Hunit operates a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform enabling lawyers and financial professionals to digitalise paper-based investments in the alternative investment space, delivering them operational efficiencies, reduced risk and new possibilities for reporting and secondary trading.
We spoke to Aaron Powers, chief executive, about the company’s growth plans and the UK’s importance in driving that growth.
What does your company do?
“Hunit is a company that provides a software to service toolkit to legal professionals that are working in or for the alternative asset industry. There is somewhere in the region of a £1tn a year of newly issued alternative asset instruments being issued globally – structured investments such as hedge funds that don’t currently have a public market – that are still being governed by analogue agreements such as paper documents with wet signatures.
“This sector is very ripe for digitalisation and the features that it brings, providing a way into assets that investors don’t currently have today and providing them with a digital experience in terms of reporting and up-to-date valuations.
Tell us about your UK and global operations.
“We have always been a global organization – we were originally a Norwegian company and so have a legacy Oslo office. While small compared to the UK, Norway punches above its weight for alternative assets, primarily because of the oil and gas and maritime industries. We also have a tech team in New Orleans in the US, but are planning rapid growth of this function in the UK as well.
“But when it comes to financial services and law, London is the pre-eminent destination. In terms of access to capital for the growth of the company and to customers, the UK is hard to beat. As the City of London is a critical sales market for us, it’s important to have a presence here.
“Overall we are 13 people currently, but we are scaling quickly.
What are the benefits of being UK based?
“The type of world that we increasingly live in from a financial services perspective is global in nature and that’s where the City of London is essentially unbeatable.
“From a tech industry perspective, the Midlands [in the UK] is underexploited. There is a hub that is being developed partly under the umbrella of the University of Birmingham and we have developed a positive relationship with them which we intend to deepen. There is also SuperTech, where they are, amongst other things, refurbing a factory building in town and turning it into a fintech hub.
“So, alongside London, a large portion of our staffing will be in Birmingham.
What are your company’s growth ambitions and how does the UK feature in these?
“The UK is central to our global growth ambitions – it represents both a sizeable portion of the global alternative asset sector and potentially the best location worldwide for developing and funding a high-growth trans-national organisation. From our base here, we are preparing a sales presence in North America, Singapore and Dubai. You cover these areas and you cover 90-odd per cent of the global alternative asset sector.”