Fortnightly FinTech Fuse – Here Comes the FinTech Summer!!

Yes, the ‘FinTech Summer’ has certainly arrived but there has been no letup in the continuing momentum across the country when it comes to a plethora of innovation and collaboration initiatives.

Whilst each of the Fintech Scotland team has managed to grab a few days from the heat of fintech activity for a bit of summer sunshine to recharge batteries, the pace of activities has not waned

Summer of Innovation

Just before my summer vacation it was brilliant to catch up with Andy Smith and Jason Forsyth of Iceflo, the terrific fintech enterprise from Melrose. 

The Iceflo team are now embarking on the next stage of their innovation journey and I’m looking forward to our trip soon down to the Scottish Borders to see the rest of the team.

Another wonderful fintech firm to reach a major milestone is the Sustainably and it was fantastic to see the inspiring Loral and Eishel Quinn announce their official launch at the start of July.

We used part of the Fintech Scotland board meeting to hear valuable insights from three awesome and market leading innovative firms from the community who are moving with amazing momentum.

Jude Cook and Andrew Pickett from Sharein, Callum Murray and Laura Bosworth from Amiqus and Colin Hewitt from Float all gave very engaging presentations, highlighting how Fintech Scotland can help firms who are scaling up.

This week it was great to meet up with entrepreneurs Ed Broussard and Craig Mackay of Mudano, a very exciting fintech data innovation enterprise which is growing at pace from its home in Edinburgh. 

It’s fabulous to have the magnificent Mudano team part of the fintech community and looking forward to working with them on a number of collaboration initiatives

Similarly, excited to meet up with Eddie Curran and David of the very new fintech firm Open Banking Reporting (OBR) and hear about their exciting innovative proposition.

Also, great to see how OBR are part of the Addleshaw Goddard Elevate cohort, the prestigious growth programme along with the Amiqus team.

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to meet up with Paul Coffey to hear about the innovative Birnham Wood and the plans Colin Green and Paul have to set up the exciting proposition from Australia in Glasgow

Great also to hear about how they are developing the enterprise in collaboration with the innovative David Lanc and Cyborn to develop the opportunity from Scotland.

Fantastic to have the innovative Andrew Duncan of Soar and John McHugh from Gigly from the fintech community at the Glasgow Economic Leadership meeting at the end of June. 

This was a brilliant example of the power of collaboration across the range of financial services participants in ensuring that Glasgow is rightly recognized as a fast growing fintech hub.

Super leadership of the evening by Mark Napier of JP Morgan and looking forward to progressing the various collaboration initiatives.

Summer of Collaboration

Collaboration with the fintech community continues to be a hot subject in these summer months and one example of this is the new fintech accelerator programme we are working with University of Edinburgh and Sopra Steria on.

Great to meet up with Kerry Nicolaides from Sopra who is leading on this as they make terrific progress in moving to the initial launch with some valuable customer focused themes.

Mingaile Vaisnoraite from Sopra and I had the opportunity to share some of the details with Stephen Pearson and Scott Brunton from CYBG plc recently and how this collaborative fintech development could focus on the vulnerable customer considerations.

Thank you Stephen, for connecting me with Andy Fishburn and Alice Mulrooney of the Virgin Start Up team, we are very much looking forward to participating in the Glasgow fintech start up event in August along with the fabulous team from Castlight Financial

Over the summer weeks it has also been great to develop the collaboration with the inspiring Sam Bedford who leads the brilliant innovation team at CYBG. We very much looking forward to progressing our partnership with CYBG in engaging with the fintech community.

I’ve really enjoyed meeting up with the engaging Kristen Bennie of RBS over the summer weeks to explore how we further develop the collaboration with RBS in the months ahead. Also thank you Malcom Buchanan for RBS support of FinTech Scotland.

Many thanks also to Andrew Whyte and Maggie Craig of the FCA for the recent terrific catch up on FinTech Scotland’s ongoing collaboration with the regulator in supporting fintech developments.

As a forward thinking regulator, the FCA is a hugely important stakeholder as reflected by their valuable secondment of the brilliant Nicola Anderson to Fintech Scotland.

The early part of the summer has also seen meetings with a range of financial institutions to explore the further collaboration with the fintech community. 

For example, great to catch up with Geoff Aberdein of Aberdeen Standard and Julian Ide of Martin Currie in Edinburgh then in Glasgow, Robert Keenan of Morgan Stanley to talk through connecting into the fintech developments.

Last week, Nicola and I very much enjoyed meeting David Durlacher, Duncan Jamieson, Ella Riesco and Calum Brewster of Julius Baer to consider mutual opportunities to work more closely in developing strategic fintech collaboration in wealth management.

Whilst we were in London, we had the chance to meet up with the inspiring Liz Brandt to hear about the fantastic strategic data innovation and collaboration work at Ctrl-Shift Ltd. 

This was hugely exciting, and we are looking forward to seeing Liz in Scotland and taking this forward in the near future as it will be enormous value with fintech innovation and new enterprise.

Summer of Strategy

The strategic conversations have been very prominent over the Summer and I am very excited about the developing relationships which will support the fintech community growth

For example, valuable meetings with the team at BT, Michael Woodman, Dan Thomas, Craig Muirhead and Emma Cadzow. 

Very much looking forward to the mutual strategic opportunities of working with the BT team in Scotland and globally across financial services to progress fintech opportunities.

Super strategic discussions also with John Innes of Leonardo as well as John Fraser and Madhan Murugesan of Cognizant, we very much valued their engagement and interest in working with FinTech Scotland.

Then I was more than happy to interrupt my summer holiday road trip south to catch up with Gary Kildare of IBM to talk through a very exciting strategic people skills initiative which it would be great to bring to Scotland. More to come on this soon, I hope.

On fintech skills and wider people opportunities, I am also hugely excited by the work with Eleanor Shaw, Martin Hughes and team at the University of Strathclyde as we develop the strategic fintech cluster in Glasgow. 

This will certainly reinforce Scotland position on the global fintech map, watch this space!

Summer of Global Opportunities

The progress of the fintech community across Scotland is certainly getting global recognition and numerous international opportunities have emerged over the summer weeks

It was great to see leading European fintech commentator Martin Best give an overview recently on how Scottish fintech is thriving and brilliant examples of LendingCrowd, Money Dashboard and Modulr.

I was able to share these developments with Andrew Davis and colleague Stephanie Poon of Hong Kong Invest to develop the mutual opportunities. Thanks Andrew for a lovely catch up mixing fintech talk with all things running and music!

Great to be working with Gillian Docherty, Steph Wright and the DataLab team on the opportunities for fintech firms in a visit to Singapore and with Lorraine Mallon of SDI on the trade mission to USA in the Autumn

This alongside the fintech trade opportunities coming up with Ireland, France, India amongst others further demonstrates the growing interest in Scotland’s fintech developments.

Brilliant leadership by Graham Hatton a number of the inward opportunities, for example, the meeting with the team from Samsung Life a few weeks ago.

Closer to home it was great to have the inaugural meeting of the FinTech National Network in Manchester a few weeks ago with the teams from Fintech North and Innovate Finance as well as Tom Helm from the DIT.

It was brilliant to welcome Philip Creed for Fintech Northern Ireland as well as Gavin Powell from FinTech Wales who I’d meet up with a few weeks previously on a visit to Edinburgh.

Very much looking forward to building on a productive session and developing the collaboration across the fintech hubs further.

Many thanks to Julian Wells and the CYBG team for excellent hosting of the meeting and Peter Cunane and for arranging everything behind the scenes and Ali Griffths for the follow up..  

Very much looking forward to hosting the next Network meeting in Glasgow in October as part of the fintech conference being organized with the fabulous Whitecap Consulting team.

Before then we hope to see many of our friends from the UK and the rest of the world come along to the Fintech Festival in Scotland over three weeks in September. 

There will be many meet ups and events taking place including the two day showcase FinTech Summit organized by the super team at DIGIT led by the super Ray Bugg, Duncan Macrae and Pete Swift who we met up with recently.

More to come on the exciting range of activities taking place during the festival, including a ‘fintech running race’ and a ‘fintech wine tasting’ event, thanks to Sara Ronald of Nile on this who I caught up with recently!

Of course, events are happening all the time across Scotland. For example, I was delighted to present at the recent Faculty and Institute of Actuaries knowledge event, thanks Barry Shannon and team for making me so welcome.

Then delighted to get along the Tech Nation meet up Bayes Centre last week and listen to the engaging Hazel Gibbons as well as inspiring Leah Hutcheon of Appointed, all perfectly chaired by the awesome Steve Ewing. 

Great to see so many of the movers and shakers of the Scottish innovation world at this event and very much looking forward to working with Hazel in the new Tech Nation role in Scotland.

Summer of Running

I just love running during the summer, even with the sweltering heat although my performances have been a bit up and down!

The Kirkintilloch10km and Edinburgh Parkrun both gave me my best times at these distances for two years but then the Cumbria marathon last Sunday was six minutes slower than planned!

I put this down to the strong coastal breeze and getting carried away in the sunshine early on!

Anyway, training quickly resumed for the next marathon which is Loch Ness in October and early preparation will be races in Livingston, Ceres, Irvine and Kirkaldy during August!

Then not forgetting the fintech 2 mile race as part of the Festival in September in Edinburgh, combining my two joys, running and fintech. I hope to see lots of you join in for it!! Until next time