Newcastle put another Fintech company in their ‘pockit’

Pockit, an innovative fintech company expands to Newcastle

Pockit, an inclusive Fintech company focussed on customers who are excluded and underserved by high street banks, has set up a new office in Newcastle. This follows securing £15m of investment finance during 2020 and is part of their UK expansion plans and vision to drive financial inclusion.

Pockit has become part of the growing cluster at HiveTree, a new community-driven, tech focused and bespoke workspace. Their city centre offices were designed and fitted by local award-winning agency, the Edge Agency and they have already recruited almost 30 people from the local talent pool. They look to double this number soon as they have just successfully completed their first crowdfunding campaign.

Newcastle was an attractive location for Pockit when compared to other UK cities, because of its growing fintech community and access to talent.  The current trend of highly skilled professionals choosing to move to cities such as Newcastle, seeking a better quality of life also had a direct impact on their decision.

The region is in the top five of UK clusters outside of London for Fintech start-ups and is proving popular with SMEs like Pockit. They will join Newcastle’s growing fintech sector, which already includes well-known names such as Singletrack, Kani Payments, True Potential and WorldPay. The North East currently has an estimated workforce of 53,000 in the financial services and technology sectors and it is an area that is continuing to grow. According to the 2019/20 North East Fintech Eco System Report* by Whitecap Consulting the North East can offer growing Fintech firms a highly attractive base from which to build future growth, with more than 3,000 people in Fintech related roles in the North East.

London-based Pockit was founded in 2014 with a mission to create a better current account for customers left behind by high street banks, offering access to a Pockit account, direct debit, and tools to help them better manage their money. Since its launch Pockit has helped over half a million customers to take control of their financial affairs, many of whom never previously had a current account that let them shop online or make contactless payments.

In early December, theyannounced that they had raised £15 million through a Series B funding round from existing investors and some new investors. To provide a unique opportunity for its growing base of customers and supporters to invest in the business, part of this round included crowdfunding of £500,000.

This first ever crowdfunding campaign will enable customers and the wider public to own a piece of their business and join their mission of driving financial inclusion. Since inception, Pockit has raised a total of £27 million in funding and is backed by established investors who previously have supported the successful growth of, among others, Spotify, Bolt, Funding Circle, Houst and Wheely. Investors in the crowdfunding campaign, hosted by Crowdcube, will receive a Convertible Loan Note, with an 8% annual interest. The money raised in this round will be matched by the Future Fund, the funding scheme designed by the UK government and delivered by the British Business Bank.

Commenting on their recent crowdfunding round and their move to Newcastle, Virraj Jatania CEO & Founder of Pockit said:

“Our decision to set up an office Newcastle and join their thriving and fast-growing Fintech community was down to the collaborative nature of the business community, its ability to attract and retain talent and reputation as a place to grow a tech business.  We were quickly able to setup our offices and hire a skilled high-performing team. We have a high number of customers from the north of the UK, which also added value and the talent pool of graduates from Newcastle’s two major universities and the city’s quality of life were decisive points when we compared the city with other locations.

“Invest Newcastle have supported us on throughout our journey, assisting with our business case, signposting us to local funding opportunities, identifying strategic business opportunities and making vital introductions. The team have been helpful and are a great source of local knowledge and support.

Launching a crowdfunding campaign has been an ambition of ours for some time and the time to accelerate is right now; the COVID recession and the end of furlough schemes will disproportionately affect the financially underserved. Some 12 million people in the UK need a solution urgently, and we believe Pockit is that solution. We look forward to growing and supporting people from our brand-new offices in Newcastle.”

Jennifer Hartley, Director, Invest Newcastle, and Dynamo Advisory Board Member said:

“We are delighted that Pockit will be joining our forward-thinking and ambitious business community. We are home to a thriving digital and tech ecosystem and now more than ever we need to build our economy around our strengths – creating jobs, retaining talent, and positioning our city as a career destination.  Our unique eco-system, talent and experienced and supportive business community is helping us to reimagine our new world.

“Over the last year we have had notable successes in attracting investment, despite the uncertainty of Brexit and the impact of coronavirus.  This move from Pockit, further highlights our city’s digital strengths and that you do not need to be in London to have an exciting and ambitious tech career” 

Councillor Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Employment and Culture at Newcastle City Council added

“This new investment in Newcastle is testament to the confidence businesses have in our city as a place to locate and grow their business and we cannot wait to watch Pockit grow and thrive here. Inward Investment plays a vital role in the creation of jobs and opportunities for those who live and work here. We are confident this will be the first of many businesses choosing Newcastle as we start the new year and work towards economic recovery.”

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