11:FS turns 4

 David M. Brear photo
David M. Brear Co-Founder & CEO, 11:FS
5min read

It’s the 5th of April and that means one thing to us at 11:FS and that is that it’s our birthday! Four years old. Damn. And what a strange time to be in celebrating everything we’ve achieved with everything that’s going on.

Given everything that's going on we did consider not celebrating our fourth birthday but I think that would do a massive disservice to those who have done so much this year to make things awesome.

On Friday during our team meeting the 11:FS team toasted to the occasion through a screen instead of letting loose at what was meant to be our party in London. It’s crazy to reflect on all the stuff that’s happened over the last 12 months leading us up to lockdown. Let me lay it out the major milestones:

11:YEARS - The Rise of UK Fintech

11:YEARS report at our Premiere

11:YEARS report at our Premiere

We kicked off our fourth year with gusto, diving into the planning stages of what became our very first documentary, 11:YEARS: The Rise of UK Fintech. After a sudden realisation that September 2019 would be 11 years since the financial crisis, we decided to mark the occasion by bringing together some of the most influential figure heads that helped London and the UK recover and go on to establish the most successful financial services ecosystem in the world.

A crazy idea since we had never done a documentary before. But through a significant amount of hard work and long hours our media team pulled off an incredible effort. We learnt a lot in the process and it was a huge success.

On the red carpet

On the red carpet

If you haven't caught it then check it out here.

Events, Events, EVENTS!

Alongside the documentary we hosted three more After Dark events, which are our live recording of the smash Fintech Insider podcast, raising the ceiling even higher with our al fresco summer AD, A Fintech Christmas Carol at Revolut HQ and a warehouse party hitting that 11th show this side of the new year.

Sadly due to Coronavirus we had to put on ice a US tour planned else we would have added another six events to this also. We are replanning for 2021 and will be back bigger and better than ever!

Office number five

With hyper scale comes more people and more people means another office move!! Our fifth in fact. So in October we made the journey from Devonshire Square jumping over Liverpool Station and finding ourselves today 200 people strong and settled in 1 Finsbury Avenue.

It all feels rather grown up. And humongous.

I never thought I'd ‘miss’ an office but sat here at home, I really can’t wait to get back there and see all the amazing Elevens in the flesh.

We grew up (a little!) with 11:FS 1.2

With our CPO Mike Curds now heading up the people and talent team, the 11:LIFE programme was born to formalise what we meant by ‘Eleveness’. Intended to be a project that would span across 18 months and encompass everything we do from how we attract, attain, onboard, train and then life after 11:FS, we kicked it off by spending the back end of 2019 perfecting the thing that would run across its entirety.

Our values:

We are a purpose driven and culture first company meaning these aren't just posters on a wall to be forgotten over time. We spent weeks iterating our values to ensure that the narrative behind them would resonate across the company and allow everyone from the most junior to the very top to have conversations based on these belief systems and what it means to work at 11:FS.

With these in place it gives me the confidence that anyone we bring in will match up to the speed and passion this company really needs to continue to achieve.

Talent, structure and TALENT!

We’ve done a hell of a lot to amplify our brand over the years and that rocket fuel came in the form of Mr Eric Fulwiler who joined us in June from VaynerMedia, just in time to step into our documentary project ;). Eric has created waves since joining along with our other key hires; Shaun Meadows (Chairman), Michael Curds (CPO), Benjamin Ensor (Head of Research) and most recently Joanna Wright taking on our much needed CFO role.

With the second half of 2019 being about getting the right people in place to take the company to the next level, 2020 has, so far, been about structuring us in a way that will allow 11:FS to scale our existing core offerings, and expand into new markets and geographies.

We split out our Service and Product line businesses allowing them the space to grow and develop without having to wait in line for time and resources, and the core service business units that surround the revenue generating business lines are now set up to provide stability for real growth.


Speaking of achieving, these past 12 months saw us win a few awards.

  • LinkedIn Love - We bagged a spot on the LinkedIn top startups list for the second year in a row, this time rolling in at seventh place alongside The Goat Agency, Formula E Holdings and close to our friends Tide, Monzo and Starling. That was amazing. What’s come next has been something else...
  • Financial Times - First we made the Financial Times and Statista rankings for Leading Management Consultant for both Financial Services and Digital Transformation.
  • Chambers - Less than a week later Chambers then awarded us a Band 1 ranking for our Consulting capabilities, matching up to heavy hitters Deloitte and EY.
  • British Bank Awards - As if this wasn’t enough just before lockdown we won Consultancy of the Year for the second year running as part of the British Bank Awards 2020.

Phew. We’re going to need a bigger shelf in the office.

Awards are great and the team could not deserve them more for all the hard work they put in day to day, week on week. Everyone likes awards. Above all it shows us that we are heading down the right track.


But amongst all of this glory it’s important to mention the setbacks also. We haven’t always got it right but we have always taken the time to examine each of those situations and ensure we’ve learnt from them. Our retro sessions are full of shared learning, surfacing ideas that can really take us forward as a team, looking at what worked and unflinchingly on what didn’t. We reflect, we talk openly and we learn.

But when you miss a shot you don’t walk off the court. You continue to play and learn from your mistakes. The funny thing is success means you are doing the right thing, failure is what makes you stronger and fuels you to do better.

We’re lucky to be in a position where our transition to working from home was relatively painless

Most recently we’ve faced our biggest challenge to date. One that had no winners or opponents whatsoever. COVID-19.

Overnight the aspirations of companies around the world including ours have had to pivot to accommodate two key outcomes; mass adoption of remote working practices and what’s soon to be a total economic meltdown. We’re lucky to be in a position where our transition to working from home was relatively painless, and through spending money like it’s our own financially, things could have been a lot worse.

Over the next few months we are, unfortunately, likely to see many businesses fall on really hard times and the entire industry to shift into survival mode putting projects on hold and cutting back costs wherever possible.


Despite this I take comfort in knowing that humanity is coming together to support each other and so will the industry.

One of my favourite quotes is Darwin's: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” In the business world things will change and we will adapt. It happened post financial crisis and through doom and gloom came opportunity and a better way.

So although our birthday celebrations are shrouded in worries about the world we’re living in, we will get through this stronger and wiser but most importantly together.

I look forward to talking about what we achieve in these times next year.

Take care of yourself folks.

 David M. Brear
About the author

David M. Brear

David is the CEO of 11:FS and since his dream of being a sportsperson was crushed (along with the ligaments in his knee!) and he had to get a proper job. He has worked in pretty much every angle of the financial services industry but never lost that competitive desire to win.