Friday, 13 May 2016
Cracks are appearing in fintech lenders — FT.com:
IMHO, it is very difficult and dangerous to 'band' all FinTech firms together as a single category.
Features of the "Elephant in the room" are these:
1.) no agreed definitions of 'FinTech' from P2P to Bitcoin (or latest 'hot cake' of Blockchain disciples)
2.) ALL FinTech firms claims to be doing something better/different, indeed, most try, but ALL still use banks other financial institutions (major to small players) to 'empower' them to 'disrupt' the industry
3.) almost all have been created with an exit in mind (to be bought in 3/5yrs or less, or exit via IPOs and become Unicorn)
4.) most investors/VCs and even Hedge-funds are friendly lambs with habit of shifting into Bison herding behaviour
5.) due to competition & scarcity of good deals, cross investments by star investors/VC firms means most firms, FinTech especially are likely to be me-too variety and none are created to truly fix nor disrupt anything, let alone the key plumbings of Finance.
If the above statements are true, then I can totally understand why Larry Fink created the annual CEO letter tradition as he is crying out for more good firms so he can invest in them (not only for those BlackRock already owns).
In short, we will keep on having these discussions (next will be about blockchain investments in 1-2yrs time), unless and until someone with true firepower dare to truly disrupt and fix finance.
My analogy for my senior C-level friends (from all industry) is this, Roman and Mongol Empire might have had the best 'Tech' of the day (Roman's had armour, spears, chariots, Mongols were great riders on fast horses,with special blades) but they had become great because they developed the right ecosystem & business model (new roads/infrastructure from Rome to all conquered countries, coins/currency to unify Roman empire economically, or adopt a counter-intuitive "Religiously Tolerant", Multi-faith stance across the Mongol empire despite Genghis Khan allegedly killed 40million people as he created the largest contiguous land empire in history).
Therefore, question is not about whether cracks are forming in FinTech. We should take a step back & #AskTheRightQuestion, namely is the present FinTech a new 'Gold-Rush'? If so, maybe it is by design, that it is suppose to attract everyone, and once the rush takes hold, those that pivoted well and moved from "selling shuffles" to become speculators will all be making money. (a good piece on gold mine here: http://priceonomics.com/how-epic-fortunes-were-created-during-the/ ) No doubt however many will fall on the wayside and lose from money/job to repulations (hopefully not their lives like in the old days).
Given how connected our world is so far, and our many billionaires world, I would like to take a more optimistic view, maybe it is time we all should #AskTheRightQuestion & thus #DoTheRightThing, why not challenge the top guys like Paypal Mafia to work together and develop a viable solution? (see my long blog post in 2014: http://garethcxo.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/asktherightquestion-my-challenge-to.html )
we can only hope.
PS: Don't listen to me, if you are fellow City/Cass MBA Alumni, you are welcome to join our next non profit E/MBA club 27May free of charge (30th since started in 2005) focusing on "Truth of FinTech" with Samee Zafar of Edgar Dunn & Co. ( http://embaclubq2.eventbrite.co.uk )