Previse’s expansion in Scotland. Interview with the Chief Product Officer

Earlier this month we received some great news from Previse. The B2B payment decisions start-up managed to secure £800k R&D grant from Scottish Enterprise in order to to set up an new development centre in Glasgow, creating 37 new data science jobs.

FinTech Scotland spoke with David Brown, Previse’s Chief Product Officer to understand the decision process that lead to the firm’s move this side of the border.

How did Previse come about?

We identified that current solutions to financing trade finance assets involved too much process change and this change more often than not would lead to the demise of payments in the supply chain as most focused on the Top suppliers i.e. the 80/20 rule. The majority of any major corporate spend is with the top 100-200 suppliers, the remainder [referred to as tail spend] can involve thousands of smaller suppliers more often than not most SME’s would fall within this segment. Previse identified a huge gap in the current market offerings and their failure to address this segment and have now developed a solution specifically to address SME payments within the Global Supply chain using, with virtually no process change to deploy.

Why did you choose Scotland to establish your new base?

After meeting with the Scottish Enterprise, Datalabs and the university professors, we came to the conclusion that the right building blocks are being put in place to address the skills gap that is required to enable a digital world and from there a fintech solution.

And why did you choose Glasgow specifically?

This was perhaps the hardest of the decisions but based on the fact the JPM, Barclays and MS have their operations in Glasgow, helped in our final decision.

Where would you like to see improvements in the Scottish fintech proposition?

Fintech in our opinion involves several key ingredients; technology, liquidity and legal without this it could become just tech. It is important that whilst we challenge the use of new technologies, we also challenge our legal frameworks and boundaries to ensure the asset is attractive for finance. Active collaboration between all parties is necessary and should be without conflict as the outcome benefits all.

In your opinion what is the biggest challenge Scotland is facing when it comes to becoming one of the leading fintech hubs?

References. We need strong case studies as change is hard but once you get through the inertia of change it becomes the norm. Scotland must collaborate, promote and get behind platforms, to generate the need and desire for talent, after all this is a new world with new challenges but also amazing opportunities to build world class talent and present a showcase of successful reference accounts to build upon.

Can you tell us about some exciting developments at Previse?

We are in the final stages of some major announcements both in partnerships and in client adoption and are busy hiring in Glasgow to support our growth. Partnering is key to Previse as we have built an enabler and each partnership we announce confirms our strategy and validates our vision.

You told us previously you'd like to spend more time in Scotland. What are the thing you enjoy doing/visiting when you're up here?

Now I am here after working away for close to 30 years, I am looking up and finding everyone that meant something to my life and growing up, so catching up with neighbours, school and work friends and ex work colleges etc. is top on my agenda.

Are you planning on moving permanently to Scotland?

You never say never and I would like to think that is possible at some stage, I may need help with my Wife Sammi.

You told us previously you'd like to spend more time in Scotland. What are the thing you enjoy doing/visiting when you're up here?

One of my best friends is Colin Barr who happens to own the Bierhall in Gordon Street so it would have to be that one.

What's your favourite place in Scotland?

Loch Lomond, I have fond memories of my childhood and swimming there and also my big sister Ireney had her ashes spread there so it is now a very special place for all of us.