After one year of skipping any form of live events, and wishing to take a big jump into the fishing pond of fintech learning, I chose one of the biggest fintech events in Europe as the best opportunity to see how the market showed itself to the users, the competition and the partners.
With COVID-19 accelerating the development of the fintech industry, I was excited to meet the new and old players on the market, to discover what the new directions are for companies, and, more so, to identify the new technology investments that will pinpoint businesses towards growth.
With eagerness, energy and trust in a safe environment where everyone could learn, I headed myself towards the venue of Money20/20 for 3 days of insightful workshops and presentations.
Money20/20 is the largest global event enabling payments and financial services innovation for connected commerce. Currently, the event hosts three conferences, one in Europe, one in the US and one in Asia, all of them representing a hub where innovation is discussed, where innovation happens and where leaders can be inspired as well as inspire others. Therefore, whether you are looking for reassurance that you are on the right track, or controversial ideas that spun revolutionary ideas, Money20/20 is the place to be.
More so, Money20/20 is a learning opportunity beyond the panels and the organized agenda: it is a safe environment where you can create new relationships (or strengthen old ones) with players in fintech, discover their challenges and adapt your product according to their needs. Thus, it remains one of the best ways to discover where everyone is at the moment in the finance world, to sync and to discover if you are ahead or, on the contrary, lagging behind.
It is the discussions at events such as Money20/20 that can spark or shape the path fintech will take in the next few years.
Source: Money20/20 (https://europe.money2020.com/)
Why Money20/20 is important at this point
Suffice it to say, networking is the essence of surviving in fintech. It is the way in which you discover the niche you target, get input, feedback, and adjust your path to provide the right solution. You cannot build something unless you know what you want to fix and it is events such as Money20/20 that provide the best resources for your market analysis.
In the past 1.5 years, fintech players have lived with a sword hanging over their heads, knowing that the industry innovation will accelerate due to the pandemic, yet not being always sure how their competitors stand, what their feelings are and how do they overcome this. It was a feeling of fintech market quarantine, that increased the anxiety of businesses to step up, to innovate, to change things up.
It is through discussions with competitors and other players in the industry that we get the best grasp of where we stand as a company, what our next steps should be and what the main challenges are, especially if you are a mainly B2B-focused company. So the opportunity to have the face-to-face chats that can fuel your company’s growth is priceless – it is at events such as Money20/20 where the entire fintech ecosystem unites in a cooperative environment that offers reassurance and strength, rather than competition.
As you might imagine, the need and the excitement was even greater this time around. And the speakers and organizers did not disappoint.
Some takeaways from Money20/20
As Scarlett Sieber, Chief Strategy & Growth Officer at Money20/20 pointed out, the agenda is not “is not about the world we have, it is about the world we aspire to build”. So gathering input, ideas, and discussing upon where we go from here is essential at this point, in how to make plans a reality.
A first topic that stirred up conversation was the friction and fragmentation that still emerges from cross-border transactions, from multi-language, multi-culture, cross-currency and more. Daniel Marovitz, the Senior Vice President of Booking.com mentioned that it is important to work at removing the anxiety from partners and users and reassure them that transactions are safe, while giving them flexibility and choice. Matt Henderson, the EMEA Business Lead of Stripe, also remarked on this topic that the emergence of new payment technologies and new payment methods that can offer users more choice and address the cross-border opportunity better. The important thing to have in mind is that the opportunity is too big to believe that any one solution is going to be the final answer.
Open banking was also a hot topic during Money20/20, with the CEO of TrueLayer, Francesco Simoneschi, stating that open banking is in the process of becoming mainstream, while user experience is now predicated by the ability of using your biometrics to identify yourself. Keith Grose, the Head of International at Plaid, reinforced on that idea, saying that payments are data, and that is what open banking is all about, mainly about taking that data and making it useful to users.
As predicted, customer relationship played a huge part in the discussions, as we are currently living in a fan-based economy, which, according to the CEO and co-founder of Railsbank, Nigel Verdon, we must understand and use as a tool in order to embed finance within the customer experience.
On the same note, big companies are now shifting and want to create a financial relationship with the consumer, because, as Arik Shtilman, the CEO & co-founder of Rapyd points out, if you become their financial provider you create a more personal relationship, and the more the customers trust you, the more they will buy from you.
Providers have become more niche in serving different users, with different needs – Paolo Bertoluzzo, the CEO of NEXI remarks: having specific products and services, easy commercial offers and a consultative approach can make all the difference for a successful customer relationship.
Finally yet importantly, cooperation and partnerships are still a hot topic. When asked about the secret in choosing partnerships, Mark Shaw, the Director of Global Payments Strategy at Spotify simply replied, “Keep an open mind”. Partnerships can emerge from serendipitous conversations sometimes, and an open chat can be the recipe to finding the creative partner that can design innovation by your side.
Source: Money20/20 (https://europe.money2020.com/)
A few words are rarely enough to encapsulate the entire energy during the 3 days at Money20/20, as well as all the ideas converged during the amazing presentations. Yet it is the perfect environment to become inspired, as well as to get the fuel and the resources you need to move forward with your product or your idea.
For me, personally, as a recently appointed Managing Director of Maxcode, the event represented a great opportunity not only to learn what the trends in the fintech industry are, but to also receive the confirmation that the payments market is in a continuous growing phase. That means that there is still room to improve and that our company’s role as fintech software developers is not only needed, but important for any product that wants to enter the market and take advantage of this wave of innovation and digitalization taking over finance.
And if you thought that it is neither the place, nor the time, I will leave you with some words from Martina Weimert the CEO of EPI Interim Company SE that will surely spark your ambition: “After the pandemic, we still have roughly 50% of cash transactions. The elephant in the room is: who is going to capture, in the future, these 50% of transactions? Is this going to be European, or do we leave it to international players, because the national players can only do so much?”
If you want to learn how you can be one of those companies that will capture the attention of the users and seize the fintech opportunity, let’s have a chat and see how Maxcode can help you.
About Robber Ledeboer
Robbert has over 25 years of experience in commercial and business development management, an perspective that has always given him the best insight in helping companies grow and take advantage of their uniqueness and strengths in order to seize the best opportunities on the market. As a Managing Director with Maxcode, Robbert is keen in helping partners achieve the best results with the right technical platform to support them.
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