By @SimonCocking. Great interview with Edwina Johnson London COO @sbcFinTech part of @Sbootcamp accelerator network. Startup Bootcamp FinTech will be coming to Dublin May 19th, see here for more details.

Your background briefly?

A mixture of marketing and operations at various media agencies and consultancies, before cofounding a startup and realizing just how exciting the tech startup scene is! Sadly my startup at the time failed, however I realized that my passion lay in working with different businesses and helping enraptures be successful. I am now in my second year of helping run the Startupbootcamp London FinTech accelerator and absolutely loving it.

What’s your role as COO of Startupbootcamp?

To help plan and execute the highest quality of accelerator for everyone involved – from the startups, to our mentors, corporate partners and wider community.

What the event is that you are bringing to Dublin? 1 min pitch

Our FastTrack tour! The chance for FinTech startups to pitch their business and receive one on one feedback from an awesome panel of mentors from MasterCard, FinTech Ireland, Bank of Ireland and many other top FinTech experts – as well as the chance to be FastTracked through our application process for the 2016 London FinTech accelerator.

Why did you chose Dublin?

We know the startup tech community is really strong, which shows why one of our partners’ MasterCard bases their innovation team in Dublin. Irish startups looking to expand their European activity are likely to find the regional reach of our accelerator very appealing, particularly as it’s so close to home.

How can people find out more / register?

Check out our event page here to see a selection of the mentor panel for the day and so see how to apply.

Your observations on what ideas have done well in previous iterations of these events?

Entrepreneurs with innovative ideas (rather than just copycats), who are able to clearly describe their customer validation and revenue model.

Tips to participants to do well at the event?

Firstly practice your pitch – not forgetting to include an ask at the end! Be prepared to have 30 second pitch, 2 min pitch and 5 minute pitch as that’s what you should always be prepared for on any events you go to.
Secondly research the backgrounds of the mentors in the room so you know what value they can bring your business, then make sure to take notes, particularly if there’s just one of you attending on the day. Make sure you approach mentors and be active, exchange contacts and make a great first impression. You never know where your first investment comes from or who can be valuable partner to your business.

Can banks successfully compete with FinTech startups to deliver future banking needs for people?

I don’t believe it’s a question of competition, there is so much potential benefit from collaboration that we are seeing a significant shift in attitudes – even the guys at TransferWise now partner with some banks and to be fair startups are reliant on the banks. Banks on the other hand need to innovate their services and products to keep up with customer demands and here’s where FinTech startups jump in. The idea that all FinTech startups are looking only to compete with traditional players if an outdated view. There is often huge benefit from the two side collaboration, be that sharing knowledge and expertise, or bringing new revenue streams to each other’s business. A collaboration that our accelerator model really works to foster. As Joel Perlman, the CoFounder of OakNorth bank said at our Challenger Banks event “Think about collaborating as well as competing. Large, traditional institutions have a wealth of customer data and as such, know a huge amount about FinTech startups target market. Working with them rather than against them could prove to be helpful as your startup grows.”

Do you see blockchain / and or bitcoin becoming widely adopted? If so, how soon or why not?

Many startups are utilizing blockchain technology, and we’ve already seen a couple of incredibly valuable solutions – however certainly the pace of innovation is picking up dramatically already this year with so much attention and money going into the space. We’ve had some great blockchain startups from our 2015 cohorts such as Tradle and Otonomos.

Which thought leaders in this area do you follow / enjoy reading?

The great thing about the FinTech community is that we’re exceptionally vocal! Just get on Twitter to find a number of thought provoking opinions and articles. Our very own Elizabeth Lumley is inspiration for all of us and also one of the strongest female voices in FinTech and of course Nektarios Liolios. We are surrounded by strong FinTech thought leaders as our partners and mentors who we are very proud of.

Anything else we should have asked?

If there’s a FinTech startup out there who cannot make our FastTrack date there’s still time to apply directly to the accelerator – check out our site to find out about the benefits of the accelerator, our incredible corporate partners, awesome mentor lineup and more:

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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