Fortnightly FinTech Fuse – getting started

Welcome to the first Fortnightly Fintech Fuse!

This will be my regular blog sharing some of the insights, learnings and engagement with people form the diverse range of fintech participants across Scotland and globally.

To ‘Fuse’ means to bring together and blend two or more things. This is exactly what FinTech Scotland is seeking to do with the aim of driving growth and creating jobs, hence the name for this blog.

The fusion arising from the changing world of financial services and technology presents enormous opportunities and through this blog I hope to share how Scotland is advancing on these.

The blog will be a cross between an open diary and informal ramblings that hopefully highlight the progress being made in fusing together the skills, resources and capabilities that make the potential fintech growth and job opportunities come alive.

The style will be chatty and quick read. It is not intended to be a formal report nor exhaustive of everything happening in our dynamic and thriving Scottish fintech environment.

Hopefully it will be a catalyst to the many people directly engaged or looking to be involved in delivering the enormous benefits for all of fintech developments.

Engaging Response

The start of the new role in January can be best described as a whirlwind of activity, with the announcement sparking a very positive response from the diverse range of fintech participants. I’ve very much appreciated all the feedback and comments in these early days and the task has been to get out to see as many people as possible to hear thoughts and share insights.

During this initial three weeks, I’ve clocked up over 70 actual face to face meetings with over 160 people in total as I have sought to immerse myself in understanding the needs of different stakeholders. This is in addition to being involved in four workshops and participated in a couple of local events.

The overwhelming enthusiasm and commitment to creating growth and jobs through fintech developments is very powerful, going forward I am hoping we can channel this high energy into productive results and outcomes.

Big thanks to everyone who has been in touch and reached out in since the start of the year, there has been a hugely enthusiastic response from all quarters of Scotland as well as all corners of the world, from New Zealand to Africa to Europe and the USA.

During this early flurry of activity, I am endeavouring to keep up to date with the positive flow of engagement and arrange the meeting and call requests as they come in!
Although managing the diary to meet and talk to as many people as possible has, I must admit, been a challenge and will be as I embrace the strong appetite for people to be involved.
Thankfully, I’ve only missed one appointment so far, with my dentist for a checkup!

Key Foundations

Amongst the many meetings, I have had very constructive discussions with key people from Avaloq, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC, University of Edinburgh and Scottish Enterprise who have already strategically committed to getting FinTech Scotland of the ground.
This enables FinTech Scotland to start on a journey with confidence, which was very much reinforced when meeting Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business,

Innovation and Energy.

The Scottish Government's very real and practical commitment to creating a thriving fintech environment in Scotland was a key factor for me in taking on this new challenge.

I must add that this fast start could not have been achieved without some key foundations being in place.
In this respect, an enormous thank you to the Edinburgh Innovation (EI) team at the University of Edinburgh, who have provided invaluable support in these early days of establishing FinTech Scotland’s operations.

It is fantastic to be working with the EI team to ensure we put the right foundations in place for the FinTech Scotland enterprise in order that we can maximize the
emerging opportunities.

Opportunity Knocks

One thing that has been really encouraging in these early days, is the contact from half a dozen fintech enterprises who are looking to move to Scotland, either from other parts of the UK or wider afield.

These entrepreneurial firms are all at various stages of their growth and scaling up but they all share a common interest in being part of Scotland’s fintech environment to take their innovative enterprises to the next level.

Explaining to the various firms how we and others in Scotland can support them in their growth and job creation aspirations is hugely motivating and something we will be building on in the coming months.

Running Around

I am hoping that scribbling this blog over the coming weeks will give me the opportunity to reflect on whether I have been focusing on the right priorities for FinTech Scotland and consider whether upcoming actions will enable us to make progress.

My other way of finding reflection time is to just get out and run, whatever the weather! Running is my other passion, alongside fintech, being a wonderful way take time out from the fast moving working life to consider the journey ahead and what can be achieved. More on this to come.

This fintech journey is going to be a ‘marathon’ rather than a sprint and I am looking forward to sharing the experience with you through FinTech Fuse!