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What is Currency Cloud’s mission statement?
Our mission is to drive the transformation of the payments landscape so that international business and new markets are accessible to everyone. Every business should be able to send and receive funds quickly and transparently.
Currency Cloud is at the heart of the API revolution, using technology to change the way financial services are provided to customers. We have taken a small part of the banking infrastructure, International Payments, automated it and provided it to clients via an API. Our advanced technology is the power inside our clients’ business, helping them to provide a seamless experience and highly customised solution to their customers, and then manage the payment workflow.
Where are you headquartered?
We are headquartered in London, the FinTech capital of the world. The city is alive with financial services challengers – it’s fantastic to be at the heart of the global FinTech environment and part of this vibrant scene. One of the largest challenges we face is the ability to find great talent. Of course, being based in London we have access to a huge pool, but world class people are still few and far between. I would love to see stronger talent coming through, especially in developers, so we can continue to feed a rapidly expanding team.
Who do you think will be the most influential figures (or companies) in FinTech, in 2015?
We prepared a list at the end of last year, of twenty exciting FinTech companies who we think should be on everyone’s watch list this year. Although some of the companies on this list are early-stage start-ups, they have garnered a huge amount of attention and support during their brief existence, showing just how fast the financial services industry is evolving.
What kind of year do you foresee for your company, and the industry as a whole?
An exciting one! This year will see an upgrade to our Payment Engine, bringing new functionality including a more agile API, new user interface for Currency Cloud Direct, increased scalability and market expansion. Our clients are operating in challenging market conditions – globalisation is growing demand for international business expansion, while regulatory and reporting requirements are putting an increased strain on the industry. Speed to market is a critical competitive factor, with consumers more in control than ever before. Our next generation API – a complete, cross-border payment solution – will help them tackle these issues, and thrive in this environment.
What are your key targets for 2015?
We continue to be focused on delivering great technology to our customers and the subsequent growth in our business that will drive. ‘Frictionless’ has long been a phrase used in consumer facing technology – we think the same applies to businesses and developers too. We will continue to find ways to remove friction from the payment process and make it easier for customers to use our service.
What will be the most important opportunities for FinTech in 2015?
Regulation is key to legitimising and providing lasting credibility to the FinTech sector, but it is important that regulating bodies recognise that legislation based on old-world concepts and traditional banking functions does not fit today’s modern diverse banking landscape.
The need for regulatory compliance is not going to go away – so the industry has to stop complaining about it. It has now become such a challenge that there is real financial value in innovation in this space. It’s not about loosening the rules, but applying them in a particular way to implement regulations that are reasonable. We anticipate that this debate will come to the fore in 2015, providing an opportunity for firms in the space to shape and steer the direction of the regulatory umbrella under which they will operate in future.
What are the key hurdles for growing your business this year?
As for many companies in our space, constantly changing regulatory requirements will always require significant time investment and attention. This brings challenges, but also opportunities for those with the ability to address these challenges. We have an excellent relationship with our bank partners and compliance consultants – it’s a case of everybody working together to find the best solutions that meet increased obligations, in areas such as Know Your Customer (and your Customer’s Customer), without impinging on the all-important customer experience.
What are your thoughts on the current state of FinTech?
Over the past year we’ve seen FinTech evolve from an exciting buzzword, into a lucrative industry that’s even causing the government to sit up and pay attention – with George Osborne last year launching trade body Innovate Finance. As transparent, flexible, technology-focused alternatives eat into the margins of traditional players, banks will need to consider their next move carefully – managing the right balance between collaboration and competition.
The UK has set itself apart as the FinTech capital of the world and it’s exciting to see recognition of this achievement with a FinTech delegation as part of Boris Johnson’s upcoming trade mission to the US. What a fantastic opportunity to showcase the calibre of the talent and businesses we have here, to further promote and grow the sector internationally.