By Stefan Pajkovic, CEO at TradeCore
Innovation is no barrier for tech companies. Large organisations are known for pushing the boundaries, especially when it comes to developing new products or services to disrupt the market. And for companies looking to launch and make an impact, getting to market fast is crucial in keeping up with the pace of innovation and the evolution across industries.
But the fintech industry has many hurdles that are blocking the end goal for startups. In amongst the never-ending list of regulation, licensing or compliance barriers, they can find themselves battling it out against other players to move rapidly and launch to market. And for an industry that’s primarily known for innovation, the time to market for fintech startups seems to only be getting longer.
Processes have become more expensive, both in time and money, for fintechs starting out, especially when they do it all themselves. The necessary lag of licensing, compliance and regulatory checks, means it can take fintechs up to a year to launch, and by then competition has increased. Customer needs and expectations also change over time, matching the open playing field of innovative services fintechs now offer.
This in turn means it’s hard for new fintechs to stand out against the crowd. These added, long processes which are increasing their time to market can ultimately lead to a spiral of death for fintech – whereby the complexity of the sector means fintechs fail to launch.
Why is building your own is no longer working?
Regulation is one of the biggest factors for a fintech to fail, but is a necessity to launch. And for fintechs just starting out, the complexity of the sector puts many on the back foot. Building and connecting the ecosystem, is also adding to the long drag of entering the competitive scene.
The rush to find a place in the ecosystem, along with managing compliance, regulation and licensing, all in all slows down a fintechs ability to launch to market quickly – many fail due to rushing through mandatory processes, either running out of money or losing sight of their end goal. This suddenrush can also result in rejected loan applications which can have knock-on effects when it comes to growing revenue or attracting investors to grow. And it’s this drag which is overshadowing many great fintech ideas, and limiting financial innovation in an environment where this is more important than ever.
An example of this is when Monzo applied for a US license to continue its mission of stateside expansion. Due to regulation complexity, it would have taken Monzo between eighteen months to two years to see their application approved. This was a huge step backwards for Monzo, and has put a hold on its own innovation as a company.
Even after Monzo was recently voted as the most sought-after mobile banking tool among the UK’s largest neobanks, it still faces regulatory issues. Which makes it even harder for smaller fintechs just starting out to crack the system. By spending too much time on back end issues, they are failing to innovate and losing touch on what really matters – customer’s needs and requirements. As the industry grows, so too does the expectation of customers.
Building your own ecosystem is no longer working, and competition is continuing to grow. But for fintechs to move quickly and stand out against the crowd, there’s another solution gaining ground.
The innovation revolution
Emerging fintech companies are entering the scene to provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ for fintechs – enabling secure, compliant go-to-market tools all in one place. By cooperating with such companies, fintechs are able to scale up quickly and focus on what truly matters – customer retention and acquisition. They can focus on what’s working and what’s not working, therefore bettering their product offering. Not only is this easier and far more cost effective, it solves the issue of launching to the market quickly.
Third-party fintech companies manage the back-end processes – any legal activity including high-billing costs, regulation and licensing to ensure they are compliant, but also the ever-changing ecosystem integrations – which can be expensive. This means fintechs can focus on improving their overall business strategy, which in turn makes it easier to attract investors and further grow their capital.
It’s these specialist services that hold the future of the fintech industry. By managing the complexity of the sector behind the scenes, fintechs can overcome the barriers set in stone by incumbents. They can launch to market far more quickly, and keep up with the ever-growing crowd.