Fintech Scotland, new norms, new fintechs
2020 – Establishing New Norms
We’re starting to wind down and think about finishing up for a break over the festive period at FinTech Scotland and like so many of you and other organisations out there we’ve been reflecting on what a year!
2020 has felt like a year where we’ve lost what was normal. Like so many, we’ve been working from home since March – our last day in the office was the 12th of March, forever etched in my memory! Since then, we’ve been getting used to a ‘new norm’, new ways of working and phrases like ‘you’re on mute’ have made it into our everyday working vocabulary.
Life moved online with technology and digital connectivity vital for new norms that were being established at work and school, for learning, shopping, social interaction and connection with family and friends!
We’ve been able to count our blessings in so many ways and continue to be privileged, inspired and energised by the FinTech Scotland Cluster.
Fintech driving ‘New Norms’
The purpose and commitment to enable greater financial inclusion is a strength right across the fintech community in Scotland. The financial impact of COVID-19 on businesses and people has presented even more need to drive this agenda and Scotland’s fintech SME’s are providing a range of different products and services to help, enable and empower people.
Amiqus has progressed a collaborative initiative to ensure those facing homelessness and a loss of address can maintain access to vital services. @Proxy address, a new normal perhaps, is a solution that aims to overcome issues of financial exclusion because proof of identify to access products is closely tied to a permanent address. It’s an innovative approach that’s enabling new insights on old issues and focused on purposeful outcomes.
Empowering people by making personal finance more insightful and transparent, while using technology to see all your accounts in one place, is fast becoming a new norm and driven by fintech’s such as Money Dashboard. The team there were recently successful in the NESTA Rapid Recovery Challenge to help people financially hit by COVID-19. The award recognised both Money Dashboard’s innovation to help people manage money and its ability to quickly scale to support more people and a growing need.
New ways are also driving the team at Nude, who are working to enable aspiring first time buyers to build a deposit for their first home. The innovation aims to help people build that deposit quicker and is working to support new savings norms to empower people through data, behavioural insights and investments.
The team at Sonik Pocket have been innovating to help children with money. They’ve been focused on the potential new norm that generation Alpha will have less experience with physical cash and are building a product to help teach them about the value of money in a digital way. The inspiring team come from a teaching background and want to see children included and engaged with money and finances.
Float, working with SME’s, is integrating a range of activities to give businesses new tools to manage cashflow, accounts, and other business finance needs. Driving a new norm that helps business owners forecast accurate cashflow using real time information to get a visual view of ins and outs, pinch points and supporting confident business decisions.
There are many more fintech’s working and collaborating with industry partners, regulators, consumer organisations and universities to build the next phase of New Norms where technology in financial services supports inclusive outcomes for businesses and people.
New Fintech SME’s
The FinTech Scotland community of fintech SME’s has grown throughout 2020 and it’s a pleasure to welcome a host of new enterprises who are all aspiring to build and support other new norms and ways of working. Focused on cyber security Lupovis helps identify and divert cyber hackers away from crucial operating systems to keep businesses digitally safe, an increasingly vital need as we embrace new ways of digital working. Love Your Employees is focused on employee health and financial wellbeing, enabling employers to support colleagues through changing financial, emotional and other health needs.
In addition, an established norm continues to see international fintech’s join the FinTech Scotland community. Montoux, Access FinTech, UNest, all international fintech’s, have started to establish and build business in Scotland. All attracted to Scotland because of the strength of talent and data driven innovation expertise available here, and all working in different markets. Montoux, a New Zealand business is focused on the life and health insurance industry. AccessFintech from New York is using its innovation to help financial operating and risk models evolve, and UNest, a Californian business is focused on enabling people to save for university and education costs.
The positive outcome of the new working from home norm has been the ability to broaden our reach and speak to more innovative fintech communities across the world. This opportunity to welcome global innovations and to learn from shared experiences continues to energise us. Mickael, our French Scot has been building new alliances with fintech hubs around the world. The FinTech Scotland festival reach worldwide audiences across the 70 virtual events held in September and we’re hoping to build on this experience for next year.
FinTech Scotland visited seven different countries virtually in 2020 and virtual events have brought about a new meaning to airmiles as we ‘visited’ India, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Europe and the US without leaving home. The ability to connect and learn from these experiences is wonderful as is the opportunity to profile Scotland’s fintech community at these international events.
New Year Ahead
Team FinTech Scotland are all hopeful for a healthier 2021 for all. We’re also looking forward to welcoming more fintech entrepreneurs into the FinTech Scotland community, through continued homegrown talent and through attracting international enterprises. We know Scotland will continue to inspire us through innovation, collaboration and inclusion, that there will be opportunities to continue to establish many more positive new norms and we’re ready to welcome all of that too.