On a mission to introduce the convenience of online banking e-payments to the UK, Trustly welcomed friends and colleagues to inaugurate its new London office at 80 Clerkenwell Road last week.
Among the attendees were prominent figures in the FinTech industry and we invited a few to speak on a panel about business and opportunity in the UK. Moderated by Independent Business Editor Josie Cox (below, center), the panel included (below, left to right) Ruth Milligan, Head of Financial Services & Payments at techUK; Torbjörn Sohlström, Ambassador of Sweden to the UK; Oscar Berglund, CEO of Trustly; and Mike Parkinson, Trustly’s Director of Travel and GM of the UK office.
“It’s a critical time for London, the economy and businesses,” said Cox in opening the discussion. “Britain is highly dependent on the entrepreneurial spirit and culture, and for this reason it couldn’t be a better time to be hosting an event like this.”
The UK is an especially interesting market for Trustly at the moment, Berglund told the room, because not only is there massive market potential, but the supervisory authorities are willing to talk with people and take different opinions into account. “That says something about general willingness to accommodate businesses and make things work,” he added.
While Sohlström conceded that he can’t speak for companies, he was happy to note that Trustly is not alone in its commitment to the UK despite uncertainties surrounding Brexit. There’s a large influx of Swedish-based companies entering the UK, in large part due to London’s attractive talent pool and Swedes’ high proficiency in English. “Coming to the UK has always been one of the first stepping stones into more global growth. It’s not the first stepping stone outside Sweden for Trustly, but it’s very natural for Swedes to come here,” Sohlström said.
But entering the world’s financial capital surely means much competition, Cox proffered. Milligan responded by saying that banks are increasingly recognizing that they must shift their business models to better serve their customers, and Trustly is helping them do that. Of course, “the thing that needs to happen now is for the consumers to really have more knowledge of these new ways of paying.”
Parkinson assured her that while consumer adoption will be tricky in the UK market, it’s a high priority for the company. “The UK has traditionally been a credit card dominated market, but we see that the country is now adopting new payment types. We have a partner network here and have several strategies to incentivize adoption,” he said.
When pressed on the notion of innovation, Milligan replied that established players are beginning to view the term as less disruptive (read: threatening) and more of a collaborative opportunity.
“A lot of people in payments say, ‘Oh, it’s very innovative. I can do this on my mobile phone!’ but the underlying real innovation — and this is where Trustly adds real innovation — happens when you change the business model. It’s not just altering the IT systems or the device from which you make your payment; it’s creating a new model, one that is truly innovative because it allows everyone to actually benefit from it when it’s used properly,” Milligan said.
Overall, it was a smashing evening and we’d like to thank those who joined us to celebrate. Check out more photos from the night below, and stay tuned for a full tour of our new office in the coming days.