When FinTech Wales announced the birth of its eagerly awaited Foundry earlier this summer, the sun was already shining brightly on the Welsh financial technology and financial services sector, with Yoello basking in the glow of winning TechNation’s award for best British fintech, Delio being selected to join the 2021 FinTech Innovation Lab in New York – and the UK-government-sponsored Kalifa Report identifying Wales as a key fintech centre of the future.
With the feelgood factor running so high throughout this hypergrowth Welsh industry – and everything looking ‘up’ for both start-ups and scale-ups – surely it would be unrealistic to expect a further quantum leap in 2021 for the emerging fintechs of Wales?
Not a bit of it.
July’s launch of the Fintech Wales Foundry, on stage at UK Fintech week in London, brought together established financial technology companies, world-class service providers and embryonic fintech enterprises – and turbo-charged a further rapid increase of investments in Welsh-based fintech; sparking an unparalleled global interest that’s put an even more intense spotlight on what is fast becoming one of Wales’ most valuable sectors.
Right now, Wales is one of the best places in the World to start or scale a fintech
For FinTech Wales this inexorable move to ‘the next level’ was not completely surprising, as Johnny Mayo, Manager of the Fintech Wales Foundry explains:
“Our recent accelerator application results speak for themselves: 151 applications received from 28 countries with a combined market size of £2.5 billion, including 27 applications from Wales – with our first accelerator cohort group of Laytrip, Sero, ShipShape, Viaduct, Voltric, Wagonex, Yimba and Zing representing some of the most exciting fintech ventures in the UK today.”
“We saw the power of the Foundry in action at our first in-person event on 12th August” continued Johnny “when Tramshed Tech invited our eight accelerator companies to pitch to a select group of angel investors and venture capitalists that included Angels Invest Wales, British Business Bank, Development Bank Wales and Global Welsh. Some of the cohort companies secured the funding they needed there and then, at the event. Am I surprised? Not really. This Foundry is backed by organisations such as Admiral Pioneer, Cardiff Capital Region and Principality Building Society, with full ongoing support from expert service providers that include AWS, Capital Law, EY, Google Cloud, IBM, Microsoft for Start-Ups, Salesforce and Stripe. All of these exceptional enterprises give their time, expertise or resources to our founders – for free – on the understanding that by working together we can achieve so much more. That collaboration is such a force for good, for the founders, partners, consumers and the world – and it’s one of the reasons why we know that Wales is the best place in the UK to scale any fintech.”
We’re deal-focused and corporate-led, looking to add value for zero equity
The Tramshed pitch session marked the halfway point of the Foundry accelerator programme, which is now supported by more than 35 organisations and over 100 business mentors.
“Our Accelerator is the perfect programme for any scale-up looking for a Corporate Partner” explains Johnny “so if a business already has seed funding and a validated market fit – and is looking to progress to world domination via Wales – we’ll pair them with one of our leading financial investors and connect them with an international consortium of VC’s and investors, within 12 weeks of joining our community.”
As an integral part of FinTech Wales, the Foundry is a not-for-profit organisation and doesn’t ask for equity from any of the businesses it helps to grow, whatever the early stage they find themselves – with Johnny enthusing;
“It’s incredibly exciting to know that by leveraging the goodwill and expertise of our world-class business ecosystem, we can nurture success for companies in this massively important sector, here in Wales.”
Sarah Williams-Gardener, CEO of FinTech Wales, is delighted with the early progress already being made by the Foundry:
“It evidences our belief that Wales is the place to start-up and scale-up in Fintech. The message is obvious: we have a very special and possibly unique ecosystem of established companies, research and development partners, talent pipelines, early-stage enterprises – and serious investors – creating an environment that can put Wales at the very front of global fintech.”
At such a monumental time for Welsh fintech, we’ll be closely following the progress of the FinTech Wales Foundry cohort.