Meet the Advisory Board: Kevin Mountford
Kevin Mountford is the Co-Founder of Raisin UK and one of our valued Advisory Board members here at FinTech North. We recently sat down with Kevin to allow him to introduce himself to our community as well as to discuss FinTech and the future of FinTech North.
Click the video below to watch the full interview, or read on for the full article.
Tell us about yourself!
“I started life in business banking and retail banking, mainly in sales and marketing. Really interesting times, part of the Bank of Scotland – it was all about distribution through third parties. I went as head of Sales and Marketing at Birmingham Midshires and after I while I ended up at Money Supermarket. Those were fantastic times for many reasons, it was at the time that the business IPO’d – you suddenly start to see the requirements and stakeholder pressures. It introduced me to the world of PR and you extend your network accordingly.
“We saw after 2007 that there was a shift from product centricity to customer centricity. I think FinTech has enabled businesses to accelerated that approach.”
“I had always had an interest in setting something up. I met a bunch of guys that were looking at forming banks in Europe and using passporting to promote their products. I bit the bullet and decided to set up a software and marketing business that could help support their ambitions – this was my baptism of fire when you realise you’ve not quite done the due diligence that you should have done.”
“They failed to fulfil their obligation, and I thought ‘what do I do?’. I still believed in what we were trying to achieve. We brought the business to the UK, walked round the streets of London and got some clients. Part of our contractual obligation was to build a software but we had no developers! SO we ended up in Manchester and found a few PHP developers. Since then, the business has grown a reasonable pace.”
“It was great. That was my first real introduction of working in Manchester. We were begging, stealing and borrowing office space and now we’re in our 3rd office in Manchester! From there, it was a case of going out and getting more funding and developing the business model a bit.”
“By chance, I was at a conference and met the co-founder of Raisin GMBH and in September 2017 they bought out my old business and Raisin UK was born! I’m still working in the business, co-founder, corporate ambassador role. They’ve given me the opportunity to take on a few non-exec roles too; working with a software business called MutualVision, a new exciting business called Collectiv and a credit union called Castle Community Bank. And as you said, I work with FinTech North and hopefully add value on the advisory board!”
What are your thoughts on FinTech North?
“To answer that, you need to get the context. When I first came to Manchester I didn’t know many people in the City. So, you’re reaching out and trying to understand where to turn. Over time, I met Julian; got an understanding of what he was doing and attended a few events. I really started to appreciate the evolving hub of community in Manchester and the North West.”
I got introduced to FinTech North and the opportunity to join the advisory board was really exciting! We’ve got a really good mix of individuals, with a wide variety of experience. Hopefully we can work together collaboratively to work together to help the North to thrive!”
“The one thing I noticed in London was the general feeling that FinTech started and finished in London, this is not the case!FinTech North is helping the north to build a real identity. There’s some great talents and exciting businesses, I genuinely believe FinTech North can help to make a difference.
What do you hope we can achieve together in the coming years?
“From an advisory board member we’ve done some exciting stuff, we’ve added clarity on our overall mission. The agenda is reasonably broad, it can help to lobby at a local level to really understand what the opportunities and pressure points are. The fact it can represent small, medium and large established businesses as well as start-ups is a real positive.
“Hot topics are ‘How can we find funding and talent?’ This isn’t just people coming out of university, it’s making sure they are ready to fit in to these fast-moving businesses. It’s to articulate the excitement in the sector. There’s lots to achieve, it’s just getting our priority straight.”
What do you see as the main opportunities for FinTech in the North?
“By default, through a geographical perspective, FinTechs break down the barriers, it’s a global phenomenon and we shouldn’t lose sight of that. What you’re really trying to demonstrate is there is the infrastructure, the talent and experience to attract businesses.
You can create an identity. I’ve seen it in Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool amongst other areas. You can operate outside of the South East. I think we are and will continue to put the North on the map. It’s a really exciting time!”
We thank Kevin for his time and continued support at FinTech North.