At the start of last year, we were six people sitting in a tiny office up a thousand flights of stairs on the north side of Bloomsbury Square. The 2020 Fintech Talents Festival was taking shape in the form of dozens upon dozens of post-it notes stuck to sheets of disposable white board smoothed across a far wall of magnolia paint.
The post-it notes said many things.
- ‘What to expect when you’re fintech’
- ‘The fintech God particle’
- ‘Wealth management – What went wrong?’
- ‘Open Finance future’
- ‘When do we stop being innovative and start being good?’
Scribbled multi-coloured sharpies mapped out a five stage, two-day event that would take delegates on a journey through the complexities of innovation and digital transformation in financial services.
Those faded, fallen post-its are the only form the Fintech Talents Festival of 2020 will ever take.
You’d think from this intro that I am going to talk about ‘coming back’, rebuilding the old festival, dusting off those post-its to redo what ‘could have been’ in late 2020 if a global pandemic hadn’t driven most of the world back to their homes, working from kitchen tables with dodgy WiFi.
But that is not what this post is about – for two reasons. One – that world that coulda been, doesn’t exist, never existed and isn’t coming back. And two – we as a company didn’t sit and gather dust and wait for the glue to wear off our backs so we could float aimlessly down to the floor.
We embraced a new channel with virtual offerings. Bringing communities together in the name of North American and Nordic fintech. We focused a light on UK building societies and US credit unions. We explored lending and product building and embraced discussion about our Open Finance future. We added a new branch to our ever-robust VC Innovations Tree – The Future Identity Portfolio.
We did all this not while pining for the past – when going to the pub was done on a whim, commuters squashed themselves into train carriages and conference goers bumped into friends and colleagues we see only a few times a year over cheap wine and catering hors d’oeuvres. We did this by realising that brand building, networking, debate, discussions, and community still happen – even if the route to these goals is enabled by internet speeds rather than air miles.
We’re not back for the Fintech Talents 2021 Festival – we never went anywhere. (But we are eager to bring back the beer and the music 😉).
We always said, from our start in 2018, that the Fintech Talents Festival was never a ‘fintech conference’. We have always been an open and inclusive festival of ideas – examining the nature of innovation, the evolution of work and the down and dirty hard graft of digital transformation. All for a financial services audience.
To bring this home the theme for the 2021 festival is ‘The Big Tent’. All are welcomed in the Fintech Big Tent — Those that work at banks, financial institutions, work to build new fintech companies or strive to evolve established tech providers in the space. If your goal, your desire, your wish is to make financial services better – for everyone – you are welcomed in the Big Fintech Tent.
And that is what really matters.
The Fintech Talents Festival emerges on the London stage at The Brewery on November 15th and 16th, with an exclusive in person audience engaging while we live stream to our global virtual community. This will be followed by two days of our proven virtual experiences on November 17th and 18th.
Festival Days 1 and 2, will explore the big ideas and big questions our industry is facing as it strives to build back better, now. Our signature craft beer tasting sessions and musical buskers will be returning to make our return to physical gathering fun, fresh and inclusive for all.
Some of the themes, during the first two days, we will explore include:
- Looking east to China
- The shelf life of a startup CEO
- Building a greenfield bank
- Beyond going green - ESG for 2021
- Bitcoins, stablecoins and shitcoins – let’s have an adult conversation
- Digital transformation as a lifestyle change
- Learning to learn in a legacy world
- What it means to be a fintech leader
- The future of Open Finance
As well as tech talks looking at quantum computing, blockchain, AI, 5G and a range of emerging technologies.
In addition to innovation, transformation and product building, the festival will showcase our growing portfolio of experiences:
- FTT Embedded Finance - a day long deep dive into the embedded finance revolution
- FTT Institutions – a day long event filled with debate and discussion on digital transformation in the capital markets, institutional investing and wealth management