Fortnightly FinTech Fuse – We Have a FinTech Movement


Wow, what an incredible couple of weeks we have had with ‘FinTech Fortnight’, clear evidence that Scotland has a fintech movement on the march!

My head is spinning and adrenalin still pumping as I reflect on the amazing engagement from so many wonderful people at over thirty plus events in the last sixteen days.

The range of events and conferences from Falkirk to Fife, from early mornings to evenings, from Parliament to a pub, from grand places such as Surgeons Hall to Strathclyde University TIC and with guests from Africa to America, and much more, brought alive the fintech movement.

A Community Movement

During recent days many people mentioned how ‘Fintech Fortnight’ was very much a community driven initiative which made it all the more special.

This was evident from the very start two weeks ago with the launch by the local community of the ground breaking Fintech Skills Academy and then carried on everyday thereafter.

For example, the MBN Solutions team delivering three absolutely fantastic events in Edinburgh and Glasgow on topics ranging from Dirty Money, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies and the world of data science.

A massive thank you to the brilliant Michael Young, Rob Huggins and the MBN team for your ongoing fabulous community leadership with these meet ups and for organsing such great talks from Susan Ramonat of Spiritus, David from Castlight Financial, Richard of Previse and Ashrith of

It was great to talk about the fintech community at the Modulr launch event along with the panel of Myles Stephenson, Jude Cook, Jennifer Houston and Rob Devey, all superbly hosted by Lisa Thomson from Purpose HR. What a terrific atmosphere.

The fabulous atmosphere was also in evident at the Innovate FinTech event held in Codebase, Stirling last Monday evening.

This was expertly organized by the magnificent Rory Archibald and team at Visit Scotland and I must add that Rory has played a broader instrumental role in bringing the whole ‘Fintech Fortnight’ alive.

In Stirling we had three inspiring presenter, Alex Ford of

Encompass, Loral Quinn of Sustainably and Danial Broby of Strathclyde University, sharing their perspectives to a full and diverse audience and this very much brought the room alive.
The community atmosphere is always there at the regular Open Banking meet up, hosted by the very welcoming team at The team. Also, great to see James Varga share some of the fintech community spirit down in London later that week with their first Open Banking meet up

In Scotland , delighted to see Pinsent Masons launch the first of their regular monthly fintech meet ups this week and it was very appropriate that the theme was global opportunities with so many international friends visiting Scotland in the fortnight.

A Global Movement

FinTech Fortnight neatly coincided with Scottish International Week, a brilliant series of initiatives highlighting Scotland’s global outlook led by the entrepreneurial Russell Dalgleish and the team at Scottish Business Network

This enabled us to demonstrate that fintech in Scotland was also very much a global movement.

Brought alive with the Global Fintech Opportunities event at the start of the fortnight with terrific examples of exporting fintech by Bill Tennent of Payment Centric, Jason Forsyth of Agenor Iceflo and James Varga.

Complemented by hearing from international guests Stefan Pryor, Secretary of State for Commerce from Rhode Island, USA and Joel Ko from Marvelstone, the world leading fintech incubator in Singapore.

Then added to by really great expertise from Lorraine Mallon of SDI, Mark Roger of Vivolution, our Fintech Scotland commercial partner and Nick Sherard from strategic partner Deloitte.

Wow what a session that was for a Monday afternoon!

The worldwide opportunities for Scottish fintech are numerous and so it was great to have specific sessions with our fintech friends from Ireland on Thursday organized with David Clarke of the Scottish Irish Finance Initiative. Thank you to Pinsent Masons for being such fabulous hosts.

Many thanks also to Frazer Lang of Scottish African Business Exchange for inviting Money Matix, Payment Centric and Caseblocks to join me in presenting to the African Heads of Trade from fifteen different countries. A terrific opportunity to develop fintech global collaboration.

On Monday it was great to meet up with Natalia Lyarskaya from Zest Money to share more on why global fintech firms are looking to grow further in Scotland.

Thank you again to the MBN team, Susan Ramonat and the DataLab for meeting with Natalia on Tuesday to share more about Scotland as well as to Cherise Mascarenhas of SDI in India for setting up.

Tuesday evening, I managed to squeeze in time for the Scotland Germany Group meeting at Parliament to consider joint technology opportunities. Good to meet you Stephen Taylor of Technology Scotland.

On Wednesday morning it was good to have an early morning coffee with Brian Brodie to chat through the benefits of building fintech enterprises in Scotland, hope to see you back ‘home’ again soon Brian.

The Deloitte fintech ‘home and away’ event on Thursday was a great way to consider how Scotland can accelerate its move to being a top five global fintech centre.

Many thanks to Kent Mackenzie and Chris Brown for their valuable insights and ongoing strategic support for Fintech Scotland.

Last Thursday evening I was invited to share with the Edinburgh Ambassadors group our ambition to make Scotland a major global fintech centre and how our focus on inclusion and collaboration was key to the success of the fintech movement.

It was a super evening to meet wonderful people from very diverse backgrounds and I very much appreciated the opportunity, thank you the Marketing Edinburgh team and the inspiring Amanda Fergusson.

Talking of taking the message to a wider global audience, it was fabulous to hear about Graeme Jones, chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise take the ‘Fintech Fortnight’ messages across to Brussels and the important European Union audiences.

Very important as we enhance Scotland’s collaboration with Europe and demonstrate how the Scottish fintech movement is global, innovative and dynamic.

A Dynamic Movement

The two day Digit FinTech Summit at Dynamic Earth was very much the mega cornerstone event of the ‘Fintech Fortnight’.

Storms and gales could not stop there being a full house of four hundred plus people on each day to hear from a range of thought provoking and innovative fintech leaders.

Ray Bugg, Pete Swift and the Digit team did an amazing job in putting on such a superb summit which brought alive the very best of the dynamic fintech movement in Scotland.

It was great to share the platform with Stuart Lunn from LendingCrowd, Sofie Blakstad of Hive Online and the Government Cabinet Secretary Derek MacKay MSP.

Congratulations ‘Team’ Digit for a mega magnificent couple of days. Thank you also to Callum Sinclair and David Goodbrand for hosting the speakers dinner the night before.

The FinTech Summit was followed on Friday by the excellent ‘Future of FinTech’ conference at Strathclyde University Technology and Innovation Centre led by fintech pioneer Daniel Broby.

It was a privilege to be on the platform with such esteemed speakers including the fintech leaders Martin Leonard of Castlight Financial, Amy Roberts of Spotcap and David Brown plus team from Previse.

The ‘Fintech Fortnight’ has also shown we have much to look forward to with new talent and innovations coming through to grow the fintech movement in Scotland.

The University of Glasgow FinTech Society is a leading example of this and the student engagement at the event last Tuesday was absolutely fantastic.

I am very much looking forward to working with the President of the Society Elisabetta Trasatti and Society team, especially on the Applied FinTech Project.

On the same evening Strathclyde University held their inspiring S100 event for emerging entrepreneurs who are leading fintech initiatives. Congratulations to John McHugh from Gigly, Chris Herd from Nexves and Fraser Edmond from Broker Insights for dynamically leading the way on this.

The conversation at the fintech pub quiz in Glasgow was also very dynamic on Wednesday although a slight hiccup meant it was happening in two places at once! A replay is definitely called for and many thanks to Sergei Pomphrey, Bobby King and Kim Ndungu.

The deep technical know how and leadership of Scottish fintech movement was further in evidence at the Scotland IS Scotsoft Conference on Thursday.

I was delighted to chair the fintech stream and host such brilliant sessions from Ulrich Meyer of KAL ATM, one of our longest established fintechs, Nicola Marham from our strategic partner Sopra Steria, Colin Hewitt, CEO of brilliant Float and Thomas Leritz of the ground breaking Blockpass.

Many thanks to Polly Purvis and the team for such a terrific dynamic conference and the opportunity to show the fintech movement is deep and diverse.

A Diverse Movement

Being a diverse fintech movement is a key Scottish strength and ‘FinTech Fortnight’ has enabled me to share the fintech opportunity to a wider audience

For example, it was great to do a double act with Yvonne Dunn, from our strategic partner Pinsent Masons, at the Financial Services Law Conference on Wednesday chaired by Miller McLean.

Many thanks Anna Bennet for the opportunity to share how the development of fintech and lawtech are very much aligned.

This is a conversation I’ve been having in recent weeks with Paul Mosson from the Law Society of Scotland as there a major areas we can collaborate on.

The importance of being a diverse movement was also a key focus in the presentation to the SFE Professional Services Group with Graeme Jones this week.

Thanks, Ruari Urquart for arranging to discuss how mutli disciplinary collaboration is key to fintech future success.

In addition, being a diverse movement enables us to explore how fintech can be a key enabler in other sectors, including the public sector. I am enjoying the opportunity to work with Trish Quinn and Hugh Wallace on this.

It was a real privilege to meet and listen to Ricky Nicol last week, reinforcing to me the opportunity of fintech enterprises building scale by collaborating with larger institutions.

What a truly amazing story Commsworld is for anyone building a sustainable successful business. One day the story could be a best selling book and even a film!

Developing a business from its early stages was the theme of the Conference on Wednesday for SME’s organized by the engaging David Hood of Edinburgh Institute.

Thank you, David, for inviting me to share the relevance of fintech and our diverse movement with the business leaders during Fintech Fortnight.

I was also given the opportunity to talk about the importance of the fintech movement with other sectors at the Scotland CanDo Forum this week sharing innovation snapshots along with Claire Mack from Renewables Scotland and Henk Berits from the tourism sector.

We very much appreciated the support of Joanna McKenzie from DataLab along with June Love and Karen McAvenue in presenting to the Government Ministers and Forum members.

The breadth of the opportunities for fintech is enormous and in the coming months we will need to prioritise on key areas

This was a key discussion point at the quarterly FiSAB meeting chaired by the First Minister last Wednesday as it was at the FinTech Scotland board meeting a few days before.

It is certainly encouraging to have the broad set of Government and industry executives engaged in the progress of the fintech movement.

Marathon Movement

‘Fintech Fortnight’ has at times felt like a very demanding albeit enjoyable marathon and I must give a shout out to Shery and Mickael for their continuing unstinting valuable support. Fantastic

Especially as I was suffering from a bug for the early part of the fortnight which had meant I could not do the planned marathon race in Lancaster two weeks ago.

However, I recovered in time to do the Scottish Half marathon in East Lothian last Sunday and surprised myself with a personal best time for the year of 1 min 33 sec !!

This Sunday coming, I hope to follow up with another race, the Great Scottish half marathon in Glasgow.

What a very appropriate place to finish off the FinTech Fortnight. The City’s slogan is ‘People Make Glasgow’ and this also rings true for FinTech Fortnight. ‘People Make Fintech’.

The people across the fintech community and wider have been very much behind bringing the fortnight of activities alive across Scotland, demonstrating we very much have a fintech movement.

Thank you again to everyone involved who participated and joined in, until next time!