We talk to Devie Mohan, Co-Founder and CEO of Burnmark about the evolution and impact of fintech.
You are a long-term observer of the fintech sector; what would you identify as some of the positive impacts of fintech from a consumer and industry perspective?
Even though not everyone will see the impact today, fintech has impacted the lives of the common man in unexpected and brilliant ways. We look at money in a completely different way because of fintech. Paying your friend money from your virtual wallet through whatsapp is now as normal for us as taking cash out of our wallet to pay in a shop. Tech has enabled financial access for millions of people who never had access to banks and branches. It’s a powerful phenomenon and we will look back at 2010-2012 as a huge turning point in the financial services industry.
Do you think that incumbent FIs are capable to creating a ‘start-up’ mentality and supporting culture within their institutions. Or should they stick to what they know and do best?
This is extremely hard. I am currently working on an intrapreneurship programme called Think Forward Initiative, supported by ING, and we have tried to use the best of entrepreneurship and internal resources to create “startups” that sit outside of the organisation. It always helps to be in an environment that thinks and works like a startup – most banks are setting up separate coworking spaces in order to achieve this. It also helps to have the right skills and thinking within the team that can enable a startup like mode.
It is very much possible, but it takes time, energy and motivation to create a startup mentality within large organisations!
How can financial services (overall) ensure that it attracts sufficient tech talent given the competition from other sectors?
It is always a challenge to attract the tech talent and startup mentality you need to make things happen and keep pace with challenger banks and fintechs. The kind of technologies and use cases are evolving in the industry on a daily basis, it is hard for most large firms to keep up with the change of skills needed.
Can the UK sustain its place as a leading fintech hub and digital innovator with Brexit on the horizon?
We don’t know yet. I know of several startups choosing to have a second base, or even moving completely, to Europe to have access to the market. Several banks are also moving departments that need access to passporting rights in Europe. However, UK and London have huge advantages as a fintech hub, with its available tech and financial skills, multi-disciplinary knowledge, world-class institutions and being the joining point of investors from Americas, Middle East, Africa and Asia. The fintech ecosystem in London is getting larger by the day, with startups feeding off previous success stories. It is still one of the best places to be for fintechs and banks!
Do you have a passion for Craft Beer?
I have to admit I am primarily a wine drinker (sorry!) but I live in Greenwich surrounded by breweries and awesome craft beer pubs so I am slowly becoming a connoisseur!