FinTech North News and Regional FinTech Developments

Meet the Advisory Board: Amy Whitell, CEO and Co-Founder, Collctiv

Amy Whitell, CEO and Co-Founder of group payments software Collctiv, is one of our valued Advisory Board members here at FinTech North. Along with her colleagues on the board, Amy has been helping to shape the strategy at FinTech North and has been supporting our activity for the past 12 months.

We recently sat down with Amy to hear about her background in FinTech, the work that Collctiv do and her thoughts on FinTech North’s current position and it’s future development.

The full interview was recorded for the benefit of our community. You can watch it in full, below, or continue scrolling to read all about what she had to say:

Tell us about yourself and your FinTech story!

“FinTech North has been a great journey and great community to be a part of over the years. In terms of myself, I founded Collctiv just over 3 years ago along with my co-founder Pete Casson. We were previously working at a scale-up together, so we had a good couple years of working together under our belts before we co-founded a FinTech.”

“In terms of being a FinTech and how I got into that… it was partly unintentional. Other than when I was straight out of university, I started a micro-financing social enterprise; which made business loans to ex-offenders in the UK and delivered business training to men and women coming out of prison in an attempt to help them access finance that they couldn’t normally access from the high street. Apart from that, I never looked to have a career in FinTech. The main reason for being a FinTech founder now is because it was FinTech that solved the problem that I had as a customer, which is the audience that we now serve.”

“The problem being that everyone always owes me money, Joe! Fundamentally, I’m not okay with it anymore. Times are hard, people need to give me my money back! That’s where FinTech comes into it. We makes it easy for people who always organise everything for people socially, to collect money from a wide group of people (often people who are awkward to chase for money, maybe colleagues or someone you don’t know as well). It was solely a selfish journey, Joe, so that I could stop being out-of-pocket. So, here we are!”

What are your thoughts on FinTech North?

“FinTech North is incredibly useful as both,  a platform and a community. So, getting started in FinTech is, unless you’ve got/had a career in financial services, management consulting or banking, difficult – your book of people who know about FinTech is probably pretty slim. It was great to have FinTech North as an outlet, and you knew that the events will be filled with a variety of different people from the ecosystem. Also, it’s a great way to become aware of the depth of FinTech in the North – we’re all led to believe that all financial innovation happens in London, but there’s quite a lot of innovation available to us all and a lot that happens up North. FinTech North has given us that dual-benefit for Collctiv – being in that community, introducing us to other people in the ecosystem and giving us a platform to speak at various events.”

What do you hope that we can achieve together over the next few years?

“Being on the advisory board, I’ve seen the great work that FinTech North has done and the amount of people it’s impacted, even with slightly limited resource. Going forward, I’d like to see us keeping those values of independence and neutrality, being able to bring all the members of the ecosystem together, including start-ups and scale-ups. This will continue to be really key.”

“One of the things I’d love to see FinTech North continue to do is to be a voice for the FinTechs in the ecosystem. There’s a lot of spotlight on UK FinTech, but very often, there’s little spotlight on the actual FinTechs or those FinTechs that don’t necessarily have that voice because they’re smaller and don’t have the ability to pay their way. FinTech North are a great facilitator for those FinTechs to actually be heard and be part of the evolution and development of the ecosystem. Let’s keep the FinTechs involved in FinTech!”

What are the main opportunities for FinTech North?

“FinTech North has started to do it already with the sandbox partnership that’s been launched. For the entrepreneurs and the innovators who are not from a financial services or banking background, I think FinTech North can continue to play a big role in that linking up of the ecosystem. If we want financially inclusive products and tech in general, if we want FinTech development that actually does benefit consumers and SMEs – we need the entrepreneurs and the founders from those backgrounds, communities and experiences (other than banking and FS, etc) to understand how to start and scale a FinTech in the ecosystem.”

“FinTech North hopefully will continue to play a role in joining those dots and continue to let innovation happen where it’s needed the most – people who are not in the ‘status quo’ financial sector.”

A big thank you to Amy for her continued support to FinTech North. To find out more about Collctiv, click here.

Additionally, to meet more of the FinTech North advisory board, click here. 

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