Entrepreneurs' Forum: Democracy Through Technology
As more and more of everyday life moves online in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our virtual event on Wednesday 9 October was particularly apposite. With our friends at Hambro Perks, we hosted an entrepreneurs’ forum focusing on ‘democracy through technology’.
The talk was chaired by Kieran Ahern, C. Hoare & Co.’s Head of Entrepreneurs, and we were delighted to welcome two speakers whose companies are at the forefront of innovative technology. The speakers were welcomed to the (virtual) floor by Co-Founder of Hambro Perks, Dom Perks.
Amer Fasihi is CEO and co-founder of Kraydel, which brings the benefit of technology to elderly people living alone or in care homes. Currently trialling with healthcare trusts, hospitals and primary care givers around the UK, Kraydel works around the fact that many older people are ill equipped to deal with new technology in their homes by providing a solution that works through their TV. Kraydel were said to have a highly intuitive, integrated communication and monitoring system allows the user to speak directly to their families and caregivers, while specific features such as symptom-checking and movement tracking offer social-care and healthcare providers new ways of delivering their services.
“COVID,” said Amer, “has catalysed the use of video tech and virtual interactions. More and more health-related activities will be happening over the wire. We’re hoping we will see more and more use of data to identify where health issues are arising, possibly at a population level. Kraydel can play a part in facilitating this.”
Increasing social engagement for vulnerable people is a large part of Kraydel’s mission. “Loneliness and isolation in the older adult segment is a huge and rapidly growing problem,” Amer pointed out. “We’ve designed a system that is easy to engage with and adopt – no training is necessary – and we’re working closely with local councils and private home care providers to help people live independent lives, in their own homes, for as long as they possibly can.”
Continuing the theme of access and inclusion in a digital world, James Deal, CEO and co-founder of PrimaryBid, outlined the objectives of his pioneering fintech company, which aims to ensure ‘everyday’ shareholders have the same investment opportunities as institutions.
“PrimaryBid,” he explained, “is a technology-driven platform designed to put the ‘public’ back in public markets. Retail investors – individuals who buy and sell shares on their own account - really matter today, and the UK equities market ignores them at its peril. If you look back to the 1950s, the entire stock market was owned by the people. By 2000, individuals represented under 10% of the market, but that figure is rising; it now stands at around 15% and we think it will continue to rise with time.”
“We put investors together with companies when it matters, i.e., when the companies are raising capital. We offer a web-and-app-based solution that is suitable for Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) and any form of equity placing an equity for bond issuance. It’s beneficial for all parties – in terms of better allocation and terms for the individual investor, and in terms of better outcomes for the company since we bring demand in ‘at strike.’”
“We see ourselves not so much as a disruptor as an enabler,” James pointed out. “We’re using technology to bring capital markets into the modern world in an arguably necessary fashion.”
The presentations drew many interesting questions from our virtual audience and the evening drew to a close on a note of excited optimism – an effective reminder that creative thinking and innovative technology remain a much-needed bright spot in the COVID gloom.