Long seen as the UK’s second banking centre, and the financial capital of the North, the Leeds Financial Sector employs over 28,000 people. With equity finance, accelerators and a strong talent pool (courtesy of the many universities) all readily available, the city also boasts an attractive ecosystem that has helped to establish Leeds as a hotspot for start-ups.
Now with 12 out of 14 Yorkshire and The Humber high-growth Fintech firms operating within the city region, Leeds is positioning itself not just at the forefront of banking, but of digital technologies, too. From finessing credit application processes to using blockchain for property investment, join us to take a look at some of the incredible organisations spearheading the city’s Fintech scene.
First stop on the Fintech tour is Tappit – a cashless payment provider that services sports, entertainment and events industry clients in over 20 countries around the world.
For festival and event organisers, Tappit’s global cashless system and insight suite offers a modern day solution for the pain points of traditional payment methods, assisting with managing footfall, improving operational efficiencies and recognising consumer trends. The technology – made up of the Tappit Mobile Pay app and RFID-enabled wristbands that facilitate cashless digital payment systems on-site – aims to build on a client’s existing infrastructure and combine multiple functionalities into one easy to use platform, for maximum customer satisfaction.
Tappit’s global white label service allows individual brands to merge everything from contactless payments to loyalty programmes to ticketing into one seamless mobile ecosystem, that results in increased efficiency (increasing transaction speed by 80%), maximises profit, eliminates fraud and provides event organisers with valuable data and insights that can enhance live experiences. In boosting efficiency, Tappit enables their clients to boost engagement, resulting in an average sales increase of 22%, which explains why in just four short years they’ve scaled to having over 2.5 million active users. Tappit is truly a global ambassador for the Leeds tech sector, and with plans to continue their expansion across the Middle East, South Pacific and the US this year, their cashless technology might just be taking over the world!
Next up is PrinSIX; a platform designed by lenders for lenders, that uses digital innovation to transform financial services application journeys and help lenders offer responsible credit profitably.
Established in 2019 by Julian Graham-Rack and Richard Cornelius, PrinSIX offers a digitally-driven, purpose-built response to the modern challenges of consumer lending. Residing somewhere between ‘Apply Now’ and ‘Application Approved’, through highly efficient credit application journeys the platform helps lenders to get a full understanding of applicants, for the benefit of both customers and credit providers.
The platform utilises newer practices like Open Banking that allow a lender to adapt to applicants as more information is learnt, facilitating the creation of personalised customer journeys. This reduces abandonment by delivering an improved customer experience, and simultaneously maximises low-risk lending opportunities for the financial service providers who employ the technology. Their recent partnership with AccountScore – leaders in open banking data analytics – will facilitate even further growth for PrinSix who since their inception in November 2019 have already secured £420k in equity funding.
Where Greentech and Finance collide, you’ll find Tred. Self-proclaimed as “The Green Monzo”, Tred is a debit card with a difference.
Founded by Peter Kirby and Will Smith in 2019, and taking inspiration from the likes of Monzo and Starling, the Tred platform seamlessly integrates mobile banking with real-world spending via an app that tracks transactions in real time.
Unlike the other digital challenger banks though, what sets Tred apart from the rest of the pack is undoubtedly their eco-focus and unique ability to track and offset an individual’s carbon footprint. Designed to close the knowledge gap consumers face when it comes to the direct environmental impact of their spending, the Tred app empowers users to make better decisions by tracking the carbon footprint of individual purchases – everything from a coffee to the weekly shop – and enabling them to reduce and offset their carbon footprint. The company – which also uses a portion of its profits to fund reforestation – has already amassed over half a million pounds in equity crowdfunding, and after partnering with global B2B payments company Nium in June 2021, Tred is on track to launch the debit cards in the UK later this year.
Residing within the Leeds Fintech ecosystem and operating on a global scale, CurveBlock is a software development start-up that utilises blockchain technology to enable users to invest in green property development projects, in return for a share of the profit.
Uniquely positioned across Financial, Social, Environmental and Sustainable interests, CurveBlock offers users digitised proportional ownership of a multi-million pound construction company and all its future profits, with an investment of as little as £10. User investments directly fund the development of Carbon Zero, Energy Positive real estate, and the profit-sharing model has the potential to revolutionise the construction industry by making the public the main financial beneficiary of profits made.
Founded in 2018 by Gary Woodhead, Joey Jones and Matthew Couch, the platform is still in the early stages of development. But with a platform prototype already in their back pocket and having recently graduated from the NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator, the company is already in talks with the Canadian Government on how the platform can be scaled to the other side of the North Atlantic.
Last stop on the tour of Leeds Fintech is finfo. Born out of a frustration with the inefficiencies of existing corporate expense systems, finfo’s software was designed to provide a more transparent, user-friendly platform for businesses to cost control indirect expenses.
Traditionally, expenses such as telephony, travel and printing are procured and paid for centrally. Employees rarely have any visibility of their usage or spending and as these expenses begin to increase businesses are left scrambling to gather the data required to manage costs effectively. That’s where finfo comes in; through a three stage approach – that includes Reporting, Educating and Consulting – finfo is able to integrate into existing management systems and enhance cost control in order to reduce total annual spend by up to 30%.
At the heart of the solution is the infographic style reports which inform employees, their managers and senior leaders on the usage and spend for a particular indirect expense. The platform also provides strategic messaging through video content and computer-based training that allows businesses to educate employees on their spend, and finfo also deploy on-site or remote industry experts to provide insights on expenditure, helping companies to identify and minimise unnecessary expenses.
We’ve reached the end of the line, but your journey doesn’t have to stop here. Why not take a look at some of the other brilliant companies driving Fintech here in Leeds? Check out the Leeds Tech Map now and find out how our city is leading the UK digital sector.