For an advertising and creative professional, Luis Carranza has done well to become one of the FinTech industry’s movers and shakers.
In his day job Luis Carranza, who studied advertising at Virginia Commonwealth University in the US, is digital innovations director at integrated creative agency BD Network.
Yet he has somehow found time to launch a number of leading edge industry projects and events through his business FinTech Worldwide, including FinTech Week (fintechweek.com) which takes place in London from 14-20 September.
He has also unveiled Fintech Ltd, an innovation lab that brings together marketing expertise and innovators, and is the man behind the Silicon Roundabout Meetup. The Meetup began four years ago and now has about 8,500 members having grown organically as a place for start-ups to gather.
“I am still working for BD Network where my role includes building relationships with financial services clients, so a lot of my work is relevant to what is happening in FinTech,” he says. “I am even setting up a micro-accelerator programme at the agency.”
His background may be as a creative but he says his specialism has always been innovation. He was one of the first bloggers in the UK when he came to the country to be a digital strategist and build a social media presence for companies new to that space.
I saw the growth in FinTech coming early because of the work I was doing with financial clients that were building communities from the ground up.
He watches industry trends closely and studies sector research to ensure his various events remain topical and relevant.
For instance, he notes that according to investor data service nVest Ventures, the number of consumers using their mobile device for payments has risen from 12% in 2014 to 14% this year. The number of people using a banking app jumped from 12% in 2010 to 26% last year.
Carranza is particularly proud of how FinTech Week has grown in size and credibility and how its expansion in its second year mirrors the rapid expansion of the entire industry.
There is a significant rise in the number of sponsors this year, including some leading law firms for the first time. There are also more high profile speakers who will debate what Carranza describes as the realignment of financial services.
“The interest in the event says two things to me. One, that FinTech is a buzz word which is reaching maturity because it is embedded in more technology organisations. Two, more people want a piece of the action which means there will be bigger deals and larger industry events. We have visitors coming to FinTech Week from all over the world, including from Australia and Asia.”
One area of the market likely to dominate discussions at FinTech Week is Blockchain, the distributed ledger that underpins Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
“This technology can create efficiencies in a number of sectors, not just financial services. The opportunities are endless and the potential savings are in the billions,” claims Carranza. “The only problem is we’re in the early stages and the race is on to create a new multi-billion pound industry. The potential has been compared to the early internet.”
Always looking to be ahead of the curve, another of Carranza’s initiatives is The Blockchain Collective which is designed to speed up the global adoption of the technology.
He is clear about why money continues to pour into the London FinTech industry.
Start-ups in Fintech have two options, either to become one of the big guys or sell to one of the big guys. The trajectory of investment in the sector shows no sign of slowing down.
He also believes that traditional banks should not be terrified by innovations in FinTech.
“There are parts of banking that are outdated and need to change and there hasn’t been much need to change until recently,” he says. “There’s a lot more competition, but also more reasons to innovate internally and more companies to acquire.”