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Report finds Bristol & Bath is a UK hotspot for fintech entrepreneurs

Source: Whitecap Consulting

The Bristol & Bath region has one of the strongest FinTech ecosystems in the UK with a high number of fast-growing FinTech startups and scaleups, according to a new report from regional strategy consulting firm Whitecap Consulting.

The report analyses the Bristol & Bath FinTech ecosystem, finding it to have proportionally more firms active in the FinTech sector than any other region Whitecap has reviewed to date. Of the 107 firms identified, 28 are FinTech startups and scaleups, meaning Bristol & Bath has a larger number of early stage FinTechs than areas with populations more than three or four times its size. The South West has also had more participants than any other region outside London in the FCA’s regulatory sandbox. The sandbox is for firms looking to deliver innovation in the UK financial services market, and five of the 19 regionally-based participants in the first five cohorts were from the region.

Co-authored by Whitecap’s Julian Wells, Director & FinTech Practice Lead, and Stuart Harrison, Associate Director for the South West, the report is the first formal analysis of the FinTech ecosystem in the region and was supported and co-funded by a number of organisations in the South West, including FinTech West, BJSS, Clarke Willmott, DAC Beachcroft, Hargreaves Lansdown, Invest Bristol & Bath (the inward investment arm of the West of England Combined Authority), TLT LLP, and University of the West of England (UWE). It also includes forewords from Innovate Finance and TheCityUK.

Richard Coates, Managing Director of Whitecap Consulting, says:
“We are pleased to publish our initial assessment of the Bristol & Bath FinTech Ecosystem. This report is published at a time when the UK’s FinTech sector is maturing and expanding geographically, which has the potential to deliver economic benefit to a number of regions outside London. The Bristol & Bath region has already benefited from this, with established FinTech organisations such as Curve and ClearBank deciding to build operations in the region.”

Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor, says:
“The West of England is a vibrant and dynamic hub for innovation in professional services. FinTech brings together our region’s talents to revolutionise the way that the sector operates and I’m very pleased to see this report setting out practical recommendations that can make the cluster here even more competitive. I am proud of the contribution we make, together with our community, to the continued success story of our region’s FinTech sector, and I look forward to a bright future ahead.”

Chris Hill, CEO of Hargreaves Lansdown, says:
“The financial sector has been irreversibly changed by technology and as we move forward those businesses that keep pace with the rate of development will be the success stories. I think that now is a truly exciting time to be in business. Being part of the Bristol FinTech scene enables us to build networks and work with exciting technology partners that help us to stay at the forefront of our industry.”

Tracey John, Director of Research Business and Innovation, University of the West of England (UWE), says:
“We are delighted to be supporting this important research from Whitecap Consulting which demonstrates the great things happening around FinTech in the West of England and the potential our region has to become a global leader in digital innovation.”

107 firms have been identified that are active in the FinTech sector in the Bristol & Bath region, including established financial sector organisations, tech companies, and early stage FinTech firms, including startups and scaleups. The report estimates there are over 3,400 people in FinTech related roles in the region, with 61,000 employed overall in Financial Services and Technology sectors. The FinTech startups and scaleups have an average age of three years old, lower than any other region Whitecap has researched to date.

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