FinTech Startups In A ‘Historic Moment’ Thanks To Asian Funding

By James Giancotti for Forbes

In this century of exponential growth of new enterprises, finance has been a driver of global economy. Financial technology, aka FinTech, makes it ever more enabling for businesses – traditional and ventures alike – to thrive into a supreme state of commerce.

The global adoption rate for FinTech – given as “number of users as a percentage of the digitally active population” – currently hovers around at 15.5%, and the top three cities in the league are New York (33.1%), Hong Kong (29.1%), and London (25.1%), according to Ernst & Young .

Goldman Sachs values the industry at US$4.7 trillion, and considering the superlative markups in valuations across FinTech startups – 2015 saw some US$13.8 billion in VC money flowing into the pool, compared to the $4.05 billion back in 2013 – we can draw the conclusion that this is a rather historic moment for the financial services industry.

Crowdfunding, robo-trading, cross-border transactions, P2P lending, bitcoin and mobile and electronic payments are only some of the startups that have vastly enhanced the performance of financial operations across various consumer segments.

So far, Asia has taken the global lead in funding FinTech startups. Average funding received per company is highest in Asia where a total of US$4.5 billion spanned across 130 deals or US$34.6 million per deal, followed by America (US$20.4 million per deal) and Europe (US$12 million per deal). Deal volume has seen a steady growth at 11.4% year over year. Moreover, more FinTech companies are becoming VC-backed at 33% annual growth.

According to an Ernst & Young survey, the top reasons for utilizing FinTech services amongst consumers can be summarized as: convenience in the account setup procedures, more attractive rates and fees, and better quality in terms of service and products.

And the number one reason for not using FinTech, among the same survey participants, was found to be a mere lack of awareness – note this is not lack of trust nor technical understanding of the mechanism – and this constituted more than half of the respondents.

Global financial institutions have been wary of this movement, and are readying themselves for co-ideation with FinTech startups. According to Celent, aggregate spending on FinTech by banking institutions was estimated at $196.7 billion last year, up 4% from the previous year. Interestingly, the research also confirms that more than 75% of estimated investments are made into maintenance – meaning the money is spent mostly on compliance monitoring on rapidly changing regulations – and not necessarily new technologies.

First apepared at Forbes