Interview: Gareth Lewis, CEO of Delio

Gareth Lewis is the CEO of Delio, a platform aimed at helping companies connect their clients with the private markets. We talk to him about what the start-up does, how it’s helping its customers and how he sees it in the future.

TD: Can you tell us more about yourself and what you do, please?

GL: I’m Gareth, co-rounder & CEO. I’m a chartered accountant by background and worked in M&A prior to moving back to South Wales just over a year ago to start Delio.

Delio helps financial institutions provide their high net worth clients with better access to private investment markets.

The needs of high net worth clients have evolved significantly in recent years. They’re a new generation who want access to more exciting, hands on opportunities. Currently, they go away from their advisors to access these deals, but this limits their reach.

We help financial institutions of all sizes solve this problem for their clients and maintain their role as trusted intermediary.

TD: What makes your business unique?

GL: Existing internal processes to share private market opportunities are ad hoc, fragmented, inefficient and far from real-time.

Other digital platforms are operating in competition with major financial institutions, by attempting to create their own marketplaces.

We’re unique in how we directly address the challenges of the private markets from the perspective of financial institutions. By providing solutions that integrate into what they offer to clients, they can use their market presence to deliver value to customers in this market.

TD: How does it benefit customers?

GL: Our customers are financial institutions, from small family offices through to the world’s leading banks.

In the high net worth space, institutions are facing a number of challenges. Their traditional product offerings are becoming increasingly commoditised and therefore provide little opportunity to differentiate.

Alongside this, clients are asking for a broader range of opportunities as the advisor role moves towards being a “gatekeeper” to a variety of investment products and services.

In short, we help institutions innovate, enhance and adapt their offering to clients, increase monetisation opportunities and solve a number of pain points through streamlining current processes and helping to manage compliance risk.

TD: Why did you set it up, and how far have you come?

GL: The team spent a number years working with high net worth investors and found they were under serviced when trying to source and access private deals. This along with a lack of innovation in wealth management/private banking in recent years led us to the opportunity to start Delio.

In just under a year, we’ve participated in a leading fintech accelerator programme, secured a small amount of seed funding and commenced projects with a number of leading global financial institutions which are due to launch in the coming months. We’re delighted with how far we’ve come, but there’s much more we can do.

TD: What’s been your biggest success and your biggest obstacle?

GL: We were very proud to be a part of Startupbootcamp’s Fintech Accelerator in London last year. There were over 450 applicants from 53 countries, of which 9 were selected. Here, we had the opportunity to be surrounded by some fantastic mentors and partners who have helped us drive Delio forward.

Our biggest obstacle has often been the time it takes to progress in this fairly traditional market space. However, we’re beginning to see a shift towards more and more institutions wanting to work with us to adapt and stay relevant.

The challenge then evolves to having enough resource to make the most of opportunities available to us. However, we won’t be complaining about that problem!

TD: What do you think of the Welsh tech scene?

GL: Welcoming! We’ve met some great people along the way who are always ready to offer support and introductions. There’s much more going on in Wales than many elsewhere realise.

However, I also believe there are some limitations being set on its growth by a lack of tangible support and quality investors, and also by a lack of recognition of the true diversity of the start-up scene rather than the same select sample.

I believe some success stories in the next 18 months could be a real catalyst in helping the whole ecosystem push on.

TD: How is your business contributing to it?

GL: We would love to be one of those success stories! We’re proud to be dealing with financial institutions across Europe right from Cardiff.

With the current buzz around Fintech, we have plenty of ideas around how Wales could establish a real presence in this sector. Being the nearest capital city to London, often referred to as the “Global Fintech Capital” presents a huge opportunity given the cost and quality of life benefits here. We’re actively pushing to try and contribute to this.

TD: Where do you see yourself in five and ten years?

GL: I’d like to think five years time sees Delio hitting its objective of building a connected private investment market and being a key driver of change in what private banking essentially is.

Ten years time – much more difficult. Let’s get the first five done first!

TD: What advice would you give to someone looking to set up a tech start-up?

GL: A lot can be done with very little these days, as long as you’re prepared to put the work in. It’s probably the obvious answer, but it’s definitely a case of just getting on with it and taking the plunge. Make sure you understand your market and keep listening, surround yourself with the right people, and keep pushing!!