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28 November 2023

Fintech Awards Wales Exclusive Interview: Damon Chapple, CEO & Founder, Sonovate


In the wake of the 2023 Fintech Awards Wales, Matt Hyde, Director of Recruit121 and the Fintech Awards Wales, engages in exclusive interviews with the sponsors and prominent figures at the forefront of the FinTech sector in Wales.

The Fintech Awards Wales serve as a platform to acknowledge and honour the remarkable accomplishments of individuals, companies, and academic institutions within the Welsh FinTech landscape.

In this special series, Matt introduces you to the key figures driving innovation and progress in this dynamic industry.

This week Matt speaks to Damon Chapple, CEO & Founder, Sonovate

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Fintech is a rapidly evolving industry, and Wales has shown remarkable progress in this domain. From your perspective, what unique opportunities or challenges does the Welsh fintech ecosystem present, and how does your organization contribute to its development?

The Welsh fintech ecosystem is already playing a significant role in the economy, thanks to the many fintech players that are headquartered here, and it’s well placed to take advantage of the many opportunities in the industry. One of our key strengths is the nation’s strong talent pool, with a rich blend of technical and business expertise.

Additionally, and through groups such as Fintech Wales, the business community has good avenues to collaborate and foster an environment of partnership which is critical in the financial services or tech sectors.

There are challenges of course, particularly in the current economic environment, but Wales is as well placed as can be to weather this uncertainty.

At Sonovate, we are dedicated to contributing to the development of the Welsh fintech ecosystem in several ways:

– Innovation and Product Development: We are committed to leveraging Wales' talented workforce to drive innovation within fintech and to better serve the industries that we support, which are Recruitment, Consulting, and online freelancer platforms.

– Growth and Expansion. As a business headquartered in Wales, we have to date funded over £4billion in invoices for recruiters in the UK and abroad, making payments in over 44 countries, on behalf of 3,300 businesses to over 40,000 individuals. We’ve started expanding our presence abroad and recently announced the opening of our new office in The Netherlands. This shows how Welsh businesses have the capability to be global players.

– Talent Development: We recognize the importance of nurturing local talent. Through collaborations and job opportunities, we aim to support the next generation of fintech leaders, ensuring a steady influx of skilled professionals into the industry.

– Community:  The Welsh business community's collaborative spirit aligns with our philosophy. We actively seek partnerships with local fintech firms, financial institutions, and other stakeholders. These collaborations facilitate the exchange of ideas, resources, and expertise, fostering an environment of collective growth.

What motivated your organization to become a sponsor of the Fintech Awards Wales, and what do you see as the significance of supporting events like these within the fintech industry?

We’re committed to being part of the community driving innovation, collaboration, and growth within the fintech industry. We recognize the role that initiatives like Fintech Awards Wales play in celebrating and elevating the achievements of individuals and companies within the sector.

Some of these benefits are:

  • Recognition of Excellence: These awards provide a platform to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding contributions of fintech innovators. By sponsoring such events, we showcase our support for those who are pushing boundaries, driving change, and shaping the future of financial technology.
  • Community Building: Fintech Awards Wales serve as a gathering point for industry leaders, professionals, and stakeholders. Our sponsorship shows our commitment to building a strong and cohesive fintech community.
  • Innovation Promotion: By sponsoring fintech awards, we actively promote and encourage innovation. Our sponsorship reinforces our dedication to driving progress and pushing the boundaries of what's possible in fintech.
  • Talent Recognition and Development: Supporting fintech awards allows us to recognize emerging talent and nurture the next generation of fintech leaders. By acknowledging young, innovative minds and their achievements, we inspire a culture of continuous learning and development within the industry.
  • Industry Advancement: Fintech Awards Wales contribute to the advancement of the fintech sector as a whole. By shining a spotlight on notable achievements, breakthroughs, and advancements, we collectively raise the bar for innovation and excellence. Our sponsorship reflects our commitment to the forward momentum of the fintech industry.

As a sponsor, what specific role does your organization play in promoting innovation and growth within the fintech sector in Wales? Can you share any initiatives or programs that align with your sponsorship?

This year, we are sponsoring the Best Place To Work category. As a fast-growing Scale Up, we deeply understand the importance of creating an engaging and motivating working environment. This award perfectly aligns with our values and our ongoing initiatives to build a cohesive culture and the best workplace possible for our employees. We have adopted a hybrid working model, designed by each team to fit their needs and underpin their productivity. Embracing the flexible future of work, we have a diverse workforce with both permanent and contract workers, enabling us to bring in the best skills and talent. We constantly assess our benefits and internal engagement initiatives. Regular check-ins and pulse surveys help us measure our progress and hear directly from our employees about what we’re doing well and what we can introduce or improve on.

We are particularly excited about the entries for the Best Place to Work category this year. We always strive to share knowledge and information with companies that prioritise providing the best environment for their people.

The UK has established itself as a global hub for fintech innovation, with London being a prominent fintech centre. How do you see the Fintech Awards Wales contributing to the overall growth and visibility of the UK's fintech ecosystem, and do you believe that regional fintech events, such as the Fintech Awards Wales, play a role in nurturing collaboration and fostering connections within the industry across the country?

While London is undoubtedly a global fintech powerhouse, showcasing fintech achievements across different regions of the UK through events like Fintech Awards Wales enhances the UK’s national fintech community. It underscores that innovation and growth are not confined to a single location.

Here are some of the benefits that we see:

  • Diverse Representation: The Fintech Awards Wales provide a platform for fintech companies from diverse regions, including those outside of London, to showcase their innovations and achievements. This diversity enriches the overall narrative of UK fintech and highlights the depth and breadth of innovation across the country.
  • Spotlight on Regional Excellence: By recognizing and celebrating achievements, Fintech Awards Wales shed light on local success stories. This spotlight can attract attention from investors, partners, and other stakeholders, ultimately contributing to the growth of the regional fintech ecosystem.
  • Collaboration and Networking: Regional fintech events foster collaboration and networking opportunities that may not be as easily accessible in larger, centralised hubs.
  • Talent and Skill Development: Events like Fintech Awards Wales can serve as catalysts for talent development and skill enhancement within specific regions. By showcasing the opportunities and advancements in local fintech, these events can attract and retain skilled professionals, nurturing a robust talent pool.
  • Ecosystem Strengthening: Regional events contribute to strengthening the overall fintech ecosystem in the UK. They encourage a sense of community, promote healthy competition, and drive innovation by providing a platform for cross-pollination of ideas.

Looking ahead, how do you envision the future of fintech in Wales, and how will your organization continue to support and collaborate with the local fintech community beyond the awards ceremony?

The future of fintech in Wales is undeniably bright. With its entrepreneurial spirit, tech-savviness, and proven success stories, Wales is poised for solid growth in this sector.

Sonovate is fully committed to being an active part of this thriving community. We are dedicated to shaping the future of fintech in Wales through close collaboration and fostering connections with other regions in the UK and beyond.

We actively engage in thinktanks, forums, and initiatives that promote collaboration within fintech, as well as across different industries, to drive growth and sustainability in Wales. Our partnerships with Fintech Wales, local educational institutions, businesses, and the wider community contribute to the development of a skilled and diverse workforce, which is crucial to propelling the sector forward.

We've explored some interesting developments and insights in the fintech space today. On a lighter note, with all the innovative trends in fintech, if you had a magic wand and could bring one futuristic fintech concept to life right now, what would it be and why?

The most impactful fintech concept that I would bring to life is the seamless integration of embedded payments into every aspect of business operations. This emerging trend is already gaining traction and is set to become a reality for all businesses in the near future. Its transformative power is undeniable, empowering organisations of all sizes, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to have better control over their cashflow and data, while delivering a seamless experience for customers. Additionally, it paves the way for alternative finance providers to innovate and offer new services and products, helping businesses overcome the obstacles posed by outdated practices in traditional finance and lending.


 



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