The fintech space is booming as traditional consumer banks fail to keep up, so how did Quint’s founder spot a gap in the market?
RISING You founded Quint, so how has the business grown and what goals do you have for it? GREG COX, FOUNDER ‘Our businesses continue to grow from strength to strength. We were recently awarded the Queen’s Award for Innovation and global expansion remains a key focus, as well as the continued development of our products and services. This, we hope, will lead to Quint’s revenues reaching £100m in 2019.’
RISING How did you originally spot the gap in the market that you set up Quint to provide services for? GC ‘In 2009, I reviewed a failed consumer finance business I had invested in, following the financial crisis. It became obvious that the consumer finance and financial services markets were not using online technology to any great extent and this was a key area of opportunity that would only grow in the future.’
RISING What are the benefits of being a start-up in the consumer finance landscape? GC ‘There’s a sizeable gap between offerings from large, established financial institutions and what the consumer actually wants. A fintech start-up has the flexibility to act swiftly. We have both the design and product development departments in-house, along with the strategic focus to recognise and launch innovative products within an ever-evolving landscape. With our proprietary technology, we are able to develop an idea and deliver swiftly to market in a way that cannot be replicated by larger institutions.’
Don’t isolate yourself – view all your competitors as potential partners
RISING What are the three biggest pitfalls to avoid when starting up? GC ‘Don’t isolate yourself. View all your ‘competitors’ as potential partners – there is something to learn from everyone operating within the fintech space, so the importance of fostering collaborative business relationships cannot be understated. Also, you will make mistakes, sometimes costly ones. The key is to recognise when something isn’t working and fix it. Do not put off making the difficult decisions or admitting when something isn’t working when change is needed.’
RISING Can you list any surprising successes you had that you thought would in fact be a struggle? GC ‘There have been surprises at every step of the way and, to be honest, everything has been a struggle at times. When you first set up a business you always have the view things will go well. When they don’t, this is often the most surprising thing. That said, this all provides necessary experience.’
RISING What’s the hardest thing about being in the position of juggling several different operations? GC ‘Ensuring that personally I’m giving the right amount of resource and focus to the right things is always a challenge. There are always options and it’s not easy to please everyone, but it is key to remain absolutely focused on what will deliver our long term goals.’
Never give up but always be prepared to change what you're doing – take a long term view
RISING And what’s the most rewarding thing? GC ‘It’s great to see people grow and progress through the company who really make their mark. There are a number of employees that have worked their way up in the company which has been very rewarding to see. Other than that, building great businesses and seeing them come to life with my team, step by step, and knowing that all the work we have put in has been worth it.’
RISING When it comes to personal growth, what’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt in your journey as an entrepreneur so far? GC ‘Never give up, but always be prepared to change what you're doing. Always take a long term view and never sacrifice short term gain for the long term objectives.’
RISING Would you say to people who maybe don’t see themselves as entrepreneurs, that the barriers to entry into this world are falling all the time? GC ‘Changes in technology and regulation are allowing more people to go it alone with much lower initial costs. Networking and access to information has never been easier. However, working out how to make online, or indeed any service, generate long-term revenues and profits is never easy. I think the barriers seem lower but ultimately the people who will succeed are the same type of people that always have.’
RISING What new area of opportunities in fintech looks exciting for you at the moment? GC ‘New regulatory changes that are coming into force in the coming months and years are going to completely revolutionise the fintech space and will affect every consumer in the UK – watch this space. In the next decade, we will see fintech firms become household names alongside the banks and large insurers.’
WHAT NEXT? This FT video neatly explains why 42% of traditional banks have a partnership with a fintech start-up and why most of the rest are scrambling to create their own fintech projects.
Follow the writer @mattfitnessray