We are back with another profile, this is with Georgia Hanias of Innovate Finance. Our questions are in bold.
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Who are you and what’s your background?
Innovate Finance is an independent not for profit membership organisation serving the global FinTech community. We aim to accelerate the UK’s position as the leading global hub for FinTech by directly supporting the next era of technology-led financial services innovators. We currently have more than 120 members ranging from seed start-ups to global financial institutions.
What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
I’m Head of Global Communications for Innovate Finance. I am responsible for raising the profile of our organisation around the world through press engagements, stakeholder relationships and trade missions. We also work closely with journalists to help showcase the tremendous talent and innovations of our members.
Can you give us an overview of your organisation?
Our role is to serve our members’ interests through engaging in political and legislative lobby, attracting investment capital, and “telling the FinTech story” to the world. We are the largest single gateway and network for the global FinTech community.
Tell us how you are funded.
Innovate Finance is partially funded by the City of London Corporation as the lead sponsor, and the Canary Wharf group as founding sponsor and through membership fees.
Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
We work to act as a single point of entry to the UK’s global FinTech ecosystem. Our core objectives are as follows:
Policy – we lobby to represent the interests of our members to government and regulators, As such, members are able to indirectly influence the setting of new industry standards and have their voices heard.
Events – we curate events for top tier members and for startups to help them meet potential business partners, investors and clients. Our programmes range from flagship events like our annual Global Summit (which draws over 1,000 decision-makers) to intimate roundtables and knowledge hacks. Large-scale events also offer key opportunities for our members to receive exposure among the wider ecosystem.
Communications- raise the profile of our organisation by celebrating the accomplishments and news of our members and raising FinTech issues in the press.
Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
Our target members are companies wishing to change the future of financial services for the better. They are the FinTech startups and investors as well as the influencers and big banks that are looking for ways to disrupt the status quo and to deliver the best possible services and products to consumers.
If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
We don’t need a magic wand – we just need to ensure that we create the right business and regulatory conditions to ensure that investment keeps pouring in and FinTech companies choose to set up and grow in the UK. We are working closely with government and the global FinTech community to push for an ideal FinTech future.
What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
Keep close to the innovations that are being created and learn from what the disruptors are doing to reform financial services. Many of the big players have accelerators now and are doing a lot in the FinTech space, but they should be keeping an eye on the young, nimble players that understand a new generation of banking customers and are plugged into new trends such as the sharing economy.
What phone are you carrying and why?
The latest iphone of course. It’s a brilliant device that’s light and lovely to hold and easy to use. Plus, I love the customer service I get at Apple. I’ve become loyal to the brand because they listen when things go wrong and provide a lot of assistance. I feel valued- much like how consumers of new FinTech solutions feel! It’s all about putting back humanity into the customer experience.
Where do you get your industry news from?
All the major newspapers of course. Zite is great at bringing together key, curated stories that are relevant to our sector.
Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
Brett King @brettking, author, speaker and innovator; Eileen Burbidge @eileentso, Partner at Passion Capital and special envoy for FinTech; and Chris Skinner @chris_skinner, futurist, author and FinTech visionary.
What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
There’s a lot of great innovations happening in the FinTech sector and with 120 members, it’s difficult to single anybody out. But there are a few companies that are making tremendous inroads to helping the unbanked such as DoPay, which offers payroll services for those without a bank account. There’s also companies that are creating better transparency for banks and other institutions such as blockchain company Credits and bitcoin storage firm Elliptic. There’s a lot happening in Peer to Peer and SME lending with firms such as Zopa, Ratesetter, Fouding Circle, urica and iwoca helping to create a vibrant alternative finance landscape. There’s good news for aspiring students too. Companies like EdAid and Prodigy Finance are trying to use crowdfunding models to help people pay for education. Mobile payments are also making headway with firms like YoyoWallet.
Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
Big data, blockchain, and mobile payments innovations are going to play a crucial role in creating a new world of finance for everyone.
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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.