2022 New Year Special: How The World Is Governed – An Exploration Of The Nature Of Globalism, The Ne Plus Ultra Issue Of Our Time

Civilisation I believe is at a crossroads. The globalists’ road has a stench that we can smell from the crossroads. Their dystopian future has been designed for far longer and in far more detail than anyone who has not researched it would ever imagine. It is no secret, no paranoia, and is documented in the public writings of the UN, the WEF and many more NGOs and private clubs of oligarchs. It is already impacting the lives of billions of citizens. It has long been designed in plain, documentable sight, by a complex network of NGOs and supra-national institutions and in essence private clubs of oligarchs. At a governance level covid is merely an accelerant to the super-scary UN Agendas 21 (signed in the 1990s in passing) and Agenda 2030. I won’t be covering agenda 21 or agenda 2030 – there is plenty of high quality material out there. Suffice it to say that the bland Blairite words of the UN website – sustainability et al – cover ideas of creating a future so dystopian that few science fiction writers can have imagined it. “They will own everything, have all the power and they will be happy” we will be reduced to little more than farm animals in their eyes, banging the rocks together to create a spark when the lights keep going out as our Dear Leaders sprint towards net zero.

I have changed my view on going back to the old normal as opposed to the oligarchs new normal. I used to think that was a good idea. However the increasingly tyrannical actions of major governments – and I am not just talking re covid here but in information management that would have impressed Stalin, Mao or Hitler, in actions to stop protests (and in a brilliantly recursive fashion stopping protests about changing the rules on protests), but also in lethal laws in the UK which allow state agents to break any laws they like. Their almost complete death star has already destroyed nations, traditions and long-fought hard-won gains such as liberty and freedom

Yes there are many elements of old normal which are essential to revive – freedom and liberty uppermost – our ancestors fought so so long to bequeath those to us, we would betray not just them but our children and grandchildren if we were the generation that blew it. However and this is the key to my change of thinking we cannot roll back the clock knowing what we know now. To sketch a couple of pictures on a whiteboard Continue reading

LFP194 – Do We Need a Radically Decentralised Approach to Identity & is Tim Berners-Lee Right? w/Kirill Slavin CEO Reputation Transfer

With the long-planned centralised ID (via pretext of “medical passports”) juggernaut bowling down the road towards us and ushering in a Western version of the Chinese Social Credit Score where your Human Rights, rather than being God-given, become a function of  your obedience to ever-more politician-decided criteria it seems a great occasion to discuss what an alternative might look like. No less than Tim Berners-Lee has an alternate vision with his Solid project“Solid is a technology for organizing data, applications, and identities on the web.”

Serial entrepreneur Kirill Slavin is CEO of Reputation Transfer an InsureTech focusing on data portability and extra data points for insurers.

Kirill (who is also CEO of EdTech Academator – busy guy) joins us in this episode to discuss a radically different take on digital identity as well as discuss whether Berners-Lee is right, wrong, too radical or not radical enough.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP193 – GovernanceTech: Changing Companies for the Better w/Antoine Argouges CEO Tulipshare

In the hundreds of incoming requests to be on the LFP there are few that truly stand out as something fresh and innovative that I haven’t heard of countless times before. Tulipshare is one such rara avis being the first on the show who do GovernanceTech. They are a broker-dealer through which you can buy shares – so far so normal – but with one important twist. They also have campaigns to change companies that you can buy shares in to support and hopefully make them change for the better.

In this show we discuss ethical investment and its challenges, but simply put one of the things that I really liked was not just GovernanceTech per se – putting governance power into the hands of the people in a world in which power gets sucked ever higher and ever-more centrally – but that their campaigns are specific and actionable. All too often “ESG” can simplify to a few high-level bromides. These may be helpful and even necessary but at a minimum are just one side of the coin. In the real world there a million detailed things that are actionable well below super-politicized PC/globalist concepts like “climate change”. As practical examples campaigns at present include demanding that Apple allow 3rd party technicians to fix their products, that Amazon improve the working conditions of Amazon warehouse employees and that Coca-Cola uses recycled plastic. You see what I mean – specific, implementable proposals that make a mockery of any politicised divide in our polarised society. Who wouldn’t want those campaigns to succeed? Plus people can propose new campaigns to Tulipshare making this even more grass-roots/democratic.

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LFP192 – From Startup To Global Without Raising Equity w/Ben Richmond CEO CUBE

Creating a global firm without raising equity is rare but possible and an important route with many advantages for certain types of business. which many young entrepreneurs are relatively unfamiliar with. Ben Richmond founder and CEO of RegTech CUBE certainly knows this path intimately and shares with us his insiders experiences having built CUBE from inception in 2011 to today a global business with offices around the world, clients using their products in 150 countries, some 250 staff and seven-figure monthly revenues based on that most oldskool of concepts organic cashflow alongside debt.

It is a topic we have touched on in prior episodes. In LFP189 we heard about the non-dilutive (ie non-equity) sources of finance via govt grants and tax credits and bridging finance while one awaits those. Back in LFP071 with Faisal Husain founder of former LFP brand-partners Synechron we heard his amazing story about how he founded and grew a company to “7,000 employees in 18 countries in 16 years” without any external capital or debt showing that organic growth can be amazingly powerful for the right businesses.

And just to finish off with prior references another key episode was  LFP163 with Alex Baluta CEO of Flowcap who took us on a deep dive into Venture Debt.

What business characteristics are required to go that route? What the pros and cons of raising equity? What are the pros and cons of debt financing? What does one need to be wary of? All these topics and more are discussed in this episode: Continue reading

LFP191 – Serving Microbusinesses Payment Needs with Fintech w/Ravi Jakhodia CEO Coupay

Serving the sole trader or microcompany is super-important right now as economies and indeed societies continue to try and build themselves back from the ground up after widespread government actions in 2019 which massively favoured MegaCo and governments never-ending pork-barreling monetary printing presses at the expense of the little guy. In this context we define microbusiness as those firms with less than 5 staff or £150k turnover.

Coupay offer a simple way for customers to pay microSMEs faster and easier and supply surround to that basic offering to keep the SME’s admin running smoothly. As such CEO and co-founder Ravi Jakhodia  has spent some time considering the needs of this segment and the issues they have,

In LFP179 we heard from  Jay Bregman joined us to discuss how tech innovations in insuring the small business can help the little guy or gal, the microbusiness get cover they wouldn’t easily be able to otherwise get and hence compete for business which otherwise they could not.

In this episode we hear how a similar mentality applied to payments can empower the microbusiness which would otherwise suffer disproportionate costs.

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LFP190 – The US Pension Market: Past Century, Present & Future w/Jodan Ledford CEO Smart USA

In this episode we cover the super-big picture from the fascinating origins of the US pension market which is barely a century old through the complexities of the current market with some 40 million Americans having no access to a retirement plan and looking into the future how official advice over so-called “low risk investments” – aka “bonds” – is insane in a world of rampant commodity price inflation and over a decade of money-printing.

Jodan is the CEO of Smart USA which is looking to provide the technology which will empower major providers to meet the new and ever-changing needs of tomorrow’s pensioners.

He also gives us a masterclass on the important question of “how we got here” along with the pressing issues of the market at present before we get on to the future.

The US in FS in general is a paradoxical combination of world-leader and far-behind – and this also obtains in their Pensions market. But what are the details behind this sweeping generalisation? What can the US learn from the world and what can the world learn from the US? Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP189 – Navigating Through The Thicket of UK Govt Aid To Firms Inc >2,000 Grant Schemes w/Bhavik Chauhan VP OKR Financial

This episode is a sign of the state-centralist times. Fintech grew in a very different world from our ever-expanding State, super-high tax-burdens, massive regulation et al. However why should SMEs leave all the food on the table for better-resourced BigCos to take? Especially when it falls into that vital category of “non-dilutive funding”. In this episode Bhavik guides us through the plethora of schemes – in particular how to approach tax credits and grant schemes. OKR was set up in Canada by two entrepreneurs who solved a funding problem they had one day with a grant in Canada and gradually grew from there.

In this episode Bhavik guides us through the plethora of schemes – in particular how to approach tax credits and grant schemes.  Did you know musicians can get £5k grants for going on tour (that’s some good beer money)? Did you know new authors can get grants? Did you know Cities give grants? Good to know where taxpayers money goes.

However back in the real world BigCos ace tax credits whilst I’ve heard of founders who even when they get them end up in a thorny bush. How to address this (&the inevitable funding gap)? How to apply and get grants even without matched funding without eating into your “build, build, build” time? All this and more…

So sad as it might be to see a business climate that is the very antithesis of that which led to Fintech forming in the UK, we are where we are, and complexity will keep expanding until we end up like all those places where such happened in the past. To take a simple long pre-Covid example under Gordon Brown the UK tax code tripled in length. Osbourne came in promising to simplify it. And promptly doubled it in length. It is just this kind of ever-increasing complexity of environment that so tilts the table in favour of BigCo at the expense of SMEs. However as there is a private sector left help is at hand and, sad to say, I do think every Founder needs to know, indeed needs to have a way to get this gripped the opportunity for important funding from the plethora of State schemes.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP188 – How to IPO w/Nic Brisbourne CEO of recently-IPO-ed Forward Partners

Every startup in the tech world is after a “realisation” – or put in other terms a point in time at which someone puts a real as opposed to notional valuation on your firm – when you sell out in whole via a Trade Sale or in part via an IPO. But how do you IPO? What is the process of IPO-ing actually like? How much does it cost? How long does it take?

Nic Brisbourne, CEO of early-stage VCs Forward Partners, is well placed to explain these topics and many more to us as he is a long-term VC and VCs’ funds rely of course on getting money from successful companies not just putting money in.

However this is merely his indirect experience. We have the great benefit here of not just one who has seen the process countless times as an investor but someone who has initiated and now gone through the process with himself and his firm.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP187 – Architecting Fintechs to put Customer Support/Service at the Centre w/Hristo Borisov CEO Payhawk

is it possible to do Customer Service well whilst not going bankrupt employing thousands of PhDs in Customer Service at megabucks? And back to an old favourite of FS vs Tech why do we even need it if the tech quotes works unquotes? In retail FS or even FS as a whole Customer/Client Service is essential. However (a) we all have horror stories of dire experience whether its Ye Olde “we are experiencing abnormal call volumes” while you slowly age being held in a queue, on (b) online like my recent attempt to check out my ISAs only to keep getting error messages and when I called the phone number the automated system cut me off and (c) in Fintech where, as I moaned about some time ago, due to having done what I was told to do in their quotes help unquotes chat I was locked out of my Revolut card for weeks with no way back.

Payhawk combines credit cards, payments, expenses and cash into one integrated experience. Which must be A Thing as they recently raised $20m in their Series A. And they must be keen on this experience thing as when I asked Hristo to come up with a fresh topic that hasn’t been flogged to death and is often done badly he suggested Customer Service as his first thought and as we shall hear Payhawk’s business design makes it central not peripheral.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP186 – “Doing Culture Well” as a Key Growth Tool w/Richard Arundel Co-Founder Currency Cloud

Currency Cloud are one of London’s oldest Fintechs being founded over a decade ago. As they recently sold themselves for £700m to Visa – in cash – they clearly know something about the entire startup-realisation process. Big time. One of the aspects whose importance grows along the journey which co-founder Richard shares with us is that of Corporate Culture, a topic we have touched on before but one which is no more ever fully-sorted than your relationships are. It might be tough enough to keep one relationship going well for a decade but imagine the countless relationships between everyone in your firm and you get some idea of the scope of the challenge.

When you and a chum start your Fintech you don’t need a culture – your culture is whatever and however you guys do things. For some time the vibe remains collaborative as you are quotes “all in the same room” and like any bunch of folk you develop a modus vivendi as well as a modus operendi.

Indeed it is these characteristics that give the new starter great advantages of speed and flexibility over incumbents.

One of the key challenges is – and this applies to us as people as well as at the scale of businesses – growing up without growing old. You want to mature whilst retaining the fun, experimental, playful, flexible aspects of childhood.

Naturally this is easier said than done both for people and for companies. For companies the increasing specialisation and physical scale leads to greater speciation and it is all too easy for oganogramitis to creep in. Naturally the challenges are only magnified when your colleagues become not just at worst a floor away but thousands of miles away.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading