Winners of Tech City UK’s first ever Fintech For All Competition were revealed last night in a thrilling final in the heart of the City.
Teams from six companies competed to take the two prizes on offer for products or services that help people manage their money better and improve the financial capability of people in the UK.
The six fintech businesses were asked to give a four minute pitch before judges at the Bishopsgate Institute on 15 November.
The audience heard from new fintech companies that are building businesses around alternatives to traditional credit scoring, a software product that can alert relatives if an older person is being financially scammed, an artificial intelligence-powered financial adviser and a new bank that’s exclusively focused on the financially underserved.
Mespo, the winner in the newcomer category, is a “robo money saver”. Mespo analyses a customer’s bank accounts and spots ways to save money, for example by switching to a cheaper energy supplier. The app can alert the user to all the available options in the market before switching on the customer’s behalf. The business makes money only if their customers make savings.
Lukas Zorner, the founder and CEO, of Mespo, said: “From day one I wanted to focus on the financially excluded so it will be brilliant to work closely with the Money Advice Service who are at the forefront of helping those consumers who really need a solution like this. By saving people money we can also increase their financial resilience by showing them how easy it is to save for the future.”
Pockit, which won the established fintech category and also won the special Experian Spotlight Award, was started in 2013 by Virraj Jatania, is a mobile banking app that targets those who find it difficult to get a mainstream current account. It now has 230,000 customers, 65% of its customers are over 35 and 30% of customers are recent arrivals to the UK.
Ben Sanders, chief operating officer of Pockit, said: “I joined this company because the CEO/founder convinced me that we could build the world’s most inclusive bank. The problem of financial inclusion is getting bigger all the time and winning this competition helps to put Pockit at the forefront of helping to resolve it. We are so grateful to have the support of two great organisations like Money Advice Service and Experian at this stage because that will really help us to take the business through the next stage of growth.”
Over 200 people attended the event, including entrepreneurs, investors and representatives from leading banks, credit unions, charities and advice services. The Fintech For All Competition was launched by Tech City UK as part of the Government’s digital strategy. The Government believes that fintech and innovation in financial services can tackle the growing problem of financial inclusion by helping people to change the way they interact with financial service suppliers, take control of their money, access new products, and save for the future.
More than 100 companies entered the challenge and the finalists competed in two categories: newcomer, for companies that have a product or service that is either in testing or ready to test, and established fintech companies, with an existing product or service in the market. Tech City UK is committed to helping ambitious entrepreneurs who have both the skills and the appetite to create high-growth companies, offering high-impact digital solutions.
Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said: “Congratulations to all the winners whose creativity shows how digital innovation can improve lives and at the same time boost the UK’s booming, £6bn fintech sector.
“We are determined to help harness the power of tech for good causes and this competition, launched as part of our Digital Strategy, is one way we are making sure the digital economy works for all.”
Laura Coffey, head of Fintech, Tech City UK, said: “The UK is the best place in the world for fintech and this innovation is improving the way customers engage with financial services, making it easier and simpler to manage their money, and get access to new products. The Fintech For All Competition had an excellent response, and our congratulations go to Pockit who went home with two awards. Pockit is designed to support previously financially underserved or excluded customers. Its simple banking proposition, transparent fee structure, and strong growth potential hugely impressed the judges”
David Haigh, executive director for UK Financial Capability, at the Money Advice Service and a judge, said: “There are 1.5 million of our fellow citizens who don’t have a bank account and 14 million people would not be able to get through the next month if something significant happened in their lives. Many people are in a very precarious position so it is inspiring to see people developing startup ideas that could really help those people who find it hard to access mainstream products and services. The judges found it genuinely hard to choose the winner because the ideas were really fantastic and will help people to manage their money better.”
Amir Goshtai, MD, Partnership and Propositions at Experian UK&I, said: “Fintech For All has been a really exciting and worthwhile competition that Experian is delighted to have been involved in. It’s very encouraging for the future of the UK’s fintech sector that so many talented people are coming up with ideas that will make it much easier for people to manage their money. We’re really excited to have this chance to find and work with the new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs who will change the future of finance.”
Applications were encouraged from both B2C and B2B companies, that are headquartered in the UK.