LFP066 – Solving Fintech’s Profitability Problem with Bob Jones CEO & Founder Blue Motor Finance

LFP Blue Motor Finance2016 is the year Fintech realised it had to aim for making a profit. Very few do and for the tiny handful that do its mostly “minimal”. Solving this problem is absolutely vital for the Fintech revolution. This is the story of a Fintech that has done just that – satisfying customers, staff and shareholders. Blue Motor Finance has gone from 12 to 100 staff, 0 to 40 people “on the road”, £0 to £200+m loans, and £0 to seven-figure profits in just two years. A phenomenal achievement, and by a firm not widely known in the broader Fintech world.

Bob-JonesSo listen up and find the real secrets of balanced Fintech success as CEO and founder Bob Jones shares how a lifetime’s lessons (having been in asset finance for over 50 yrs) has enabled him to reach these goals.

Bob has been a CEO of some big companies, many of which he turned round. An management buy-in provided a bridge from the top roles in BigCo to starting from scratch and leveraging all that experience.

So without further ado topics we discuss include: – the Society of the Spectacle

– an Iberian wolf sanctuary

– the Beatles first concert with Ringo as drummer and the location; what the cavern club was really like (as opposed to the constructed Spectacle that the media presents us with these days)

– and excellent documentary on YouTube about a later Liverpool band – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

– Bob’s career learning about asset based finance from being a rep all the way to a highly successful CEO of several large companies

– turning round Tricity Finance

– rigorously applying the “available for costs” principle

– the use of tech to deliver business results across the board – in the modern world it would have been called a Fintech

– the ethos in many banks in those days of “managing your career not your job”

– the £104m Management Buy-In of Warrior Group which was formed to acquire NAAFI Financial Services, a division of the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes

– how the mentality of using tech to deliver has run through to these days

– the importance of really understanding the business you are in and the imperatives that need translating into tech tools

– how to disrupt markets that are already sewn-up by incumbents

– “better, smarter, faster is a hackneyed phrase but has some relevance here”

– in the UK there are £88bn of car sales every year (!!!) of which £25bn is credit arranged at point of sale (the business Blue Motor Finance are in) – huge potential to expand the market as well as disrupt the existing order

– the necessity of a great team “who live in an ego-free zone”

– robust funding (learned the hard way)

– lending carefully and sensibly [MB: “easier said than done” often heard rarely done (measured over credit cycles)]

– credibility and trust – not just of the business but of the CEO in order to magnetise and attract a top team in the first place; despite the propaganda one hears most Fintech’s take a long time to get a stable, excellent team that works together well

– the whole of the BMF management team were known to each other or to people they knew before they re-launched BMF – “we’ve got no-one we brought in cold”; the importance of this for mutual trust within the team

reducing recruitment risk – important ways of doing this

– the importance of their location just outside Sevenoaks

– the importance of using “oldskool channels” – cf Smart Pension in LFP059 another amazingly rapidly successful Fintech; interfacing between a vastly complex “real world” and the more abstract interweb world

– the importance of not underestimating the quality of the incumbents

– the importance of leaping ahead of your own IT systems by restarting every few years – creative destruction applied by oneself to one’s own business

Project Greenfield as one of Bob’s long term key approaches to any business

– “one of the great benefits of working with VCs is you never lose sight of what you are here to do”

– the importance of diversfying funding

– what BMF are looking for in the future

And much much more 🙂

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