What’s broadening the scope for fintechs in Manchester?

Wednesday, 20th February 2019

Guest blog by Kimberley Waldron, Co-Founder – SkyParlour

Now employing over 61,000 people in the UK, the last few years has seen fintech grow from its disruptive roots into a £6.6bn tour de force. Well and truly embedded in the world of financial services, the portmanteau is the combination of ‘financial’ and ‘technology’, describing the use of tech to deliver improved financial products to businesses and consumers.

And that growth is also happening right here. While the sector goes from strength to strength globally, clearly Manchester is seizing the positive opportunities, but what is broadening the scope?

From the convergence of two of Manchester’s largest industries – financial services and digital technology – the city boasts a growing cluster of fintech businesses. Ranging from long-standing companies that support financial services to much smaller companies that are developing innovative solutions.

Honing Manchester’s fintech expertise

With a myriad of ‘fintech’ businesses succeeding in Manchester, it’s important to take stock and consider what subsectors of fintech are going well here and where the biggest opportunities lie. For example;

  • Payments – From renting cars to fast fashion, multi-million-pound eCommerce companies such as Rentalcars.com and Boohoo (among many others) are headquartered in Manchester and continue making waves in retail – payments technology is a crucial component of delivery for this sector.
  • Alternative banking – companies like Ursa are building a new-age bank for businesses in the UK. Shaking up traditional banking systems, they are bringing relationship-based banking enabled by cutting edge technology with a big focus on regions, Manchester in particular. The presence of so many large and traditional banks in the city lends itself well to a focus on digital banking and the revolution taking place in that space.
  • Cyber Security – The rise of diverse cyber-attacks brings an increasing amount of risks to online businesses, further highlighting the need for cyber security to continue being on the national agenda. Manchester’s Hello Soda reigns supreme as part of the fight against cyber-crime – they provide ID, fraud and personalisation software solutions to businesses in multiple industries.

Connectivity is key

Quite simply, in today’s age of connectivity, businesses can be successful from practically any location with a secure wi-fi connection. However, to be considered a leading international city and a place to set up business, its vital that digital infrastructure is enhanced and maintained. Manchester City Council realises the importance of fast and reliable digital connectivity to support and underpin growth across all sectors of the economy. As such, Manchester’s infrastructure enables fintechs with a solid foundation to start on.

Taking advantage of new regulations

Across Europe new regulations are continually coming into force. Take PSD2 and open banking for example, these may cause issues for some of the bigger financial services, but ample opportunities for start-ups. With traditional banks being forced to share customers’ data, they will no longer be considered a one-stop-shop for managing money. Instead, it paves the way for consumers to take a more modular approach to banking – cue fintech innovations and setting them up in Manchester.

In some respects the reality of fintech in Manchester is far outweighing the reputation of our digital credentials. We are clearly harnessing a lot of what the city has to offer and good at doing what we do. But it’s important that we continue moving forward.

The upcoming Pro Manchester event, supported by MIDAS and SkyParlour, isn’t just about showing what we are already good at. It’s also about joining together to discuss what more can be done across key sub-sectors of the fintech space to seize the huge opportunity.

Kimberley Waldron, Pro Manchester tech committee member & Co-founder of SkyParlour commented:We founded SkyParlour over 10 years ago and while we are a PR and content agency, we have always classed ourselves as part of the international fintech scene. It’s an incredibly exciting and diverse space to be in and being part of the professional eco-system supporting growth in the industry has been very rewarding. There’re over 30 businesses operating under the fintech umbrella in Manchester with plenty of opportunity for more to set-up shop in the coming years. The upcoming event with Pro Manchester will be a great discussion into what we can do to galvanise the vision for the future and really move the fintech story forwards.”

The event entitled ‘What is the reality of FinTech in Manchester?’ on the 28th February will be hosted by fintech evangelist, entrepreneur and co-founder of SkyParlour, Angela Yore – she will be joined by Mark Robinson client director at Finch Insurance Brokers and Rachel Eyre, Business Development Manager at MIDAS.

Interested in attending the event? Find out more by clicking here.

About the author

An award-winning marketer and entrepreneur, with 10 years + experience in the technology, retail, mobile and banking sectors. Kimberley’s career began in Manchester in independent music promotion, radio and online journalism.