I’m massively stoked to be kicking off my 2019 conference calendar at Paris Fintech Forum (check me out on stage on January 29th or DM me in advance so we can find time to talk). More importantly, I’ll be joined by a number of Anthemis portfolio companies (+Simple, Fluidly, Hokodo, Qover, Tide & Trov).
As we kick off 2019, I’m looking forward to jamming about a few topics on my mind.
Open Banking inherently implies fintech is reaching beyond finance. In 2019, financial interactions will continue the journey from branch-driven to on-demand to invisible. Decentralization, API-orchestration and secure identity are important features of a more intelligent, inter-operable, customer-centric financial services landscape.
Paying lip-service to Diversity on your teams, whether startup or incumbent, and doing nothing to balance team composition is officially unacceptable. So is pay discrimination, discriminatory hiring and promotion practices. Companies that thrive and remain attractive to investors are already on top of this.
The past couple of years have shown many talented teams proving product-market fit for fintech propositions. 2019 must be the year of scaling: scaling up, scaling across borders and getting the unit economics right. To do this, founding teams need time and focus. They need to be properly funded already, in order to buckle down and figure out which problems are worth solving.
Big Rounds, Roll Ups, Consolidation, the New
Ecosystems aren’t just soundbites from networking lounges and speaker’s dinners. They’re living systems, rife with environmental adaptation, consolidation, extinction and the emergence of new species bearing only a passing resemblance to organisms suitable to environments of yore.
In light of the current macro-economic climate, I expect entrepreneurs at all levels to temper the moonshot mentality with a touch of pragmatism. More acquisitions will happen in 2019, and some projects will die on the vine. Fundraising, always slightly painful, will become even slower, especially if a prolonged pinch sees capital pools dry up.
But out of environmental chaos new organisms arise. The information economy is new. The financial services industry has so much room for improvement (from banking to payments to embedded financial propositions in adjacent industries to insurance), there are (still) many valuable fintech companies that have yet to launch.