Even pre-pandemic, the fintech world was thriving. Everywhere, we were seeing fresh new solutions for splitting tabs, checking our account balances, budgeting, and investing. As a fintech angel investor, I’ve been keeping a close eye on how industries have responded and adapted to the pandemic, and fintech has impressed me in the way it has performed under the sudden and increased pressure for more touchless, paperless solutions.
Fintech describes the intersection of technology and financial services and refers to innovative technological advancements in this crossover space. Over the last few years, fintech has introduced countless innovations and continues to gain global prominence by replacing outdated legacy systems and services and ultimately changing the way we invest, loan money, fund startups, and so much more.
Today, we see fintech continue to launch exciting new solutions born from the challenges of the pandemic as experts predict steady growth in coming years. If you’re developing the world’s next best fintech solution, here’s what you should know going into the market.
The 2021 Fintech Landscape
The 2021 fintech landscape looks a lot different than the market did just two years prior, pre-COVID-19. Pressured by the urgent need for no-contact solutions in a social distanced world, many fintech companies have pivoted and other new firms have joined the market, offering products and services customized to serve our new normal.
With lockdowns lifting, fintech is back on the rise again. As the landscape continues to develop, we’ll start to see certain market regions become more prominent in terms of share, and major company players confirm their status as such.
Among the global market regions, North America is predicted to continue its stronghold on the market as the leading revenue contributor, due in part to the increased adoption of prominent fintech technologies in the U.S. and Canada.
While the majority of new fintech startups come from North America, Asia-Pacific holds the second position and India is not far behind. In the Asia-Pacific region, opportunities abound in the landscape as investors are rushing to fund fintech companies in the area, which can be attributed to the open banking and regulatory policies with more access to consumer information. Fintech solutions coming from this region include mobile payments, robotic advice, and alternative lending.
The key players in the fintech industry globally include familiar names such as Klarna, Stripe, Square, and Credit Karma, but it also includes other major companies from the Asia-Pacific region, the UK, and North America, in particular.
The companies that are staying most competitive in the market are those developing advanced technologies or those utilizing mergers and acquisitions to stay ahead.
Three companies making the biggest splashes include:
- Adyen – A multinational payments company, Adyen supports businesses through mobile, e-commerce, and POS payments. With over 3,500 current clients and a strong listing on the Euronext stock exchange, Adyen is a company to look out for.
- Ant Financial – Formerly known as Alipay, Ant Financial is an affiliate of Alibaba Group. With a valuation of $150 billion, Any Financial is the highest-valued fintech company globally.
- Qudian – Qudian is a smaller, Chinese-based consumer credit company founded back in 2014. In 2017, the company raised $900 million on the New York Stock Exchange in its IPO, making a strong name for itself.
Other major players include:
- Afterpay Limited
- Atom Bank
- Credit Karma
- Funding Circle
- Google Pay (Alphabet Inc.)
- JD Finance
- Oscar Health
- Robinhood Markets, Inc.
- Paypal Holdings, Inc.
Fintech Market Size
The global fintech market is expected to steadily grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 24% between 2021-2026, reaching a market size value of $324 billion by 2026.
Fintech Industry Growth Rate
As I watch the fintech industry respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and move forward, several factors stand out as the main drivers shaping the direction of its growth.
At the root of the maturing fintech sector, we’re seeing large banks and financial firms aggressively invest in more tech-based solutions. These tech solutions are supporting back-office operations, like real-time loan approvals, as well as consumer-facing services, such as mobile banking. Many of the consumer solutions are low-cost personalized products, which is creating rising customer expectations and thus boosting the global market growth.
Additionally, blockchain technology and decentralized finance (DeFi) are making names for themselves in the fintech scene, changing the way financial companies operate. Decentralized ledger technology is creating a global, open alternative to the traditional financial instruments of yesterday.
The Biggest Trends in Fintech Today
As a response to these drivers, several trends are developing within the fintech sector and will continue to grow over the next few years.
Fintech is making a major impact in lending. It’s helping financial institutions disburse loans at a lower cost, which keeps interest rates low and ultimately boosts alternative lending. It’s also streamlining the user experience in lending, making the process from approval to underwriting as seamless as possible.
We’re also seeing an uptick in the use of machine learning and AI in the fintech sector, especially with loan underwriting, personal finance, wealth management, and refinancing. We’ll continue to see artificial intelligence technology automate previously complex financial processes.
Currently, 75% of Americans use mobile banking apps, so a trend we’ve all likely seen first-hand is the development of more consumer-friendly digital interfaces with improved end-to-end user experiences. Digital payments are booming, led by both mobile and e-commerce consumer transactions, so the next trend to keep an eye out for in this realm is making digital borrowing and transactions easier for the consumer.
Finally, we’re seeing a wave of increased adoption of fintech in small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), helping them meet needs such as financial management and insurance. We’ll continue to see more democratized fintech solutions working their ways from major enterprises into smaller organizations that have much to gain from these new technologies.
The Future of Fintech: Market & Stock Forecast (Post-COVID)
While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unforeseen challenges to the maturing fintech industry, it has also created great opportunities for fintech startups to create fresh, game-changing solutions to the issues at hand.
Before the pandemic hit, fintech had a promising future, and though it has seen some setbacks just as the rest of the world has, it’s become more innovative than ever due to the added pressures of this new normal.
Touchless and paperless financial technology is becoming the rule, not the exception, and startups all over are taking advantage of their niche expertise to continue evolving the industry – take a look at my 2021 fintech predictions to see just what I mean.
Building Smarter Startups for the Future of Fintech
If you’re a founder that’s new to the fintech game or have a brilliant idea with the potential to change the landscape of fintech – and the world as we know it – apply this information on what’s shaping the market today and trending for tomorrow to find a niche where you can win.
And if you’re looking for the right angel investor to fund and guide your success in the industry, reach out to Steve MacDonald of MacDonald Ventures.