Disrupting finance: the 21st century’s FinTech innovators

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Financial technology (FinTech) innovators are building a new future. Emerging technology is transforming the finance industry and giving us access to empowering new ways of managing our money.

Market share is being taken from the traditional providers as the established order becomes disrupted. Start-ups are coming up with new ways to help individuals save money, make financial processes simpler and quicker, and increase security and reduce fraud.

Ahead of Salt’s ‘Disrupting Finance’ event on 16 September, we look at some of today’s most impactful and exciting FinTech innovations.

Equity crowdfunding

Technology has changed the way people can invest in companies, with equity crowdfunding allowing small businesses and start-ups to attract capital for their projects, while risk is minimised due to a large pool of low-level investments. Private offerings of online securities surpassed $765 million at the end of the second quarter of 2015, according to data provider Crowdnetic, as the sector continues to mature.

Crowdcube has been particularly successful in the UK, with 283 businesses funded with almost £100 million. Syndicate Room allows members to invest alongside experienced business ‘angels’, while Early Shares provides crowdfunding for real estate. Other notable platforms looking to democratise investment include AngelList, Crowdfunder and Wefunder.

P2P lending

Also known as ‘crowdlending’, P2P lending allows individuals to lend to businesses without the need for a traditional financial institution. This normally means lenders can expect better returns, and borrowers have access to finance that may have been previously unavailable.

Almost £782 million has been lent to British businesses through Funding Circle, which aims “to revolutionise the outdated banking system and secure a better deal for everyone”. Market Invoice is a P2P lending platform and UK-based fintech business which allows companies to sell outstanding invoices to investors to raise capital.

Mobile payments

Mobile payment solutions are diversifying to give us more freedom and to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. Paym allows people in the UK to transfer money using just a mobile number, while Venmo, part of Paypal, is attempting to bring a social aspect to the mobile payment sector. Apple, Google, and even the likes of Starbucks have also introduced mobile payment and wallet systems. Earlier in the year, technology research company Gartner said that “rampant interest” in mobile payment systems will drive mobile commerce revenue in the US to make up 50 per cent of digital commerce revenue by 2017.

These systems also provide a number of solutions to the world’s social problems. Mobile payment innovations are being used to provide affordable healthcare solutions to underserved people, for example by Changamka in Kenya, and for microfinance repayments at competitive rates, as with M-Pesa, also in Kenya.

Digital Currencies

Bitcoin is the most well known digital currency, using P2P technology for an open-source payment system without the need for banks or central authorities. Other internet-based forms of currency are appearing, allowing people to bypass the traditional system, reducing the need for physical currencies, lowering transaction costs and giving individuals the ability to make payments instantly and freely. A number of ‘cryptocurrencies’ have had underwhelming starts, but their disruptive potential is enormous.

Once again, digital currency has positive social implications too. Where banks can be excluded, those from poorer communities with a lack of access to the financial system have more opportunities. It also has the potential to become a political tool.

These innovations and the opportunities provided by them will be looked at in-depth by Nils Elmark, futurologist and founder of Incepcion, Jonathan May, CEO of Hubbub, and Ian Cruickshank, chief marketing officer at RateStetter, at Salt’s Disrupting Finance event on 16 September. Click here for more details.

 

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Photo Credit: Fortune Brainstorm Tech from flickr

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