“Financial institutions that do not offer P2P services, such as through partnerships with app providers, risk losing younger customers.” – Javelin Strategy & Research, as quoted in the August 19, 2014 Boston Globe
Change is coming to the financial services sector and it is not necessarily banks, insurance companies, or investment firms that are leading the charge, nor are consumers. Who is to blame for the next industry to be revolutionized? It’s those pesky millennials again with their insatiable appetite for breaking old systems and reassembling them so that they work better for their needs. And, because they usually don’t want to put on a tie and do 9-5 at a “real job,” they are forming their own companies and boot strapping their startups in a classic David (them) verses Goliath (the financial services industry) showdown.
Recently, GCAi founder John Garvey, served as a mentor for the global fintech accelerator Startupbootcamp.org were many of these upstarts where displaying their wares and ways as well as looking for advice on how to get Goliath’s attention. Tab was one of the more unique ventures to present that day. Paul Cheek’s venture, a former MassChallenge finalist, is currently being beta tested at an eastern Massachusetts bank. It allows individuals to essentially share a bill with their friends. While that might not initially sound like the most novel thing for an app to do, consider the possibilities. Through Tab, you can split the cost of dinner, drinks, tickets or even your rent quickly, securely and with little effort.
Ease of use through a smart phone is the calling card of millennials when it comes to consumer and financial products. If it is not already built, like Paul Cheek, they will build it themselves – and mobile payment is taking off with their crew. According to this recent Boston Globe article, use of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) payment systems is skyrocketing – with one leading app chalking up $314 million in mobile payments in the first quarter of this year alone.
Another fintech startup that presented to Garvey and other mentors, which included an emerging technology officer from Fidelity and the director of Boston’s new Fintech Sandbox, was FundWisdom. This brave new venture is taking on the world of crowdfunding – a very fresh and emergent way to invest in startups. Led by founder Brian Thopsey, the impressive team from FundWisdom was not worried about the SEC screwing up the whole intent of the Jobs Act (making it easier for all of us to help finance ventures which currently only accredited investors can put their money into). In fact, the FundWisdom crew is not intent on just joining the crowdfunding pack; they intend to lead them by aggregating the deals from many sites and presenting them to investors – and startups, who want to know which platform to sign up with.
The GCAi team will attempt to keep our readers up-to-date on the fast moving fintech world – as the ventures highlighted above are just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s leave it at this, fintech is on fire and financial services as you know them are so #yesterday. Stay tuned.