Did you know that iZettle, The ID Co and Nucleus Financial are only three out of many thriving Scottish fintech companies? Spotcap’s Eva Schueckel sits down with Stephen Ingledew, CEO of FinTech Scotland, to find out more about the state of the region’s fintech scene.
Eva: FinTech Scotland was founded earlier this year and brings together entrepreneurs, the established financial sector, the Scottish Government and Scottish universities. As the CEO, how have the last few months been for you?
Stephen: Fascinating and exciting. We have seen a huge amount of interest. Fintech means different things to different people so we have taken an inclusive and broad approach. Our main objective is to help support financial innovation as well as collaboration among the entire ecosystems, including the private sector, academia and the Scottish Government
Eva: What are the reasons that so many fintechs chose to base their offices in Scotland?
Stephen: Scotland has a very established financial services market with a high number of innovative enterprises, in particularly in the tech sector. In addition, the Scottish Government is very supportive and eager to strengthen the sector.
In addition, technology and data courses have a long tradition at Scottish universities and programmes such as artificial intelligence and data analytics have an excellent reputation and produce strong graduates year after year.
Eva: In April this year, Spotcap opened applications for the Fintech Fellowship and we were delighted to welcome you as a member of the judging panel. From your point of view, why are initiatives like the fellowship so crucial for the fintech community?
Stephen: There is a lot of focus on financial technology, the digital economy, the use of data and their potential to create a better world for all through innovation, collaboration and inclusion. But at the end of the day, its human skills that will determine how well technology and data is being used.
Therefore, it is the ability not just to understand the role of the technology, but to actually put it into practice; whether that is to help people engage with their money more effectively or to improve business processes.
Eva: What challenges and opportunities do you currently see for the fintech scene?
Stephen: Once successfully launched, it is key to provide fintech businesses with appropriate opportunities to scale and grow. And this is about hiring the right people, accessing the correct funding as well as having a thorough understanding of the ecosystem and market environment.
It is Scotland’s ambition to become a global top five fintech centre. By creating an integrated and strong fintech ecosystem, we at FinTech Scotland are proud to help provide opportunities for business creation, inclusive growth and employment.
Eva: And last but not least, how do you take your coffee?
Stephen: A skinny latte 🙂
Originally published May 3 2018 , updated February 24 2020