Daniel is an digital strategy and innovation consultant. At Startup 54: The Future of Finance he delivered a business model masterclass helping our founders establish the foundations of their businesses.
Working with start-ups and corporations to discover new business models and customer values have been a large part of what gets me up in the morning for many years. This has enabled me to experience many different innovation transformations across numerous industries from a unique point of view.
Not too long ago, I had the opportunity and honour to give back again as speaker and mentor for Startup54 hosted by Foundervine. A weekend-long hackathon focused on finding solutions for the financial industry. The event was full of people that had the passion and drive to make a difference.
Two key themes hit me as I watched and engaged with the participants across the event:
1. These people are hungry to make a difference in the financial sector that no one else has considered taking
2. Both large banks and current fintechs need to watch their backs as these guys are ready to execute on these ideas now.
The financial sector continues to change. With the latest disrupter being Apple launching their very own credit card in partnership with Goldman Sachs. Apple CEO, Tim Cook sees this as the biggest credit card innovation in half a century. However, it is too early to say how Apple will impact the industry?
There is often a lack of understanding when it comes to turning breakthrough technology into solutions that solve real problems in a big way. While organisations such as Apple have the money, loyal customer base, brand recognition and of course user experience to enter the space with a high chance to dominate.
However, there are many areas across the financial services sector that are yet to be tapped. Even with some of the latest fintechs. Throughout the hackathon, there were many ideas that develop real needs for a fast-changing market.
Here are some reasons why fintechs might want to watch out as new start-ups can further shake-up the market:
1. Underserved markets – No matter what new technology, business model or overall solution enters the market, there will always be a segment that is underserved. As existing fintech grow, so do their appetite to address larger markets to support their scaling ambitions. This often creates further gaps in the market that need to be addressed by future start-ups. In an industry such as financial services, more customers can be a bad thing if they are not selected in the right way. Defaulting customers can impact a wider pool of existing customers, resulting in higher fees. Many existing fintechs and tier 1 banks turn down potential customers not because they have bad credit but they cannot measure whether they can pay them back.
2. Behaviour changing business models – Fresh thinking around the financial problems of the future. In the past banks often split customers into people with bad and good credit based on data points and metrics. Rather than just judging customers on past actions. Can you change their behaviours for the better? Educating them, building credit and helping them reduce their own risk of defaulting before they even apply for a loan. Yes, this is possible and some fintech are already working on solutions to solve these challenges. However, there are many opportunity areas to use behaviour based models to improve finance. The use of behavioural economics to change the behaviours of the customer so they are doing the right thing and in the long term become more profitable. Models such as social credit reports that track customers social networks can improve the chance of the unbanked receiving credit. This model is interesting as people are more likely to do the right thing if they are held accountable by their peers.
3. Customers are never truly satisfied – We are far beyond the days customers are content with average service, brands that do not align with their ethics or the overall experience are too cumbersome. Brands such as Apple, Amazon and Google have created a new level of expectations in their industries. New start-ups can take full advantage of the complexity when it comes to customers and offering a service that ticks the right boxes. Customers are looking for so many attributes that are complex they are happy with the new solution for a period of time.
However, the expectation keeps on shifting as their values change and evolve. Especially, when it comes to services as they are difficult to standardise and measure quality compared to a product. What makes a fantastic financial experience for one person can be the complete opposite for someone else.
Anyone can be disrupted and fearful. Even some of the hottest fintechs today can be dethroned by any new start-ups. And they can come from anywhere, the lone entrepreneur sitting in a café, a frustrated customer that wants things to be done in a better way and is not willing to wait or group of people attending a hackathon.
Startup 54 brings together ambitious changemakers, young professionals and aspiring tech entrepreneurs to form teams, build prototypes and launch business ventures find out more here