Tag Archives: Overview

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

LFP161 – Global B2B Payments & Multi-Rail Technology w/Marwan Forzley CEO Veem

Marwan  joins us to discuss global payments for small businesses. He has been in payments for many years and was first a founder in 2002 so speaks from long experience of both. Veem is a global payments network used by small businesses around the world which allows them to pay their vendors, suppliers and contractors anytime, anywhere.They do payments to 110 countries in 50 plus currencies, and have about 200,000 B2B customers.

One important way that Veem manage such a long list of countries is to use a unique “multi-rail” technology – basically having wired up a bunch of different conduits from bank to bank transfers at one end through the likes of card payments to via crypto currencies at the other. This enables them to have a broader range of options for any particular transfer and for the end-users enables them to have a much richer range of payments destinations.

Topics discussed 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

LFP158 – Beyond Price Comparison Websites: Getting 5% Of A UK insurance Market w/Freddy Macnamara CEO Cuvva

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.”

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP157 – Enabling Direct Bank to Bank Payments For Merchants – Faster, Cheaper w/Brad Goodall CEO Banked

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.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP155 – Buying & Selling Of Labour In Ever Smaller Pieces: Freelancing & Project-Based Working w/Albert Azis Clauson CEO Underpinned

The trend in recent decades has been to ever-more flexible working contracts – be it gig economy, independent consultants or the freelancing/project-based work that sits in between. Gig-ers have a company app to engage and pay and indies a company around them. Freelancing et al have always been challenging to administer for both the buyer or seller of labour. However Fintech is changing all this and Underpinned is leading the charge.

Naturally in a world where governments continue to destroy businesses when the CDC data shows that the fatality rate of covid19 is nothing out of the ordinary it is highly likely that you or someone you know may have to take up smaller chunks of work than they ever would in the past.

Equally it’s likely that your Company or one you know will have to engage folks on ever-shorter projects.

The key to facilitating a more flexible labour-market is to smooth the whole process.

All these topics and many more are discussed including: Continue reading

LFP154 – Successful Partnering in Fintech w/Joanne Dewar CEO GPS

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?

Topics discussed on the show include: Continue reading

LFP153 – Landbay & BTL Mortgages, A Case Study of Finteching Pre- & Post- Corona w/Julian Cork COO

In LFP152 we took a strategic look at the post-Covid landscape. In this show Julian Cork, COO of Landbay, guides us through the tactical responses by one of the UK’s most solid Fintechs – £1/2bn buy-to-let mortgages written to date and zero losses.

 

However as to risk “the past is not necessarily a guide to the future” and in a market that has frozen it is very challenging to operate.

We cover many aspects starting with a background to the UK BTL market and the strategic shifts that were already in play right through to the importance of maintaining not just business dialogue between staff but that important social glue social dialogue too.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

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

LFP150 – Disrupting the World’s Least Digitised Financial Product – Wills & Probate w/Dan Garrett CEO Farewill

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.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading