News > FinTech

Is fintech feeding on Wall Street's brains?
FinTech
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Is fintech partly responsible for a perceived Wall Street brain drain? It comes as no surprise that the legion of fintech start-ups coming onto the scene are gobbling up talent with gusto, but is it really to the detriment of industry incumbents?</p> <p>UK financial rag City AM came to this conclusion earlier this year. It noted that since the financial crisis a career at a major financial institution might not hold the same appeal for high-flying young go-getters.</p> <p>Data from top business schools like Chicago Booth, Wharton, London Business School, and Insead showed a 20% drop in MBA graduates entering finance between 2007 and 2013. This contrasts sharply with what's going on in the technology sector which has roughly doubled its intake of MBA graduates over the same period.</p> <p>Then again, correlation does not always equal causation. Mukesh Bubna, founder of Hong Kong-based P2P lending platform Monexo, told NexChange he has mixed views:<br /> "In Asia it is still about working for big names, but I think it is changing. A lot more people call Monexo (from the financial services space)  to say, 'Hey, we heard about you, can we join you?', but we are also very choosy about who we bring in,  because coming from a corporate world you are only doing one thing; in a start-up you do 20. Some people can't make that transition easily."<br /> It is worth noting at this point that Bubna quit his job with Citigroup to launch his fintech start-up.</p> <p>What is clear at least is that the fintech sector is hungry for talent, to the point of cannibalization. The Australian Financial Review accused the UK government not too long ago of "pinching" the best and brightest of Australia's nascent fintech industry by flying them over to London -- triggering a "global war for innovation talent".<br /> Photo: Charis Tsevis</p>
21 Inc's bitcoin computer seeks to redefine the internet
FinTech
<p>Cryptocurrency startup 21 Inc. unveiled its latest project, a bitcoin computer that went on sale Monday and will ship in November. The computer, which sells for $400, is able to mine a constant stream of bitcoins and allows users to buy and sell "anything to anyone." The computer is the first of its kind, and though 21 Inc. says it represents a unique opportunity for bitcoin enthusiasts, the firm is hoping that the machine will pave the way for more of its kind and eventually rework the way people use the Internet.<br /> Adding Bitcoin ...<br /> Full story available on Benzinga.com<br /> Photo: Antana</p>
Highlights from the FinTech O2O keynote speech
FinTech
<p>More than 200 people gathered in Hong Kong for the inaugural Fintech Initiative meet-up at Cyberport. Chris Dark, President International of the fintech juggernaut C2FO, gave the keynote speech. The initiative aims to nurture the fintech ecosystem in Hong Kong and was co-sponosred by NexChange, publisherof this app, and Cyberport.</p> <p>Highlights:</p> <p>Chris Dark ,Pres Int'l, C2FO: "You have to take risks - the real disrupters are the risktakers" #fintech #fintechO2O<br /> — NexChange (@NexChanger) September 22, 2015</p> <p>"Rule number 1 for #startups is to focus" -Chris Dark from @C2FO #fintechO2O @NexChanger @cyberport_hk pic.twitter.com/361UKaHVLp — W Hub (@WHubhk) September 22, 2015</p> <p>"Do things 10 times better than everyone, otherwise, go home" - Chris Dark, CEO of @C2FO at #FinTechO2O pic.twitter.com/pWzv9gUO4n</p> <p>— Nest.vc (@NestIdeas) September 22, 2015</p> <p>Chris Dark, Pres Int'l, C2FO: "Banking is not going away, they are not the enemy, and you can work with them" #Fintech #FintechO2Oup — NexChange (@NexChanger) September 22, 2015</p>
Fintech expected to pull in big bucks even as stock market collapses
FinTech
<p>The stock market may be in a sad, dark place right now, but fintech is riding high.</p> <p>In the week ending August 20, 25 fintech companies raised $1.63 billion, reports Finovate. Lending company Sofi was the biggest winner, bringing in a whopping $1 billion and edging toward a $4 billion valuation. Avant and Dianrong were runners up, raising $340 million and $220 million respectively. And fintech doesn't want to slow down any time soon.</p> <p>"Fintech is such a big market, and it's still so early in terms of some of these companies gaining traction, there's still room to grow," says Matthew Wong, research and data analytics at venture capital database CB Insights. Startups in general don't seem to be slowing down, and fintech is one of the hottest areas right now. Lending companies like Sofi, payments, and personal wealth management are all popular, says Wong. And investors especially love technology that appeals to millennials, such as easy apps. Funding is expected to continue to be strong for the rest of the year. Andreessen Horowitz's recent hire of a young, startup-founding partner is a prime example of where venture capitalists are looking in the future.</p> <p>Mobile payment provider Square moving to IPO will be a good lightening rod for the industry, and one that everyone will be watching, says Wong. If the IPO isn't well received, it may show that valuations for fintech are too high.</p> <p>Fintech firms are taking on the big banks and each other, but there's limited direct competition that is seen in other industries. Fintech firms typically carve out a niche, focusing on wealth management for instance, and not trying to be a giant bank. And the banks aren't stupid. Goldman Sachs has jumped fully into investing in fintech, particularly data driven companies like Motif Investing. Other banks, including JPMorgan, are close behind, looking at fintech opportunities to enhance their own businesses and show them what competition is coming. "We are seeing more banks invest now in these companies and trying to see what this technology is looking like," says Wong.<br /> Photo: Joe Ross</p>
Culture: An essential ingredient in success. Just ask any startup. Or Amazon
FinTech
<p>"Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk." -- Bob Olson, former Amazon employee who worked in books marketing</p> <p>The New York Times<br /> Anyone who has ever worked in an office knows this for sure: culture matters. Over the weekend, The New York Times published a major expose on the culture at Amazon, depicting a workplace pushing employees to achieve unreasonable goals. The piece garnered 4,264 comments (and counting). As is the way of the digital world, the story has spawned a mini-publishing ecosystem. Amazon employee Nick Ciubotariu published a post on LinkedIn dismissing the Times story as half-truths and nonsense. That in turn prompted an assessment by Inc.: Who is right? Nick or the Times writers?</p> <p>And then what should happen to land in my inbox this afternoon? "The 3 Ways Culture Enables Startups To Scale," by Tomasz Tunguz, a partner at venture capital firm Redpoint (which has funded one of my favorite fintech companies, Expensify). To someone betting their money on a new venture, culture is not just a point of philosophical debate. It is a guiding light, a window into the likelihood of success.</p> <p>Tunguz explains that culture influences who a company is more likely to hire and daily decisions as well as the direction of a business. Tunguz writes:<br /> Contrast Google’s notion “Fast is better than slow” with Apple’s “Don’t ship until it’s perfect.” Neither philosophy is superior to the other, but they will attract different types of people. One encourages risks, while the other champions craftmanship. Google’s culture works for the web, where code pushes are immediate. Apple’s fosters better results in hardware where small mistakes can cost tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Each philosophy works to maximize the advantages of the company given their constraints.<br /> Can you summarize your culture in one sentence? Do you know its strengths and weaknesses? At NexChange collaboration is a key tenet of our workplace. Let us know in the comments the philosophy drives your business.<br /> Photo: Dennis Skley</p>
Do you understand the difference between online banking and digital banking?
FinTech
<p>Fidor Bank is at the cutting edge of digital, social banking. Frank Schwab, CEO of Fidor TecS, offers these insights into the key differences between online banking and true digital finance. What do you think are the key differences?</p> <p>Some thoughts on Traditional (Online) Banking versus Digital Banking. - More to come soon … pic.twitter.com/JQZWbjaoGy<br /> — Frank Schwab (@FrankJSchwab) August 26, 2015<br /> Photo: ©iStock.com/hakkiarslan</p>
What commodity status means for Bitcoin
FinTech
<p>It’s official, Bitcoin is now a commodity after getting the nod from the US Commodity Future trading Commision (CFTC) last week. But what does that mean?</p> <p>The ruling came in the form of a slap on the wrist for US startup Coinflip, which was alleged to have allowed users to trade options based on bitcoin via its platform; Derivabit. By ruling that Bitcoin is a commodity, the CFTC brought Coinflip under its purview.</p> <p>On the plus side this extra oversight can help clean up trade in Bitcoin, and bring the crypto-currency even closer to legitimacy. It also means less chance of blow ups like Mt. Gox, the Japanese bitcoin trading platform that lost 850,000 Bitcoins (then worth $500 million) when it imploded early last year.</p> <p>At the same time Bitcoin startups can expect greater pressure from regulators, which means the cost of doing business with Bitcoin could creep higher. Here is what Aitan Goelman, the CFTC’s Director of Enforcement, had to say:<br /> “While there is a lot of excitement surrounding Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, innovation does not excuse those acting in this space from following the same rules applicable to all participants in the commodity derivatives markets.”<br /> Photo: BTC Keychain</p>
Hong Kong Cyberport startups scoop UK fintech awards
FinTech
<p>Five start-ups based in Hong Kong technology hub Cyberport clinched prizes at  the UK Trade &amp; Investment (UKTI) Fintech Awards 2015 last week. The event - attended by The Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of the City of London Alan Yarrow -was intended to promote links between London's burgeoning fintech industry and Asia.</p> <p>UKTI says  the UK fintech market is now worth about 20 billion pounds ($31 billion) in annual revenue, making it the fastest growing fintech industry in the world by deal volume. In all two grand prizes, and three runner-up merit prizes, were awarded. The grand prize winners were given a 5-day trip to London and Manchester with business class flights and accommodation. They also bagged three months free co-working space at WeWork in London and free access to the global innovation conference "Innovate UK" in London. All winners will get to have dinner with British Consul-General to Hong Kong and Macau at the Consul General’s Residence with VIPs from UK and Hong Kong financials institutions.</p> <p>Here are the winners in full:</p> <p>Grand Prize </p> <p>  Lattice -  A capital-markets fintech company, focusing on developing front-office portfolio decision-support platform. <br />  Ironfly Technologies -  A combined order and execution management system for equities and equity derivatives.</p> <p>Merit Prize</p> <p> Argentum Code -  An information technology company developing innovative open accounting products.<br /> Bitspark -  An end to end money transfer platform leveraging Bitcoin.<br /> Innopage -   The company behind stock portfolio management app Ticker.</p> <p>Photo: UKTI</p>
Could Russia launch a state-run "BitRuble"?
FinTech
<p>The Russian state could launch its own version of Bitcoin. At least that's what's being speculated after the Central Bank of Russia put together a team to research blockchain technology.</p> <p>This is less than a week after Sergey Solonin, general director of Russian payment services provider Qiwi, said his firm was developing BitRuble: a blockchain-based digital currency pegged to launch in 2016. According to the Coin Telegraph, this has led to a rumor - further spread by Spain's El Mundo - that BitRuble could be a new national digital currency overseen and managed by the state central banking system .</p> <p>This is interesting because the Russian state has been very critical of Bitcoin and even banned Bitcoin-based websites for a brief period at the beginning of the year. Only last week Russian Ombudsman Pavel Medvedev said Bitcoin was "absolutely illegal" and called it "technical hooliganism," his point being that only the Russian state should be able to issue money in the country.</p> <p>This latest development is not a case of the Russian state getting on board with Bitcoin, but more likely a case of it using blockchain technology to exert greater control over the use of digital currency. Whatever Russia's next move is, it will set an interesting precedent for state adoption of crypto-currencies.<br /> Photo: Nickolas Titkov<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Inaugural fintech meetup to focus on opportunities in Hong Kong
FinTech
<p>Hong Kong is catching the fintech bug. And now Cyberport and NexChange are launching a monthly meetup to put together startups in the region to discuss critical issues: fund raising, growth, talent search, and more.</p> <p>The inaugural Fintech O-2-O Meetup will take place on Tuesday, September 22 and is expected to attract about 200 delegates from startups in the area as well as investors and customers. Increasingly, founders are discovering that online -to-offline is a key element in developing their ideas and relationships with potential clients.</p> <p>Fintech is attracting big money. More than $12 billion was invested last year, according to consultancy firm KPMG. The U.S. accounted for almost 80% of the total, followed by Europe with a 12% share and Asia a lagging third place with 6%.</p> <p>The event at Cyberport should help both entrepreneurs and investors in Hong Kong learn about the tremendous opportunities in this sector. </p> <p>Leading practitioners will share their experiences across a range of FinTech segments such as payments, peer-to-peer lending and portfolio management.</p> <p>Chris Dark, president international of C2FO will deliver the keynote speech. There will then be a panel discussion that includes Mukesh Bubna, founder &amp; CEO of Monexo Innovations, James McKeogh, partner at KPMG, Van Ta, founder of Suisse Tech Partners (STP) and Dominic Wong, head of large merchant acquisitions at PayPal.</p> <p>NexChange and Cyberport look forward to seeing you all on Tuesday! To register, click here.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>&nbsp;</p>