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#LeedsFintech Summit – Event Summary

by Jack Culpan|16th November 2017

NorthInvest, in collaboration with KPMG, The Yorkshire Post, and Leeds City Council, held a fully-subscribed #LeedsFintech Summit yesterday, bringing delegates from across the technology and finance sectors together to debate a growth strategy for Leeds and Yorkshire.

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“The #LeedsFintech Summit was put on to bring together the significant leaders in the region to debate and form actions around the creation of a cohesive vision and strategy for Fintech in Leeds, and it did exactly that.” – Helen Oldham, Founding Director of NorthInvest commented. We asked the question as to how we take the wider Leeds Region from being perfectly poised to position itself as the most significant finance innovation hub in the UK to fully occupying the turf, and here were the results of the morning.

The morning event saw panellists Mark Casci (The Yorkshire Post), Daniel Rajkumar (rebuildingsociety.com), Alex Letts (U Account), Henri Murison (Northern Powerhouse Partnership), Tom Bridges (Leeds City Council) and Graham Pearce (KPMG) dive into current situation of Fintech in Leeds, Yorkshire and the greater north.

“The ingredients are here [in Leeds], we just haven’t baked the cake.” – Tom Bridges, Leeds City Council

Capturing the value chain of Fintech in the North

Daniel Rajkumar of rebuildingsociety.com highlighted that there are a growing number of opportunities within fintech and peer-to-peer lending, commenting that “it is not until you use these services that you start to benefit from the economies of distance mediation by removing them and saving money.”

Alex Letts, the founder of U Account, views the traditional banking space as historic, and shared that it’s the continued use of the 300-year-old revenue model that has allowed the fintech space to prosper.

Tom Bridges, Leeds City Council, commented on the strong financial centre, data analytics centre, digital skills and skills base that Leeds has. He stated that Leeds has all the ingredients to lead in fintech, we just need to put it together in a compelling way.  

Graham Pearce summarised the value chain debate, leaving questions for further thought: where does Leeds see itself in that value chain? Are we going to disrupt the foundations? Is there a strategy to do that, or do we just leave the private sector go out and find their own way?

Access to funding

“We’re not allowing our founders to retain their equity for long enough” – Henri Murison, Northern Powerhouse Partnership

A common theme in conversation across a number of northern tech events, access to funding is difficult for some startups to find, yet is crucial for accelerating growth.   Graham Pearce reviewed the morning’s discussions about finance access, stating that there are lots of sources of finance, such as the British Business Bank, local angels and local community which all play a crucial part.

“Quarter on quarter investment in tech is up, which is great and things are moving in the right direction. The question is, can NorthInvest help galvanise angels who are hiding in the long grass through events such as this, and from community’s networks, to help bring the public and private sector together for the better.”

Alex Letts from U Account, made clear that the answer to the five-year plan for #LeedsFintech is money.#LeedsFintech Summit

“If you set up a billion pound fund, from government, that invested in fintechs, where do you think the businesses would go to [for funding]?”

 

Less serendipity, more coordination

 

“If we believe that we can have this interconnected northern ecomony [without city boundaries], you can start to understand that because fintech isn’t fully developed yet… it isn’t constrainted by the same limiting factors that have set Leeds and Manchester up against eachother ” – Henri Murison, Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

Mark Casci summarised the proceedings by observing that it is clear that we all want the same things in the fintech sector, however it’s a case of working together in collaboration that needs to happen to get where we want to be. 

NorthInvest was founded by Adam Beaumont and backed by a heavily influential Board to do exactly that, collaborate. Working with major influencers, investors and other key ecosystems in the north, NorthInvest provides an on and offline platform that allows access to relevant and passionate smart investors. NorthInvest is also a Northern Powerhouse partner, and holds regional events and roundtables, with inclusive pan-northern attendance, to boost collaboration across the region. 

 

Upcoming events in the fintech ecosystem

  • 4th December – Democratizing Finance – University of Leeds
  • 8th December – FinTech North December Seminar – Technical topics covered will be: Innovative Finance ISAs, regulatory changes, blockchain, and work with the Open Data Institute in regards to alternative business finance.

 

If you have any questions for NorthInvest, or if you are interested in sponsoring, speaking at, or hosting one of our future events; please email us at info@northinvest.co.uk

To hear updates about what we’re up to across the north, please follow us on Twitter @NorthInvestUK