance for some of the leading players.

It’s a pleasure to be joined by Alex who has placed some key hires into Fintechland and thus faces these challenges every day.

Plenty is discussed on the show including: 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

LFP038 – Highlights from Lendit 2015 Europes Largest P2P Conference with Peter Renton

The road goes on forever - next Lendit already teed-up.

The road goes on forever – the next Lendit is already lined-up

I am delighted to be joined by Peter Renton to discuss some key highlights from the Lendit Europe 2015 conference, especially for those of you who weren’t there and even for those of you who were as in the afternoon it split into two streams.

Peter Renton PhotoPeter was back on the show in LFP015 way back in last December wearing his Lend Academy hat relating to us the amazing story of the development of P2P in the US – something he saw from it’s very origins when it was scarcely noticed.

Today he is joining me wearing his Lendit Conference hat. Lendit now runs by far the world’s largest P2P conferences – some 2,500 in Lendit US 2015, 500 in Lendit China 2015 and yesterday around 750 in Lendit Europe.

In this episode we have an off-the-cuff conversation about what leaps out to us as the really interesting things happening in P2P in Europe right now.  It’s a great way to get up the curve fast and we discuss a wide range of topics: 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

LFP004 – Fintech The 3,000 Feet Overview – 3yrs of New Finance with Eddie George

new finance

In LFP001 – Fintech The 30,000 Feet Overview I mentioned that the first reference I had seen of the word Fintech in its modern sense was by a man in a pub 3yrs ago,  Eddie George was that man (and you’ll have to listen to the episode to find out which pub 😀 ). He talks about the journey from a beer in a pub to now running the worlds largest Fintech professional network.  New Finance has getting on for 3,000 members, events in London, New York, San Fransisco, Paris and looking to open in Toronto and Warsaw, and has an active YouTube channel where highlights of events are shared for free.

Above and beyond these bare facts what I find more impressive about Eddie is that in my full-time hanging round and talking to many many folks and businesses in the Fintech scene, Eddie’s name not only crops up time and time again but also always in a positive light in terms of how he helped someone.  In a world where plenty of folk talk the talk (of helping others) Eddie walks the walk.

Eddie and I have deep backgrounds in computing (going back it transpires not just to Unix days but also both having owned a Ti58 (one of the first really programmable calculators in the 70’s)).  We also joint experience of over 50yrs in the City. So as well as New Finance the organisation we took the opportunity to have a “3,000 feet” level conversation about the evolution, challenges and opportunities of Fintech.  Continue reading