Skip to main content

Uome has recently welcomed a new intern to the team and what better way to bring him up to speed than by having him sit down for an interview with our founder?

Here Olufemi Lijadu asks Jason Halstead a bit about his inspirations behind and visions for Uome.

What is your professional background and what were you doing before you founded Uome?

Jason: Prior to founding Uome, I spent 25 years working as a financial technologist for some of the world’s top investment banks. I pride myself in being a solution focused technologist who uses innovation to solve real business problems.

Whilst working in investment banking, I spent a considerable time working in Prime Brokerage. Prime brokerage provides a full service offering including clearing, custody and settlement and capital introduction to support the growth of hedge fund clients.

As I transitioned to running my own business, I became acutely aware of the infrastructure gaps for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs, coupled with limited access to capital for growth. I spotted an opportunity to develop a platform mirroring the role of prime brokerage for hedge funds, and the concept of Uome was born.

Is there a story behind the name Uome?

Jason: When starting a small business, you’re essentially trading off of the goodwill of other people.

The name Uome sounds like and stands for “you owe me” and is meant to represent this spirit of reciprocity in the business-customer relationship.

The name Uome is about this collaboration, and it doesn’t mean to say “you owe me” in the debt collector’s way, but in a manner like “we look out for each other.”

What does Uome do in a nutshell? Can you give me the elevator pitch?

Jason: Essentially, Uome is here to assist solo business owners in two main ways. Uome helps them to run their businesses more effectively and ultimately gives them access to capital so they can grow and expand.

What inspired your aim to empower solo-entrepreneurs?

Jason : Every business initially comes from a solo or micro-business.

Before Apple there was Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak working out of a garage. Like them, there are so many entrepreneurs out there waiting to build the next thing and power the next multi-billion dollar business.

However, in order for these solo-preneurs to provide their service or develop their product, they need access to capital as well as the ability to run their business effectively.

Uome steps in at this point, allowing small businesses to build themselves up and be more professional than their resources would naturally allow them to be.

Uome is helping these businesses to run more efficiently. The by-product of this is that they can access capital for growth more easily.

This idea of giving solo-preneurs the ability to realise their dreams and helping along on that journey is what really inspires me.

How does Uome get to market?

Jason: So that’s a really good question. The space in which we are competing is a crowded space and there are a lot of people offering business-type solutions.

For us at Uome, it’s really about building up our credibility and provenance and our route is to work with established companies within this space.

As an example, we recently signed a contract with MasterCard to offer virtual cards in North America.

So we will be looking to partner with other established banks and financial institutions around the world to reach as many customers, merchants and business users as possible. Partnerships are our main go-to-market strategy.

What does Uome currently offer and what is next on your product roadmap?

Jason: Currently the Uome app offers what we call the full operational horizontal and it covers three main areas; managing customer relationships, cashflow management and payments, and in the UK we do tax preparation and tax submission. We are HMRC recognised and you can actually submit your VAT returns directly through the Uome app.

In the app, we’ve built a messaging platform that looks and feels like Whatsapp called Uome Chat. It is immutable and supports text, photo and video enabling it to be a true record of customer and seller interactions. Directly through the chat you can send invoices, quotes and customers can raise purchase orders.

Uome supports diverse payment options including Apple Pay, Google Pay, credit cards and Klarna. We’ve introduced SoftPos for in-person payments, tap-to-pay on Android (coming soon on iOS), and a scan-to-pay feature using QR codes with open banking instant account to account payments.

One of things that I am most excited about is the upcoming launch of the Uome shop front. This allows Uome users to seamlessly upload their catalogue of products directly from the Uome app to a Uome-hosted URL with a checkout flow supporting credit card, Apple pay, Google pay, Klarna and open banking settlement methods. This eliminates the need for users to maintain their own website.

Outside of running Uome, I saw that you are also involved in Code Untapped…

Jason: Yes I am, Code Untapped has been on a mission to support people from underrepresented backgrounds to work in technology and in startups.

With Uome my aspiration extends to showcasing that an ethnically diverse founding and technology team can not only build but also sustain a global financial institution.