Financial services executives launch FinTech consultancy 11:FS

17 June 2016

There is a new consultancy on the block – 11:FS. The new firm brings together a range of blockchain experts to supply FinTech startups with advisory services, as well as access to a large fund to support their propositions. The new firm has already raised $5 million in seed money, as well as a broad range of expertise.

The financial services world has found itself, for some time now, under the threat of disruptive FinTech players. These players, leveraging a key piece of proprietary technology that simplifies or transforms current business practices or models, has the potential to, like Netflix, shake up the market. One technology of particular interest has been blockchains, which underpin digital currencies like Bitcoin.

The purported benefits of the technology are multifaceted, from creating a globally transparent and tamper proof ledger to vastly cutting down transaction times. The technology has potential in a range of areas, and is not merely limited to financial transactions. Its uses include, among others, secure electronic document signing

The promise of the technology’s potential to be disruptive, as well as a sense of urgency from incumbent institutions, means that consultancy firms, including PwC and Accenture, have been quick to launch a range of offerings to support both sides: startups seeking to develop propositions as well as incumbents seeking to understand the threats and in turn to deal with them.

FinTech consultancy 11FS

A newly launched consultancy firm called 11:FS, aims to combine its own startup mentality with some of the best experts in the field. The new consultancy is co-founded by David Brear, former head of digital banking at Gartner; Simon Taylor, currently the Vice President of entrepreneurial partnerships at Barclays; Chris Skinner, Financial Services Club (FSC) chair and author of The Digital Bank; and Jason Bates, Mondo banking app co-founder.

The team, which has so far acquired $5 million in seed funding for the new venture from Life.SREDA, a Singapore-based venture capital fund, aims to set up a $100 million ‘Banking on a Blockchain’ fund for FinTech activity related to blockchains, as well as offer a range of consulting and research services to incumbent clients and startups – which may include connecting large incumbent financial services players with the new kids on the block.

Simon Taylor, who will leave Barclays on June 24 to join the 11:FS team full-time, says: "We'll help guide you because there aren't a lot of people who have spent time seeing bank execs react to this but also talking to governments, regulators and startups. There's a lot of ships in the fog. We want to help you separate this stuff, we're going to be the good shepherds."


Robert Park on the launch of his consultancy RWG Enterprises

18 April 2019

Following a lengthy spell as a General Manager at an international materials corporation, Robert Park was keen to rediscover his inner entrepreneur. With the launch of his new consulting firm, RWG Enterprises, Park spoke with to outline his hopes for the future of the company, and how he believes his boutique will be able to challenge the market.

Robert Park commenced his career in retail, taking up a string of General Store Manager positions with companies – including Poundstretcher and The Gadget Shop – before making the 2005 move that would lead him to a 13-year stay with Morgan Advanced Materials. First taking up a role as Production Supervisor with the organisation, Park quickly worked his way to the upper echelons of the group. By 2013, he held the role of UK Operations Manager for the company’s UK ceramic core business, Certech UK, before seeing out his final four years at the firm as General Manager, leading the senior management team and strategic direction of the business.

Despite his success with the firm, however, Park found himself getting itchy feet. A change of career seemed increasingly appealing, and by February 2019, the time to take a new path had arrived.

Park explained: “I was losing the ability to to use the entrepreneurial flair that I had enjoyed in the past; the organisation was moving more towards a structured and common approach for doing things, and that made me feel restricted. I also really enjoy the troubleshooting, problem solving side of my role. However, having been in my last post for four years, the troubleshooting and firefighting was long behind me. I realised that I am really energised by tackling difficult issues or turning around things that are clearly struggling.”

New consulting firm RWG Enterprises launches

His criteria for a new career seemed to point conclusively in the direction of management consulting, and while his CV has no formal experience in the sector, Park believes his career to date has provided him with a wealth of transferable skills. During his time with Certech at Morgan Advanced Materials, he became a Senior Manager at the age of just 21, and went on to succeed in a harsh factory environment where six former candidates had previously failed to deliver results.

Later, he became the group’s youngest General Manager in its history, and was involved in the turnaround of numerous departments. He also developed vast experience dealing with a wide range of ‘people’ challenges, including re-organisation, talent development, talent acquisition and leadership development. Along the way, Park noted that he learned to deal with large, blue chip organisations such as Rolls Royce, securing major long-term contracts worth upwards of £25 million.

Now, he hopes to take that know-how and apply it to the diverse world of consulting work. Park elaborated: “I really want to be able to help organisations that feel that there is no hope or have lost faith in the business… Having been there myself I know how helpful it would have been to have someone to refer to in times of crisis… The firm will also focus on leadership development, as I spent a lot of time with the global graduate program during my corporate career… and I was really motivated to see these individuals grow and develop… helping them to find their own way through challenging situations.

New enterprise

Park’s new Derby-based consultancy, RWG Enterprises, will focus on five key operational fronts. As stated, leadership development and business rescue will be two of these areas, as well as manufacturing – where the firm will tackle challenges such as new product introduction. RWG will also offer financial advisory services and strategic business planning offerings.

While Park is understandably guarded about the firm’s initial engagements, he revealed that he has been “speaking at length to a well-known university and business school about providing mentoring and coaching support to students.” In the long-term, the aim is for RWG Enterprises to take on engagements from clients across the industrial spectrum. He added that as “the company is very embryonic”, it would be “foolish” to become too focused on target clients at this stage.

When asked how RWG Enterprises intends to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack, in an ever-more-crowded UK consulting sector, Park is undaunted by the task ahead. He stated, “I think the main differentiator is that we are small... I have operated at a very senior level for many years but I have enjoyed a very diverse background having worked in most functions within my last organisation. I also won’t take on any work or clients that I feel I cannot deliver value for, I am honest and ethical and am really motivated by seeing others become successful… The main thing I am focused on is 'can I add value' and 'can I help?'”