Week in Review: All Aboard! (But Mind the Gap)

If you’ve read Sapiens (full disclosure: I’m not done) you’ll be introduced to the idea that fiction, or a common myth, is a galvanizing force of our species. Our collective nature to create, believe, and work together towards a shared idea – whether that’s government, family, religion, or a company – is uniquely human and FinTech is no exception. This week, we look at stories exploring the shared experience of FinTech – for good and for bad.

How FinTech Became an International Unifying Phenomenon

"Not only does FinTech bring together governments, its unifying force actually first started to show in domestic markets among financial institutions and startups. Immense mutual benefits have been a strong incentive for startups and commercial banks to start transforming traditionally rigid industries together – financial services and insurance. Indeed, …the best way to foster progress is by working as a global and collaborative ecosystem, emphasized Laura Gaviria Halaby, Global Head of FinTech Acceleration at Citi, in an exclusive interview with the LTP Team.

It’s no secret the world shrinking, digitally speaking. The internet (and now blockchain) has supercharged globalization and connectivity between all of us. It’s this new, truly global ecosystem that brought Amit and Aditya together to start LTP. Over the last five years, FinTech’s excitement has grown to spur not only startups but banks, credit unions, investors, regulators, and government to work together and change finance. What’s interesting about financial services, being a highly regulated industry, is how much of the old world boundaries remains intact while consumer products like Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp erase boundaries completely.

It may feel like FinTech is getting crowded – because it is! And that’s okay. Consumer-centric products, more ways to access capital, and new ways to transact with each other is required to keep up pace with the massive change happening in society and the economy. Climb aboard; we’re just leaving the station.

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The future of FinTech looks bright, but we can’t afford to ignore the skills challenge

Out of almost 250 FinTech companies surveyed, half of the respondents said that they were extremely positive about their revenue streams, and were expecting global revenue growth of over 100% in the next 12 months.

"But our FinTech community also outlined the challenges that can impede their growth. Our census highlights access to talent, particularly coding and software development, as one of the biggest issues that need to be addressed.

"This issue needs to be tackled at the grassroots level. It is crucial that we find collaborative ways to help our community, by connecting people who have the skills and expertise with the people and businesses who need them.

Convincing people that the future of FinTech is exciting, impactful and bright isn’t hard these days. On top of that, most everyone wants their banking and payments experience to seem more like their favorite consumer apps (translation: there is lots of room for growth). To be fair, it’s not easy – particularly in mature markets – to overhaul the entire financial system. Finding the right people to make our new financial services world a reality is even more difficult.

The best and brightest – particularly in tech – are working on VR, AR, Voice, self-driving cars, space travel, renewable energy, and global social networks (that or $700 Juicers). Blockchain (and cryptocurrency) is one certainly a boon for financial services to attract major talent; however, that leaves banks and more traditional financial services only one of many very attractive options. To that end, it’s on us in the industry to sell the story and promise of FinTech to convince the best to join us. What's even more important, it’s on us to educate both those currently in the industry today as well as newcomers about the how fin and tech work together. Those who can bridge the lessons learned over hundreds of years of financial services with the tech of today will make an outsized impact.

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