This week, we at Business News Wales are thrilled to interview Jackson Hull, who is a speaker at the 2018 Digital Festival. GoCompare is the headline sponsor of this years festival, which will be taking place on the 21st & 22nd May at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff.
Jackson, COO/CTO, GoCompare has many years’ experience working at the leading edge of technology and software development. He is also a mentor and investor, advising start-up companies in London and San Francisco.
Previously he was CTO at Student.com, leading a global team and building the foremost global marketplace for student accommodation, and at onefinestay (acquired by Accor hotels in 2015), where he and his team re-built the product and experience.
He co-founded Chatterfly, a mobile start-up, which was acquired by San Francisco-based Plum District, the leading daily deal company for mums in the USA. Jackson went on to become CTO at Plum District, which was subsequently acquired by nCrowd.
Earlier in his career, Jackson acted as CTO and VP Product Development, as well as a software developer, at VC-backed Sitoa, the largest US SaaS drop-ship platform provider.
Jackson has a degree in Mechanical and Material Science Engineering from the University of California, Davis, and a Masters in Information Systems from the University of California, Berkeley, both awarded with honours.
Q:Hi Jackson, tell us a little bit about yourself and G0Compare
A:I’m Jackson Hull, CTO and COO at GoCompare. GoCompare is one of the pioneers in the fintech industry, and a business that harnesses the latest tech and data processesto save people everywhere time and money. As a company we are committed to the creation of meaningful data and engineering-led careers, and are working hard to forge closer links with business, government and academic communities.
Q:What is it that attracted you to the Digital Festival?
A:As one of Wales’ biggest tech companies, Digital is the perfect event for GoCompare to be at the heart of. We had a really good time at Digital Festival in 2017 and it was a great opportunity to meet likeminded people and showcase GoCompare in the local tech and digital industries. We’re looking forward to seeing what the festival will bring in 2018.
Q:What’s next for Wales to become a tech-hub of choice in the UK?
A:There’s a real untapped pool of talent in Newport and surrounding areas when it comes to tech capabilities, and this represents a real opportunity for us. My goal is to make GoCompare the employer of choice when it comes to tech careers in South Wales and the Southwest. Along with an emerging startup culture in South Wales, I do believe there’s a strong chance we’ll see Wales’ tech scene flourishing in the next few years with all the opportunities that are arising.
Q:Any advice for anyone in the early stages of, or considering, starting their own business?
A:I think for any team looking to get started in Fintech, the right place to look today is where traditional financial services companies are letting people down. A whole new generation of consumers are expecting and demanding more from their financial services providers, and those considering setting up a business should really focus on creating new seams of opportunity to stand out in the industry.
Q:What can we expect from your session at Digital Festival?
A:I will lead a discussion on the current state of affairs of AI and machine learning in Fintech. We’ll discuss how businesses are currently using AI to improve the customer experience and efficiency, and best practice for forming a data science team. Lastly, I’ll provide some insight on the rapid developments in machine learning technology, and how the community of data scientists is responding.
Q:What do you predict will be the biggest tech developments over the next few years?
A: AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning are certainly the future and will raise the benchmark of customer expectation in a number of industries, so I’m looking forward to seeing the developments here. I also think that practical solutions