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Investment into financial technology startups – also known as FinTech – quadrupled between 2013 and 2014, growing from $3 billion in 2013 to $12 billion in 2014, providing a clear indication of the extent to which FinTech companies are transforming the financial services industry.
On social media, the buzz for FinTech is officially loud: the number of mentions for FinTech quadrupled from 2013 to 2014, and is set to continue on that trajectory in 2015. With major developments in software, products and design, our ways of using financial services have and will continue to radically change.
With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at the financial services industry and the role FinTech startup trends are playing.
1. Data analysis for better decision making
Data analysis is playing a far larger role for business deal and lending due diligence, to predict loan success, to identify which customers present potential risk, or which ones qualify for loan pre-approval. FinTech startups are providing ever more sophisticated data analysis solutions to provide far deeper insights into customer behavior that the industry appears to have a voracious appetite for: startups specializing in data services are getting the most attention in terms of innovation – and therefore the eyes of investors.
2. International transfers
Companies such as Transferwise are part of a growing number of startups who are identifying opportunities to provide lower cost services in areas which banks have previously stifled. Transferwise, for example (whose investors include Richard Branson among others), facilitates peer-to-peer, fast international money transfers up to 90% cheaper than traditional banks.
New alternative online lending platforms, such as Kabbage.com, have lower cost structures thanks to their virtual presence, cost savings they are then passing on to their customers. Kabbage is also an interesting study in terms of the data it uses – going beyond credit scores to look at online sales and shipping information to establish loan qualification.
4. Fundraising and Investing
Recently, the industry has experienced a tremendous growth of equity crowdfunding with leaders such as Seedrs and Crowdcube. Both have been praised for providing investors and businesses alike with a more efficient – and fun – way to connect on an international scale. With angel investors and VCs participating online, emerging FinTech companies such as these are giving investors the possibility to access almost every asset class.
With the continuing growth of Bitcoin ownership, Citibank has made a move into this space and developed its own cryptocurrency, Citicoin, believing the adoption of digital money and the revenue it will generate is “inevitable.” Visa and MasterCard are also hard at work on a digital alternative for use by consumers at retail.
What is clear is that the race is on at every level of the financial services industry, from the established old guard to emerging companies, to stay at the leading edge of this modern revolution, and the FinTech startups are right there with them.
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