At FintechValley we are happy to continue introducing companies active in the industry, via our regular interviews and company profiles. Today we have Kantox, a company based in London and in Barcelona. Philippe Gelis, CEO and co-founder, was kind enough to share with us his thoughts about Fintech and some background about the company. More information about Kantox: https://www.kantox.com
FintechValley: Could you please give a short description and history about Kantox for those companies and audiences that are not familiar with the company and the products?
We believed that the financial industry, known for its opacity and lack of innovation, needed a radical change. Kantox was born out of this idea in 2011, aiming to provide currency and risk management solutions to companies, delivering technology and expertise to solve their currency-related business problems transparently and efficiently.
Our expertise, products and solutions allow our customers to manage their currency exposure, build hedging strategies, automate FX transactions and process international payments in a smart way. We generate significant savings, efficiency and productivity with full transparency. Our more than 2,000 clients have already exchanged over 3 billion US dollars in 20 countries.
Here is a Kantox services overview: https://www.kantox.com/en/products/advanced-solutions/
FTV: What are the Unique Selling Points of Kantox, what value do you bring to your target audience?
FX management is not only about execution and getting the best price but also about measuring, analysing, monitoring, standardising and automating. The value Kantox brings is based on 3 main pillars: FX expertise, a consulting approach and industry expertise. We are extremely focused because we consider that is the only way to design the most advanced solutions in the industry. There are also some patterns that are common to specific industries. We know that, and that helps us to identify the pain points of our clients and devise customised solutions quicker.
FTV: Where are the Kantox Headquarters? Is there a special reason for settling the company here? Do you have regional offices in other countries?
We are headquartered in London with our back-office in Barcelona, and we passport in continental Europe. The decision to settle Kantox in London was made taking into account, on the one hand, that London is a global financial hub, not only for Fintech but for finance in general. It attracts the best talent, knowledge and experience in the finance field.
On the other hand, one of the main pain points for Fintech startups is getting regulated. It is usually a long and expensive process, killing innovation in some cases. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK has been really constructive for, and supportive of, the Fintech scene – we are authorised as a Payment Institution by the FCA – but the process of becoming regulated is still often long and painful.
FTV: What has happened in the last years to the main Financial Corporations to finally adapt new technologies? Do you believe they are reacting quick enough?
Firstly, after several years since the Fintech boom started, it’s becoming harder to talk about Financial Corporations as a whole, since the reactions and approaches to digital transformation have been pretty diverse within traditional institutions. I would say that whereas almost all of them have revamped their web experiences and created mobile apps, only a few are actually trying to pursue a real transformation: i.e. evolving their outdated business model and business culture. This is extremely difficult given the legacy IT and legacy people that they have, but it is the only way if they want to keep up.
FTV: In your option, how relevant are the following 5 factors in the success of a Fintech Company. Can you please grade them with a percentage of relevance. (20% for each one of them, for example, would grade all of them as equally important.) Please feel free to add an extra factor that you believe could be important:
Consumer adoption: 20%
Marketing budget: 5%
Human talent: 50%
FTV: Has it become easier for you to reach Finance corporations and make them hear what you have to say in terms of finance innovation?
Obviously, the way traditional banks approach and talk about Fintech has radically changed in the past years for several reasons. Firstly, the moment they started losing clients, they stopped laughing at us. But secondly, and even more importantly, they have realised that they need to learn from us if they want to keep up in the digital age.
FTV: What is the most important market for Kantox? What are the next plans?
Right now we are focused on the UK, DACH, France, Spain & Italy. What’s keeping us busy is our effort to keep growing, expanding into new markets and launching new products and solutions. On this note, we have recently launched our Dynamic Hedging solution which represents a game-changer for companies’ management of FX risk. https://www.kantox.com/en/products/advanced-solutions/dynamic-hedging/
FTV: In your point of view, when is regulation good for Fintech and when is it bad for Fintech ? Is regulation helping or deterring financial innovation?
Regulation may be seen as a burden but it is first and foremost a way to protect clients and so it is extremely important in our view. The challenge is to find the right balance between too much and too little regulation and to adapt regulatory frameworks to the needs of each financial business. One size fits all does not work for Fintech while it works well for traditional banks. Regarding the European Fintech scene, since we have at least 28 different regulators, it will be key that the barriers to the provision of cross-border Fintech services in the Single Market decrease, especially through more harmonised frameworks. I mean, PSD1 and the upcoming PSD2 are “Directives”, which means that every country may implement them at its own pace and with local adjustments.
FTV: Which is the Fintech capital in Europe in your point of view? Why? Is there a recipe or formula for being a successful Fintech capital?
There is no doubt that the Fintech capital of Europe is London, although there are many interesting projects coming from the tech scene in other cities, such as Berlin, which has been very supportive by granting banking licences to new players like Solaris and N26. The UK regulators, especially the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), have had a very active role, fostering the creation of new Fintechs and lowering the barriers to entry to the financial industry. This is something that every regulator in each country could easily do. That being said, it’s also true that prior to the Fintech boom, the UK was already not only one of the main tech business hubs in Europe but one of the world’s financial centres.
FTV: Frankfurt has innovated tremendously as finance market, what can other Worldwide capital cities learn from them?
Again, similar to the UK, Frankfurt is a special case given its status as a European financial hub. The fact that the ECB is based there – and therefore all major financial institutions also have a presence there – cannot be replicated by every city. But again, this does not mean that other cities cannot compete in terms of innovation. Within Germany, Berlin is the clearest example.
Many thanks to Kantox and to Philippe Gelis for your time. Read more about Kantox under: http://www.kantox.com