The dream for many entrepreneurs is to use technology as a force for good and to bring about meaningful change to people’s lives. Well that’s the dream that our Fintech For All competition set about realising on Wednesday, from the heart of the UK’s financial centre.
Six companies with products that could transform people’s lives by helping them to manage their money better fought it out in the final of Tech City UK’s competition to find fintech companies that could help people save more, budget better and get better access to financial products and services.
Three established fintech companies and three newcomers, shortlisted from almost 100 entries, pitched in front of a large audience for prizes that will help them to accelerate the growth of their businesses.
The audience and the judges heard from startups 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.
All the pitches contained brilliant ideas and the judges were impressed by the application, energy and enthusiasm that the companies were bringing to solving the problems of financial capability and inclusion.
At the end of the day, there had to be a winner though and these winners were very deserving.
Best newcomer: Mespo
In the fintech newcomer category, the winner was Mespo – 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.”
Best established: Pockit
In the established fintech category Aire, a credit assessment tool that eliminates bias, Abaka, a personalised wealth adviser, and Pockit, the mobile banking out competed, with Pockit emerging victorious.
Pockit is a challenger mobile bank that has been accumulating customers rapidly in the last year. Started by Virraj Jatania in 2013 and with the celebrity backing of no less than Sir Alex Ferguson, Pockit targets customers who find it difficult to get a mainstream current account. Of its 230,000 customers, 65% are over 35 and 30% of customers are recent arrivals to the UK. The judges were really impressed by Pockit’s simple banking proposition, its transparent fee structure and strong growth potential.
Spotlight winner: Pockit
It really was Pockit’s night, though, as the mobile banking company also managed to pick up a second award, winning the special Spotlight award from sponsor Experian.
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 also 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.”
Minister for Digital Matt Hancock congratulated the winners: “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.”
The UK’s £6bn fintech sector already has world renown but is still much room for it to grow.
Laura Coffey, head of fintech at 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.”