The FinTech Five – 27th January 2023
27 January, 2023
Welcome to the FinTech Five, where we take a fortnightly look at the best articles, news, insights and features from our FinTech Wales members.
1. Welsh Web Agency Illustrate Digital Secures £2.7m Partnership with WP Engine
First this week, Cardiff web agency, Illustrate Digital, is set to benefit from a £2.7million partnership* with the world’s leading WordPress platform and website hosting provider, WP Engine.
The strategic relationship will allow Illustrate Digital to access greater levels of premium hosting, security and support, enabling the company to strengthen its WordPress enterprise development services – this is estimated to be worth nearly £3million for the company.
Illustrate Digital specialises in designing and developing WordPress websites for financial services, legal, B2B and government organisations across Europe. It works with brands such as Welsh Government, Pepper Money, Countingup Bank and Foster Wales.
The company, which was founded by its CEO Scott Jones in 2013, was also named as one of Wales’ fastest growing companies at the recent Fast Growth 50 Awards, having reported 219% growth in the past two years.
Illustrate Digital CEO, Scott Jones, said of the partnership:
“With WordPress powering 43% of the internet and growing, this is an exciting point in our relationship with WP Engine. The partnership provides an excellent opportunity for our team, as well as our clients, to reap the benefits of the network and support on offer from WP Engine.
“Through this collaboration, we are excited to offer our enterprise customers a level of performance, optimisation, security and expertise for WordPress that can’t be found elsewhere.”
2. Credas named in the Startups 100: Annual Index of Disruptive UK Startups
Next, the UK’s longest-running index of disruptive new startups, the Startups 100, has released its 2022 lineup and this year includes three innovative Welsh startups, including FinTech Wales member Credas.
Credas provides ID verification that allows businesses to easily meet their compliance needs.
Primarily working in the property buying industry, Credas’ system reduces data entry and eliminates the traditionally more complicated process for identity checks and verifications.
Each year, over 2 million identity searches are completed using Credas – with the rate growing rapidly. In the past 12 months alone, the Credas Mobile App has been downloaded over 700,000 times and has peaked at 7th in the iOS Store Top 20 Free Business Apps, alongside LinkedIn, TEAMS and Uber.
3. Peppercorn launches on Confused.com
Next this week, digital motor insurance provider Peppercorn has launched on comparison site Confused.com. Peppercorn is a managing general agent and communicates with customers mainly through an AI-powered assistant/chatbot.
Nigel Lombard, founder of Peppercorn, said:
“Our team has a dynamic blend of insurance and technology expertise and have worked hard to build a unique experience and service. To launch a quality product on a leading Price Comparison Website in such a short space of time is a testament to the team’s commitment to transforming the insurance industry.”
He added: “This is a significant milestone for us and we’re just getting started. Our company is committed to refining and evolving Peppercorn’s platform, empowering our customers and improving their experience, one conversation at a time.”
4. Finalrentals closes six-figure funding round
Next, a Cardiff-based global online car rental web-application business has secured the backing of a syndicate of four business angels led by lead investor Eamon Tuhami and venture capital company Fuel Ventures. The six-figure investment has been matched by the Development Bank of Wales’ Wales Angel Co-Investment Fund.
Based at Tec Marina in Penarth, Finalrentals is the brainchild of Ammar Akhtar who is originally from Pakistan but relocated to the UK from Poland with an Innovator Visa as part of the UK Government’s Global Entrepreneur Programme. He then took part in FinTech Wales’ Foundry – the no equity accelerator programme that provides mentorship and support to help incubate, accelerate and scale start-up businesses in Wales.
Ammar Akhtar, Founder and Chief Executive of Finalrentals said:
“From Pakistan to Dubai then Poland to Cardiff, this has been a three year journey that started in my home garage fondly known as the ‘Gar-Office’.
“We have worked tirelessly to build the software and get our product known in the market but taking part in the Fintech Wales programme was the catalyst for growth. It gave us a great opportunity to network with the investor community in Wales and benefit from mentorship which has ultimately led to us being able to secure this major investment that will enable us to now scale the business. There is certainly a culture of innovation and growth in Wales and I’m now proud to call Cardiff my home.”
5. The Fintech Times feature: ‘Moving Fintech Forward: With FinTech Wales, FIS, Women of Fintech, Prove and Tech Passport’
Last but not least this week, The Fintech Times asked industry experts to share how we can move ‘fintech forward’ in the next 12 months in a recent article.
Fintech Wales CEO, Sarah Williams Gardener, was delighted to contribute to the article and commented:
“To ensure the fintech sector continues to grow we must increase investment and develop skills. Funding for fintechs in Wales slowed slightly in 2022 compared to 2021, however, we are influencing change to close the funding gap.
“In addition to experienced founders, scaling and established fintechs, we have an engaged and active angel network, support from the Development Bank of Wales and the recently launched CCR Innovation fund. FinTech Wales also works with the City of London to attract new investors to seek out opportunities in the region.
“We will also continue influencing the skills and talent space to ensure fintechs can grow with the staff they require. In the past 12 months alone, FinTech Wales’ members are estimated to have created over 1,000 jobs. Skills was a key concern raised in the Kalifa Review, and one that FinTech Wales has addressed at great lengths as highlighted in our annual report.
“In Wales, we’re very proactive in this space; driving tech graduate numbers up to create a rich pool of talent, as well as building bridges between academic institutions and industry to bring new opportunities to students and graduates. We also have over 22,000 students engaged in fintech-related studies here in Wales and are home to a number of centres of excellence including the National Software Academy.”
Other industry experts who provided their insights include:
- Silvia Mensdorff-Pouilly, senior VP of banking and payments in Europe for FIS
- Layla White, founder and CEO of onboarding firm Tech Passport
- Gemma Young, founder of fintech community Women of FinTech
- Rodger Desai, co-founder and CEO of Prove
Until Next Time
And that’s it for the FinTech Five this week. Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to join us fortnightly for more of the best content from across our FinTech Wales membership.