Innovate Finance unveils Unicorn Council for UK FinTech

Ellie Duncan,
04 Mar 2024

Independent industry body Innovate Finance has launched the first Unicorn Council for UK FinTech (UCFT), which will bring together the chief executive officers and founders of the country’s largest fintechs to provide government with policy recommendations.

The newly-formed Council will be co-chaired by Janine Hirt, chief executive officer of Innovate Finance, Philip Belamant, Zilch’s chief executive officer, and Charles McManus, chief executive officer of ClearBank.

Janine Hirt

Innovate Finance CEO Janine Hirt

UCFT will provide the government with key policy recommendations aimed at supporting and pioneering the growth of the UK’s fintech sector.

The Council will be focused on improving “policy, perception and liquidity” for the fintech sector by giving the industry a “unified voice” on the key priorities of chief executive officers, investors and board members when scaling their organisations.

“In the last few years UK fintech has shown resilience by maintaining its position as a global hub for investment, second in the world behind only the US, and maintaining the leading position in Europe,” said Hirt.

“However, to maintain our leadership we need to accelerate our work with industry, government and regulators to ensure the necessary support for growth tech companies, including proactive regulation and increased investment.”

She added: “Today we are delighted to launch the Unicorn Council for UK FinTech to unlock the growth in the UK FinTech sector, support the innovators and industry change makers, and attract investment.”

Philip Belamant

Zilch’s chief executive Philip Belamant

Members of the Unicorn Council for UK FinTech include Justin Basini, ClearScore’s chief executive officer, Francesca Carlesi, UK chief executive officer of Revolut, OpenPayd’s chief executive officer Iana Dimitrova, Jaidev Janardana, chief executive officer of Zopa, and Francesco Simoneschi, chief executive officer of TrueLayer.

Belamant called it “a chance to redefine how global investors see the distinct value of investing in the high-growth UK fintech sector”.

“We’re talking about changing policies and perceptions that flip the script on how founders think about scaling in the UK and beyond,” he added.

“I’m looking forward to this unique opportunity to work closely with the industry’s best companies and Innovate Finance, to craft the policy playbook that outlines what the government, regulators and the broader ecosystem need to address if our generation of fintech businesses are to thrive on a global stage.”

The Council will also come together with the Startup Coalition’s Unicorn Project for Tech at various points, which has also launched today (4 March), to create an “umbrella forum” for UK unicorns across all sectors.