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  • The Centre of Expertise on Trade,
    Investment and Public Policy

    Asia House News: Chief Executive Michael Lawrence interviews OakNorth’s Joel Perlman

    Published On: 2 May 2019

    Aspiring entrepreneurs should resist the temptation to sell too early, Joel Perlman, the co-founder of OakNorth – Europe’s most valuable FinTech firm – told Asia House Chief Executive Michael Lawrence during a Q&A in London this week.

    Speaking at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Prudential event, Deep Tech Deep Dive: Opportunities in Singapore and Southeast Asia, Perlman explained how he turned down several offers for OakNorth during the lender’s meteoric rise.

    “Don’t build up a business just with the intention of selling it,” Perlman said, emphasising the importance of taking a long-term approach in OakNorth’s success. “Don’t sell too soon.”

    OakNorth is a remarkable success story, with a market valuation of US$2.8 billion. Since its setup in 2015, OakNorth has lent UK businesses US$4 billion without a single default.

    This success is in part due to the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). OakNorth’s AI platform analyses credit risk and identifies when in a company’s cycle is the right time to seek loans.

    Interviewed by Lawrence, the former Global Editor of Thomson Reuters, Perlman was also asked about OakNorth’s expansion ambitions in Asia, where the bank is looking to scale and sell their platform in key markets.

    Lawrence also moderated a discussion with Michael Natusch, Global Head of AI, Prudential, and Doug Reay, Managing Director Europe, BlueFire – a machine learning platform which analyses capital markets – at the event, held at London’s Tate Modern on Tuesday 30 April.

    As a centre of expertise on trade, investment and public policy, FinTech and digital technologies are key areas of focus at Asia House, which runs a programme of events with policymakers and senior business leaders.

    The Asia House Global Trade Dialogue, a major forum exploring the forces shaping the world economy, will feature sessions on FinTech and the digital revolution when it returns to Singapore on 7 November 2019.Find out more.