June 5, 2017
This is generally how new industries have been created over the years: first some visionaries would pontificate ➤ the academics would theorize ➤ the inventors would tinker with prototypes ➤ the deep-pocketed entities would start paying attention ➤ consultants would convince them to allocate budgets ➤ innovators would start building products for consumers ➤ entrepreneurs would build new businesses to make those products 10x faster, better, cheaper ➤ the mainstream media would start talking about it ➤ leading to new investments and consolidation and standardization… Voila! A new industry!
Pardon the gross simplification, but this sequence has been generally true with small deviations over centuries, if not millennia.
However, FinTech is different. In fact, we seem to have been going backward, or at least totally out of sequence, relative to what has been typical. We already have enough standardization and protocols in financial services; there’s plenty of investment, perhaps more than good ideas worthy of it. The entrepreneurial energy is palpable; we seem to produce more FinTech thought leaders on LinkedIn every week than successful FinTech products. FinTech has made its way into the popular lexicon with even heads of state peppering speeches with FinTech jargon. In fact, we also have a global movement around impact investing and social inclusion funded by well-meaning philanthropists who made their money building other industries.
But where’s the innovation at scale to make a meaningful mainstream difference in financial services? Do we – anyone and anywhere in the world – have a 10x better, faster, cheaper way to pay, invest, save, lend, borrow, gift, donate, transfer, hedge, insure, securitize, trade, identify and secure? Of course, there are thousands of products and services that promise new experiences and many of them deliver, yet we all know there’s a long road ahead, and an exciting one at that!
Not surprisingly, our own journey at Let’s Talk Payments as a young company has mirrored the trajectory of the young FinTech industry. Whether the industry is being built backward or out of sequence, bottom-up or top-down, product-first or pontificator-fed, incumbent-led or startup-disrupted – we are proud to be a step ahead of the inevitable noise cone. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
With LetsTalkPayments.com and the LTP newsletter, Amit and I started publishing original insights for the industry almost four years ago, before this industry was even called FinTech. We produced research reports in new enabling technologies such as blockchain and banking APIs, and mapped out new breakout sectors such as mobile payments and marketplace lending. We educated and inspired FinTech startup founders with market data, and actionable information. Today, LTP is a global content platform to serve the industry’s innovation mandate, supported by deep independent research. In a trusted partnership with our highly engaged audience, around the clock, and around the world, we have been curating a knowledge base that has allowed us to create the taxonomy for our new industry.
Of course, in line with how the industry was shaping up and our own investment thesis, we chose to offer up our curated knowledge base in the form of MEDICI, a platform for all stakeholders in FinTech looking to connect, collaborate and innovate. Our approach has democratized access to high-quality information and provided the largest and the smallest entities to benefit from our global footprint. Today, after almost a year-long beta, MEDICI is the industry’s only independent knowledge network serving startups, large FinTech companies, banks, insurance companies, technology giants, investors, accelerators, and incubators, with more stakeholders to come as our complex industry continues to evolve.
Even while LTP and MEDICI together provide all the content, research, analysis, tools and connectivity to make sense of this complexity, we believe it’s now time to introduce the human touch, the qualified handholding, the ability to bounce off ideas, productize new solutions, and drive market outreach, all in real time and with a team of global domain experts that eat, breathe, and sleep FinTech.
MEDICI Advisory will assist senior executives and boards at companies that are interested in harnessing the full power of FinTech. MEDICI Advisory will help answer the most impactful questions that will enable innovation at scale. What exactly is FinTech? How does it affect your business, your customers, and your offerings? How can it potentially disrupt your business? How can you leverage it as a tactical enabler as well as a strategic force, driving innovation and profitability across your business units? How can you use it to better engage with the entire value-chain? MEDICI Advisory will help you build your FinTech strategy, support your ongoing implementations, and drive your overall outreach by helping you to better engage with your customers as well as the entire ecosystem.
MEDICI Advisory will leverage all the LTP and MEDICI assets, bringing you years of research and global analysis, our deep expertise across areas ranging from Payments to Lending to Compliance to Blockchain to Bots to Contextual Experiences to Cashless societies, bringing you insights into all the relevant providers, enablers and trends, and tying it all together into a highly customized and cohesive strategy focused on your customers and your business.
I am excited to introduce Mehul Desai as the new Managing Partner to lead MEDICI Advisory. Mehul has spent the last couple of decades in the world of FinTech – long before it was called FinTech. He pioneered the concept of digital wallets at C-SAM, a company he co-founded with Sam Pitroda, and was acquired by Mastercard Worldwide in 2014. His career of 25+ years in payments and commerce innovation has involved building global deployments centered on mWallets, mCommerce, and mPayments. Mehul has developed intellectual property, built products, and launched services with some of the world’s largest financial service providers, retailers, and telecommunication providers. Mehul has written several books on the topics of mobile money and cashless societies. Mehul has been supporting us as a board member for the past few years and has been instrumental in the growth of LTP and MEDICI. Most importantly, Mehul is passionate about FinTech with a strong conviction that along with building sustainable value for consumers and driving profitability for the business, it can also become a force of socio-economic change around the world.
Amit Goel, Co-founder of LTP and MEDICI, shares my excitement in announcing this new practice. The advisory DNA is ingrained into our culture as a company. It’s the most logical extension to our portfolio of offerings. Our strength is FinTech domain depth. We want to offer anything and everything that will allow our customers to innovate more effectively in FinTech.
Mehul will be supported not only by the reach and depth of the LTP and MEDICI platforms but also by our bench strength of FinTech subject matter experts, covering dozens of segments and subsegments in FinTech, each of whom has trained under Amit’s leadership over the years. In addition to our team of analysts, the MEDICI Advisory practice will be supported by our senior management team – Patrick Rivenbark and Elena Mesropyan in the Americas, Nicolo Petrone in Europe, Nidhi Prabhu in India, and Subhagini Chaudhary in Singapore – ensuring that not only do we have global coverage but can also bring all the necessary sectoral and tactical expertise to our partners around the world.
I am excited about the opportunity to bring my learnings from over the years to LTP and MEDICI partners and customers around the world, helping build your strategy and supporting your implementations, playing a small role in your FinTech journey. I am excited about the prospects of deepening my engagement with the extremely talented and passionate group of FinTech professionals at LTP and MEDICI. I look forward to the potential of helping foster creativity and building sustainable innovations in this highly charged and dynamic FinTech industry, says Mehul Desai.
So, our journey in contributing to FinTech’s growth continues: MEDICI Advisory will now ensure that our customers and partners can extract the signals and stay ahead of all the noise. Whether totally out of sequence or slightly backward, this is the right way to build our industry!
Please write to me, Amit or Mehul, to find out more about MEDICI Advisory and how it can help support your FinTech needs.
Mehul Desai has 25 years of experience in ICT (Information Communication Technologies) and related applications worldwide, focusing on intellectual property, product development, business development, strategy and international operations. Mehul Desai has done pioneering work in the field of secure personalized transactions, with a focus on finance, retail, healthcare, and government services for mobile phone users, evolving the Digital Wallet, to a Mobile Wallet, to a Lifestyle Container. Mehul co-founded C-SAM, Inc., a global technology provider of secure transaction solutions, which was acquired by Mastercard Worldwide in 2014. Mehul Desai is focused on fostering innovation in the areas of Technology, New Media, and Social Entrepreneurship, through mentorship, investment, and cross-pollination across sectors and markets. Mehul Desai co-authored a book – March of Mobile Money: The Future of Lifestyle Management – which was published by Collins Business in 2010. Mehul has authored a new book – August of Money: The Quest for Cashless Society – which was published by Let’s Talk Payments in August 2015. Mehul Desai holds a BS in Telecommunication Engineering and a MS in Engineering Management.