Financial Technology, or Fintech, is changing the way companies, startups and entrepreneurs around the world conduct business. Based on innovations in finance and digital currencies, Fintech is revolutionizing how companies connect with customers, how consumers spend their money and how traditional financial institutions approach the future.
But the advances and innovations aside, there is concern that the Fintech Revolution is leaving some people behind – particularly businesses and consumers in emerging economies where access to the internet and cloud is limited or unavailable.
During the GIST TechConnect “Fintech – The Future of Finance,” a panel of experts highlighted not only the importance to startups of using fintech, but the ability for founders in internet-poor parts of the world to still harness the power of fintech.
In fact, the panel said, Fintech is helping more people in emerging economies participate in e-commerce.
“Many people now, who have not had access to financial services in the past, are being able to create a digital wallet … without having to open a bank account,” said Dale Nirvani Pfeifer, CEO and Founder of GoodWorld. “People who were not able to participate in the global financial system in the past are now able to participate.”
As Pfeifer pointed out, this is a revolution in itself. Fintech, because it can digitize currency, actually reduces the barriers many potential consumers face in emerging economies – like the lack of a formal bank account or line of credit.
For entrepreneurs hoping to capitalize on the influx of digital opportunity and empowered consumers, particularly in emerging economies, the panelists pointed out the infrastructure required to use fintech does not need to be very developed.
“You’re not going to have to have a room full of computer servers,” said Viktor Brandtneris, Owner of Brandtneris Consulting Group Inc. “One smartphone can access 90 percent of what’s going on in fintech right now – in the fintech solutions that are out there right now.”
In his discussion, Brandtneris pointed to activity in the micropayment world as one example of fintech solutions working in areas where the internet infrastructure is underdeveloped and lacking.
Similarly, both Brandtneris and Pfeifer highlighted that startups in emerging economies should consider how to apply fintech to help customers.
During the discussion, Pfeifer said the best way to determine if fintech is right for your customers and your startup is to talk with your customers about their financial pain points in interacting with you – and to setup a strong team with a good understanding of fintech.
The bottom line from the panel, while the innovations and advances in fintech may appear only accessible to the technologically elite -- these innovations actually lower the barries of participation, allowing anyone with some internet access to participate in the Fintech Revolution.
You can watch the full TechConnect on fintech, including Spanish and French interpretations, here.