National challenge searches for Scottish fintech talent

Chris Gorst, Head of Better Markets at Nesta Challenges
Chris Gorst, Head of Better Markets at Nesta Challenges

Nesta Challenges is calling for fintechs in Scotland to create open banking-enabled solutions to help people better manage their money as new research reveals 26% of Scots want more help with budgeting their money with 17% admitting they’re not good at money management. Nearly half (46%) say they want to feel more in control of their finances.

FinTech Scotland states that Scotland is already home to over 100 fintech companies, with 161,000 people employed in financial services, and has also been voted as the best European place to start a tech business1.

Scottish fintechs are being invited to apply for the Open Up 2020 Challenge – a ground-breaking challenge prize from Nesta Challenges in partnership with Open Banking Limited to help people make more of their money. The £1.5m prize fund aims to stimulate the development of open banking-enabled products and solutions that help people better manage their finances by attracting entries from across the UK.

The research also found that more than 70,000 people in Scotland (15%) admit that they spend the whole of their pay cheque as soon as they get it, and a quarter (25%) regularly run out of money every month. Over a third (37%) would like to use apps and tools – such as those enabled by open banking – to help them manage their money.

Recognised as one of the top fintech destinations in the world, Nesta Challenges expects a strong level of entries to Open Up 2020 from Scotland-based fintech companies. On the 12 September, the Open Up 2020 team will be at Codebase in Edinburgh between 9am-1pm to meet with local fintech innovators to help them learn more about how they can enter the Challenge before entries close on 2 October and provide one-to-one advice on the application process.

Successful applicants will each receive up to £300k in prize money as well as support in promoting their products in a national digital marketing awareness campaign, and expert non-financial help to help accelerate product development and user adoption.

Chris Gorst, Head of Better Markets at Nesta Challenges said: “Open Up 2020 not only provides innovative fintech companies in Scotland with the chance to develop pioneering financial products enabled by open banking, but it also has the potential to significantly change the lives of thousands across the UK by helping them to improve their financial management. 

“Scotland is home to a large number of fintechs and has also been voted the best European place to start a technology business. We therefore expect a strong level of entries from Scotland, and we look forward to sharing information with the region’s fintech innovators on how they can enter the challenge prize when we visit Edinburgh on the 12September.” 

Nicola Anderson, Strategic Development Director at FinTech Scotland added: “Nesta Challenges’ research shows that people want more help to manage money and feel in control of their finances. The products and services enabled by open banking will have a key role to play here. Scotland is home to a thriving fintech community and we’re certain that many Scottish businesses are working on innovative ideas to help people make more of their money.

“Initiatives like Open Up 2020 are crucial in driving new ideas and pioneering open banking solutions that make a real difference to people’s everyday financial lives. We strongly encourage any fintechs considering entering this challenge to book in some time with the Open Up 2020 team in Edinburgh and take advantage of the tailored one-to-one advice on the application process.”

This challenge prize follows the first Open Up Challenge, a prize fund which ran from 2016 to 2018 backing the next generation of open banking enabled products and apps for small businesses. Two winners of Open Up 2018 (Fluidly and Funding Options) have raised £5m+ investment rounds, three winners (Swoop, Funding Options and Fluidly) have been awarded £5m each as part of the RBS Alternative Remedies Package, and all six have announced significant user traction milestones.

To book a face-to-face appointment with the Open Up 2020 team in Edinburgh on the 12 September, or to find out more information, please contact openupchallenge@nesta.org.uk

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