Digital leader 10 year digital business leadership experience - Application rejected with shabby reasons ! Tech Nation Racism?

I am an Asian with 15 years of experience, 10 of them with digital companies where I have led Fintech
strategic partnerships, which are key for the growth and expansion.

I am working for the past 4 years in Singapore in leadership roles with Fintech companies.

I have built a track record in leading fintech businesses, navigating new markets, raising capital, forging strategic partnerships, and launching innovative products.

I have also worked in a leadership role at an e-commerce platform which raised 1.5 billion dollars, the work I did created significant commercial value for the e-commerce platform

My skills and experience in Fintech are diverse, unique, and valuable.

I applied for the Exceptional Talent.

I waited for a month and then dropped an enquiry, within an hour I got a response that my application has been rejected.

What worries me is that the assessing panel has not read the application properly, they have provided shabby reasons.

I think TechNation reeks of racism.

Can someone advise me to hire an attorney for the appeal ?

Mandatory Criteria:

  • Certificates of employment with high salaries with fitnech companies of German, Dutch, Chinese and Indian origin.
  • Letters of recommendation from a London Based ex employer
    -Letter of recommendation from a renounced Singapore fintech leader and book author

OC 1: Innovation

  • Letter of recommendation from 2 employers on how I built strategic partnerships to help the companies expand
  • I am the cofounder and curator of a industry knowledge portal
  • I am a guest columnist with 12 published articles in a renowned business magazine

OC2: Product led growth / Commercial Contribution

  • I worked for four years with an e-commerce marketplace, where I head strategic partnerships and launched several innovative products and projects. The company I worked raised 1.5 billion dollars from the like of Softbank and is slated to do an IPO in 2022. I reported to the founders. I have provided press articles.
  • Letter of recommendation from a startup media platform which covered the above story and vouched for my work

Rejected by lame reasons:

  • The candidate has applied with optional criteria 1 and 3 (innovation and impact). The information
    provided is not sufficient to endorse for exceptional talent.

  • The candidate has not demonstrated how he fulfils the mandatory criteria. Although he has worked
    across several businesses, there is insufficient information about his specific impact on these
    businesses, such as the products or programmes he led. In addition, the candidate’s letters of
    recommendation, whilst complimentary, do not show someone with international recognition and at the
    forefront of their sector.

  • The candidate has not sufficiently shown how they fulfil the first optional criteria of a proven track record of innovation. The candidate has written some content, attended events and worked on projects for employe a / employer b. However, nothing in this shows the candidate working in a new digital field but rather product innovation.

  • The candidate has not shown how he fulfils the third optional criteria of significant technical, commercial or entrepreneurial contributions to the field. Although the candidate has submitted evidence around his work at e-commerce marketplace, he has not specified his role other than saying he led some of these projects. This criterion is about work attributable to an individual’s work; this needs to be clarified.

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Sorry to hear about the rejection.

Do you think you can share the reasons for the rejection as given by Tech Nation? With that, people here will be able to provide some valuable feedback on how to approach the appeal. Your appeal (with or without an attorney) may be best if based on the reasons for the rejection in the first place.

I wouldn’t jump to conclusions just yet.

Thanks westside, I have updated the note.

Thanks for sharing this @TheFintechGuy. I believe more experienced members will give you valuable feedback on this and on what to do next. Just be a little patient, they’ll see this post and advise.

My view is (which you should take lightly by the way) that the assessors want to see some more details on your specific contribution and the impact resulting from your contribution. This may be addressed by presenting your evidence in a different way and telling a different story.

Getting a non-endorsement proforma is disappointing but never enough for you to accuse Tech Nation of racism. If you got endorsed you wouldn’t accuse tech nation of racism. What is your basis for calling this racism? Going by the document you listed, you clearly didn’t submit sufficient documents to get endorsed. Tech Nation guide clearly states that reference letters are not sufficient. The document you submitted for innovation clearly does not meet the bar when compared to the examples in the tech nation guide. Did the articles you provided in your application state you impact in the organisation?

You need to go through the list of evidence of other successful applicants in this forum, then you will see you need to do better in convincing an assessor why you should be endorsed for this visa.

The assessor acknowledged that you have worked in multiple digital businesses but the evidence provided are not sufficient to make a decision. You can attempt an appeal, I personally think there are missing pieces in your application.

Have you spoken at conferences? have you gotten awards of recognition as a digital leader? Do you have news clippings about your leadership. Aside reference letters, you need some external evidence to validate that you are a recognised leader.

For innovation, did you show says numbers or the product you built? Did you show evidence of your impacts, financial documents?


Dear @Francisca_Chiedu

My worry is that TechNation does not understand the role of “Strategic Partnerships” in Digital Companies. I am Strategic Partnerships and New Business Development leader.

I have worked for tech companies of Chinese, Australian, Indian, Dutch and German origin helping them enter new markets via strategic partnerships. They recognise my talent and I am sought after by Fintech companies.

My fear is Tech Nation understand roles like product manager, software developer but DOES NOT understand the role of “head of strategic partnerships” which I doing in various tech companies for over 8 years.

  1. I submitted letters of recommendation from CEO / CXOs of Australian, Chinese companies where I worked and led “Strategic Partnerships” helping my organisation enter new market, build and launch new products.

  2. OC 2 (Commercial Contribution) I worked for an Unicorn e-commerce marketplace form a Series B to a Unicorn Status ($6.5 Billion valuation with $ 1.5 billion raised) - I headed “Strategic Partnerships” and provided proof in the form of new products launched. I am mentioned by press as the head of strategic partnerships, an employment certificate, a letter from a media platform for digital startups which has observed our journey and vouched for my work. My strategic partnerships played a role in our commercial success and us raising 1.5 billion dollars - if this is not enough then what is ? :thinking:

  3. I worked for a Global multinational bank and the London based CXO vouched for my innovation - where I launched a novel product. He wrote a descriptive letter of recommendation, I submitted a press release. If this is not innovation then what is ? :thinking:

  4. I run and curate a wikipedia for payments AND also a regular columnist for a business magazine, where I write at the intersection of business and technology:" horrifyingly Tech Nation termed this as “written some content” :thinking:

  5. I provided proof of speaking at 2 mega industry conferences, which again horrifyingly Tech Nation termed this as “attending some events” :thinking:

Now 4. and 5. are clear racism, aren’t they ?

Over my career spanning more than a decade, I have developed and executed major growth strategies and led, operated, advised in different Fintech companies, I am confident about my track record, leadership and talent - it is unique, diverse and valuable. I can add meaningful value to the Fintech ecosystem of any country.

UK is not the end of the world but given UK’s track record of racism - I will to take this to its logical conclusion.

Can an attorney help here ?

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“UK is not the end of the world but given UK’s track record of racism - I will to take this to its logical conclusion”. You need to get a grip of yourself, since you know the you UK has a track record of racism, why then do you want to come to the UK? If you are sounding like this, I wonder what you wrote in your personal statement.

In your earlier post you stated more of reference letters as evidence. You chose evidence of innovation, I still don’t see your proof of innovation. You can Google global talent attorneys and pay for them to support your review. Lastly, you need to have a conversation with yourself whether the UK is really for you as you clearly don’t have the right attitude for recipients of this visa programme.
I do not work for Tech Nation but I am appalled by your sense of entitlement. You are not the first to get a refusal, others got the decision overturned during a review. The UK is fair enough to give you an opportunity to appeal, there is no perfect system but never enough for you to accuse Tech Nation of rascism.


Thanks @Francisca_Chiedu for your inputs, very helpful

I have no entitlement mindset, considering with my profile, having worked in leadership roles for a decade, in digital companies of Chinese, German, Australian, India and Dutch origin with letters of recommendation certifying my commercial and innovation contribution - I have been rejected on all 3 counts - mandatory and both optional criteria of innovation and commercial contribution

What pains me is that TechNation has failed to read through my evaluation given their hurried comments on the refusal - “attended some events”., “wrote some content”

Tech Nation has failed to understand the importance of “Strategic Partnerships” in digital companies which is my domain for the past decade, particularly Fintech.

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Well, my comment on your entitlement mindset stems from your comment about Tech Nation and the UK, you call a company racist yet you are applying to come and live here. You also think you are deserving of this visa based on your own standards, it does work like that. There are many other professionals with wealth of experience like you, so you need to demonstrate how you stand out.

Having looked at your list of evidence, I would have drawn the same conclusion as the assessor. Again search this forum and compare your evidence with successful applicants, you will see your evidence can be better.

The feedback from the assessor shows the recommendation letters were not strong enough. If you are being honest with yourself, did the recommendation letters cover tech nation’s recent update on what should be in your recommendation letters? Did your letters explain how the author knows the applicant; and

  • Knows the applicant’s achievements in the relevant field; and
  • how the author considers the applicant shows exceptional talent or promise; and
  • the contribution the applicant would make to the UK digital economy.

As for your comment about Tech Nation not understanding strategic partnership, you are sounding as if it is in your place to define it, for the purpose of this visa programme, follow the guide. Tech Nation has stated the kind of evidence they would like to see to convince them that you are a leader in the sector. Again what is your proof of innovation and impact? You provided evidence of news articles to show you contributed to fundraising, why did your employer not affirm your contribution? You got a “letter recommendation from a startup media platform which covered the above story and vouched for my work” to show your impact in an organisation and press articles, in my opinion that is just a single piece of evidence. I would have expected a letter from an employer: Documents detailing your significant contribution towards commercial success (such as evidence of sales pipeline built and delivered, growth generated, leads generated, processes developed and implemented).
As for proof of innovation , based on your list, you clearly did not provide sufficient evidence. See extract from tech nation guide on what is required.

1) How do I demonstrate that I have a proven track record or examples of innovation in the digital technology sector as a founder or senior executive of a product-led digital technology company or an employee working in a new digital field or concept?

You can demonstrate this by providing evidence of any genuine and significant product-led digital technology businesses you have established as a founder or senior executive which is currently active or has been dissolved in the last five years. Any company provided as evidence should demonstrate a level of income beyond solely covering the applicant’s salary and must have been commercially successful or otherwise demonstrate how the applicant meets the endorsement criteria.

Examples of relevant evidence include:

  • Evidence of innovation/product development, proof of product in market and associated traction through revenue.
  • Evidence for each business should include your last set of audited accounts, projections for current financial year and articles of association.
  • Evidence of domestic and/or international sales should show customer numbers for each country in which the company is operating, including a ranking of your distribution channels with a breakdown of when these sales were achieved for each channel (i.e. online, physical retail, 3rd party distributors, resellers etc.).
  • Evidence of employment contract with salary information including any bonus and equity options and history of earnings.

TechNation - I don’t think Tech Nation understand what Strategic Partnerships are, how they work and what value they add to digital platforms.

In my 10 years of experience as a strategic partnerships leader with companies of Chinese, German, Australian, Indian and Dutch origin, the partnerships I built were critical, important, innovative and pivotal to business success.

I am not a software developer or a product manager. Strategic Partnership is a highly specialised domain within tech platforms:

I have submitted proof via:

  1. 5 letters of recommendation vouching for my work at different organisations on the impact I created, how I can created potential value for UK fitnechs
  2. High salary and top designation at former employer - Employment certificates
  3. Speaker at 2 conferences
  4. Press articles confirming the $ 1.5 billion my company raised where I headed strategic partnerships
  5. A motivational statement of purpose
  6. Details of the column I write for a business magazine at the intersection of tech and business
  7. The WikiPedia for payments which I am building as community project.

With these supporting documents, getting rejecting for all Mandatory and 2 Optional is strange, smacks of racism or simply they don’t understand strategic partnerships, or both.

Whats worse, **Receiving shabby TechNation responses like " attended some events, “wrote some content” is deeply disturbing and disappointing. **

You have not addressed my questions. How did you show innovation? I guess you chose the wrong eligibility criterion for your skills. Tech Nation is an endorsement body, they have set a guide on what they would like to see in an application, it is either you meet it and get endorsed or you provide insufficient evidence based on your interpretation and get a non-endorsement.
Ranting about racism for failing to meet the requirements for endorsement won’t do you any good.
Since you say the UK is a racist country, why do you want to come here?

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Thanks @Francisca_Chiedu - Much appreciated, I have provided press clippings of the innovative project I led and my role certified by the letter of recommendation by a London based CXO of a major bank.

I am confident of my profile, have fairly well paying job in an ASEAN Fintech Capital - My talent is sought after and have worked with companies of different origins.

I am regular speaker at conference, I write a guest columns for a magazine, I run a wikipedia style platform for fintech and payments.

Tech Nation is certainly racist, they have rejected me on all three counts :zipper_mouth_face:

  • Mandatory Criteria - Rejected /No :thinking:
  • Optional Criteria (Commercial Contribution) - Rejected / No :thinking:
  • Optional Criteria (Innovation) - Rejected / No :thinking:

I think it is best you look at the comments from Technation and rework instead of accusing of racism- that is extreme. Because your skills are sought after doesn’t make you the Talent Technation is looking for.
It is either you follow their guide to get endorsed or you don’t and don’t get endorsed. Lastly, if they do not understand strategic partnership- explain it-explain it- what you do- how you did it - results gotten with evidences.

You seem like you have got what it takes but you just did not put your documents together properly that tells the story.

Good luck if you decide to try again!


I applied and received an Exceptional Talent endorsement for my work in strategic partnerships at a product-led company. I started my career in marketing at product-led companies.

The feedback from Tech Nation appears to be thorough - if you are interested in submitting an appeal, I agree that working with a solicitor may be the best approach to ensure you are addressing each piece of feedback sufficiently.

Best of luck!

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Thanks @mclarenf ! Much appreciated.

@TheFintechGuy Looking at the feedback from Tech Nation and your responses here, I believe that you didn’t explain yourself properly in the application according to Tech Nation Criteria because you believe so much in your track record.

My advise is that you read the feedback and explain your track record better in an appeal or reapply. Give the details to show you are exceptional as you believe.

For example the evidence 4 and 5 you term as Tech Nation racist feedback is because you didn’t follow Tech Nation Criteria.

  1. When you mentioned you run and curate (some content) is a different meaning from you wrote (ownership of content), did you mention how many readers or site visitors read or visit the business magazine? You writing for a business magazine doesn’t automatically mean you are a global exceptional talent but if you can demonstrate that the business magazine has a large and global audience.

  2. When you where a speaker of 2 mega industry conference, did you mention the number of attendees, profile of other speakers at the event, coverage of the event and so on? Without this information, it is some event.

I think you need to pick the right criteria as well.

Also note, I believe some of your evidence where presented as mere team impact without mentioning your specific contribution to achieving the impact. For example: you brought in this x companies through x and closed a deal of x amount in annual revenue for the company (Proof - a letter from the CEO of your company saying something like this attributing the financial impact specifically as your contribution).

Talk about the project you led, what impact did the project make to the company and the customers. For example, I led a strategic partnership project of a buy now, pay later integration partnership, it was a success as revenue jumped up month over month by 14% and customers base grew by 200% within 12 month. (Remember must be backed by evidence)

Like everyone as advised, you might need assistance from a solicitor to put your application together. The feedback from Tech Nation appears to be thorough.

Disclaimer: I do not work for Tech Nation and my comments are just opinions.


Thanks @taseh much appreciate your inputs. if you could DM me an expert with these applications, it would be helpful

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I think it is just a knee-jerk reaction. We understand your frustration but such claim can stop them from endorsing you.

@Francisca_Chiedu was quite intense tho. Wow!


Yes, I am surprised but not frustrated, I firmly believe TN does not understand Strategic Partnerships, which are key to expanding technology platforms:

example of strategic partnerships !

  • When Google started as a search engine, it was a search bar on the Yahoo home page.
  • Apple permits Google to power search on Safari browser on iPhone
  • Uber, Spotify, Wise, Revolut would be local companies if it were not Strategic Partnerships.
  • Monzo and Transferwise enter with to a strategic partnership for Monzo uses to make remittances via Wise

Partnerships are key :key: to success of technology platforms !

TechNation understands typical programmer, product manager roles but does NOT understand strategic partnerships:

  • I headed Strategic Partnerships for a an e-commerce marketplace unicorn for 4 years, I reported to the founder and CEO, we raised 1.5 billion dollars, I led multiple projects with deep commercial impact. A letter from an independent startup media platform in my country vouched my impact + I submitted press mentions. TechNation ignored it. :thinking:
  • I worked for technology companies (some exceptionally renowned names) of Chinese, German, Australian, Dutch origin as Head of Strategic Partnerships, reporting to CXO’s and have letters of recommendation, TN ignores it. :thinking:
  • I spoke at events and Tech Nation terms it as “attending events” :zipper_mouth_face:
  • I write a column for a 3 decade old business magazine, TN terms as “written some content” :zipper_mouth_face:

TN does not understand how Strategic Partnerships work and their role in technology companies.

It depends on what you mean by intense. I believe most people who come to the TN forum expect constructive feedback. He could potentially get endorsed but his attitude is not helping. If there is a mistake in your application simply ask for a review.