With mis-selling costing financial services literally billions, the commercial case for transparency continues to become clearer. Fintnews, the world’s fintech news agency, talks to VoxSmart CEO Oliver Blower.
In a nutshell, VoxSmart’s main product, ‘VSmart’ allows any communication carried out over a mobile connection to be recorded and stored in real time. VSmart has initially offered their service to the financial services industry as the product “is fully compliant with current and pending legislation” and has the capacity to, “capture, secure and analyse the data.” However, they hope to enable mobility in other markets in the near future, too.
Oliver tells Fintnews that “VoxSmart’s customers, are by definition global and by using VSmart, real time mobile data can be logged and VoxSmart ensures that the “data is secure at rest and in transit.” Oliver joined VoxSmart after working on the trading floor and using voice recording systems whilst at Barclays and Bank of America, experiencing “lots of white noise and dead air…which meant that users often hung up”. These systems were put in place so that the whole process was more transparent, a way to make the financial sector more compliant as regulation tightened.
The end user can become a disruptor in their own right, as they can become more efficient and compliant as a result of the VoxSmart system that is “invisible to the user and not intrusive” as well as meeting the FCA tech updates. Although Oliver points out that VoxSmart are not regulated themselves, their tech helps those who are or need to become regulated meet those obligations. VoxSmart partner with banks and third party suppliers and vendors, like Green Key Technologies, Finitex and Blackberry and in their words, “try their best to collaborate within the ecosystem of fintech.”
Fintnews: Have you felt any disruption from the Brexit decision?
“Any volatility creates disruption.” VoxSmart relies on inward investment and customer acquisition.
They began fundraising around the summer of Brexit and saw “decision paralysis,” however both factors have since unlocked and the UK business of fintech “looks healthier than ever.”
Overall, regarding Brexit, Oliver believes that both “UK fintech and regtech” have seen “little impact.” VoxSmart are beginning to scale up their UK operations, with 40 employees based in London alone. Oliver insists that, “throughout Brexit we’ve had no problems attracting and retaining staff” with a number of international and EU employees on their books.
Fintnews: Has there been any resistance to the product enabling a transparent flow of information? No, the “power of transparency” means that once one bank introduces a mandate, their technology will continue leaching under the umbrella of banking, i.e., practices from one become practices of all. Capital marketing, advisory, research, sales and trading could all benefit in this way.
In fact, VoxSmart believe that they have the potential to become a “disruptive player for all heavily regulated industries…criminal justice system, social workers…” So, nearly any industry where there is a “high regular mobility” of information could benefit, making information more coherent and people more accountable for their actions and the public more aware.
VoxSmart has seen “interest from national police forces, health care, pharmaceutical and defence industries” and aims to begin exploring these sectors in “12 – 18 months.” However he says that he needs to “focus on financial services first…it’s important to build a deep footprint as you increase the chances of failure by spreading too thin.”
Fintnews: Do you believe that there is a formula for disruption?
Oliver wants to see a “cross pollination effect between vectors,” we’ve seen that the “banking world is allergic to taking tech from contact centres…but this is what a trading floor does.” For real disruption to occur Oliver believes that it needs to occur “inside out,” clarifying by explaining that there needs to be first a “deep understanding of the problem and then find solutions.”
“Former (banking) institution members are now becoming board members” at VoxSmart and other fintech disruptors, who have a deep understanding of the problems within the industry and want to be part of finding solutions. We share a unified vision at VoxSmart within our target vertical (market).”
For Oliver, the answer is to look at the ecosystem from “the top down within organisations… you need to unlock the capability of individuals at the ground level. By asking the individuals using the service day in, day out, what they want to change.”
Oliver recently attended a KPMG panel, and heard a very pertinent quote, “incremental gains before quantum leaps.” Oliver believes that the speaker was trying to convey that, “we are each participating in a small element of disruption. There is a recipe for collaborating, it may happen as a result of an industry shock which triggers disruption and innovation.”
Remember, 10 years ago the word fintech didn’t exist… even blockchain is still only in its incremental gain phase…positively incremental…
Oliver Blower, CEO VoxSmart www.voxsmart.com
Originally printed in the 15th edition of The FintechTimes