For today’s profile we are joined by Roger Carson of the Encompass Corporation.
Driven by the belief that the best decisions are made when people understand the full picture, Encompass creates products that provide a visual way to search, review and manage commercial data sourced from public registries, credit bureaus, property/asset valuation sites and a growing range of trusted data streams.
Let’s get on with his profile, our questions are in bold.
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Who are you and what’s your background?
I’m Roger Carson, co-founder of Encompass Corporation. I founded the company with my business partner Wayne Johnson. I grew up in Northern Ireland, and have since lived in several overseas locations, and for fifteen years have been settled in Sydney, Australia, with my wife and our four children.
Encompass Corporation is the second business Wayne and I have grown together: Wayne founded Software Associates in 1986 and together we grew that company to employ 60 staff with offices in the US, and Hong Kong, exiting when we sold in 2001 to QHA, a Hong Kong listed Company. With a focus on enterprise integration, Software Associates successfully built and deployed major applications including Internet banking and corporate-wide customer care for the regions major banks, insurers and telecommunications companies and telecommunications billing.
I have created my own ventures, including 2M Services – a provider of corporate sales and support capability throughout Asia for early stage US technology vendors.
Away from work, I enjoy golf, squash, swimming and travel. I maintain a keen interest in world affairs, informed by my experience of living in the USA, South Africa, Hong Kong and Australia.
What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?
As Global Sales Leader at EC, I lead the sales of our products across financial services, legal, and insolvency and restructuring markets. Working with Wayne I raise capital to fuel the continued growth of our business. As a co-founder I have day-to-day leadership responsibilities.
Can you give us an overview of your business?
Wayne and I founded Encompass Corporation in Sydney in 2011, and launched the company’s first product for the Australian market in 2012. In 2014 we entered a commercial agreement with SAI Global granting this business partner sales rights to the product in Australia. In 2015 we established our business in the UK and now have offices in London, Glasgow and Sydney.
Currently, we have a suite of three products that we sell through a direct sales model:
Encompass Assess for ABLs and factors
Encompass Verify for law
Encompass Uncover for restructuring and insolvency.
Our early customers have been highly receptive to our value propositions. We dramatically speed-up the time it takes them to undergo the checks that underpin many commercial transactions and so give them new found business agility and improve their productivity. Additionally, we reduce the risk of making errors caused by overlooking important information or by mis-keying information. For example, one of our customers recently undertook an analysis of their manual information processing to realise their skilled staff operate with a 20 percent error rate. By automating their business process, we reduce their error rate to zero.
We are also investigating other indirect approaches to our markets.
Tell us how you are funded.
We raise funds from institutional and private investors, and have secured research and development grants from the Australian Government and Scottish Enterprise.
Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?
The genesis of Encompass Corporation was a personal involvement with a large property development project. My experience in being unable to immediately access accurate information that I needed stimulated the seed of an idea. Together, Wayne and I envisioned a solution that would quickly inform us of the people, property and companies related to the project in question. Developed to fill this gap, our products highlight risks and opportunities. Using the plethora of information sources now available in the marketplace, Encompass products highlight the most valuable information needed when making sound commercial decisions.
Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?
Our target customers are professionals in financial services, legal and accounting who rely on information from multiple sources including governments, bureaus and share registries, to make decisions that sustain global commerce. These often complex decisions require that multiple sources of information are gathered, read and understood. Just finding the critical information within multiple reports and data streams becomes a labour intensive and time consuming. Encompass products automate these tasks, then find and analyse the information critical to commercial decisions. Our customers tell us that we not only bring efficiency to these operations, but that because we find details that their manual processes overlook, Encompass product improve the quality of their decision making.
If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?
The broad adoption by financial services companies of social media analytics, to better understand the base motivators driving their customers’ behaviour
What is your message for the larger players in the Finance industry?
Your customer base and revenues are at risk from new services based on technologies created by innovative players. Fund projects now to learn how to migrate existing customers to new products and services with fee structure appropriate to a digital, connected economy. If you don’t cannibalise your own existing customer base, someone else will.
What phone are you carrying and why?
I’m carrying an iPhone 6. It’s easy to use and I stay in contact with my family using Facetime as I travel.
Where do you get your industry news from?
Financial Times, Financial IT, Finextra
Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech sector that we should be following on Twitter?
• Patrick Jenkins, financial editor at Financial Times, @patrickjenkins_
• Simon Bowers, business journalist, The Guardian, @sbowers00
• Edward Robinson, senior writer, Bloomberg, @EddieRob235
What’s the best FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?
I use a variety of RSS-based news feeds and find CommaFeed a good tool to aggregate different feeds.
Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?
Clients of the financial services industry expect to consume services from their mobile devices. Opportunities exist for technology companies whose products help the industry provide excellent online services to their customers. One of the imperatives of a digital economy is to remove obstructions to the flow of information, and I believe many business processes that are currently manual can be automated in software.
Because the industry so relies on ever-changing information, we have reached a point where humans struggle to stay current with all the information they need to make good decisions. The availability of scalable, elastic, cloud-based deployment options provides opportunities for financial service providers to team with software companies to quickly iterate through new process designs, learning and improving with each cycle. It is inevitable that software deploying algorithms of artificial intelligence will ingest huge volumes of information, apply knowledge and reasoning, to advise financial service customers through mobile applications and face-to-face interactions.
The established large players of the industry have an opportunity to partner with small agile firms to automate and disrupt their own business models.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s more information on this page.