As someone who has worked within the FinTech scene for the past 3 years now, I've seen a lot of ups and downs. The industry continues to grow, even amid the challenging regulatory environments.
I attended a conference in Malaysia in July 2017, I heard one of the presenters talk about TechFin. The term was coined by Jack Ma a year or so back and I started to think more and more about its meaning.
Interestingly, I don't believe there has been any formal market evaluation on the TechFin industry model.
The Industry Differences
I don't believe there is a massive difference between FinTech and TechFin, to many people whom I have spoken to the differences are very small. Albeit, the approaches which both take are very different.
I believe both reflect the ever increasing overlap between finance and the use new/emerging technologies. Success for both is usually underpinned by ensuring large financial institutions:
- Collect enough tangible data on their customers/clients as a first step.
- Analyse and learn from the data collected and translate these into improving customer engagement as a second step.
Janos Barberis, a well renowned FinTech / RegTech influencer and founder Supercharger FinTech Accelerator based in Hong Kong noted that:
Today, we are entering an area of data analytics and artificial intelligence. These in turn transform data from being simply a byproduct of human interaction into a core commodity for economic growth. Data has been designated “the new oil” because it pushes
companies to find, extract, refine and monetise it. We are indeed at the beginning of a new cycle simply because less than 1% of the world's data is analysed, and over 80% is unprotected.
[Reference from Asian Banker]
The timeline of the future of FinTech:
- FinTech 1.0: Was about Infrastructure
- FinTech 2.0: Was about banks
- FinTech 3.0: What about Start-ups
- FinTech 4.0: Will be about TechFin
[Reference from Asian Banker]
Separating FinTech & TechFin
I would say both have some commonalities but there are some considerable differences in the approaches.
FinTech exists with an objective to maximise the use of emerging technologies to disrupt existing 'old world' financial services models. A good example of this would be the use of Blockchain.
TechFin exists with an objective to improve the existing experience or capabilities in the financial services industry. Not so disruptive compared to FinTech but more incremental in nature.
True Innovation & Measuring Success
As someone who has spent the last 12 years focused on strategy, building products, delivering true innovation is very tough. Improving the design and experience is slightly easier, if you have the right people in place and I have seen examples of this in
True innovation can only be measured when products or services become mainstream. Blockchain and its technology isn't mainstream - yet. However, when it is and everyone has come to accept it publicly, it would be classed as being truly innovative.
The approach to TechFin and its success will be slower by nature but more significant as user experience, design are things consumers crave the most when it comes to their products and services.
Having worked for and with banks, I know that they're all very keen to adopt new technologies and the vast majority recognise that they need to change their approach. Innovation labs are popping up all over the place within the banking community across the
globe. However, their success will be measured on how quickly they build and incorporate new products and services and whether the 'corporate' side of the business integrates them quickly.
The generation Y and upcoming generation Z community are the toughest to please, the latter group especially given their lofty expectations. Getting the basics right first would be the priority, user experience, design and basic functionality are a must
in today's world.
Interesting and exciting times ahead!
Asian Banker - From FinTech to TechFin: data is the new oil