It’s hot at London Tech Week (LTW). And not just because of the stellar line-up at the event. London is bathed in gorgeous sunshine and the Queen Elizabeth II Convention Centre offers the ideal venue for delegates from across the world to engage with technology companies. One of those topics was about how Money has no Borders. And DisruptionBanking was there to find out more.
One of the technology companies represented at LTW is Wise. A unicorn listed on the London Stock Exchange. Wise is a leader in the payments space and was also one of the first non-banks to get access to faster payment rails. Readers of DisruptionBanking will be familiar with stories that we have covered about the teams at Wise in Texas and London so far. You may also be familiar with the company’s mission : Money without Borders.
Folley Ogundele, Wise’s charismatic VP Global Head of Commercial, spoke at a panel on the first day of the event. The panel was aptly called ‘Banking without Borders’ and Folley was joined by Gabrielle Patrick of Knabu and Garðar Stefánsson of Rapyd Europe. Much of the discussion was about moving money across borders.
Money without Borders with Wise
All successful tech firms solve a problem. The problem that Wise is solving is helping consumers and businesses make easier, faster and cheaper payments across the world. Saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. And, as Folley, explained, half of the payments are currently instant.
Folley shared how this achievement was partially down to the changing regulatory landscape.
“A big part of what we do is working with regulators and central banks,” Folley explained to the audience. The Transformation Stage where the panel took place was almost full. And the title of the panel discussion was similar to how Wise positions itself online – “Money without borders” which Folley highlighted to the delegates who had gathered to find out more.
“It should be as easy as sending an email. To send funds to Singapore, to the Philippines, to Brazil, etc.,” Folley elaborated. “What we’ve done over the last decade or so is really build into the local infrastructure, the local payment rails, whether that’s PIX in Brazil, or the Faster Payments Service (FPS) in the UK.
“And that really is the secret sauce of Wise. Doing the hard work to get in with our infrastructure closer to the metal,” he added. “And then being supportive to banks and large enterprises who want to leverage some of that infrastructure.”
Folley was referring to the Wise Platform. He described the platform as “a solution that effectively takes the power of Wise that many of you are familiar with, putting that either in an API or relevant integration path for larger banks, fintechs and large enterprises.”
“It’s a great way for us to get closer to our mission of making payments instant, convenient, transparent and eventually free.” Folley summarized.
What about Collaboration and Partnerships?
Delegates weren’t just at the panel to hear about Wise’s latest innovations. Or how the company is moving money without borders. Many of them were there to learn how the unicorn manages partnerships too. Especially when much of the innovation at Wise is taking place in what would normally be considered the remit of traditional banks.
“I think the newer generation of banks and bankers are very much more open to partnerships with fintechs,” Folley shared. “We work with the neobanks like Monzo and N26, but we also partner with South Korea’s largest bank and one of the largest banks in Indonesia.
“Traditional banks, centuries old in some cases, want to leverage a lot of the infrastructure that we’ve spent the best part of a decade building, refining and now making available to them. Why? Because that’s what their customers are asking them for. They are seeing the growth of companies like Wise and others. They are interested in working out a way to partner and work together with us. To help provide their customers with instant, transparent and convenient ways of moving money and managing money globally.”
One of the countries that has benefitted hugely from the innovative approach to money that Wise has is Hungary. Folley joined Susanna Toth Lee, the CEO of the Hungarian British Business Alliance, and our Editor, Andy Samu, for a quick photo after the panel:
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Author: Andy Samu