SDK.finance was delighted to be among 2300 attendees at the UK’s largest FinTech event – FinTech Connect Live – which took place in London on December, 6-7, 2016. We would love to express our gratitude to the organizers for the best-in-class industry event! We have asked James Brown, the Event Director at FinTech Connect, to share his impressions about the event as well as the plans for the next year.
Elaborate a bit on the history of the FinTech Connect Live. Who was behind the idea?
J: The event was launched 2 years ago in parallel to the online FinTech Connect platform, which was established to act as a resource centre and connectivity portal for FinTech stakeholders, ranging from early stage startups to blue chip tech providers, and everyone in between. We saw a huge amount of interest from members of the online community, in particular from early stage startups who were looking for partners, customers and investors, so it seemed like a logical step to launch a large-scale networking event which would enable them to showcase their products and services, all at a price point which they could afford.
The first FinTech Connect Live was launched at Wembley Stadium in December, 2015 catering to the full ecosystem and providing networking opportunities for all, ranging from multinational financial institutions such as HSBC and Barclays, right the way down to stealth mode startups who had not yet launched product.
It is the second year the Grand FinTech event takes place. How would you compare it with the last year?
J: There was definitely a massive step forward. We kept the core elements (conferences, workshops, showcase demos for startups, mentoring and networking component) but at the same time increased the amount of conference sessions, the scale of the exhibition, the number of partners and sponsors we work with. This year we had a new venue – ExCeL London which allowed us the space for all three conference areas: FinTech, PayTech and InsurTech. And of course, we had a substantial increase in the number of attendees.
- 2300 Attendees over 2 days from 44 countries
- 150 Exhibitors & Partners
- 180 Experts speaking in 120 conference sessions
Can you mention the topics & speakers that earned a large amount of interest?
J: The session covering blockchain and the one on collaboration models between established players and startups were definitely popular and will stay on the front burner in 2017. According to the feedback from the audience the contributions from the following companies were also very well received:
- The panel discussion on incumbents vs challenger banks featuring: Mangopay, Fidor, HSBC, RBS, Acorus Capital, Cogni and Raphaels Bank
- The blockchain talks from Applied Blockchain and Tradle
- The keynote presentation from Aviva on the future of insurance
- Opportunities and risks presented by Brexit explained by Hogan Lovells
- How secure are your payments by Gemalto;
- Advancement in payment regulations – Wirecard and Addleshaw Goddard.
Collaboration between established players and startups leaves much space for investigation. How would you describe the progress in that space?
J: The market was in something of a revolution stage two years ago, but now we are in a phase of mutual collaboration. Established players realized that rather than reinventing the wheel they can partner with strong innovators out there who have already developed advanced technology offering, which can potentially improve their systems, raise customer satisfaction rates and increase efficiencies. The next big question is how to pick the collaboration model which will work best for all parties. That will remain a very important issue for the years ahead. And that is largely what FinTech Connect Live focuses on – mutual collaboration rather than wholesale disruption.
How can startups mitigate any possible risks for them?
J: Startups should be careful when entering partnerships as some companies are keen to lock in an agreement but then reluctant to use the whole potential of it. A “healthy” partnership would be one which leaves startups the freedom to develop their solution with minimal limitation. Smart established players are able to draw a line between the core business and a startup, enabling the latter to release the full potential while developing the technology. Some companies are very good at that – like Aviva, one of the UK’s leading insurance providers, for instance.
Can you share your personal digital experience in finance?
J: I have an online bank account and obviously can’t resist trying all the apps which really enable me to better manage my money. I find it useful to get real-time alerts when a new payment is made or a new payee is added to my account – anything that provides increased visibility and reduces the risk of fraud gets a ‘thumbs up’ from me. In addition, I also have a nutmeg account where I proportion some of my savings every few months.
What shall we expect from FinTech Connect Live 2017?
J: We have a number of brand new features coming in 2017 including a new conference focusing on how FinTech applications for corporate treasurers and another dedicated to cloud-based applications and how these are disrupting traditional financial services market segments. In addition, we plan to run a half-day conference on AI and robo-advisory in FinTech. All of this will be in addition to the existing 3 conferences: FinTech, InsurTech, and Paytech. The Technology Buyer Showcase will again run across both days: Day 1 will feature startups and day 2 will be for more established companies. And of course, the on-site workshops and mentoring clinics will continue.
SDK.finance is looking forward to joining FinTech Connect Live 2017!
About FinTech Connect Live: Combining the hustle and bustle of an exhibition featuring over 150 exhibitors and partners, FinTech Connect Live also plays host to a keynote auditorium with inspirational case studies from around the world, a series of 5 strategic conferences, The Technology Buyers Showcase, educational workshops for start-up leaders, mentoring clinics and much much more.
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