We recently hosted an evening with TechCrunch's Mike Butcher who entertained a room of 180 digital executives with his views on what's next for tech. It was great to see so many UK startup, scaleup and corporate digital leaders braving the biblical weather. Some photos from the event below. #gordoneden
The secret’s finally out: Financial technology (fintech) is a London thing. The British capital is fast becoming the global capital for the fintech industry and we believe London is uniquely placed to dominate this market, with significant advantages over other major tech hubs -- including Silicon Valley. Recent news of the record-breaking amount of venture capital in 2014, and the projection of an additional £12bn of economic activity and 46,000 new jobs in the next decade, has only strengthened the momentum.
Just eighteen months ago, this was a nascent sector and a term most associated with IT systems for banks. Now, we’re talking about truly disruptive, homegrown companies such as peer-to-peer foreign exchange service Transferwise becoming £1 billion ventures. Canary Wharf Group’s Level 39 is now a three-level coworking establishment housing 166 fintech businesses: a hub of innovation seeded from within London’s corporate towers. Promising companies such as Digital Shadows have sprung out of consulting giant Accenture’s London Fintech Innovation Lab. Half of the dozen startups on Tech City UK’s government-backed programme Future Fifty are finance-oriented, including Transferwise, GoCardless and Ratesetter.
With Europe at our doorstep, a pool of diverse talent and an well-established financial infrastructure, London bypasses other world-class finance and tech hubs as an incubation spot. Where once promising talent would have endeavored to enter the world of investment banking, more and more are aiming to disrupt the traditional banking world. It’s within this space that corporate and startup worlds are colliding at a much earlier stage, as big institutions and early-stage businesses begin to work together to create incredible opportunity.
The prospects for London’s financial innovation are looking peachy - but who are the individuals spearheading this future and what do they have to say on the subject? Many of these came together in last month’s Fintech 2015, an inspiration-filled event organized by Seven Hills, Level39 and Tech London Advocates. As attendees, we were exhilarated by the calibre and content shared by the speakers. Here, we round up some of the highlights as shared by top talent writing London’s fintech success story.
Reshma, Partner & Co-founder of Seedcamp
In the words of Seedcamp’s Reshma Sohoni, London’s fintech potential is not about building $1bn businesses: rather, it’s about the potential to create $10bn businesses. As partner of Pan-European accelerator Seedcamp, she helps early stage companies (such as Elliptic and Transferwise) with business development and fundraising. “At Seedcamp, we take companies from zero to IPO. We have investors from California to China involved in London fintech,” she shared with the crowd at Fintech 2015. “(This sector) is making its own paradigm.”
ANIL STOCKER, CEO & CO-FOUNDER OF MARKETINVOICE
Anil Stocker says London’s fintech is at the beginning of a very optimistic journey: graduates making more entrepreneurial choices, consumers are crying out for more competition and diversity, and companies are beginning to change financial services for the better on an international scale. Stocker is doing his part as well: In 2011 he co-founded MarketInvoice, the UK’s first “eBay for invoices” that lets you trade invoices for your finance needs, and has been CEO since. According to Stocker, the obstacles for further international expansion of the sector lie in the complex legal and regulatory frameworks.
HIROKI TAKEUCHI, CEO & FOUNDER OF GOCARDLESS
Want to see what high growth looks like? Take a look at GoCardless’ blog, where they recently posted an animation that visualises the companies’ national growth over the last 3 years. Initially aiming to make group payments between groups of friends and small organisations easier, the company has since become the UK’s leading direct debit provider.
“Don’t think of it as fintech, think of it as good ideas”, Hiroki Takeuchi said during his talk at Fintech 2015. Takeuchi’s venture is part of Tech City UK’s Future Fifty Programme and backed by some of the world’s leading investors, including Passion Capital and Y Combinator.
Alex Letts, CEO & Founder of Ffrees
“Bill Gates said banking is essential, banks are not”, said Alex Letts, who founded his own fintech company Ffrees in 2012. As the UK’s first truly digital alternative to traditional retail banking, Ffrees offers its customers a current account that lets them earn as they spend though competitive rewards and bonuses. “65% of banking customers are unprofitable,” Letts explained of state of the current accounts market. “In this day and age, banks make most of their money applying penalties". Letts’ venture tackles this by providing families with a sustainable and profitable alternative by giving them control of their savings in a digital realm.
vLaurence Aderemi, CEO & Founder of Moni
Laurence Aderemi’s own experience of being a Western Union customer was what initially led him to believe there was a better way of doing it. Moni, the Western Union for the digital economy, is a peer-to-peer money transfer app that innovates how people send money to their friends and family abroad. Aderemi joined London’s fintech superstars from an impressive background in mobile innovation. Previously, he led business development for EMEA under AdMob. When it was acquired by Google, he joined as Head of Mobile Strategic Partnerships.
Alick Varma, CEO & Founder of Osper
"One in seven children uses their parents’ bank card without permission,” Alick Varma shared with the crowd at Fintech 2015. To him, building the future of fintech is about much more than number crunching: it’s about education. Osper aims to empower young people to manage their money responsibly and build great habits for finances at an early age. Investors (including Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing’s Horizon Venture, tech investment firm Index Ventures, Lastminute.com’s co-founder and several notable venture capital backers) rushed to get a piece of Varma’s “digital pocket money” startup after being seeded through London’s TechStars programme.
Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK
London’s unique positioning as a tech hub is largely a result of its government-backed institutions such as Tech City UK. As CEO of the entity, Gerard Grech is leading initiatives such as the FutureFifty programme, which assists growth-stage digital businesses with governmental access and fosters an environment for growth by stimulating the institutional investor base and capital markets. “In 2013, UK and Ireland represented more than half of Europe’s fintech deals and 69% of Europe’s fintech funding”, Grech shared at the conference. FutureFifty welcomed a dozen new fintech companies in late 2014, half of which were dedicated to financial technology-- which in itself is a signal for the sector’s ongoing growth.
Claire Cockerton, CEO of Pivotal Innovations, Head of Innovation Programmes at Level39
"Businesses now have the opportunity and right to compete in a sector that has been traditionally very difficult to enter,” said Claire Cockerton, who has co-led Level39 as Head of Innovation to become Europe’s largest technology accelerator for fintech and smart cities. As a serial entrepreneur, she has founded and chaired accelerator Pivotal Innovations and is currently CEO of Innovative Finance.
RHYDIAN LEWIS, CEO & FOUNDER OF RATESETTER
According to Rhydian Lewis, the emergence of the fintech industry should be equated to the big picture: “Finance never had its industrial revolution,” he shared with the crowd. “Finance is 90% technology anyway”. Launching peer-to-peer lending site RateSetter.com in 2010, he is fueling the revolution of lending and borrowing in the share economy with one of the UK’s fastest growing P2P platforms.
EILEEN BURBIDGE, PARTNER AT PASSION CAPITAL
The Telegraph has described Eileen Burbidge as “Silicon Roundabout’s real reigning queen” for good reason. As partner of early stage venture capital fund Passion Capital she holds investments in GoCardless and DueDil (20% of their portfolio is in fintech), and has invested in the likes of Yahoo!, Skype and Apple. As a speaker at Fintech 2015, Burbidge emphasised that London’s fintech sector is unique in that corporate and startup businesses are coming together here in a big way. She claims London’s fintech sector is “recession proof”, as the more depression in the macro market, the more talent will move toward small business innovation. The biggest challenges for these companies to reach the public market, she says, lie in regulation and talent.
London is often praised for being at the forefront of diverse global industries, and now it seems it can rightfully add “technology” to the list. We’ve introduced just a handful of the individuals that have sowed the seeds for success. They are highly optimistic about the future of the financial landscape being built here, and it is clear that it is just the beginning of the story.
In the spirit of entering the new year with a fresh start, we asked some our favourite Movers and Shakers from across the digital and tech industries to write down and share their resolutions with us.
Throughout January, our Twitter feed @Gordon_Eden came alive with daily doses of inspiration from top entrepreneurs, investors and executives on what they had learned in 2014 and hoped to achieve in the next 365 days. Last but not least, we shared our number one resolution at Gordon & Eden:
In the spirit of entering the new year with a fresh start, we asked some our favourite Movers and Shakers from across the digital and tech industries to write down and share their resolutions with us.
What were their biggest lessons of 2014, and what will they focus on for the next 365 days? We’ve been sharing their thoughts throughout the month of January (on our Twitter feed @Gordon_Eden) in hopes of inspiring the tech and digital industries to make 2015 the most innovative yet.
here's what they shared with us:
In the world of tech, Courtney Boyd Myers (known to the internet as ‘CBM’) is everywhere: she’s the founder of audience.io, a transatlantic studio helping startups with their international marketing and business development activities, who have worked with companies such as Transferwise, Percolate, Fueled, Summit and yours truly. A former tech journalist and avid traveller, she has conquered the New York and London tech scenes by launching several newsletters (see 3460 Miles and The World is Global, Baby), being a health enthusiast (see her latest venture Hustle & Kale), acting as an advisor and curator (see Summit and Second Home) and befriending many. This year, she'll focus on shifting toward the health & wellness space.
Starting from a young age, Oli Barrett has grown his entrepreneurial career on the premise of solving problems that make a difference: he is Co-founder of Cospa, a multi award-winning agency working with brands and charities and also started Tenner (now run by Young Enterprise), a scheme which has challenged tens of thousands of pupils to see what they can achieve with £10 in a single month. He is also Co-founder of Startup Britain, an advisor to the Centre for Entrepreneurs and the individual who first brought speed-networking to the UK. This year however, Oli will focus on slowing things down and making time for the people he appreciates, the old school way.
Serial entrepreneur, investor and share economy expert Debbie Wosskow is the CEO and Founder of LoveHomeSwap, an international homeswapping site launched in 2009. Debbie has also co-founded several other ventures including online resource tool Collaborative Consumption Europe, advisory firm Maidthorn Partners and boutique agency Mantra Public Relations. and is a working mum. This year, Debbie told us her biggest lesson was to be patient - perhaps not everyone can juggle quite as much and move as quickly as she can.
Ben Jones, Global Chief Technology Officer of AKQA, one of the world’s most awarded digital agencies that focuses on “the imaginative application of art and science to create the future”. He has built a global reputation as a technology innovator by creating a culture at AKQA that fuses creativity with technology, ideas with innovation, to create groundbreaking experiences and work with global brands. What did he learn in the past year? Listen to your gut more - it will almost always take your further.
Ed Bussey is the Founder and CEO of Quill Content, a fast-growth content marketing company specialising in writing for the web across all languages and topics. Previously, he was part of the founding team and Global Marketing Director for Balderton Capital and has served in various NED, Chairman and internet advisory positions, including Mr. & Mrs. Smith Boutique Hotels (see our last roundup for Mrs. Smith’s resolution!). This year will be booming one for the content marketing world, and Ed is focusing on growth!
Entrepreneur and evangelist Jess Butcher is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of London-born Blippar, the world’s first mobile augmented reality platform that has been adopted by many global brands. Jess has over 13 years of experience in marketing and senior partnership roles within fast-growth environments. Besides continuing her efforts to make the word “blipp” happen, this year she’ll focus on doing fewer things at once, better.
In the world of Tech, this man needs no introduction. Mike Butcher, Editor at Large of Techcrunch, is the guy that every startup Founder wants to have on their good side. He knows the ins and outs of what’s moving and shaking the tech landscape, so it’s no wonder he’d like to see one thing realized in 2015: Keep disrupting, and he will keep reporting!
Nicole Yershon is the Director of Innovation Solutions at Ogilvy London, which just might be the coolest corporate title we’ve ever come across. Beginning her career in advertising 23 years ago, she now oversees the ‘laboratory’ driving innovation within Ogilvy UK. Nicole shared with us her secret to success in the last year, which was to say ‘yes’ more often than ‘no’!
London-based and with American roots, entrepreneur and angel investor Alex Hoye has played a significant part in encouraging a wave of entrepreneurial inspiration across Europe. He is Co-founder and CEO of Faction Skis and CEO of Latitude Group, one of Europe’s largest independent digital marketing agencies. He’s also invested in Seedcamp and is chairman of Skimlinks and BraveNewTalent. Other than hitting the slopes in his company’s cutting edge gear, he’ll be making sure he embraces the moment and stays present in each moment this year.
Feeling inspired yet? We sure are. May these #NewYearNewBeginnings ring in a year of innovation and positive change across the digital and tech universe!
Follow us at @Gordon_Eden where we champion #MoverShakers across the digital and tech industries.
In the spirit of entering the new year with a fresh start, we’ve asked some our favourite Movers and Shakers from across the digital and tech industries to write down and share their resolutions with us.
What were their biggest lessons of 2014, and what will they focus on for the next 365 days? We’ll share their thoughts and goals throughout the month of January (on our Twitter feed @Gordon_Eden) in hopes of inspiring the tech and digital industries to make 2015 the most innovative yet.
Here’s what we’ve seen so far:
Kate Unsworth is co-founder and CEO of Kovert Designs, a London-based startup that fuses elegant design with wearable technology. In keeping with their first collection of connected jewellery that empowers the wearer to step away from their smartphone, Kate tells us her biggest lesson of the year has been ‘prioritization’. Beyond creating beautiful innovative products, her company is fueling a movement toward a more mindful use of technology.
Volker Breuer is co-founder and CEO of peer-to-peer payment service Payfriendz, an app that lets you send and request money for free and in real time. Previously CEO of German pre-paid debit card service PayandGo and an experienced management consultant, Volker launched the London-based social payments venture in 2013. This year, he’ll focus on team building - though by the looks of, it seems he’s already doing a pretty great job.
Tamara Lohan is co-founder of Mr. & Mrs. Smith and one-half of the the couple famous for their taste in travel. Having grown into a globally-recognized brand since first publishing their travel books in 2003, the online boutique hotel booking service curates reviews by anonymous tastemaker couples. This year, Tamara is committing some of her extra hours to learning a new language, assisted by technology: she’ll be using ShaoLan’s innovative method Chineasy (another London-based startup) to brush up on her Chinese.
This year, Nick Bell made headlines by joining the Snapchat team as Head of Product from his previous position as Senior Vice President at News Corp. Known for his entrepreneurial ventures during the dot com boom of the nineties, he’s a young veteran of the industry at just 31 years of age. What has he learned this year while jumping from corporate executive to startup executive? Get comfortable being uncomfortable!
Sherry Coutu CBE- A serial entrepreneur and angel investor serving on the boards of well-known tech companies, charities and universities - knows a thing or two about ‘scaling up’: she has made direct investments in almost 50 startups, invested in three venture capital firms, founded several financial technology companies and held a number of corporate executive roles. By the end of the year, Sherry aims to report a massive surge of UK companies scaling up the UK prime minister.
London born and bred entrepreneur Tom Adeyoola is the CEO of Metail, a startup aiming to create and empower everyone’s online body identity. Coming from an eclectic background in management consultancy and the gaming industry, his current venture aims to solve the online clothing fit problem by giving you an accurate representation of how you’ll look in the clothes you buy online. What’s Tom focusing on this year? Well, just being better all-round.
Alice Bentinck left her consulting career at McKinsey to become co-founder of Entrepreneur First (EF), a European pre-accelerator focusing on growing ideas into fully-fledged startups. Over the last years, the investment programme has brought together 60 individuals to become co-founders of 20 different tech startups and raise a $20 million in funding collectively. She’s also inspiring more women to enter the tech world with her Codefirst: Girls initiative. This year, she won’t be held mercy to her inbox.
Want to get involved? Tweet a photo of your 2015 business resolution with @Gordon_Eden #NewYearNewBeginnings
We have recently written an article for the Urban Times on 20 tech executives in their twenties including better known as well as some unsung heroes from the UK and US markets. Please see full article here
We are proud to support the Start-up Manifesto which sets out recommendations for the next government and has been backed by over 175 leading startups and investors, including founders and partners from: King,TransferWise, SwiftKey, Lovestruck, Funding Circle, MOO, Index Ventures, Passion Capital, Seedcamp and Accel Partners.
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Huge thank you to Guy Levin from Coadec for leading this hugely important initiative.
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We are pleased to be involved in a comprehensive salary survey for the Technology & Digital market.
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The data collected in this survey will be highly relevant for: Start-ups, Fast growing tech/digital firms, Investors, Corporates looking to attract talent from this market
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Produced by Michal Bohanes and supported by the following partners:
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Thanks to everyone who braved the scorching July sun for our Summer Drinks last week. It was great to have so many of the UK's digital leaders join us - or as our guest speaker WIRED Editor David Rowan put it "the future GDP of the UK is standing together in one Shoreditch back yard".
For those who haven't yet caught it 3460 Miles is the brainchild of Courtney Boyd-Myers Erica Berger and connects the London and NYC tech scenes with events, news, networking and content. Sam Gordon was featured in the latest (issue 36) as their weekly Passenger - people who have a NYC & London connection. Read the full post at http://eepurl.com/X0mpL
Gordon & Eden co-founder Sophie Eden has just made the shortlist for Management Today 35 Women Under 35. We are honoured to be part of such an amazing list of inspirational women! Full article here: http://lnkd.in/dVrJ4pJ
We were pleased to be asked our opinion by Bee Shapiro - high profile New York Times and Glamour journalist - does a woman's haircut really impact on her ability to rise to the top?
Full article here: http://tinyurl.com/oc3rs7n
There is currently much talk about the issue of the lack of women in the technology industry and what can be done to address it. Tech City covered this in their latest magazine issue and one school of thought is that more girls should be coding from a young age. There are many groups that have emerged that are encouraging the next generation to code including The Girls Network and Tech Girls.
I don’t disagree that a solid grounding in coding is vital but I passionately believe another big issue that is holding girls back from pursuing careers in technology is a lack of confidence to compete in a male dominated industry. It’s not just about teaching girls to code or encouraging them to take maths. Girls also need to be taught from a young age that they can achieve anything they put their mind to. Sadly, so many still don’t feel they can.
I went to the first girls school in the country, North London Collegiate School, whose alumni include Anna Wintour, Rachel Weisz, Esther Rantzen and Roma Agrawal. Our headmistress would often tell us there are “no glass ceilings”. It was instilled in me from the age of 7 that I could achieve absolutely anything I put my mind to. Every time in my career I have come across sexism or felt isolated as a woman in a male-dominated world I have had the deep rooted confidence to rise above it as I know I can achieve anything if I work hard. I am sure this contributed to me feeling confident being the only woman on a Management Team of men with an average age of 40 when I was 22, and having the conviction to launch my own business 5 years later.
I can’t speak for all women but I know many over-analyse and have a desire to plan things out, especially those who plan to have children. Some women will therefore choose slightly safer career paths at a younger age as they lack the confidence to attempt to try and “have it all”. They write themselves off at a young age and many never manage to reach their full potential. If more girls were equipped with the self-belief to succeed as well as the skills to code then I really believe we would have more women in the technology sector as well as in fact in the boardroom across all sectors.
There is no one answer to this problem. Instead a number of things need to come together and work in unison and for me it is critical that girls are taught soft skills as well as technical skills to ensure they can thrive in the technology world. Benjamin Southworth, founder of 3 beards and ex Deputy CEO of Tech City, agrees. He is currently setting up a Free School in East London focused on preparing 16-19 year olds for successful careers in technology & digital. He tells us "The Ada Lovelace Academy was founded to ensure that the next generation of entrepreneurs of all genders are equipped with the skills and philosophies to achieve at the highest level, free from the discrimination and institutional bias”. With Benjamin setting the agenda we are sure it will contain the right elements for success - and here's hoping just as many girls sign up as boys.
By Sophie Eden
(Please join us and other sponsors of the Ada Lovelace Academy by making a donation at their website http://adalovelaceacademy.com/.)
The opportunities for both start ups and large corporations have never been greater. For start ups it is easier than ever to take an idea, get it funded and create a business of real value - often displacing established businesses in the process. At the other end of the spectrum, big businesses in just about every sector have never had such potential to transform their industry, brand perception and customer relationships, through the application of technology.
Ambitious corporations know they need to act more like a nimble start up to get new ideas, products and services to market fast. Early stage businesses, who sense a window of opportunity, know they need to adapt many working practices in order to scale and increasingly need to bring in seasoned operators to help achieve their potential. We may look back on this epoch as the time when all businesses became digital businesses and, as the start up and corporate worlds collide, there will be big winners and big losers.
As experts in Digital & Technology talent, who hire for both large corporations and early stage businesses, we see the choices that companies make on both sides. Who they hire and how they integrate, or fail to integrate, is one of the most critical factors in business success. Here are some of our observations and five recommendations that we feel can be equally applied to both scenarios.
1. Prepare the business before they join
By clearing their path for potential 'blockers' you will enable them to have the biggest impact. Not everyone wants to seek forgiveness rather than permission at every juncture. Try to buy them as much permission up front as you can. You are probably hiring them to be bold - so make sure they can be.
2. Don't expect them to work in the same way
There will be limits to how flexible you can be but try and allow for working practices that will, at times, be radically different. The only litmus test should be whether the successful execution of their objectives has the potential to create significant value. If their approach doesn't feel sufficiently different, you probably haven't hired the right person.
3. Expect, and allow failure
Anything that comes with high stakes has high risk. You should mitigate this risk but expect bold moves to sometimes blow up. By expecting this and giving permission to fail, the individual and the business will learn quicker and can change course more effectively. You wont always get it right first time.
4. Ensure incentives are aligned
By making a move to a different environment, there will be trade offs and the incentives for success must be aligned. Incentives need not just be financial, they could be access to a huge audience or the potential to transform the perception of a global brand. The person you hire will want to feel they have had every opportunity to make an impact and rewards are commensurate with achievements.
5. Aim to make their impact redundant
The biggest ratification of a successful hire is often that the thing you hired them for is no longer required. This doesn't mean the individual is surplus to requirements, rather the business has been transformed and there is a lasting legacy - whether the person stays or goes. And as the old adage goes, if they are truly talented and highly ambitious: be surprised when they stay, not when they leave.