Fintech firm chosen for national fast-track scheme with treasury

Thyngs founder Dr Neil Garner. Picture: Thyngs

Thyngs founder Dr Neil Garner. Picture: Thyngs - Credit: Thyngs

An East Anglian company specialising in mobile payments has been named as one of just 20 businesses selected for a national fintech programme delivered for the treasury.

Financial technology firm Thyngs is one of just seven businesses from outside London to join the five-month Tech Nation scheme, which offers workshops and expertise from market leaders, and culminates in a trip to the US.

Thyngs, based at Whitefriars in Norwich, has developed a system for proximity payments via stickers and QR code.

Chief executive Neil Garner said: 'We're looking forward to gaining support with access to finance. I've found there are opportunities for initial investments of a few thousand, and for huge investments for many hundreds of thousands, but there's few in between.

'Our last investment round for £300,000 with Crowdcube was for marketing and sales purposes – this is the stage we're at.'

Thyngs is a member of the Future50 programme of Norfolk and Suffolk's brightest businesses, and Mr Garner said his company's recognition could be positive for the region.

'When you think of fintech in East Anglia, people think of Cambridge,' he said.

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'But our area has the advantage of recruiting highly trained staff with less competition. In Norwich we get the more arty and creative students from NUA, and the computer science and science studies from UEA.

'Ipswich has the BT hub, and a lot of telecom skills in that area because of it. This region maintains more staff in the sector than you would in London, and that's something we focus on as a company.'

He added: 'London is seen as a global leader in fintech, and the businesses that get second-generation investment have their work force in Norwich but present themselves as a London company, purely because that's the global finance hub.

'But I do think as Norwich grows and becomes more like Bristol or Bath we'll become more of an investment destination.'

John Glen MP, economic secretary to the treasury, said: 'Our fintech sector continues to go from strength to strength, and it's no wonder that UK fintech has received more investment so far this year than US fintech. I'm thrilled to see Tech Nation's programme launch with such a strong cohort of dynamic young companies.'

Who else was short listed for the programme?

Of the other fintech businesses short listed for the programme, few are customer-facing applications, as Thyngs is.

However Edinburgh company Sustainably has similarities in that it collects micro-payments for charity donations. The app rounds up customers' cashless transactions and donates it to a chosen cause every time they shop.

London based MishiPay also allows customers to shop, scan and pay without queuing for service.

LOQBOZ Savings, based in Bristol, encourage consumers to save instead of spend, while repairing credit history. The tool sees users commit to saving a monthly amount for a year, which is then converted into a new savings account with a partner bank.

The typical company on the list is around three years old, with revenues of around £250,000.

Each has, on average, raised over £1m for their businesses, 40% of which were founded or co-founded by a woman.