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Silicon Valley to Silicon Roundabout: Fintech MarketInvoice appoints CTO

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Silicon Valley to Silicon Roundabout: Fintech MarketInvoice appoints CTO
  • RijaJaved joins MarketInvoice as Chief Technology Officer from Silicon Valley as company hits £2.5b lending milestone
  • The company plans to expand its business by scaling team and tech
  • Rija takes advantage of Tech Nation’s Exceptional Talent Visa, designed to get high quality talent into the UK tech sector

London; Fintech start-up MarketInvoice has appointed RijaJaved as its Chief Technology Officer (CTO) as the company looks to invest heavily into its technology. RijaJaved joins from Wealthfront, a leading Silicon Valley based start-up.

She becomes one of the first female CTOs at a fintech in the UK, breaking another glass ceiling for women in finance. In the role, Rija will be responsible for the Engineering, Data Science, Product and Design teams.

Anil Stocker, CEO and co-founder at MarketInvoice commented: “Having Rija on board underlines our focus on hiring the best talent and building innovative technology to deliver business finance solutions – it’s the foundation we’ll use to help thousands of business access funding quickly and easily.”

“As we scale our technology and team, Rija’s experience and insights from Silicon Valley will be instrumental. We have ambitious growth plans for the years ahead and Rija will play a significant role in making it happen.”

Rija began her engineering career in Canada with roles at IBM and Research in Motion before moving to Silicon Valley in 2012. After working at gaming company Zynga she joined automated financial adviser Wealthfront Inc. in 2013. Within her first few months, she built Wealthfront’s first mobile app before moving onto its investment products platform. Over a period of four years, she helped scale the business as well as lead their biggest initiative to build a new brokerage and banking platform. This allowed them to expand into financial services and improve client experience.

RijaJaved, Chief Technology Officer at MarketInvoice commented: “Moving to London was a big step but I’m excited by the opportunity offered by London’s growing tech scene and in particular by MarketInvoice. My main reason for joining MarketInvoice was the challenge and growth it offers as well as its great people and culture.”

“Technology empowers and MarketInvoice is certainly empowering business to grow, create jobs and support local economies and communities.”

“I look forward to contributing my experiences and helping make the business and its people successful. Given the exciting roadmap ahead, our immediate focus is to scale up and continue improving our clients’ experience by investing in our team and technology. Thus, as people are the most important aspect of any venture, we’re looking to expand our team, especially in engineering.”

To date, MarketInvoice has funded business loans and over 90,000 invoices worth more than £2.5b since launching in 2011. They have provided business finance solutions to thousands of businesses across the UK who employ more than 19,000 people. The company currently employs 80 people and is looking to hire across the business to invest in high quality talent and technology.

On becoming one of the first female CTOs in the UK, Rija remarked: “I’m very excited to help bring more diversity to the UK tech scene. Diversity for me isn’t just about gender, although we certainly need more women in tech, but ensuring we have diversity in all areas like race, culture, religious/spiritual beliefs, and socio-economic background.”

“There tend to be many misconceptions about what it’s like being a software engineer. It’s more than just coding. Being an engineer involves problem solving, critical thinking, making decisions and collaboration with people across the board. Bringing more diversity to that role will not only enhance the engineering group but also the overall business. I want to dispel the notion that being an engineer means you sit alone in front of a computer screen coding away.”

Anil Stocker, CEO and co-founder at MarketInvoice added: “The Exceptional Talent Visa endorsed by Tech Nation, made Rija’s move to the UK very straight forward. Such schemes will ensure the UK continues to attract exceptional foreign individuals who want to build their careers in the UK. If London is to continue being the European hub for tech, and if it is to grow to rival other internationally significant tech centres, we must ensure the UK retains a welcoming eco-system for EU and non-EU nationals alike.”

Eileen Burbidge, Chair of Tech Nation commented: “The UK’s tech sector is driving change and impacting every aspect of our daily lives and the nation’s economy. It’s brilliant to see talented individuals like Rija take advantage of a Tech Nation talent visa and I hope that many more exceptional women and men with talent and promise will use this scheme to take up tech careers here in the UK.”

“The UK tech sector is one of the UK’s fastest-growing industries, boosting productivity and creating hundreds of thousands of quality, high-skilled jobs. Initiatives like the Tech Nation Exceptional Talent &Promise Visa ensure that we have the best people from around the world as part of and adding to this flourishing tech sector.”

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Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears

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Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears 1

By Colin Packham

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia will not alter legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay news outlets for content, a senior lawmaker said on Monday, as Canberra neared a final vote on whether to pass the bill into law.

Australia and the tech giants have been in a stand-off over the legislation widely seen as setting a global precedent.

Other countries including Canada and Britain have already expressed interest in taking some sort of similar action.

Facebook has protested the laws. Last week it blocked all news content and several state government and emergency department accounts, in a jolt to the global news industry, which has already seen its business model upended by the titans of the technological revolution.

Talks between Australia and Facebook over the weekend yielded no breakthrough.

As Australia’s senate began debating the legislation, the country’s most senior lawmaker in the upper house said there would be no further amendments.

“The bill as it stands … meets the right balance,” Simon Birmingham, Australia’s Minister for Finance, told Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio.

The bill in its present form ensures “Australian-generated news content by Australian-generated news organisations can and should be paid for and done so in a fair and legitimate way”.

The laws would give the government the right to appoint an arbitrator to set content licencing fees if private negotiations fail.

While both Google and Facebook have campaigned against the laws, Google last week inked deals with top Australian outlets, including a global deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

“There’s no reason Facebook can’t do and achieve what Google already has,” Birmingham added.

A Facebook representative declined to comment on Monday on the legislation, which passed the lower house last week and has majority support in the Senate.

A final vote after the so-called third reading of the bill is expected on Tuesday.

Lobby group DIGI, which represents Facebook, Google and other online platforms like Twitter Inc, meanwhile said on Monday that its members had agreed to adopt an industry-wide code of practice to reduce the spread of misinformation online.

Under the voluntary code, they commit to identifying and stopping unidentified accounts, or “bots”, disseminating content; informing users of the origins of content; and publishing an annual transparency report, among other measures.

(Reporting by Byron Kaye and Colin Packham; Editing by Sam Holmes and Hugh Lawson)

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GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback

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GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback 2

By Pushkala Aripaka and Matthias Blamont

(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi on Monday said they had started a new clinical trial of their protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, reviving their efforts against the pandemic after a setback in December delayed the shot’s launch.

The British and French drugmakers aim to reach final testing in the second quarter, and if the results are conclusive, hope to see the vaccine approved by the fourth quarter after having initially targeted the first half of this year.

In December, the two groups stunned investors when they said their vaccine would be delayed towards the end of 2021 after clinical trials showed an insufficient immune response in older people.

Disappointing results were probably caused by an inadequate concentration of the antigen used in the vaccine, Sanofi and GSK said, adding that Sanofi has also started work against new coronavirus variants to help plan their next steps.

Global coronavirus infections have exceeded 110 million as highly transmissible variants of the virus are prompting vaccine developers and governments to tweak their testing and immunisation strategies.

GSK and Sanofi’s vaccine candidate uses the same recombinant protein-based technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal influenza vaccines. It will be coupled with an adjuvant, a substance that acts as a booster to the shot, made by GSK.

“Over the past few weeks, our teams have worked to refine the antigen formulation of our recombinant-protein vaccine,” Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president and head of Sanofi Pasteur, said in a statement.

The new mid-stage trial will evaluate the safety, tolerability and immune response of the vaccine in 720 healthy adults across the United States, Honduras and Panama and test two injections given 21 days apart.

Sanofi and GSK have secured deals to supply their vaccine to the European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States. It also plans to provide shots to the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme.

To appease critics after the delay, Sanofi said earlier this year it had agreed to fill and pack millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from July.

Sanofi is also working with Translate Bio on another COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on mRNA technology.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Matthias Blamont in Paris; editing by Jason Neely and Barbara Lewis)

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Don’t ignore “lockdown fatigue”, UK watchdog tells finance bosses

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Don't ignore "lockdown fatigue", UK watchdog tells finance bosses 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Staff at financial firms in Britain are suffering from “lockdown fatigue” and their bosses are not always making sure all employees can speak up freely about their problems, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday.

Many staff at financial companies have been working from home since Britain went into its first lockdown in March last year to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

One year on, the challenges have evolved from adapting to working remotely to dealing with mental health issues, said David Blunt, the FCA’s head of conduct specialists.

“During this third lockdown, there has been a greater impact on mental well-being, with many people struggling with job security, caring responsibilities, home schooling, bereavements and lockdown fatigue.”

Bosses should continually revisit how they lead remote teams, he said.

“The impact of COVID-19 is creating a huge workload for those considered to be high performers, while the remote environment potentially makes it much more challenging for those who were previously considered low performers to change that perception,” Blunt told a City & Financial online event.

Companies should consider “psychological safety” or ensuring that all employees feel confident about speaking out and challenging opinions.

“We’ve heard varying reports of how successful this has been,” Blunt said.

Pressures in the financial sector were highlighted this month when accountants KPMG said its UK chairman Bill Michael had stepped aside during a probe into comments he made to staff.

The Financial Times said Michael, who later apologised for his comments, had told staff to “stop moaning” about the impact of the pandemic on their work lives.

Blunt was speaking as the FCA next month completes the full rollout of rules that force senior managers at financial firms to be personally accountable for their decisions to improve conduct standards.

There have only been a “modest” number of breaches reported to regulators so far as firms worry about being “tainted” but more cases will become public as sanctions are revealed, Blunt said.

“Regulators won’t be impressed by lowballing the figures.”

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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