Author Archives: LFP

LFP173 – The Blockchain Digitisation of Tuvalu & Implications of Digitisation At Large w/Dave Washburn CEO nChain

nChain are part of a small consortium are working on a project with the Tuvalu govt to put all of its records on a digital ledger – aka Blockchain, thus becoming the first country to do so. Tuvalu, comprises 9 islands, has a domestic revenue of $60m (a chunk of which comes from its ownership of the .tv domain), has a ca 11,000 population but does not have an electronic banking system. The plan is to move the country’s national register to the Blockchain, will be followed by an exploration into digital currency, a huge feat of technological leapfrogging.

In this episode we are joined by Dr Dave Washburn CEO of nChain who discusses not only this landmark project but the broader and wider implications of digitisation as a whole.

Digitisation is neither good not bad in itself – like a knife it can be wielded for good or for ill. However as digiitsation of everything continues apace what simplifying criteria, what simplifying metrics are we to use in particular cases of digitisation?

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LFP172 – The Multiple Dimensions of the Challenges of Digital for Incumbent FS Projects w/Tony Clark CEO NextWave

Little more than a couple of decades ago IT was a very back office function in large FS organisations. Now it has completely inverted to become centre-stage in roughly every dimension of being in business, FS included.

Tony Clark, serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of NextWave Consulting has over thirty years experience of large City  FS projects and takes us on a tour of the all-encompassing challenges facing all large incumbent FS players in not just reacting to but in leveraging the digital technologies and digital ecosystem to ensure they are at the leading edge not the trailing edge of the 21stC digital revolution so changing business right now.

Tony’s premise is that FS institutions need a phase change of approach to successfully leverage change. Topics discussed include: Continue reading

2021 New Year Special: The Elite’s Governance & Cultural Revolutions – Key Insights from Spengler, Nietzsche, Lasch

2020 has been crazy and 2021 doesn’t seem to be breaking the trend. The LFP New Year Special is traditionally an occasion to looks back to the prior year and forward to the next. However given the seismic changes in Governments Governance of the people and the ongoing cultural revolution I thought we should take a look at what historical authorities said that would go some way to understanding the roots of our current situation. If we don’t understand the causes of our current predicaments we will not be able to develop a regular antidote.

Thus the 2001 New Year Special is a very special episode that steps out of the usual Fintech stream and instead goes off to the library to see what we can learn from prior centuries.

So if you want to hear details of Fintech tune in to the rest of this years shows and skip this one.

If however you are interested in the future of your society and civilisation then you might be interested in particular in three themes I will cover. Continue reading

LFP171 – The Past, Present and Future of Venture Capital w/Josh Bell Dawn Capital

Venture Capital is nigh-on essential for many ambitious, big-build, fast-scaling Fintechs and Techs in general. Fund raising is essential. Thus how the VC market is evolving is of the utmost importance to ambitious firms and founders.

In this episode Josh Bell one of the founding partners of leading London-based European-wide VCs Dawn Capital who have raised over a billion to invest in growing businesses joins us to look back, look around now and look into the future. How can you best raise funds? Plenty of learn…

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LFP170 – Three Major Indicators That Insurtech Is Making Demonstrable Progress Changing An Industry w/Andy Rear

Andy Rear was until recently head of the innovative Digital Partners, MunichRe’s London subsidiary which pretty much invented Reinsurance (/Insurance) As A Service (which he covered way back in LFP074). In this episode he rejoins us to present evidence that Insurtech is actually changing an industry.

Andy himself is off to do Non-exec-ing and a PhD in Pensions behaviour and so this might well be his swansong podcast on the topic of Insurtech and as such an industry leading figure it’s a must-listen! Has Insurtech changed an industry – Andy lays out the evidence and you decide…

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LFP169 – A Serial Entrepreneur’s Guide To Fund-Raising w/Peter Keenan CEO Apexx Global

Capital-raising is an absolutely core-skill for entrepreneurs and their growing businesses – and every tech business de facto needs to grow (margins low and intense competition).

Peter Keenan, CEO and co-founder of merchants-payments provider Apexx Global, has raised capital in a total of five companies and thus talks to us from a position of considerable personal experience.

Most capital raisings most of the time for most companies are challenging processes. Thus all can benefit from hearing experiences and case studies – whether one has never done it, or whether one has done it many times.

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LFP168 – A Superb Guide To “Open FS” Progress Around the World w/Keith Grose Head Plaid UK

Open Banking started a far greater wave, The ability for people to share ever-more of their financial data – not just current account but *everything* from mortgages to investments to pensions data promises to revolutionise the world of FS and people’s financial lives. In this excellent conversation Keith gives us a tour d’horizon and a tour de force covering Case Studies of the progress of Open Finance in the UK, Europe, US, Canada, Australia and China. All of these countries have taken very differing routes starting from very different places but are all marching in the same direction.

Open Banking itself in the UK started with a Payments Directive and is thus only aimed at current accounts so far from “open banking” is not even “open banking assets” (only payment accounts are included so eg no data on savings accounts) let alone “open banking liabilities”.

Plaid are currently in the process of being acquired by Visa for $5.7bn which shows you their importance, is the largest Open Banking provider in the US and “the only transatlantic Open Banking provider” connecting Fintechs with all these diverse sources of customer’s financial data from their providers.

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LFP167 – Traditional Insurance Model Inverted, Community Insurance Reinvented w/Tobi Taupitz CEO Laka

The alignment of economic interests between buyer and seller is much spoken about but little done. Over two and half years ago when Tobi was first on the show he spoke about the idea of aligning Laka’s interests with their clients. Now we hear this narrative all the time but rarely is it deeply true.

In Laka’s case they do not take payment for the insurance but rather earn money when they pay-out on an insurance claim – the opposite of the insurance industry. Its a “back to the future” approach – back to the origins of insurance as being collectives, co-operatives of say Swiss dairy farmers up an alp bonding together for mutual (sic) support.

Well back then it sounded like a wonderful idea but one that would need careful paramaterisation. As with anything in life one needs to balance compassion for others with compassion for yourself – all too many teachers, doctors et al go into their profession to help people but come out of it decades later bitter and cynical. In the same way you can set up a company tomorrow that is totally focused on client-value (which many say of course but no-one really does) but if you are 100% on client-value then that’s zero value for your business and at some point you go bust.

In this episode we look at truly aligned Insurtech. How has the model gone? Is it widespread? Will it catch on? What does the future hold?

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LFP166 – Progress On Scaling Identity Verification Across Europe & Globalising w/John Erik Setsaas Signicat

All Fintechs in one country will have long since sorted identity/AML/KYC and so forth. But what happens when they need to scale in other countries or even go global? Like many things in Fintech this was a hard challenge only a few years back. However now it is made much easier by the likes of Signicat who are physically in nine locations in Europe and alongside global partners such as Onfido can offer globally-scalable identity services. Which is a pretty amazing feat given how countries vary so much as we shall hear.

Today we are joined by John Erik Setsaas  VP Identity and Innovation at Signicat and who has 25 years of experience in identity and thus understands the long view, the challenges and also the more recent progress at cracking some of these nuts as well as what the future may hold.

Tech never sleeps and every successive layer of out-sourceable services that are provided in Fintech mean that every new generation of Fintechs can provide yet more interesting and sophisticated services to customers and businesses.

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LFP165 – Relationship Banking – the Surprising Answer to the Needs of Growing Techs? Tom Butterworth MD Silicon Valley Bank

In a world ever-more focused on transactions and digitisation what place is there for relationship-banking? Apparently not a lot, yet the market-leader – SVB – wholly embraces this approach over the whole journey from Startup to FTSE. In this show we discuss what relationship banking means in the 21stC for one of the hottest sectors in the market.

SVB is the commercial bank for high growth companies and the biggest banker for PE/VC firms. In the UK they have 4,000 clients, over one thousand of which are pre-series A. As we heard in LFP163 SVB are also the world leaders in Venture Debt.

Tom Butterworth is the Head of Early Stage at SVB in London and joins us today to talk about the importance of relationship-banking, of looking after the customer and of viewing the financial aspect of the relationship across the whole life cycle of high growth companies.

We discuss how serving a vertical can enhance the clients in many ways as well as produce the deal flow to make the approach commercially viable – knowing a single sector in great depth leading to, inter alia, a much deeper understanding of credit-risk than simply putting numbers in a spreadsheet.

Topics discussed in this show include: Continue reading