Tag Archives: Banking

LFP177 – Fintech’s Success: Past, Present (esp re Kalifa Report) and Future w/Nigel Verdon Thrice Fintech Founder

The recent report by Ron Kalifa, for the UK Govt to identify priority areas to support the UK’s Fintech sector and maintain the UK’s global reputation in re, gives us an excellent opportunity to zoom out from that to discuss The Past: why Fintech so successfully started in the UK; The Present: how well the Kalifa Report advances UK Fintech and move on to The Future: what will make UK Fintech successful going forwards.

There is perhaps no one better to discuss this long view with that Nigel Verdon who was at the centre of the digitisation of mainstream  blue-chip FS in the 1990s and subsequently founded three UK Fintechs (Evolution 1997; Currency Cloud 2007, Railsbank 2016).

In all of this sectoral focus however we should not forget that all sectors are part of an economy as a whole and a Government balance sheet. Huge increases in deficits and expansion of money supply is unlikely unless addressed to promote a strong and stable country as a backdrop to Fintech activity and this remains by far the biggest risk to all UK citizens into the future. In terms of the current Kalifa report however, unsurprisingly he wasn’t asked to come up with a fiscal and monetary approach but more bottom-up measures.

Covering such a wide canvas of UK FS over decades this is more of a conversation than something to be precised. However major topics include: Continue reading

LFP176 – Sci-Fi Creeps Ever Nearer – Automated Detection of Emotion In Voice Audio w/Rana Gujral Behavioral Signals

Behavioral Signals aims to “turn your conversational data into actionable insights for your business” via the automated cross-cultural detection of emotions in the audio of conversations. This is a super-new front in machine language recognition and usage one which has to date been rather simplistically approached but one which as we all know every day is essential to real human interaction – witness all the confusion that for example emails can cause which would not occur if we saw people’s body language and heard the tone of what they were saying as well as simply the content in Times New Roman. Indeed it is this deficiency of the latter which led to the invention of emoticons to crudely add back some disambiguation.

Rana Gujral, CEO of Behavioral Signals, is a super-experienced veteran entrepreneur and CEO in Silicon Valley and in this episode he draws the curtain back on if not the final frontier then certainly a might important new one of man-machine interfacing.

Alexa and Siri can do an amazing job today compared to their predecessors a decade or two back, yet neither of them have any sense that they are dealing with a human being – they simply detect “words in Times New Roman” as it were and have no concept that the person asking is a human being for whom words are at times a small part of the bandwidth.

In this show Rana covers one Case Study of a usage of this technology in FS which ably demonstrated that when one is dealing with real technological innovation the use case innovation is itself also truly radical and requires large amounts of initiative and imagination to think beyond the obvious – after all if people already detect emotion how could a computer supplement that?

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP174 – The Huge Success of Digital Wallets and their Future w/Bjorn Goss CEO Stocard

Stocard are perhaps Europe’s most successful Fintech measured by numbers of users – they have over 60 million users of their App (which gets 4.7* on Google Play) and process an amazing 2 billion transactions per annum – a phenomenal achievement. Their users save some 2-5% on average on their shopping and in some countries up to 20% of the population use Stocard for their daily shopping :-O

But what are Digital Wallets? What are their use cases?

Where are Digital Wallets going in the future? Will they keep encroaching further into retail Financial Services as a whole?

There is perhaps no-one better placed to address these questions that Bjorn Goss, co-founder and CEO of Stocard who has roughly a decade on the case and, along with explaining shopping to me (which I clearly don’t understand as I am not getting these available savings)  lays out a clear and credible ambitious vision for the future of the Digital Wallet.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

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

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…

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

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

LFP164 – A Deep Dive Into Ripplenet, A Key 21stC Global Payments Approach, with Marcus Treacher SVP Customer Success Ripple

Payments are being revolutionised. One of the most fascinating examples is Ripplenet – Ripple’s approach to inverting the old model of slow large payments to super-fast, immediate, small payments (the general trend) which will change payments forever. Ripplenet “an internet of value” is used by over 300 Financial Institutions in more than 45 countries, as a next gen global payments infrastructure.

 Marcus has over 30 years of experience in transaction banking and payment technology, including 12 years at HSBC, being a member of the Global Board of SWIFT and an independent non-executive director of CHAPS Co, the UK’s RTGS clearing company.

In this show we start with the super-big picture of how payments have changed over the centuries, how the challenge is not simply tech but how people and organisations relate to this before spiraling in to a schematic overview of the three layers than amount to Ripple’s solution. Continue reading

LFP162 – The Past and Future of Fintech w/Vinoth Jayakumar Partner Draper Esprit

Draper Esprit are one of London’s longer-established VCs and with investments in the likes of Revolut, Transferwise, Thought Machine, Seedrs, Crowdcube and Freetrade might know a thing or two about Fintech. Draper Esprit, like Augmentum who we had on the show last year are also a listed AIM and thus also can offer finance not tied to the cycle of underlying funds – the so-called patient capital model.

Vinoth not only leads Fintech investments at Draper Esprit but has had a long running interest in the sector being at a Zopa Party in around 2007/2008 long before almost every firm now on the scene existed.

In this episode he picks out the key developments in Fintech over the past decade and a half, some of the takeaway lessons that all businesses can implement, some of the challenges and ends with his prospects for the upcoming decade.

Topics discussed on the show include: Continue reading

LFP160 – Entrepreneur Masterclass: What Attributes Do You Need To Create A Billion Dollar Company? w/Clay Wilkes CEO Galileo

The Tech press is full of unicorns – but these are almost always “on paper”. Those companies that someone has bought for over a billion – be it a trade sale or IPO – are far rarer. Clay Wilkes has created both starting with just an idea. Galileo Financial Technologies which he co-founded, powers 95% of US digital banks and 5 out of the top 5 of UK digital banks and was sold to SoFI. Galileo was formed in 2000 and succeeded in growing without and external funding  until raising a $77 million Series A round in October 2019 (from Accel). In the 90s Clay floated his prior startup i-Link which was a pioneer in VOIP, 

In this episode Clay shares the entrepreneurial values that he has found most essential in creating not one but two tremendous businesses and taking them from conception to successful trade sale/float. We also focus on the fact that many of these attributes are practices or skills rather than something that one can be – it is something we can work on and keep refining and improving. Few people are very strong without going to the gym and lifting weights, or as Clay has done, few can run marathons without putting in lots of hard work and going through pain barriers.

But this is no mere “no pain no gain” “just keep slogging away and be brilliant” simple blog post level conversation. Clay is a great antithesis to the oft-promoted US model as entrepreneur as somewhat psycho model which exists but is over-emphasised. Clay’s entrepreneurship is grounded in family life – as he says “what really matters”.

As a special bonus for the show notes I will share two aspects that we don’t emphasise in the show. First Clay came well-prepared – now of course all guests do but I would say that his was in the top 10% of guests. Would you – or I – prepare for “yet another interview” if we had sold our company for a billion the month before? I’d imagine that 99.999% of folks in such circs would, as it were, stroll along with their hands in their pockets – after all you don’t get to build a company of that size without being a good talker.

Another example is that Clay referred to reading my book on the SmallCo Board. Again how many entrepreneurs who had successful created two hugely valued companies would read another business book when they could write several themselves?

In both these cases I am reminded of a book I have read about but not read – “Relentless from Good to Great to Unstoppable” by Tim Grover, trainer of the likes of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

But the real lesson here is not about a conversation with a remarkable man but that he models what we can endeavour to become too. We too can always go the extra mile to do our next task even better than we were going to do it. We too can always keep the beginners mind and always believe there is much more to learn not matter how much we know already.

Finally I am reminded of another rare chap I knew who was the american head of an authentic Chinese lineage (which is super-rare). I recall him telling me that his pupils think he is further ahead than they are because he trained super-hard in the past. This he said is true. But, he said, what they don’t realise is that every day he is leaving them further behind as he trains more and puts more into his training.

What would your life be like – in any any aspect you choose, business is just one – if you committed to seeing how good you could be? And not just that but when you had achieved more than you ever thought you could you remain humble, open, don’t coast and always assimilating more?

The deeper part of this podcast for me is what is behind the words – however the words themselves point to the attributes that we can all practice and improve upon. Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP144 – Convergence: The Innovative Combination of Different Silos w/Sam O’Connor CEO Coconut

So far Fintech has lionised technologies – APIs, Open Banking, AI/ML and so forth. But from a different perspective these are just glues to connect things that haven’t been connected before to make new propositions not previously possible. Although this has been touched on so far – marketplaces aren’t the best example – after all marketplaces are tens of thousands of years old.

In this episode we are joined by serial entrepreneur Sam O’Connor, CEO of Coconut to discuss convergence – the gluing together of components which were previously seen as different things.

Our smartphones glue together things we would have historically done in different places using different devices – camera, mp3 player, and emails for example, In the same way Coconut are focusing on micro-businesses into which all of us indies seem to need to fold ourselves these days and combining banking, accounting and tax in one place – items which historically would have been seen as different propositions.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading