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Fintech to help local communities thrive

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Fintech isn’t just about big business and international success. It’s also the key that enables SMBs to keep pace with global innovation and societal change.

There’s something we’re addicted to at LEAP: the stories of how tech founders navigate the entrepreneurial road and create ways to make life better. We asked #LEAP23 speaker Hamish Blythe (Founder of Trilo) how his journey led him to launch a fintech startup, and he said: 

“While at university I started my first business, a mobile network where people could trade their spare data and reduce the cost of their phone bill. Moving on from that in 2018 I worked with a US startup working on their Growth and Operations. 

“Coming back to the UK in 2019, I started on the mission to build Trilo after seeing my favourite highstreet shop close because a Costa Coffee moved into the town. Every highstreet in the UK is the same, and SMBs are being squeezed out by chains and online – we're here to change that.” 

Supporting communities through tech

“Trilo launched after a pivot in summer 2022. Since launching in September they've been growing 30% WoW and passed £50k weekly TPV by the end of November, hitting 10k users in January 2023.” 

Trilo uses open banking to enable bank-to-bank payments – so merchants can take payments from customers without losing a percentage of each transaction to payment providers like Mastercard, Visa, or Stripe.  

“The most important thing for us to do in the fintech world is solving the challenge around accessibility. Cash is something that isn't needed today, however as a community we must make sure that all modern shopping and payment systems are accessible to everyone. This is currently why cash still exists – it allows everyone to pay no matter their circumstances. The same must happen with tech.”

As well as providing open banking tech, Trilo offers customers incentives to use those tools – like cashback or rewards – as a means to encourage the adoption of new tech that will support local economies. 

It’s an important reminder that while fintech (and tech in general) is often criticised for disrupting economies and posing a threat to local stability, it can also do the opposite. Technology can give small businesses and the communities they operate within the ability to grow and thrive, and keep pace with exponential changes in the wider world. 

When small businesses lose trade to big corporations because of competitive convenience and the simple fact that no one carries cash in their pocket anymore, fintech solutions can help. And this can apply to all kinds of problems, solved by all kinds of tech: innovation can help local communities to thrive, just as it can drive international success.  

Get it out there

We know a lot of our readers are early-stage founders and entrepreneurs – so we asked Blythe what advice he’d give to someone working towards launching their own fintech company. He said: 

“Ship, just ship it. Get it out of the door, get feedback from customers, iterate and ship again. Do. Not. Wait.” 

YES to that. 

Thanks to Hamish Blythe at Trilo. Join us at LEAP 2023 to learn more.

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