As a CMO of a fintech (Finance Technology) startup I occasionally get requests from colleagues to help them recruit marketing professionals. The first time such a request was fielded I was enthusiastic. By the third I was downright frustrated. I was frustrated not because I couldn’t find good candidates but because those candidates were simply not interested in joining a fintech startup. The cacophony of arguments ranged from fear of fintech to pure misconception.
So let’s dispel some myths, misconceptions and definitely some fear.
Fintech is a niche market Fintech is the domain of technologies dedicated to financial services. Traditional fintech is mostly enterprise solutions serving the back and middle offices of financial institutions in fields such as transaction clearance and data management.
Traditional fintech is still alive and kicking but the rise of mobile has facilitated and even commanded significant innovation on the front end, as customers demand solutions tailored to their lifestyles. Today, fintech spans from enterprise solutions to billing, retail, crowdsourcing, cyber security and even real estate. This, needless to say, is a lot more than just banks.
Moreover, the 2008 financial crisis played a critical role in altering the status quo between financial institutions and startups. As the consequential constraints and regulations closed in, financial institutions began to reevaluate their capacity to foster innovation in-house which resulted in an explosion of innovation partnerships. Over the course of the last 5 years the global investment in fintech has increased by 300%. Institutional fintech spending on information technology has increased by 800% in the last two years alone, from $54.B in 2012 to $485B in 2014 (Celent, Gartner).
That is $485B of PAYING customers in traditional fintech alone.
Fintech is too “Financial” There is no such thing as a non-technical industry. Fintech, just like any other field, comes with its own jargon, history, technology and learning curve. In this case it means that much of the technical stuff is finance related. But still, one doesn’t have to be able to calculate bond perpetuities on the fly in order to be the CMO of an algo-trading startup. It is only an illusion that some industries are “easier” than others.
Look at a totally different industry, let’s say fashion. Many people would assume that they could easily market a specific clothing designer. But how many of you know what a pick stitch is or how this season’s dresses are referencing Mondrian? All industries are technical but a good marketer knows how to make these “complicated and technical” fields seem like the easiest thing in the world to understand.
Fintech is not Engaging MONEY IS ALWAYS ENGAGING. From global economic crisis’s to getting a free coffee with a loyalty card, money has been and will always be engaging. So let’s take a look at some fintech startups and see how engaging they really are.
Saving Money – BetterBill Just as it sounds, BetterBill locates and acquires for you the most suitable subscriptions available tailored to your wants and needs. Nobody likes paying more than they could be paying, and with BetterBill you don’t have to. This is an amazing B2C company to sign on to with tons of potential marketing verticals to explore. How many movie nights do my savings equal?
Protecting Money – Sixgill Sixgill is a cyber-security startup enabling commercial enterprises to curb tomorrow’s cyber threats by applying an intersection of multiple disciplines to analyses today’s dark web activity. I’ll admit my initial reaction to them was, “Dark web what?” For me, that reaction was priceless. It indicates of an opportunity to participate in an emerging narrative and not many of us get the opportunity to carve out new stories.
Making Money – GreenHouse GreenHouse offers quantitative investment services to individuals and organizations, and operates an absolute return hedge fund in both rising and falling markets. Their solution employs machine learning, pattern matching and black swan concepts amongst other things. The amount of resources available here for whitepapers alone is marketing heaven!
It should be clear to you by now that there is nothing to fear from fintech. On the contrary, fintech is one of the most innovative, interesting and funded fields out there and a damn good investment in your career future. So don’t say you don’t know where to look!