We’ve long accepted in FinTech that “collaboration is key” and those companies that don’t effectively partner will be left behind.
Partnerships can take on many forms, from an incumbent bank engaging an agile startup to an SME turning to ecommerce or payment infrastructure as their business is forced to go online due to Covid-19.
In last week’s Shaping FinTech webinar, we discussed the ins and outs of a variety of partnerships with OakNorth, GPS, BNP Paribas and Checkout.com. You can view the full discussion below, but here are five key tips we learned for FinTechs looking to build a fruitful partnership.
Be empathetic toward partners.
Financial institutions are keen to partner with FinTechs but they have their own unique challenges when engaging a new business. There are huge numbers of stakeholders involved and the timeframe for the whole process can sometimes be unmanageable for FinTechs. It’s important to go into this with your eyes wide open and understand the obstacles from the other side.
Don’t be blinded by the bright lights.
With all the difficulties involved in partnering with a huge brand, it’s important to recognise whether this is actually worth your while. The number of stakeholders, size of contracts and more could be overwhelming so you need to go into the process with your eyes wide open. You will need to win smaller businesses, too, in order to keep the lights on while a larger deal is closing. Find early adopters and have a number of deals in your funnel – this can also help you to land a larger business as it shows industry knowledge and momentum.
Understand how your solution fits in.
It’s important to look at how your solution will fit in with the organisation’s existing ecosystem. Finance is an area with huge amounts of legacy technology which many solutions may have been bolted onto through necessity. Get under the skin of the potential partner to develop an awareness of this and get the integration fully mapped out as early as possible. You could even speak to FinTechs who have already partnered with that organisation.
Recognise the decision maker.
In the past few years, technology has gained an increasing seat at the table of every business and most organisations will have a Chief Technology Officer. While in the past, potential partners dealt with business development or finance departments, it’s now the CTO or product teams who will call the shots. In a large FI especially, they’ll be keen to test out your tech beforehand so it must be fully up to scratch.
Understand you’re not just changing the technology.
You will also need to change mindsets every step of the way, and much of this comes back to empathy. There will often be fears within the organisation about workload increase, resource distribution and the slightly less tangible issue of “change”. Work with the company to ensure this is tackled and everyone feels comfortable with the partnership.