On Thursday 05 April 2018, Lord Holmes of Richmond visited London fintech unit Octopus Labs, in central London to learn more about smart financial products. The visit was part of his IPT Fellowship* exploring current innovation and technology in the UK.
Octopus Labs, based in Holborn, create smart financial products using technology to build customer centric financial products – the trip comes as part of a series of visits that Lord Holmes is making to a number of UK firms to support his role on the Lord’s Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence. Launched in 2015, Octopus Labs have developed a number of financial offerings, including products that are able to assist you in finding higher saving rates through Octopus Cash or investing in property through peer-to-peer investing platform Octopus Choice. They are championing change for a new and brighter culture, based on fast decision making, rapid learning, date in everything and constant integration.
During the visit Lord Holmes met with a number of employees including Founder of Octopus Group, Chris Hulatt, before being shown around the various departments. Lord Homes’ visit explored the topic of digital skills including what Octopus Labs are doing to promote education and training in both hard core technology and working with technology – before touching upon the effects of Brexit to the industry. Recent data from Innovate Finance** suggests that the UK’s fintech sector is thriving despite the Brexit vote, with VC firms attracting double the amount of investment than in 2016.
Throughout the visit, Lord Holmes learnt more about their organisational beliefs - of how a traditional functional model is no longer appropriate for a modern technology business. Lord Holmes is due to return to the Octopus Group later in the month, with a visit that focuses on their Venture Capital (VC) Team and the VC ecosystem.
*IPT Fellowships are educational, non-lobbying attachments for parliamentarians, providing a unique perspective of the challenges and issues facing UK industry. Fellowships can take place in a range of organisations, from FTSE 100 companies to SMEs and voluntary organisations.
**Innovate Finance (2017), 2017 FinTech Investment Landscape (https://new.innovatefinance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/final-2017-vc-investment-landscape_9feb.compressed.pdf)