I am delighted to welcome Jake Wombwell-Povey co-founder and CEO of Goji to dive into the fascinating subject of –the Innovative Finance ISA. Goji’s aspiration is to take P2P into new investor markets and their first focus is on providing a white-label/back-office IFISA solution to existing platforms.
The IFISA might be unknown off these shores but here it’s generated plenty of excitement in the P2P community. There are direct impacts of the IFISA (which I had spotted) and some indirect impacts (which I had spotted less).
But for those offshore folks who don’t know what an ISA is, basically UK tax payers have been able to shelter a small amount of investment money every year from tax forever – income or capital gains. It was introduced way back in 1986 by Nigel Lawson under Margaret Thatcher’s government to encourage wider equity ownership. In those days it was called a PEP. Over the past 30yrs the whole thing has got more complicated and changed its name to ISA but the principle of away from the taxman remains. The current limit is £15k per annum.
In the Fintech-emergence year of 2014 George Osbourne announced in his budget that ISA eligibility would be extended to include P2P loans. In the 2015 budget it was confirmed that from 6th April 2016 lenders will be able to hold AltFinance assets in an IFISA.
Since then there has been much work on clarifying where we are – and perhaps preparations are not all entirely in place even a few weeks before the start-line as we will here.
If this all sounds very abstract the excitement stems from the fact that each year it has been estimated that approximately £50bn is invested in ISAs. And you can imagine how keen platforms are to get there paws on a percentage of that.
This is London Fintech Podcast episode 42, the answer to life, the universe and everything. Well a bit of everything anyway. And I have the pleasure to be joined today by – er – myself.
In the now traditional (um – can doing something twice be a tradition?) first podcast of the year step away from diving into a topic with an esteemed guest and take a more top of the mountain view of the landscape.
As it’s a bumper funpack we will cover a whole range of topics all of which pertain to Fintech.
So we start today’s show with the relevance of Star Wars; move on to beer and deep dive into a topic that applies to Fintech and to the whole of our perception of the world, the media – mainstream and indie.
Next a review of key themes from 2015 UK Fintech and finally we wrap up with some thoughts about the future.
In the next episode I’ll be back to the far easier task of asking folks smarter than I the answer to life the universe and everything or at least what’s going on in their corner of the Fintech phenomenon
In this episode we are taking a break from talking to the biggest players in London Fintech and dive instead into the far more numerous, if lower profile, world of small Fintechs.
Given the outburst of tech and business creativity right now there have been plenty of new and young companies forming in this sector – both from the Fin side and the Tech side of the FinTech phenomenon.
It’s admirable that so many folks are foregoing the wage slavery and potential necessity to be a clone to fit into giant FS or IT firms and starting out on their own. Equally as all the stats show it’s a highly risky path with the vast majority falling by the wayside.
How do startup and small Fintechs alter the odds?
What is it like working at the smaller end of the Fintech ecosystem?
I am delighted to be joined to discuss this topic by Alexandre Gaillard. He is uniquely qualified being the founder and CEO of a small Fintech Investglass and the Founder of the Swiss Fintech Meetup.
There’s plenty to talk about in this world and amongst the many topics we discuss are: Continue reading →
The road goes on forever – the next Lendit is already lined-up
I am delighted to be joined by Peter Renton to discuss some key highlights from the Lendit Europe 2015 conference, especially for those of you who weren’t there and even for those of you who were as in the afternoon it split into two streams.
Peter was back on the show in LFP015 way back in last December wearing his Lend Academy hat relating to us the amazing story of the development of P2P in the US – something he saw from it’s very origins when it was scarcely noticed.
Today he is joining me wearing his Lendit Conference hat. Lendit now runs by far the world’s largest P2P conferences – some 2,500 in Lendit US 2015, 500 in Lendit China 2015 and yesterday around 750 in Lendit Europe.
In this episode we have an off-the-cuff conversation about what leaps out to us as the really interesting things happening in P2P in Europe right now. It’s a great way to get up the curve fast and we discuss a wide range of topics: Continue reading →
Funding Circle need no introduction being the heavyweight SME marketplace lender in the UK and the only global player to have a large footprint in both the UK and the US. Those on the conference circuit may be more familiar with Andrew’s co-founders, Samir Desai and James Meekings; Andrew has tended to stay at home with his head under the bonnet working on the engine within Funding Circle – that of the credit underwriting process.
SME lending is a prosaic phrase but one that is vital for a modern economy that is undergoing an ever increasing bifurcation into gigantic oligopolistic corporations or smaller companies. Finance is the lifeblood of such smaller companies and as the first line of Andrew’s LinkedIn says:
“The aim of every business should be to change the way other people live their lives for the better, not that of the founders!”
They are certainly doing that and at this rate will deservedly also change the lives of the founders and staff as Funding Circle are on everyone’s “tiny handful” list of big players with very short odds to IPO.
In this show we dive into the world of SME credit and lending in the Fintech Age.
David Stevenson is a journalist extraordinaire and writes for a number of leading publications including the Adventurous Investor Column in the FT, the Investors Chronicle, Money Management and Investment Week, where he’s the contrarian columnist. He also runs the AltFi empire that spans conferences, news and as we heard in LFP010 with Rupert Taylor, AltFi Data. He has also authored a number of books on investment including three for the FT as well as having extensive interests in the visual media world.
David joins us on the show to talk about why it matters that Alternative Finance becomes viewed as an asset class in its own right – a subject that draws together his long-term role as an investment commentator as well as lynchpin of the London Alternative Finance scene.
I must say that I thought that this hypothesis about being an asset class was rather a linguistic point. However, having discussed it with David, I can see the importance of it being so and I hope you will be persuaded too.
I am delighted to be joined on the show today by Goncalo de Vasconcelos CEO and founder of Syndicate Room who are one of my must-know-about equity crowdfunding platforms as they have originated an “investor-led” model of equity crowdfunding which has some powerful advantages.
As I have previously mentioned equity crowdfunding seems to me to occupy this triangle whose three vertices are spivs, “pile ’em high and sell em cheap” and professional. No-one resides at any of the vertices and the whole thing is in evolution.
Maybe I should be clear what I mean by professional … there are plenty of professional firms out there … but I mean more “professional in the way that well established stock exchanges are”. The London Stock Exchange or Deutsche Boerse eg I would say are pretty professional. Fintech as a whole hasn’t got there yet [although as we heard in LFP023 I think B2B-FX is the most professionalised subsector of fintech]
Syndicate Room are definitely one of the few fintech equity crowdfunding firms nearest the professional vertex in my opinion.
Their interesting business model innovation is investor-led crowdfunding (as opposed to company-led which is the general model). All of their deals are led by an experienced angel investor who has a personal stake in the deal – no doubt far higher than you or I who in essence co-invest alongside. Thus he has conducted his own due-diligence, price negotiation etc before investing.
This is a mega-episode Xmas present special for London Fintech Podcast listeners 🙂 The world of Fintech has changed forever with this month’s successful twin IPOs on the NYSE of Lending Club and On Deck – both with valuations in ten figures. It’s certainly an epochal shift for Alternative Finance Lending & Borrowing (P2P) around the world.
UK Fintech does not exist in a vacuum and it’s important to understand how other markets are evolving. Naturally in a world of globalisation the US market and New York in particular are perhaps the most important “must knows” for anyone on the UK Fintech scene.
Above and beyond that the story of the US P2P is a cracker – the more I drilled into it the more that “fact” turned out to be once again better than “fiction” – and in this case more entertaining in terms of the twists and turns on the road.
I am delighted to be joined today by a man supremely able to tell that story from many angles. As a commentator on the scene Peter Renton has been blogging for several years about the US P2P scene – long before it was hot and fashionable. As an investor he has been an active participant and experienced its evolution first hand.
From his initial personal interest has grown a range of businesses – Peter is the founder of Lend Academy, co-founder of Lend Academy Investments, and co-founder of LendIt Conference which albeit mostly active in the US, had a very successful recent conference in the UK (you can see some great videos of the UK P2P presentations here) and one this year in Shanghai. He has written a short, free e-book on the US P2P market which is freely available for download here. He – clearly a busy guy – also finds the time to fit in a great podcast on the US P2P scene (search for “Lend Academy” on iTunes/Android App).
We have a wide-ranging conversation about the history of US P2P, the present and possible futures. We also discuss similarities and differences with the UK P2P market, what the UK market should be grateful for – and we don’t actually discuss where it’s falling behind – but how many UK multi-billion IPOs were there in December? 😉
Threading through this is one of the best stories out there about US P2P. Superficial surfers might be tempted to think its just “the same old” US tech success story. Continue reading →
In the hot Fintech sector there are few places hotter than being a Fintech in a 3 month accelerator program. But what are they? What’s the inside track? What works well, what is surprising and how is it all changing?
Plenty of dynamics to discuss in today’s episode with Nektarios Liolios, the co-founder of Startupbootcamp Fintech. Prior to that he had over a decade’s FS experience and in particular spent several years In charge of Swift’s Innotribe Startup Challenge. Many of you may not be familiar with that but you will certainly be familiar with some of the alumni of that program – real Fintech royalty such as Transferwise, Currency Cloud (more below the radar but the cognoscenti’s Fintech perhaps), and Azimo.
So who better than Nektarios to “lift the bonnet” today?
Startupbootcamp is a global network of industry focused startup accelerators. It was founded in Copenhagen in 2010 with the core idea of supporting the best entrepreneurs as they grow their startups. So it is a rara avis in terms of not coming out of the US tech scene. It is now the largest in Europe and one of the top 3 worldwide – another rare European triumph. They have helped 200 startups raise a total of over Eu64m creating well over 800 jobs and are in 8 locations worldwide.
A Quick Overview of Accelerators, Incubators and Co-working Spaces
For me Alternative Finance is the most exciting sector in Fintech by far in terms of near term impact as competition for the “Old FS” and as choice for both borrowers and lenders.
In this episode I am delighted to be joined by Christian Faes CEO of Lendinvest. In the world of Fintech froth that has been 2014 Lendinvest and Christian are the real deal.
In this episode we “kick the tyres” of P2P and have an organic conversation exploring some key angles in the sector right now. There is plenty of “linear” content out there (eg this concise YouTube explaining Lendinvest), and conference panel discussions (eg this LendIt one with Christian on the panel) – and they are all great. However as usual on the podcast I aim more for the kind of conversation that one might have with the insiders in the bar after the formal conference.
This is also a special episode in being rather longer than normal – there is so much to be discussed as the sector is very active right now and the future is busy taking place with lots of seismic shifts happening beneath our feet.
We discuss a whole variety of topics as we kick the four tyres around the car – Lendinvest; penetrating the subsector’s opaque/confusing terminology; understanding the risks; and the future of the industry.
In editing the podcast (which means I listen to it many times) I progressed my own thoughts on how I see the risk in P2P and how to describe it simply. So for the avoidance of doubt I put the risk thoughts in a “Postscript” section down below to make it obvious that these are my afterthoughts and language (Christian’s comments are in the podcast). However I think that the terminology will be helpful in listening to the podcast so it’s not an “unrelated” mini essay 😀
In the AltFi awards Lendinvest was ranked as the best UK fintech-real estate platform (which has done over £166m of deals to date). Recently I heard a leading Fintech analyst describe them as the best dark horse bet for London’s first major fintech IPO. They have grown organically from being a “non-digital” real estate lending business to the world’s largest real estate platform. And all of this without raising any VC money.
Since 2008 they have returned (in one incarnation or another – more on that in the show) over 6% to investors via secured short-term bridging loans (1mt-1yr) with LTV’s (loan-to-value ratios) of around 60% and no capital losses. More recently they have added a 1-3yr buy-to-let mortgage product.