Fintech Chief Technology Officers (CTOs)
In any Fintech company the CTO (Chief Technology Office) has a crucial role and finding the right person is a key step in forming a successful venture.
But what exactly is Fintech? We define Fintech very broadly as software that automates and disintermediates services in consumer financial services, payments and investments. These include companies that offer self-service platforms in competition to traditional advisory and offline services. The common factor is simply the pursuit of ways to remove time and effort, to disintermediate, simplify and disrupt entire markets, and to create new value.
This sector is hyper active and the UK, particularly London, leads the world. New aggregators and crowd funding initiatives are launching every week. The adoption of cryptocurrency and blockchain is revolutionising payments, disrupting banking and taxation systems and encouraging the federation of data.
Why this sudden growth and why now?
A number of factors have come together:
Firstly in the UK, funding is generally more available (than other parts of Europe) and the regulatory and tax regimes are favourable. Successful ventures are attracting high valuations and this is feeding back to boost funding and driving interest from entrepreneurs.
Secondly, the banking crisis led many larger firms to a protracted period of reorganisation, cost cutting, and into greater focus on regulation and compliance. Adventurous executives who felt estranged by the new agenda, saw new market opportunities and created their own startups. Ten years on, corporations are launching their own Fintec businesses, often following entrepreneurial approaches.
Thirdly, consumer adoption and trust of technology, especially smartphones, has crossed the Rubicon. Particularly for metropolitan and younger demographics, use of technology for everything is just a given.
And finally, the UK’s and London’s position as a banking, insurance, media, marketing and technology centre provides a critical mass of talent. This together with the availability of start-up and scale-up platforms, ranging from office-space to cloud-based technical environments, has massively reduced the complexity of getting started and capital requirements of launching a new venture.
Where does a CTO fit?
Our commercially astute and experienced CTOs deliver these kinds of software systems for a living. They have excellent knowledge of software architecture and design; of building and leading a team; of driving the product development. This includes the full range of issues including user experience (UX) design, development, testing, dev ops, support, hosting, and back-office design – for both insourced and outsourced development.
But, critically, they can also understand the commercial context and can represent the company with investors, clients and business partners. Their credibility and experience in these situations is as critical as their ability to oversee the team and suppliers and to deliver the software!
Our CTOs are experts in commercialisation and “Go To Market” so they remain focussed on getting products live and creating value.
Experienced and commercially astute CTOs are notoriously difficult to find. Very few individuals have the magic combination of technical and real business experience.
Some companies search for interim CTOs to engage for a defined period. But interim culture is based on a “hired gun” mentality. Their engagement with the business is fleeting and the commitment is simply based on a day rate. Interims can have a “lone wolf” attitude, may not be interested in where the business is going and may have little buy-in to the viability of the software or to its support or commercial arrangements.
Our CTOs immerse themselves in your business and are genuinely part of your senior team. Uniquely our CTOs expect to work flexibly with our clients over the short, medium or long-term but to be a fully committed rather than just another consultant.
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