FinTech North

on the rebuildingsociety.com blog

17th May, 2018

Promoting Gender Diversity – Women In Finance Update

Rebuildingsociety.com has always had the mission of supporting UK businesses through the wider provision of finance to those that need it. Recently we extended our mission to publicly pushing for gender diversity in all businesses but specifically those in financial services.

In March 2018, we signed the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter, marking our commitment to improving gender diversity in our industry, through supporting the progression of women in senior roles within our organisation.

We have recently re-affirmed our commitment to improving gender diversity within our team through the appointment of Non-Executive Investment Director, Georgina Mitchell. This sees 44% of Rebuildingsociety.com’s team as being female and 40% of its Board and Non-Executive team also being female.

We’re dedicated to continually improving gender diversity within our team whilst improving work-life balance for all our staff. As a business with technology at our core we’ve invested significantly in IT and communication systems that allows staff to work remotely if required, with many working securely from home in order to honour family commitments.

CEO Dan Rajkumar says ‘We’re committed to meeting our objectives under the Women in Finance Charter. By creating a flexible work environment with the technology to support individuals that have other commitments we’re well positioned to attract the talent of all people that want to further their career and maintain work / life balance. Fostering gender diversity has been core since the start, rather than a means to improving overall public perception of the firm.’

Rebuildingsociety.com is also pushing for greater gender diversity within associated business partners and professional networks. As a founding firm of FinTech North, rebuildingsociety.com has specifically sought to balance the gender gap of speakers at FinTech North’s monthly and annual events as well as engaging a more diverse audience. This year’s FinTech North event in Leeds saw a noticeably higher proportion of female attendees to previous years as mentioned by Susan Sutherland of Fiserv.

As a firm we plan to continue promoting gender diversity within our workplace by improving the percentage of women in senior roles and on the board to 50% by 2020.

If you would like to become part of our team why not apply for one of our roles now.


15th May, 2018

Yorkshire Post Speak with Our NED Investment Director About Working as a Non-Executive Director

A recent article in the Yorkshire Post, featured Georgina Mitchell, our NED Investment Director and explored how one becomes a Non-executive Director and what the job entails.

Georgina, previously of Redmayne-Bentley, completed the Financial Times Non-Executive Director Diploma in her journey to becoming a NED.

In the article, Georgina discusses her passion for business and her journey to becoming a non-exec at rebuildingsociety.com, investUp and her plans to launch a commercial coaching group and peer board with Uspire Network. 

Through her engagement with Yorkshire businesses, Georgina has become quite involved within the FinTech circles, having recently delivered a talk at the annual FinTech North Conference in Leeds and will be delivering a further talk at the inaugural FinTech North Manchester event on the 22nd May.

 


10th May, 2018

EU to Standardise Crowdfunding Regulations

The European Commission has unveiled an Action Plan on how to harness the opportunities presented by fintech, including the crowdfunding and peer to business lending sectors.

According to the EU commission Europe should become a global hub for Fintech, with EU businesses and investors able to make most of the advantages offered by the Single Market in this fast-moving sector. As a first major deliverable, the Commission is also putting forward new rules that will help crowdfunding platforms to grow across the EU’s single market. In addition, the Commission is proposing a pan-European label for platforms, so that a platform licensed in one country can operate across the EU.

This certainly seems like common sense, indeed, something that should have been implemented some years ago. As is frequently the case with orchestrating multiple governmental and regulatory bodies, the greater the need, the greater the difficulty in actually doing it. North America being a classic example, with 52 states requiring 52 regulatory licences, making the EU look half as complex by comparison.

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President responsible for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “To compete globally, Europe’s innovative companies need access to capital, space to experiment and scale to grow. This is the premise for our FinTech Action Plan. An EU crowdfunding licence would help crowdfunding platforms scale up in Europe. It will help them match investors and companies from all over the EU, giving more opportunities for firms and entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to a wider base of funders.”

The opportunity becomes apparent once one considers the varying degree of affluence within the EU, and how interconnectedness through technology and singular regulation could flatten the somewhat bumpy ground. When investors in Germany can back small businesses in Bulgaria, either through loans or equity, it changes the market dramatically, potentially leading to high growth in some states and high returns for investors in others.

It is currently difficult for many platforms to expand into other EU countries. This is why crowdfunding in the EU is underdeveloped as compared to other major world economies, and the EU market is fragmented. One of the biggest hurdles is the lack of common rules across the EU. This considerably raises compliance and operational costs and prevents crowdfunding platforms from expanding across borders.

Today’s proposal will make it easier for these platforms to offer their services EU-wide and improve access to this innovative form of finance for businesses in need of funding. Once adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, the proposed Regulation will allow platforms to apply for an EU label based on a single set of rules. This will enable them to offer their services across the EU. Investors on crowdfunding platforms will be protected by clear rules on information disclosures, rules on governance and risk management and a coherent approach to supervision.

Oliver Gajda, Exec director European Crowdfunding Network was interviewed at Fintech North, viewable here. “Without that kind of interchange it must be very hard to achieve any kind of standardisation across the industry… It’s basically impossible …so what we have done in the crowdfunding and peer to peer lending space is to have a soft discourse and distribute knowledge on the market…we’ve also done research on platform operators and their operational challengers when they go cross border… in some instances, every member state, every regulatory body, have completely different views to others.”

And therein the problem. How long it will take to establish a cohesive EU wide regulatory framework for crowdfunding? That remains to be seen. And of course, the Brexit question hovers in the background, although in this instance a regulatory compatibility will undoubtably benefit all.

Daniel Rajkumar from Whitelabel Crowdfunding had this to say “While we have had the cooperation of BaFin and other regulators, each regulator has nuanced differences. A single regulatory framework will reduce complexity and encourage rapid expansion throughout Europe. WLCF customers using our peer to peer lending platform can benefit from our experience as well as relationship with rebuildingsociety.com (for compliance expertise and the appointed representative offering) and also Web-Translations for their professional translation services.”

Helene Panzarino, Managing Director at Rainmaking Colab had this to say.

In my capacity as a representative for a UK FinTech Standards Advisory Board, I’ve noticed the desire for crowdfunding platforms and associations to welcome standards and regulation in order to build trust and rigour in governance and practice, comes up when considering the pan-European landscape. The UK has led the way in championing crowdfunding and a number of our higher profile platforms have begun entry into other jurisdictions. Passporting, particularly in the light of Brexit, off the back of a nascent export scene seems a very logical route to examine and assess. Revolut, who raised on both Crowdcube and Seedrs, is now officially a Unicorn (on paper), and this could have significant impact for the industry.

 


16th Feb, 2018

FinTech North and Innovate Finance

This week is full of FinTech North news! We are very excited to announce that FinTech North has entered into a partnership agreement with Innovate Finance. The idea behind the collaboration is to support FinTech cooperation and innovation on both a regional and a national basis, throughout 2018 and beyond.

Innovate-FinanceInnovate Finance is an independent membership association that represents the UK’s global FinTech community. The non-profit was founded in 2014 and continuously works towards promoting and advancing the country’s leading position in the financial services sector. They do this by offering support to the next generation of technology-led financial service innovators.

The reciprocal affiliation between FinTech North and Innovate Finance will see both parties participate in events organised by the other. Members of Innovate Finance will speak at each of the three FinTech North conferences this year. As recently reported, they will take place in Leeds on 26th April, in Manchester on 22nd May and in Liverpool on 12th June. The company will also assist in promoting the events through promotional marketing activity.

FinTechNorthLogoFinTech North, meanwhile, will participate in the Innovate Finance Global Summit, which will take place on the 19th-20th March, during UK FinTech Week. They will also promote the event across their network in the north of the country. Delegates registering via FinTech North can benefit from a discounted registration fee for the event, which will attract speakers and delegates from across the world.

“Innovate Finance is an organisation that is synonymous with the UK’s FinTech economy and has been doing fantastic work in this field for many years, playing a key role in establishing London as a global FinTech hub.
FinTech North is proud to be partnering with Innovate Finance to help grow and encourage collaborative FinTech efforts on a regional basis, as part of the continued and increasingly accelerated evolution of the UK’s FinTech economy outside London.”
Julian Wells, Director, FinTech North

Find out more about attending the Innovate Finance Global Summit 2018 here.


15th Feb, 2018

FinTech North 2018 Conferences

Earlier this year, we announced that, following a period of consistent growth, the FinTech North initiative would be expanding.

We will now be hosting conferences in the cities of Liverpool and Manchester, in addition to the already established annual conference and monthly seminars held in Leeds. Previous speakers and participants have included members of the FCA and the Open Data Institute, as well as experts in blockchain, open banking and financial technology research, to name just a few.

It is with great excitement that we share the news that registration is now open for each of the three showcase conferences:

Leeds on 26th April at aql, as part Leeds Digital Festival

Manchester on 22nd May at Whitworth Art Gallery, in partnership with the University of Manchester

Liverpool on 12th June at ACC, as part of the International Business Festival

With each conference, we aim to attract over 200 delegates. The events will incorporate networking opportunities, keynote speeches, pitches and Q&A sessions into an informative, interactive day. More information can be found on the FinTech North website.

Relive last year’s Leeds event watching the video below, and then sign up for your closest event! Check back here for more FinTech North news and announcements, coming soon.


31st Jan, 2018

Women in FinTech North

FinTech North are excited to share announcements for next month’s Women in FinTech (North) seminar. The upcoming breakfast seminar will take place on Friday 23rd February in collaboration with Leeds City Council, and will be held at Leeds Beckett University.

The FinTech North events are for anyone interested in the region’s Financial Services and FinTech ecosystem. This event in particular will be championing diversity in the northern FinTech sector.

Participants and panellists will discuss broader gender balance issues in the sector, consider how FinTech and other financial services firms have sought to improve diversity within their organisations, and analyse the benefits of doing so. Participants will also examine the HMT Women in Finance Charter, its role as a catalyst for change and why FinTech firms should consider signing the Charter.

Speakers and panellists confirmed to date include:

– Laura Bailey, Founder, Qadre & Spokesperson, British Blockchain Association (Chair)

– Sara Parker, Director, Alban Parker & North Invest

– Georgina Mitchell, Non-Executive Director, rebuildingsociety.com

– Sarah Tulip, Chief Operations Officer, aql

– Jay Sheth, Head of Diversity, Virgin Money

– Zandra Moore, CEO, Panintelligence

– Chris Sier, FinTech Envoy to the Northern Powerhouse, visiting professor of Financial Technology at University of Leeds.

This seminar will begin with a networking breakfast at 8.30am, and is expected to finish at 11.00am.

Sign up for a spot here.

FinTechNorthLogo


15th Jan, 2018

The First FinTech North of 2018

On Friday, 12th January, over 110 people attended the inaugural 2018 FinTech North breakfast seminar hosted by the Open Data Institute (ODI).

FTN January Julian 2Julian Wells, Director of Whitecap Consulting, chaired the event. He gave guests a warm welcome, before offering a brief overview and history of the FinTech North initiative, and then introducing Paul Connell, the Founder and Head of Innovation at the ODI.

Paul Connell gave an overview of the ODI, explaining how the Leeds business and technology ecosystem has been a great environment for the establishment. The ODI published a concise overview of the UK’s brand new Open Banking rules on their blog here.

Friday’s event saw the introduction of a new element of the event: pitching sessions. This initiative gives five or six companies the opportunity to pitch their innovative Financial Services ideas to the panel and audience. Forming the panel on Friday were: Stuart Clarke, Founder of Leeds Digital Festival, Julian Graham-Rack, CEO of Curo, Will Schaffer, Entrepreneurship Coach at NorthInvest, and  Richard Carter, Managing Director at Equiniti Credit Services.

The Pitches

Each pitch participant was given 10 minutes to explain their proposition, and then five minutes to answer questions posed by the panel and the audience.

Pitch 1 – First Direct (Bud)

Bud offers a banking app and website that allows users to use all their financial apps in one place; whether these correspond to traditional banks, FinTech companies or other financial services. The company has its roots in Harrogate but is based in London, having participated in the FCA’s regulatory sandbox.

“People naturally look to banks to manage their finances. The reason they leave to challenger banks is for that added customer experience. So with Bud, we’ve tried to create a modern, engaging experience within the security of First Direct, which we think provides something of real value.” Sam Oakley, Bud

Pitch 2 – IceFire 

FTN January IceFireOve Kreison, Head of R&D at IceFire, came all the way from Estonia to speak at Friday’s event. The company was recently represented in the north of England at November’s DIT Northern Powerhouse Nordic-Baltic FinTech Mission. They hope to continue to develop relationships with UK finance and technology providers.

Ove explained to interested audience and panel members how IceFire is making the most of the progressive digital society in Estonia. The company provides various solutions that are designed to help banks and other organisations offer improved digital services to their clients. The company, whose clients include Skype, offer solutions that include an online lending platform a banking platform and KYC/authentication technology.

“We are the company that makes money move in finance provider systems” – IceFire

Pitch 3 – Investly

FTN January InvestlySiim Maivel, CEO of invoice finance marketplace Investly, a company founded in Estonia and now operating in the UK, explained how the company connects SMEs with hedge funds and other portfolio providers. Investors compete on the Investly platform, providing a better deal on finance to SMEs. Investly can set up accounts within hours, a vast improvement of the standard period of up to three weeks, and processes most invoice finances in under two hours. The main sectors featured are construction, manufacturing and logistics.

Investly provides a white label plug in solution for finance providers that helps them engage with business customers, providing value adding services through efficient and easy invoice finance. Siim commented that Leeds provides a strong regional flagship centre for connecting with SMEs, going through financial providers. He and the team hope to continue to establish relationships in the north of England, and will potentially return to FinTech North events in the future.

Pitch 4 – investUP

FTN January investUpinvestUp is an aggregator for peer-to-peer investors which currently partners with 15 different platforms. The team are currently planning the extension of this offering, to be an investment management platform that allows users to invest across different cybercurrencies.

Managing Director, Daniel Rajkumar, explained how this idea is designed to offer services to those who want to be part of the P2P and cryptocurrency sectors, but who do not want to pay for professional advice from intermediaries. The offering would respond to a demand for a platform that can use advanced technology to manage investments; investUp allows users to set their robo-lending settings in a way that suits their investment appetite.

investUp Operations Manager Kieron Greeff then went on to give an overview of the exponential growth of the cryptocurrency market, detailing the company’s plans to simplify the complex nature of investing in such currencies.

InvestUp is currently raising funding to develop its proposition and is interested in hearing from potential investors.

Pitch 5 – LociPay

Kurtis Wright gave the fifth and final pitch of the morning. He is the founder of early-stage startup, LociPay, a company that will provide a smart payments and Point-of-Sale system for local independent SMEs. LociPay helps businesses via various services, providing a platform that showcases the retailers’ brand and offering; managing payments; offering engagement and loyalty reward programs; and offering lower transaction costs. LociPay also helps consumers by rounding up their transactions to the nearest pound, helping them to save, as well as providing data-driven budgeting support.

The Panel

A short panel discussion followed the pitches, and drew the event to a close. One of the key topics covered in the talks was the need for growth support in the north, to help both create and develop FinTech businesses. This was in addition to discussions regarding the necessity of open dialogue and communication in showcasing the region’s FinTech initiatives and capabilities, with the intention of creating more collaboration.

The topic of investment was also on the panel’s lips. NorthInvest’s Will Shaffer invited attendees to contact him to discuss funding requirements, while Equiniti Credit Services Managing Director, Richard Carter, commented: “FinTechs shouldn’t have to go down to London to get investment and mentorship, we need to grow that function in the Leeds City Region.” Julian Graham-Rack from Curo encouraged people who discuss open banking opportunities with him.

Stuart Clarke, founder of Leeds Digital Festival, extolled the virtues of events such as FinTech North, explaining how the city stands to benefit, and informed attendees that this year’s festival will take place between the 19 – 27th April. The FinTech North Leeds conference will be held on the 26th April.

Julian Wells brought the event to a close, taking the opportunity to thank the ODI for hosting and all those who participated for taking part. He confirmed that the next FinTech North seminar, to be dedicated to the topic of Women in FinTech (North), will be held on the 23rd February. You can sign up for a spot here, already.


04th Jan, 2018

FinTech
North
January News

Last month, we announced that the FinTech North Friday events would continue in 2018, and that the inaugural event of the year will take place in Leeds next Friday, the 12th January.

The morning seminar, hosted by the Open Data Institute, will begin with a networking breakfast, that will be followed by pitching sessions and a panel discussion.

We are very pleased to announce that CURO and Equiniti Credit Services are sponsoring the seminar. CURO Transatlantic is part of CURO. The Leeds-based online loan provider has over 20 years of experience and is regulated by the FCA. Equiniti Credit Services aims to transform the credit landscape, servicing a diverse range of lending portfolios.

We are also excited to confirm the first three speakers for our FinTech pitching session. This new element of the event gives between four and six companies the chance to pitch presentations of their propositions to the attendees.

The five companies confirmed to pitch at next week’s event are:

–  First Direct (Bud) – a new white label banking platform working on the principles of open banking.
–  Investly – a pan-European invoice finance provider for SMEs.
–  InvestUp – a robo-investing platform that enables P2P investors to manage their portfolio across multiple platforms.
–  LociPay – a Sheffield based peer-to-peer payments and loyalty reward platform.
–  IceFire – an Estonian consulting firm specialising in FinTech.

Following the pitches, a panel discussion will take place. Participating in this are:

–  Stuart Clarke, Leeds Digital Festival
–  Richard Carter, MD, Equiniti Credit Services
–  Julian Graham-Rack, CEO, Curo
–  William Schaffer, Investor Relations Manager & Entrepreneur Coach, NorthInvest

Book a place now before spots fill up!

FinTechNorthLogo


20th Dec, 2017

FinTech North Fridays to Return in 2018

It is with great excitement that we announce that following the success of this year’s events, the FinTech North seminars will continue in 2018. The first event of the year will take place on Friday 12th January.

The seminar, in conjunction with Leeds City Council, will be hosted by the Open Data Institute in Leeds. A networking breakfast, beginning at 8:30am, will open the occasion, to be followed by pitching sessions. This will give four or five financial services businesses and FinTech entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their propositions to the delegates. The event is scheduled to end at 11:00am.

If you’re interested in pitching at the January seminar, please send us an email at support@rebuildingsociety.com.

If you would like to attend, sign up for a spot.

We look forward to seeing you next year!

FinTechNorthLogo


11th Dec, 2017

FinTech North:
The December Issue

The third and final FinTech Friday event of 2017 was held on 8th December at Platform in Leeds, sponsored by Leeds City Council. This month’s event, which focused on FinTech innovation, was well attended, by regular attendees and newcomers alike.

FTNorth December 3

Breakfast and networking kicked off the event, to be followed by the keynote speeches. First up was Philip Pawson, of Alchemy. Philip spoke about innovations concerning the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), including the potential tax benefits for business directors who currently financially support their business through director loans. You can read more about the rebuildingsociety.com IFISA here.

Following Philip was Mark Lumley, Partner at Shulmans Solicitors, who spoke about cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), under the title “ICO the new IPO?”. Given the current news, media attention and growing public awareness of cryptocurrencies, there was a lot of interest in Mark’s presentation.

A show of hands reflected a relatively inexperienced audience; only four or five people in the room had traded any cryptocurrency. Mark strongly advised the audience to set aside some time of the own to learn about it further, stating his belief that “in 10 years’ time the majority of the world’s currencies will be cryptocurrencies of one form or another.”

Dan at FTN December

Next to address the audience was our founder and Managing Director, Daniel Rajkumar. Daniel spoke about SME acquisitions, looking at how more business acquisitions need to be supported through vendor participation and how they can be facilitated and better structured through peer-to-business lending platforms. He also spoke about his experience of acquiring SMEs and some of the challenges he has encountered during the process.

Kylie Greeff, our Legal and Compliance Manager, then spoke about “Balancing Innovation and Regulation in FinTech.” After highlighting the size of the FinTech industry, Kylie emphasised the importance of effective collaboration between the industry and the regulator. She commented that this would allow for those involved to better develop an environment of strong financial services innovations, supported by regulation.

Kylie went on to explain that the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), are seen as a global leader in fostering innovation in financial services. “We’re very fortunate in the UK to have a regulator that is not only supportive of innovation but also actively encourages it.” Talking about her experience of working in FinTech firms such as rebuildingsociety.com and White Label Crowdfunding during a period of significant innovation and regulatory involvement, Kylie said: “If there is ever a time to say it’s exciting to work in compliance, it has to be now.”

After the keynote speeches, the audience was invited to ask questions of the panel. Mark’s address on ICOs was clearly still fresh in the minds of the audience, and the majority of the questions focused on cryptocurrencies, how they are valued and what alternative benefits cryptocurrencies and block chain could have on society as a whole.

The next FinTech North event will be held on the 12th January 2018 at the Open Data Institute in Leeds. Keep an eye on the rebuildingsociety blog for more information, coming soon!


Thank you
Your Bid's been
Placed...
iJr/wxVFQTOM5jn615ZUUYvhzAbLnOkhpupFfzj4qbw=