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Start-ups have to start somewhere … but what happens when they grow up?

The world changes every day, and some of us feel it changes faster every day. This is evidenced by the rapid cycle change in Fintech where last year’s hardly mentioned thing has become this year’s hot thing. Blockchain is the case in point. However, as pointed out at Fintech Connect this week, most of this start-up furore is just diddly-squat when compared with the massive size of the incumbent financial industry.

Case in point: the total market for bitcoins after almost seven years is worth $5 billion; the global FX markets move over $5 trillion a DAY. But then, as rightly pointed out by many, start-ups are start-ups and so they have to start somewhere. The counter question is where will they go when they grow up? Will they merge, be acquired or gain critical mass? Is Stripe the next Paypal; Personal Capital the new UBS; R3 the rebooted SWIFT?

We will only know the answers to these questions in a decade. Meantime, here are a few killer quotes from this weeks coverage of Fintech Connect, as reported by Business Insider.

Asked about how well fintech is doing right now Currency Cloud CEO Mike Laven told the crowd: “You have to differentiate between mind share and market share. You can add up a lot of the market share of these guys and it would be pretty small. But we’ve got a lot of mind share with all the press coverage and conferences.”

Laven joked that if you can’t eat out at least once a week at some sort of fintech conference or event, your company isn’t doing well.

Laven said: “I am not one who believes that if we close our eyes and wish really hard, the banks will go away. They’ll still be here 20 years from now. The only question is how well institutions will respond — can they get there? Banks really have to fear smarter banks, because some will get it and some won’t.”

A great slide deck on the online lending industry from Cormac Leech, an analyst with investment bank Liberum, highlights the problem many fintech startups have in P2P lending where less than 45% of people in the UK have heard about peer-to-peer and only around 15% would consider lending using it. Far from mainstream.

In payments, TransferWise has around 2% of the UK international money transfer market, sending £500 million a month over its platform. That’s no mean feat for a four-year-old business. But Nick Day, CEO of money transfer business SmallWorldFS, made the point that it’s still nowhere near the size of a Western Union or MoneyGram: “They put out PR about how they grew 200% last year, but it’s from peanuts to 3x peanuts.”

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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