As San Francisco’s LendUp announces $47m in funding we asked Richard Wazacz, Head of Octopus Labs to talk London fintech and the new accelerator!


London has an illustrious history as a global financial hub. But over the last decade or so, it’s pulled off a pretty impressive feat – one that few cities have been able to achieve.

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The Entrepreneurs Podcast with Monocle 24 Episode 253; Aegean Summit; how to build a media brand



Photo; Emilio Garcia

Aegean Summit: how to build a media brand:
Amid paywalls, platforms and advertising woes, few media outlets have cracked the code required to create a successful, sustainable and profitable business model. The Aegean Summit, a new conference in Athens, is looking to the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean for guidance on best practice. We meet with the event’s organiser, talk to the founders of media start-ups from Cairo, Kuwait and Beirut and visit the office of independent Greek media company AthensLive.

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Having invested in Fyndiq, Klarna, Matsmart, iZettle, Spotify and Fishbrain, Northzone know the Stockholm ecosystem rather well! Jessica Nilsson (@JessMNilsson), Principal at Northzone, gives her insight into the current Stockholm tech scene.


Having invested in Fyndiq, Klarna, Matsmart, iZettle, Spotify and Fishbrain, Northzone know the Stockholm ecosystem rather well! Jessica Nilsson, Principal at Northzone, gives her insight into the current Stockholm tech scene.

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Global publishing platform and New York Headquartered Playbuzz have raised over $31m in funding. Co Founder ,Tom Pachys, gives us his 3 Crucial Tips for running a Startup!


Decisions, Decisions, Decisions: 3 Crucial Tips for Running a Startup

If entrepreneurs had a dime for every tip they received, the entire industry would have been bootstrapping. And so, when I was asked to share a few tips of my own, I’ve decided to steer clear from clichés like “hire top talent” or “keep it lean,” and offer something new.

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Having invested in over 150 businesses over the last 16 years, including Rocket Internet, Wooga, Zalando, Spotcap and Delivery Hero, Holtzbrinck Ventures know the Berlin ecosystem rather well! Barbod Namini (@b_namini), Principal, gives his insight into the current Berlin tech scene.


As a fund that has been setup in 2000 with offices in Munich and Berlin we have been able to observe the emergence of Berlin as one of the main tech hubs of Europe very closely. Most recently a report by Compass Global (http://blog.compass.co/the-2015-global-startup-ecosystem-ranking-is-live/) put Berlin as the 8th global tech ecosystem, but the 1st in terms of growth momentum. And that momentum is what can be felt every day if one goes to Berlin.

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The Entrepreneurs Podcast with MONOCLE 24 Episode 248 : Live


In this special live episode of ‘The Entrepreneurs’ recorded at our Marylebone HQ, Monocle’s Daniel Giacopelli and Andrew Tuck are joined by the visionaries and creative leaders behind inspiring, successful businesses. From industry giants and family outfits to one-man-bands and clever upstarts, we find out how to build a strong brand for the long-term.

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The Entrepreneurs Podcast with MONOCLE 24 Episode 247 : Thread


London-based online start-up Thread is one of a growing number of companies enteringthe burgeoning fashion-technology space. It combines the know-how of a stylist with the computing power of an algorithm; the aim is to help men find the perfect piece of clothing and deliver it straight to their door. Daniel Giacopelli discusses its business model with CEO and co-founder Kieran O’Neill.

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They’re the dinosaurs and I’m the meteor’, he says of the bricks and mortar shops like Citibank, Chase or Bank of America… ’They have a business practice which should be extinct’ Mike Cagney, CEO of San Francisco online loans group SoFi, FT 3/5/16


We asked Tom Blomfield, CEO of Mondo, where he sees the future of Banking.

I’ve recently been reading about artificial intelligence and robotics, and I’m fascinated by that stuff. It embodies exactly what I love about technology, the ability to turn science-fiction into reality. It’s wonderful that people are working on frighteningly ambitious technical problems.

And as humans, it’s strange to consider how quickly we adapt to the new normal. I’ve just been listening to a podcast that was being live-streamed from halfway around the world over the internet, effectively for free. The internet, personal computers, flight, automobiles – the last 150 years of human invention has been genuinely remarkable – and we often take it for granted.

Set against that backdrop, the lack of real innovation in personal banking is pretty depressing. Whereas I used to get my paper bank statement delivered by post, I can now see it on my laptop or my mobile phone. My balance is still generally 2 or 3 days out of date and my card gets blocked every time I travel. The hidden fees & charges that are levied border on criminality.

While other industries are working on self-driving cars and mapping the human genome, my bank has not yet figured out how to tell me exactly how much money I have in my account at any point in time.

There are many reasons that this is still the case, but a primary one is the huge barrier to entry in the form of banking regulation. This has meant the banks have faced almost no new competition, and hence no pressure to improve. That’s changing, at least in the UK, with the launch of companies like Atom, Tandem and Mondo.

We’ll start by giving you an up-to-date view of your balance and recent transactions, and doing away with the hidden fees and charges. But that feels like table-stakes. We need real innovation in this industry over the next 5 or 10 years, delivering the kind of financial service that genuinely improves people’s lives.

The first step in this innovation is already happening – it’s the unbundling of personal finance, with single-purpose providers offering single products at remarkable better prices. Think Transferwise, Zopa, Ratesetter and Funding Circle. I think the next step is a loose re-coupling of these services around centralised platforms, enabled by APIs. Mondo is aiming to be that platform, moving away from the traditional model of banking that’s centred around customer lock-in and cross-selling, towards a “marketplace of banking” where the customer can choose between the most attractive products available.

I think the final step is the introduction of AI to help run our financial lives. We’ll all have computers monitoring our money, making smart investment decisions to optimise for a risk profile that we’ve selected, whilst also looking out for any suspicious activity on our accounts. I’m sure there are a dozen other applications of AI in our personal finances that we can’t even imagine yet. It will be an amazing future that I can’t wait to experience.

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Is it time to declare online lending a fad and head home?


“As stories circulate regarding Lending Club, Prosper and OnDeck that all is not well in the online lending sector, Eyal Lifshitz, CEO of Bluevine, describes why fintech isn’t disappearing anytime soon”

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With over $125m raised in funding, we asked 6 leading CFO’s/Heads of Finance about the challenges they face at some of Europe’s leading tech businesses?!


“At Yoyo Wallet, we believe a company’s key assets are its people. It is no secret that it is a very competitive market for talent in London, and it is difficult to find the right candidate for the job when you needed someone yesterday. In the midst of rapid growth, it can be easy to neglect the other side of the equation – retaining and nurturing top talent. We at Yoyo are keenly focused on devoting resources to invest and promote our top performers, balancing the agility of a growth start up while building a foundation of talent for long term excellence.”

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