Interview with Matt Allan, Founder of Fintech Sandpit

Matt is an experienced software developer with machine learning and cybersecurity expertise and creative tendencies. What I enjoy most is cutting through the hype and creating real value and seeing growth.
I am a core member of a number of industry initiatives to support the horizontal sharing of financial data to promote innovation amongst finance. I am driven by being a part of collective initiatives and solving industry problems.
An avid learner whose desire for deep technical mastery is uniquely paired with a natural intuition for business. Well-read with experience in a number of interest areas such as electrical and software engineering, economics, cybersecurity, machine learning, investment, marketing, blockchain, banking technology and psychological wellbeing.
My mission is to use the synergy of these interests to build innovative products that solve systematic financial problems. Money is central to wellbeing and I believe that by improving one’s experience with money, the world will achieve greater satisfaction and overall wellbeing.

Matt Allan, Founder
Matt Allan, Founder
1. What is Fintech Sandpit?
Fintech Sandpit is an industry innovation platform. We help financial institutions quickly and securely source, build, and test fintech startups by bringing fintech products together in one marketplace.
Over the past 5 years, there is a growing appetite for large banks to leverage the best talent and technology in the industry by working with smaller, more nimble fintech companies. However, innovation in large financial service companies is hard and extremely slow.  It can take a fintech startup up to £1.4m to make a sale to a financial institution – no wonder so many fintech startups fail!
We remove the friction of getting from a simple idea to prototype, which helps you validate the idea with real users in the market. This is revolutionary for financial institutions and is saving our customers millions of pounds each year in fixed costs and visionless experimentation.

2. How did you come up with the idea of Fintech Sandpit?
Before starting Fintech Sandpit I looked after cybersecurity for Europe & Americas at Westpac, a leading Australian bank. In the role, I had the opportunity to do a number of innovation projects and was a founding partner of their innovation lab, Co.Lab. While doing these proofs-of-concept (POCs) with fintech companies, I realised how painful it was for financial institutions to innovate. In fact, it takes on average 6-9 months for a POC to even get started in one of these large organisations.
I was resolved that there had to be a better way and so build a digital sandbox to help speed up innovation in the financial services industry.

3. What is the future of Fintech Sandpit and how can individuals get involved?
Fintech Sandpit is scaling up quickly. We are onboarding new fintech and financial institutions every week. This means that everything about the company is being defined at the moment – from culture to technology – which makes it a very exciting place to be.
Ultimately, Fintech Sandpit will be the platform for industry innovation. Our marketplace will become the place that people with new financial services ideas come to test and validate their concept.

4. What make characteristics make a great entrepreneur?
Grit and vision. Entrepreneurs need to be comfortable thinking through the long term. Sometimes this can be a long and lonely process but you need to see the island you are leading the team to. This takes a lot of thought and time, which sometimes get lost in the glamorous story portrayed by the media. On the other hand, you need the grit to take the first step and the courage to stop questioning yourself. So many people sit on great ideas because they are scared to get started. You have to keep taking action every day.

5. What is the future of this space?
Fintech is a really exciting space right now. In changing market conditions, financial institutions are realising that they need to partner with fintech companies in order to remain competitive. Therefore we will continue to see exponential growth in the next few years. The tech side continues to improve also, driven by the passion to make finance more frictionless. Communities like DeFi continue to improve and new technology is creating really exciting opportunities to create new value.

6. What advice would you give to young budding entrepreneurs?
Start something while you still have a job. If you work 9-5, then you can go home and build your empire from 5-12am. Anyone who consistently applies themselves continues to take action and can listen to what their customers want can build a great product. It’s not for everyone, but with the internet, you have all the resources in front of you to build something great.

We would like to thank Matt for speaking with us.

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