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“Every area in fintech still has room for growth,” says Jeff Cain, Incubator Director at Envestnet | Yodlee. “There are great opportunities to digitize in areas that aren’t even necessarily fintech, but help move money.”
So while the market looks like it’s getting crowded, there remains a wide variety of segments that haven’t been touched or haven’t been oversaturated yet, Cain says, pointing out companies like Propel, helping consumers manage their electronic food stamps, or the companies that have risen up around the need to help adult children of senior citizens manage their money and prevent fraud, or the company that helps preschools and apartment complexes manage their electronic payments and bookkeeping.
“When that entrepreneur found a segment that wasn’t really being addressed that aggressively, they addressed it,” Cain says. “There are still plenty of big niches, and big ideas.”
Coming up with the next big thing
The Yodlee incubator is inundated with applications from founders looking to create the Next Big Disruption, and Cain admits that sometimes he thinks he’s seen it all.
“And then we get 100 applications and I think oh my God, I never thought of that,” he says.
The incubator has seen entrepreneurs present tech that figures out your personality based on your spending patterns; that can leverage health and financial information to estimate future medical expenses; and using data and technology to break the mortgage model.
If there’s a secret to forging a brand-new idea, it’s thinking about the challenges consumers encounter, perhaps those that hit close to home either personally, or among friends and family. It’s also about looking at what people are doing with their money or how they’re thinking about their money, and what can be done to help them make it easier, more efficient, take it digital.
Cain points out the need for a better family budgeting app that manages and tracks children’s expenses, or a tool that helps consumers track and aggregate investments across various platforms, for instance.
“And there’s still room for a better product to beat existing products, even in a market that is crowded, even if you haven’t found that unaddressed segment,” he adds. “If you think your solution is really 10X better, then there’s still room.”
Entrepreneur missteps to sidestep
The most common missteps that new fintech startups make are the same missteps that any tech company makes, Cain says: trying to do too much too early, being distracted by the next shiny object.
“Do the thing you’re going to do,” he says. “If the feedback says that’s not working and you need to pivot, that’s fine, but stay focused and don’t do just what’s new and exciting.”
The other classic misstep, which again, applies outside of fintech, is not being sufficiently customer-centric: having a laser focus on who the customer is, what their problem is, and how you can solve that.
Get feedback from customers and then iterate quickly, he adds, because the most successful companies are moving quickly, constantly producing new versions, tweaking things, out-hustling their competitors, and making things happen at speed. In a super competitive market out there, you need to have some urgency.
It’s especially important for B2B companies to keep pushing ahead, maintain that sense of urgency, and figure out distribution channels as quickly as possible. If you spend 18 months trying to partner with a specific financial institution and you haven’t really done anything else, you’ve just wasted 18 months. Don’t let a single conversation drag on – keep exploring other paths to the market.
He adds that a very specific fintech misstep is not being thoughtful enough about process and implications. Fintech is highly regulated, with a lot of compliance issues and a lot of trust issues – your users are trusting you with their money, and that carries a surprising amount of emotional heft. So a UX flaw that a social network could ride right over is disastrous for a fintech company, eroding your customer’s trust and tanking your business.
To learn more about the industries that are ready to be disrupted, the most lucrative niche markets, and how to go from big idea to big money, plus gain real-world insights from successful fintech founders, don’t miss this VB Live event!
Don’t miss out!
Register for the webinar to discover:
- What successful fintech startups have in common
- The differences between being a solopreneur vs. being a co-founder
- Tips for finding and growing your dream team
- How to go from killer idea to disruptive startup
- Ken Kruszka, CEO, SnapCheck
- Kathleen Utecht, Managing Partner, Core Innovation Capital
- Jeff Cain, Senior Director, Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator, Envestnet | Yodlee
- Pierre Wolff, SVP Business Development, InCountry
- Evan Schuman, Moderator, VB
Sponsored by Envestnet | Yodlee