Fintech is an increasingly popular term and rising industry in the Colorado tech scene — as well as globally. We're helping identify exactly what fintech is by defining its history, significance, and how companies are utilizing it today.
What is Fintech?
Financial technology (Fintech) is used to describe new tech that seeks to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services. It's essentially a tool that helps companies, business owners, and consumers better manage their financial operations, processes, and lives. They leverage specialized software and algorithms on smartphones and computers based on gathered data to simplify financial operations. (Think of services like Apple Pay and Cash App.)
Understanding The History Of Fintech
Getting down to the basics of fintech means understanding its history. According to multiple sources, fintech was introduced as early as the 1860s. It started when technologies, including the telegraph system, railroads, and steamships, allowed for the first time rapid transmission of financial information across borders. Key events on the timeline include the first transatlantic cable in 1866 and Fedwire in the U.S. in 1918.
Fintech entered the consumer universe in the 1950s with the introduction of credit cards — a way for people to ease the burden of carrying cash. A decade later, ATMs replaced tellers and branches. And in the 1970s, electronic stock trading began on exchange trading floors. As we get closer to the current day, we saw advancements in bank mainframe computers and more sophisticated data and record-keeping systems. Also, the Internet and e-commerce business models flourished starting in the 1990s.
Who Uses Fintech Today, And Why Is It Significant To The Tech Industry?
Today, fintech is all around us. Most notably, retail financial services leverage mobile wallets, payment apps, robo-advisors for wealth and retirement planning, equity crowdfunding platforms, and online lending platforms.
These services are replacing banking services instead of enhancing them, which is completely changing the way consumers and businesses think about financial services. According to experts, the financial crisis in 2008 created a distrust of the traditional banking system among the general public. This distrust helped shape the way we view fintech today.
Another reason fintech continues to grow in relevance is the mass growth of smartphone adoption. More consumers and business owners have direct access to the internet in their pocket. As a result, it's the primary way people use the internet and various financial services. Again, think of Google and Apple Wallets, which were introduced in 2011 and 2014, respectively.
Fintech In The Colorado Tech Scene
In the last decade, more than 12,000 companies have launched a focus on fintech, garnering billions of dollars in investments. As a result, they've fundamentally changed the way we think about finance and banking.
Colorado is one of the fastest-growing financial hubs in the U.S. In fact, Metro Denver was recognized as one of the top 25 metro areas with the most financial jobs, representing 15% of the city's job openings. Let's take a look at a few thriving fintech companies in Colorado and how their services impact this industry.
Mission: Arryved is a mobile point-of-sale platform for breweries, taprooms, brewpubs, and other craft establishments. Its POS is focused on the guest experience, removing roadblocks to excellent service and allowing establishments to flex their service model as needed on their busiest days.
Mission: Funding Circle helps businesses find financial freedom through growth. They create relationships to let businesses support each other. By investing in successful and growing businesses through Funding Circle, investors can diversify their fixed-income portfolios and access attractive returns. Businesses get fast, easy access to financing to grow, create jobs, support local communities, and drive the economy forward.
Mission: On Deck helps provide transparent and responsible online lending to small businesses. They pioneered the use of data analytics and digital technology to make real-time lending decisions and deliver capital rapidly to small businesses online.
The Future of Fintech
As technology becomes more central to the finance industry, it's easy to think of startups and banks as competing forces. But in reality, they need each other to succeed. As a result, we believe, based on our research, that the industry will continue to grow and integrate into everyday life.
Fintech has been around since the 1860s, and it's growing faster than ever. We suggest keeping a close eye on this industry and discovering how your business fits in. What is your experience with fintech? Do you plan to dive further into the industry or use one of the fintech resources available to help your business thrive?
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