Marqeta Inc.

11/25/2022 | Press release | Archived content

Fintech Talents Festival 2022: an innovation showcase to DeFi expectations

If you're looking for a word to sum up Fintech Talents Festival 2022, it would have to be comprehensive - such was the scope of this sector-defining event, which boasted five stages featuring discussions on all the hottest topics affecting the world of financial services innovation.

Themes included DeFi, embedded finance, cryptocurrencies, the environment, collaboration between fintechs and banks. If you can think of a topic, it was probably covered in a panel session at The Brewery on November 14 and 15.

The opening keynote on the main Fintech Talents Stage was headed simply 'Accelerating innovation in financial services' and led by Prakash Pattni, Managing Director, Financial Services Digital Transformation, IBM Cloud at IBM, and Layla White, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at TechPassport. Prakash kicked the session off with a series of compelling statistics, including this: 48% of banks have partnered with a fintech in the last three years and only 12% of financial institutions are experiencing competition from fintechs.

Old and new: did Fintech Talents Festival herald a new era of bank-fintech collaboration? This data pointing towards greater collaboration across the sector seemed to be backed up by the panel sessions at the Festival, many of which saw traditional banks sitting shoulder to shoulder with tech startups as they discussed their unique and joint approaches to delivering modern financial services.

Unsurprisingly, a number of panels talked about events at FTX, which announced its intention to file for bankruptcy just two days before. And while some were palpably downbeat about the situation, it was hard to escape the fact that innovators - while shaken - were undeterred from their mission to develop decentralised finance and crypto solutions. As one put it "it's a little bit of a setback".

The session titled 'What are the building blocks for DeFi?' again reinforced the spirit of collaboration, comprising speakers from Natwest, Lloyds Bank, the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum, Decentralised and Bitpanda Pro, who offered an in-depth but accessible explanation of the DeFi concept. Business issues 101: experts talk common challenges.

One of the most enlightening sessions took place on day one and required each panellist to put forward an issue that grates with them. Titled 'Framing the Discussion: Fintechs and support for the next wave of challenges', it was a kind of innovation Room 101.

It worked incredibly well, with Starling Bank's Chief Technology Advocate Jason Maude opening the debate with his view on the challenge of how to solve a pain point and make money at the same time. He concluded that it was essential founders sat down and thought about how to make their businesses financially sustainable.

For fellow panellist RBS International's Head of Digital, Innovation and Design Jamie Broadbent, the burning issue was fintechs pitching for business without taking the time to understand what he was looking for in a tech partner.

He advised that businesses aspiring to work with big banks should narrow their target list and get to "know their problems well". The panel, chaired by BPG's Brendan Gilmore, also featured Nick Bennett, Chief Technology and Operations Officer at Castle Trust Bank, who spoke about growth in a challenging macroenvironment, and Julie Ashmore, Chief Executive Officer, Rapid Cash - Natwest Rapid Cash, who stressed the importance of having the right people in place.

Another business advice session - 'How to scale your business: learnings on the challenges, hurdles and opportunities to scale your startup' - featured panellists from Meet Parker, Mast, YAYZY, Frost Money Ltd and IBM, moderated by the venerable Liz Lumley.

Insights from the speakers included: don't be afraid to tear up your product and start again if needed if that's what market signals are saying, and be mindful that the era of "growth, growth, growth" is over; many investors now want to see evidence of profitability before backing a startup.

Cheers to Marqeta: a toast to card programme innovation

As event sponsor, Marqeta was involved at both a panel session level and on the Festival floor with an eye-catching and, arguably 'lager' than life, stand. In a tie up with The Brewery, Marqeta put on a free bar serving a range of fintech-themed beers, including an IPA by the name of Open API.

It was also the first big event for Marqeta's new Managing Director International Jeff Parker, who is heading up the Europe team from its London base. Jeff took part in a discussion on day two titled Reimagining retail through payments.

The session looked at how companies today are using card programmes to embed payment functionality within platforms to create a seamless purchase experience for customers, alongside developments in Web 3.0, NFTs and the metaverse.

Elsewhere at the Festival, Marqeta colleagues Richard Felton and David Woodward took to the stage for respective sessions on the use of data to secure and competitive edge and the ways in which building societies can deliver against community goals

Given the scale of and interest in Fintech Talents Festival 2022, it's clear that the sector remains as ambitious as ever, despite a challenging economic environment. But if the renewed focus on bank-fintech collaboration is anything to go by, the year ahead could deliver some exciting and fruitful partnerships between traditional and modern players.

Did you attend Fintech Talents Festival 2022?

If so, Marqeta would love to hear your thoughts on the event - what inspired you? And what would you like to see at a future event?

Let us know at [email protected]