My background initially was as an assistant portfolio manager, and I battled to get the more traditional risk averse investors and investment managers to buy into tech firms. So, a couple of years ago I decide to sit on the other side and work in the fintech space. I haven’t (fully) looked back – still keep an eye on it but only through my enthusiasm for disruptive tech!
I first heard about Accelerated Payments when it made headlines hitting the key milestone of £210m invoices funded. Such an impressive achievement in such a short space of time. Now that I am working with the team, it is incredible to have first-hand experience of the ambitious growth in the UK and the rest of the world. It is this global presence that was one of the key attractions to joining AP, that the technology and the diversity of the team!
The more I scratch under the surface the more I continue to be impressed. Everyone is well versed in what was happening not just in the invoice finance sector but the whole finance and fintech world. The platform that AP have developed is fantastic, the clients love it which is the key thing!
Joining the company has been fantastic. The 11am coffee is a stroke of genius from Colm (Devine) – it’s been a brilliant way to get to know all the team in a relaxed manner. You can just drop in and have a chat – it’s set a wonderful welcome stage.
I have two functions: initially primarily client facing, bringing clients up to speed on who we are as a business and talking through the details of the product. Depending on their needs it can be a long spiel about the intricacies of invoice finance through history or can be short and snappy “It’s a good fit for your business; and here is why!” That is the main focus but then I am also getting involved in the business development side, driving partnerships and referral partners in the UK, particularly in the South where I have existing relationships. London and the South East have a thriving broker, FX and private equity network. I am really keen to rev up all cannons really – essentially supporting AP’s ambitions to grow and spread both the word and the funding!
It certainly has been an adjustment. I’ve always spent most of my previous roles in offices or, given that my role is usually fairly active in terms of clients and partners – face-to-face meetings. But, as everyone is in the same boat at the moment it makes it a lot easier! The migration to video conferences has meant you can fit more meetings and conversations into the day. I think I’ve become more productive as I can work longer hours or timetable my day to fit around other things, can switch off for a run. I am definitely healthier not eating the 10 Pret a Manger meals a day.
Saying that it will feel great going out and meeting businesses again when we can. I’ve not actually met any of the AP team in person, but they’ve all been amazing so it does not feel weird in the slightest.
One thing I am definitely not missing is the daily commute into central London, that can diminish for a long time! I do worry about the pubs and other hospitality establishments in the city, some have been around from 1610. There is nothing worse than seeing a once rammed restaurant or pub now closed. But, as far as working from home goes, the extra hour I save from travelling I have given to exercise!
I love London town, and soaking up all that it has to offer – be it live gigs or new restaurants. I’m definitely not tired of the city life just yet. Currently doing up a new flat in Wood Green, which is taking a little longer than expected but that’s a great project.
I studied politics and economics at Goldsmiths University, so I still keep a keen interest in international relations – I mean, there has never really been a more interesting time to keep up on global politics with Brexit, the recent Trump administration foreign policy and the rise of China on the global stage.
Sports wise I am a big football and rugby fan and tend to get vocal around this time of year when the 6 nations tournament is on about my welsh Heritage. I spend a lot of time in West Wales and try to get down there as regularly as possible. My dad has always enjoyed sailing and I’ve been getting into it more and more as I’ve got older. There’s a weeklong Regatta in Cork, southern Ireland, and I’m hoping to sail across from Wales to take part in that next year. Admittedly I’ll probably add more value in the social after the races though as I’m not the best sailor yet.
I’ve always been interested in innovation and disruptive trends. Things that are reordering or changing industries. That is part of the reason for moving into the Fintech space. It’s been brilliant to see how innovative approaches to age old problems can be addressed with the right technology. In the investment space I’ve been following those themes closely and am constantly amazed by, for example, the advancements in medicine being achieved with genome sequencing and personalised medicine something that is likely to be a real feature in the coming decade.
I’ve recently read a book called great questions for tomorrow by a guy called David Rothkopf and there’s a part of that that mentions Moore’s law. Founder of Intel, back in 1968 he predicted that computers would double in power and capability every 2 years. Fast forward 50+ years and he nearly got it spot on with the current advances around 30 months. If you look at the graph it resembles a Nike tick.
To celebrate his prediction being more or less bang on the current tech team did a back of an envelope calculation to demonstrate this. What if a 1970 VW Beatle was improving and growing as much as microchips are? The result was v interesting. The VW would be able to go 300,000 miles an hour, it would be able to go 2 million miles per gallon and cost 4 cents to buy!