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by Margaret Taylor
30 March 2022
Edinburgh University fintech Smart Data Foundry enters scale-up phase with appointment of CEO

Edinburgh University fintech Smart Data Foundry enters scale-up phase with appointment of CEO

Smart Data Foundry, the University of Edinburgh fintech spin-out that uses financial data to “help power wider society”, has appointed a chief executive to drive its scale-up ambitions.

Frank Gauld, who led NCR Corporation’s digital cloud banking platform, replaces Kevin Collins, who took the role of interim chief executive during the firm’s start-up phase.

Collins, who will now return to the position of assistant principal at the University of Edinburgh, said the timing of Gauld’s appointment was “perfect”, adding that the organisation would “flourish under his leadership and benefit enormously from his many years’ experience within the financial services sector”.

“In its first 18-months, Smart Data Foundry has made tremendous progress against our ambition of unlocking the power of financial data as a force to improve people’s lives,” he said.

“The agreements [Smart Data Foundry has] in place with NatWest Group, Sage Group, Equifax UK, FreeAgent, Nest Insight and Moneyhub are only the start of the journey to work with other organisations to build momentum and start a movement that supports our ambitious mission-led approach to drive research and innovation for the benefit of consumers, communities, businesses, and individuals.”

While most fintech businesses use financial data to help organisations and consumers transact more easily, Smart Data Foundry says that “companies, governments, public bodies, regulators and academics can study this real-life, large-scale information and use it to shape policies which improve people’s lives”.

Gauld, who previously worked for Virgin Money and has been based in the US while working for NCR, said it was the prospect of being able to use financial information in this way that attracted him to the Smart Data Foundry position.

“This role provides the opportunity to improve people’s lives through the application of technology, innovation and financial services – this ambition leverages my experience with a wonderful mission which is why I was attracted to the position,” he said.

“I look forward to driving systemic change to how consumer data can be more widely shared to help solve some of society’s greatest challenges.”

Separately, NCR has signed a strategic agreement with collaborative organisation FinTech Scotland “to further advance innovation for financial institutions”.

FinTech Scotland, which brings together all organisations with an interest in the financial sector with the aim of making Scotland a leading fintech centre, said the partnership with NCR would enable it to “develop innovation opportunities with fintech firms and financial institutions, plus the wider cluster stakeholders such as universities and innovation centres”.

“We are hugely excited to about the strategic partnership with NCR and their dynamics and pioneering approach to developing technology will further accelerate innovation with fintech SMEs and large financial firms in the cluster,” said FinTech Scotland chief executive Nicola Anderson.

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