Partner Profile: BrightBox Group – Stuart Houghton & Steve Andrews
Joe Roche / 29th September 2021
We recently sat down with our Partners and Resourcing experts BrightBox Group, to get to know the business better and to understand how the FinTech North community can help. We spoke with Stuart Houghton, Founder and CEO, and Steve Andrews, Head of Sales and Marketing.
We recorded the interview so those in our community can watch and listen. Click the image below to watch and listen back to the recording. Scroll down for our write-up:
Why did you start the business, tell us your story?
“We co-founded a FinTech, Planixs, which focusses on intra-day liquidity. Planixs continues to go from strength to strength. About 5 years ago, we were looking for a resourcing partner ourselves, which we were missing within our own business. It wasn’t just us, many of our clients had the same issues as well, and that’s really where BrightBox was born.
About 3 years ago we decided to create BrightBox. For me it boils down to two things: how do we help clients understand the challenges that they’ve been through and we’ve been through, then delivering the capability to solve those challenges, not only in the UK but off-shore as well.
With the heritage of Planixs, FinTech has always been a space i’ve had a vested interested in, and you can see that reflected in our clients who we’re helping; BankiFi, Cerdis, Exisent, all of these start-ups coming through who’ve had these challenges and we’re helping them on their journey. It’s a vision to be a long-term partner with clients in this space.”
What challenges do you help your clients with?
“One of the challenges on the buying side is having someone who will ride the rough with the smooth. It’s when the times are tough that we really earn our corn, in my mind that’s part of the journey you’re going on with that client.
Speed and flexibility are key. We’re able to move quickly and move with firms as they scale up or down.
The last 18 months has been a huge challenge, but it’s also presented some form of opportunity; it’s forced a lot of companies to change how they look at the home-working model. We’re seeing a lot of clients moving away from location-based resourcing, moving towards a skills-based approach.
We see this last point as an opportunity for the North. I think we’ll see salaries shift and equalise more. I think we’re in a really exciting time for resourcing.”
What could the FinTech North community do to help? Who are you looking to meet within the community?
“The latter question; anyone that has a resourcing challenge or who wants to talk about a resourcing challenge. I believe it’s really important to share experiences. There will be organisations out there who believe they have cracked the nut and are doing a really good job; how do we share that new best practice?
We talked about team augmentation, split between virtual and physical, sometimes this is a step into a brave new world for a lot of companies. No business is too small or too big, we’ve got clients who have 3 employees and clients who have thousands.”
What for you are the most interesting elements of FinTech?
“The whole digital experience customers are going through; how the traditional banks and FS institutions take their legacy systems and integrate them with what some of our FinTechs are bringing to the party.
Challenger FinTechs need the Financial Institutions, because there is a generation who are wedded to being part of a huge financial institution and we need to bring them with us on the journey.
We’ve gone through a few phases of Open Banking, we’re probably in a period of Payments now. Moving forward you’ve got Open Finance which will put the consumer at the heart of propositions which will help the man on the street as much as a high-net worth person control their financial lives – things like Pensions dashboards have taken years.
There are some exciting things out there, the rise of mortgage brokers, people like Mojo have done some fantastic things, how is that then combining to create an Open Finance ecosystem – there’s huge opportunities there.”