Fortnightly FinTech Fuse – Spreading The FinTech Network Far and Wide

This last couple of weeks has reinforced to me once again the enormous value in developing the fintech network far and wide.

I’ve believed from the outset that developing a broader and deeper network will enable the community of fintech SME enterprises to thrive and grow as well establish Scotland a significant global fintech cluster.

Therefore, it was a real privilege to share this philosophy at the Scottish Business Network (SBN) event on Tuesday evening in London


Scottish Business Network

The SBN team is by far the exemplar role model in how to bring a diverse group of business leaders together to establish a dynamic network of people sharing a mutual interest in enterprise and innovation.

The event on Tuesday evening very much demonstrated this, organized expertly by Christine Esson and hosted by Alex Threipland and the Silicon Valley Bank team

It was wonderful to hear from Jo Halliday of Talking Medicines and Isobel Brown from Internet of Equals share their stories on their terrific enterprises

I very much appreciated the opportunity to share with the full house of SBN members and guests the role of Fintech Scotland in leveraging the Scottish fintech network to establish a global centre of excellence.

Big thank you to the inspiring host of the evening, Russell Dalgleish, who for a number of years now has provided me with valuable counsel, encouragement and insight.

The SBN event was of real value in further building the Scottish fintech network in London but also on a broader global level.

This is something SBN team is extremely well versed in doing with its community of global scots around the world and something the fintech community will be able to leverage going forward.


Global Network

Building visibility of the fintech developments on an international level is something we are seeing the benefits from in this early part of 2019.

My time in London coincided with a visit from by Avi Karani, the founder and CEO of Alice Financial, the market leading New York fintech firm.

Great to catch up and looking forward to welcoming Avi and his CTO Paul to Scotland very soon.

Earlier in the day I enjoyed meeting up with Miten Amin of VendEx Solutions, a new exciting fintech enterprise platform which we are looking to collaborate with to develop the global network connections for Scottish firms.

Following the recent trade mission to Switzerland I was introduced to Shantanu Bhagwat of the Department of International Trade Venture Capital Unit, who I met in London on Tuesday.

Great conversation with Shantanu on how we can leverage their global network of investors to connect with the innovative fintech enterprises in Scotland.

There will be opportunities to expand on this in late April with Fintech Week and it was useful to catch up with Peter Cunane of Innovate Finance to discuss working together on their Global Summit in London

Looking forward to working with Charlotte and the Innovate Finance team along with Julian Wells of FinTech North on demonstrating the value from an extensive global fintech network.

There are also plans for major global conferences in Scotland which will certainly expand the fintech network.

For example, very much appreciate the great introduction by the wonderful Amanda Fergusson of Marketing Edinburgh to the ESOMAR team regarding their global data conference

This will provide great opportunities to demonstrate data driven fintech innovation from Scotland and looking forward to working with seeing Angela, Neda and Rhiannon on this.

Then also brilliant working with Professor Emilios Avgouleas, Paul Mosson from Law Society of Scotland, Gordon Dow from the University of Edinburgh and Laura Henry from Marketing Edinburgh on the proposed International Law Conference coming to Edinburgh.

Global events such as this reinforce the innovation taking place in Scotland and help build the international connections for Scottish fintech enterprises

A super example of this is the Well Being Alliance, a global movement with firm roots in Scotland in which fintech can play a major role. Thanks to Una Bartley and Jock Encombe, another wonderful long standing network connection, for involving me in this great initiative.

Very much enjoyed the inaugural meeting at the Scottish Parliament with excellent presentation from Dr Katherine Trebeck, Peter Kelly of Poverty Alliance and Andrew Cave of Baillie Gifford

It was great to be there with some of the larger financial institutions such as Aberdeen Standard, RBS and Baillie Gifford collaborating in this valuable network as well as meeting new network contacts such as Charlotte Millar from New Economy


Collaboration Network

There are an increasing number of examples of larger organisations recognizing the value of the Scottish fintech network and looking to play a more active role.

For example, useful to catch up with Robert McKillop and Ross Hayter at Aberdeen Standard Investments on Thursday to discuss mutual fintech innovation opportunities in the asset management sector.

Then also to meet up with Mark Napier of JP Morgan on how to give greater visibility to the exciting developments in Glasgow across fintech enterprises and large organizations.

This was discussed further with the inspiring Michael Young and Rob Huggins of MBN Solutions, who already do so much in amplifying the data driven innovation and talent being developed across Scotland

I’ve also been encouraged by the new interest in the Scottish fintech network and cluster from large organizations hearing about the developments for the first time.

For example, I enjoyed meeting Laura Mason, chief executive of L&G Retirement to talk through mutual areas to explore on innovation

Alongside this the FinTech Scotland strategic partners play a crucial role in the expanding network.

It was valuable to catch up with Simon Pink and Mairi Cairney of IBM to plan joint initiatives and then while in London meet with the Equifax executive team to talk through collaboration progress.

Thank you, Neil Stephenson and Robert McKechnie for hosting me, I very valued the conversation with Equifax colleagues Suzanne Brown, Rhona Parry, Jorge Hernandez, John Power and the breadth of their strategic engagement with Fintech Scotland.

HSBC was at the forefront in creating FinTech Scotland just over a year ago through Colin Halpin’s leadership, and it was fantastic to catch up with Marc Ellis, Paul Macdonald and KC (Kwok Ching Tsui) on the areas we can progress

Excited about connecting more Scottish fintech community into the HSBC ‘innovation sandpit’ and developing fintech collaboration opportunities with the University of Edinburgh

We’ll be progressing this in a couple of weeks when Frank Tong, KC will have an opportunity to meet some of the Scottish fintech community in Edinburgh.

Thank you to Ahmed El Rayis from the University’s School of Informatics for arranging this exciting session which will be a great opportunity to showcase the expertise of the Scottish fintech network in action.


Expert Network

The expertise of the Scottish universities in the fintech network is a significant component of the innovation and entrepreneur activity.

Very evident this week, with the launch by Daniel Broby and his team at University of Strathclyde of a new fintech enterprise Listings Ledger.

Hugely exciting and another example of how fintech activity in Glasgow is thriving in so many ways

This was something which was high on the agenda a meeting with Charlie and Billy from HPE with Adrian, Olga and Tim from University of Strathclyde a couple of weeks ago.

Later that day, it was fantastic to meet up with the newly formed Strathclyde University Student Fintech Society who are going to be another fabulous active addition to the Glasgow fintech network.

The meeting with students wanting to be involved in the fintech network is always very motivating and I was delighted to join Louise of Common Purpose to support the Heriot Watt students on their innovation task.

The role of students, amongst a host of other areas related to the fintech network, was also a key part of the conversation with Gail Boag, David Potter and Brian Windram of Edinburgh Napier University recently.

Excited about working with the team to embrace the academic and student expertise in the coming months.

Similarly, with the initiatives at the University of Edinburgh such as the setting up of the new European Digital Office focused on fintech in the Bayes Centre.

Great to catch up with Morgan Gillies, Gbenga Ibikunle and Damien McGarrigle on this and sharing this fantastic opportunity with the fintech network across Scotland.

Another initiative which is progressing in putting resource in place to take forward is the global open finance centre of excellence.

Thank you Damien for the updates and coordinating the support from the University, Scottish Enterprise and FDATA.

The Open Banking Excellence meet up on Monday evening gave me the opportunity to share the latest developments on the Centre of Excellence with people from across the network.

Thank you to the terrific Dave Jennings and The ID Co team for hosting the session and to the always insightful Stephen Hart for his impromptu session on open banking evolution.


Communication Network

The various meet ups across the Scottish network are hugely valuable in engaging the broad range of participants, I just wish I had more hours in the day to participate!!

Therefore, I always find it valuable to catch up with communication leaders who support the fintech network such as Andy McIver from Message Matters.

Thanks, Andy, for your ongoing support and looking forward to pushing forward on building the Scottish fintech communication channels even further, especially with open banking.

This week it was also an absolute pleasure to meet up with Mandy Rhodes of Holyrood Communications and share our mutual objectives and plans.

Very much look forward to working with Mandy and the team, especially with the exciting emerging developments in respect of fintech, GovTech and CivTech.

The Scottish Enterprise team have always played a leading role in working with FinTech Scotland in developing the network

So, it was valuable to catch up with John Booth when I was in Glasgow to talk through the collaboration opportunities to amplify the substantive examples of positive innovation.


Running Network

My running network is almost as dynamic and diverse as the Scottish fintech network!!

Everything from Strava to Garmin to Good Run Guide to Facebook running groups and more!

My latest running race adventures took me to South Lanarkshire and the town of Strathaven for the ‘Run with the Wind half marathon’.

The reality was it was more of a run against the gales and hailstorms whilst climbing several hundred feet!! It was a great tester and the warm Scotch broth at the end was most welcome.

Next up is the Meadows Half Marathon a week on Sunday, involving nine laps of Edinburgh Meadows!

Before then, there is lots more network connecting to be done around the streets of Scotland and beyond. Until next time