Fortnightly FinTech Fuse – In The FinTech Community

Being with the fintech community every day, is one of the most enjoyable parts of my role, I just wish there were more hours in the day!

Hearing directly from fintech leaders and teams about the opportunities and challenges in reinventing financial services and more is hugely motivating.

Vibrant Community

For example, last Friday it was great to be amongst the vibrant fintech community in Codebase and catch up with the wonderful team at Wallet Services. So exciting to hear from Peter Ferry, Hannah Rudman and Stuart Fraser on the terrific progress they are making.

The Wallet Services are grasping major opportunities beyond fintech itself and they are very much at the cutting edge of shaping the future though new technology. Absolutely inspring.

More generally, the feedback from Hannah on how we take FinTech Scotland forward in the future was hugely valuable and we’ll be discussing more on this at the forthcoming FinTech Practitioners Community Group meeting on 22ndAugust.

Another fintech enterprise leading the way in their field is Previse and meeting up this week with Paul Christensen, the chief executive, reinforced to me the significant role they are playing in improving supplier payment processes which is having a huge positive impact on the broader economy.

I believe the progress being made by Wallet Services and Previse provides enormous encouragement to the wider fintech community who are at an earlier stage of their journey.

For example, talking with Kirsty Thomson and Ron Smith on their plans for an innovative technology proposition engaging the local communities across Scotland further demonstrated to me that there are some exciting developments coming out of Dundee

This was very much highlighted by the fabulous special supplement on fintech produced by the Dundee Courier last week.

Later that same day, it was terrific to catch up with one of the newer members of the fintech community, Joseph Twigg of Aveni. Fascinating to hear how their artificial intelligence innovations can transform the way financial services engages with customers.

I know both the Aveni and The Circle CityCrowd team are going to be very busy connecting with the wider community to discuss their emerging propositions in the coming months

Connecting Community

One of the key roles of FinTech Scotland is connecting the fintech community with new opportunities and the recent meeting with the team at Baillie Gifford regarding their forthcoming innovation fair is a great example of this.

Similarly, meeting yesterday with a long standing industry colleague Calum Brewster at the fast expanding Julius Baer to share potential connection opportunities in the wealth management space.

There are an increasing number of large financial institutions who are recognising the opportunities of collaborating with the fintech community and I very much appreciate the support of Graeme Jones, Bronwyn Torrie and the SFE team in this respect.

JP Morgan have led the way on this for some time now and I enjoyed catching up with Stephen Flaherty and Sandy Brodie to discuss how we share fintech collaboration at their forthcoming fintech leadership event.

David Macmillan and the team at Prudential are another terrific example of people embracing this new era of innovation and collaboration for the sector

This week I’ve been working with Douglas Graham, Alice Dreano and Edinburgh Innovations team look at running a collaboration event for later this year which will foster more connections between large enterprises and fintech firms alongside the expertise of the University teams

Plans are already in place for the University of Strathclyde S100 event in September connecting fintech firms with those that can provide practical support to enable their progress and growth.

Brilliant to be working with the excellent Tracy Moore, Fiona Ireland and Alan Feighery from the Enterprise Hub at the University on this.

Similarly, very excited to be supported the plans of our community member MoneyMatix and their plans for a ‘fintech fireworks hackathon’. Very much a chance to engage the wider consumer communities in the positive role of fintech. Inspiring work by Tynah Matembe and Helene Rodger.

Beyond specific events, I am thrilled to be working closely with the energetic Vivolution team (Mark Roger, Andrew McGee, Kevin Lonergan) and Proposition Builder team (Carey McEvoy, Mark Thomson), who are making these connections happen on the ground.

A great example of this was the discussion the Vivolution team and I had with Andy Smith of Agenor Iceflo team on working closely with our strategic partners

I am fortunate I have had the opportunity to share the value of this connected community with June Love at the Scottish Government, so we can consider how we amplify across other sectors through the CanDo initiative. More on this strategy to come

Strategic Community

Talking of strategy, this last two weeks has presented me with the opportunity to share the developments in the fintech community at a strategic level with key stakeholders across the Government and civil service as well as the regulator.

This has included making plans to welcome Government Ministers from Scotland and the UK to Fintech Scotland to hear about the progress and key challenges in driving forward innovation. Thank you to Karen Rodger, Tom Price and Oz Bas for the team work on this.

In addition, I’ve been hugely encouraged by my joint discussions with Maggie Craig of the FCA, Douglas Graham of the University of Edinburgh and Adrian Gillespie and Tim Bedford of the University of Strathclyde over this last fortnight on how we support the fintech community going forward.

This will progress further in various ways in the coming months and one example where it is already gaining momentum is in developing the open banking centre of excellence. Here I’ve valued the team work with Gavin Littlejohn, Kevin Collins and the rest of the project team.

Come along to the Open Banking Meet Up on 20th August where I’ll be sharing more on this and why it has been an absorbing month on this subject!

Sharing Community

Talking of sharing, it was brilliant to catch up with the energetic Hamish Miller, Kevin O’Sullivan and Will Peakin of FutureScot on how we can work together to share more widely the awesome fintech developments happening in Scotland. Thanks guys.

There is going to a huge amount of activity in September and you’ll start to hear details of the Fintech Scotland Fortnight in our newsletter today!

A massive thanks to Rory Archibald from Visit Scotland for enormous support in preparing the fintech ‘Scotland is Now’ plans as well as the numerous people organising specific conferences and meet ups.

A key event will be FinTech Summit on 19th and 20th September run by leading tech commentators Ray Bugg and Pete Swift from Digit where they tell me I will be put in the fintech ‘hot’ seat!!

Very much enjoyed the meeting with Polly Purvis to hear how the impressive ScotSoft 2018 conference plans are coming along which we will be participating in along with members of the fintech community.

I’m really excited about Fintech Scotland closer collaboration with Polly and the team at Scotland IS and this was reinforced to me when meeting with Graeme Smith of Amazon to consider mutual innovation opportunities with the fintech community.

Great chats last week with Glasgow fintech fanatics Bobby King and Sergei Pomphrey as well as Rob Huggins of MBN Solutions about their forthcoming fintech events

With Rob the focus of our discussion soon moved onto how we encourage greater diversity across the community, an important mission for us both.

I know Eva Schuekel at Spotcap through the Fintech Fellowship programme has the aim of inclusion at its core and this is why I have been delighted to be involved

Similarly, working with David Nisbet of University of Glasgow in developing the fintech talent for the future to support academic and industry collaboration.

I’m also excited about the fintech collaboration opportunities with Edinburgh Napier University after meeting with their dean of the business school Gail Boag, thank you Gary Kildare of IBM for making this connection.

The subject of sharing the great diverse talent in Scotland with the fintech community was also a key talking point with Graham Burns and Michael Dickson of FWB Park Brown this week. Looking forward to giving this people factor greater prominence in the fintech community in the coming months.

Community Running

The meeting with Graham Burns on Tuesday got slightly side tracked as we shared our stories of doing the Aberdour Donkey Brae 7 mile race a couple of weekends ago. Always a fabulous race to do despite the challenging community ‘hill’!

The running chat with Peter Ferry last Friday was also fun as we shared our love of pounding the streets. This was just before I completed a beautiful half marathon race at Dunoon the following day and achieved a seasonal PB!

Next up are two more half marathons at each end of the Lothian running community. Starting in the east with the Haddington half marathon race on Saturday and followed by the West Lothian 13.1 mile race at Bathgate next weekend.

Maybe we should start a fintech running community! Until next time.