Tech Pitch: Validis
The CEO of the start-up which detects anomalies in accounting data discusses the changing face of fintech
Company name: Validis
CEO: Simon Leech (38)
Background: Leech joined as CEO in 2013 (shortly after the company launched) and has a track record of leading and growing tech services businesses. He also serves on the board of directors of construction software company Easybuild.
Based in: Waterloo
Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?
Validis is a specialist financial technology (fintech) start-up which is transforming the business of financial data transmission with industry-first software. Validis' solutions empower global accountancy firms, financial institutions and commercial businesses who rely on accurate and reliable financial data on-demand.
Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?
The financial services sector now operates under intense scrutiny, with staff still struggling to adapt to far tougher regulatory and reporting requirements. It is unsurprising to us that more and more finance professionals are finding their roles increasingly difficult.
Similarly, as the finance sector finds itself dealing with unprecedented levels of red-tape, parts of the sector are also increasingly vulnerable to wholesale under-cutting by competitors. As a result “vanilla services” such as audit, are facing increasing pressure on margins – to the point where audit is now considered a loss leader by many firms.
This is, of course, where technology has a vital part to play – when implemented correctly technology can radically reduce the amount of time it can take to perform vital but commoditised tasks, leaving finance professionals free to perform higher-value, more strategic roles within their clients’ business, which is precisely what our software does.
Validis is a game changer in how auditing and lending takes place. The software provides absolute transparency to financial institutions that lend to small and medium enterprises. Extracting data directly from the business' accounting package, Validis supplies accurate and reliable financial information on-demand to the lender, reducing risk and default probability and allowing their clients to receive swift and confident responses to funding applications.
Are you funded?
We are funded by a board of high-net-worth individuals.
What were you doing before starting?
Prior to heading up Validis, Leech worked as trouble shooter at Microsoft, where he restructured the sales operation in the company’s mid-market EMEA division, increasing the profitability of the EMEA sales teams by over 12%.
Before that, Leech spent five years at Accenture working on large-scale custom-built software development projects. He also holds a BA degree in Business Studies from the Dublin Business School.
What’s the best thing about where you’re based?
A city like London offers enormous opportunities. It is considered to be the world’s ‘fintech hotspot’, with more than three quarters of London’s financial tech community having claimed that the city is a better incubator than other global tech hubs, such as Silicon Valley. London offers dynamic space and a great, diverse talent pool that can’t be found anywhere else. It’s simply the place to be.