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The FinTech Revolution Is Here - And It’s Delicious

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by Startacus Admin

Established financial institutions we’ve got news for you - fintech startups are coming for your lunch - and they’re hungry! Dann Bibas, co-founder at Fountain, a goal based investing platform that is using smart technology to build investment plans that revolve around you, explains all..
Fintech revolutionYou know that expression: jack of all trades?
We treat it with suspicion, right? When it comes to trusting someone's ability, we prefer specialists over generalists, precision over approximation. Imagine Usain Bolt turning up at the 2020 Olympics and promising gold medals in the 100m sprint, javelin, and the 200m backstroke. Even for Bolt, we’d struggle to take it seriously. Jack of all trades equals master of none.

So why do we let big financial institutions get away with it? These guys aren’t just claiming to be everything to everyone, they’re claiming to be excellent at it. But you don’t buy your coffee from the same place you get your haircut, so why get your current account from the same place you ask for mortgage advice?

This is the problem with established as we know them: they’re spread too thin. They take advantage of a general public misunderstanding of financial products to claim that they should all belong under the same roof.
Fintech revolution

Go to Google and type in ‘bank account’. Click on the first result that comes up and when the page loads, count the number of products thrown at you. Insurance. Mortgages. Savings. Fraud. Derivative operations. Too many options and your head is spinning- I just wanted to open a current account. Make it stop. Please! 

What looks like a powerful multinational financial institution is really hundreds of fragmented (and completely different) businesses under one roof. Each with varying needs, circumstances and priorities. And that’s not efficiency, it’s chaos. 

No single management team will ever be able to manage and improve so many complex businesses. Economies of scale have become like a double-edged to the world’s largest banks and asset managers - crucial to their success, but a wooden stick in the wheels of 21st century progress. 

This is why the rise of FinTech is so exciting. 

FinTech has been buzzing for a few years now but we’re in the early days of a long and overdue revolution. FinTech innovation is exciting, not because new incumbents are looking to challenge a large bank’s portfolio of services, but because they are committing to one niche - and ready to do whatever it takes to do it really really well. FinTech revolution consists of hundreds of ambitious startups aiming to improve tiny slices, collectively elevating the entire pie. And of course, the consumer emerges as the main beneficiary. When was the last time a big bank could claim that?

Fintech revolution

And in this new ecosystem, new businesses are being born across lucrative segments of an archaic industry. Consumers and businesses benefit from increased competition, and the financial industry, long labelled as the UKs crown jewel of its services economy, is given a new breath of life. Policy makers take note.

Tide Banking is a prime example: they do one thing, they describe it simply and they deliver it brilliantly. Tide has created a business current account with handy tools that save businesses valuable time and money. More than that, they’re user friendly, mobile, and you could have an account ready in a heartbeat. How do I know that? Because it’s front and centre on their homepage and have heaps of new customers singing their praises .

So why aren’t established players taking note? Well, sort of. Recently, a household-name UK retail bank opened a similar account for businesses. But they mentioned a 3-4 week wait period because certain checks could only be completed in a physical branch. Sorry. Did you say physical branch? This is just not working out. It’s not me, it’s you.

For those too slow to adapt, and struggling to make necessary improvements because they’re spread so thin. We’ve got news for you, incumbents like Tide are coming for your lunch. And they’re hungry.

Speaking of lunch. FinTech incumbents remind me of trendy food carts, they religiously focus on a small number of dishes that will keep their customers happy as hell. With lean teams and founders working closely in piping hot kitchens, they seamlessly interact with customers, gauging which dishes are selling like wildfire, the ones that need a bit more spice, and the unpopular tofu cheesesteak that should be scrapped altogether. Sorry Tofu lovers.
Fintech revolution

Like in FinTech, iterations are made quickly and in line with customer needs. Like in FinTech, something the big beasts simply can’t keep up with.

Think of a global fast-food chain with never-ending menus that are only updated following hundreds of focus groups and the unanimous decision of a soulless boardroom somewhere in another country. Changes go through a slow chain of command and even the most brilliant ideas take ages to materialise, with risk-averse managers wary of disrupting the status-quo. The focus remains on margins and outdated business practices, as opposed to evolving customer needs. It’s not a winning formula.

Anyway, all this talk of lunch is making me hungry. There’s this Mexican food cart down the road (hola Luis!). They only have three options but they nail it every time. They have an iZettle so I can just tap my Monzo card and pay in a flash. I’ve been meaning to spend less on food to save for a holiday, but you try and say no to extra guac.

Dann Bibas
Dann Bibas
is a co-founder at Fountain, a goal based investing platform that is using smart technology to build investment plans that revolve around you. By automating the advice process, and bringing it online, Fountain can offer bespoke investment plans at a fraction of the cost of a traditional advisor.

Dann is an active member of the Founders Of The Future community, a former associate at Citigroup, and an alumni of McGill University.

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Published on: 21st August 2017

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