LFP 10th Anniversary Special! The Story of a Decade Of Fintech Evolution As It Happened at the Time

The past decade has seen the most extraordinary innovation in any business sector in the UK and thence world since the industrial revolution . An amazing outburst of creativity and independent players emerged on the oldest and stodgiest sector of all – FS. The LFP was the first, and most blue-chip podcast to cover this scene starting in 2014. This episode is like a mini-documentary that takes us one fast-forward through the development and progress of Fintech as it happened and was perceived at the time.

A decade of the LFP represents a unique historical archive, a super-rare window, a time-machine to be able to look back in time and see how things were perceived at the time. However such is the volume of episodes that if you took on, as a full-time job, listening to every episode in order it would take you well over a man-month of full-on 9-5 listening to go through the whole evolution. I thought more preferable would be a one hour review of this exciting decade of innovation and entrepreneurialism instead 🙂

It is genuinely hard to recollect how much has changed without examining things from a contemporaneous perspective. Witness for example the following anecdote. Talking of chronology and the London tech scene, back in 2014 there was something called Silicon Drinkabout. That was great. Every Friday evening they got some company to sponsor drinks at some pub and one got not just beer but to hang out with tech folk. It’s these little things which really help oil an emerging scene. Anyway the point of recalling this is that even at such a scene the most common question I got when I said I was starting or had just started the London Fintech Podcast was “what’s a podcast?”…

And that was amongst London’s tech savviest folk! Things change so fast these days we tend to forget how fast they’ve changed.

Time does not permit me to cover all episodes – and every episode had many lessons – but I will cover the vast majority, enough to get a real-time on fast forward view of the scene. Doing this exercise certainly surprised me in many cases and I am sure it will too. It reminded me of doing annual appraisals – it was so hard for one’s perceptions not to be overly dominated by the most recent few months compared to rather earlier in the year.

In the next LFP 10th Anniversary Special Celebration Episode I will review the interaction of Tech at large and Society – a super-important topic contextualising not just fintech as such but all of our lives and society. But first let’s review 2014-2024 in the hottest of all scenes that absorbed the most capital.

LFP251 – WARNING Re Mugging & Banking Apps

This is a super-short extraordinary LFP outside the usual programming schedule to alert listeners to the crime of mugging folks and then getting them to transfer under duress large sums of money to the thieves bank account. This is apparently on the increase in London and is well-known in countries such as Brazil and South Africa where people may routinely take burner phones with them when going into the City.

I initially learned about this risk in this Reddit thread.

Many people without reflection may in effect carry access to all of their money on a single device. We look at possible simple answers to avoid unnecessary risk.

There is also a shoutout for a Q& A in the 10th anniversary episode and instructions as how to send the Qs to me for answering in that episode.

LFP250 – Guide to using PR in Tech Firms w/Ben Goldsmith CEO Goldsmith Communications

If you invent the world’s greatest Fintech App in your garden shed that’s impressive – but something only known to you. At which point you need to get the word out to relevant audiences. PR is an essential component in the modern world to help you refine and target that message and to get you and it into the relevant publications/podcasts et al that will reach your target clients and the market in general (think targets for next fund raise perhaps).

At a more macro level, the dark side of PR is that it is, as Musk said propaganda, and one often designed not in the recipients’ best interest, whether it be Bernays getting women to take up smoking or governments getting people to be injected more recently.

However that’s way above the Fintech space and in this episode Ben takes a very value-adding practical approach to what PR is, when you need it and when you don’t, what the value-add is, how to use it well and what to look out for when hiring a PR firm amongst many other insider-angles.

Ben is a long term player in the whole media and Fintech scene including the earliest days of Level39 and working at Balderton Capital VCs and formed his own boutique agency focusing on B2B Fintech and VC PR in 2017.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP249 – Radical Innovation in a Cross-Domain Fashion w/Ani Sane co-founder Terrapay

One major way of innovating is to move into a domain with transferable and out of the box skills/ideas/technology. This presents obvious opportunities  for radical change yet naturally produces equally obvious challenges. In this episode we look at how 4 co-founders created a payments infrastructure Fintech that now connects an amazing 7.5 billion bank accounts, 6 billion cards, connect banks in 144 countries and have 620 employees with offices in 35 countries.

Ani came from FS and so understood not just how money currently moved but also the super-importance of understanding that its an incredibly regulated business.

The other three co-founders came from the telecoms world and had no idea of how money moved. However they brought in what the telecom industry does very well – namely builds at scale, can process small volume transactions and deliver them instantly.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP248 – The Challenges of FS/Fintech Boards esp in the 21stC w/Neil Holden Serial FS NED

The Governance of FS as a whole affects all of our lives as we saw in 2008 let alone in many individual examples of FS/Fintech businesses failing and losing clients money. In our digital age virtually all of our money is digital and next to no-one sees a share certificate any more so all of our investments are digital. Thus what might appear to be a refined topic for a few is at the heart of all of our lives – money being used for roughly everything and savings equating to money saved for tomorrow.

As a result of this central role of money in economies, Boards in FS have always had to be – lets put this mildly – “rather more careful” than Boards of companies which if they fell over would “domino” not very far. Not only do many FS/Fintechs “take care of” clients money but money itself in the current financial model is created out of thin air by banks.

Add to these long standing issues the ever-increasing burden on Boards as a whole from the always metastasising Regulatory State, ever-greater minutiae in FS per se and the State using companies to enforce social agendas which even a decade ago would have seemed unlikely/bizarre and we have a very challenging cocktail.

Neil has 20 years expe4rience on Boards and Chairing sub-committees of FS and Fintech Boards and is thus well-placed to guide us through this labyrinth.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP247 – The Long Slow Path To Tech Success, Issues Involved and Moral Choices w/Ruzbeh Bach CEO City Falcon

The tech world focuses heavily on the “succeed fast or fail fast” model of tech growth. In part this is as VC firms generally have limited life funds and hence cannot handle slower models but is also as the tech press loves the hype/condemn cycle implicit in this. However generally most businesses do not follow this model. Whilst rapid success comes to a few, for more it takes rather longer and for many its a slow rocky path. After all hottie OpenAI (ClosedAI?) took quite some years to make a noticeable splash.

Ruzbeh founded City Falcon a decade ago and whilst, like us all, preferred rapid success, he has moved into the more marathon development model of the business. I was particularly enamoured of his very human/ethical perspective and clarity of the social costs of the “succeed or fail fast” model – namely that it comes at the price of burning your friends and family and employees just so that you can get onto your next gig as fast as possible.

With a huge desire worldwide to move on from all business being dominated by neoliberalism – you know, the “humans qua just another resource model” (with some virtue signalling perhaps as perfume to cover the heartlessness of seeing people as resources) – this is a good time to dive into the slower model. This slower model is definitely no picnic – the longer you hang out in business or in life the more tsunamis you will have to face.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP246: The Crucial Role of Venture Accelerators – NEDs, Advisors, Mentors, Mentors of Mentors, Angels et al – w/Nic Lenz

The Founder(s) is(are) at the heart of creating something new that literally never existed before.  However they very much do not do this in vacuo needing to entice and hire a team below them but also, less well understood, a team around them. The surround will at some point coalesce into a formal Board (as opposed to a pro forma Board for Day0 – and for many days after – NewCos).

In this episode experienced NED/Advisor/Mentor/Angel Nic Lenz and I discuss experience in this field with particular reference to formerly senior BigCo folk who wish to get involved in the SmallCo world attracted by the creativity, and let’s face it greater fun/thrills&spills but also to educating the first time founder, or potential founder who will naturally realise they need a CTO et al but may think that “the organogram below them and some dosh” is all they need.  It’s certainly the minimum viable organisation but is it the optimal organisation for their personal support/challenge as well as the company’s future?

Both Nic and I have seen countless examples of where the right “grey hair or no hair” experienced folk even though very much part-time contributing to the company can make all the difference between success and failure. We also discuss the challenges of transitioning from BigCo to SmallCo – which applies to both founders and venture accelerators – along with mentoring mentors and the key essences of both sides of the venture creator and the venture accelerator equation.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP245 – Fintech in France w/Louis Carbonnier Co-Founder Hokodo

As always there is a fascinating phenomenon when the globalised world of tech meets the localised worlds of custom, people, rules and regulations. As recently as LFP243 we dived in to the world of tech as a whole in Berlin and today we dive into Fintech in France. Needless to say France is a massive market, well banked and a real venue for Fintech. That having been said there are, as always, some downsides. In this episode we have a fascinating historical, philosophical and very practical conversation about the nature of Fintech in France.

Louis is well-placed to discuss these matters being not only a co-founder of Hokodo which is based in Paris and has more than 100 staff, most of whom are in London.

Furthermore he is very multicultural in a European sense having been brought up as first a German speaker in Champagne and then Strasbourg in Alsace which looks both east and west, not least of which as it has been part of Germany and of France at varying times. He moved from there to Paris and describes the Paris-isation of French students and the de-regionalisation process they go through. Furthermore he has worked in Switzerland – also rather Franco-German as well as the UK. Thus who better to lay out the pros and cons of Fintech in France?

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP244 – The Use Of Multiple Models Across The Lending Process w/Jerome Le Luel CEO Triver

In this episode we take the opportunity to talk to one of the most credit risk experienced men in Fintech who has ranged from a dozen years at seminal Capital One through managing Barclay’s £40 bn portfolio, being CRO at Funding Circle to now founding his own Fintech to mechanise further short term SME liquidity financing, Jerome’s stats are that banks automate roughly 5% of this type of lending whereas he believes the vast majority to be automatable.

We discuss what credit risk is in the age of data, automation and Fintechs and dive into the multiplicity of models used in a credit pipeline not just for risk but for wider business management and portfolio management purposes as well as looking at the parameters of automation versus human input. We also look at Jerome’s experience of what is stable about the models value and what is not over significant economic dislocations.

Importantly there are a huge range of uses of credit models above and beyond the simple case of credit risk and Jerome gives us a flavour of these across his own career – a fascinating stat being the incarnation which had 25 models in operation :-!

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

2024 New Year Special: A Deeeep Dive Into Creativity and Its Importance In Creating a New World not a New Order

This 2024 New Year Special forms the sixth and final in a series of six (there will be no more) about how technology – and in this episode way wider forces – are changing us directly for the better (read huge software upgrades) in order to overcome, in a velvet revolution, empowered tyrants.

I said in last years 2023 New Year Special that “It is by far the most ambitious, empowering and positive of all suggesting that we use the insanity as a spur in our sides to seek to flee Plato’s cave, escape the Matrix and speed up our path to awakening in search of love, light and healing.”

Well this one jumps that shark and sets out to empower us all to not just be in search of “love and laughter, song and dance” but to create it via giving us perhaps the deepest podcast dive ever (from conventional reality to well beyond) into what creativity is and how we can amplify it manyfold.

How much of today’s, at a narrow level, tech was unknown a century ago? Imagine how much tech in a century from now is unknown today. How do we become explorers of the unknown and make it known?

It has seven sections:

  1. A Recap of the Series of Six LFP Specials to date
  2. The Three Phases of Existence of all Form
  3. Creators
  4. The Fertile Field
  5. The Three keys to Unlocking Infinite Potential
  6. Voices in your Head
  7. Creating a  New World not a New Order

There is a huge shift in consciousness going on now. The old world is dying in front of our eyes. However a new world is arising and there are a phenomenal number of green shoots growing for those who will look and see.

Let us take a journey from disenchantment and toxic metapolitics, and a world that was going down not up  way before the globalists started boiling frogs. to a world of re-enchantment and the most noble of missions, playing our part in designing a world that will be a tribute to us and a blessing to not just our offspring but humanity as a whole.

To create the New World we need to dive deep into the well of creativity and bring up a bucket of fresh water. May this episode inspire you to understand your innate, your divine if your prefer, powers of creativity and their infinite potential.

We all live – or are imprisoned – in the world of the known and the assumed.

Creativity and the three tools we examine in this episode (plus for the racey an additional angle to turbocharge personal creativity and life) is the ONLY way in which we ever change anything.

Creativity unlocks the door that traps us in the super-finite known, in the matrix, in Plato’s Cave and releases us to explore that vaaast world which is the unexplored world of the unknown. 

Do not think that, as you are just a drop of water, this means you are of no significance. Rather remember that a bucket of water left out in the rain gets filled by nothing other than drops of rain. 

Share and enjoy!