Startups & FinTech, The Future of Investing

Startups today have more opportunities than ever before, with funding available to match their ambitions.  In this episode of The Yield, Peter Kerr, CFA, welcomes Mary Ann Azevedo, Senior Reporter at TechCrunch, for a discussion on the latest trends in the startup and fintech space. Mary Ann is currently a senior reporter at TechCrunch covering startups and investing with a focus on fintech, proptech and LatAm. She has more than 20 years of business reporting and editing experience for publications such as Crunchbase News, Crain, Forbes and Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Key Takeaways:

[1:20] Mary Ann’s insights into the potential for another tech bubble.  

[5:00] Repercussions surrounding sustainability, innovation, transparency, and exit strategies.

[9:03] The impact of the pandemic on startups and the need to pivot business strategies. 

[11:58] A five year look into the future of fintech startups. 

[16:02] The positive and negative impact of the distributed team approach. 

[20:10] Growing startup areas across the US have a few things in common. 

[25:21] Fintech startups on the global stage. 

[26:56] Risks and opportunities associated with cryptocurrencies and NFTs.  

[31:34] The impact that startups can have on VC investments.

Sustainability, innovation, transparency, and exit strategies are all key topics facing today’s startup companies.  With high amounts of capital available to match, it will be interesting to see which startup companies emerge as the winners in this pandemic-influenced market.  But one thing is very clear – companies that are able to pivot their focus regardless of what the pandemic throws at them are the ones that are more likely to succeed. 

Mary Ann offers insights into the five year forecast of fintech startups, and the future looks bright.  There is plenty of funding to work with, remote hiring has made overhead less of a budget line item, and rapid growth has become easier than ever before. Still, there is a balance that has to be found in hiring remotely while also wanting to maintain a strong company culture and connection, and successful companies are the ones that are growing and changing with the preferences of their employees.  

The physical home base of a company has become less important as, across the US, successful startups have been quietly and rapidly building in lower cost areas.   And these lower cost areas still offer just as much, if not more, potential for success as companies that are based out of major cities. Cities like Austin, Miami and Atlanta are all making their mark with lower cost of living, cheaper housing costs, and impressive young talent emerging from local universities. And according to Mary Ann, it’s foolish of companies not to consider all that these smaller but just as powerful cities have to offer. 

Fintech is booming on the global stage as well.  With a great need to service the unbanked or underbanked, the digital transformation, particularly in Latin America, as well as parts of Africa, India and Asia, are all experiencing an incredible rate of growth. 

Of course, no conversation about today’s fintech landscape is complete without a look at crypto. There are both risks and opportunities associated with the rapidly developing and evolving crypto space, and as Mary Ann puts it, there is still a lot of maturing that needs to happen before things really level out. And as the emphasis on regulation continues to increase, so will the importance of blockchain analytics. And while NFTs may not be at the top of Mary Ann’s investment portfolio, she does share insights into some of the NFT trends that smart investors will want to pay attention to.  Tune into their conversation to get all of the details.

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