Cuvva have some hundred employees, 400,000 UK clients and 5% of the short-term UK car insurance market which is a phenomenal achievement for any Fintech in any sector. In this episode founder Freddy Macnamara joins us to discuss how price comparison websites have changed the insurance industry, the regulatory review of pricing in re and how to go beyond such websites to, schematically, re-invent the model of a broker who is looking after you for the 21stC insurance markets.
At a higher level this is another delayering play. In the LFP157 we discussed how direct bank to bank payments for merchants would massively delayer the conventional credit card payment chain which has lots of mouths to feed. In the case of insuretech it is simplest to quote from Cuvva’s about page:
“But we soon realised insurance isn’t just lacking. It’s completely broken. It’s built on layers of middlemen and outdated systems.”
Online payments are expensive – directly for merchants and indirectly for consumers as the price is obviously higher due to the merchants having a ~3% cost of payments. But in a world where I as a consumer could pay you as a merchant directly from my phone if you simply gave me your sort code and account number (and you would get the funds immediately rather than with a considerable delay), in a world of Open Banking and APIs can this simple model not be automated and provide the same functionality online to all customers?
It turns out it can and Banked are leading the way of so-called direct-payments. These have many benefits not having been designed in the days when a plastic piece of card with some simple numbers on them was what amounted to account security.
If this is the schematic than as always one needs to understand that traditional credit card payments do but just provide payment but a whole host of features around them. What if eg the credit card used to buy something from your store was stolen? What if you the consumer receive the goods having paid but the goods are substandard.
As always with payments the high-level schematic is simple yet the devil lies in the detail.
One reason that as the Fintech revolution proceeds Fintechs can do more ambitious things is that there an increasing number of back-end service providers that they can plug into. In this episode Joanne Dewar, CEO of back-end payments services provider GPS – who work with 40 issuing banks globally, and operate programmes with 90+ APIs for over 100 clients (including Revolut, Starling Bank and Bo) in 60 countries in 150 currencies – joins us to share her experience of what drives success in this sector for both the B2C front-end companies and the B2B back-end providers. GPS is furthermore a rare example of a profitable Fintech – which are always good to talk to.
Back-end providers have been with us for a long time – Currency Cloud, who executed most of Transferwise’s FX transactions for quite some time were back on the show years ago.
Time moves on though and by now we have plenty of data where partnering/outsourcing worked well and plenty where it did not.
What are the key factors of success? How is it done well and why is it done badly?
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.
The largest financial transaction of your life is also your last – dying! Get it wrong and Boris gets more money for vanity bridges and your relatives are left with a mess on their hands and potentially plenty of squabbles. Get it right and it is smooth for them and you minimise being taxed twice on the same income.
The whole death-related industry – wills, probate (executing wills) and cremations is super-undigitised (98% is still offline). It is into this gap that Dan Garrett co-founder and CEO of Farewill has stepped.
Farewill get 4.9* from >3,000 reviews on Trustpilot so must be doing wills well.
This is a super-important topic – if any of you out there don’t have a will you should get one and now it has been made digitally convenient there is no excuse. You can do it on your phone.
Charlie is one of London’s greatest serial entrepreneurs – with ground-breaking the Student Room and Market Invoice under his belt, as an MLRO he saw the huge gap in the market for using AI/ML to solve both the Financial Crime problem and businesses problems in risking prison if they get it wrong. Thus he formed ComplyAdvantage in 2014 which now has offices in four countries around the world.
This whole area has many dimensions. First it’s a regulatory necessity – Fintechs, FS and increasingly others (Apple had to pay a big fine recently) need to Do The Right Thing. Second its a huge resource drain, traditionally very manually done. But third the MLRO is the poor bod that will be picked on to go to jail.
How does Fintech/FS handle these challenges?
What can computers and a smart bunch of folks do to solve this in a 21stC way?
All this and more are covered in this episode. Topics discussed include: Continue reading →
In this show we review a decade in Fintech. Although the earliest Fintechs were formed around 2004/5 (WorldFirst, Zopa) many big names formed around 2010 (Funding Circle, Ratesetter, MarketInvoice). The LFP formed started covering the scene in mid-2014, the year of the first London Fintech week and the year that the Fintech word first hit the broadsheets. Using the shownotes at the time as a diary I trace the evolution of the promises, the hopes, the disappointments, the old innovations and the new innovations. Where did it all go?
No long show notes this week – it is a podcast podcast and in listening you can draw your own conclusions – indeed that’s the point of using dozens of real world examples as seen at the time not as seen through the dark glass of memory.
Congratulations to everyone involved in the London Fintech scene and wider UK Fintech scene and to all listeners. Want to know what the next decade might hold? Check out the previous decade and join the dots…!
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.
Michael conducts the most in-depth analysis of Companies House data on UK Fintechs that I am aware of. That earlier this year he partnered with KPMG and Google on his Fintech Funding and Financing study says a lot. So what can we learn from a decades’s data on UK Fintechs?
Well first that only five are making a profit!
Michael recently updated his study which includes nearly one hundred Fintechs.
In this episode we focus on trends in profitability – which are not all as you might expect – although the report covers many more parameters especially around fund-raisings.
After a decade for the longest running Fintechs we should be able to start to draw conclusions. What are they?
Capital Markets is the beating heart of FS – far higher tech and far more hardcore than just bank accounts and it is by definition the most complex area. What can we and Fintech learn from the super-big boys working in this world?
FIS systems process an astonishing amount of $9 trillion moved around the world per annum. They acquired the super-well known FS systems vendor Sunguard systems at the end of 2015
Martin Boyd is President of Capital Markets at FIS and is thus well-placed to give us the view on FS and “digital” from the most hardcore high volume end of the industry spectrum.
Indeed as we all regularly gloss “digital” as being “interweb + smartphone” what does digital actually mean when we are talking about wholesale markets for megabanks – I assume it isn’t “interweb + smartphone” – what does it mean in this context?
What we can learn, the view from the top of the mountain and much more are discussed. Topics include: Continue reading →