FinTech North News and Regional FinTech Developments

Re-watch: Virtual Leeds Conference & FinTech Showcase

On the 25th February 2021, the northern FinTech community gathered together virtually for our annual Leeds Conference. We were thrilled to have over 400 registrations for the event, which was shared with our colleagues and partners across the FinTech National Network.

For those unable to join the session live, we have produced a write-up and recording of the event so attendees can re-cap. Click the image below to view the recording.

Julian Wells, Director, Whitecap Consulting & FinTech North – 0:04:43

Chris Sier, HM Treasury FinTech Envoy & Chair of FinTech North – 0:06:16

Janine Hirt, COO of Innovate Finance – 15:10:00

Iain Clacher, Pro Dean International and Professor of Pensions and Finance at the University of Leeds – 0:26:40

Paul Stoddart, President New Payments at Mastercard – 0:44:48

Ron Kalifa, OBE – 01:07:33

Eve Roodhouse, Chief Officer for Culture and Economy at Leeds City Council – 01:37:44


Joe Roche, Engagement Manager at FinTech North, opened the conference and welcomed attendees. Joe explained about the work FinTech North do bringing the ecosystem together, also mentioning some upcoming international opportunities for northern FinTechs, in the form of virtual trade mission activity in partnership with DIT.

Julian Wells, Director of Whitecap Consulting, said a few words of welcome and thanks to Joe as event organiser.

Our event chair Chris Sier, Chairman of FinTech North and HM Treasury FinTech Envoy, was our next speaker. Chris spoke about FinTech North and specifically mentioned FinTech developments in the Leeds City Region. Chris highlighted the vocational attitude in Northern FinTech, which was reflected in the propositions of the FinTechs participating in our FinTech Showcase.

We then welcomed Janine Hirt, COO of Innovate Finance, as our next speaker. Janine provided a fantastic overview of the UK FinTech sector in 2020, featuring some great stats around FinTech investment:


  • Despite the pandemic, global investment in FinTech increased by more than 14% in 2020
  • £4.1bn of investment into UK FinTech in 2020
  • UK ranks 2nd in the world for FinTech investment, behind US
  • UK well ahead of European countries, UK by far a European and global leader
  • In 2020 growth in investment in Female Founders, up to 17% from 11% on 2019


Iain Clacher, Pro Dean International and Professor of Pensions and Finance at the University of Leeds, was next up. Iain spoke about the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment, a new national centre of excellence with hubs that will be based in Leeds and London. The CGFI has been established to accelerate the adoption and use of climate and environmental data and analytics by financial institutions in the UK and internationally. It aims to unlock opportunities for the UK to lead in greening finance and financing green.

Paul Stoddart, President New Payments at Mastercard, then took his place on our virtual stage. Paul spoke about the future of payments, touching upon global FinTech trends from Mastercard’s perspective:

  • Open Banking
  • Digital Currencies
  • Digital Identity

“If you have excluded parties, it creates inefficiencies in a financial system” – Paul Stoddart, President New Payments, Mastercard

We were then delighted to be joined by Ron Kalifa, OBE, who on the eve of the publication of the FinTech Strategic Review, sat down with Chris for a virtual fireside chat. Ron outlined the review, spoke in detail about the process and identified what it will mean for Northern FinTech.

“FinTech is changing Financial Services” – Ron Kalifa, OBE

Eve Roodhouse, Chief Officer for Culture and Economy at Leeds City Council, was our next speaker. Eve spoke about the Leeds City Region FinTech and Tech ecosystem, outlining some of the headline stats about the region.

We then broke out into a panel discussion with Eve, Iain and Chris. We were joined on the panel by Peter Cunnane, National and International Strategy Lead at Innovate Finance, and Julian Wells, Director of Whitecap Consulting and FinTech North. Our panel covered much ground, themes emerged around:

  • Leeds City Region
  • FinTech Strategic Review
  • Collaboration and communication
  • International FinTech
  • Inclusive Growth

We then had a short break for lunch before welcoming attendees back for our trademark Leeds FinTech Showcase, featuring a number of regionally based FinTechs who presented their innovations to our community, with most companies making their FinTech North debut.

Click here to view the recording. See below for showcase timings.


Gary Wigglesworth, CEO, ilumoni – 2:55:05

Jake Fox, Founder, Paperound – 3:04:36

Stuart Murgatroyd, CEO, Data on Demand – 3:13:58

Julian Graham-Rack, CEO, PrinSIX – 3:21:25

Will Smith and Peter Kirkby, Co-founders, tred – 3:31:17

Nick Green, Co-founder, Fatgreen – 3:42:16

Sara Parker, CPO, Mutual Vision – 3:50:19

Jen Anderson, CTO, incuto – 4:00:43

Gary Woodhead, CEO and co-founder, CurveBlock – 4:11:40

Harjit Moore, CEO, Freeze Debt – 4:20:06

Vivien Bardaut, Founder and Director, Driad – 4:29:40

Katherine Wooler, Managing Director, Daxci – 4:37:33


For any speaking, sponsorship or partnership enquiries, please contact our Engagement Manager Joe Roche (

Did you enjoy the event? Do you have any feedback for us to consider? Why not take a couple of minutes to leave us a review! Click here to review our Virtual Leeds Conference.

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