The Latitude59 tech conference was held in late May for the 11th straight year, featuring almost 100 speakers from 20 different countries around the globe. Topics ranged from “The Future of Cybersecurity” to “The Future of Sustainable Food”, and, new for this year, Leaseweb partnered with online investment platform TWINO to host the “Fintech Talks” event.
Latitude59 is Estonia’s largest annual tech conference, and during its most recent iteration, 13 different topics were addressed by the speakers. Priit Salumaa, co-founder of Latitude59, moderated the discussion, while the panel included thought leaders such as Roberts Lasovskis, TWINO’s P2P platform lead, Kristjan Kangro, CEO and founder at Change, and Joyce Y. Shen, venture capitalist at Tenfore Holdings and data science professor at Berkeley.
Shen’s address, in particular, covered the intersection of commerce and big data that characterizes the world of fintech, in addition to opportunities in the burgeoning fintech industry that are waiting to be filled by the next generation of startups.
A Focus on Fintech
These opportunities are emerging largely thanks to the next generation of customers. Young people have vastly different conceptions about banking than their parents’ generations, and recent developments in mobile banking technology mean that many Millennials or Gen Zers have quite possibly never been to a physical bank. Instead, they view finances through the medium of their smartphone or computer, with banking apps and other online payment options such as Paypal and Venmo.
Younger people are also growing up with different investing options, and part of the “Fintech Talks” discussion included the necessity of transparency of returns and the importance of vesting potential investment partners. For every legitimate financial institution out there, there are a host of scammers waiting to pounce. Doing due diligence before investing is extremely important for determining good investments from bad ones, and the changing face of investments makes telling the difference especially difficult.
As banks look to remain competitive and secure, they’ve begun to partner with much younger fintech firms. Tech-forward startups enable banks to revamp how they offer financial services to today’s customers, and the smaller size of these startups means they’re incredibly agile and focused.
Fintech Meets the Cloud
Fintech companies have also started embracing the cloud in order to be more agile. Cloud services allow businesses to scale capacity up or down quickly in order to react to customer demand in real time, which can also be cost efficient when you pay only for what you use.
The cloud also allows fintech companies to compete with larger (and older) financial institutions that may have more experience in the banking industry but can’t react to changing customer demands as quickly because they’re tied down by legacy IT systems. Integrating cloud technology can help smaller companies compete with the big names, as well as help larger institutions keep up with what their customers want.
No one knows for sure where fintech is going and what impact it will have, but it’s a safe assumption that this convergence of the technology and financial sectors will continue to play an increasingly important role. As fintech companies emerge to provide safe, secure, and seamless solutions for their customers, the ones that can do so the most efficiently and effectively will be the ones that rise to the top.