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on the rebuildingsociety.com blog

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.


29th Jan, 2018

Leeds City Council is to Support Local Businesses on rebuildingsociety.com

Leeds City Council are going to begin lending to regional businesses on our peer-to-business lending platform. By lending alongside the crowd, the council will demonstrate their support of small- and medium-sized businesses in the region.

Leeds City Council (LCC) has been proactive recently in promoting the FinTech sector, and supports and sponsors the monthly FinTech North Friday seminars which take place in Leeds on a monthly basis. This new collaboration with rebuildingsociety.com forms part of the council’s ongoing regional economic growth strategy.

The team at the council will review business loan requests from companies with an LS postcode prefix, consider the industry and location of the company, and contribute to the loan amounts required by suitable applicants. Council representatives will review the performance of their portfolio on a quarterly basis to evaluate the efficacy of the capital committed, as part of the council’s broader, macroeconomic objectives.

The focus of traditional finance sector on maximising short-term returns often leads to a misallocation of financial resource. This in turns means that central government must allocate funding for specific initiatives of economic stimulation, while simultaneously committing to deliver a return.

Daniel Rajkumar, rebuildingsociety.com Founder and Managing Director, believes the proposal will provide great financial support to the area. “There is no need to rely on London for local funding needs. By arranging finance online and locally, regions can prosper and go on to further support local communities.”

Simon Brereton, Acting Head of Economic Policy and Sector Development at Leeds City Council, commented: “This is the first public sector organisation to be investing through rebuildingsociety.com. We hope it will attract the interest of other public-sector lenders, as well as prospective borrowers.”


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.


09th Jan, 2018

Kylie Greeff Shortlisted for Women in Compliance Award

At rebuildingsociety.com, we are excited to announce that our Compliance Manager, Kylie Greeff, has been shortlisted for a Women in Compliance Award. Kylie is one of just five women listed in the Compliance Officer of the Year for Small-Sized Company category.

case-study-KylieThe Women in Compliance Awards celebrate female professionals in the industry on an international level. Shortlisted candidates hail from countries all over the world; from Poland, Italy, Denmark and Germany, to Argentina, South Africa, Malaysia and India. The Awards intend to highlight outstanding initiatives, individuals and teams who form part of this innovative, ever-evolving industry sector.

Kylie is an integral, leading member of our management team. It is true to say that without her, the company would not exist; and it certainly wouldn’t run smoothly on a daily basis.

A key member of rebuildingsociety.com since the company’s launch in 2012, Kylie has always been there to take responsibility for the legal, operations and compliance tasks intrinsic to a P2B lending platform. She recently successfully headed up our application to the FCA to become one of the country’s first fully-authorised peer-to-business crowdfunding platforms. Since then, rather than resting on her success, she has spearheaded the compliance framework surrounding our new Innovative Finance ISA product launch. Through her compliance oversight and planning, we have been able to successfully introduce a new regulated Innovative Finance ISA product.

“I’m honoured to have been shortlisted for this prestigious award, which has attracted such great talent from around the world. Financial Services can often feel like a very male-dominated profession; it’s fantastic that women within compliance and FS are being recognised for their contribution and hard work.”

Kylie is a humble individual who would always look to downplay her individual contribution to the success of our firm. We, however, biased as we may be, can’t think of a worthier candidate for a Women in Compliance award, and are delighted that Kylie has received recognition for the hard work, dedication and expertise she demonstrates and employs every day. We’ll have our fingers crossed on 22nd March!


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!


24th Nov, 2017

A Date for the Diaries:
FinTech North December

On Friday 8th December, FinTech North will be hosting another event in Leeds city centre. The seminar, scheduled to take place between 8:30am and 11am at Platform, is ideal for financial directors, accountants, independent financial advisors and wealth managers with an interest in the industry.

case-study-KylieAs with the other recent FinTech North events, December’s gathering will commence with a breakfast and networking opener. Keynote speeches covering the initial coin offerings, SME acquisition funding and regulatory changes will be given by Mark Lumley, and our own Daniel Rajkumar and Kylie Greeff respectively.

Mark will be exploring a new alternative to an old standard, while Daniel will be giving delegates insight into some of the new advantages of using alternative finance in SME acquisitions, touching on structural and tax efficiency, among other things. Kylie, meanwhile, will analyse some of the regulatory structures the FCA have in place, and how they affect innovation within the industry.

A panel discussion and question and answer session will follow the keynote speeches, before the event draws to a close at 11am. The team behind the FinTech North initiative are hoping to match and exceed the 60-80 delegates who have attended previous events, and in doing so, continue to facilitate conversation, communication and collaboration within the northern FinTech industry.

Visit the Eventbrite registration page to read more and sign up for the free event.

FinTechNorthLogo


02nd Nov, 2017

NorthInvest Leeds and Yorkshire FinTech Summit

On Tuesday, 14th November, the NorthInvest Leeds and Yorkshire FinTech Summit will be taking place at the KPMG offices in Leeds city centre. Daniel Rajkumar will be speaking at the breakfast event, which is scheduled to begin at 8:00am and end at 9:30am.

The summit is designed to bring together industry leaders from the region. Hosted by NorthInvest, in partnership with KPMG and Leeds City Council, the event will focus on creating a mandate for the establishing of a clear plan of action. Presentations, discussion and debates will be the first step in opening dialogue, and attendees will hear from FinTech experts and key players within the industry.

The event is a great opportunity to promote various FinTech opportunities in the region to interested parties, including prospective investors.

“I am very excited to be speaking at another event that focuses on the potential of FinTech in the north. We need to pool resources and create an open dialogue that can lead to collaboration,” Daniel explained.

Sign up for a place at the NorthInvest FinTech Summit soon to avoid disappointment!


14th Sep, 2017

rebuildingsociety’s Rick Hyland to Speak at Seminar

October will be a busy month for rebuildingsociety. Not only is Founder and Managing Director, Daniel Rajkumar travelling to Lithuania to present at the 6th ECN Crowdfunding Convention; Business Development Manager, Rick Hyland, is also speaking at an industry seminar titled Alternative Sources of Funding – what’s best for your business?.

Rick will represent rebuildingsociety.com at the breakfast seminar scheduled to be held on October 17th at the Ward Hadaway Leeds office in Wellington Place. Ward Hadaway, one of the top 100 law firms in the UK, has a strong presence in the north, with offices in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.

The seminar, Alternative Sources of Funding – what’s best for your business?, will focus on the funding labyrinth that is the modern alternative finance world, analysing the positive and negative aspects of peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-business funding and angel investments.

The event begins with breakfast at 8.30am, followed by presentations from four industry professionals; Rick will be joined by representatives from Business Enterprise Fund, Angel Groups and Assetz Capital. A networking session at 10.00am will draw the event to a close.

To find out more and to sign up for a place at the event, please visit the dedicated event page.


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