Innovate Finance propels UK fintech with Unicorn Council

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Innovate Finance has launched the first Unicorn Council for UK fintech (UCFT), a coalition of UK-based fintech unicorn founders.

Launched by the independent industry body for UK fintech, the UCFT aims to to accelerate and unlock promised growth in the sector.

Janine Hirt, CEO of Innovate Finance will lead the council and will be supported by a steering committee composed of prominent fintech figures such as Philip Belamant, CEO of Zilch, and Charles McManus, CEO of Clearbank.

The UCFT has said that it will offer policy recommendations to the government, with suggestions aimed to safeguard and uphold the UK’s global standing in the sector, ensuring that the nation effectively navigates the investment and growth hurdles anticipated over the next decade.

Hirt commented: “In the last few years, UK fintech has shown resilience by maintaining its position as a global hub for investment, second in the world behind only the US, and maintaining the leading position in Europe.

“However, to maintain our leadership we need to accelerate our work with industry, government and regulators to ensure the necessary support for growth tech companies, including proactive regulation and increased investment.”

Fintech stands as a vital strategic sector within the UK economy, driving innovation, productivity, and growth. 

Although investments in the sector decreased in 2023, according to Innovate Finance’s latest fintech Investment Landscape, the UK retained its global leadership, securing more capital than the entirety of Europe combined.

“As a proudly British-born company, we’re excited to co-found this dedicated council for UK unicorns. This is a chance to redefine how global investors see the distinct value of investing in the high growth, UK fintech sector,” Belamant said.

“I’m looking forward to this unique opportunity to work closely with the industries best companies and Innovate Finance, to craft the policy playbook that outlines what the government, regulators and the broader ecosystem need to address if our generation of fintech businesses are to thrive on a global stage”.

UCFT will pinpoint the significant challenges facing UK companies in scaling up and expanding, engaging directly with senior government ministers and officials to offer recommendations on how policy interventions can best support these companies.

For example, in January, a group of fintech company leaders spoke to Parliament Street, a policy think tank oriented towards the governing Conservative Party, urging British MPs to recognise the ‘game-changing’ benefits artificial intelligence (AI) can bring to the country’s finance sectors

Through the creation of UCFT, fintech leaders will have a channel to voice these opinions and suggestions.

The Council’s ExCo will be chaired by Mike Carter, Senior Policy Advisor at Innovate Finance and Ryan Mendy, Chief Communications Officer at Zilch.

Mendy added: “Envision the Unicorn Council as a colossal £50bn plus conveyor belt, propelling today’s privately held entities into the limelight as tomorrow’s publicly held giants. 

“Outside the US, the UK is the undisputed first choice for global businesses to IPO their successful ventures. The genesis of the Unicorn Council emerged from a vision Zilch had to forge a ground-breaking, unified voice for fintech CEOs and founders with future proof policies that match the needs of their high growth businesses.”