A quick Google search for the word “fintech” yields roughly 25 million responses in just over half a second, and its relevance is growing as quickly as you can say the word. That’s enough pieces of content swimming around the web to cover the entire population of Australia, likely because there are so many theories on what fintech is and how it will continue to change commerce.
I think of fintech as a magnetic sweet spot between financial services and technology. Sweet because new technologies are replacing and enhancing traditional methods for handling money with clever payment experiences. Magnetic because banks, payment technology companies like Mastercard, digital giants and startups are eyeing these blurred lines as a hotbed for innovation – the opportunity to disrupt is an attractive one. Consumers are also increasingly drawn to what’s equal parts convenient and cool, further inspiring all of these digital “cooks” to reimagine an already competitive kitchen. Luckily, there are two ways to deliver – either by providing exciting new products and services, or by infusing elements like big data and artificial intelligence to augment them.
As the global lead of the Mastercard Start Path startup engagement program, I’ve spent several years focusing on how startups’ out-of-the-box ideas and unconventional business models plan to make major headway. I tend to agree with them – in just a short period of time, these newcomers have invented technology to enable smart dressing rooms and gesture-based banking tools. Others are developing contactless solutions with soundwaves that have the potential to bring more people into the formal economy, and many are helping businesses draw actionable insights from spending patterns. Exciting times are ahead!
While this radical innovation is fantastic, Start Path is the industry’s reminder that we also don’t always need to completely reinvent the wheel. With banks, payment tech companies, digital giants and startups all in the mix, synergies among solutions do exist. One element that a startup offers can be the missing puzzle piece to another company’s bigger picture, or vice versa. Start Path’s goal is to match the very best startups in the world with our network of financial services and commerce players to take their collaborative solutions farther, faster. This is the future of fintech.
That’s why in the spirit of teamwork, we are introducing “Fridays with Fintechs” – a blog series where our latest cohort of Start Path startups will dive deeper into the inspiration behind their companies, how they are building the future of commerce and what’s planned ahead. Visit the Mastercard Newsroom every other Friday for the next several weeks to keep a pulse on some of the best and brightest ideas in fintech, or click here to learn if your company qualifies to apply for Start Path.