Having been part of the team for a few months now, it is very much time to put Sara Parker in the spotlight, finding out the details of her role and interests within the world of tech.
What does your role consist of at NorthInvest?
I’m excited to join the NorthInvest team, helping to grow the northern economy. In my role I’m focussed on refining the strategy and developing our relationships with investors and partners, so that NorthInvest can achieve more towards our vision of helping the North achieve its potential.
How have your past experiences positioned you for this role?
Working in Financial Services with a focus on FinTech for most of my career, I’ve always been interested in how Tech can solve real world problems. As Product Director at VocaLink, I developed new strategies to meet the ever increasing customer demand for real-time financial services. Driven by curiosity, I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people, developing productive relationships; hearing their stories and discussing new Tech ideas, ultimately focussing on the “So what?” for the customer, bringing it back to the real world problem that people are trying to solve.
Tech that’s exciting you at the moment?
Anything to do with Open Banking and the potential it creates to disrupt the market. I like what Yorkshire Bank have done with their ‘B’ current account app positioning themselves well for Open Banking, and some of the developments from challenger banks such as Starling and Atom. A few years ago I began running PSD2 ‘round tables’ (getting together key players across the industry; financial institutions, regulators, potential fintech players etc.) to discuss what was coming in 2018/19. It’s hugely interesting to see how this plays out in the market, from early reactions (this is just a regulation – what can we do to stop it?!) and predictions (it’s all about trust/brand and the banks do have a part to play in this, but so do some of the big name brands) to the early signs of growth.
Ones to watch
This is a tricky one… am I allowed to have favourites? At North Invest we help a range of Tech start ups find the funding that they need to grow. Though my background is in Fintech, I’m really excited by MedCircuit – a solution to help doctors and nurses see ‘walk-in’ patients in A&E more quickly and effectively. When thinking about when our loved ones walk into A&E, who wouldn’t want to know that the sickest will be seen quickest? And the fact it has the potential to save money for the NHS – it’s definitely one to watch.
Notable upcoming tech events?
- NorthInvest’s Digital Media Summit
- Leeds Digital Festival 2018
Why the north?
That’s an easy one – I’m from the North and I live in Yorkshire – although I have spent many years either living in London or visiting regularly on business. I see that there is great potential to grow tech businesses in the North and for me it’s about legacy; when my children grow up, will they have the possibility of a rewarding and exciting tech career based in the North?