UK FinTech Forum, Whitecap’s event partnership with RBS/NatWest concluded with an insightful breakfast briefing at the NatWest accelerator Islington. Our FinTech speaker was Sarat Pediredla, CEO of Hedgehog Lab who gave an inspiring presentation on the Hedgehog Lab journey.
This initiative has seen Whitecap and Natwest travel together to Milton Keynes, Glasgow, Bristol, Manchester and now London and we have been treated to a wide variety of content from some truly inspiring speakers from Investly, Hedgehog Lab, Nivo, FinTech Scotland, Rocketspace and Amiqus ID.
There have been numerous topics that have been raised during the sessions, however, some stuck in our minds:
Regional FinTech is getting stronger
London is still the leader in terms of FinTech, however, the UK FinTech Forum illustrated that the regional FinTech sector has a huge amount to offer the UK FinTech economy but that it is about working with London, not against it. The regions offer something different from the now established London FinTech culture. The regions approach problems in different ways and they often work on different problems to London, such as financial inclusion. Ultimately however, Tech and FinTech is borderless / boundless so innovation is more important than location.
Collaboration has overtaken competition as a strategy
The FinTech ecosystem is changing, and it’s critical to understand how the different elements fit together. A few years ago, the FinTechs were aiming to challenge the big corporates such as the banks. The ecosystem has moved on with the FinTech entrepreneurs, the universities, and the investors working in a collaborative way.
Amiqus who presented at FinTech Forum Glasgow outlined their collaboration with The DataLab and with The Open Data Institute in the development of their proposition.
Pivoting is the norm
The stories from the FinTech entrepreneurs at the Forum outlined that pivoting was a common practice or methodology. Starting something, determining it’s not working and then leveraging aspects of that technology, is extremely powerful for FinTech entrepreneurs.
Sarat from Hedgehog Lab outlined that pivoting was important in the journey of the company moving from an idea being developed in a bedroom to having an award-winning App business with offices in 6 cities across the world. And sometimes you have to pivot because of external factors (in Hedgehog Lab’s case, it was the Credit Crunch), but do so quickly.
FinTech can be a force for good
Financial Inclusion has never been a topic at the forefront of banking. It is estimated that 1.5 million adults remain “unbanked” in Britain today, and that half of households in the bottom half of the income distribution lack home contents insurance.
However, there was huge interest in FinTech potentially being an enabler to address Financial Inclusion challenges. In addition, there appears to be more Government focus now than previously.
Specifically, Open Banking and Blockchain technologies could be used to develop simple to use, affordable products and services that address some of these challenges. There is an opportunity for FinTech entrepreneurs to both make a financial return and improve social justice by innovating in this space.
Lal Tawney, Director Whitecap Consulting said,
“The UK FinTech Forum was a great opportunity to meet so many regional entrepreneurs and businesses. There was a real cross-section of attendees at each meeting which helped create a very broad ranging discussion which was also unique to each location. I’m very grateful to all of those people for joining us, to our great speakers for giving up their time and to our partners at RBS and NatWest for their work in making these events such a success.”
Steve Chown, Entrepreneurial Innovation Manager, NatWest said,
“These 5 events were great to meet the FinTech networks across the UK and to showcase the NatWest FinTech Accelerator programme. It was great to partner with Whitecap Consulting to share both of our knowledge and networks in the FinTech space. The feedback from attendees has been extremely positive and we hope to plan some more UK FinTech Forum events in the near future”.