Ok - so, those of you who follow me on Twitter know that we supplied our nine year old son an Osper card - which is a pre-paid MasterCard for youngsters. He’s been busy frittering away a year's worth of Christmas and birthday money. Oh well.
One of his many purchases was a copy of The Lego Movie. So, I have now seen this movie 400 times and I can't get that flippin' song out of my head!
But despite its catchy cheerfulness - the theme song of the Lego Movie has a darker purpose. Its oppressive repetition urged the brick-made public to never question anything, never look for errors, never be sceptical - just smile and be happy - because EVERYTHING
IS AWESOME! And, woe is you if you're not singing that song.
Right at the moment FinTech is having an AWESOME moment. Every bank, Dick and Harry has their own venture fund, accelerator, and lobby group all to promote our little global world of FinTech.
As London competes with New York for the capital of FinTech (as an American, I can say I think London has the edge, if not the tax breaks), we’ve seen a string of new groups emerge in the capital.
Innovate Finance making a huge launch the other week at Level 39. Startuopbootcamp's FinTech group held its Mentor Day and summer party last night at their St Katherine's Dock offices to showcase the inaugural roster of startups.
Here they are:
We sipped cheap wine and cans of lager, snacked on nibbles and watch pitch after pitch in the 'cooler than beans' Rainmaking Loft as it poured outside.
What I found the most intriguing was the lack of awesomeness. The packed room (of course it was packed, this is FinTech-we're the cool kids now) made it difficult to see many of the pitches. Most pitches were less than awe inspiring and no one I spoke to
afterwards was jumping up and down with glee at the choices.
However, one company was mentioned as 'interesting' by several people I spoke to. That was Creditable. A South African company that allows any institution to offer loans to their employees. What was so intriguing about this was that, it is safe to say, Creditable
had the worst pitch. The poor guy was not a confident speaker (Getting up speak in front of the jaded and proper London FinTech elite is tough) his voice quivered and shook and you just wanted to give him a hug. Yet this company stood out.
In case anyone is confused about what I mean - I think the 'lack of awesomeness' is a good thing.
This was the beginning of the start up journey. It wasn't awesome and polished and flash - it was awkward, and at times tedious - and a start. Save awesome for the end of the Startupbootcamp Challenge - where rough edges are smoothed, companies mentored
and we can judge the results.
Because after 20 years in this business (remember when every company ended with .com?) that's what will impress me (and the industry). Results.
Beginnings are great - they are full of hope - and make for a great show. Results make for a longer lasting party. Results are achieved by work, but throwing out the instruction manual, taking a step back and seeing which of the strange and uneven you want
to keep and which you want to throw out.
I ended up on the DLR with Kristoffer Lawson, ex of Finish startup Holvi and his advice to starts ups in this space was ‘to read more science fiction’. (He was on his way to a SciFi convention in Docklands).
I like that idea. At least so people can burn their copies of Steve Job’s biography and read a few additions of Isaac Asimov instead. Get your ideas from thinking strange and away from the crowd (and the cool kids). Then roll up your sleeves, and get dirty
moulding those ideas in the real world we live in.
Happy beginnings everyone.