Go:Tech Awards speak to Fintech expert Greg Cox
Greg Cox is an entrepreneur in the Fintech field and co-founder of Quint Group. Greg learned to code when he was just 16 and over the intervening 20 years, the Fintech entrepreneur has gone onto develop tech start-ups into a global group of businesses.
The Cheshire-based firm now operates in America, Asia, Australia, Europe and South Africa, and expects turnover to exceed £50m in the current financial year.
BLM spoke with Cox to talk about his start in business, the on-going success of Quint Group and the rise of Fintech.
Please tell me about the business
Quint Group has four key businesses within it. MONEVO, which is our biggest business, is a lending marketplace and platform operating in the USA, Australia, Poland and the UK. At a really simple level, the business allows people to offer loan and credit solutions to their customers through the platform, from around 150 lenders globally.
Moneyguru is a price comparison website which focuses on credit and loans rather than insurance which others focus on.
We also have a data business called Infinian which focuses on providing alternative data to the credit bureaus.
And finally, we have a business called Credit Angel, which is a personal finance management tool focused on providing customers with credit reports and scores, helping them to improve their credit standing.
Overall the group has 130 staff and are headquartered in Macclesfield but we also have offices in London, Australia, China and more.
What inspired you to go into business in the first place?
I have always been interested in the business world. My parents were self-employed and always have been. I never saw myself as someone who would work for someone else.
What were the first steps you took to establishing the business?
I’d invested in a financial services business in 2006 and it failed in the wake of the global financial crisis. Reviewing why that business had failed and the wider market gave me an opportunity to understand the gaps in the market. For example, at that time everything was being dealt with over the telephone – online technology hadn’t yet been fully adopted.
Off the back of this, I went on to co-found Quint in 2009 and quickly started to form an opinion on where technology adoption could add value.
Tell me more about how you got into Fintech coding at the age of 16?
I’ve always been interested in computer science and technology, even at school. In 2008, after I had invested in a financial services business in Macclesfield, I had a closer look at the financial services and credit sector in the UK and realised that most business was transacted via fax machine and telephones to call centres. It was clear to me that to progress, the whole sector would need to harness online processes and technology.
It was really seeing that opportunity which got me to enter the Fintech space, which isn’t what it was called back then – it didn’t have a name, it was the simple thought that credit and lending were going to move towards an online model.
How has Fintech developed and changed over time?
Fintech at a broad level represents businesses that are providing technology driven services in the financial services sector. The interesting point to think about is most businesses today are, by necessity, technology-driven businesses. Since founding Quint, this has been the biggest evolution in the way companies operate. Technology adoption, especially in financial services, has been huge in the last decade. A lot of companies, including ourselves, really identified the opportunity in providing technology-led services.
Fintech services and companies have been widely adopted and been successful for the most part because it’s more efficient for someone to fulfil credit or make a loan application online, end-to-end, than speak to someone in call centres. It’s also a cheaper way of delivering products or services. There’s been a huge shift in the way businesses have adopted technology and a big shift in what consumers want, namely the ease of accessing financial services and products online.
How difficult is it to stand out in the technology space now?
It’s really difficult, as there’s lots of competition and investment. There are a huge amount of people trying to solve the same problem.
One of the challenges some Fintech businesses face is they’ve tried to solve problems which don’t necessarily need solving. In contrast, we’ve focused on a sector where there’s already a clear demand, using financial technology to provide solutions within the consumer finance sector.
You mentioned about the rise of Fintech and the coining of that term, where do you see the sector going?
It’s here to stay, I think what we’ll see in the next 5-10 years is consolidation in the marketplace. Obviously there’s lots of new startups and we’ll start to see some businesses fail and not get to the appropriate scale and we’ll also start to see some businesses start to become household names and grow to a significant size. While some Fintech businesses have had a lot of press and have grown in scale in a lot of the segments Fintech businesses compete in none of them have got near the sacle of major banks or some more etsbalished financial services. This, I think, might change in the next decade.
Looking at the success of Quint Group what do you attribute this to?
We’ve chosen a good market to focus on, there are a lot of opportunities in financial services. There aren’t many other Fintech businesses which have been around longer than us and I think that’s helped. We’ve focused on innovation and technology which has been important – plus, we’ve worked really hard to meet the needs of the market and consumers alike.
What’s the biggest challenges or hurdles you’ve faced?
Regulation of the consumer credit market in the UK in 2013/2014, that was very challenging, resulting in a huge amount of change in the overall market and a new set of rules to adhere to. This made us re-examine all of our operating models over a 2-4 year process.
Where do you see the future of Quint Group?
Our long-term mission is to become a fundamental part of the consumer credit infrastructure in the markets we work operate in. We really want our products and services to be essential when operating in the consumer finance space. That’s where we want to get to long term. However, in the short term we want to grow revenues to £100m and to continue to successfully expand our products and services internationally. We’re excited for the future.