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金融科技革命正在發生,請看這三種趨勢

Mark Goldberg 2019年03月27日

銀行體驗會比以往我們經歷過的任何東西都更加數字化、個性化和無縫化。

一個多世紀以來,銀行一直壟斷著我們的錢。我記得小時候家人開車帶我去本地社區銀行,那里是我父母的金錢世界的起點。銀行提供一刀切式的服務,其根源是典型的實體店體驗。顧客唯一能夠選擇的是在服務窗口要哪種顏色的棒棒糖。30年一閃而過之后,這種場面就好像是諾曼·洛克威爾畫中的情景。

“金融科技”已經到了拐點——早期的顛覆者已經憑自身實力從挑戰的一方變成了行業龍頭,它們擴大了服務規模,打造出了自己的品牌,也提升了市場份額。我預計今后幾年時間里將出現以下幾種趨勢:

金融科技初創企業將變得更像銀行

在過去幾年里,金融科技公司明顯地拆散了傳統金融行業。這些初創企業最初吸引客戶的方法是讓個人銀行業務變得更容易而且更讓人愉悅,這包括轉賬、貸款、存款、投資或買賣股票。它們靠優秀的產品體驗來抓住早期的嘗鮮者,并形成了牢固的用戶群體。這通常就是創新的起點,也就是由初創公司將傳統行業最好也是最薄弱的部分數字化。

今年我們會看到越來越多的早期顛覆者擴大服務規模,并在其核心產品上捆綁更多功能,從而延續這個去年開始抬頭的趨勢。預算型App囊括核算功能,或者貸款服務涉足信用卡市場都是合理舉動。我們已經發現,其中一些公司數十億美元的估值中開始體現出尚未發掘的上升空間。去年,我們的投資對象之一,Robinhood的價值突破50億美元,這不僅是因為它有讓人眼前一亮的財務指標,也源于它在未來的機會。它有數百萬客戶,他們喜歡自己的體驗而且很活躍,從而形成了一個巨大的可供推出新增服務的潛在市場。

今年,這些公司將在成為新一代銀行的道路上大幅邁進。當然,現有銀行不會消失——實際上,一些比較“進步”的金融機構已經做了大量工作來維持自身的重要地位。但在傳統銀行可供顛覆的市值達到數千億美元的情況下,風險投資者仍會相信,就算處于投資后期的公司今后也會有很大的上升空間。

金融App將反映個人風格

隨著這個重新捆綁階段的到來,我們會看到其中一些新品牌開始吸引不同類型的客戶。銀行業的未來既取決于品牌識別,也取決于功能。銀行App反映出的個人特點將和著裝以及個人選擇的音樂和轎車一樣多。

和當前狀況相比,這將是一大不同點。今天大多數人都不重視銀行,或者根本就不喜歡它。造成這種感受的原因有幾個:大銀行都一樣的感覺;2008年金融危機造成的信任缺失;讓人覺得不公平以及被人魚肉的意外收費;或者銀行業向線上轉移的緩慢步伐帶來的挫折感。諸如此類等等。

隨著銀行業務變得更有個人色彩,公司將發現獨特而可靠的聲音,而且它們會用適合消費者需要和期望的定制產品為其提供支持。以學生貸款產品著稱的SoFi將其巨大的營銷預算指向了所謂的亨利一族,也就是還不富有的高收入者,它推出了歡樂時光和職業培訓等“會員體驗活動”,并在極限運動賽事和IHeartRadio音樂會上打廣告。Ellevest打算為女士們重新定義投資,進而推出了一系列女士專用投資工具。用戶眾多的投資類App Acorns資助了一位納斯卡賽車手。針對零工經濟從業者、退伍軍人、嬰兒潮一代等各類人群的金融科技新品牌正在向我們走來。

銀行將爭相進行技術升級

老式基礎設施不是為了個人服務擺脫銀行控制,或者迅速解綁然后重新綁定服務的世界所設。現在,基礎設施必須得跟上剛剛創造出來的新軟件和服務。我們發現此類循環出現在了許多新的情景中,就像GPU和芯片追趕機器學習的步伐那樣。在科技領域這是一場永恒的角力,而現在我們已經到了拐點,需要有新的支持性金融科技基礎設施。

消費者會把注意力集中在應用商店里那些閃閃發光的熱門新應用身上,而把目光投向底層設施的創業者將發現重大的機遇。就像Amazon Web Services向我們展示的那樣,具有可擴展性和靈活性的公司會成為行業巨頭。這正是我們最新投資的Plaid背后的主題,這家公司幫助數百萬消費者將其金融賬戶和Venmo、Coinbase等服務連在一起。通過降低開發者面臨的成本和難度,Plaid正在推動金融科技加速增長。我們仍然在尋找在其他科技領域中創新的創業者,比如支付以及合規基礎設施。

接下來會怎樣?

作為準爸爸,想象自己的孩子會怎樣和錢打交道很有趣。銀行體驗會比以往我們經歷過的任何東西都更加數字化、個性化和無縫化。當我們的子女回頭看去,他們也許會把2019年視為這場革命的關鍵一年。(財富中文網)

馬克·戈德伯格是風投公司Index Ventures的一位合伙人。他的投資領域是金融科技和企業軟件,Index Ventures的投資對象包括Plaid、Revolut和Robinhood。

譯者:Charlie

審校:夏林

For more than a century, banks have had a monopoly on our money. As a kid, I remember driving with my family to our local community bank where the world of money started and ended for my parents. Banks provided a one-size-fits-all service rooted in a classic brick and mortar experience. The only consumer choice was which color lollipop to grab at the teller window. Fast forward three decades, and this feels like a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting.

We’ve reached an inflection point in “fintech,” where early disrupters are moving from challengers to industry leaders in their own right, as they expand their services, develop their brands, and increase market share. I predict several trends unfolding over the course of the next twelve months:

Fintech startups will start to look more like banks

For the past several years, fintech players have caused a significant unbundling of the traditional financial industry. These startups initially appealed to consumers by making it easier and more enjoyable to perform individual banking transactions, such as moving or borrowing money, saving, investing, or trading stocks. They relied on a superior product experience to hook early adopters and build solid user bases. It’s how innovation usually starts, with startups digitizing the best and more vulnerable parts of a traditional business.

This year we’re going to see more and more of these early disruptors expand their services and bundle more functionality around their core products, continuing a trend that gained momentum last year. It makes sense for budgeting apps to include checking, or for loan services to go after the market for credit cards. We’ve seen that untapped upside starting to reflect in some of these companies’ multi-billion dollar valuations. Robinhood, one of our portfolio companies, soared above $5 billion last year because of its impressive financial metrics but also for its future opportunity. The company has millions of customers who love the experience and are actively engaged, representing an enormous addressable market for launching expanded services.

These companies will make significant headway this year towards becoming the new generation of banks. To be sure, existing players won’t disappear—in fact, some of the more progressive financial institutions are doing a lot of work to stay relevant. But with hundreds of billions of dollars in market capitalization among traditional banks primed for disruption, venture investors will continue to bet that even late stage companies have a lot of room for future growth.

Your finance app will reflect your personal style

As this re-bundling occurs, we’ll see some of these new brands start to appeal to different types of consumers. The future of banking will be as much about brand identity as it is about functionality. Your banking app will say as much about you as do your clothes, your choice of music and the car in your driveway.

This is a major departure from the status quo. Most people feel indifferent to their bank today, or outright dislike it. Those feelings are a result of at least few factors: a sense that big banks are all the same; a lack of trust stemming from the 2008 financial crisis; surprise fees that feel unfair and predatory; or frustration with the slow pace of the industry as it moves online. The list could go on.

As banking becomes more personal, companies will find unique and authentic voices and back that up with tailored offerings to suit their customers’ needs and wants. SoFi, best known for its student loan product, directs its vast marketing budget at so-called HENRYs, offering ‘member experiences’ like happy hours and career coaching – with ad placements at X Games events and IHeartRadio concerts. Ellevest wants to redefine investing for women, and markets a set of tools designed specifically for them. Acorns, a widely used investment app, is sponsoring a driver at Nascar. New fintech brands are coming for gig economy workers, veterans, Baby Boomers and more.

Banks will scramble to upgrade their technology

Legacy infrastructure was not built for a world where individual services are spun out of banks. It was not built for a world that is seeing a rapid unbundling and re-bundling of services. Now, the underlying tools have to catch up with the new software and services that are being created. We’ve seen these kinds of cycles play out in many new scenarios, like GPUs and chips catching up to machine learning, for example. It’s a perpetual push-and-pull in the technology world, and we’ve hit the inflection point that demands new supporting financial technology infrastructure.

While consumers will focus on the shiny new applications that populate the App Store, entrepreneurs who look to the plumbing below will find huge opportunities. As Amazon Web Services has shown us, businesses that offer scalability and flexibility can become juggernauts. This was the thesis behind the latest company we invested in, Plaid, which helps millions of consumers connect their financial accounts to services like Venmo and Coinbase. By making it cheaper and easier for developers to build, Plaid is accelerating the growth of fintech. We continue to look for founders who are innovating in other areas of the tech stack, like payments and compliance infrastructure.

What’s next?

As a new parent-to-be, it’s fun to imagine how my kids will interact with money. Banking experiences will be more digital, more personal and more seamless than anything we’ve experienced in the past. Looking back, they may see 2019 as a pivotal year in this evolution.

Mark Goldberg is a Partner at Index Ventures where he invests in fintech and enterprise software. Index Ventures is an investor in Plaid, Revolut and Robinhood.

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