• James Thwaites

New report highlights growth potential for FinTech in the North East

Written by James Thwaites, Associate Director and Julian Wells, Director of Whitecap Consulting, this blog was originally published here; https://www.whitecapconsulting.co.uk/press-release/new-report-highlights-growth-potential-for-fintech-in-the-north-east/


The North East can offer growing FinTech firms a highly attractive base from which to build their future growth, according to a new report from Whitecap Consulting.

The report analyses the North East FinTech ecosystem and finds the region to have a strong established financial and technology sector and a growing number of early stage FinTech firms.


Based on insights gained from a combination of desk-based research, focus groups and interviews conducted over several months, the report is the first formal analysis of the FinTech ecosystem in the North East. Co-authored by Whitecap’s Julian Wells, Director & FinTech Practice Lead, and James Thwaites, Associate Director for the North East, the report is published at a time where there is an increasing focus on the role the regions outside the South East can play in the future growth of the UK FinTech sector.


Richard Coates, Managing Director of Whitecap Consulting, says: “The North East hosts some long established financial and public sector organisations. When looking at the startup and scaleup firms in the region, there is a higher percentage of startups within the FinTech community than any other region we have researched to date. This over-indexing of startups indicates that the FinTech sector is still in the early stages of forming, making it an exciting time for the region. There is a growing trend for London-based FinTechs to establish a regional base in a location where they can scale up their operations, with several well-known FinTech organisations now having additional bases outside London. With a clear articulation of its FinTech proposition the North East can aspire to attract firms like this in the near future.”


The North East has some high profile case studies to support its FinTech credentials, including being home to Sage, the UK’s largest listed technology company, as well as Atom Bank which has raised £450m in funding in three years and now employs approximately 365 people, and Newcastle Strategic Solutions which powers a number of the UK’s digital banks on an outsourced white label basis. Recently Sage, Atom Bank, Newcastle Strategic Solutions, Virgin Money, and Tesco Bank have collectively announced the creation of 430 new tech jobs in the North East.


Lindsay Phillips, Executive Vice President, Product Delivery, Sage UK, says: “Sage is delighted to be supporting this research from Whitecap Consulting, which is putting a spotlight on the region and showcasing some of the amazing work being done here. This report marks an important milestone in establishing a clear view of the scale of our FinTech Sector, the diversity of innovation that exists today and creating an insight into the growth potential that could be realised going forwards.”


Philip Grand, Managing Director, Newcastle Strategic Solutions, adds: “This research shows the North East is an innovative place for businesses to grow and thrive – with an increasing number of exciting FinTech companies choosing to put down roots here. Newcastle Strategic Solutions are committed to nurturing skills development within our workforce, and to build and maintain a strong talent pool to drive ongoing innovation and support growth. We’ll also continue to develop links between FinTech organisations both locally and further afield to drive the continued disruption that will be needed to fuel sustainable progress within the sector.”


The report has identified 58 firms in the North East that are active in the FinTech sector, including established financial sector organisations, tech companies, and early stage FinTech firms. The latter category is made up of 17 startups and scaleups, a higher percentage of which are startups than in any other region researched to date. Whitecap estimates the North East has capacity to host at least twice this number of FinTechs. The report also estimates there are over 3,000 people in FinTech related roles in the North East, with 53,000 employed overall in the financial services and technology sectors across the region.

The research was co-funded and supported by a number of prominent organisations in the North East, including Sage, Newcastle Strategic Solutions, Newcastle City Council, Business Durham, Newcastle University, Dynamo North East, and FinTech North.


It is the first in a series of five regional reports to be published by Whitecap Consulting, a regional strategy consultancy with offices in six cities across the UK including Newcastle.  Whitecap is also the cofounder of FinTech North, the northern event-based community that has been increasingly active in the North East in 2019 including hosting a conference hosted at Sage for more than 300 people in September.


Whitecap has also conducted ecosystem reports for the Leeds City Region, Bristol & Bath, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. You can view and download these other ecosystem reports here.

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