Almost 1,500 delegates joined the community to discuss the wide variety of tools, frameworks and hard-earned lessons our industry needs to build better products, teams, partnerships and companies.
The overarching takeaway from our inaugural event was that the time to view digital transformation as a project is over. For true innovation to transform our industry, digital transformation needs to be a lifestyle.
The discussions FTT Digital Builder event presented a variety of views on the sector. The morning was peppered with fireside chats and panel discussions around open APIs, sandboxes, platforms, and the importance of testing your banking apps. This was followed by a rousing discussion on growth and what it takes to build a sustainable FinTech company that values both purpose and profit. By mid-day we learned innovation lessons from building a hotel in the Indonesian jungle, the ongoing strategies around incumbent financial institutions partnering with new FinTech entrants and whether anyone has been satisfied by spending time in an innovation lab. Our day ended with a discussion focused on culture and communication – and learning to collaborate and partner with teams, departments and companies that seem to live on separate planets in our financial services galaxy.
If you were not able to join us or just want to relive FTT Digital Builder – all Main Stage and Interactive Sessions are now available on demand on our event website.
Some of the most intriguing snippets from FTT Digital Builder include:
Ian Johnson, SVP, Managing Director (Europe), Marqeta opened up the day by telling a story of his first experience with selling using open platforms.
“…one of the engineering team just put his thumb up to the chief commercial officer and the chief commercial offices says: ‘Oh, they have just been testing your APIs in the sandbox and he says it’s all good; it does what it says’. This was like a different world for me. I had just been to a meeting where the client was able to see, use the tech and give a thumbs up. And it just changes the dynamics of the conversations.”
Elliott Limb, Chief Customer Officer at Mambu was able to indulge in a delightfully techie fireside chat discussing all the tools needed to operate as a modern digital builder. First observation is that sandboxes work better with friends.
“I think there are two types of sandbox user. There are the sandbox users where you want to drive the innovations … you want to do experimentation, the art of the possible. I think the mistake that gets made there is: it’s a sandbox for one child and they don’t invite all their friends to play and throw sand and make sandcastles together. That’s where I think this community thing comes together and you’ve got to open up a sandbox and say: ‘hey guys this is what we’re doing we’re trying to achieve this let’s bring it in’.”
Innovation is the project where the builder never stops working. This constant evolution is never more evident then when you examine the growth of a nimble, agile startup into a sustainable, grown up company. Jeppe Rindom, Co-founder and CEO of Pleo sat down for a very personal and illuminating fireside chat about the founding and growth of the Swedish startup.
“In the early days we had a value around transparency in the company and one of the reasons we like transparency is we hire entrepreneurs; we hire people that are excited about building a company and we want them to have the feeling that they are building a company. They should be able to engage with other teams and know what’s going on.”
The conversation about growth and startups continued with Clare Reilly, Chief Engagement Officer, PensionBee bringing home the believe that a company is not an island and should take in account the impact it has on the environment and the society at large.
“It’s really about the level of responsibility that you have to the community and the world around you, because the bigger you get the more you need to start taking seriously the level of ownership that you’ve got for solving the social and economic issues in the community.”
Over the past few years, no other topic has gathered as much discussion as strategies around partnerships between new FinTech entrants and incumbent banks and financial institutions. Rita Martins, FinTech Partnerships Lead – Innovation Finance & Risk, HSBC, offered some incredible advice, regarding sponsors, to FinTech companies.
“Really think about what type of sponsor do you need. That is probably the biggest mistake. Sometimes FinTechs focus on getting a very senior stakeholder within the bank that will help…but you should also have a sponsor that really knows the product they’re the client, they will really use it they will be your champion, they will go into a room and say: ‘I have seen this FinTech, it’s going to change my world’.”
We ended the day with our final panel of innovation leaders talking about communicating and working with technology teams and business departments and the issues, barriers and failures and successes that come about when these groups start building financial services together.