Billion Dollar Boy's Thomas Walters on the UK Creative Sector, SVB, and Spotify

On this week's episode of The MadTech Podcast, Thomas Walters, founder and Europe CEO of Billion Dollar Boy, joins ExchangeWire staff writer Hannah Dillon and head of content John Still to discuss the UK's creative sector, HSBC rescuing SVB UK for £1, Spotify's shift towards discoverability, and more.

Shadow culture secretary outlines plans to bolster UK creative sector

Is the UK government doing enough to support the creative sector? Does Labour’s plan sound promising?

The shadow culture secretary, Lucy Powell, has outlined her party’s plans for the UK’s creative industries. Speaking at the Creative Coalition Festival earlier this month, Powell revealed the Labour Party’s “creative compact plan” for the sector, which will focus particularly on design and technology.

Powell asserted that a Labour government would make “the platform economy work for creatives and small start-up businesses”, stating that previous governments have “failed to harness the technological revolution”. The shadow culture secretary said that Labour would “use the power of technology to support, not stifle the work of creatives” and pledged to create a more level playing field by reducing the power of Big Tech firms with “unbreakable monopolies”. Investing in developing the creative sector outside of London and the South East and bolstering the UK’s global creative reputation will also be addressed by the plan, according to Powell.

SVB UK rescued by £1 HSBC deal

What impact has the collapse of SVB had on the start ups in the UK and beyond, and what further effects could it have on emerging tech companies?

HSBC have acquired Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) UK operations for £1. The deal, which followed a weekend of negotiations by the UK government, Bank of England, and HSBC, has saved SVB from insolvency and their customers from significant losses.

The Bank of England said that the sale would “stabilise” SVB UK and while restoring “confidence in the financial system”. HSBC’s acquisition will protect the deposits of SVB’s 3,500 UK customers, which include a number of tech start ups as well as more established firms like TrustPilot. Dom Hallas, executive director of the start up lobby group Coadec, praised the government’s work in reaching the deal, which he said has “saved hundreds of the UK’s most innovative companies today”.

Spotify redesign app in push for more discoverability

Are Spotify making the right move by trying to emulate other platforms, or could doing so backfire? 

Spotify have unveiled a new design for the home screen of their app. The new look will feature more vertical scrolling and visual content, giving the audio streamer a far closer resemblance to TikTok and Instagram in an attempt to boost discoverability on the platform.

The move is reflective of Spotify’s ambition over recent years to become a host of more diverse and profitable content, which has seen them shift away from the music streaming that they became almost synonymous with. As one commentator notes, the push to get users to explore new things is all the more important given the firm’s significant investment in podcasting, which has yet to pay dividends.