Stephen Holliday, CEO of Level, on emerging fintech trends
Can you tell me about Level?
We are a fintech firm empowering workers to instantly access, save and budget from their earned pay. As a result, our platform empowers employers to champion the financial health and wellbeing of their workforce.
Our technology addresses the short-term needs of staff by providing earned wage access, the long-term savings goals by providing salary-linked saving solutions and provide the necessary insight through budgeting tools to keep on track.
What is your role and responsibilities at the company?
As the Founder and CEO of an early-stage company, it’s my job to keep a lot of plates spinning. I started out as the person who generates an idea. It’s then my role to be the finance person, pushing to get others to back my idea. Then I’m in charge of HR, finding others to join the team and the operations lead, building the product. I’m now spending most of my time as the sales guy, selling the product and recruiting new staff to grow the company.
I wear a lot of different hats, and as we grow, my role will become a lot more focused on setting the strategy and the vision and ensuring the company is always aligned to that.
What inspires you in fintech today?
The possibilities of the fintech world are exciting. Most large industries have been amenable to disruption for decades – but not banks. Banking has been around for 200 years and has never been an industry that a tech company was capable of disrupting from the outside. This is because of the sheer number of barriers that exist, such as regulation and capital.
But what’s exciting about the fintech revolution is that this once unshakeable industry is being disrupted at an unprecedented rate. So many fintechs are now able to parcel out lots of services that banks offer but improve them and make them fix very specific problems.
Take Level for example. We’ve combined payment networks with enterprise grade security and consumer grade front-end technology. Inputting that kind of product into the workplace and introducing the salary link means the product is ten times faster, cheaper and more ethical than anything a big bank can offer.
Just a few years ago, that kind of technology and speed would never have even been considered. It’s a very exciting industry to be a part of.
What do you see as the biggest emerging trends in the fintech industry?
Embedded finance to me is the biggest and best trend in fintech currently. This involves putting a finance product inside a non-finance area of a company.
For example, on-demand pay is embedded finance as it’s a finance product within payroll. There are so many use cases around this kind of technology; it’s a bespoke solution to the problem and it’s what people want. The opportunity set of embedded finance is massive.
What can we expect from Level in 2022?
You can expect to see Level grow rapidly in 2022. We live in an on-demand world. The only part of that world that isn’t on-demand is how you get paid. It’s so logical for that to be the next big move in finance and we’re at the forefront of this trend.
In 2022, you’ll see on-demand pay become a much more popular product and it will feature in more and more job ads. Our continued growth is a good indication of that, and we’re excited to be a part of such a huge shakeup.
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