Crazy Fintech Predictions for 2016


“I was not predicting the future, I was trying to prevent it.” Ray Bradbury

Without further ado, here is a list of  wild, wilder and wildest predictions for 2016, all of which will prove me wrong I am sure:

1) Lending:
– Defaults begin to spike up by mid 2016 and weak alternative lending platforms focused on consumer credit are exposed. The leading platforms consolidate their advance.
– At least one lending unicorn sells after failing to IPO.
– Alibaba and Amazon steadily grow their own SME lending initiatives.
– More mature securitization comes to SME lending.
– A mortgage lending startup brings delight to the broken mortgage lending process. New unicorn anyone?

2) Capital Markets:
– At least one major exchange announces a Machine Learning proof of concept.
– Banks and buy side actors finally learn how to collaborate together and agree on open standards around new technology stacks, data, interoperability, leading the way for breakthroughs with consensus ledger tech (see below)

3) Insurance:
– Much like Banks in the past 5 years, most insurance incumbents remain asleep at the wheel allowing a multitude of startups to prosper.
– At least 100 digital insurance startups get funded throughout the year.

4) Wealth Management:
– Betterment sells to a large strategic. We all wonder if the sale price was below the latest valuation.
– B2B wealth management startups are the “in” thing.

5) Consensus Ledgers & Crypto currencies:
– Bitcoin trends down below $200 as the Chinese government cracks down on miners smooching off of cheap power (I need at least one crazy controversial statement!)
– Some alt coins become memorabilia items.
– Identity management startups built on consensus ledger tech break out.
– Several countries well on the path to adopt and use their own crypto currencies.
– Consensus Ledger focused startups experiment with property rights.

6) Payments:
– As ApplePay breaks out, Apple decides to make a series of investments in the Payments space, forcing Alphabet and Facebook to follow suit.
– Banks roll out their own wallet solutions, ensues a real digital wallet war for retail payment domination.
– A few interesting cross border payments companies pick up steam, both on b2b and b2c – one may even use crypto rails.
– Many “me too” payments startups close shop.

1) Valuations start to normalize – that is no further growth and slight decreases – and some investment terms become more investor friendly.
2) Financial Wellness or Financial Health becomes a HOT topic.
3) Strategic buyers (banks, insurers, asset managers) increase their partnership and M&A activity with fintech startups that failed to gain significant traction but have interesting technology platforms.
4) London consolidates its dominant fintech lead.
5) Silicon Valley investors cool off slightly to fintech. NYC VCs and new fintech funds pick up the slack.
6) Singapore builds up its status as SEA’s fintech hub.
7) Regulators further adapt to a finserv/fintech sea change and become more flexible and open for business (one can always dream).
8) Following in the footsteps of their UK brethren, US bank regulators signal they welcome digital bank startup applications.

Alibaba secures an operating foothold in payments, lending and wealth management in Europe and the US, despite initial regulator skittishness.

By all means, add to the conversation. Which likely event have I missed? Which prediction seems far fetched or plain stupid on my part? Explain your own predictions of course.

Pascal Bouvier

Life and work experiences have given Pascal an unmatched vantage point, seeing things as both venture capitalist and aspiring entrepreneur. He currently is a Venture Partner with Santander Innoventures – Santander Group’s Global Fintech fund.

  • Constantine Firun
    Posted at 06:10h, 24 December Reply

    Pascal, thanks for detailed predictions!
    What do you think about telcos and their impact on payments (including interoperability & cross-border) and lending?

    • Pascal Bouvier
      Posted at 09:52h, 04 January Reply

      do not know enough to sound cogent. the little i know tells me there might be two tales here. one in developed countries where telcos have notoriously been bad with customer interaction and slow with adding on the right services (other than telco related) at the right price. one in emerging markets where telcos are very difficult to deal without if one wants to reach users/consumers.

    • Pascal Bouvier
      Posted at 09:52h, 04 January Reply

      i know of several alt lending platforms in emerging markets that are partnering with telcos and mining telco data on users. interesting angle.

  • Aurelien MENANT
    Posted at 19:29h, 24 December Reply

    Excellent article Pascal, as usual. Regarding the missing trends, I would mention the telco launching their banking and payment businesses.

  • Peter
    Posted at 10:12h, 25 December Reply

    You pretty much covered it, would add: Cognitive AI is on the curve for 2016.
    A reminder Unicorns are a myth, whereas the Phoenix is real

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