SXSW FinTech Keynote Panel

By attending gatherings, like the FinTech Luminaries, and various panel sessions at SXSW, we were able to gain great insights on the FinTech space from others in our field. 

By attending gatherings, like the FinTech Luminaries, and various panel sessions at SXSW, we were able to gain great insights on the FinTech space from others in our field.

As we know, the VC money flowing into FinTech has increased quite significantly over the past two years. What we learned from the experts at SXSW, in addition to our own experiences, is that we are in the very early stages of investment and opportunity in FinTech.  

The session that I found most intriguing was about the future of FinTech.  

The session panel included Steve McLauglin from FT Partners, Pascale Bouvier from Santander InnoVentures, Terri Price from CRMNEXT, and Greg Palmer of Finovate. Each brought a unique perspective to the topic that helped us learn more about large company approaches to FinTech — some successful and some I would consider not as interesting as the start-ups in the space.

My takeaways from each panelist include:

Steve McLaughlin from FT Partners:

- FinTech is not as disruptive as it should be.

- At this stage, all are too narrow a solution to a customer.  

- There is no real platform creating a true customer focused solution.   

Steve wondered:  "Who might put in a huge amount of capital to create these platforms ala UBER?” He believes it will come. He also observed that the truly innovative companies get snapped up very early in their lifecycle.

Pascale Bouvier of Santander InnoVentures:

- Next wave of FinTech will target the $15-17 trillion of global market value of existing financial services entities.  

- These entities are a big target and it’s very early days for FinTech.

- Relentless marginal cost reduction in the delivery of products will create new demand curves and a relentless destruction of the old models.

- Working in partnerships and open architecture is the answer.

Pascale used the comparison with other industries like newspapers to reinforce his points. The companies had to move away from a vertically integrated approach to a horizontal approach to the business.  

Finally, he stated that Asian companies and entrepreneurs are very interested in financial services.  He also remarked that he sees growing data interest by Facebook and other established technology platforms. Pascale noted that FinTech is "Not even at the end of the beginning."

Terri Prince from CRMNEXT:

- It's all about the experience, not the product or service.  

- 32% of the workforce are millennials who are demanding mobile interfaces and experiences across all mediums.They are not getting that experience from the traditional players.

- Entrepreneurs could focus on the unbanked and thus create new markets for growth.  

Terri questioned: What is the financial institution’s role in the value created in the ecosystem?

She sees that getting beyond payments as critical. Terri used the example of Amazon's Alexa-integrating payments to get to what you want. Imagine every purchase that is as easy as “Alexa order my Starbucks.”

Greg Palmer from Finovate:

- It is clear that the regulatory hurdle is a real and helpful barrier for incumbents.  

- Regulatory challenges will likely lead to more cooperation between start-ups and large enterprises.  

Greg sees “data as the most powerful harmonizer that may overcome those barriers for start-ups.”

Some really great insight from these thought leaders.

Ian Sheridan
Managing Director