Tell us about yourself?
I am a Gascon who enjoys life, food & wine. I am passionate about Opera, dressage horses, wolf-dogs and aviation.
I started my career long time aga in Corporate Treasury at a time of the very first implementations of Treasury Management Systems.
I then spent almost three decades working in Corporate Banking, and eventually decided to leave Banking and found Fennech Financial Ltd to fix the inefficiency and inaccuracy problems I was seeing everywhere in the world both on the Banks’ and the corporate clients’ side
What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?
Being an entrepreneur is a roller coaster, with lots of ups and downs, hope and disillusions, and needs stability, resilience and a long term view to keep the right track.
Also, nothing goes exactly according to plan, and adaptability is key to get things done.
Lastly, help comes some time from people you were not expecting, while many other close ones will disappoint you.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Be less optimistic. Don’t hesitate to ask more for help. And finally, get policies, processes and admin done properly from day one.
A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?
This is true that there is almost no boundaries between private and professional life of an entrepreneur. That comes with the job, and does not suis everyone.
That has not been a particular issue for me, and passion kept me going.
Give us a bit of an insight into the influences behind the company?
That’s a combination of several factors: – unlike retail banking, Corporate Banking has not yet started any digitalisation. that is therefore a frustrating, slow to react, inaccurate and costly business for both the Banks and their clients – Technology and regulation have significantly matured in recent years, more open, more accessible
What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?
We are not a software provider trying to sell an off the shelf product, but practitioners, Bankers, Treasurers, CFOs, IT and BPO guys who have decided to build the platform and the solutions they couldn’t find on the market.
From day one, usability, addressing the practical needs of our clients have driven all our efforts.
In addition to re-engineering processes, in a holistic way, we have developed our own IP, like smart contracts outside of Blockchain.
How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?
Big ticket consultative sales to large financial institutions or corporates is quite hard and takes a lot of time.
By nature, there is a huge inertia towards change and improvement.
This is nevertheless an exciting strategic exercise, at C-level, that leads to serious, big and long-term relationships.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?
Size of the business. e.g. David against Goliath. Clients are often risk averse and may prefer more expensive and less powerful solutions provided by a well known incumbent, to next generation sharp, smart and efficient solutions provided by a start-up.
Therefore, the pitch has to be a strategic one, to a C-suite decision maker who is smart enough to see the benefits and brave enough to take the risks. Luckily, there are quite a few of them.
What do you find are the advantages of operating your business in London?
As we are a Fintech operating in the Banking and Financial Institutions space, London is a very attractive location from an eco-system, funding and client base perspective.
Are there any issues with having a London based business? Have you experienced these?
Not really. So far, we think that being headquartered in London has brought much more benefits than issues.
How has the higher than UK average cost of living impacted your ability to work and live in London and how has this also impacted your ability as an employer?
That has not yet materially impacted our operating cost base, as we operate since inception on a remote basis, with no permanent premises, IT in the cloud, all virtualised, and with people living in the countryside or abroad.
Obviously, we try to offset inflation, what has a significant impact short term on our HR costs.
If you had to relocate your business to another city in the UK, which one would it be and why?
Oxford or Cambridge, as they are quite close to London, nice obviously, but more importantly we could find there more direct academic resources and R&D.
How has BREXIT impacted your business (if at all)?
That has forced us to incorporate earlier than planned a subsidiary in the EU. We experience additional complexity and costs.
What is your vision for your company in the next 5 years?
We want to be the reference niche provider of best in class next generation core banking platform, supporting true digitalisation of Corporate Banking and hyper automation of operations.
And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?
Please feel free to reach out to us, vis the contact us form on our website. We will be delighted to call you back asap.