Seedrs chief executive Jeff Kelisky has highlighted peer-to-peer lending as a key growth area and urged the government to do more to support fintech.
Speaking on a Coffee with Innovate Finance podcast, Kelisky also said that he was “incredibly excited” about the new EU crowdfunding rules and commented that the P2P lending sector is a growth area in the fintech ecosystem with platforms trying to find scale.
“We’re seeing a certain amount of P2P platforms in different ways, debt, equity, other investment classes, are also trying to find a way to get to scale,” Kelisky said in the podcast.
Kelisky said he is excited about the new harmonised EU crowdfunding legislation, which allows platforms to apply for an EU passport that makes it easier for them to offer their services across the EU with a single authorisation.
“We are incredibly excited about that change, it’s something which we’ve been involved in for many years,” he said.
“We started talking to Brussels about four years ago and it’s taken a long time to get to this point. We’ve been in Europe for five years and with some simple customisation and localisation can efficiently take our platform and serve the market.
“We’re incredibly excited, it’s a dawn of a new chapter. Ultimately when this is in place it will be better than what the US has in terms of crowdfunding. We’re very excited about Europe and hiring now.”
Kelisky said there are four things the UK has to do to improve its funding pool for start-ups, including making it easier for pension funds and institutional capital to invest in venture capital.
He also said the Competition and Markets Authority needs to be stopped from blocking big tech firms from acquiring start-ups, as investors need to believe they have paths to returns and exits.
Kelisky said that the government needs to support fintech more in how it talks about tech and start-ups, and finally he highlighted that better visa arrangements are needed to attract global talent.
“At the moment we’ve shut out talent from Europe, it’s not something the start-up community supported, i.e., Brexit,” he said.
“Part of that was to be a more global nation and that would be great but so far we haven’t seen any practical implementation of any policies that would allow this. Complex visa infrastructures are the enemy of small business.
“And the other is mood music, the way the government stalks about tech and start-ups matters.
“Whatever one thinks about the 2010, 2015 coalition government, they were great about telling the world about ‘we’re building an amazing tech ecosystem here’ and that publicity and general ‘upbeatness’ directly led to lots of foreign investors that previously shunned the UK.
“No government since has understood the value of this. The mood music of ‘this is a great place’ rather than ‘let’s kill tech’ would be welcome from the government and regulators.”