Is the Fintech Fun Over in 2022?
By Nicole Casperson
Is the Fintech Fun Over in 2022?
A few things might make it feel like that fintech hype from 2021 is already slowing down in 2022.
According to CB Insights, there was an 18% decrease in fintech funding in Q1 – the most significant drop in QoQ since 2018 – at $28.8B. But it was still the fourth-best quarter on record.
We’re seeing headlines featuring major fintech companies like PayPal shuttering its San Francisco hub, Robinhood laying off 9% of its employees, and volatility in the tech stock market.
But as they say, what goes up must come down.
Fintech was the leading sector for venture investment in 2021, according to Crunchbase News. Investments clocked in at $134 billion at a 177% year-over-year growth.
After that much money pours in, it’s hard not to think about an inevitable bubble (when the price of something escalates quickly because of market behavior and not necessarily fundamental need).
Why It Matters
As more fintechs crowd the space, it becomes increasingly difficult to find points of differentiation. So that is a more immediate threat than a possible bubble.
There are a few other signs that the fintech industry isn’t really in bubble territory.
For example, banks are slowly moving into adopting new tech. This means transforming operations. While this happens, investors who have accumulated funds are looking for alternative places to put their money, and the fintech industry can take advantage of this.
Another positive sign is the few fintechs that have gone to IPO, so investors decide to throw money at companies based on how big they get instead of relying on their pre-IPO valuations.
Few IPOs (which became even less in Q1’22 at only seven globally) + rising M&A deals (257 deals) means more consolidation, and there isn’t anything to sell off.
On top of it all, I believe the cultural shift to using fintech is permanent.
Across all use cases, between 80% and 90% of those who used fintech in the past year plan to use it the same amount or more going forward.
Ultimately, the fintech cool-off is essential because fintech operators need to get creative. It would be best if you thought about securing your position in the future and building the ability to innovate and produce new products now.
Michael Orlando, COO of Yapstone, makes a case for fintech being in balloon versus bubble territory.
Content Creation Meets Fintech With Current
Current, the challenger bank, has been dubbed one of the most influential fintech platforms next to companies like Stripe, Chime, and Klarna.
And for a good reason.
Current is crushing content marketing and influencer partnerships. In the company’s latest move, Current announced today it’s the exclusive fintech partner of FaZe Clan, a lifestyle and media platform for gaming and youth culture.
With the partnership, Current is able to push its brand to FaZe Clan‘s following:
- Twitter: 5.7M
- Instagram: 11.8M
- TikTok: 6.2M
- YouTube: 8.69M
Current has crossed 2 million users with an influx of over 200,000 new users in April and May 2020. And its own social following ain’t small either. Current has:
- Twitter: 553.6K
- Instagram: 74.4K
- TikTok: 605.1K
The FaZe Clan partnership is just the latest. The company’s most notable partner is probably MrBeast.
Why It Matters
I’ve been intrigued by Current ever since I first saw its subway ads. The company aced banking for Millennials/Gen Z and could teach a masterclass in growth and influencer marketing.
Capturing this market is critical. Millennials/Gen Z are a core demographic driving economic change is an understatement. The group will inherit $68 trillion from their boomer parents by 2030.
With one of the most significant wealth transfers in history, the generations’ expected revenue contribution will increase from $15.7 to $27 billion in the next four years.
Millennials and Gen Zers care more about inclusive and authentic messaging when it comes to banking and money matters.
The key is to build trust. Influencer marketing generates a pipeline of users who trust the brand if done right.
What’s extra enjoyable about influencer marketing is that it puts the person (influencer) over the brand (institution). This is because people follow people, not institutions.
According to research by Mintel, only 10% of adults follow a financial services brand on social media. Additionally, older consumers follow brands by generation versus Millennials and Gen Zers who follow influencers.
When you leverage people to drive a brand purpose and vision centered around inclusive banking for underserved communities — users follow.
I’ll be diving more into Current and its leadership. Stay tuned for an upcoming podcast episode with Current CTO Trevor Marshall on season 2: Humans of Fintech.
Onyx Provides Underrepresented Advisors With Fintech to Succeed
The Onyx Advisor Network, a platform designed to increase the number of underrepresented financial advisors by providing support via fintech and the community, is officially launching on May 9.
Co-founded by financial advisors Dasarte Yarnway and Emlen Miles-Mattingly, Onyx exists to address our country’s wealth gap through systemic change.
The platform provides advisors of color, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community with technology tools, custodial access, investment management resources, inclusive community, and coaching support.
Advisors can join for a $549 monthly subscription that comes with access to a tech stack including fintech powerhouses:
The platform also gives advisors the option to invest client assets in the “Onyx Model Portfolios” powered by Vanguard and Alpha Architect.
Advisors will also have access to coaching development resources (at preferred rates) at Onyx’s supplemental partners, including Carson Coaching, Encorestate, Holistiplan, National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, Shaping Wealth, and Snappy Kraken.
Onyx forecasts that, on average, financial advisors will save $10,000/year on technology alone through the network.
Why It Matters
Fintech users are interested in coupling their digital app usage with professional financial advice.
65% of Millennials who use self-directed investment accounts (powered via fintech) are also interested in working with a human advisor.
In a real-life example, I attended an event hosted by Acorns last night centered around investing and money management. The audience Q&A was filled with questions about financial advice, mainly how to find/choose an advisor to trust.
And that was at a fintech event.
When less than one-quarter of certified financial planners are women, fewer than 5% are Black or Latino and 4% are Asian or Pacific Islander, it’s hard to find advisors that are able to relate to the unique experiences of anyone who feels marginalized by financial services.
By increasing the number of diverse CFPs, and arming them with the fintech tools to succeed, we could start to make some real progress toward changing the complexion of wealth.
You can hear more about the importance of how inclusivity in financial advice meets fintech by tuning into my conversation with founder Dasarte Yarnway.
- Ex-Chime engineers raise $4M for B2B payments infrastructure startup.
- Masan Group to take $65M stake in Vietnam fintech startup.
- Cogni, a digital banking platform aimed at enhancing consumer lifestyles, announced its $23M Series A.
- Coinbase plans to ramp up tech hiring and investments in India.
- PayPal shuttering its San Francisco office.
- Robinhood says it will lay off 9% of its employees.
- Bitwise launches SMAs for financial advisors.
- The global fintech sector is expected to be valued at $310B this year.