It is rather basic to say that 2020 has been a challenging and unusual year for many. But in reality, it was still a year. Startups raised funds. Banks and FinTech companies still entered into partnerships. Events and conferences still happened – albeit online, via webcam and home WiFi. Our busy elves at VC Innovations worked throughout the year bringing you content, and access to community and experiences on the FinTECHTalents weekly newsletter and content hub.
The following are our ‘Best of 2020’ – chosen by our content team – (FTT veterans) Liz Lumley, Lisa Moyle and (new for 2020!) Laura Camplisson.
The notion of community has come centre stage in 2020. It is where we have spent increasing amounts of time during the pandemic and where we turn when we need support. The Where is the Heartland of Banking discussion at FinTECHTalents North America really brought those ideas of community, in all its permutations and definitions, to financial services. First and foremost, providers of financial services need to understand the needs and aspirations of the communities they serve.
The key to developing products at a small company is the ability to move fast, pivot smart and (occasionally) call on friendlies to support. We entered 2020, as a company, with a product offering that relied heavily on physical locations – booking venues, deciding on catering, setting out chairs. By March/April, with the pandemic bearing down on most of the globe, any hope that COVID-19 would be a minor disturbance to the yearly conference calendar was fading fast. We started looking at virtual options.
We knew we didn’t want to offer passive webinars (after all our Festivals are not passive events). After many reviews, trials and demos – we decided to start using the Hopin platform for virtual events – this is the platform you have all experienced at Spring, North America, Building Societies etc… this year.
Event platform settled, I started to think. How do we keep our touch points with our community? How do we entice them into our experiences – when we no longer are able to run roundtables or sip cocktails in central London? How do we create digital touchpoints with our industry – when we are all stuck at home with dogs, grumpy partners and children dealing with remote learning? I realised – we had Hopin.
We had already entered into a partnership with the platform – why wait for the big events to use it’s potential? Let’s record some interviews. Industry chats, friendly sit downs – with stylist bookcases and saucy kitchen art in the background. But first I needed a volunteer – to try it out (An MVP – if you’d like 😉 ). I called someone I knew wasn’t shy with his opinions and chat – I called Terry Chapendama, Director, National Bank of Kuwait (International) PLC. Sitting in his kitchen, with his busy shirt – I sat down with Terry and FTT Chats was born.
After joining VC Innovations this year, I hit the ground running with the launch of FTT Building Societies. We set out to give centre stage to a group of institutions working at the heart of their communities, providing services which make a real difference to their members financial wellbeing.
It was a privilege to interview a number of them for a Vox Pop report, focused on ‘Building a Foundation for Innovation‘. When talking about innovation, Building Societies are often overlooked and can be seen as ‘behind-the-times’. Actually our Vox Pop showed unanimous emphasis on digital transformation, but only where technology offers genuine improvement to customer experience. For Building Societies, innovation is a tool to empower colleagues to provide a better service to members, who remain at the heart of everything they do.
The responses clearly show that no Building Society has taken exactly the same approach towards innovation and each experience unique challenges depending on structure, scale and resources. Even clearer though, is the values which bring them together – an emphasis on personalised, inclusive financial support, which has taken on an even greater meaning throughout the pandemic. The Vox Pop left us hopeful that Building Societies unique purpose, uplifted by the power of innovation, would maintain the mutual model as an essential element of the UK financial sector for year’s to come.
What our community chose:
It should be of no surprise that our most viewed content post of 2020 was: Anne and Tom – My part in their breakup*
Recognisable names – Monzo and Starling, an established social media buzz, Anne’s book already being serialised in the Sunday Times – this post contains all the ingredients to earn its place as ‘most clicked.’
But I hope the initial point of the post got through – and it was read by people who were looking for more than just gossip. Over the past few years, we have seen more and more women tell their stories. When they do – when women read and listen to the experiences of other women – a strange thing happens. Women start saying: ‘That story feels so true’, ‘I thought it was only me’. They start saying ‘me too’ – for a whole range of experiences that are unique to women.
FinTech, startups, the digital economy should not look at a fifty something female founder as unusual. And we as a society need more women to tell their stories.
From all of us at FinTECHTalents/VC Innovations – Have a restful holiday period and gear up to say GOOD BYE to the year that was 2020!
Victor, Lisa, Liz, Alex, Neal, Emily, Laura, Vicky and Anthony