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 My balance is still generally 2 or 3 days out of date and my card gets blocked every time I travel.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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Five proven ways to get your start-up noticed (in a good way) By Jennifer Janson, owner, Six Degrees and author, The Reputation Playbook


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SilverRail’s new London HQ ; Inspiring and collaborative

The remodelled and refurbished Heal’s Building at 1 Alfred Mews in Central London provided a fantastic opportunity for SilverRail to design a new space for the next phase of their growth.

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We asked 12 leading entrepreneurs ‘What would leaving the EU mean for London and the UK’s tech community?’

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Linda Main, Partner at KPMG, sits on the prestigious Tech City advisory panel responsible for identifying the fastest growing and most disruptive tech companies in the UK. With a significant number located in London we asked Linda ‘what do these businesses really need from the next Mayor?’


What do tech businesses really need from the next Mayor?

London is home to a thriving population of tech entrepreneurs and innovators thanks to the rise of Tech City and other digital hubs.  The next mayor must take positive action to retain the talent and entrepreneurial spirit that has recently brought so much to London.

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Having witnessed the 2013-14 changeover from Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Bill de Blasio and the rapid growth of New York’s tech ecosystem we caught up with Daniel Glazer, Partner at leading international lawyers Fried Frank and asked: What will London’s new Mayor need to do to make our capital the most tech friendly City in the World?!

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Gregor Pryor is one of the Top 100 most influential people in digital media (Wired Magazine) We asked Gregor what London really needs from its next Mayor?!

London has for many years been one of the world’s best cities; a melting pot of art, music, fashion and technology. But if we are to remain a stomping ground for the most exciting creators, innovators and entrepreneurs, the next Mayor of London must sustain and further promote the city’s entertainment and media sector. As Los Angeles, arguably the home of global entertainment, is now witnessing a technology boom, London too has the opportunity to lead the way.

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