FinVention: Made in Guernsey
12 December 2016
FinVention, held at St James in early November, was a great success with 100 delegates hearing pitches and presentations from 24 entrepreneurs from the world of fintech and related business (all of whom, I am told, secured funding and/or mentoring following the event).
The event revealed to me the extent of inventive and innovative talent in the island. Below I have sampled some of the entrepreneurs with their past, present or future in Guernsey.
Made in Guernsey
What is it?
Barrie Baxter presented Brixx, a financial forecasting tool for use by start-ups and small businesses.
Brixx fulfills the need for start-ups and small businesses to produce business plans. Brixx’s user-friendly interface also makes it a useful tool for students.
Barrie was introduced to Guernsey by friend and three times World Touring Car Championship champion Andy Priaulx.
However, his decision to establish his business here was down to the island’s excellent intellectual property proposition. After a meeting with John Ogier at the Guernsey Registry, Barrie decided to register the Brixx patent here in Guernsey. Barrie told me “I established Brixx here in Guernsey in 2009 to hold and develop this intellectual property. I moved here permanently 18 months ago to continue this work and establish a global base for Brixx.” You can learn more about Brixx at www.brixx.com
What is it?
Clarus Risk offers RiskMonitor, which provides high quality and customisable risk reports for internal and regulatory risk governance as well as investor reporting demands. A further strength of Clarus Risk is its independence. Max Hilton, Managing Director at Clarus Risk told me “Regulators and investors alike continue to have increasing demands for independent risk data and reports.”
Max returned to Guernsey in 2008 to develop the ideas that would one day become Clarus Risk. He attributes his move home to the island’s excellent reputation for corporate governance adding that “As well as providing a first-class client base, Guernsey provides an excellent hub from which to service international clients and we benefit from working alongside local partners in leading IT, audit and legal firms.” You can learn more about Clarus Risk at www.clarusrisk.com
What is it?
See-ID is an example of Software as a Service (SaaS), which that makes the collection and verification of due diligence documentation quicker, more secure, and better quality.
Most impressively, See-ID provides these advantages remotely while the international standards on which travel documentation is based makes See-ID suitable for on-boarding clients of any nationality. These features are particularly compelling for businesses in IFCs such as Guernsey whose clients are overseas.
Behind See-ID is local businessman Stuart Ayres, for formed Channel Islands Data Services more than ten years ago.
Stuart says that Guernsey is a centre of excellence for financial services with world-leading standards of regulation, which makes it one of the best places on earth to launch See-ID. He adds that he has received excellent support from organisations such as Startup Guernsey and the Digital Greenhouse.
What is it?
Wealthify is an online investment service that uses smart technology to make investing easy and affordable for everyone. Its customers can start investing with just £250 and add as little as £20 per month to their plan if they choose.
Michelle Pearce, the firm’s Guernsey-born Chief Investment Officer, told me “We think everyone should have the opportunity to invest, so we’ve created a straightforward and jargon-free service that everyone can use no matter how little experience they have.”
Wealthify is in fact an FCA regulated company operating out of an office in Cardiff, but its origins lie when Michelle teamed up with Guernsey-based investment manager Richard Avery-Wright and Cardiff-based tech entrepreneur Richard Theo. You can learn more about Wealthify at www.wealthify.com
What is it?
The staff at 1882 Group help regulated businesses through change, including implementing their ‘ecosystem’ of applications, programs and processes to client firms. The firm also offers human and financial capital management.
Simon Davies, 1882 Group’s founder, says that almost all regulated firms (on the island and elsewhere) have a need to improve their systems, allowing them to provide more for less.
Simon says that Guernsey provides the kind of security and stability which insulates him, his family and his business from many of the risks faced in many larger democracies.
Simon adds that Locate Guernsey provided a quick and easy process of bringing his family and business to the island. You can learn more about 1882 Group at http://www.1882group.com/
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