By Eoin O'Hara
Listed are some of the important trends that have developed over the course of the past 12 months, along with a few predictions about what might come in 2016.
Back in 2014, BitCoin was at the centre of FinTech proceedings, and whilst it remains a constant source of discussion, it has been somewhat eclipsed by an unprecedented wave of diverse financial technologies which have followed in its wake.
Figures for Q4 are yet to be announced, but in London alone the amount of capital investment pumped into these new technologies is expected to be almost double that of last year’s £300 million.
This growth rate stands as testament to the long-predicted revolutionary impact that the digital age would have on financial industries, but until the last two years or so, the growth in FinTech appeared so sluggish, that many were beginning to doubt that the revolution would ever materialise.
2015 has all but silenced those notions.
The internet and the technologies that underpin and grow from it have created an environment in which the way that people and businesses think about money and financial services has changed dramatically; this is particularly true of emerging tech startups. We have become hungry for faster, cheaper, more convenient flow of money, and this is reflected in the mystifying volume of FinTech startups that are springing up from every corner of the globe.
But for startups the most crucial trend of FinTech in 2015 was the continuing diversification of the routes to capital investment. Once upon a time, a loan from an established financial institution (a bank) was one of the only means of securing financial backing for a new venture. It is extremely telling that in 2016 crowdfunding investment is expected to surpass VC funding for the first time, with £50 billion plus worth of investments expected to be made. Being itself part of the FinTech phenomenon and now likely to become the biggest funder of the entire industry, the upswing in crowdfunding illustrates pretty well the massive impact that FinTech is having within the startup ecosystem.
If you haven't yet begun to explore the benefits that new financial technologies could deliver to your business, 2016 will offer plenty of opportunity to do so.
Whilst always seen as important, 2015 has been the year when enterprise has come to the realisation that good security is good for business; I’m sure I don’t need to elaborate on why a cyber security breach can spell disaster for any business (big or small).
The threat posed has created many challenges for a world in which online and offline are becoming ever more inextricable... challenges which have in turn birthed a flood of innovations and countless cyber security-focused startups.
Tech startups in particular have found themselves under intense pressure to integrate new security measures as they rush to bring innovative digital products to market. It is an issue which threatens to have a disproportionate impact on startups compared to more established businesses, due in most part to a lack of experience, or the lack of capital to meet the challenges head on.
This has lead to much discussion about the future of the traditional ‘lean startup’ growth methodology, with some suggesting that through this model many startups are sleepwalking into disaster.
This year has seen a backlash against what some describe as the lean startup’s lackadaisical approach to cyber security; the belief that it is something to be dealt with at a later date “when more money or time is available”.
Concurrently many tech startups have realised that good security is as integral to success as the product itself. As investors, stakeholders, and end users become increasingly concerned with safety and privacy, many startups have actually turned good practise to their advantage by proposing advanced security features as a highly valuable selling point.
This is one trend that is certain to continue in 2016.
Check out Part 2 of Tech Trends here.
Eoin O'Hara is a business developer and lead copywriter at Startacus.net.