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Best Of The Press (Releases) Part II; Only One More Sleep Until You Get To Make “The Biggest Decision Of Your Life”; The Left Say In; The Right Say Out; Just say okey dokey (and make sure you don’t vote out?)

Yes, there’s a big vote taking place tomorrow and if you read on we will share the thoughts of some of the “Techerati” on Brexit, but before we do that let’s have a shizzle through what’s been dropping into Haggerston Times’ virtual postbox so far this week.

Do Millennials trust and like tech more than banks?

In a week that has seen Mondo decide to apply for a restricted banking licence while it seeks to raise the £15-£20 million it needs to obtain a full licence from the FCA and Bank of England, as fellow app only “neo-banks” Tandem, Atom and Starling have done, whilst Germany based Number26 completed a $40m Series B raise led by Honk Kong based Horizon Ventures and Boston based Battery Ventures, a survey completed by compliance and regulatory framework startup Neopay reveals that these so called “challenger banks” are already winning over the hearts, minds and wallets of millennials.

A survey of 2,000 UK adults shows that exactly half of 18-24 year olds do not trust their high street banks, whilst one in three said they would be inclined to trust tech companies like Apple and Google to handle their e-money transactions.

Older generations, the survey suggests, are more inclined to stick with high street banks; 41% of 25-34 year olds, 24% of 35-44 year olds, 24% of 44-55 year olds and just 17% of 55-64 year olds expressed a lack of trust in them.

In fact the differences between the challenger banks and their more established high street rivals may be one of perception rather than reality, since more than half (47%) have not met a representative from their high street bank in the last 12 months.

Neopay’s Commercial Director Scott Dawson suggests that “the increasing frequency of scandals, combined with concerns about infrastructure and reliability, and the increase of automated processes have all served to erode trust and undermine the reputation of our banks.”

However you slice and dice the data, it seems like tech, and apps, are the winners here. As challenger banks eat into high street banks’ market share and high street banks trim staff numbers and turn to tech, the likelihood is they will eventually meet at some point near the middle ground.

Just don’t expect a dedicated customer services to answer your urgent banking queries at any point in the future; chances are you will be talking to a messenger bot.

Is prepaid the way to go for the cash strapped, ultra organised millennial (and most other people too)?

Meanwhile, as Mondo fights to solve its chicken and egg style problems (no banking license without £15-20 million in the bank, no fundraising without a banking licence), rumour has it the startup has begun to look at the prepaid cards market.

Good idea, suggests Noel Moran, CEO of Prepaid Financial Services, and an entrepreneur in his own right, being a finalist in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year contest 2016.

Moran believes that “previously prepaid cards were considered low tech and mainly for the unbanked/subprime in the UK, although other countries around the world including the US and Europe adopted them more widely.”

“Younger millennials are enjoying the preloaded functionally for better budgeting that is afforded by prepaid but also the e-wallets, mobile banking, apps, stickers, and other wearable technology that means they don’t need to carry cash on a night out.”

Cashless stadiums, concerts, and festivals are catching on, and prepaid is also a means for mobile operators, retailers and even governments to inspire “brand” loyalty. Or an ingenious way to control departmental and staff spending, without causing a stir or questioning employees occasionally wayward use of the company credit card.

And to reinforce the point about the harmony that exists between the challenger and high street banks, Moran concludes; “And finally, both traditional and challenger banks are utilising prepaid as a way to deliver quick-to-market products which the former’s legacy systems aren’t equipped to do and the latter’s aren’t yet sufficiently developed or the entity may not be regulated to offer full banking services”

So if you are a millennial with trust issues, a travelling company salesman, a good citizen or even a refugee, you may find yourself on the prepaid wage before the year is out.

Moran founded Prepaid Financial Services in 2008, long before FinTech had become a “thing”; the company now has more than 2.5m account holders, turnover of £29m, and, with little outside investment, recently achieved a valuation of £50m.

The World Is Mobile; Mobile Is Eating The World; So Probably A good Idea To Attend Open Mobile Summit!

Why should you attend Open Mobile Summit? For the above reasons but also because there you will meet and hear from in detail, digital product leaders Shazam, Spotify, TrainLine, The Guardian, JustEat, YPlan, Lyst, Marks & Spencer and M&C Saatchi Mobile.

Plus representatives from the marketing and technical departments of a further 100 companies, some of whom are doubtless in the market for a startup or entrepreneur with a skillset that matches your own.

And of course, the bald fact that 2 billion people own smartphones, they are grabbing a bigger slice of overall advertising revenue share than ever before (and it will keep growing) and there are literally millions of developers working day and night, fuelled by coffee and energy drinks, to make mobile the one accessory that consumers will prize above all others, and use to arrange and complete almost every task you can think of. Even, and we know you’ve probably been hearing some horror stories, in the event of the dreaded Brexit.

Some tickets are still available, check out the Open Mobile Summit website for more details.

Final word; Brexit bad for employees, recruiters, tech and Britain, say Global M founders

We said we’d discuss it, but we prefer to précis the thoughts of two co-founders who have experienced first hand how things get done within Tech City, where the muscle comes from, and what would happen if we deny access to the kind of talent Tech City has come to depend upon.

Nick Waller and Alex Hemsley are the co-founders of Global-M, a ground-breaking recruitment startup based just off London’s Silicon Roundabout that has been “helping British technology startups source talent and assemble programming teams from around the world since its establishment in 2012”.

“The technology startup scene is international by its very nature”, they say. “In this fast-moving realm of innovation, there is greater demand for specialist skills than supply and talent must take precedence over nationality or geographic convenience in the search for staff for any startup that wants to thrive.”

Hemsley and Waller argue that contrary to what Brexiteers suggest, “foreign highly skilled workers aren’t taking job opportunities from native talent”, but helping UK based startups to flourish, which helps boost the nation’s economy and swells the coffers at HMRC.

Global M say that more than half the placements they have made in the UK have been for overseas talent, and Hemsley believes that “any restriction on the movement of highly skilled european labour is only going to have a negative impact on the London technology infrastructure, and therefore its validity as a major power on the bleeding edge of the technology and innovation sectors.”

They also point out that; “A recent survey by Silicon Valley Bank found that 72% of startup executives said leaving the EU would have a negative effect on their business while 95% said it is already challenging to find the right people for their teams. Moreover, the Treasury have predicted a year long recession on top of over 800,000 job losses if the UK are to vote “Yes” to Brexit.”

Yes, Brexiteers have tried to suggest that “through preferential visa rules, the UK will have the power to tailor the UK immigration policy to attract skilled employees into the areas required, such as tech”, notes Waller, “but the Global {M} team know from their vast experience in relocating technologists, Brexit will make the UK a less attractive place to relocate to.”

And the EU does a great job of supporting British startups; it would be a shame for British startups to miss out on funding schemes such as the 2.8 billion euros funding, business support and mentorship programme “SME Instrument” and the EU Research and Innovation programme “Horizon 2020”, which promises to make nearly £67 (€80 billion) of funding available for startups over the next few years”.

Given that, “as it stands, three-quarters of EU citizens working in the UK would not meet current visa requirements for non-EU overseas workers if Britain left the bloc”, it seems almost a certainty that London would lose its current status as the number European Hub for tech startup’s (according to the European Digital City Index in 2015), should Britain decide to leave the EU.

So there you have it – straight from the Unicorn’s mouth, as it were. Those who want to “make Britain great again” have failed to notice that it already is great. And will never be satisfied, in or out. Best leave it to the E(U)xperts, huh?

 

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