Gareth Lewis of Delio
Gareth Lewis, co-founder of Welsh fintech start-up Delio, tells BQ why the company is proving such a success both at home and overseas…
Gareth Lewis launched Delio alongside his business partner David Newman back in 2015 after identifying a gap in the market for a platform that could help companies connect their clients with private markets.
He told BQ: “Myself and David both spotted the opportunity for Delio while working in other businesses. We identified a recurring theme; wealth managers and investment banks weren’t meeting the needs of high net worth clients who wanted to be more hands on with their private investments. It was a problem we believed could be solved with technology and that is when the idea was born.
“One year ago, we launched our minimum viable product (MVP) and today we have a growing base of financial services clients all over the world using our platform and have offices in Cardiff and Brussels. In the long-term, the Delio platform will enable us to create and connect the most diverse private marketplaces in the world moving beyond financial services.”
The pair both cut their teeth working at major corporates with Gareth having spells at EY, IBM and Convex Financial and David working at UBS and Barclays. So why the decision to leave their safe as houses jobs in the City to launch Delio?
He added: “Starting a business is a risk but the timing felt right in terms of the opportunity for Delio to succeed and we knew that we would have regretted not pursuing it. Our friends and family have been immensely supportive as well which is really important when trying to build something from scratch. Also leaving our previous employers on good terms has proved to be really valuable as we have progressed the business.”
It has now been just over two years since the duo launched the company and they have made real progress. The innovative firm was recently named in the Welsh Government’s Digital Dozen and “one to watch” and actively works with clients across the UK and Europe.
And, as the company looks to expand its footprint overseas, it is now looking to take on a further 30 staff at its Cardiff HQ over the next two years. This includes a range of roles from software development to DevOps, testing support experts and experienced marketers.
Gareth added: “This is such an exciting time for the company, as we are effectively quadrupling the size of our team and we’re also in the process of expanding our reach across Europe, with a desire to break into Middle East and Asia, where there is a strong appetite for direct investing amongst high net worth clients.
“After a great year, we are now at a point where we need to increase the skills and resources we have on board to ensure we continue to develop our offering.
“New client propositions in the high net worth space have been few and far between over the past two decades. This has been a barrier for financial institutions that has prevented them from adapting to meet the evolving needs of their clients.
“Delio is uniquely positioned to deliver technological innovation with purpose, which fundamentally overcomes the challenges being faced by financial institutions in the private asset space today.”
He continued: “Being a high growth fintech business, we have looked to build a culture that is empowering, fast moving and exciting. We have high ambitions and need great people to help us achieve these.
"Recognising that no two people are the same, we look to work with our growing team to align interests and make sure that Delio is a business people truly want to be a part of.”
So, for such a fast-growing and innovative fintech firm such as Delio, why invest in Wales? Well, in recent years, Wales has developed a reputation for excellence in both the tech and financial sectors.
Recent figures show that over 25,000 people work in these sectors, contributing over £2bn a year to the economy, meaning it has a rich talent pool of workers.
Research has also shown that the sector is to continue growing at a rapid rate until 2020 – over twice as fast as the average employment growth in Wales.
Gareth concluded: “Cardiff had been great to us. The access to great technology talent coupled with the support from the likes of the AGP, Cardiff Council and Welsh Government have enabled us to scale much quicker than we perhaps we could have elsewhere.”
Gareth’s top three tips for entrepreneurs: