Editor's Choice Europe Event Analysis Fintech Trending

Fintech Week London 2023: Day Two Highlights

Day two of Fintech Week London’s flagship conference for 2023 served up more enlightening discussions as tech and fintech leaders shared their insight on insurtech, the metaverse and more at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

First up, we heard from Andrew Griffith MP, the Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister, who described the UK’s approach to crypto regulation as the ‘Goldilocks approach’ – finding the right balance between innovation and protection. His comments emphasised the UK’s potential to thrive as a global tech hub, attracting talent and revolutionising industries with a conducive regulatory framework in place.

He said: “As your economic secretary, I’ve seen firsthand how fintech firms all across the country, are driving growth and helping address some of those pressing issues facing our society, whether that be driving up productivity in the economy, helping consumers manage their money better, or adding to a more competitive, more dynamic economy.

“The UK is on the right path to establishing itself as a global centre for crypto regulation, something I’ve described as the Goldilocks approach not being too hot, not being too cold, striking the right balance between innovation and protection. With the right regulatory framework in place, our country will continue to thrive as a global tech hub, attracting the brightest minds and revolutionising industries across the board.”

Andrew Griffith FTWL

Fintech funding

It was then chance to discuss the state of UK fintech funding with a panel led by SkyParlour’s managing director Kimberley Waldron. She was joined by Amy Whitell, CEO & co-founder of Collctiv, Laura Pomfret, co-founder of Financielle, Craig Fox, managing director and head of fintech at HSBC Innovation Banking, and Will Mason, CEO & founder of Infact Systems as they delved into raising funds, scaling and the path to profitability.

They highlighted the challenges and frustrations faced in attaining funding, with investors increasingly prioritising companies with exceptional growth trajectories and quick routes to profitability.

Fox acknowledged a significant slowdown in funding, particularly for companies seeking later rounds of investment, but reassured that there is still ample funding available for good companies, while Whitell expressed concern over the prospect of raising money in the following year and emphasised the need to improve the efficiency of the funding process.

Mason echoed the sentiment of apprehension among founders regarding raising money, expressing uncertainty about the investment landscape in 2024. Pomfret highlighted the frustration of attaining funding, noting the current preference of investors for companies with exceptional growth trajectories and quick routes to profitability, which often cannot be achieved simultaneously.

Insights into insurtech

Louise O’Shea, chair of the InsurTech UK Advisory Panel and FinTech Wales, put the spotlight on insurtech, alongside Sam White, founder and global CEO of Stella Insurance. Their fantastic keynote talks went down a storm.

White said: “At the start of this presentation I asked you all to raise your hand if you thought the insurance industry was a female friendly environment. None of you did. What I would like to ask now is do you have the balls or boobs to help change that? I know I have, I know my Dad had and I sure as hell know Bobby Sethi has, so what about you?”

FTWL 2023

White then joined an enjoyable panel discussion with Sabine VanderLinden, co-founder and managing partner of Alchemy Crew, Rosie Denée, head of Lloyd’s Lab, Charlotte Halkett, chief underwriting officer of ManyPets, on what good partnerships look like, and a reminder to understand your customer and build targeted products and services for all.

“I’ve seen all different flavours,” said Halkett. “So from the bootstraps company to the early rounds to the latest series, I think the team is really, really important. So that’s always been the case in rounds I’ve been in that it’s always critically important that the team investors are talking to are coherent and intelligent – no matter the subject matter.”

Denée added: “I work with a lot of startups, many of whom are going through funding rounds right now and it’s clearly very difficult. Some companies are being forced to wait a long time for funding. The pressure can become immense, but it’s important to ensure you pick an investment partner that’s aligned with your values. It’s almost like a dating site; you just need to keep swiping until you find someone who’s the right match”

Insurtech innovation

O’Shea then chatted with Louise Birritteri, CEO and founder of Pikl, Fraser Edmond, CEO of Broker Insights and Armin Kia, co-founder and CEO of Driverly, who talked about innovation beyond the M25.

“London is the largest intake or inshore tech ecosystem in the country,” said Kia. “But it’s important to have access to other local ecosystems as well. So I’ve seen startups set up in remote places and they struggle to find talent. Think about the access to intelligence and other peers thoughts and other businesses operating in your sector near yourself.”

We then enjoyed an address from George Beattie, head of innovation at CFC, who spoke about the future of the insurance and the insurtech sectors. He highlighted how nascent technologies are redefining liabilities in commercial and personal activity, before highlighting the need for insurers to respond to these evolving threats.

“I want you to be excited by the concept that there is an insurer out, there are insurance people out there that are thinking about the future differently that are actually risking capital to try and arrest the decline in relevance in our industry.”

Data, risk and fraud

The morning sessions ended with a panel headed by The Fintech Times’ Mark Walker, alongside Andrew Barnett, director at Deloitte, Emma Lindley, managing director of international expansion at CAF, and Chor Teh, director of financial crime compliance at Moody’s Analytics.

“So I think the payment rails needs to be what I would call fatter, so they need more information to be shared between the sender and the receiver and vice versa,” said Burnett. “That needs to happen in real time to allow both the receiver and the sender to do their job as they need to in line with the payment schemes. It would definitely improve fraud detection, it will also mean that genuine customers, that are sending genuine payments are less likely to get those annoying messages.”

FTWL 2023

Enter the metaverse

The afternoon session began with a visionary glimpse into the future as Julia Streets, founder and CEO of Streets Consulting, joined forces with Dr. Catriona Wallace, founder of the Responsible Metaverse Alliance, for a virtual discussion on the transformative potential of the metaverse in reshaping our business landscape.

Conversations revolving around the metaverse continued throughout the afternoon, guided by Streets, delving into its implications and possibilities. Injecting a touch of humour and levity, comedians Daman Bamrah and Abigoliah Schamaun took the stage for a well-received panel titled the ‘Fintech Talk Up, Shut Down.’

“Open banking is when a bank is open but it’s never late enough so I always freaking miss it and that’s that’s why I will rely solely on online banking, thanks fintech,” said Schamaun.

While Bamrah quipped: “Embedded finance is essentially when your parents and their parents before them, and their forefathers, all bank with Barclays. Barclays is embedded into your family and if you try to go to Nationwide, you’re going to be excommunicated from your family. Even if they offer you financial incentives you can’t do it if you love your family.”

FTWL 2023

Metaverse expectations

Panel discussions further explored the metaverse’s expectations, trust, and investments, featuring Streets, Sophia Batanides of Citi, Laura Henchoz at EY, and Shane Leonard of Outlier Ventures.

They touched upon diverse topics, including investment opportunities within the metaverse and the importance of digital ethics. As Henchoz remarked: “If you want to look at a way of making a lot of money in a really good field, be a digital ethicist. It’s a real niche.”

Batanides added: “The metaverse, it gives us the opportunity to do something good. Education as one example is something good. But the key question is, are we going to learn? Is society or all of us and the builders and the users – are we going to learn from the mistakes that have happened during today’s world?”

In another panel discussion, titled ‘The Fintech Reality’, Streets led a conversation with Karen Elliott of the University of Birmingham, Ildefonso Olmedo of Santander, Jeremy Sosabowski of Algo Dynamix, and James Watson of Glimpse Markets, where they explored the intersection of fintech and the metaverse.

Is the metaverse important? As Streets says: “By the time your children leave secondary school, the metaverse will be the dominant way in which we live, work, study and play.”

Fintech for good

The afternoon concluded on an inspiring and impactful note, focusing on the concept of fintech for good.

Hannah Duncan engaged in an inspiring dialogue with Betsy Samuel, the CMO of Thredd about living and leading with HIV. Samuel’s words resonated deeply as she highlighted the significance of kindness and empathy in our interactions with others.

Samuel said: “It costs you nothing to be kind. You never know what the person in front of you is going through. Our actions can make a huge impact on someone’s life. It’s so important for people to be able to come to work and be themselves. We don’t know what people are going through, so it’s important to lean in and try to help.”

Fintech Week London

Theo Lau, in her keynote speech, raised thought-provoking questions about the integration of AI into our lives, emphasising the importance of trust in our human society. She stated: “AI is embedded into our professional and personal life, but at what cost? We live in a society of human beings, and we need trust to survive.”

Lau called for a different future, urging action and emphasising the potential impact of our present choices.

“Let’s make a different future with what we do today because we can. You don’t need to be a big corporation to make a difference. Every single one of us can make a difference if we try. There has never been a better time to make a change, and to build the future that we all want to see.”

The panel discussion on Fintech for Good: The Future of Banking is Human featured Jas Shah of bitsul, Dharmesh Mistry of AskHomey, Kam Chana of RCA, Alessandra Guion of Fintech Belgium, and Rie Sordo-DeCock of Scudi.

Mistry highlighted the significance of balancing purpose and profitability, stating: “There has to be a business… unless it’s making money, it’s a charity. But there are plenty of VCs that will put money into projects that serve a good purpose with a strong business model.”

The event concluded with a keynote speech by Emmanuel Daniel, founder of The Asian Banker, who emphasised the importance of personalisation in finance. He said: “Finance is something that we can control, and you do not need an intermediary to be involved in the process.


Related posts

This Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 07/09

Claire Woffenden

Gig Wage, Green Dot and Commonwealth Announce a Partnership To Help Minority Group Gig Workers

Francis Bignell

Inside Open Banking Expo 2023: Day One Roundup

Tom Bleach