Payments

The Story of India's Emergence as a Leading FinTech Hub

MEDICI

The global FinTech ecosystem continues to grow at a rapid pace. Hundreds of new startups are being founded every month across the globe. Innovative, data-focused business models continue to disrupt the traditional FinServ industry, with banks and other incumbents looking to adapt to these newer ways.

The US has been leading the global FinTech innovation with a massive contribution toward global VC funding as well as in terms of the number of home-grown FinTech startups. In the period between 2010-2015, the US saw 2003 FinTech startups being founded, which was ~30% of the total number of FinTech startups founded across the globe in the same period. Payments, InsurTech, Lending, and Investment Platforms were the major FinTech segments where the US saw a huge number of new startups being founded in this period.

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However, in the past couple of years, the US FinTech market appears to be reaching a stage of maturity as the number of newly founded US startups has decreased significantly since 2015.

On the other hand, India has come out of the shadows to emerge as the fastest-growing FinTech hub. In the period between 2010-2015, India was home to 1216 new FinTech startups founded in this period. In 2014-15, there was a huge uptick in the number of new FinTech startups; the numbers grew from 210 in 2014 to 454 in 2015 – a 116% increase in growth.

The year 2015 was the first time India overtook the US as 454 startups were founded in India in 2015 compared to 364 in the US in the same period. Since 2016, India has dominated the global landscape with a 28.4% contribution to the total number of newly founded startups across the globe. Payments, Lending, Investment Platforms, and PFM are the major areas where India outshines US.

In Payments, India has 60 new startups since 2016 while the US has 30. In Lending, India has 100 new startups since 2016, 2.5X of the US who has 40. In investment Platforms and PFM, India has 2.15X and 3X number of new startups as compared to the US since 2016. However, in this period, India saw a significantly lower number (19) of InsurTech startups being founded compared to the US (75), highlighting the fact that India is still far behind the US in terms of InsurTech adoption.

The FinTech resurgence in India can be largely attributed to several factors such as the government’s pro-digitization and pro-startup initiative (Startup India program). In the past couple of years, India’s economic and business environment has shown great acceptance and potential for a FinTech revolution. There is a huge top-down push from the government for the adoption of digital payments. The demonetization in November 2016 was the focal point around which Paytm and others players gained prominence.

In the past few years, there have been several exciting innovations in this space, such as UPI, Aadhaar for eKYC, BharatQR for QR-based payments, biometric payments (AEPS), e-wallets by 50+ banks, and payment banks and sound-wave based payments for rural engagements and last mile connectivity. These innovations highlight the fact that India is carving out a niche for itself in low-cost, large-value FinTech driven innovation, focused on urban and rural segments alike.

Several global banks have been engaging with the FinTech ecosystem in India. Large technology players are coming forward to leverage India’s open payments architecture with Google Tez and WhatsApp Payments being one-of-its-kind initiatives by these players across the globe. Hence India is an important and significant test bed for FinTech innovation, and thus looks set to lead the next wave of FinTech along with other leaders such as the US and China.

Some of the other FinTech hubs based on the number of startups founded since 2010 are UK, Singapore, Germany, Indonesia, Switzerland, and Spain.

Diwakar Mandal

MEDICI

Diwakar is a FinTech enthusiast and an avid researcher who spends his time learning and writing about market trends, traction and disruptions in the industry. He has been active in the financial services consulting space for over four years.