Tech Nation, the UK’s leading network for ambitious tech entrepreneurs, has today revealed the 23 scaleups accepted on to its 2019 Fintech growth programme.
The programme is delivered as part of HM Treasury's Fintech Sector Strategy to maintain the UK’s place as a world leader in the sector.
In its second year, the six-month programme aims to help some of the most promising UK fintech companies accelerate their growth and scale at speed at home and abroad. Starting on the 24th of October the bespoke programme is specifically designed to connect and create opportunities for the founders through a series of in-depth insight sessions, networking events with key stakeholders and a three-day international showcase trip to the US.
Following the call for applications in June, the successful companies were selected by a panel of expert judges from all over the UK, including Eileen Burbidge, Partner at Passion Capital & Chair of Tech Nation; Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank; and Richard Theo, CEO of Wealthify and Fintech Envoy for Wales (full list in notes).
The rigorous judging process requires applying companies to be at a stage of development equivalent to seed or Series A, have a product in market used actively, and be headquartered in the UK. This year also saw B2C companies accepted on to the programme for the first time.
The new cohort features a number of scaleups within the sector that have demonstrated their credibility as future fintech leaders, with an average of £3,6m in funding raised across the companies, representing a 277% increase from last year’s cohort. This rise in average funding raised indicates the growing maturity of the UK’s fintech sector which has skyrocketed over the last year, and its contribution to the growth of the nation’s tech sector more broadly. This view is in line with the findings from the annual state-of-the-nation Tech Nation Report 2019, which revealed that the UK remains number one in the world for scaleup investment into fintech firms, generating £4.5bn in funding between 2015 and 2018. In addition, fintech companies are creating numerous, well-paid jobs with employment second amongst high growth tech scaleups (over 11,800 people employed in UK fintech firms in 2018).
Of the 23 companies, 40% of the companies are based outside of London (compared to 35% last year) and 40% have at least one female co-founder. The cohort covers 8 cities and towns outside London including Durham, Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool, Liskeard, Cardiff and Leeds.
The companies selected provide B2B and B2C products and services across a range of sub-sectors, including most predominantly SME finance, payments, capital markets, as well as retail investing, and consumer credit & lending. The breadth and variety of business propositions exemplifies how pervasive fintech has become in financial services. Examples of the real-world benefits and change being driven by the cohort include driving financial inclusion in the UK, enabling the charity sector, and much more.
The companies will have access to support from the programme partners; CBRE, RSM and Talent Works International, whose expertise and networks are an added benefit of being on the programme.
Eileen Burbidge, Chair of Tech Nation, HM Treasury’s Special Envoy for Fintech, Chair of the Fintech Delivery Panel and Partner at Passion Capital commented: "The UK has a fantastic leadership position of producing globally renowned fintech companies, by being number one in the world for scaleup investment into fintech firms between 2015 and 2018, attracting an impressive £4.5 billion in total funding. I'm pleased to see another diverse group of companies on this year's programme, with 40% of companies being based outside the capital."
Mike Jackson, Entrepreneur Success Director, Tech Nation commented: “Last year’s Tech Nation Fintech growth programme had tremendous success in connecting and creating opportunities for the most promising fintech companies in the UK, and we are hugely excited to replicate this again in 2019. The companies in this year’s cohort have demonstrated significant promise as future fintech leaders, and with the global fintech market expected to be worth nearly £250bn by 2023, they will play a vital role in supporting the UK to remain at the head of the global pack.”
Richard Theo, CEO, Wealthify commented: "We were delighted to support Tech Nation's fintech programme by taking part in the judging process. We were impressed by the high calibre of applications and look forward to seeing these innovative companies break ground in the fintech sector, particularly the company located in Wales."
Jamie Hardesty, North East Entrepreneur Engagement Manager, Tech Nation, commented: "It's a great pleasure to see Paid, Honcho and Kani Payments announced as part of this exciting cohort. While the North East is blessed with many service providers operating in the field, far fewer product-based innovators, which are creating and developing their own innovative technologies, exist. However, it is tech startups such as these which have the ability and potential to truly transform the economic prosperity of our region. We hope that by being a part of this exclusive programme, the three North East firms not only survive but thrive, as they look to scale in the future."
Dawn Dunn, Fintech Cluster Manager, Dynamo, commented: “I am so pleased to see such strong representation from the North East fintech community. Our region’s rapidly growing financial technology sector boasts not only household names, such as Sage and Atombank, but a host of companies providing vital software products to international banks and financial institutions. These finalists demonstrate that the north east’s tech talent has a very broad base, and is sufficiently well supported to foster and develop the innovative mindset needed to become a significant force in a highly competitive field. I wish them the very best of luck."
Huss EL-Sheikh, CTO & Co-Founder, 9fin, London, commented: “We're beyond excited to be joining Tech Nation, and the Fintech programme comes at the perfect time for 9fin. As we scale at home and abroad, the chance to tap into a network of fellow founders, mentors, investors and potential partners will really allow us to keep driving the business forward.”
Owen Hall, CEO, Heliocor, London, commented: “You only have to scan the quality of the programme alumni (‘FinTech royalty’!) to understand what a huge opportunity this is for us. We are thrilled to have been selected. Heliocor is ambitious to become a global powerhouse quickly – we look forward to working with Tech Nation and our fellow cohort members to accelerate that growth.”
Ben Wigham, Product Owner, Kani Payments, Newcastle upon Tyne, commented: “At Kani we're always looking to learn from others' experiences, be that other founders, or experts in the field - Tech Nation's Fintech Programme looks to be a fantastic mix of both. Having been involved in other Tech Nation events prior we have full faith in the team, and after hearing great reviews from scheme alumni we're excited to get started!”
Kieran D'Silva, Co-Founder & CFO, PrimaryBid, London, commented: “Having just closed our Series A we are looking forward to working alongside and learning from leaders in the field as we continue to scale.”
Nicholas Heller, Co-Founder & CEO, Fractal Labs, London, commented: “Building a rocket ship is one thing. Ensuring it doesn't explode after lift-off is another. We're excited to work with the Tech Nation network to scale our business to new heights.”
Marcus Kern, Co-Founder & Director, Duesday, Liskeard, commented: “The Tech Nation programme is an awesome opportunity to rocket-boost our network. We're super excited to share our payment innovations with our fellow FinTech scaleups and drive new ideas to market.”
Jessy Conflon, Head Of Marketing & Growth, Paybase, London, commented: “At Paybase, we pride ourselves on helping businesses cater to the modern consumer, so as the FinTech landscape grows, we want to be at the helm of change to be able to constantly improve our product for the end user. Having a space to connect with fellow FinTechs and to forge partnerships with incumbents on the FinTech Nation programme will help this.”
Roger Vincent, Chief Innovation Officer & GM (UK&I), Trade Ledger, London, commented: “As a high-growth global enterprise technology player, being part of an ecosystem of like-minded fast-moving companies, each of which is disrupting their prospective industries, is a huge opportunity for us. It gives us a chance to share ideas, collaborate and establish new friendships which could be game-changing for our business.”
Gavin Sewell, CEO, Honcho Markets, Newcastle upon Tyne, commented: “I'm really excited to meet other FinTech founders at a similar stage in their journey, to share experiences, bounce ideas and form lasting relationships and partnerships.”
Freddy Kelly, Co-founder & CEO, Credit Kudos, London, commented: “We're excited to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in Fintech in order to expand our reach through partnership and collaboration. The only government backed organisation of its type, Tech Nation and the Fintech programme will give us unparalleled access to decision-makers and key stakeholders in Fintechs and major financial services businesses.”
Tom Howsam, Founder, Paid, Durham, commented: “Paid is excited to follow in the footsteps of household names like Monzo and Revolut. The exposure that being on the FinTech program will bring to Paid will allow us to bring our immediate payment solution to many more micro businesses, enabling them to thrive and grow without having to suffer the setbacks that chasing invoices or late payments causes.”
Andrew Rabbitt, CEO & Co-Founder, incuto, Ilkley, commented: “Tech Nation is the leader on awesome initiatives to enable companies to grow and learn through recognised programmes that are adapted to a variety of sectors. incuto is excited to be part of the Tech Nation Fintech programme and hopes to connect to others disrupting financial services.”
Georgia Stewart, Co-Founder, Tumelo, Bristol, commented: “Delighted to be joining Tech Nation's Fintech Programme to collaborate with and be challenged by other founders changing the face of finance with technology.”
Ben Pollard, Founder & CEO, Smarterly, London, commented: “We’re really excited to be part of the Tech Nation Fintech program to help us on our journey and have the opportunity to learn from such an experienced group of professionals.”
John Downie, CEO, SteadyPay, London, commented: “Looking forward to being part of this Tech Nation programme which facilitates a strong network of resourceful founders and tech leaders. It will be great to dive into this experience with everyone.”