James Brown, previously Group Managing Director of Phaidon International, launched Storm2, a new specialist FinTech recruitment consultancy last month in London. While generalist recruitment companies cover the technology area as a whole, Storm2 consultants’ specialise exclusively in finding people with the skills required to build a successful FinTech company, with a focus on improving diversity across the industry. The launch has been enabled by seed funding of £1m from Puffin Point.
Although it only opened its doors at the end of August, Storm2 already has a staff of 20 and eyes on offices in mainland Europe and other global FinTech hubs. Based in the heart of London’s Shoreditch tech hub, Storm2 is already securing successful placements with several high profile clients. Storm2 connects FinTech companies with experienced and technically outstanding individuals across specialities including Android and iOS Engineering, DevOps, Site Reliability, Mobile, Machine Learning, Data Science & Senior Appointments.
James Brown, Founder of Storm2, sees diversity as key to the success of FinTech business in the next three years and has set it as a core focus for the new agency. 2016 figures from the Centre for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), showed that the average number of females on executive boards of venture-backed tech start-ups was less than 20%, and less than a third of all employees, while a report by McKinsey in 2018 showed companies with gender diverse executive teams were 21% more likely to be profitable and 35% more successful if ethnic and cultural diversity was included.
James Brown, commented: “There is a diversity crisis in FinTech and business leaders in the sector tell me their boardrooms and tech teams are too male dominated or don’t reflect their customer base. It’s proven that companies with a diverse workforce out-innovate and are more successful than those that do not, so for FinTech to thrive we need to redress the balance.”
The diversity issue is one of five challenges that Storm2 has identified and Brown says must be addressed for the sector to thrive. Others include future-proofing businesses in key areas including emerging markets, compliance and artificial intelligence.
“Many FinTechs are eyeing international expansion, particularly in Europe, which requires more specialist resources including skilled regulatory and compliance individuals,” adds Brown.
Storm2 has signed up David Hunter as Strategic Advisor to the Board. David brings experience from his various CEO and NED roles at Ukash, Paysafecard, BT Click&Buy and W2 Global Data. He is currently board chairman at the Emerging Payments Association (EPA), and several successful FinTech, wearables and SaaS businesses, including Change Account, K Wearables and Pannovate.
Tony Craddock, Director General of the Emerging Payments Association, said: “Finding the right talent is a big problem for growing FinTechs: Storm2, under the inspirational leadership of James Brown, is creating deep pools of senior FinTech talent below board level, and giving access to payments and other financial technology companies. Storm2 has the potential to accelerate the growth of our industry and the richness and diversity of its talent pools.”