The South West is a hotbed for digital and financial technology (Fintech) businesses; from Bournemouth to Penzance there are a number of thriving tech hubs that are allowing entrepreneurial, innovative and disruptive companies to grow and thrive.
In the Fintech sector alone, the region has three significant national platforms founded and headquartered in the region: equity crowd funders CrowdCube and Crowdfunder in Exeter and Newquay and ourselves, FOLK2FOLK, award winners in the peer-2-peer lending arena. Collectively we are helping to deliver financial solutions to new and established businesses that require capital to develop, diversify and get started by matching businesses directly with investors; democratising finance for the everyone.
We believe that the role of both the internet and technology is to enable financial services providers to make life easier for their customers, facilitating a faster and happier experience when seeking to invest or access finance. In our view, technology is not here to disrupt for the sake of it but to help replace the antiquated processes and means to which we have become apathetic. By using the internet and technology to create frictionless customer experience, we enable businesses to accelerate their growth at a faster pace and investors to access the markets of their choice with increased ease and confidence.
The efficiencies that today’s technologies afford us shouldn’t be underestimated, but technology, on its own, is not the “magic bullet”.
It’s people that make businesses special, be that owners, leaders or employees and it’s their active engagement with their stakeholder groups and their local and wider communities that drives their growth. As the role of technology increases the necessity to capture imagination, hearts and minds grows ever stronger and it’s vitally important that we don’t forget the essential value of the “human factor”.
In the shareholder-focused world of financial services, technology has, far too often, been concentrated on both the dilution and replacement of human interaction, a trend that’s played its part in the growth of consumer disaffection for the sector. The hunger for efficiency and profit has created “distance”, fractured loyalties and damaged relationships often built over generations.
Our view is for that for financial services providers to succeed, to win back the affections, respect and understanding of the consumer, it must use technology to bring people closer together, increasing and deepening human interaction, enriching human relationships at every opportunity.
Technology is a core part of what we do at FOLK2FOLK, where our platform matches individual businesses looking for finance with individual investors looking for inflation beating interest on capital but we recognise that our customers, on both sides of the coin, are real people, each with their own set of complex needs and requirements and that it’s unfair to treat them as one collective or take an embedded B2B or B2C.
So we take a Human-to-human (H2H) approach to running our business and dealing with our customers, creating real relationships which are tangible, meaningful and mutually beneficial. And our technology just makes that easier.
H2H, with technology supporting, rather than supplanting human relationships, must be the way forward; for financial services, for British business and for the benefit of the communities in which we live, work and play.
H2H is a movement; and South West fintech is playing its part.[“Source-devonlive”]