What started as a few new challengers entering the financial services market has become an increasingly large industry of its own. FinTech is now hugely competitive as various products and solutions are rolled out for consumers and businesses alike.
This week, we asked four FinTech leaders how they ensure their business really stands out in a sometimes crowded, evolving landscape.
“The FinTechs that cut through the noise have a clear sense of purpose and are trying to drive real positive change,” says CurrencyCloud Co-Founder Steve Lemon. CurrencyCloud provides infrastructure to help make cross-border payments (a common pain point) cheaper and easier for businesses, and Lemon looks after strategic partnerships and corporate development at the firm.
“A massive part of it is about communicating this vision,” he adds. “You need to form an emotional connection with both your customers and internal team to help them buy into the change you’re trying to achieve as a business.”
Rahul Tripathi is CEO of Harbour & Hills Financial Services, which started off as an international money transfer company before the term “FinTech” was truly coined. Tripathi agrees it’s about the problem being solved, and you need to make it clear how tech can help with the challenges your customers face. “I have always believed in the power of technology to solve traditional challenges in the delivery of financial services globally,” he comments.
Tripathi says Harbour & Hills was one of the first companies of its kind to leverage certain technologies, which has made its solution stand out and turned the company into what he calls a “full-fledged FinTech”. “On our way we acquired technology companies with strong capabilities in SWIFT implementation, built our in-house bank-grade compliance monitoring tools, and productised the process involved in the global money transfer business.”
David John, CEO of Loyalize, says there are three key factors involved if a FinTech truly wishes to stand out these days. “First, tell a story: one that’s authentic, and one that people can relate to. It’s all well and good having a great business idea, but articulating the proposition and making it easy to understand is a skill many business leaders lack.”
John founded Loyalize in 2019: the white label platform helps retailers engage with customers by adding payment cards to loyalty programmes. The second step, he says, is to build a brand that supports your idea. “Whilst the idea always comes first, building a brand to help you stand out from the crowd will maximise your chances of success. Look at Monzo – its bright pink card became one of the most recognisable in the market, but there was also a strong, credible business behind it.
“Thirdly, have a robust funding plan,” he adds. “Many startups think they know how much they need to raise, or how that funding will translate into X amount of revenue… but it’s never that simple. Presenting sensitised scenarios to investors gives them confidence that the founding team have anticipated market risks and planned for various outcomes.”
For AvaTrade, an international ForEx broker, you can ensure your FinTech stands out by sticking to your principles and building trust with customers. “The core values of AvaTrade as a business are honest, integrity and confidence,” comments CEO Daire Ferguson. “The business is built on a philosophy that centres around our client… to fulfil this commitment, we have overseen the production of various educational tools, including ebooks, videos and online guides. Helping to improve a client’s knowledge and trading skills boosts their chance of success.”
Customer- centricity is a key aspect for FinTech, and keeping not only that focus on building the products, but also the sense of responsibility along the journey, is what Ferguson views as the key to success. “We provide customer service in multiple languages and automated services which are designed to give our clients the best overall experience. Additionally, we have built a bespoke risk protection product – AvaProtect – that safeguards a client against losses. This is part of our mission to influence the market to be safer for all traders, something which I believe really sets us apart from other businesses in this space.