Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen the word FinTech appear all over the place. In my inbox, on Twitter and in a couple of articles.

Forgive me if I’m massively behind the curve on this.

After voluminous research I have discovered that FinTech is quite a big deal (and getting more so). And no it’s not the name of a Scandinavian microchip company…

FinTech means Financial Technology.

And there are a whole host of startups doing interesting things in the space that finance (transactions, investments, payments, etc) meets the Internet.

Why do I care?

1. Because many of these young businesses could be interested in hiring city escapees.

2. Because if you’ve worked in financial services – you may be inspired to start one too…

So who are these businesses?

A scan down the 2013 FinTech 50 (a PR assembled list by the looks of things) shows some familiar faces:

  • Crowdcube – the crowdfunding website that we used to raise £600,000 from 395 of our own members last year.
  • GoCardless – the extremely useful payments engine that we use (started by ex-McKinsey management consultants).
  • Funding Circle – the peer-to-peer loan platform also started by ex-City folk – £91,000,000 loans funded so far.
  • Market Invoice – started by Anil and Charles (read Anil’s escape story here) – a working capital platform.
  • Nutmeg – who have hired through Escape, started by Nick Hungerford (read his escape story) – online investments.

What does this mean for you?

It has never been cheaper to start a business. The internet allows agile, entrepreneurial operations to capitalise on new opportunities in a way that the large incumbents can’t.

You don’t need millions of pounds and hundreds of employees in order to building something that challenges the status quo. In fact, being well established is probably a disadvantage within the context of building something exciting in FinTech.

If you’re interested in all of this you should check out the new FinTech Innovation Lab London (annual mentorship programme), the same one in New York, the NY FinTech Startup meetup, the London New Finance meetup, and Level39CW (definitely this last one).

Over to you…

Could you score an exciting new job with one of these guys? Could you put your current skills to work and build something innovative in the FinTech space?

Could Escape help with either of these? A weekend hackathon aimed at the sector? An evening Q&A with a panel of FinTech entrepreneurs and employers?

Let me know in the comments…


Rob Symington (@escroberto) is Escape the City’s co-founder. He lives on a boat, owns a double decker bus called Esmerelda and a motorbike that breaks down a lot. He passionately believes that ‘just because’ things are the way they are is no justification for accepting them.

The Escape team are hard at work over on the main site building Escape Profiles that help people make big career changes.

If you want to receive Escape the City blog posts directly into your inbox just click here. We write about leaving big corporates, pursuing alternative careers, building businesses, and going on big adventures. Because life is too short to do work that doesn’t matter.

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