Monday July 12, 2021 will be remembered as the day when London’s physical fintech scene re-opened as Fintech Week London kicked off with a message from Rajesh Agrawal, the Deputy Mayor of London for Business.
The opening to the hybrid event was then followed by a Keynote Address from Chairman of the Content Board, Chris Skinner, who spoke on the future of fintech in London to today’s virtual audience. The conference will then move to a physical event Tuesday and Wednesday before reverting back to online only for Thursday and Friday. Tickets to watch the event virtually are still available.
Agrawal started his speech with a nod to the fact that he was born in India, and only arrived in London as a young man in 2001, albeit with the ambition to succeed. As an entrepreneur he founded RationalFX in 2005, and Xendpay in 2014, both companies utilise technology to reduce the cost of international money transfer for businesses and individuals.
He said, “London gave me that chance to succeed, as it has for many others. I was able to create two successful fintech businesses and have been Deputy Mayor of the greatest city in the world not once, but twice. The opportunity of Fintech continues to grow today.”
Agrawal went on to give key statistics about the success of London and how UK tech companies continue to attract investment despite the global pandemic, receiving $5.3bn in VC investment, Europe’s largest by far.
Figures from Agrawal included 3018 fintech’s who have their HQ in London – the highest amount globally, and the second-biggest hub for Fintech unicorns. With London being home to Wise, Starling Bank, Onfido, Monzo, Revolut and Checkout.com.
Not only that but the UK represents more than 10% of the global market share in fintech.
Agrawal continued, “Our unique global status is our standout asset. Everything entrepreneurs could need is in one place, London. Here, finance meets tech and academic research finds a business community that is hungry to take ideas to market.
“Brexit may. have created uncertainty and the pandemic has affected how we do business, but high-quality talent is still choosing London. And I will continue to bang the drum for London, making the case for investment on the world stage.”
Touching on the issue of the global pandemic, Agrawal confirmed how support hubs and a back to business fund has helped the community with safe, socially distant trading and a London resilience fund.
He ended his keynote by adding, “We cannot predict what the new business world will look like but what we know is that London has always shown remarkable resilience. The Fintech sector will continue to play a key role in driving the recovery forward.
“More than £6m UK adults downloaded a banking app for the first time in March 2020. Half of Londoners used digital-only banking services in 2021. London is a fantastic place to live, work and play – the cultural vibrancy can be felt in every aspect of London life. With 230 different languages spoken, diversity is one of its greatest strengths.
“I now call London home. I hope that today and this week will inspire you to grow your business in London, fill you with confidence that support is here for the sector and give you a sense of pride, contributing to what makes this city so great.
“As always, London is open for business.”
Other key topics for today include emerging fintech trends, green finance, financial sustainability, financial inclusion, blockchain, and a city-to-city look at the Arab world. The rest of the week will tackle issues such as Coopetition between banks and fintechs, open banking, blockchain, NFTs, cryptocurrencies and a wider look at the fintech scene worldwide.