Innovation, FinTech and Trump

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Innovation, FinTech and Trump

Forbes announces 2019’s 50 most innovative Fintech companies

Total investment in Fintech reached stratospheric heights in 2018, totalling $55 billion worldwide. While the $14 billion total investment in Ant Financial was the biggest piece of news of the year, with so-called ‘Big Fintech’ seeming unstoppable, 2019 also looks to be a great year for smaller FinTech firms. Forbes recently published a list of the 50 most innovative Fintech companies to watch in 2019, with 20 of those companies being startups making their debut on the list.

The vast majority of entrants on the list were USA-based, however there were two exceptions – BitFury, a full-service blockchain technology company based in Amsterdam, and TransferWise, a UK-based online payments service provider.

Payments platforms featured heavily on the list, with 12 in total making an appearance. In general these platforms appear to be one of the most rapidly developing areas of FinTech – this week, SDK. Finance, a Prague-based platform, announced that it was to integrate with the Blockchain Platform offered by Oracle to improve its payments processes and remove unnecessary go-betweens.

Blockchain still trailing behind FinTech in 2018

Despite having a stellar year in terms of VC funding, Blockchain still found itself lagging behind FinTech when it came to Venture Capital Investment in 2018.

Although blockchain’s total investment figures rose dramatically – up 280% in the first three quarters of 2018 alone –  Blockchain still failed to contend with FinTech. This disparity was particularly evident in the UK, Blockchain companies raised a total of $174.67 million across 27 deals. When you compare this to the $306.64 million invested into Alternative Lending and Financing across 23 deals, or the 26 deals amounting to $333.61 million for Personal Finance and Wealth Management firms, it’s clear that Blockchain still has some way to go before it reaches the lofty investment heights enjoyed by other FinTech endeavours.

Whether 2019 is going to be the year that we see blockchain finally become the household name that many believe it could be is uncertain. An article published by MIT Technology Review on January 2ndof 2019 stated with confidence that 2019 would be the year that blockchain technology became so commonplace and normal that it would actually become ‘boring’.

This may be a bit of a stretch, but with companies like WalMart jumping on the bandwagon in 2018, not to mention security tokens enabling investment in everything from Apple stocks to revolutionary new cancer treatments, blockchain is doing everything it can to remain in the public discourse.

Trump gets behind Artificial Intelligence

On Monday the 11thPresident Trump signed an executive order setting out a plan for the USA to attempt to dominate the global artificial intelligence race. The potential applications of AI are in effect limitless, and range between everything from weaponry to healthcare to education. America has been competing with China in the AI space for some time, and this new order, in theory, is to be the catalyst that allows America to pull ahead.

The order prioritises education and access to the technologies and data required, as well as emphasising the importance of cooperation with foreign AI initiatives. However, one key element that was missing from the order was any mention of new funding being allocated, instead commanding federal agencies to dedicate more of their existing capital towards AI enterprises. While the order will no doubt accelerate the USA’s AI efforts, it’s unclear as to whether it will be enough to give them the edge over China, whose president last year pledged to spend $150 billion on AI by 2030.

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