FinTech Wales meets: Delio
Over the next few months, we want to give a shout-out to our members so you can learn more about who they are, what they do and how they benefit from being a FinTech company in Wales.
Today, we introduce Delio, passionate advocates for how technology can improve the way in which the world consumes financial services.
How it all began
When Delio co-founders Gareth Lewis and David Newman identified a changing behaviour in investors who wanted to be more actively involved in their investment portfolios, it could be described as one of those famous light bulb moments.
They realised that investors wanted access to opportunities they understood, businesses they identified with, and sectors that aligned with their professional or personal interests. More so, they increasingly wanted to turn to private and alternative investments. Yet, many financial firms couldn’t meet this demand and offer access to private markets in an effective and efficient way. This observation was ultimately the genesis of Delio.
Finance industry experts Gareth, who previously worked for Convex Capital, a specialist corporate finance advisory, and David, who had worked for Barclays’ and UBS’ wealth management divisions, identified the blockers that prevented financial firms from meeting this new investor demand. They found the solutions to these problems and digitised them, making private markets propositions easier to scale and manage operationally.
Gareth and David launched Delio in March 2015, winning their first client in 2016 and have been growing rapidly ever since. Indeed, Delio was among the Wales Fast Growth 50 in 2020 and was also recognised in the Cardiff Business Awards for its international growth .
They work with various financial firms, including international banks, family offices, angel networks, as well as investment firms and wealth managers. They now have a truly international client base across the UK and beyond, including the US, Australia and Europe. Among their clients are some well-known names such as Barclays, Coutts, National Australia Bank, UBS, and ING. They also work with Welsh institutions, such as the Global Welsh and GS Verde Group.
Working through a global pandemic
2020 was a challenging year for most businesses, but it proved to be a productive year for the company with more demand for its digital products as financial institutions adapted to remote working.
Delio’s chief executive and co-founder, Gareth Lewis, said: “At the start of the year, we were scaling and had hired new developers and engineers across South Wales to strengthen our tech and product teams. Then, the pandemic hit and showed many financial firms that digitising the investment landscape wasn’t just a nice-to-have but a necessity.
“While the financial industry has become more open to technology, the wealth management and investment industry was still very reliant on close relationships, networking and face-to-face meetings. However, the pandemic changed this, and firms suddenly couldn’t liaise with their clients as usual. As a result, we’ve seen an increase in demand for our Delio-powered platforms, as digitising has become a higher priority on everyone’s agenda.”
At the same time, Delio also understood how hard the pandemic had hit clients and prospects during this time. To support early-stage businesses that use angel investment networks to present their solutions, Delio offered angel networks free access to parts of their technology. This way, they could continue to help start-ups raise funds despite lockdowns and travel bans.
Delio employs 65 people based across seven countries, spanning the technology, product, sales, marketing and operations teams. While 2020 was the first time everyone worked from home due to Covid-19, the Delio team launched new features, updated their platforms, and removed a large proportion of the technical debt that comes with scaling a business quickly.
In 2020, Delio also joined the Avaloq.One ecosystem. Avaloq is one of the leading FinTech organisations, and to be among their sourced wealth tech solutions is an excellent opportunity for them. Since Avaloq only allows FinTech firms to join their ecosystem if they meet a challenging set of qualification criteria, this acceptance was a significant independent validation of Delio’s technology.
The benefits of being a Welsh FinTech
As a Welsh FinTech, Delio has benefited from the support of both local and government networks. FinTech in Wales offers many opportunities, including access to great talent and a friendly and well-connected community of like-minded firms.
Gareth Lewis, added: “I don’t think we would have benefited from the same opportunities had we been in London. We have close relationships with the Welsh Government and the Department for International Trade, which has allowed us to join their events and meet financial firms and FinTech companies worldwide. Although most of our prospective clients are in London or other international finance hubs, Wales has a great talent pool of developers, analysts and software engineers who play a fantastic role in the FinTech ecosystem.
“We’re proud to be a Welsh business and invest in this home-grown talent. In the past, our most promising home-grown talent probably felt they needed to leave Wales to go to London to develop their career simply because the opportunities weren’t there. However, this sentiment is changing. There’s an incredible array of FinTech companies across Wales that are flourishing and offering exciting professional opportunities in a range of careers. More so, Welsh Government, media outlets and groups like FinTech Wales are changing the narrative and are shining a light on the opportunities that FinTech companies across Wales provide. We’re now benefitting from that home-grown talent staying within Wales, helping these exciting businesses scale and create new jobs, all while attracting people into Wales to progress their career.”
He added that last year demonstrated the difference FinTech solutions could bring, not just to financial firms but also to their customers and society. While attitudes were already changing, the need for FinTech solutions and digitisation is now fully understood, providing a real opportunity for the diverse industry.
Delio is undoubtedly in an exciting stage of its development. It’s a company that is looking to the future and excited by what 2021 holds for FinTech.
As a scale-up, the decisions and new developments they make will impact the business’s direction and help shape the industry’s future. In the last 18 months, they have begun to establish their presence in new regions such as the Middle East, North America and the Asia Pacific and, in the next 12 months, will start to see the benefits of building relationships in these territories.
They have also been busy redeveloping their platforms to integrate new features that will provide a better investment experience, for investors and their financial advisors alike.
Gareth said: “There are many exciting businesses out there looking for capital; through our updated platforms, it will be much easier for financial institutions to access, promote and manage these investment opportunities in one single space, connecting investors with start-up and scale-up opportunities far more effectively.
“One of the main things that excites us at the moment is the democratisation of private markets. Previously, only a limited number of investors had access to this market; however, the criteria are widening, and this is opening the market to a new audience. I think FinTech will play a crucial role here, as digitisation is going to be integral to how firms can meet client demand while delivering the operational efficiency that will be needed to scale their offering.”
And to finish on another high note…
Delio has also become part of the FinTech Europe Plug and Play’s cohort for 2020/2021. It will allow Delio to work even more closely with top financial firms, showcase their technology and allow Delio to collaborate with big financial firms within the Plug and Play ecosystems, including UniCredit, Deutsche Bank, and ABANCA.