2016 was a gut check year for fintech. Gone were the high hopes that new startup brands would replace the banks. The realization that, in spite of the billions of dollars of investment that has poured into the space, incumbents are still winning shocked many.
Of course, in retrospect, it was irresponsible and inaccurate tea-leaf reading to believe that a handful of twenty somethings, backed by venture capitalists, would be able to whole-hog deconstruct the financial industry in a matter of a few years. The industry is too big and the incumbents too powerfully entrenched for change to happen overnight.
Our podcasts this year tracked the growing up of fintech and the recalibration of our expectations for the industry. We tracked those themes from a variety of different angles. We talked to leading analysts in the space, like Cornerstone’s Ron Shevlin and Autonomous’ Lex Sokolin, for their views on what to expect in 2017 and for years to come.
We chatted with some of the top early stage fintech investors, like QED’s Caribou Honig and Charles Moldow of Foundation Capital, to see where they were putting their money.
Lastly, we spoke to the key professionals, at both incumbent and startup financial institutions, that are actively defining facts on the ground.
2016 also marked the beginning of our serious coverage on blockchain and what distributed ledger technology augers at the industry and firm level in finance.
In no particular order, here are Tradestreaming’s top five podcasts of the year.
Charles Moldow, Foundation Capital
Moldow’s white paper, A Trillion Dollar Market By the People, For the People is essential reading for anyone who wants to know about the marketplace lending space: its size, structure, and potential. The venture capitalist who’s invested in many of today’s top firms joined us on the show to talk about why he’s bullish on B2C financial firms and where the opportunities are for the upstarts.
Lex Sokolin, Autonomous Research
Lex was an early entrepreneur in the roboadvisory space who’s since joined a research firm. On the podcast, he shared his four wave model on the roboadvisory trend and how incumbents are gearing up to become their own version of fintech firms. “There’s a tectonic plate moment where media, technology and finance are colliding together and making life interesting for people in finance for a long time,” he explained.
Lani Hayward, Umpqua Bank
At Umpqua, the largest independent community bank in the U.S., Hayward’s role combines customer experience design with brand marketing. The bank produces an award-winning personal finance podcast — the subject of this episode of the Tradestreaming Podcast. “Money is the number one stress point for Americans — affecting 92 percent of us, yet 77 percent don’t do anything about it, she said. “Banks are best positioned to do something about these insights. We started Open Account over a year ago. We wanted to do make sure we had a topic that was really authentic to us, that we could own, that we’re passionate about.”
Alex Tapscott is the author of Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World, and joined us on the podcast to talk about distributed ledger technology. The upshot? “Blockchain technology represents nothing short of the next generation of the Internet,” he said. We explored how this technology will make its impact felt in financial services and who stands to win or lose in the future.
Ron Shevlin, Cornerstone Advisors
Shevlin, industry analyst, tackled the future of banking on the podcast, with a description of something he called the platformization of finance, or the idea that banks will become technology hubs that connect third party fintechs with banking customers. Like his weekly Snarketing column, Shevlin combined his perceptive eye for trends and opportunities for growth in the financial services space with his great sense of humor on the podcast.
Caribou Honig, QED Investors
Caribou shared his personal path to how he ended up as part of the founding team of QED after a post-MBA career at Capital One where he “cracked the code” on digital credit card origination. His background running data-driven marketing at Capital One impacted his firm’s approach to investing in early stage fintech. For its part, the QED portfolio includes early big successes SoFi, LendUp, borro, Orchard, Avant Credit, blooom, and ApplePie Capital.
Steve McLaughlin, FT Partners
We invited top fintech investment banker, Steve McLaughlin onto the podcast after his firm published a serious report on the future of wealth management. He should know — he’s banked many of the top players in the industry. McLaughlin sees a world where incumbents and fintechs find a way to work together, like last year’s BlackRock/FutureAdvisor deal. “The empire will strike back and arm pretty much every RIA in the country with these types of products and services to service their clients,” he said.