As our series on the CCR fintech cluster comes to a close, we feature the inspirational story of a fresh start-up that’s due to launch this September – powered by a pioneering vision to democratise and make more accessible wealth creation, through novel financial technology.
Stock Up is the brainchild of South African-born Mayo Twala, who took time out from her CEO role to detail the concept behind her platform – and her journey to Cardiff.
A new chapter in sharing the wealth
“I’m a trained media professional with an MA in Digital Media from Cardiff University and didn’t at first realise I could bring this skillset to finance. After graduating I moved to London, where I worked for a very well-established financial PR firm. I thought it was my dream job until I realised I had to prioritise either the job or my mental health. So, I packed all my belongings and at great cost with no job moved back to Cardiff where I found the environment to be much more supportive. That’s when I decided to pursue my vision for Stock Up – and now that dream is turning into a reality, with our launch scheduled for early autumn.”
Stock Up is all about compassion – to help low-income earners achieve their financial goals
“Stock Up is fundamentally about all compassion. It came from understanding the struggles that my parents and grandparents experienced growing up in South Africa, where they had very little – and even less chance of finding help from anywhere. It’s a free platform that works offline, through SMS, to help low-income earners become instant investors and financially thrive. There are three simple steps: first users register with an ID number, input their age, and finally their savings goals – a high-risk or low-risk investment. Once all these steps are completed, our AI-enhanced platform does the rest. With a minimum payment of R20, effectively £1, this is invested into a machine learning process that matches the user with the appropriate, ESG-driven investment. It’s being built at the University of South Wales and the idea is to use South Africa as a case study. After that, the expansion possibilities are endless.
The financial system has failed many people
“The work that we’re all doing in fintech has huge significance. Unfortunately, finance has historically not given the power to those who look like me – but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity to share the wealth. This is just the beginning of a new chapter in the accessibility of capital; and that’s one of the reasons why I love working in Fintech, because I can use my digital media and financial journalism skills, not only to share the wealth but to give a voice to all those like me who require a mouthpiece. The system has failed those with no financial credibility. This isn’t because the customers are not credible, but because financial institutions have followed the status quo, anyone who looks like me would have a much harder time getting into the industry. However, I am relatively privileged, imagine individuals who have much less than me? Surely we need to be better as human beings?
Incredible support from the fintech community in the region
“I’ve had incredible support from the fintech community here in South Wales – from the moment I pitched Stock-Up virtually to Tramshed Tech stakeholders, to when I messaged Gavin Powell at Fintech Wales, who responded instantaneously. The rest, as they say, is history – with the University of South Wales becoming the perfect partner for developing the platform. And I think that, together, we can change the world. Finance has predominantly been controlled by privileged white males but, as history has taught us, it does catch up eventually. Now is that time. Women like Sarah Williams-Gardner, the CEO of Fintech Wales shine bright. So I think the world is a place where we can achieve and progress.
Wales could be one of the most impactful fintech centres in the world
“From what I have seen thus far, I feel Wales is going to be one of the world’s most impactful fintech centres. The idea of working in toxic work environments is dwindling and Wales is welcoming of people, helping them thrive. Wales also understands collaboration, how to support – and the value of wider access. Nurturing those traits will not only help Wales achieve more – but help the rest of the world become a fairer, more prosperous place.”
Potentially profound benefits to some of the most disadvantaged people across the world
Sarah Williams-Gardener, CEO of Fintech Wales, is deeply impressed by the vision and commitment shown by Mayo in turning a dream into a reality,
“This is more than commercially transformational – it brings potentially profound benefits to some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people, across the world. We’ve long championed inclusion and access – and Stock Up brings that to life in the most brilliant way.”