30 Digital Champions: Briqs is why traditional banking services are under pressure to innovate

As latest Microsoft 30 Digital Champions case study, we asked Briqs CEO Lee Travers to tell us all about the most important developments.

(1) Please give us a brief introduction to the business?

Briqs is a financial services company that aims to enable established and emerging banks, as well as financial services organisations, solve customer challenges and improve customer value and efficiency. We also connect savers and investors with companies and charities that can be invested in.

(2) What have the significant growth milestones been in the last few years?

Having only commenced operations in May 2015, we have seen rapid growth in our team while building out our initial portfolio. Briqs has raised seed funding, developed initial product versions and we’re now competing our first customer deals with large institutional clients here in the UK and in the US.

(3) What inspires you as an entrepreneur/business owner, and how does that come across with your company?

Finding and pursuing change inspires me, and the challenge and excitement of growing something new. My background in professional sport combined with a history in successful startups as well as larger corporates has given me the confidence to take on big projects and trust my instincts.

I encourage the team to remain agile, and it’s important that we can be flexible in how we tackle each project and challenge, and not be afraid to modify the course.

(4) What kind of obstacles are you encountering as you grow your enterprise?

Sometimes we meet with potential clients who don’t realise they have a problem until we present the solution, and we have to keep on top of our messaging to ensure we’re relevant in different markets. As we expected, working with large banks and financial institutions it can be difficult to gain traction as a new startup, and lead times on deals can be slow when many stakeholders are involved.

(5) For a company that isn’t technology based, how has a digital approach helped you to carve out a bigger market and acquire new customers?

For a long time, financial institutions thought that complex legal structure and heavy regulations would prevent the Internet from taking over; such firms simply failed to anticipate the mix of good timing, ideas, and opportunities as well as new customers, agility and talent that lead to the current fintech revolution.

Thanks to a niche strategy, the fintech industry has progressively, piece by piece, taken over segments of the financial industry – from loans and transfers of money to investment – in such a speed that the traditional banks are struggling to keep up.

I also believe that the transparent approach applied within the industry has helped to re-instate much needed trust within the finance sector.

(6) Do you employ any kind of flexible working, and how does technology fit into this?

We have an open and flexible culture at our London headquarters in Moorgate and due to to our global market, the team has to be able to work when on the road or on client sites wherever they are and stay in touch with our London base. We use cloud-based software to keep in touch and stay productive across timezones.

(7) What kind of technology tools can you not work without?

Cloud-based tools are really invaluable, and combined with smartphones and lightweight laptops mean we can set up anywhere. Tools including Jira and Confluence help our technical team manage multiple work streams and collaborate whether in or out of the office.

(8) What kind of technology would help you better compete with larger rivals?

To be honest, the way the financial landscape has changed thanks to the introduction of new technology, I do feel that size and seniority have become less important. Today, it’s all about being at the forefront of things and meeting the need of the customer; if you master that, you’re fine!

(9) Where do you want to take your business in the future?

As we grow our client base in the UK and US, we’re also looking at other markets, initially in Europe. We want to partner with the most progressive financial institutions to help them bring innovation to how they serve customers. Briqs will soon have a base in the US to add to our London office.

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