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 →
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?
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 →
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…
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…
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?
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.
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.
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 →
What is called Venture Capital is most of the time actually Venture Equity – the predominant funding model for Startups/ScaleUps. But in many sectors, Fintech included, some UnlistedCos are Very large – valuations in the billions. These are no small companies. Traditional corporate finance theory says (correctly) that equity is expensive and should always be geared with debt. After all it’s what most people do when they buy a house. So for larger Fintechs and other fast-growth sector Venture Debt may well be an important tool.
Alex Baluta is CEO of Flowcap a listed Canadian provider of Venture Debt and with nigh-on thirty years of experience in investment banking as a whole is well placed to contextualise the use and abuse of both equity and debt.
My simple takeaway is withe “small companies” getting ever larger that the equity:debt mix for their capital is a must-consider for their Boards – just as it is on BigCos, next to none of which fund with 100% equity. In terms of debt solutions for the growing firm Venture Debt is an avenue which must be investigated at a certain point/stage.