This week’s profile is from Todd Latham of Currency Cloud.
Our questions are in bold.
– – – – –
1. Who are you and what’s your background?
My name is Todd Latham, I am the VP of Marketing at Currency Cloud. I’m probably a bit of a nerd at heart, I’m fascinated by the way technology is changing our lives. I have extensive experience in the technology and financial services sector having delivered marketing, product and customer experience strategies internationally for some of the world’s largest brands.
Prior to joining Currency Cloud, I led European Customer Marketing for American Express’ Corporate Payments division, where I was responsible for driving expansion opportunities, developing product line strategies and leading key partnerships. In my early career, I also held a series of marketing and strategy roles at Microsoft. I’m always thinking ‘what do our customers want?’ It keeps me up at night, along with my beautiful new born, Joshua.
2. Can you give us an overview of your business?
Currency Cloud is at the heart of the API revolution, using technology to change the way financial services are provided to customers. We have taken a small part of the banking infrastructure, International Payments, automated it and provided it to clients via an API. Our clients are payments firms and financial services firms who would otherwise have to build this service themselves.
3.Tell us how you are funded.
Currency Cloud is VC backed by four leading FinTech investment firms, Atlas, Anthemis Group, Notion Capital, X’Ange and Silicon Valley Bank. We’ve raised close to $18m in funding as of January 2014.
4. Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
If you are a large corporate, or in commodities, you have access to sophisticated tools to manage your international business and competitive pricing. We want to make this level of functionality accessible to everyone.
Typical small and mid sized businesses find international payments really hard. They are complex, expensive and take too long. Currency Cloud simplifies the international payment process and provides flexible solutions so customers can make international payments that suit their business. Our technology enables clients and their end-customers to easily manage and reconcile payments, giving them visibility across the payment life-cycle.
5. Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
We work with some of the most exciting businesses in the financial services sector. From banks and Payment Service Providers to remittance firms and prepaid providers. Clients such as XE.com use our service to help them quickly expand their payment capabilities, allowing them to provide low-cost payments in multiple countries and transparent conversion in 40 currencies covering all major economies.
6. If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
One of the largest challenges we face is the ability to find great talent. Being based in London we have access to a huge pool, but world class people are still few and far between. I would love to see stronger talent coming through, especially in developers, so we can continue to feed a rapidly expanding team.
7. What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
I speak with banks on a daily basis in my role, and have seen a huge shift in attitudes over the last two years. Gone are the days when we were seen as a competitor – in fact, in some ways we act as a distributor for bank services. In technology however, there remains a culture of building solutions internally at the big banks and a resistance to FinTech solutions. The most innovative banks are already embracing FinTech, hopefully soon, more will realise the benefits of using new solutions.
8. What phone are you carrying and why?
iPhone 6… I love my gadgets!
9. Where do you get your industry news from?
The Economist and The Times for broader market trends; social media for industry specific news
10. Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
@annairrera, for all of your FinTech news
@clairecockerton, founder of Innovate Finance, an industry body for the FinTech sector
@currency_cloud, you should definitely be following us!
11. What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
There are so many firms out there challenging traditional methods but Ripple is certainly up there for us and one to watch. It was once referred to as the ‘Napster of payment networks’. I’m not sure that alternative currencies will ever take off, but the block chain, now there’s a different story.
12. Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
We’re going to see the discussion move on and away from Bitcoin over the coming year. It’s the technology behind Bitcoin, Block Chain, which will come into focus. Block Chain removes the need for a central authority to clear a transaction. The knowledge of the transaction remains in the network meaning that it can be cleared instantly. Ultimately, Block Chain has the potential to completely shake up the industry and revolutionise payments by considerably speeding up a laborious process traditionally controlled by the banks. We’re going to see more and more firms play around with this technology and we will watching with interest as it develops.
– – – – –
If you’ve any suggestions for other hot FinTech companies (startup, or established ventures) that we should be profiling, I’m all ears. Don’t hesitate to drop me a note at email@example.com. There’s more information on this page.