By AltFi on Monday 22 February 2021
Safe is the new risky, and that’s terrible news for fintech’s future.
Blame it on the recession, coronavirus, or just a maturing of the industry, but fintech is becoming a bit bland.
There’s a growing sense of convergence around a very similar set of business themes and revenue-generating models.
This convergence is unsurprising for two reasons.
Firstly finance is fundamentally always about saving, lending, investing or payments, just chopped up in different ways.
They’re certainly the companies raising the most money and garnering the most attention.
The ripple effect is that the smart money—whether VC, institutional or angel—is increasingly predisposed to favour this subset of fintech business models.
Founders and entrepreneurs, keen to get their nascent ventures off the ground, follow that money and end up mirroring each other’s models—albeit in different geographies or with cosmetic differences.
At the company-level, there’s nothing wrong with being commercially-minded and copying the best ideas or concepts from peers, but zoom out to an industry-level and this convergence risks making fintech all feel a bit… safe.
Where are the big ideas? The novel concepts? The disruptors? As Steve Jobs put it in Apple’s famous ad, where are the “crazy ones”?
And maybe we’re too harsh, painting everyone with the same brush.
Europe now has more than 14 fintech unicorns, something to be celebrated and proof that fintech meets real consumer and business demand.
In their very early days, each of these companies’ central goal would have sounded ‘quirky’, eccentric even.
VCs and others hopefully still recognise this and back bold ideas.
Let’s not lose sight of fintech’s quirkiness.
The AltFi Leader is a new weekly view for 2021 from our editorial team. We’d love to hear your ideas, thoughts, feedback and constructive criticism: firstname.lastname@example.org