Picture of Doug Mackenzie

Doug Mackenzie

July 1, 2024

Fintech Fringe Festival 2024: Day 2 Recap


Day 2 began at Level39, and was powered by NTT Data, two organisations that underpin a sense of scale. With the venue offering attendees breath-taking views of London in their giant meet up space, there could not have been a more dramatic sense of sales and making money than being in the financial landmark that is Canary Wharf. 

To lead proceedings, Nick Drewett, CCO of Engine by Starling, opened the day by sharing how their enterprise solution was gaining scale and success in the UK and abroad. He emphasised the courage of the leadership and also the fact that from a talent perspective they had placed engineers in decision-making roles throughout the company. “Most people in Starling Bank understand engineering, I’m often fascinated to the extent to which it’s run by engineers, not just in engineering.”

Rewriting the book

A panel discussion on changing your product offering (sometimes completely) to supercharge sales featured David McHenry, Head of Product Advisory & Implementation at HSBC Innovation Banking, Alexandra Rivas-Gale, Head of Product at ClearBank, and Adam Moulson, COO of Griffin. Moderated by Matt Williamson, SVP at Endava, the panel highlighted the importance of aligning products with evolving customer needs – especially in a b2b context. 

With such long sales cycles in finance Rivas – Gale brought up the interactive nature of partnerships when the product is pivoting “we educate our customers and get their buy in up front.” David McHenry saw it as an evolution, not just of product but of the partnership itself “How are you going to evolve with your client?” 

Growth Vs Profitability

The next session was a more unusual look at increasing sales for the fintech industry as it looked at profitability rather than just growth. It was moderated by David Wallace of David and Dharm Demystify, featuring Susana Ponce Froment of Tide, Valentina Kristensen of OakNorth, and David Treacy of OpenPayd.

While it seems incredible that profitability still evades a large portion of the industry, this panel was made up of organisations that had long since achieved it. It was from their successes, our audience were here to learn. Looking back on the fintech ecosystem 18 months ago Kristensen remarked that “Revenue is vanity, Profit is sanity” and that “investors were focused on growth at all costs!” In an interesting riff on the previous panel Susana Ponce Froment urged against how “new products could cannibalise your own products”.

Tech Giants – are they the new banks?! 

A panel on B2B scaling strategies included insights from Danny Keating of JD Consulting, Himal Makwana of FIS, Maeve Heneghan of Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Tom Bentley of NatWest Boxed. They discussed the crucial role of partnerships with tier 1 organisations – like AWS and FIs in scaling businesses and navigating procurement challenges. 

Himal Makwana underlined the importance of due diligence “Can you trust that this company that you are partnering with is going to stick around for how long you are?” “There is no quick win here”. To add a cheeky event review – Tom Bentley remarked on the conference itself – saying how “unusual it was for a fintech conference to have a strict sales focus” – and how “he loved it!”

The proof is in the pudding

Our morning ended with a critical fireside chat with NTT DATA and eXate that provided a case study to every session that had gone before it. How to engage with a large scale institution/organisation and make a partnership work. Tom Winstanley of NTT DATA,  Sonal Rattan of eXate, and Sumant Kumar of NTT DATA shared their collaborative journey, explored their successful partnership, focusing on enhancing data privacy and security in the fintech sector.

That’s not all folks… Funtech Evening!!!

It wouldn’t be a Fringe Event without a comedy night and Rise, by Barclays was the perfect place to host the event! On the second night, to a jam packed crowd, Calypso Harland and Julia Streets kicked us off with a very warm welcome to both Fintech Fringe and the Comedy Night.

Following on from our MCs, Jake White the Head of Partnerships at Streets Child really underscored why tonight was really important. Streets Child is a charity dedicated to changing the world, one child at a time by giving the basic human right of education to some of the most vulnerable and impoverished people in the world. What made his brief speech stand out amongst the stand ups was just how little you had to contribute to make a big difference. For less than £100 your contribution would put a child through school for the year. In total because of Streets Child 412,161 Children have benefited from improvements to the quality of education provision, 807 Schools have been supported either through construction or renovation to improve learning environments and 512 temporary learning spaces constructed in emergency contexts.

With our spirits uplifted by that news, we were about to get another dose of goodwill with three amazing comedians hitting the stage.


There is nothing worse than someone explaining jokes so we will keep this part brief!  

  • Abigoliah Schamaun was amazing at highlighting the differences between Americans and Brits as she slowly finds herself succumbing to the better (British) way of life.

  • Josh James brought the cheeky Essex charm to the East End!

  • Toussaint Douglas highlighted in the most absurdist way how difficult dads find it to connect with their kin.

  • And Laura Lex was brilliant in dismantling the allure of Love Handles. No one loves Love Handles.

Four incredible comedians, six if we include ChatGPT and Julia Streets, you had to be there… and money going to an incredible cause. A superb evening amongst many of London Tech Week and Fintech Fringe Festival.

For those eager to continue the dialogue, join online at Fintech Fringe Forum where you can access resources and read top tips on support available for fintechs.