Ep. 186. News: Fist bumps over the Atlantic
This week we had great news from both sides of the Atlantic, lots of team ups and partnerships plus some of the sillier crypto stories we've seen Taking on all of this along side host Simon Taylor were Megan Caywood, Chief Platform Officer at Starling; Edward Berks - Director of Banking, Fintech & Ecosystem at Xero, and our very own Ross Gallagher, Principal Consultant in our 11:FS Research Team.
We kicked off the show with a double whammy of Starling stories. Luckily we had Megan Caywood to tell us more. Firstly this one in CityAM announcing Starling's 4 new partners in their marketplace: Pensionbee, Wealthsimple, Habito and Kasko. Next we move onto Starling’s Settle Up feature which Megan explains as “A really easy way to make payments between friends”. Ross said he struggled to find the use case for this at first but now he properly gets it, and its design is excellent “I struggled at first to see this as a use case… but it’s awesome and design-wise it’s really nice”.
Moving on from Starling to their biggest rival, the team discuss this story from City AM - regarding Monzo's partnership with Moneybox via open banking APIs, which allows Monzo users to invest their cash by rounding up purchases to the nearest pound.
From Monzo to Revolut, and ss with seemingly every Revolut CEO interview, this interview in the FT got a lot of people talking on Fintech Insider News, our forum for discussion of the latest news and stories in the fintech world.Nikolay Storonsky talked to the FT about the long hours and high staff turnover at Revolut, claiming there is little room for work-life balance in a fast-growing start-up. However he also claims he has never come across a burnt-out employee, and pledges to pay for a two-week holiday for any of his staff who feels overwhelmed by the demands of their job. Interesting stuff...what are the chances someone takes him up on that pledge?
The next story is one Simon described as "Giving me warm fuzzies" as The UK's FCA and the US' CFTC sign fintech pact. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have signed an arrangement that commits the regulators to collaborating and supporting innovative firms through each other’s financial technology (FinTech) initiatives – LabCFTC and FCA Innovate. To summarise, Simon described the pact as “fist bumps over the Atlantic”.
From one pact that definitely is happening, this one is less clear. In this story from CNBC, Amazon might have teamed up with the Bank of America for its lending programme. If Amazon are working with big banks to get into the lending space, should traditional players in this market be worried?
In this next story they discuss a partnership that this time definitely is happening: Azlo, a digital banking startup targets gig economy workers is backed by BBVA. This story impressed the panel slightly more than the speculative Amazon murmurs, with Edward Berks calling it a "solid proposition".
From a Spanish backed startup to a Canadian one that’s gaining momentum, is the news in Business Insider regarding robo advisor Wealthsimple's £37 million fund raise. Their business model heavily targets millennials - 80% of their clients are under 45 and 40% are first time investors. Is the age of robo-advisors coinciding with mellenials having more money to invest?
Next up we reached the silly story part of the show now, starting with this story from Conservative Home explaining how Conservatives can use the blockchain for activism. This is a bizarre thought piece about a theoretical token called ConservativeCoin and indeed Megan summarised this well, stating that "it sounds like someone had too much time on their times".
Continuing with the crypto theme, and setting up new tokens, CoinDesk broke the news this week that Steven Seagal Endorses Questionable 'Bitcoiin' ICO. Instead of kicking ass on screen, it seems the martial arts savant has taken to round-house kicking the blockchain world by endorsing Bitcoiin2Gen....the name alone had eyebrows raised!
In a show packed full of good news, we chose one more to end on, this one in the Express regarding the Big Issue magazine seller who takes contactless and saw a huge boost to sales as a result. Big Issue seller Robin Fabian bought a contactless card reader to increase his sales after passers by repeatedly didn’t the have £2.50 in change to buy a magazine. He said the card reader paid for itself on the first day, and since then he estimates he's sold 200 extra copies.
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Special Guests: Edward Berks and Megan Caywood.
- Starling Bank announces partnerships with mortgage broker, investment and pensions firms and insurer in open banking push
- Starling launch payment requests from non-users aka monzo.me
- Monzo opens API to spare change app Moneybox
- Revolut’s Nikolay Storonsky on long hours and high staff turnover
- FCA and CFTC sign fintech pact
- Amazon has partnered with Bank of America for its lending program
- Wealthsimple raises over $65 million in latest funding round
- How Conservatives can use the blockchain for activism
- Actor Steven Seagal Endorses Questionable 'Bitcoiin' ICO
- Homeless Robin increased his sales thanks to contactless card reader