I recently attended the inaugural #FinTechWeek in the UK, and by all accounts it was a very successful launch! I went along to as much as I could, and followed along online for the parts I couldn’t get to, and here are my top six take-aways:
- The capital markets are still ripe for reinvention: Day one of FinTech was held at the Barclays Accelerator in WhiteChapel. Greg Rogers from Techstars opened the day and commented: “I’m seeing some amazing innovations, but no network. Imagine the potential if a big bank had bought Whatsapp”. Though the topic of this first day was on markets, trading and investment, there didn’t seem to be a lot directly relevant to disrupting the core world of trading – more on disintermediating the established ways of doing FX/currency conversion by moving it online. Greg mentioned that a lot of the founders in the Barclays Accelerator programme were ex-investment bankers, but their ideas don’t seem to yet have made it into the light. One slightly conciliatory comment that stuck out was from Tradable’s CEO, Jannick Malling “we need to collaborate with the banks, not kill them”.
- There’s fierce competition between mobile payment apps: Day two was focused on the topic of money and payments, though mainly on the consumer side of payments and the ubiquitous use of mobile phones (three times more mobiles than toothbrushes in the world apparently!) with lots of new payment apps being devised.
- London is in the FinTech fast lane: On day three, Accenture released a report which stated that London was the FinTech capital of the world. And it seemed the case at The Royal Institution where 7 startups presented their inspiring ideas during theFinTech Innovation Lab Investor Day.
- The importance of collaboration: Day four focused on the topic of banking, pensions and insurance was held at Level 39, Canary Wharf with its impressive views of the London skyline. Eric Van Der Kleij, head of Level 39 reiterated London’s importance in FinTech, but also stressed the importance of working internationally, announcing a new link up with a New York based Fuelled Collective.
- The future is in your hands: Day five, hosted at Rainmakers Loft in StartupBootCamp, focused on crowd funding and startup accelerator programmes. What seemed clear is that all these fintech accelerators, incubators and competitions open a wealth of doors for entrepreneurs to gain the exposure and networks required to really make it happen for them. However, even with great contacts, advice and mentors, it’s ultimately all down to the entrepreneurs to forge their own path and ensure their ideas are a success.
- Hackathons are fun: To round off FinTechWeek, Aviva and @3_Beards ran a FinTech Innovation Hackathon Weekend at Innovation Warehouse which seemed an equally exhausting and inspiring process – as you’ll see from this timelapse video! The winning project/idea was @insuremyfriend where you form a network with friends to lower the price of your insurance.
One thing is clear, Luis Carranza, marketer and founder of FinTechWeek (and also of the Silicon Roundabout Meetup) has good timing – its surprising that this is the first event of its type as there is a huge interest in financial technology and startups and he had a strong turnout for all the events in the week. Good going for the first year with room to grow and improve in future years.
I’m looking forward to following this exciting space as it develops, and am keen to see what the startups will present at the first regional round of the Innotribe Startup Competiton in London on May 1 – register here for free if you’d like to come along!