Hive19 were so happy to attend the inaugural opening of the Fintech Fringe festival, a London Tech Week event designed for fintechs who are serious about scaling in the UK.
It was a fabulous event that brought together some of the brightest minds in the industry to share learnings and provide insight into one of the UK’s most exciting verticals.
From ecosystem support to sales, marketing and fundraising, Fintech Fringe took guests through everything needed to know to scale a Fintech across 4 glorious days and multiple locations spanning Canada One’s Level39 to Barclays Rise and much more.
London Tech Week
The Queen Elizabeth II Centre once again played host to London Tech Week, which now in its 10th year saw some of its biggest and best attendance figures.
Aside from a fabulous opening fireside chat with the current UK prime minister, the tech festival attracted a wide range of industry specialists including over 30,000 aficionados, 3,500 startups and 850 investors.
Fintech Fringe: Day 1
Tuesday was hot, very hot… some 25° in Central London – and even hotter inside the QEII. Hotter still, mind, were the topics of discussion amongst the main stage speakers.
AI naturally took centre stage, with startups, founder tips and EdTech other notable talks worth taking a seat for (or like me, standing at the back).
Given the rise of ChatGPT over the last 12 months, it wouldn’t take too much machine learning capacity to work out the main topic of this year’s London Tech Week.
Experts weighed up both sides of the spectrum as a new dawn presents itself – from the exciting opportunities of adoption to the more concerning threat it poses to jobs or even entire industries (or the future of our species…)
After his keynote speech, Rishi Sunak sat down for a fireside chat with Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis, stating he wants to make the UK the “geographical home of global AI safety regulation” amid warnings about the risks the technology poses. While Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer called for the government to move faster on AI regulation, highlighting re-skilling as a means to mitigate job losses.
While floors 1 and 2 of QEII were filled with AI powered startups harnessing some of its early power, Clare Barclay, CEO of Microsoft UK, spoke of how AI “will be the most significant inflection point in our lifetimes” and “will be the next industrial revolution”.
AI is a mathematical equation that will deliver you the most likely answer you were looking for, but it’s binary – and doesn’t consider the context. For example, if you were to ask “What is turmeric used for?”
Los Angeles AI: It’s used to flavour a chai latte.
Indian AI: It’s used to flavour curry.
Vietnamese AI: It’s used to treat wounds.
Along with Hive19’s very own Steve Delpy, who was a speaker on the panel for “Scaling lessons from successful fintechs”, London Tech Week’s newest addition also welcomed VIP Speakers including:
- Lord Holmes
- Rajesh Agrawal
- Janine Hirt
- Ezechi Britton MBE
This, as well as introducing many new faces that although not quite as recognisable (yet), have been at the coal face for many years building and supporting fintechs.
A fabulous opening speech from the deputy mayor, including statistics on the booming state of the UK fintech scene. Amazing to hear that the UK is second only to the US right now, with £10.2BN worth of funding reaching UK fintechs last year… which is more than the next 13 countries on the list, combined!
Rajesh Agrawal - Deputy Mayor of London for Business Greater London Authority
The UK market opportunity for fintechs
Excellent opening fireside chat between Ezechi Britton and Julia Streets. Great insight into the Kalifa Review of UK Fintechs, as well as my two favourite soundbites from the day “every tech product involves fintech, otherwise it isn’t a company” and “Software devs in the US join Silicon Valley, Software devs in the UK join banks”,
Ezechi Britton – CEO CFIT
Why the UK is still the leading market of choice
Fascinating panel of experts discussing why the UK is still the leading market of choice. The panel were in agreement that the UK, and specifically London is a hotbed for fintech talent.
Diana Ranchal – Solutions Engineer, Marqeta
Iana Dimitrova – CEO, OpenPayd
Janine Hirt – CEO, Innovate Finance
Josh Guthrie – UK Country Manager, Mollie
According to Janine Hirt “8/10 adults use at least 1 fintech product regularly.”
Who are your support network and how can they help?
Saalim Chowdhury – Managing Director, Techstars
Peter Cunnane – Director of International & National Initiatives, Innovate Finance
Emanuela Meini – Senior Inward Investment Manager for Fintech & Cyber, London & Partners
Danielle Sheerin – Director of Digital Fintech Programmes, Barclays
A lively discussion made all the more enjoyable by Saalim Chowdhury’s (slightly) late arrival, ending up with him taking a seat on the stage floor. He then went on to steal the show, with fantastic insight to the challenges founders face – including mental health and creating a diverse workforce. “Half of London isn’t British, so if diversity is your aim, rather than aiming for talent you aren’t hiring right” (to paraphrase).
Scaling lessons from successful fintechs
Naturally, Hive19 co-founder Steve Delpy’s panel was the main event for us… along with Luke Treyfoot of Mangopay and Devina Paul of Zumo to discuss scaling lessons.
Nadia Edwards-Dashti – Chief Customer Officer, Harrington Starr
Devina Paul – CFO, Zumo
Steve Delpy – Chief Banking Officer, Paysafe
Luke Trayfoot – Chief Revenue Officer, MangoPay
The most interesting theme here, unsurprisingly, was pricing and understanding the costs. CFOs were getting a lot of love on this panel, along with understanding the long term value of your customer, the industry they’re in – and their lifecycle with your company.
Ultimately, the biggest scaling lesson comes down to one principle: maximising the activities that make your business the most profit.
Fintech Fringe: Day 2
Understanding the fintech buyer
Daniel Lowther – Head of Fintech, CCgroup
Jennifer Heathfield-Lee – Head of Partnerships, Clearbank
Ian Carter – COO, mmob
Robert Fillmore – Founder & Managing Director, Meta-Morphix Ltd
The art of being enterprise ready
Layla White – CEO, Techpassport
Zitah McMillan – CEO and Co-Founder, Predictive Black
Kate Bohn – Global Head of Private Markets Technology, Macquarie Asset Management
Isabel Pitt – CTO, Shieldpay
Danielle Raymond – Strategic Fintech Investment Operations, Lloyds
London was hot, and for a man who is partial to shorts in most weather – jeans were a struggle. That said, while the streets were basked in glorious British sunshine, inside the buildings of Level39 at One Canada Square, Rise at Barclays and the QEII were even hotter, ablaze in fact with a scorching UK tech scene that is ascending new heights and leading the way for innovation.
It was a pleasure to attend these events, to chat with industry experts and to soak up the insights shared by those on the panels and in fireside chats.
We’re already looking forward to next year’s Tech Week and Fintech Fringe festivals – and how far the industry will have progressed in that time, given the speed of adoption the last 12 months have shown – we’re in for a treat.