The VC Innovations Year in Review
Lisa Moyle, Director of Strategy, VC Innovations
As the team looks back at 2021, it’s hard not to feel both somewhat breathless and grateful for all that we’ve learned and been able to achieve. The collective challenge presented by a pandemic that nobody expected and certainly didn’t anticipate lasting this long, has changed the way we work but not how we deliver value for our community. Our key pillars of Content, Community and Experience remain even if some of the formats have evolved.
From a rapidly growing virtual portfolio to the return to face to face events, ending our year in style with Bringing back the stage to the Fintech Talents Festival, it is valuable to take the time to reflect on the past twelve months. From a personal perspective, my highlights of the year include adding some fantastic new people to our team and continually growing our reach and expertise.
Expanding our North American community, launching new portfolios on Digital Identity and Embedded Finance, there has been a lot to learn and celebrate. It is also a great time to indulge in recapping some of our highlights. I say highlights and not favourites, because who could choose?
Mine are based around some key areas of learning. I had the opportunity to lead some truly insightful discussions on Inclusive Design, incorporating a fascinating range of perspectives at both Fintech Talents North America and Fintech Talents UK & Europe. It really brought home the idea that you ‘only know what you know’ and further illustrates the importance of diversity in all its forms. Representation and understanding deliver better outcomes and help drive a financial services industry that really does make better products and services. There is clearly still a way to go but hearing from those who are working to create a better industry was inspiring.
There were also glimmers of hope when it comes to climate change and indications that the industry is developing a greater awareness of its central role in supporting/catalysing the transition to Net Zero and thinking about the pathways to change. There is a long journey ahead in terms of effecting significant and enduring change but I was fascinated (and educated) by discussions on the tools that are being developed and the ways in which ESG is being recognized as a force for the future.
There is no overstating the massive task ahead and a lot to learn and develop to address what is indeed the challenge of our lifetime. I am delighted to say that the financial services industry and innovators are bringing a healthy dose of optimism for the future. And a dose of optimism is a great way to end what has been another roller coaster of a year.
I am incredibly proud of our team and even though I am now again working from the kitchen table, I remain hopeful for 2022. I am confident that I will come away with a new set of experiences and opportunities to learn more about the ever-changing financial services industry.
Flora Pleguezuelos, Product & Content Manager
One of my most important highlights of the year is the launch of the FTT Embedded Finance portfolio, with FTT Embedded Finance North America and FTT Embedded Finance UK and Europe. Our growing community of retailers, financial institutions, fintechs and tech companies from across the world came together to discuss disruptive successful practices and strategies, as well as to look ahead to future innovation in integrating financial services outside financial institutions in areas such as payments, insurance, lending, wealth management or social media.
From learning the importance of delivering seamless financial services to customers with technologies such as APIs or BaaS, to understanding the important role that CX, customer journeys and customer engagement are playing for businesses to succeed in this competitive industry. Another important highlight from this year has been learning about the ways in which embedded finance is supporting consumer well-being, improving the position of the industry, as well as understanding the prospect of greater financial inclusion.
I am already looking forward to discovering how the industry will evolve in 2022, and what challenges and opportunities that will bring. We are planning to grow the Embedded Finance portfolio in 2022, so stay tuned! We already have the date for next year’s FTT Embedded Finance: Payments and Insurance Summit (28th of April, 2022).
Jess Mager, Product & Growth Manager
One of my key takeaways of 2021 has been the growth of FTT Building Societies. We held the second edition of this event on 6th October as a fully virtual event, which saw a brilliant turnout from building societies, credit unions, fintechs and tech providers.
We grew our mutual community substantially and our speakers took to the virtual stage to lead the way in digital transformation, sharing their journeys transparently and providing insightful perspectives on what the future might hold. One year on from the event’s launch in 2020 and at a time when the sector was starting to adopt disruptive technologies that were already implemented in some areas of financial services, it was fantastic to see how building societies and credit unions are fully embracing digital transformation to improve products and services.
A key focus of FTT Building Societies, but also strongly apparent throughout all our 2021 events, has been the importance placed on financial inclusion and how technology and data can ensure more communities get access to the most suitable products for them. Building societies and credit unions have a unique structure which empowers them to personalise their services, maintain their human touch and attract individuals who may be excluded from traditional banking services.
The emphasis has been on how technology has pushed the mutual sector forward over the past couple of years and I am certainly excited to see what stage the sector will be at by the third edition. To reflect our growing community, we will be changing the name of the event, bringing you FTT Mutuals in 2022!
Overall, a key highlight for me has been to finally meet many of our speakers and partners in-person at the Fintech Talents Festival in November. It was great to see so many people in attendance and embracing live events again. I look forward to 2022 in terms of what our events will offer and am excited for our next face-to-face event, FTT Lending 3.0 on 30th March.
Laura Camplisson, Product & Content Manager, Future Identity Lead
2021 was a big year for Future Identity, with no shortage of highlights since launching the portfolio. It has been exciting to see the community grow so quickly, and I’m grateful for the support from our partners, participants, and audience, who have all played a key role in this success.
We kicked off with FTT Identity, back in March – the first VC Innovations event focused exclusively on digital identity. The day was full of productive discussion and lively debate both on and off our virtual stage. Content sessions focused mainly on identity in finance, but conversation continued to circle back to the importance of building a wider identity ecosystem. We were left determined to expand our focus with the launch of Future Identity, and involve organisations across a wider range of sectors, for whom identity has become a key consideration.
The next major highlight was the two reports we produced this year – the first on the future of ‘embedded identity’ and the second on the impact of biometrics for businesses. Both these pieces of content were filled with invaluable insights from industry leaders including Santander, Metro Bank, Jaja Finance, Australia Post, Consult Hyperion, and the Estonian Government. It was great to be able to provide those who read the report with real-world learnings for approaching identity technology within their own organisations.
Then of course, we finished the year on a high with the first ever Future Identity festival. Some really insightful discussions took place, focused on issues the identity industry is grappling with right now. Every minute of the content was valuable but for me, highlights were a session on how identity is being used in the healthcare sector amidst the ongoing pandemic, a discussion of the important work being done to protect the identities of young and vulnerable individuals online, and finally our closing panel looking at areas which need to be addressed when it comes to building inclusive identity systems and why inclusion is an aspect all organisations should take seriously.
Overall, I’m proud of everything the team and I created this year and feel lucky to have had the support of our awesome community. I wish everyone a Happy Holidays and we look forward to seeing you in 2022, as we continue to grow Future Identity.