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Best time for fintech startups? - Yes! Yes! Yes!

FinTech Investments Quadruple , UBS Is Spending Big Money on Fintech Startups , A listing of 1208 fintech startup, The 7 hottest Fintech companies in the silicon valley - These are some of the recent articles I've read related to fintech startups. If you're on  social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and follow this space, you'll know how vibrant and dynamic it is with new ideas, innovations, disruptions and experiences that are truly unique, compelling and have the potential to tranform an entire industry. Regular readers of the Finextra community know that almost every other day there is some news byte about a fintech startup.  Many times I wonder why there is so much buzz in the fintech world now? Why are so many startups mushrooming all over the world to tap into the opportunityscape? 

In this blog, I am sharing my views on "Why this is the best time for fintech startups?"

1) Disruption in the Financial / Banking Industry 

It is indeed an interesting time for the financial / banking industry. Most banks are struggling to 'retain' their customers, fighting to ‘protect’ their established business, finding ways to manage their 'risks' and wondering which industry and ecosystem they would fit into in the times to come? There is a definite and crying need to innovate, find new relevance and explore new paradigms to service end customers. And there in lies the opportunity for startups to address the "gaps" / "potential needs" which an end customer faces in his / her financial / banking journey. 

2) Technology Innovation is at its peak

Evolution of technology has been at an unprecedented pace in the last decade. Today, the time is ripe for the culmination of several complementary technologies - from mobile, to big data / analytics, cloud computing, social media and personalization. The interplay of all these advanced technology paradigms make it simple and easy to model "customer experiences" which are unique, compelling and truly solve customer's problems. "If you can think it, technology can do it" seems to be the new mantra, and that serves us well!

3) Blurring of industry boundaries

Again, the beauty of fintech is that it is hard to say which industry is being discussed, who the players are, and what the rules of the game are? A case in point is the mobile payments industry - There are so many sub-industries who play a key role to create the ecosystem - from banks, to device manufacturers, to telecom service providers, to technology companies, to merchants (online / offline), to payment processors, to marketplace solutions, etc. - It can often be hard to say where the boundaries are. And there in lies the opportunity for any fintech disruptor to create new games and define new rules for the game! 

4) New Business Models are emerging

According to this article “research uncovered that businesses were often working to and holding onto models that were flawed in some way, and consequently were making false assumptions and basing important decisions on these. ..... The point to take from it is that no business model is valid forever. Eventually change has to be brought about if the organisation is to survive. The savvy business would prepare for this and be ready”

The time is right and ripe to step back and question the very assumptions and fundamentals on which businesses where built. In today's day and age, are these models valid? Is there a need to re-visit what we (as consumers) pay for and how much we pay? 

Are there creative ways to transform the world of business and to develop new models that better suit many people? I think YES!

5) The "young breed with the startup DNA"

A decade ago being an entrepreneur was not-so-cool. Today, it is. By default, college kids don't desire to join the big corporate world. They aspire to do things on their own, in their way, and on their terms. With global success stories of young founders who created companies like Google, FaceBook, Twitter, WhatsApp, etc. - there are proven examples of leveraging the power of technology to create an impact - across times, across boundaries, across the world. Thinking big is encouraged, treading on unchartered waters is appreciated, and thinking out-of-the-box is welcome. Not to mention startup funds are flowing in abundance. So when the entire environment and ecosystem is fuelling the startup community, the young breed with the startup DNA is looking to tap into the numerous opportunities in the fintech space.

6) The new customer "avatar"

The customer (you / me) are donning a new "avatar" in how we live and experience life. We are willing to try new solutions, open to experiment with how we conduct our lives, ready to learn / re-learn / un-learn, are embracing change and are fundamentally okay to fail - in whatever we do. Be it how we find jobs, how we get paid, what we get paid for, where we work, how we work, how we can use technology to run our lives and businesses. And this new customer "avatar" is providing the necessary fodder, thrust and catalysts to fuel the fintech startups.

With the booming fintech startups, how far do you think is that day when you (as an individual) are as powerful as a bank or you have a personal robot to manage your mundane maintenance tasks (finance related and otherwise) or you can decide how much you should pay for what you buy / experience? 

And coming back to my post topic - Why are these so many fintech startups germinating all over the world? Leave a comment to let me know..


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