Startups are the heroes of the modern day. They see a big bully taking advantage of poor customers and they set it right. If it wasn’t for FinTech revolution, we would still be paying ridiculous amounts for international transfers, invest in stock markets via funds charging 5% for below market performance and only the privileged ones would have access to financial system. TransferWise, Property Partner, mPeza, Pockit and many others are changing it, very rapidly. We witnessed the power technology has in making our lives better. We can now demand technology to make a real improvement to our lives and not just another ‘find a place to drink app’.
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Designing a Better Banking Experience
By JP Nicols
Design is about a lot more than making things look pretty. It’s about making things work better. Technology has been a democratizing force across so many industries, and banking is no exception. Customers have more choices than ever, and those choices now include products, services and experiences that are often far superior than the you’ll-take-what-we-make era that prevailed for so long. I have heard a lot of bankers proclaim their desire to make their branches more like Apple stores, but for too many of them that desire begins and ends with the clean visual aesthetic. The effectiveness of the design of the Apple store that makes it so successful goes far deeper than that. A good design process involves a ‘test and learn’ approach that is well known to any fintech entrepreneurs following lean startup principles. It’s an approach that banks should be using in more of their business decisions.
What’s the Endgame for FinTech?
By Elena Mesropyan
Amidst all the excitement and sometimes overinflation of financial technology startups’ disruptive potential, entrepreneurs often can’t zoom out a bit out and see a bigger picture. While it is understandable when your startup rapidly gains traction and there are no visible barriers, yet the market is not infinitely stretchable. At some point, a strategic decision will be required and every entrepreneur will have to find an answer to the important question: what’s the endgame? The answer highly depends on the niche and the type of startup.
How Banks Are Failing to Uphold Their End of the Bargain
By Andrew Sharpe
Banks are failing to enter into a social, unwritten contract with their customers. Millennials want a return on the asset they’ve entrusted with the bank. They ultimately want better financial health in return. This might come in the form of real-time information on their accounts and finances and help at the point of sale to make the right payment decisions, through to budgeting tools and alerts when they’ve spent beyond their means. In real terms, millennials are expecting a bank to tell them when they shouldn’t make that additional non-discretionary purchase. They want tools to help make good financial decisions, and the bank to forgo the payment revenue and opportunity to charge more interest. Until banks enter into social contracts with their customers, trust in their services will continue to erode and they will remain ripe for disruption.
There are two kinds of corporate investments in startups; passive corporate VC arms and active strategic investments. Which prompts the question, why did Allianz, Germany’s largest insurance group, buy a minority stake in Berlin based startup Simplesurance? In other words, will this be a good experience for the founders of Simplesurance and the shareholders of Allianz? Lets read between the PR lines to find out. How Allianz figure out the cannibalization challenge with their existing agents remains to be seen. No amount of digital tech can make that problem go away. The other game play for Allianz can be to use Simplesurance as a digital only entry to new high growth markets. The PR mentions India as a country and that makes sense as it is mostly a blue ocean market for Insurance.
5 things that made me smarter this week
Venezuela’s cash is easier to weigh than count. Hyperinflation has devalued the bolivar to the point of absurdity.
The more we hear a lie, the more likely we are to believe it. An “illusion of truth” results from hearing a lie repeatedly.
War is really boring. The battle for Mosul is underway in plain, live streamed sight. The unedited continuum of war images accessible online does nothing to help an understanding of what’s happening, argues Sam Kriss, but it perfectly represents our war against ISIS: always, everywhere, yet mostly uneventful.
Tim Fernholz on the crucial role that Google’s chairman played in Hillary Clinton’s campaign. “‘I met with Eric Schmidt tonight,’ John Podesta, the longtime Hillary Clinton adviser, told campaign manager-in-waiting Robby Mook in April 2014, more than a year before Clinton announced her candidacy for president. The email, stolen by Russian hackers and published by Wikileaks, details the billionaire Alphabet chairman’s interest in backing Hillary Clinton’s nascent presidential run.”
Uber is exploring the use of flying cars. It predicts that “vertical take-off and landing” vehicles “will be an affordable form of daily transportation for the masses.”
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Also published on Medium.