This month at The Fintech Times our focus switches to reflection as we look back at developments over the last 12 months. 2022 has certainly been a challenging year for everyone with global economic activity experiencing a severe slowdown, with inflation higher than seen in several decades.
We’ve turned to our community of fintech CEOs and leaders to uncover their views on this year’s major fintech trends.Today, we hear from FinTech Wales, ForwardAI, Toqio, Inscribe and Kueski.
Sarah Williams Gardener is the CEO of FinTech Wales and a founding member of Starling Bank. She looks back at how 2022 has served up further growth and adoption of fintech products and services.
“The pandemic forced businesses to deliver increased services digitally and supercharged the consumer adoption rate of digital products. Ultimately, we would have eventually seen the levels of digital banking and payments adoption that we’re currently seeing, however the pandemic fast-tracked that transition to the point where we’re now unquestionably a digital-first marketplace.
“As a result, we’re seeing that fintech is increasingly finding its way into very traditional sectors that were forced to adapt out of necessity during the pandemic, but that are now truly reaping the longer-term benefits of that emergency investment into new innovations.
“We’re seeing the rise and huge success of challenger banks such as Starling, Monzo, Tandem and Chetwood Financial, and we’re also seeing rapid growth within digital payment platforms such as Yoello, Yimba and MyPinPad. We may all be familiar with digital ordering platforms now, but two years ago the idea of ordering and paying for food and drink in a restaurant without speaking to a waiter was far from the norm.
“These are trends that undeniably have been driven as a result of the pandemic, but there’s no doubt that they will endure.”
ForwardAI is a fintech providing aggregated access to accounting &,business data and analysis. Its CEO Nick Chandi is a serial entrepreneur who previously co-founded SlickPie, providing online accounting software for over 40,000 small businesses worldwide.
Chandi describes a ‘quick ramp-up’ in fintechs founded to collaborate with long-standing financial institutions and help them solve their challenges.
“Fintechs used to be the ‘new players’ trying to compete and chip away market share from more established financial institutions with their better customer experience or cheaper costs, but that no longer seems to be the case.
“More prominent financial institutions often lack the agility to adopt these new technologies quickly. From fintechs that offer embedded finance solutions to ones offering aggregated data APIs, many are capitalising on this opportunity to collaborate instead of trying to compete against financial institutions head-on.
“The trend of real-time payments is another big one that comes with many potential use cases. Small businesses make up 99 per cent of all American businesses, and real-time payments in the B2B space can help them solve their cash flow problems and keep them financially healthy. The growth in real-time payments in 2022 is astonishing, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what’s to come in the next few years.”
Eduardo Martinez Garcia, CEO and co-founder of fintech SaaS platform Toqio, reflects on “a lot of movement on a number of fronts”.
“Embedded finance has been and continues to be a hot topic, as more and more companies seek to offer easier ways for consumers to make payments, get financing, etc.
“That market, already worth billions, is expected to quintuple by the early 2030s, so look for lots of startups offering embedded or in-house finance.
“Regulatory compliance is another big one. Companies that want to participate in the fintech space need to make sure they’re fully compliant to avoid undue situations, and firms that help them keep on the correct path are going to continue to become extremely popular.
“Environmental concerns and solutions are going to affect fintech as much as every other market, which is why ‘greentech’ is also becoming a space to watch for innovative new startups.”
Ronan Burke is the co-founder and CEO of Inscribe, a fintech solution for fraud detection and risk management. He and his twin brother, Conor Burke, co-founded Inscribe in 2017 with the goal of creating a more fair and efficient financial services ecosystem.
Burke says: “A big fintech trend we saw in 2022 was the shift toward every company having financial services embedded in some way.
“Apple is a primary example here — they’ve turned into a massive financial services company that is beating traditional banks at their own game.
“And this year they even acquired the UK fintech Credit Kudos so that Apple could perform its own credit analysis.”
Kueski is one of the largest buy now, pay later (BNPL) and online consumer lending companies in Latin America. Its VP of capital markets and investor relations, Andrew Seiz, shares his thoughts on 2022.
“One major trend we have seen in 2022 is the significant valuation contraction in the global technology space, which unfortunately has not spared fintech valuations. In some cases, the valuation reduction has been as much as 80 to 90 per cent, as significantly higher US interest rates have compelled investors to discount future cash flow projections more heavily.
“The derating has been across all sub-sectors, including payments, infrastructure, personal finance, insurtech, regtech, and cross-border payments. Together with lower GDP forecasts and expectations of a recession, investors have compelled fintechs on the whole to conserve cash, be more conservative on growth, and focus on profitability.
“This has led to subdued capital-raising and M&A activity with companies being forced to focus on their core businesses and markets. Interestingly, we do see that the appetite to lend and invest by institutional investors and banks remains high – particularly on the private credit side against high quality assets.
“Moreover, there are a number of hedge funds which have launched credit vehicles to help companies avoid dilutive equity down-rounds. Still this demand is likely to focus on companies with viable economics or at least a path to this. Ultimately, we expect that the well-capitalised and funded market leaders will likely emerge from the current environment in a better competitive position.”