A successful future for Scotland's fintech industry depends on developing the strength of the existing cluster to provide even greater support for growing businesses.
Nicola Anderson, Chief Executive of FinTech Scotland, said the whole community - the public and private sector, and academia - had to build on its strong base to create more start-up businesses, to help more of those new fintechs to scale up and to attract established fintech companies to Scotland.
She was speaking at The Scotsman's webinar Scotland's Fintech Future, which heard that the cluster has grown throughout the pandemic, with 22 more businesses already joining FinTech Scotland in 2021, taking the total to 172. Oil Henderson, Associate Partner in Financial Services at EY, agreed that strong collaboration across the whole sector was vital to taking the Scottish sector to the next level.
The discussion centred around three key challenges for fintech businesses - access to talent, access to investment and how to find a route to market.
Daniel Broby, Director of the Centre for Financial Regulation and Innovation at Strathclyde Business School, said access to capital was the key issue to move Scotland onto the next stage. Nicki Bisgaard, CEO of Edinburgh-headquartered payments specialist Eedenbull, agreed - but said that support to grow globally and a positive expansion mindset was also crucial.
Caroline Stevenson, Head of the Financial Services Regulatory Team at Burness Paull LLP, said further Government support was also vital to driving the fintech sector in Scotland forward.
The webinar heard advice on accessing talent and finding a route to market from fintech business Exizent, which has recruited around 30 new staff during the pandemic. Aleks Tomczyk, Founder and Chief Operating Officer, said getting the right talent depended on a business being able to communicate its vision, values and culture effectively. When thinking about a route to market, he said that a company needed to think carefully about its market very early on
Loral Quinn, CEO and co-founder of Sustainably, said clear communication was important when pitching to investors. She advised young fintech businesses to work hard to finesse their pitch to greatly improve their chances of persuading investors to back them.