Technology is reshaping the operating-model of financial institutions fundamentally, and the attributes necessary to build a successful business.

AI is weakening various components of incumbent financial institutions, thereby creating an opportunity for an entirely new operating-models and category-dynamics focused on the scale and sophistication of product, tech & data much more than the scale or complexity of capital.

Unlike past ‘AI Springs’, the science and practice of AI is poised to continue an unprecedented multi-decade run of progress. A clear vision of the future financial landscape is critical for good governance and strategic decisions.

In the near future, customer experiences will be centered around ‘ self-driving finance’ which automates and improves much of our’ financial decisions and outcomes.

Fintech represents the collision of two worlds — Financial services and technology, and with this union comes, both disruption and synergies. Fintech came of age in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. New regulations and changing consumer demands began to emerge as the world tried to pick up the pieces of “great recession”.

2008–18 constituted the formative decade for FinTech ‘Wave-1’, which irreversibly set the foundation for Wave-2 (2019 >onwards). More innovation will happen in the next 10 years than the previous 100 years.

Asia is the epicenter of all fintech innovation, and within Asia, Singapore, and India, in…

Gladiators in the Arena- Google Image

“The Deed of the Dying”

Many ‘digital wallet” companies in Asia (ex. China) are finding it hard to demonstrate any meaningful value for the users. Wallet Players have experimented with various business models to monetize, but primary focus thus far has been on ‘customer acquisition and usage — through deals, offers, promotion, zero fees, etc.

If 2015–16 was “rapid scale-up time” for ‘wallet companies,’ then 2017–18, very soon, will be the year of M&A, strategic partnerships, and consolidation for these startups.

Mobile payments are primarily a DATA business, where business economics is ‘tight,’ and viable only at SCALE.

Sub-optimal scale leads to ‘slow death.’


Maryland, My Maryland, NC 26th, Mort Kunstler canvas

Doing business is full of risks and uncertainties. This is especially true for new businesses that aim to ‘disrupt’ years of inherited thinking. The famous saying coined by Deng Xiaoping, ‘crossing the river by feeling the stones,’ aptly describes the process of pioneering such new forms of business

FinTech is hot. FinTech in China is hotter, and it is getting everyone excited in Asia. You can feel the pulse here.

“So many books, so little time.” -―Frank Zappa

1)Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow — by Yuval Noah Harari.

“You cannot see the picture if you’re in the frame.”

This old Chinese saying aptly summarizes the state of Fintech as seen through a “western frame.”

Having spent six months in the mystical land of Confucius, Dragons, Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu — I have concluded that:

If there is a FinTech version of Silicon Valley — it is China. Period.

Today, there is no equivalent to China in the FinTech world. Here are some field notes with observations and insights from the region:

1. China is the world’s largest Fin-Tech market. In 2015, the market size of Internet finance in China was greater than $1.8 trillion.

Sound Wave

The history of technology is the history of human interaction with machines.

Banking is at an inflection point. Technology giants such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Alibaba (GAFAA) are redefining the customer experience and increasingly becoming serious about financial services.

The digitization of everything and the “shifting of consumer expectations” are creating the next wave of digital transformation.

Changing customer expectations across generations and the rapid acceleration of “digital” throughout the entire value chain in banking is putting pressure on the long-standing sources of revenue, growth, and retention.

“But often it is not the competition right in front of us that we should be most worried about”

Technology Adoption is Quicker Than Ever

Gaurav Sharma

Founder, Product and Business Builder: FinTech, Banking.

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