Fintech Global Tour goes to Greece to find both local & global innovation

Financial markets in Greece

A strained and chocked financial sector, functioning under Capital Controls for two years (this June) that has priced in the probability of a Grexit (for the third time in 7 yrs). All banks, except for Alpha Bank (Euros 1,63), have become penny stocks with National Bank of Greece trading around 0,25 Euros! Eurobank, who was traditionally the aggressive player in the Greek Banking sector, trading around 0,55 Euros.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Greece has the potential to become a Fintech hub, starting from the necessity to solve many problems that are idiosyncratic to the current conditions. From offering digital identities to immigrants, to issuing a cryptocurrency as a parallel currency, to small Business solutions (working capital, import-export trade etc),….

Greece has been witnessing an accelerated rate of exports of high skilled people (doctors, engineers, programmers etc). Greeks are technically strong and creative; and therefore, an ideal fit to be part of an innovative ecosystem. Funding, regulatory and government support; are the only missing ingredients.

The Fintech process has started shyly in Athens over the past 6 months. The National Bank of Greece launched an accelerator program in November last year, BeFinnovative, which resulted in 9 Fintech startups who are part of the program. Most of the areas are Consumer banking and wealth management (see a list here). Just last week, Interfima and the National Bank of Greece organized the first Fintech Forum in Athens. The event had participants from all over Europe and Chris Gledhill delivered the Keynote with a theme on “Disruption”.

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Athens Old stock exchange; Image byChris Gledhill

Just this past weekend Eurobank held its second BeyondHackathon with more than 130 participants from the Balkan region. Eurobank has a presence in 7 countries. I was honored to deliver the Keynote with a theme “On the Fintech Runway” (you can watch it here) to a packed room.

Eurobank has a full stack digitization roadmap already in place and Sotiris Sirmakezis, who is leading the Digital innovation across the board, has a powerful vision of the transformation journey over the next two years.

Fintech in Greece and out of Greece

The Fintech sector is just emerging but Insurtech is leading! Oseven  is 2yrs old and has taken a behavioral analytics approach to a user-centric telematics insurance offering. Oseven was a winner in the European Fintech awards in 2016 along with Knip, Funding Circle and Kreditech. They have moved their headquarters in London.

In consumer banking, the leader is Viva Wallet. With a rich offering both for retail and for businesses.  It is the first Greek mobile wallet that enables payment in online stores, mobile apps and physical stores. Viva Wallet is branching out into the Balkans and has a roadmap to grow further. Their most recent offering to businesses owners cuts the cost of card processing by 20%. See details here. Viva Wallet also runs an incubator, Viva Nest, that is very active presence in the startup scene.

In wealth management, there are two mature Fintechs that have a global customer base. Logical invest (we have covered extensively in the past) who is a signal provider for DIY investors and who is an example of a decentralized business founded and operated by three partners in three different locations  – Greece, Switzerland, and US. Zulu Trade, is one of the top global social trading platforms.

Fintech list by vertical

Insurtech

Hellas Direct – auto insurance

InsuranceMarket – comparison site

Oseven – Insurance Telematics

Consumer Banking & Small Biz

Viva Wallet – app for payments (retail and business)

BillIt – app for small biz invoice tracking

Elorus – small biz invoice tracking

Early stage

BitforTip – tips with bitcoin

Bcash – Greek Bitcoin ATM

Wealth Mgt

Micro-national: Logical invest

Global Social Trading: Zulu Trade

Early stage

Teastock – ML for stock trading

Echofin – Chatbot for traders

StampD – blockchain based notarization of ownership of any digital asset

Capital Markets

Open Circle Project – equity crowdfunding

Easystarter – donation crowdfunding

Crowdpolicy – Crowdsourcing experts (crowdfunding, apps, hackathons, and more)

Fintech with Greeks

For the Greek diaspora (which is not negligible in size and influence) who wants to follow the Greek Fintech ecosystem, there is a Fintech Greece linkedin group that one can join.

There are plenty of noteworthy Greeks who are part of the international Fintech scene in various capacities, e.g. Leda Glytpis, Spiros Margaris, Nektarios Lolios, and many more.

Fintech a la Greque

I would like to start a wish list of the kinds of innovations that should and could come out of Greece. Please, add on to this wish list:

  • Chris Gledhill: A blockchain voting tech would be good from the birthplace of democracy. A digital Crypto drachma (albeit politically sensitive).
  • Spiros Margaris: The Greek government should internationally promote Greece as a source for highly-qualified tech talent. It would help Greece, and it would help European companies to close the talent gap. That’s what I call a win-win proposition. Greece also ranks very high in the EU in SME innovation (see visual below).
  • My own wishes: A bank for refugees, A HellasCoin – a broad cryptocurrency, an innovative solution for income from illiquid assets (i.e. Greek real estate).

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Daily Fintech Advisers provides strategic consulting to organizations with business and investment interests in Fintech & operates the Fintech Genome P2P Knowledge Network. Efi Pylarinou is a Digital Wealth Management thought leader.

Wrap of Week #11: Blockchain, SEC – Bictoin ETF, Financial Wellness, WeFox, Microfinance in India

 Blockchain is definitely not boring but Blockchain needs to become technically boring.

What did we learn from the rejection of the Bitcoin ETF this past weekend? Time for the SEC to adopt an Open Research approach.

Revisting Financial wellness in the workplace, especially for small businesses.

Digging into:The WeFox #insurtech story is about augmenting rather than replacing agents

A rare guest post on the Effects of Demonetisation on Microfinance in India.

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Wrap of Week #10: Women in Finance, Bitcoin ETF, SmallBiz fintech, Insurtech, Metro Bank

 

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We started the week naturally with The woman in the global Fintech arena which highlighted what is importnant in the financial services businesses as they transform.

We zoomed into the ETF bitcoin approval-disapproval Wedding announcements pending between Old & New Finance Tribes: Bitcoin in an ETF gown!, as the decision was looming (now disapproved).

In our small business post on Wednesday, we shared our insights on Symbiotic channel strategies key to making B2B fintech scale.

In Insurtech we used the funding lenses in our review of The Top InsurTech Ventures by Capital Raised (don’t miss the comments).

In our consumer banking coverage, we looked closer at Metro Bank, publicly traded Challenger bank with a unique business model. Can you ride the Metro to the Challenger Bank future?

We made an announcement as we are extending an invitation for an author on the Daily Fintech platform focused on Insurtech or consumer banking. If you are interested in joining us, read here.

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Join any of the conversations on the Fintech Genome. The global community is sharing insights, creating great conversations, and business is starting to happen.

Check the latest topics that include artificial intelligence, insurance, ICOs, marketplace lending, etc

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Daily Fintech Author Search

Daily Fintech looking for two more expert Authors to cover:

  • InsurTech on Thursday.
  • Consumer Banking on Friday.

Our Authors are globally recognized thought-leaders in their domain who are often speakers and moderators at industry conferences and highly valued consultants. Writing for Daily Fintech will connect you with our highly influential audience (currently around 17,000 email subscribers and 7,000 Twitter followers)

Our Authors must be able to:

  • Commit to a weekly post within a specified domain and follow editorial guidelines.
  • Agree that there is no cash compensation and that Daily Fintech owns the content.
  • Be free from corporate policies that might constrain what they could write. We want free agents who want to build their knowledge, network and reputation in this big, fast changing market.

Key Attributes:

  • Domain experience. We look for people who know the subject from real work experience.
  • Intellectual Curiosity. We look for people who are “learn it alls not know it alls” and who recognize that whatever they learned in the past will change in the future.
  • A passion for explaining complex subjects in engaging ways. We believe that real experts can make complex subjects accessible to people who have little background in that subject.
  • You must post on the same day/time every week within your domain. WordPress has a scheduling feature, which makes this easy to execute.
  • Disclose any conflicts of interest, quote sources accurately and link to them, follow the usual rules about copyrighted content.
  • Our subscribers are senior leaders. Offer them something they cannot get elsewhere and respect their time.

Other information:

  • We encourage our authors to write in their own style. Making articles friendly and accessible is the best guide for developing a style.
  • There is no set length. Do whatever fits the subject.
  • Our subscribers are global. Today our Authors are in Switzerland and Australia. We would like new Authors in America and Asia, but any location is acceptable as long as you have a global mindset.
  • Post genre. You can do whatever suits the subject. You can do a trend analysis, interview (text or audio or video), single company analysis, landscape report. Whatever the format, offer new insight or knowledge that is helpful to subscribers.

We currently have 3 Authors:

Bernard Lunn, Daily Fintech’s founder, writes on Monday, Thursday and Friday. Bernard will continue writing on Monday but will dedicate more time to building the brand and the business. Bernard is a thought leader, serial entrepreneur, adviser and strategic deal closer. He started in Fintech before it was called that for companies such as Misys, Temenos and ITRS, as well as smaller startups.  Bernard is a published book author (Mindshare to Marketshare) and has used his media experience with companies such as ReadWriteWeb to guide Daily Fintech since the first post on 29 June 2014.

Efi Pylarinou, writes about WeathTech and capital markets on Tuesday. She brings bold Wall Street experience (Salomon Brothers, Bankers Trust, SGCowen) in a broad range of asset classes (fixed income, structured products, hedge funds). She has lived and worked in the US, France, Greece, Canada, and Switzerland in investment companies, a university, an online education provider, and an executive consulting firm. She brings a strong academic background combined with a focus on breakthrough results. Efi is the author of Fixed income books with Frank Fabozzi. She is a WealthTech expert.

Jessica Ellerm writes about Small Business Finance on Wednesday. She is based in Australia. In addition to writing for Daily Fintech, Jessica also works for Australia’s flagship Fintech startup and small business banking provider, Tyro. She is also a well-known expert on digital growth hacking and presents financial news and market updates for Australia’s leading online finance news provider, Finance News Network.

For more background on how we view Fintech at a macro level, please read this post.

The woman in the global Fintech arena

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When Theodore Roosevelt was writing this ode to entrepreneurialism, I assume he never thought about writing woman instead of man and that he never imagined anybody with a different skin colour or religion.

His main point is one that we can all agree with. There are only two players in arena:

  1. The Entrepreneur
  1. The Customer/User

Arena implies conflict and the interactions between Entrepreneur and Customer/User should not be about conflict. So here the analogy breaks down and we should talk about actors on stage. The key point – whether it is an arena or a stage – is that there are only two types of people who matter.

Everybody else is a spectator, with maybe a minor role – handing body armor to a gladiator counts as a minor role. Many of these spectators are entrepreneurs in their own domain. For example, a VC is a business like any other and creating a startup VC Fund is as tough as any startup, even though it may not seem like that to an entrepreneur pitching for investment (they just see the piles of money not what it took to create those piles). Speaking from experience, Daily Fintech is a spectator and analyst in the Fintech business, but in the media business we are in the arena/stage as entrepreneurs.

However, leaving aside the definition of who is in the arena/stage and who is a spectator, this post is about updating our view of who an entrepreneur is.

Sexism is dumb business

Silicon Valley gave a great gift to the world, which is the art of starting and scaling a business, but Silicon Valley also gave us a rampantly sexist culture, as the Uber story reminds us yet again. The VCs have too few women partners and they invest in too many entrepreneurs who build businesses where women are second class citizens at best.

This is not just about being politically correct. I think that sexism is wrong, but my concern here is business, not Corporate Social Responsibility PR.

When 50% of your market is not represented in your decision-making, you have a problem. You will be selling to a world that disappeared around the time of Mad Men and Archie Bunker. That is not smart.

The Family CFO is often a woman. If you want to sell lending or other financial tools you will be doing yourself a major disservice if your company culture blinds you to the nuances of marketing financial services to women.

I am pleased to say that with Efi, Jessica and Julia on the Daily Fintech team, we have almost the opposite problem – not enough men.

Countries where men and women operate more equally in the workplace tend to also be places where  a lot of innovation takes place. The Nordic economies come to mind.

It is not just about engineering any more

The defense of the Silicon Valley VCs and entrepreneurs is “of course we would hire/fund more women, if there were more women engineers”.

That puts the problem back with education and society. Everybody on the Board can agree to move onto the next item on the agenda. Sadly, there is a cultural and educational problem, where at an early age girls are encouraged to give up on math and chess and other things that would position them well for an engineering career. There is some truth to that defense.

There are exceptions. There are great women engineers who ignored social convention when they were young and continued to focus on the math and chess that they loved.

However, they are the exceptions that prove the rule. While we can and should bemoan this and seek to change it, that change will take time. Today there are not enough women engineers.

However, the “not enough women engineers” defence is baloney. You do not need an engineering degree to become a great entrepreneur.

Steve Jobs was not an engineer.

While there are huge engineering challenges, in areas such as transportation and energy, there are also lots of challenges which are not primarily about engineering.

Much of the focus on engineering is myth. The founding engineering in ventures such as Facebook, Uber, Twitter, AirBnB and Snapchat was trivial. As the old saying goes – this is not rocket science.

Is it that entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg and Travis Kalanick are so obviously male?  Is a testosterone fuelled combative attitude essential to success?

The great digital success stories are about building ecosystems of value. That sounds like something that requires more than combative skills – attributes such as empathy and ability to listen that we tend to associate more with the female of the species.

The degree to which engineering is critical depends on where in the stack you focus.

Consider the Blockchain revolution, the transition from the “content exchange Internet” (that started c 1994 with the Netscape browser) to the “value exchange Internet” (that started c 2009 with Bitcoin).

Although there are plenty of hard core engineering challenges at the bottom of the Blockchain stack to do with with scaling (such as SegWit and Lightning Network and Proof Of Stake ), if Blockchain is to have the huge business and societal impact that many (including myself) expect, it has to become as easy as using a service such as WordPress or writing some basic scripts.

The other big disruptive technology is AI This is mostly now available as open source and through cloud based services.

All of these underlying hard core technologies are available through the Open API revolution. This makes all this underlying technology readily available to entrepreneurs working at the Customer Experience layer using social, media, analytics, cloud (SMAC).

The mantra now is “write less code”.

At the Customer Experience layer what matters is delivering service that truly engages and delivers value to the customer – including the 50% of customers who are women.

Huge opportunities are not constrained by technology. The technology is there. What we need are solutions that solve real problems for people. That is an equal opportunity challenge. No engineering degree is needed. Being totally comfortable with technology as a power user is part of the job description but that is hardly a rare skill set these days.

Sorry Archie, you are a minority

When Archie Bunker was on TV, the idea of a world controlled by a white, Christian population was already absurd enough to make good comedy.

Over 40 years later, it is more than absurd. As we look out at where Fintech innovation is coming from we increasingly see it coming from China, India, Africa and other countries where people look, act and think differently (aka the Rest of The World). This is what we have tagged “first the Rest then the West” trend. The combination of huge populations with unmet needs and ability to leapfrog over legacy technologies, makes the Rest the locus of innovation today.

The whole Silicon Valley VC model is at threat from this big shift, because VC Funds have not found a way to scale geographically. While they have nailed how to scale their portfolio businesses, their own business is defiantly artisanal. They can only invest in ventures that can be reached on “less than half a tank of gas in a Ferrari”.

It is no longer enough to invest in immigrants in the West. That is OK as an interim step, but now the challenge is how to invest in the person who decided to stay in China, India, Africa and the Rest or to relocate back there because that is where they see the most opportunity. As these countries get better at capital formation and capital allocation, the innovation capital business will change forever (and for good).

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Wrap of Week #9: Fintech categories, APIs – programmable bank, QR codes, Insurtech, Active Trading

We started the week looking at the overall Fintech sector, through a powerful metaphor Choose your Boxcar on the Fintech Freight Train (Daily Fintech design with 7 Box cars).

We reported from Australia’s API days Conference about the programmable bank; Program your own bank – the power of APIs.

Passive investing is undoubtedly the new balck with more room to grow. The puzzle we addressed is how t actively manage these passive investments; Active trading is hazardous to our health! What to do?

Insurtech is undoubtedly gaining steam in the tech race in Finserv. We explored this week the 4th layer of the Stack in Insurance (designed by Daily Fintech); We interview Joe Taussig to learn whether insuring the unpredictable is the big InsurTech disruption.

We ended the week with a look at the mass adoption of QR codes in consumer banking; How the humble QR code may usher in the cashless society, starting in India

The Fintech Genome platform

Join any of the conversations on the Fintech Genome. The global community is sharing insights, creating great conversations, and business is starting to happen.

Check the latest topics that include artificial intelligence, insurance, ICOs, marketplace lending, etc

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Choose your Boxcar on the Fintech Freight Train

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There are 7 boxcars on the Fintech Freight Train. You need to decide which car you want to jump on.

The engine of the train that is pulling all the cars is the technology that emerged around 1994 when the Netscape browser launched and turned the Internet into a platform for media, communication and shopping. That was 23 years ago. Let’s call that the “content exchange Internet”. That is the engine pulling all the boxcars. It is a steam train compared to what is coming next.

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At some point in the not too distant future, the steam train will become a bullet train. This is when the technology that emerged around 2009, Bitcoin & Blockchain, turns the Internet into a value exchange platform.  When that happens all those boxcars get replaced – today’s disrupters will be disrupted along with the incumbents. In two years, Bitcoin will be 10 years old. In comparison, the content exchange Internet was in a deep slump after about 10 years (cast your mind back to around 2004 when conventional wisdom was that the Internet was over and Facebook was just getting started). Let’s call this new engine the “value exchange Internet”.

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Both engines – the content exchange Internet and the value exchange Internet –  are available to all. It is like open source. You can understand it and use it but you cannot own it.

The train is already moving. Deciding which car you want to jump on depends on how fast you can run. The ones at the back are the easiest to jump on and the ones at the front are the hardest.

The cars at the front are markets that are already fairly mature. These are Red Ocean Markets, with lots of sharks circling and blood in the water – sorry about mixing my metaphors. Even in these there are niche opportunities – bolt on acquisitions in i-banker speak. But you won’t be able to create a new platform company. In these leading cars we read about consolidation M&A and about public companies and their quarterly reports and about big, high profile failures. It is a game with a few really, really big winners and an awful lot of losers.

It is easier for a new team to jump into the cars at the back.

The 7 boxcars – looking from the front are:

  • Payments
  • Lending
  • Wealth Management
  • Insurance
  • Consumer Banking
  • Small Business Finance
  • Corporate Banking

Boxcar 1: Payments.

Payments is the boulevard of broken dreams.

You can see why entrepreneurs dream about this market – it is massive. According to Boston Consulting Group:

“In 2013, payments businesses generated $425 billion in transaction revenues, $336 billion in account-related revenues, and $248 billion in net interest income and penalty fees related to credit cards.”

Yet dreams of disrupting the current payment rails are regularly dashed against the rocks of reality.

The payments market has already seen some big blowups. Lots of little young ventures fail. That is the norm. It is more significant when a venture fails having taken in a lot of cash. Two of the biggest ones in Fintech – Powa and Monitise – are both payments ventures.

Two new Payments companies have emerged post Internet, got to scale and gone public – PayPal and Square and it looks like Stripe will soon be another public market comparable. Meanwhile the stock market continues to value Visa and Mastercard very highly; investors are voting with their wallets that credit cards won’t be disrupted any time soon. One successful formula is to add value within the existing credit card rails for a big pain point; Adyen is an example.

A few highly valued ventures such as Transferwise, WorldRemit and Ripple are battling it out in the cross border arena. Alibaba buying Moneygram was a big cat landing among the consumer cross border pigeons.

At the high value end of payments – corporates and capital markets – the big elephant, SWIFT, is pretty focused on not being disrupted and is working with the new bullet train Blockchain engine.

Companies like Klarna are creating value around the mobile payments pain points.

So there are pockets of opportunity in payments, but you will face huge, well-funded, agile and determined competition. The good news is that payments innovation enables lots of other innovation. When payments are 10x cheaper and faster, lots of value add innovation becomes possible. You may not be a payments venture, but you will almost certainly use payments innovation.

It is possible that mass adoption of mobile wallets (with wallets that can hold both digital Fiat and Bitcoin) will change the Payments game. However, that is speculating on mass adoption and when mass adoption does happen, it will also be a game for big players. One market where we can see this is India, where Snapdeal looks like it is getting crushed and Paytm looks like it is crushing it. We view e-commerce and sharing economy as a payments business with some content (Alibaba and Uber seems to agree judging by their actions).

Unless you have easy access to a billion or more dollars and a disruptive proposition that meets a big need today, you may want to let this boxcar pass go past and look at the next one.

Boxcar 2: Lending

Like Payments, Lending is a massive market. Banks make money by lending and Banks are big (said Captain Obvious).

The first real account innovation since modern banking started hundreds of years ago, is the Lending Account from Market Places like Lending Club, Prosper, Funding Circle and Lufax. As we don’t know whether to call this market P2P Lending or AltFi or Market Place Lending we refer to it simply as Lending.

It is unlikely that we will see any new entrants in the core matching functions of a Lending Market. This is a 4 horse race – Lending Club, Prosper, Funding Circle and Lufax. In this post we look at what happens after Market Place Lending goes mainstream – what innovation is coming down the pike. Innovation is needed because the way that Market Place Lenders find borrowers is remarkably old-fashioned. There is a lot of direct mail and search engine marketing to find consumers who want to refinance expensive credit card debt. That is valuable but hardly innovative or disruptive.

There have been a lot of AltFi Lenders that are very old fashioned at their core. They raise a credit fund and apply some Internet search and social marketing and online credit scoring algos and lend to the riskier end of the credit spectrum. They will mostly get squeezed by banks at one end and Market Place Lenders at the other end.

One company – Sofi – is using the lending account to become a major financial institution as Efi Pylarinou tells us here.

We don’t see any big new plays in AltFi until the Blockchain bullet train comes along, but we do see a lot of opportunity to create value within the ecosystem. These maybe smaller niche bolt on acquisitions for the big platforms. The opportunity created by the Lending Account is so massive. Whether these niche innovators get bought by Market Place Lenders or stay independent and partner with Market Place Lenders does not matter.

This Boxcar looks big and full of opportunity.

Boxcar 3: Wealth Management

The first phase of innovation – Robo Advisers for the Unadvised – is game over. This boxcar has left and the doors are closed. You have some big new ventures – Betterment and Wealthfront – and huge incumbents such as Vanguard, Blackrock and Charles Schwab.

Efi Pylarinou runs the numbers in this very accessible videoinfographic.

That is only the first wave of innovation in Wealth Management. Every Tuesday, Efi Pylarinou uses her deep knowledge about how the global capital markets really work to look at the next wave of innovation.

We define Wealth broadly as being any amount of capital, small or large, that is allocated to financial assets (private equity, public stocks, bonds, currencies, real estate, precious metals, art etc). We include both short-term trading as well as long-term investment. Customers wanting their capital to grow can be passive (leaving it to professionals) or active (sending time to find assets to trade/invest).

Exchanges, brokers & dealers, investment banks, asset managers, private banks, retail and commercial banks, and the entire world within and behind all these front end scenes (such as research, custody & compliance); are all serving wealth creation needs of all sorts and at all levels, ranging from millennials to corporates.

Digital Wealth Management is so intrusive that in a few years we won’t be able to distinguish it from all other basic lifestyle needs. The digitization of Wealth Management affects developed societies and underserved ones.

Boxcar 4: Consumer Banking

We cover Consumer Banking every Friday.

Consumer Banking is being Unbundled today. Ventures do one job and only one job – cherry picking the parts of banking most exposed to disruption, typically in payments and lending.

In the next phase, we see Rebundling when startup banks offer the full service and compete head on with existing banks. Some are incubated within a big bank – we profiled a few leaders in our Pirates With Ties interview series.  Some are venture backed and usually referred to as Challenger Banks or Neobanks. We also see innovation coming from PFM and PSD2.

We see change coming from two extremes, in both cases driven by a move to a cashless society. One extreme is wealthy and hyper efficient economies such as the Nordics and Switzerland. At the other extreme are countries such as India that are leapfrogging over credit cards and going direct from paper cash to mobile wallet cash.

Two areas of nascent innovation are Mortgages and Deposit Accounts.

Boxcar 5: Small Business Finance

Jessica Ellerm tracks this market every Wednesday.

This is a massive opportunity, because banks have ignored small business for so long. Small Business is like a middle child – neither the oldest (big business) nor the youngest (consumer). This illustrates the old adage that innovation comes from those who have been excluded from the old way of doing things. Small business needs the same Corporate Finance products that big business needs (such as debt, equity, payments, foreign exchange) but to serve these efficiently to millions of small businesses requires a far higher degree of automation and different business models. The models for a small business service are just as likely to come from Consumer Finance as they are from Corporate Finance.

Another reason why we see Small Business Finance as such a big window of opportunity is that globally in the digital age we are mostly entrepreneurs. The idea of a world that mainly comprised big companies with lots of employees aka consumers looks now like a construct of the post war era in America and Europe. A world with billions of entrepreneurs needs a whole lot of financing innovation – that is the big story we track every Wednesday.

Boxcar 6: Insurance

This was the market that emerged in 2015. We started tracking this market in March 2015 with the headline Not That Many InsuranceTech Startups – Yet and have been posting every Thursday on InsurTech since then. This is a market in it’s Cambrian explosion phase, with lots of early stage innovation getting funded and coming to market.

One caution for entrepreneurs is that, unlike the banks when Lending and Payments first started getting disrupted around 2009, the Insurance incumbents were hardly asleep at the switch when Insurtech started to emerge in 2015. In fact the big story here maybe Reinsurance As A Service.

Boxcar 7: Corporate Banking

This is a nascent area with very little disruption so far. Traditional services that Fintech will change include M&A, IPO, Treasury, Trade Finance, Money Markets, Credit Ratings.

To go into this nascent area you will need:

  • Deep domain knowledge as these are complex functionally
  • To be comfortable selling to big enterprises.

We see Corporate Banking the way we saw Insurance in March 2015, under the radar, understood by very few and about to explode.

Which Boxcars will benefit most from the new Blockchain bullet train engine?

This is where the order is quite different:

  1. Insurance – getting claim to cash from 4 months to days or even hours
  2. Wealth Management – getting asset settlement from days to minutes
  3. Corporate Banking – permissioned networks across multiple parties without a traditional intermediary

The other markets will have to wait until Bitcoin goes mainstream and while that is inevitable in my opinion it is not imminent and the timing is very hard to determine.

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