28
Jun
2015
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Travel Notes – London & Barcelona June 2015

1 day in Barcelona, 2 days in London, 1 conference, 1 demo day, 10 meetings and four BA flights later I sit at home in a state of shock. Not so much sit as liquefy myself in bed with a nasty cough, a fever and body aches all over.  Still the short and intense trip was worth it.

June 22, London:
– Morning => Attended Barclays TechStars Demo Day thanks to the gracious invites from Greg Rogers and Chris Adelsbach. 10 polished presentations from 10 fintech startups of which at least 2 have solid investment potential, at least from my perspective. Positively surprised 9 of them are b2b models which is refreshing and timely. What jumped out was how solid each of the founder teams were – the experience, the pedigree, the vision. The kiss of death at Barclays TechStars is for a startup not to announce a pilot project or contract with Barclays. All startupts dutifully announced their Barclays partnerships.

– Afternoon => Attended StartupBootCamp (SBC) Insurance program kick off led by Nektarios Liolios and Carsten Kolbek. Admiral Insurance, Allianz, Ergo, Intesa SanPaolo, Lloyds and Route 66 are participating. The first two SBC fintech programs we participated in, London and Singapore, have been such successes for us that we could not resist and participated in a third one, this time focused on insurance. The SBC team has learned and applied its learnings from the first London cohort to the first Singapore cohort. I know they will knock it out of the park with the insurance program.

June 23, Barcelona:
– All day FintechStage conference organized by Matteo Rizzi and Lazaro Campos. This was Matteo and Lazaro’s second fintech conference after the first one they organized in Milan earlier this year.  I moderated a panel in Milan and they made me talk in Barcelona. Demons possessed me and I opened up the panel I was in with a classy and subdued “Bitcoin is dead” – more on my ridiculously bold assertion with future posts. Getting back to serious matters, Matteo and Lazaro are onto something here and I expect them to grow from strength to strength as they build their brand and a unique model of fintech community engagement and conference activities.

June 24, London:
– All day. Too many meetings to list, from lawyers, to angel investors, companies we are tracking, companies we are interested partnering with, consultants, p2p lending leaders, a company Route 66 has signed a term sheet with. London is indeed a very exciting city to do business in if one focuses on fintech. I love London!

I never cease to be amazed by the richness countries with various cultures that are in close proximity to one another can produce. I see this in fintech for sure. European fintech companies get remittances, cross border payments, foreign exchange, to name but a few finserv activities, in ways US fintech companies never will.  In a way this is why I am attracted to SouthEast Asia (SEA), because of the geo-political similarities with Europe.

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