Case Study

Thought Machine | making strides in the US market

Thought Machine is an innovative cloud banking technology company headquartered in London, spearheading the transformation of banking with their cloud-native banking platform and payments processing platform.

We spoke to Brad Steele, General Manager of the Americas and Managing Director (Global Client Success) about Thought Machine’s successful expansion to the US.

What does your company do?

Thought Machine is an enterprise technology company that builds core banking and payment systems for banks and fintechs worldwide. The core banking platform is the 'central nervous system' of any bank, lender, or financial institution—generally responsible for customer accounts, balances, products, transactions, etc. Many banks are still running on core technology on mainframe systems designed decades ago and thus are unable to offer modern experiences or products. Thought Machine has revolutionised this market by developing a core platform to run in cloud infrastructure.

Tell us about your successful entry into the US market?

Our software is globally relevant and not limited to any one market. Following a series of successful bank wins, we expanded our footprint with a regional headquarters in New York. This was essential for us to serve a growing demand in the region and our existing Americas customers, which include JPMC, Morgan Stanley, M1, Arvest, Mascoma, and Latin American clients Cordada, C6, and Banco Industrial, among others. 

We worked with our global expansion team to identify suitable entry and expansion locations (New York, Miami). We engaged our People, Ops, Legal, and Compliance teams to ensure that we met all the necessary legal and regulatory requirements before selecting our office in Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan.

We officially opened our New York office in February 2021, and later expanded into further floorspace. In early 2023, we established a presence in Miami to serve our South and Latin America markets. The Thought Machine Americas office in NYC has been voted 'The Best Place to Work in NYC' for two years running by Crain's magazine – a testament to the strong ties and culture of this emerging business in the region. 

The Americas presence continues to grow as we forge deeper relationships with our key clients in the region, strengthen our relationship with JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, and continue to build a client base spanning Tier 1 banks, smaller regional banks and digital challengers.

From your experience, what advantages does being a UK-based fintech company bring to the global stage, particularly in relation to the US market?

Thought Machine has had great success in being a UK-based company – in its earlier stages it was able to secure exceptional talent, without heavy competition from other technology companies, fighting for the same people. This meant that we could build a great company and a great product in one of the most dynamic and important financial markets in the world. This early success set us up well for international expansion. We came to the US already equipped with an excellent global client list – a number of existing US customers – and demand for more. We had proven ourselves in the UK and Europe, which is a strong signal to the Americas market that we were ready for business and able to serve the requirements of some of the most important banks in the world. 

Thought Machine has had great success in being a UK-based company – in its earlier stages it was able to secure exceptional talent

The regulatory environment in the UK is welcoming and supportive towards emerging technology companies – we have position conversations with the regulator and our banks about cloud technology and how it is an enabler of innovation and progress in financial services. Having these conversations early on equipped us for the same conversations we would have with banks in the Americas and gave us a good foundation for commercial success. 

We are an enterprise technology company, more than a fintech. We have proven ourselves to be the platform of choice for the largest banks in the world – and being founded in London with the client list, product and credentials to support this has been crucially important for our success in the Americas region.

How has being headquartered in the UK positively influenced your company's ability to pioneer and adopt cutting-edge technologies?

All our build teams are based in London. We have potentially one of the largest in-house engineering teams of any technology company in the city, and never outsource or use third-parties/offshoring. This approach means that, primarily, we have a concentration of great engineering talent working collaboratively under one roof, building an excellent product. In other markets around the world, the competition for talent is much fiercer; there are fewer engineers and potentially more companies fighting for those individuals.

London is a hub for talented individuals and great engineers, hence why we have built a product that is widely praised for its technical capabilities and thus helped us win many of our biggest deals. Banks that work with us regularly commend the quality of the product, and for that, we have our London engineering and support teams to thank. 

London is a hub for talented individuals and great engineers, hence why we have built a product that is widely praised for its technical capabilities and thus helped us win many of our biggest deals.

What advice would you give to other UK-based companies looking to expand their operations into the US market, particularly in the fintech sector?

Truly build a product that your customers want and need. There are many companies, especially in recent years, that have focused on products which only provide iterative improvements or build on existing technologies. We purposefully tackled a fundamental problem in banking – the essential infrastructure that dictates how a bank runs and offers its products. This has given us the security and resilience to weather economic downturns. Banks may well look to reduce their spending on surface-level innovations. Still, as an enterprise technology company delivering critical infrastructure, there always has to be a place for Thought Machine in the banks’ technology stack.  

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