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Unlocking scale through partnerships for FinTechs seeking growth

In recent years there has been an upwards trend in the number of entrepreneurs wanting to scale their innovative start-ups into global businesses, rather than choosing to sell out early. Within the Financial Services market, the mechanisms to support these organisations are still developing, and although the Government’s commitments following the Kalifa Review will go some way to addressing this, the journey to scale for FinTechs is not without its challenges.

Partnerships across and beyond the financial services ecosystem offer critical opportunities for organisations looking to grow - they provide access to experience, connections, independent challenge and more, which can unlock the speed and access to markets that accelerate growth. But what is at the heart of the most successful scale-up partnerships, and how can those looking to scale make the most of them?

We were delighted to host panelists from across the industry to explore this topic as part of UK FinTech Week. In this article, the final installment in the series exploring insights from our four FinTech Week events, we are pleased to share the key themes below.

Laying core foundations

For a FinTech to scale successfully, the foundations of the company have to be solid. A clear purpose, a vision for the next decade, and a set of values that are shared, lived and breathed by the whole workforce and felt by clients and shareholders, are all fundamental. From the very start, FinTechs have the opportunity to intentionally set and create an optimum culture, and having this foundation in place is critical to supporting their growth to scale.

Choosing the right moment

When considering the strategic decision to focus on scaling up, FinTechs need to ensure they choose the right moment. With a crowded market, there will not be multiple opportunities to prove the worth of the product, its quality, and the robustness and resilience of the business, so putting the right support in place and picking the right moment is important. Key questions for FinTechs considering scale include:

  • Is there enough demand in the market to justify the scale?
  • Do you have the resources to be able to maintain that scale up?
  • Are your team aligned and behind the ambition?
  • Do you have the required financial resources?
  • Do you have the operational resiliency to scale successfully?
  • Do you have the right partners and support in place to ensure success?

Picking your partner

Partnerships and collaboration can add significant value to a FinTech’s scaling up journey. Taking the time to find and pick the right partner, who can provide the support you need to scale effectively, can unlock a multitude of benefits:

  • access to challenge and a sounding board for ideas to enhance product
  • access to learning from scale-ups who have done the growth journey before
  • access to connections that unlock speed to market and enhance solutions
  • access to subject matter expertise
  • access to reputational advantage by association, especially with larger organisations
  • access to a sales engine and client network beyond your own means

Making the partnership work

As covered in our previous blog, alignment in any FinTech partnership is fundamental to its success - whether around vision, culture, values, or ambitions. However in partnerships to support scale, the need for mutual benefit in the relationship is amplified. Taking time to get to know the partner’s language and ways of working - their sales year, their business development teams, their strategic direction - can unlock the relationship and enable a FinTech to activate the extended power of the partner’s team. Especially for those partnering with large organisations - whether Big Tech firms like Microsoft or advisory firms like PwC - it is especially important to help the organisation understand how they can help you, while being clear on what is also in it for them. Having shared transparency on the mutual gain to be had from mutual investment can smooth what can sometimes be a lengthy onboarding process.

If you would like to access our view on the four major themes coming out of the whole of FinTech Week, or read the rest in our FinTech Week Highlights series, visit our FinTech Week Highlights homepage.

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Contact us

Jon Maskery

Jon Maskery

Partner, UK Financial Services Consulting, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7802 952626

Nick Chouksey

Nick Chouksey

Director, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 721 35060

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