Scotland has an ubiquitous entrepreneurial spirit and undeniable character felt in the pulse of the country. With disruption on the doorstep, Deloitte uses Disrupt the Enterprise, to connect and honour this magic in our own way.
Disrupt the Enterprise is a competition to identify a business with the potential to revolutionise its target sector. The winner receives six months of consultancy from Deloitte, which last year included my own secondment to the team. The event is to disrupt conventional thinking, spur meaningful connection and fosters tangible collaboration between Deloitte practitioners, start-ups and established business leaders.
Through consulting with start-up incubators, we identified several businesses in Scotland with the potential to disrupt their industry and make life simpler for our clients in a digital era. Last spring, these start-ups were invited before a panel of expert judges, at our Greenhouse in Edinburgh, for a pitch and an interactive session with their products.
All finalists put forward very passionate and impressive pitches. There was an energising, exciting and fun atmosphere on the night as the different organisations shared their ideas and learned from each other while enjoying our DJ tunes! The evening was a great opportunity to hear more about the disruptive technology community who are transforming the world of business at unprecedented levels through the introduction of crowdsourcing, fintech, blockchain, process automation, and machine learning, to name just a few.
The top prize on the night went to Castlight, a Glasgow-based start-up that provides a single-real time view of consumer income and expenditure via authorised access to a consumers internet banking profile in an “Affordability Passport”. The passport breaks down analysis across income, credit commitments, expenditure (defined as per FCA guidelines) and disposable income. The Afffordability Passport enables the mortgage process to be taken from six weeks to seven minutes. Inherent in its name, the Affordability Passport, envisions introducing “banking without borders” enabling someone’s financial records to travel and be recognised just like medical records!
This is powered by their underlying machine learning engine - Categorisation as a Service (CaaS). CaaS has the ability to categorise consumer spending across entire banking populations and help identify the red flags before someone goes into a default. This is done in a highly-detailed yet easily digestible form that we believe has not been seen before, dramatically altering credit applications for the better.
Ultimately, this product can de-risk lending and make financial institutions more accountable when lending money. As well as viewing their disposable income, CaaS analyses where these income streams come from. For example, if 20% of someone’s income over a period of time is from gambling, lenders should know that this not a sustainable flow of money and determine that they should not provide a loan to someone who could be pushed towards bankruptcy attempting to repay it. They were recognised by the Financial Times as being one of the Top Ten Fintech’s to watch and nominated for Financial Product of the year by Scottish Enterprise.
The insight into people’s spending behaviour could theoretically be used to predict economic upturns and downturns. The data can identify signs that people have more disposable income through trends in donations to charity, spending on holidays or gym memberships and much, much more.
Castlight’s product made them worthy winners of Disrupt the Enterprise, and by providing consulting support, we knew we could also help to strengthen other aspects of this start-up.
During my secondment to Castlight, I worked with founder Phil Grady and his team to introduce many things to boost Castlight’s prospects for continued growth. These included:
- Imbuing the company’s pledge to create a ‘safer financial world’ in the culture of the company, through cultural and value alignment sessions where staff considered the legacy they wanted the business to leave
- Acting as Board Secretary driving the content creation, approval of business decisions and providing consulting insight to ensure informed action by the Directors
- A business plan compliant with regulations, which are arguably more important in the financial sector than anywhere else. This was especially important with the introduction of Open Banking – enabling Castlight to apply for registration as one of the first Account Information Service Providers (AISP’s) under the new Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2).
- Plans on governance and compliance that are essential to any successful SME firm
- Time spent training junior users to allow them to further their own careers and passing on the skills for these employees to train the junior members of the team that succeed them
- Securing funding for product development, expanding the firms’ global network and recruitment
- Consultation sessions with other experts from Deloitte, including cyber security to ensure data is robust and compliant with the imminent GDPR changes.
Founder Phil Grady feels Deloitte’s input has helped elevate Castlight to a new level and credits our support with changing the way we do business. Phil said “The time that Hannah spent with the us really helped Castlight adopt the mind-set and structure of a large corporation, whilst retaining the ability to move quickly that’s common in smart start-ups”, which was great to hear.
Young companies have the potential to transform the Scottish economy and its business landscape. Their energy and bravery are causing the ears of larger, more established businesses across Scotland to prick up; listening and paying close attention to the moves they are making.
To find out more, contact our Disrupt the Enterprise Team.