November 1, 2022
By Oak HC/FT FinTech Team
Money20/20 was a whirlwind yet again! Last week, fintech’s finest from around the world flocked to the Las Vegas Strip for the largest conference in the industry– Money20/20. The event welcomed over 15,000 attendees, with many more likely joining for networking events and other happenings. That’s 50% higher than last year’s conference attendance, proving the value fintech industry leaders see in convening at this flagship event.
For four days, the Venetian came alive as the place to be for anyone and everyone in the industry. A stroll through the winding hallways and you could observe several serendipitous run-ins, the exchanging of happy hour invites, and the hurried walk of those trying to make their next meeting.
There’s always a lot happening at Money20/20. Distilling all of the content, connections and conversations into a single blog post doesn’t do the event justice, but here is our take on some of the top-of-mind themes:
Entrepreneurs are not backing down
A lot has changed since last year’s Money20/20, but it’s clear that entrepreneurs are forging ahead. While the current market volatility was on everyone’s mind, the reality is that there is still an undeniable need for problem solvers in fintech. The sector is only in its nascency and entrepreneurs addressing the fundamental cracks in the financial services ecosystem are not backing down. In fact, in our conversations with founders, the focus was on weathering uncertainty in the near-term, while remaining laser-focused on their missions in the long-term.
Differentiation and distribution are crucial
The Expo Hall is a sight to behold with brightly colored banners and elaborate booth displays. Ata surface level, there is a dizzying number of companies promising solutions in identity, fraud, payments, banking, and more that they start to blend into each other. But, after speaking with founders and their financial institution counterparts, it is clear that there is vast diversity in the approaches to solving problems in fintech. What separates best-in-class businesses is foundational excellence, and being thoughtful about product-market fit and customer-centricity. Many founders we met with were thinking through this same lens, actively evolving their go-to-market, unit economics and product roadmap.
The mainstreaming of Crypto
Traditional financial institutions and fintechs are leaning into their crypto strategies. The biggest challenge to their adoption is shifting: the concern is less around proving the viability of the asset class; rather, navigating regulatory uncertainty, particularly when it comes to facilitating transactions or holding crypto on the balance sheet. From our conversations, there are several crypto-natives selling to traditional financial institutions experiencing their best financial performance to date, despite bear market conditions. Unlike during the crypto winter of 2017, traditional financial institutions’ adoption of the asset class is not slowing down.
Teams building is a balancing act
Now, more than ever, founders are navigating how to manage OpEx without constraining business growth. It’s a bit of a balancing act that has founders looking to bring in battle-tested executives who have experience navigating tough economic times. A focus on revenue generating functions has remained constant and COO and CFO hires have become increasingly important. As Fintech has expanded to become increasingly global so has the need for executives with global experience.
While it may take a few days to shake off our blackjack defeats and recharge our social batteries, the annual trek to Money20/20 reminds us of the incredible innovation happening in Fintech. After polling several innovators, investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders on the tone of the conference, the common buzz words were “electric”, “hectic”, “optimistic” and “energizing”. We couldn’t agree more. This year’s conference left us more excited than ever about the trajectory of the sector and we are confident that 2023 is going to be an action-packed year. We look forward to partnering with the next generation of entrepreneurs shaping the future of financial services.