Tag Archives: Emerging Markets

LFP151 – Meta-Creativity & The Road To Fintech Profitability w/Tim Nicolle CEO Primadollar

As we have repeatedly heard profitability is a major challenge in Fintech. In this episode Tim Nicolle CEO of Trade Finance Fintech Primadollar describes his journey to working out the necessary building blocks to profitability. As someone who has had his own businesses for some 30yrs he has had more experience than most with these challenges.

Despite only being founded in 2015 Primadollar already has an astonishing 12 offices around the world so is well placed to also talk to the globalising of Fintech in this Brexiting year (albeit temporarily (?!) on hold due to a well-know virus of course).

Staff numbers are around 50, one-third in the UK and around two-thirds abroad.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP127 – Impact & Ethical Investment in the Fintech Age w/Tom McGillycuddy CEO Tickr

Almost all investment has collapsed onto a simple idea of maximising your return. But what if you don’t want your investments to harm society and the world? What if you want to help the world and make a great return? What then? Into this gap steps ethical and impact investment.

Tom is CEO of Tickr which he co-founded to open up impact investing to the general public from as little as £5. As well as a career in this area he also did a masters at Oxford Business School on the topic so is well-placed to guide us thorough the maze.

Some of the first ethical investment funds were shariah-compliant Islamic funds. With these in broad terms ethical means not investing in alcohol and armaments and other such categories. At a more detailed level a religious authority rules on whether an individual company is or isn’t “ethical”.

Ethical investment is clearly A Good Thing but once it spread to more secular lands definition became problematic. Furthermore it turned out that between “all white” and “all black” investment lay a huge grey area.

More recently impact investment has appeared on the scene where the focus is not so much avoiding investing in “bad” companies but targeting “good” companies.

Once again though we have a problem that in the real world good and bad are not black and white. For example I might consider Brewdog to be a great company – ethical and impactful (as producing great beer responsibly seems to me both ethical and impactful). However for you this might be neither ethical nor impactful?

So if the principle is simple – ethical investment is clearly Good and impactful is clearly Good. But who defines? The challenge lies not in the concept but in the practical implementation.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP064 – P2P in the US, China and UK with Peter Renton

Lendit US 2017After organising nearly 1,000 folks in the O2 for Europe’s largest P2P conference ever I managed to grab Peter long enough to have a fascinating tour of the globe and P2P sitrep in the three major hubs.

Peter Renton PhotoPeter Renton has perhaps has more of a broad and deep understanding of P2P worldwide than anyone.

When he first came on the show way back in LFP015 he shared with us the fascinating history of US P2P with its hugely up and down roller-coaster road.

Since then he has created the world’s go-to conferences on P2P in the US, China and Europe which gives him a unique insight into what’s what and where.

It’s a big world and P2P is a vast domain these days so there is plenty to discuss. Key topics are: Continue reading

LFP052 – The Realpolitik of Fintech Scaleup with Jon Vollemaere CEO R5FX

LFP R5FX bannerThis week I am delighted to welcome Jon Vollemaere CEO of R5FX to talk about the realpolitik of Fintech Scaleups, Asia Fintech and how relevant the “Fintech” label is and isn’t over the journey from being a Fintech Startup to Scaleup.

R5 offers a new electronic marketplace for emerging market foreign exchange (EMFX) and electronic non-deliverable forwards (eNDF) and has a prestigious single-figure millions investment from Deutsche Boerse and have offices in London and Singapore.

Jon VollemaereJon was one of the early guests on the show, entirely synchronicitously being the guest on  show number 5.

Upcoming Regulation requires Foreign Exchange (FX) trading banks to drastically change their current trading channels for the BRICS and other Emerging Market/NDF currency pairs.

Today these currencies are currently traded and fixed over a number of old, difficult to track and inefficient methods. The market is opaque and liable to imperfect price movements to the detriment of bank customers and consumers, hence regulators desire for change.

R5 is building the emerging marketplace for FX banks that not only satisfies these new legal
requirements, but also specialises in the fast growing transaction volumes in BRIC
and emerging economy currencies.

What is the journey like from startup to serious player?

What in prior and existing narratives around Fintech is BS/hype/fantasy?

What are the differences that matter at the coalface of competition for clients?

Where’s it all going?

Along with these topics we discuss: Continue reading

LFP044 – How can Fintechs Scaleup, get more Robust yet preserve their Culture? Alex Langridge Director at Digital Recruitment Firm The Up Group

Connecting digital leadersToday I am delighted to welcome Alex Langridge Director of The Up Group on the show to talk about the very hot topic of whether Fintechs can grow up without, as it were, turning into their parents.

Less metaphorically what will mean that Alternative Finance remains alternative and doesn’t just end up like a Moorish house, inward looking into its own courtyard. Will they become like banks with levels and levels of internal committees, office politics and a lack of focus?

There are two key factors here.

Firstly the firm has to decide what its culture is. Which parts of that were just startup land? For many client or business facing AltFis suits are de rigour and t-shorts were startup. Which parts do they want to keep.

Secondly who do you recruit? It’s a good gossip topic over drinks for insiders on the London Fintech scene to discuss the obvious “don’t fits” – the imported investment bankers oozing arrogance and entitlement – sticking out like a sore thumb. Quite in contrast to real Fintechs who, having grown from nowhere know that they have been lucky to survive a perilous path that most of their compatriots have fallen off. And there but for the grace of God they could too have fallen.

It’s at this Nexus that the role of “a professional search firm” – aka head-hunters is key.

Alex Langridge LIThe Up Group was formed in 2007 with a vision to become the primary destination for digital talent. They must be doing well given the number of gigs they have worked on in Alternative Finance for some of the leading players.

It’s a pleasure to be joined by Alex who has placed some key hires into Fintechland and thus faces these challenges every day.

Plenty is discussed on the show including: Continue reading

LFP032 – International Remittances in the Fintech Age with Alix Murphy WorldRemit


WorldRemit is one of the world’s leaders in the key sector of remittances. Remittances, to cut to the chase, is largely the province of often poor migrant workers sending their money home. To date this has been dominated by large players such as Western Union who can charge fees of 10-20%. Thus we have the obscene sight of some of the poorest people in the world being charged the highest money transfer rates in the world.

Why is this the case?  Is this pure capitalist theft or are there some structural challenges and processes which absorb much of the margin?  What can Fintech do about it?  What is WorldRemit offering that incumbents are not?

In a Fintech/VC world where the media narrative is all too often about terms centred purely on – lets face it greed and flood-up capitalism [hello the “unicorn” word] – it is nice to be able to discuss a firm which is aiming to empower the poorest users of the financial system.

Alix MurphyGenerally on these shows I take a “vertical” slice and have a CEO of a company to talk about the issue. Nothing wrong and plenty right with that.  In this case though I am taking a more horizontal approach. Alix Murphy, Senior Mobile Analyst, has been in mobile money for many years and shares many stories about mobile transfers in the developing world as well as WorldRemit’s business.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP005 – Innovating in Fintech & Emerging Market FX with Jon Vollemaere of R5FX.com

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There are some huge misunderstandings in the Fintech scene right now.  Innovation is (often) misunderstood. The importance of domain expertise and experience is (often) misunderstood.  Also what’s happening with emerging market currencies and the London Fintech scene as a whole?

On this show today I am delighted to welcome a serial FX entrepreneuer – Jon Vollemaere CEO of R5FX.com (which is all very synchronicitous as this is episode 005 :-)) – to discuss all of these issues.

Wearing his day job hat, upcoming regulation requires Foreign Exchange trading banks to radically change their current trading channels for emerging markets. In essence this is to increase transparency in a market which has around $100bn turnover every day. R5 is leading that change by creating an electronic trading platform for emerging market currencies which is focused on moving the market from voice to screen.

Above and beyond this current incarnation, Jon is an excellent person to discuss innovation, FS, FX and Fintech with as he has 20yrs experience in FX markets and is a serial entrepreneur having worked, in essence, with Fintechs before “Fintechs” existed as such. So he brings great practical experience to the show.

Additionally Jon is a top bloke. Having lunch with him recently I was reminded of the City in the ‘80s – when everyone had something interesting to say outside of Financial Services as well as within it. Indeed it is no surprise that the most creative folks do have the widest horizons. Very tough to be creative if you wear blinkers.


The Importance of Experience and Domain Expertise in Fintech

This is especially valuable in Continue reading