According to a recent study by UK Trade & Investment, since 2008 the value of fintech investment in the UK and Ireland has increased almost eight times to US$265 million in 2013. This makes it the fastest growing region for fintech investment globally. The financial technologies sector as a whole is expected to be worth £1bn by 2016, so in which clusters are companies making money today and where are there opportunities still to be exploited?
The best way to look for the ‘next big thing’ in fintech is by zooming in on the disrupters. Here in the UK we have companies like Zopa which connects lenders and borrowers directly, cutting the banks out of the equation. Disintermediating established networks is also the strategy adopted by Bitcoin; however while it is successful it is operating in a grey area, as all transactions are anonymous. Companies like Miicard, which is the first identity verification service to prove 'you are who you say you are' online, is offering a solution to address that. If you prefer to not gamble, a safer bet for future success is another home-grown talent. Monitise just started to turn over £1bn providing mobile banking apps for clients of financial institutions.
The face of banking is changing, quite literally; think less Gordon Gekko and more Mark Zuckerberg. Today the hottest bankers are not 50-year-old men in pinstripe suits, but under-30s with degrees in software engineering. They plan to save the world not by structuring another finance product, but instead by solving actual customer problems, and they are duly rewarded.