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Doug Mackenzie

June 28, 2024

Fintech Fringe Festival 2024: Day 1 Recap


Fintech Fringe Festival 2024: A Comprehensive Recap of Day 1

The Fintech Fringe Festival 2024, held as part of London Tech Week, has concluded its four-day series of enlightening sessions, inspiring keynotes, and dynamic panel discussions. This event brought together industry leaders, investors and innovators to explore the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in the fintech sector. With a focus on growth, scalability, marketing, technology and regulatory compliance, the festival highlighted why the UK remains a prime location for fintech innovation. Here’s my comprehensive recap of days 1 & 2.

Charlotte Kanagasabapathy

The festival kicked off focusing on growth strategies for fintech firms. Looking at industry trends to jump at, new geographies and customers to target and talent. Charlotte Kanagasabapathy, Head of Fintech Scouting Director from our Platinum Sponsor, Barclays delivered an inspiring keynote on strategic opportunities and emerging trends in the fintech ecosystem. “Nearly 80 percent of Venture Capital was focused on AI [in 2023]” certainly made the fintech founders in the audience sit upright with shock!
A huge thank you to Julia Streets for being the star MC and to Rise, created by Barclays, for without them, this day would not have been possible

The new Sheriff of Nottingham

Jordan Sinclair, President of Robinhood, followed with game-changing insights on expanding and scaling fintech solutions globally. His address underscored the importance of strategic growth and adapting to diverse market conditions. Sinclair underpinned how their platform was primed for growth compared to other investment  platforms by a focus on diversity with “one third of our customers are female”. His keynote was really focused on building these foundations when starting out in a new market, “we recognise the other platforms out there, but we don’t see those platforms meet those [customer] needs”. This was highlighted by the fact that Sinclair himself has “seven different investment apps” each one to solve a different issue, he believes that Robinhood UK will be the app to change that.

Time to learn your ES&G’s

A critical panel when it comes to fintech growth, is tapping into underserved markets.  We’ve seen that with the SME lending Unicorns, the investment platforms like Robinhood and so the audience were desperate to hear from our panel where the next one would be. Experts Devina Paul, CFO & Deputy CEO at Zumo, Joanne Dewar, Lead at Project Nemo, Jordan Bishop Head of at Currensea & BuildMyCredit and moderated by David Beer, Global Head of Enterprise Solutions & Partnerships at Cogo, each brought an element of the E,S and G that traditional finance had been missing. 

Devina Paul’s Zumo is a key organisation when it comes to offering regulated and green crypto  elements – fulfilling both the E(nvironment) and G(overnance). For the S(ocial) Project Nemo has been asking the fintech industry to fulfil its promise of financial inclusion by adding inclusivity to products. BuildMyCredit has been critical in allowing the new generation to build their credit now that mortgages are beyond the reach of many.


Pivot! Pivot! 

Another stellar panel was ‘Breaking Borders’ – our session on how to expand abroad. The line up featured Stuart Barclay, SVP Growth at Volt, Chloe Wade, VP International Financial Services UK at IDA Ireland, Maisie Richardson, VP of Demand Generation at Payhawk, and Caroline Vaughan, VP Financial Services at Pangea. The panel was refreshingly candid for a fintech conference and they didn’t hold back when describing just how difficult expanding abroad could be. “Be flexible, keep making the next sensible decision at every stage and being able to pivot is key” Barclay urged the audience after admonishing himself for a small mistake during one of their expansions.

Maisie Richardson gave some incredibly sage advice “The biggest cheat code is having a close alignment between sales and marketing.” When the two departments are aligned with the sales team being “the first line of defence” the organisation can navigate the huge changes needed when scaling abroad. 

The Productivity Crisis

Nadia Edwards-Dashti, Chief Customer Officer at Harrington Starr Group, concluded the day with her take on the candidate vs. job capacity reality and strategies for retaining high-performing teams in fintech. When you think of scale, you have to be brave as an individual, you can’t get everything right. Edwards – Dashti urged fintechs to look at providing “the backing to learn, the backing to fail and fail fast.” She argued that this would ultimately lead to talent optimisation, as it’s not just about hiring talent but about retaining your hires that can ultimately lead to growth. This way you aren’t starting from square one again and again! “How many places of work have you felt comfortable with being able to fail?” Something all fintech organisations should take a good hard look at themselves and have a think about.