Edinburgh University tech firm spin-out looks to growth after CEO appointment

Academic institution appoints full-time leader for data-centric business

Credit: Stu Smith/CC BY-ND 2.0

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 growth 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.”

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While many 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.”


Sam Trendall

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