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商业 - 科技

金融科技革命正在发生,请看这三种趋势

Mark Goldberg 2019年03月27日

银行体验会比以往我们经历过的任何东西都更加数字化、个性化和无缝化。

一个多世纪以来,银行一直垄断着我们的钱。我记得小时候家人开车带我去本地社区银行,那里是我父母的金钱世界的起点。银行提供一刀切式的服务,其根源是典型的实体店体验。顾客唯一能够选择的是在服务窗口要哪种颜色的棒棒糖。30年一闪而过之后,这种场面就好像是诺曼·洛克威尔画中的情景。

“金融科技”已经到了拐点——早期的颠覆者已经凭自身实力从挑战的一方变成了行业龙头,它们扩大了服务规模,打造出了自己的品牌,也提升了市场份额。我预计今后几年时间里将出现以下几种趋势:

金融科技初创企业将变得更像银行

在过去几年里,金融科技公司明显地拆散了传统金融行业。这些初创企业最初吸引客户的方法是让个人银行业务变得更容易而且更让人愉悦,这包括转账、贷款、存款、投资或买卖股票。它们靠优秀的产品体验来抓住早期的尝鲜者,并形成了牢固的用户群体。这通常就是创新的起点,也就是由初创公司将传统行业最好也是最薄弱的部分数字化。

今年我们会看到越来越多的早期颠覆者扩大服务规模,并在其核心产品上捆绑更多功能,从而延续这个去年开始抬头的趋势。预算型App囊括核算功能,或者贷款服务涉足信用卡市场都是合理举动。我们已经发现,其中一些公司数十亿美元的估值中开始体现出尚未发掘的上升空间。去年,我们的投资对象之一,Robinhood的价值突破50亿美元,这不仅是因为它有让人眼前一亮的财务指标,也源于它在未来的机会。它有数百万客户,他们喜欢自己的体验而且很活跃,从而形成了一个巨大的可供推出新增服务的潜在市场。

今年,这些公司将在成为新一代银行的道路上大幅迈进。当然,现有银行不会消失——实际上,一些比较“进步”的金融机构已经做了大量工作来维持自身的重要地位。但在传统银行可供颠覆的市值达到数千亿美元的情况下,风险投资者仍会相信,就算处于投资后期的公司今后也会有很大的上升空间。

金融App将反映个人风格

随着这个重新捆绑阶段的到来,我们会看到其中一些新品牌开始吸引不同类型的客户。银行业的未来既取决于品牌识别,也取决于功能。银行App反映出的个人特点将和着装以及个人选择的音乐和轿车一样多。

和当前状况相比,这将是一大不同点。今天大多数人都不重视银行,或者根本就不喜欢它。造成这种感受的原因有几个:大银行都一样的感觉;2008年金融危机造成的信任缺失;让人觉得不公平以及被人鱼肉的意外收费;或者银行业向线上转移的缓慢步伐带来的挫折感。诸如此类等等。

随着银行业务变得更有个人色彩,公司将发现独特而可靠的声音,而且它们会用适合消费者需要和期望的定制产品为其提供支持。以学生贷款产品著称的SoFi将其巨大的营销预算指向了所谓的亨利一族,也就是还不富有的高收入者,它推出了欢乐时光和职业培训等“会员体验活动”,并在极限运动赛事和IHeartRadio音乐会上打广告。Ellevest打算为女士们重新定义投资,进而推出了一系列女士专用投资工具。用户众多的投资类App Acorns资助了一位纳斯卡赛车手。针对零工经济从业者、退伍军人、婴儿潮一代等各类人群的金融科技新品牌正在向我们走来。

银行将争相进行技术升级

老式基础设施不是为了个人服务摆脱银行控制,或者迅速解绑然后重新绑定服务的世界所设。现在,基础设施必须得跟上刚刚创造出来的新软件和服务。我们发现此类循环出现在了许多新的情景中,就像GPU和芯片追赶机器学习的步伐那样。在科技领域这是一场永恒的角力,而现在我们已经到了拐点,需要有新的支持性金融科技基础设施。

消费者会把注意力集中在应用商店里那些闪闪发光的热门新应用身上,而把目光投向底层设施的创业者将发现重大的机遇。就像Amazon Web Services向我们展示的那样,具有可扩展性和灵活性的公司会成为行业巨头。这正是我们最新投资的Plaid背后的主题,这家公司帮助数百万消费者将其金融账户和Venmo、Coinbase等服务连在一起。通过降低开发者面临的成本和难度,Plaid正在推动金融科技加速增长。我们仍然在寻找在其他科技领域中创新的创业者,比如支付以及合规基础设施。

接下来会怎样?

作为准爸爸,想象自己的孩子会怎样和钱打交道很有趣。银行体验会比以往我们经历过的任何东西都更加数字化、个性化和无缝化。当我们的子女回头看去,他们也许会把2019年视为这场革命的关键一年。(财富中文网)

马克·戈德伯格是风投公司Index Ventures的一位合伙人。他的投资领域是金融科技和企业软件,Index Ventures的投资对象包括Plaid、Revolut和Robinhood。

译者:Charlie

审校: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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