New kid on the block!

Hi there, am a relatively a new kid on the block and there is a lot of hype around me already, want to know more? , read on…

Worldwide, banks, technology vendors, analysts identify me by a common name of FinTech but I do come in many varieties based on my specialty. I am born with an intention to provide an exceptional experience to you – the customer, in niche areas of financial services industry using latest cutting edge technologies.

In our childhood days, I and my cousins have done quite a few things in areas of Payments and P2P lending. As we grew up, we started work on some exciting stuff in InsurTech, InvesTech, RegTech (Regulatory) and Identity Management.

I am striving to provide Financial Inclusion, Quick innovation, Market structure change, and growth through New Value Streams. Some of my clans have made it really big and are called Unicorns while some of us have not been so lucky as well!

Challenges

I have had my share of challenges while growing up. At very young age, there were huge expectations from me as I made quite a promising start. But I am yet to pass the most important test of maturity and success – customer acquisition. Customers are having apprehensions while trusting me in the long run.

As with all teenagers, I will need some time and a lot of support from the elders – the banks. I will need tangible help from them in form of investments as well as their backing to make a lasting impression on customers’ minds. But banks will only help me if they see that I myself am able to attract serious customers. So it’s a tricky situation for me.

One more problem I face is that I am unable to convert great starts into scalable products. I have done numerous POCs but not able to move beyond that in quite a few cases.

The sheer strictness of the patriarchs (regulatory bodies) doesn’t help the cause too. They need to be a bit flexible and change with times.

Finally, perception matters a lot. As long as people were seeing me as a disruptor, I was getting all the praise. As soon as people realized that though I will disrupt, in a steady way, the favors went down.

If I were to take names here, Paytm, an Indian FinTech is super successful and has attracted huge investments. We also have likes of Square Wallet which was launched with much fanfare but failed to make the cut.

Where do banks stand?

It would be delusory for anyone to think that I will take the banks head on and overthrow them. The reason I say this is that banks enjoy the absolute trust of their customer. Also, banks have modeled their operations around the regulatory guidelines.

But this in no way implies that Banks can continue to do business as usual and achieve the growth targets. It is imperative for them to innovate. But banks too have strained margins and are not able to invest enough in the latest technologies. The main reason being the time lag between investing in something new and seeing a tangible business benefit. Only a few banks have partnered with me as yet.

Way forward

This is not going to be a winner takes it all game. The industry needs collaborations to move forward.

On Banks’ part, they need to realize the value that I can bring to their business. The articulation should be clearly in terms of new value streams.

I will focus on what I do best – innovate. But that only is not going to be sufficient to thrive. I will have to start building scalable business models that will attract investment.

Software service providers can play a great role in bridging the gap between banks and us. For example, Infosys Finacle is actively working on this front and helping us in a big way.

Regulatory bodies have to play a major role in encouraging innovation. I expect a conducive ecosystem along with temporary licenses to test the innovative ideas in the real market.

Overall, the ecosystem is fragmented, to say the least, and there are resistances on part of almost all parties to collaborate. But collaborate we must, some for growth and some for sheer survival. Only then will we have an evolved market structure. There are many collaborative works in progress. A big success or two will prompt other players to emulate.

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 Balchandra Kemkar

Lead Consultant

Digital Product Manager. Passionate about creating exceptional user experiences. Interests include Fintech, IoT, AI, UX, Chatbots and Travel

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5 thoughts on “A Fintech’s Journey

  • Well written, eventually Fintechs and banks would work in a more co-ordinated way.

  • Hey kid, the trouble is that adults still see you as a kid and continue to test you before adopting you completely. And thus, your idea of building scalable business model to prove your potential is bang on. It is only then you will be awarded full marks by the banks. The rising threat from the FANG (facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) gang should assist you. Take clues from them, and continue to evolve. All the best!!

  • Excellent Blau, would like to read more stuff like this in coming days. Cheers!

  • Really liked the tone of article. Keeps you glued till the last word.

  • Depiction of true journey of a Fintech which are rising so fast. Well written.

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