The visit was the culmination of several months of planning during which time Whitecap’s team in Leeds and Manchester worked with the Department for International Trade (DIT), MIDAS (Manchester’s inward investment agency), Invest Liverpool, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Invest North East England and some of the Northern Powerhouse’s leading businesses and universities. In partnership with the DIT, Whitecap directors Luke Freeman and Julian Wells helped host the Manchester and Leeds days respectively.
The delegation was drawn from 6 different Nordic and Baltic countries and over the course of their visit they spent time in both Manchester and Leeds, with the FCA having identified the Manchester-Leeds corridor as one of three key UK hotspots for Fintech. In both cities the visiting FinTechs had the opportunity to deliver a quickfire pitch of their proposition to the attending UK FS businesses and investors, followed by individual discussions and networking.
Following a welcome dinner on Monday, the delegates spent Tuesday at a programme including sessions at the offices of DLA Piper, RBS and Shoosmiths. The day kicked off with an overview of the region from Andrew Toolan of MIDAS, and Gavin Quinn of Invest Liverpool. Delegates heard that there are over 5000 financial services firms based in the North West region who enjoy 30-40% lower operating costs than in London. Recent years have seen FinTech developments play an increasingly prominent role in the region, particularly in payments, platforms, analytics and cyber security.
The universities were represented by Rachel Kenyon of University of Manchester, and Michael Taylor of Manchester Metropolitan University, who shared many insights including the fact that 14 universities across the north west produce 43,000 graduates per year, supporting the talent pipeline and skills agenda for employers including tech businesses.
The afternoon pitch sessions were held at the new state of the art Shoosmiths offices in the new XYZ building, where delegates also had a tour of The Vault, a new FinTech hub based in the same location.
On Tuesday evening the delegation arrived in Leeds and was welcomed with a Northern Powerhouse Pie & Ale Supper at Bruntwood’s new Platform building, which includes a Tech Hub that was recently awarded £2m of funding by Leeds City Council. Following welcome speeches from David Shepherd (Director of Trade & Investment for the Leeds City Region) and Martin Phelan (International Director of Northern Powerhouse Investment at DIT), delegates received a guided tour of the new building.
On Wednesday we were joined throughout the day by representatives from the FCA. The morning programme in Leeds was hosted by the University of Leeds, where Professor Lisa Roberts (Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research & Innovation) welcomed delegates to the Leeds Institute of Data & Analytics (LIDA) facility. Lisa gave an overview of the University including the exciting plans for the new £40 million Nexus innovation and enterprise centre. Professors Mark Birkin and David Hogg spoke about the university’s strength in data and analytics, robotics and artificial intelligence, structural biology, and the work of the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC). Paul Berwin of Berwins Solicitors, a technology focused law firm that has worked extensively in the Baltics, also joined the session as part of a panel discussion.
Professor Chris Sier, the Treasury’s FinTech Envoy for the Northern Powerhouse (also Visiting Professor of Financial Technology at the university), led an interactive session about FinTech in the region and spoke of the growing momentum of FinTech outside London and the opportunities this presents for international businesses seeking clients and commercial opportunities.
In the afternoon, the delegation moved to aql’s data centre, where they were welcomed by Professor Adam Beaumont, CEO and co-founder of aql. The 3 minute pitches took place in the stunning Salem Chapel, which provided for a memorable finale to the trip which closed with a drinks and networking reception.
Whitecap’s Julian Wells and the DIT’s Jeremy Coupland brought proceedings to a close, thanking the visiting FinTechs for taking the time to visit the Northern Powerhouse and reflecting on the thought-provoking and insightful programme of events which had taken place.
- ‘Delegation of top European FinTechs heading to region’ – Yorkshire Post
- ‘European FinTech businesses seek opportunities in Manchester’ – BQ
- ‘Manchester pitches for foreign FinTech investment’ – Business Cloud
List of visiting Nordic-Baltic FinTechs:
A cyber security platform, providing a multi-layered, customer-security solution known as behavioural biometrics.
Oscar Moren, Director, [email protected]
Big Data Scoring, (Estonia)
Custom scoring models that combine a lender’s internal data with external data. This enables lenders to accurately predict borrower payment behaviour, and make credit decisions in real time.
Meelis Kosk, Head of Sales, [email protected]
Kersten Eero, [email protected]
An IT system that allocates and administers the budget for catering and representation expenses for employees and reduces accounting work.
Ansis Lipenitis, Co-founder, [email protected]
Platform provider that enables enterprises to adapt their businesses through data & IoT.
Chonchol Gupta, Director, [email protected]
Business expansion services for companies in the Baltic countries as well as in the middle east with partners. Specialising in FinTech start-ups.
Aivars Lipenitis, Director, [email protected]
Escali Financial Systems, (Norway)
Software company delivering a solution for management, analysis and reporting of financial instruments.
Andrew Sweetmore, Business Development, [email protected]
File storage & exchange. Servers, file-backup, upload forms and file trade, all in one solution.
Jānis Viklis, Founder, [email protected]
Fitek AS, (Estonia)
Invoice management system that facilitates the management of invoices from a variety of channels – on paper, pdf and e-invoices.
Uku Almann, Sales Manager, [email protected]
An information database and crowd funding platform for early stage companies to raise funds for growth and a trading platform allowing investors who have participated in fundraising campaigns to buy and sell their investments quickly and easily.
Thomas Davies, CFO, [email protected]
IT consulting in financial industries. A customer base including telcos, banks and public sector Institutions. Employing over 80 individuals.
Ove Kreison, Head of R&D, [email protected]
The largest domestic financial group and capital provider in Estonia.
Andres Kitter, Head of Retail Banking, [email protected]
Mintos Marketplace, (Latvia)
An online marketplace where loan originating companies can sell the issued loans to investors.
Martins Valters, CFO, [email protected]
IT-system service platform where you can gather all your service providers in one platform, receive all your digital invoices, handle payments, receive only relevant marketing and share information between existing customers from same service provider.
Sonni Christine Jakobsen, CEO, [email protected]
Mooncascade OÜ, (Estonia)
Estonian software and product development company founded by four software engineers, including two former Skype engineers.
Peeter Mark, Business Development, [email protected]
A digital cross-border payment platform. Licensed as a payment institute by the Danish FSA. Currently managing international payments for companies in Denmark realising savings of 20-50% on the currency margin and 40% – 50% on the fees compared to other Danish banks.
Mikael Langseth Nilsson, CEO, [email protected]
Salt Edge (Canada)
Salt Edge offers financial solutions, such as financial data aggregation, white label banking, and other valued added APIs.
Liza Terziman, Business Development, [email protected]
Subaio provides users with overview, tracking and cancellation of their subscriptions and direct debits. This connects directly to the users bank to provide the overview and tracking.
Thomas Laursen, CEO, [email protected]
Secure, authentication cross-platform technology, increased conversion, and decreased fraud rates.
Taavi Lindmaa, Head of Partnership, [email protected]
Newly established European bank, which offers a wide range of financial services, professional and individual approach, quality and efficient service to both corporate and private clients.
Aivo Adamson, Chairman, [email protected]
UK FS Attendees:
Event Organisers / Partners