Your weekly resource for noteworthy news, fascinating features, and FinTech titbits that caught our eye.
Whether you live by your Twitter lists, save your Google Alerts or simply scroll through LinkedIn for insights and commentary – there is a wealth of content that weaves a global story around FinTech. Our job at FinTech Talents is to work within that global story – finding the news items, conventional wisdoms and hard data that aids us in bringing the industry the best Content, Community and Experiences in the business.
Every week, one member of our content team will offer a rundown of links and posts that filled our content channels over the previous seven days. Our rundown will offer a brief summary of the information, a link to original post and an insight into why it ‘caught our eye’. All of this aims to offer you a chance to ‘Bookmark’ the timely resources and real time conversations that are shaping FinTech week after week.
Our inaugural FTT Bookmark is brought to you by VC Innovation Director, Liz Lumley 🙂
Monzo founder – Tom Blomfield is departing the challenger bank and says he’s ‘struggled’ during the pandemic. – TechCrunch
Monzo founder Tom Blomfield announced he is departing the U.K. challenger bank entirely at the end of the January. TechCrunch’s Steve O’Hear, published his exclusive chat with Tom on January 20th. Staff were informed of Tom’s departure earlier that day.
Liz’s take: This was the FinTech news of the past week. Tom Blomfield is a member of a small group of ‘celebrity’ FinTech startup founders and Monzo has long been a darling of customers and the press with its signature ‘Hot Coral’ bank cards and ‘bank of the cool kids’ cred (despite recent PR and operational struggles that could mostly be attributed to growing pains and the realities of scaling up from scrappy startup to grown up bank).
The industry response to the news has been overwhelming in Tom’s favour. The former Monzo CEO’s commented on his mental health struggles, the difficulties of the global pandemic, his own competence as a startup CEO compared to the skills needed to grow and scale a business.
Most in the Twitter-sphere spoke of Tom’s honesty and applauded him for it. I 100% agree with that view. Being a startup founder is hard. Being CEO is hard. Being mature enough to acknowledge your personal limitations and prioritise your own growth is what the industry needs more of. Tom has added a positive commentary to a discussion both FinTech and the wider startup ecosystem needs to be having.
However, for the past few years, many in this sector, have been bombarded with the cult of ‘hustle culture’ and ‘Get Shit Done’ black and white thinking. Those who question rocket ship growth at the expense of company culture or employee well-being are branded as ‘not up to *our* standards’ or ‘not able to handle the rigors of a fast growth company’.
Tom should be applauded for being honest about his experiences – but remember, he has the privilege to make those views public. We as an industry need to hear the views and listen to the experiences of others in FinTech – entry level staff, women, people of all shades of colour, people who didn’t go to the ‘right school’ or have access to ‘family money’ to fund their startup. Hearing those views – without resorting to the ‘well, they just couldn’t hack it’ commentary – is crucial to fix many aspects of startup culture that have often excluded and marginalised people who would otherwise contribute a great deal to this industry.
Existing digital currencies unlikely to last says BofE governor Bailey – Finextra
Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin do not have the right structure to work as a long-term payments method, says Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey speaking on a World Economic Forum.
Liz’s take: At time of writing, one bitcoin is worth around £23k. Crypto currencies have long been the renegade, cowboy cousin at the family table that is FinTech. (and the one aspect of FinTech, your older parents might have heard of. “No, Dad, I was one of those stupid people who didn’t jump at the chance to buy a bitcoin for £6 in 2012 :-|”).
Nothing gets the crypto community trolling through the social channels more than when a member of banking’s ‘old guard’ expresses doubt about currencies that are formed outside of the central bank network. I, honestly, have no unique insight into the viability or sustainability of bitcoin. It has survived as a currency since 2009 – however, if you ever paid for your share of a pizza with a bitcoin in 2010 you would be kicking yourself now. However, being a casual observer of Crypto Twitter for some time now – it can be rather entertaining.
Exclusive: ‘Banks should deliver the same experience as Amazon and Netflix’, says Ezbob CEO – City AM
After a year that was hugely disrupted by Covid-19 and the entire economy and its workforce moved online, City A.M. sat down with Tomer Guriel, CEO of Mayfair-based Ezbob, which provides digital lending software to some of the biggest banks and financial institutions in the City.
Liz’s take: COVID-19, Lending and SMEs – City AM’s interview with FTT Lending 3.0 Festival Sponsor, Ezbob’s CEO Tomer Guriel hits many of the issues both FinTech and the wider economy are dealing with now. In the Q&A Tomer talks about the how SMEs can take better advantage of lending to recover from the global pandemic. He goes onto say that while COVID-19 has strengthened the relationship between SMEs and the lending and banking world, that community is looking for a ‘Netflix or Amazon’ type digital experience – so our industry should up our game.
Tweets I RT’d
Everyone listed deserves recognition, but it speaks to a broader structural problem in fintech that only 18 out of 100 listed are women, with Sabine as a lone trailblazer for Black voices. https://t.co/TBhtBi3Zch
— FintechKits (@FintechKits) January 25, 2021
This week our industry was given another ‘list’. (spoiler alert – I’m on the list. As are most of the ‘names’ you already know in FinTech.) I agree with the Tweet – it is always nice to be recognised. But unless you are new to FinTech that aren’t many new faces on this list, and as as you can guess from the Tweet, most are male and pale.
Only 18 women made this list and skin tone is rather homogeneous. Now, I know these lists are determined by social capital and, in the words of Jay Palter, are just a ‘stepping off point’ for followers. But…
…I would suggest this:
If you are a member of the ‘majority’ on a list. Don’t leave it to those in the minority, or excluded from the list, to point out its lack of diversity. Use your privileged social capital to be that ‘stepping off point’ for those investigating this industry.
What I mean by that is instead of Tweeting, or posting a LinkedIn post, saying ‘Honoured to be on this list with so many great people’ and tagging those people (in a rather cheap, clickbait-y way to offer free promotion to the hosts of the ‘list’.) Offer up a list of ‘people whom the industry may not know – but should’.
Just a list of some FinTech peeps I Twitter-chat with on a regular basis:
FTT ‘Extra’ Bookmark – Because we don’t all live in a FinTech bubble
Work from home destroying sales of Brits’ favourite lunchtime meal – Yahoo Finance UK
The pandemic has crushed sales of a go-to lunch item favoured by Brits: the packaged sandwich.
Liz’s take: When I first moved to London 1997, my office colleagues introduced me to the common lunch time go-to: the pre-made packaged sandwich (this was before the likes of Pret made it to cities like New York and Boston.) In fact, so ubiquitous is the UK’s love of the ‘sandwich on a shelf’ that it made the pages of the novel The Gum Thief, by Generation X author Douglas Coupland, where one of the heroes laments his exile in London with the complaint ‘I just don’t think I could eat another pre-packed sandwich!’.
Well, adding to the list of ‘things COVID-19 has ruined‘ is the pre-packed sandwich. Will it ever be back to its full time office commute heydays? We shall see. (But to be honest, I have never dreamt of a Pret tuna and cucumber baguette (the pepperoni pizza at Lombardi’s in New York, yes. But a tuna sandwich, no) – just sayin’)