Showing posts with label investing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label investing. Show all posts

The Ponnappan / Jai's Bucket list for the Next Decade ;) ~ MIT's top 10 picks for the world's next fintech leader

As the shock waves from the affirmative Brexit vote start to dissipate, there has been an increasing chatter concerning the fate of London as not only Europe's financial services hub but also a hub for startups as well. While Dublin, Berlin and Madrid are all strong contenders in the race for startup ecosystem supremacy, London by far is one of the strongest, particularly in the fin-tech sector.

Billions of capital continues to be pumped into the FinTech phenomenon with its soaring popularity an attractive proposition to investors. Companies continue to develop the industry through innovative ideas providing a wide variety of cost-effective services to customers and increasing efficiency and flexibility within the financial business.

Although we recognize the need for empowerment through connectivity worldwide, we view the Financial Technology application as one that goes beyond any brick and mortar institution and any country, but is malevolent to reinvigorate and lead the banking sector. 

We look forward to playing our part in catching this industry as it continues to expand into the mainstream financial sector in the midst of both calm and choppy weather.

FinTech visionaries are trying to remove the middle-man or intermediary and question conventional corporations who are less comfortable with software. 

FinTech start-ups are demonstrating that momentum is firmly with them; the speed with which they can develop in comparison to the world’s leading organizations is remarkable. The prolonged success of companies is testimony to this ascendancy.

Why Beautiful Brexit Makes Perfect Sense to Jai (& The Ponnappans)

Thank You, David (@DavidShrier at MIT)

A brief comment/Analysis of the Fin-tech Sector to date:

This is evident from the Innovate Finance 2020 Summit 2016 held in April where over 1400 people attended, including many power global leaders, technological experts and data analysts celebrating this new era of finance.

Friedrich Nietsche, German philosopher, once said this, 

"Want is not an proven reality, but rather an interpretation" 

The methodology: 

"In other words, it's all about making processes simpler and life easier."

When Jai throws a punch(Agility). 

I am always going for the bull's Eye(Accuracy).

It will hurt!(Seasoned)

Away from its prosperity and magnetism, just how sustainable is FinTech? 

There is a fear that Fin-tech may interfere too heavily with traditional business models, even though it provides a flexible and alternative crossing point for customers and businesses. 

(root cause/empowerment)

For years one has to mold and tend to those boulder shoulders. To design, strengthen, size and shape them just like a sledge hammer.

Financial services will always be in popular demand providing the worldwide economy is flourishing. Sending money, storing it, spending it, securing it - the functions are endless. 

Despite all that they have to offer, Fin-tech businesses still trail banks in terms of their market dominance even though the disparity is becoming less and less each year. For fin-tech companies, a relationship with a major bank is often a game-changer — for both sides of the equation. 

Becoming Agile(or hybrid) takes many years and many seasons of rigorous and relentless training, trying, testing, failing, experimenting and succeeding.

My source of inspiration strength:

"Boxing agility drills are designed to help improve your speed and quickness while in the ring. Although many boxers develop their speed and agility to improve their punch accuracy and effectiveness, many boxing agility drills will also help you improve your defense skills."

Taking into consideration the speed with which the technological revolution and digital interference overwhelmed traditional industries, it seems outlandish for professional services giant Deloitte to recommend that it is unlikely that Fin-tech companies will have more than 6% of the market by 2025. Save for Santander, most banks are unhurried in their approach to utilizing financial technology. Because of this they are being caught up by Fin Tech companies who must now be considered as serious rivals.

Soon enough, the wealth management industry will have to contend with the widespread adoption of block-chain and artificial intelligence. We hope to be in a position to help the industry grapple with those future challenges -- which is why we are taking a full-time research role in studying global financial technology.

I've been focusing my thoughts, research and studies about our industry as a whole, To understand what's changing at the core of the economy, where one thing disconnected from another can impact in a Butterfly effect how people buy investments and move money.

Enterprise is a whole different bag of hammers, with much greater levels of complexity and product demands than what comes in dealing with consumers. The question whether some of these guys are up to that -- from my experience, firms that are consumer and try to pivot into the enterprise space, it usually doesn’t work out well.

Banks continue to use their supremacy to command high remittance fees and long-winded transaction times, but ultimately they will need to look into forming partnerships allowing them to apply FinTech services into their systems.

The technological landscape continues to progress as does the attitude towards money and the handling of it. Is it realistic to think that in the future our planet will be restricted to mobile and cashless payments as our inclination moves away from using cash frequently, if at all?

For a long period, the intent of Fin-tech has been to deliver speedy transactions at a reduced cost for the back and middle office of financial institutions, while the office facade develops relationships with clients and remain very much person-driven. 

Fin-tech businesses are moving away from offering a wealth of services and instead are providing precise dispensation specific to the customer. 

I see a change in that: from offering many to many to offering one service to a very specific niche and really focusing on providing superior product experience in that niche.

What FinTech has captured is a growing trend and grasped the current habitual climate around how we access and use money. It is going against the conformist who follows regulations which relies on banks developing their services and providing customers with an option not in place during its fabrication.

In today’s society, it is customers who require flexible models to correspond with the fast pace of life – suitably tailored for the constantly changing needs of individuals and organisations.

Digital platforms continue to advance with it now possible to take a loan from Paypal or get inventory financing from Amazon – further substantiation that FinTech is identifying ways to boost core financial communications and enhance the customer experience.

FinTech is going to continue shaping the landscape of the financial sector: My vision is that there’s going to be a lot of value for the consumer out of finance and FinTech going forward because of this change. Long-term it is difficult to gauge how much potential there is for further growth, but there is no doubt FinTech will continue to make a significant impact on the industry – watch this space. 

The Race.. Is On... 

With Europe still reeling from the implications of the Brexit, London’s supremacy in fintech (already under pressure from other conurbations) is now in question.  Who will take the leading role as the world’s fintech capital? We’ll examine the contenders…

Lead horses:

Singapore: We pick Singapore as our #1 contender to displace London as fintech capital of the world.  With a significant government effort to support fintech innovators (the Monetary Authority of Singapore even has a “Chief Fintech Officer”), dynamic incumbent banks like DBS and UOB, and a location that accesses the broader ASEAN region, we feel Singapore’s moment is at hand – if London isn’t able to maintain focus in the face of disruption, and if Singapore can fight off the sharp competition coming up immediately behind...

NYC: New York has unseated Boston as the #2 overall venture capital cluster in the U.S., with a heavy fintech spin thanks to the robust financial services industry coupled to a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.  However, the local regulatory environment hobbles the Big Apple’s efforts to claim the top fintech spot (see: BitLicense). 

Hong Kong: Long a center of entrepreneurship and financial innovation, Hong Kong has maintained position in the shift to the new generation of fintech companies.  Ernst & Young places Hong Kong at 29% fintech adoption, the most anywhere in the world1. Its more liberal set of corporate regulations make it the natural interface between mainland China and the rest of the world – and China barely missed beating the U.S. for total venture capital activity in 2Q 2016 according to Preqin2. 

London: The Square Mile may be down, but she isn’t out.  London remains one of the largest innovation clusters in the world, retaining a sharp focus on fintech innovation with progressive government (in terms of fintech regulation and policy initiatives), a world-class set of universities, and a dynamic workforce with some of the best drawn from across Europe and around the world.  Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley announced intentions to remain engaged, but JP Morgan threatened moving “a few thousand” jobs3.If growth-oriented leaders can stave off isolationists, London will continue to reign.

Credible contenders:

Shanghai: It should come as no surprise that the top of our “contender“ list is the financial capital of mainland China.  Fiercely competitive, housing one of two independent exchanges, Shanghai is core to China’s drive to make the RMB a reserve currency. 

Zurich, Geneva & Zug: 12% of Switzerland’s economy is financial services, and the Swiss people and government have embraced the fintech revolution.  Swiss venture capital activity is consistently top-ranked, if not as energetic as London or New York and hindered by restrictive immigration policies. Although perhaps unfair to aggregate three municipalities into a single “Swiss cluster”, for our purposes they are equivalent to others in their peer group, and reasonably well coordinated. 

Frankfurt: Germany is Continental Europe’s startup leader and Frankfurt is where the action’s at for German financial services. The sociopolitical environment limits labor market liquidity, and limited risk tolerance is a handicap, but flawless execution can catapult Frankfurt to the fore. 

Shenzhen: Also strong on the list is Shenzhen, home to a new generation of Chinese entrepreneurs with a dynamic, vibrant ecosystem in the making, as well as the other independent exchange in China (besides Shanghai).  If Shenzhen and Hong Kong were able to more closely coordinate activities, they could create a dominant “supercluster”.

Dubai: Dubai’s economy is built on diversifying beyond oil to a broader set of industries, and its position as a congenial environment for foreigners coupled to enlightened government policy makes for a legitimate position as a contender. Weather, economic volatility and other agitations surrounding the region are downsides.

Mumbai: Long a workhorse of the Indian entrepreneurial miracle, Mumbai continues to push the boundaries. The National Biometrics project is now spawning startups seeking to provide financial access and inclusion, leveraging cornerstone identity. 

Luxembourg: €3.5 trillion of assets are under management in Luxembourg4, and financial services comprise 27% of the economy5.  The government, academia and industry have banded together to pioneer the next wave of financial innovation, if they can move beyond the country’s traditionally conservative approach to business (disclosure: MIT has an agreement to advise on this effort). 

Dark horses:

Several jurisdictions are working to make themselves attractive to fintech entrepreneurs, including the Caymans, Barbados, Austin TX, Sao Paolo, Paris, Dublin, Moscow, Johannesburg, and Lagos in Nigeria.  Will one or more of these dark horses be able to carve out market share?  

And the winner is…

The next three to five years will see the outcome of the race unfold.  Where is the smart money going?  One thing’s for sure: Brexit uncertainty in London means greater opportunity for other regions around the world.

Investing in Social Media ~ A very Special Cup of Tea

BREAKING: Facebook stock falls to a new intraday low of $19.76 on the day company insiders can sell up to 271 million shares. ~ CNNMoney

                  Just goes to show you by measure exactly how naive and hopelessly uneducated some people are about the potential of things such as Social Media, monetization and the evolving commercial reach of the Internet in general. Every year their pockets keep getting deeper and bigger, that is the only thing they are gardening and investing in. Greed is predictable and idiotic, a flash in the pan the rest of the sane and stable world can live with out.   
P.S -> Do you guys remember this from not so long ago ?

       For curiosity's sake have you ever wondered what was the weighty thought process that defined such moves. Do you care if and when many more of the likes of these are to be initiated to oversee the impact of Social Media.

True Worth is Relative when it's Real

P.S ~ Around here some people live and think like it, but Unfortunately Growth and Greed are not the same word. Growth is kind of like your kid's GPA, something that clearly is not a conclusive definition of him/her, it is a very persuasive and compelling label, a measurable thing used as a psychological trigger to evoke or manipulate market sentiments and an instrument to make that pitch and appeal more effective where ever and however it may be legally permissible and possible. It is understandable that brushing aside the use of well researched parameters and variables and overly emphasizing and attributing importance to certain indicative figures is nothing but a carefully cultured and baseless habit and is never anything more than a kind of a dismal science dictated by a flood of pre-programmed and predictable responses.  

Appending another note/comment in response to,

"Facebook's 6.3% drop yesterday makes it the second-worst post-lock-up IPO performance since January 2011 | "

as seen on 

           Social Media is still well and truly in its infancy. Investors and people in general do not have a good understanding or grasp of its current global impact and its potential for future monetization and growth. Sustain this trend for a few more years and if there is a steady growth in the online user community you are guaranteed a global revolution in many areas including newer models for representative governance, media and commerce. 

           Social media opens up both conversation and creativity. Even from the initial excitement about the stock till this day it is a Mirror capturing not only your sentiments but also gauging your levels of awareness of its value.

P.S ~ Creating and predicting the eventual start of the next long term bull market is real for anything that is fit enough to be deemed a technological breakthrough and a game changer.

A very insightful and well written take on the subject:

The Story of Twitter & the Saudi Prince

           The social media universe has been aghast this week after the revelation that Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia has invested $300 million in Twitter. The shock and awe seems to center around the notion that Twitter has been at least partly responsible for the Arab Spring uprisings that directly threaten the Saudi royal family's grip on power. On the surface, anyway, this seems like a contradiction.

Why would the king's nephew be investing in the medium of his family's enemy? Will he attempt to influence the development of the network or try to make it more susceptible to censorship in a regime-threatening emergency? And what of Twitter?

Will the participation of a major investor widely considered to be the beneficiary of one of the world's most exploitative dynasties tarnish the company's otherwise net-friendly brand image? Why would Twitter accept such an investor, and why would he court them in the first place?
The answer, most simply, is for the money.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is no doubt aware of Twitter and Facebook's tremendous influence in his own and neighboring countries, and may even be personally concerned about what a revolution might do to his own and his family's sovereign rule. But why should that stop him from positioning himself to become the wealthiest deposed royal he can be? It's a win-win.
For its part, Twitter, which isn't even a public company, is not actually selling shares to a Saudi Arabian prince. It's Twitter's early investors who are selling $300 million of their own shares to the Prince's investing group, "Kingdom Holding Company." Of course, Twitter benefited by selling those shares initially, and now benefits indirectly as the resale of these shares puts the company's total valuation up to $8.4 billion.

The dismay and disillusionment associated with this transaction seems overblown to me, or at least misplaced. In short, we are looking at the wrong medium. We are not witnessing Twitter operate against its central, democratizing premise. We are witnessing money operate in perfect accordance with its own, highly abstracting premise. Money, by its very nature, launders.

This is exactly what money and the corporation were invented 700 years ago to do: provide kings and other members of the aristocracy with a way to invest at arm's length in projects they may or may not want to be associated with. The corporation gives people a way to invest passively in companies whose operations they might not want to know about, much less be known for.
Likewise, generic, central currencies give people who have done Lord-knows-what the very same access to markets as those who have earned their money through sweat or innovation. Once it's money, it is as clean as anyone else's money.
Similarly, once you sell your business to shareholders, they can do what they like with the shares. That's what is meant by shareholding. In the simplest language possible, when you sell your business, you have sold your business. (Maybe that's why so many top people have been leaving Twitter lately. Their shares have vested and they are less restricted about what they can do with them once they quit.)

This is the beauty and horror of investment capital.

Just as a Saudi prince can invest in our revolution-inspiring Internet darlings, each of us is free to invest our own retirement savings in the likes of cigarette and liquor companies, weapons manufacturers, polluters, outsourcers and sweatshop exploiters. We can put our kids through college by investing in the very oil companies through which the Saudi royals made their money in the first place. Then, hopefully, our kids can go on to become peace workers, revolutionaries or even Twitter employees. Or not.

If we're truly concerned about the long arm of international investing, we might best reconsider how we invest ourselves. Instead of relying on the anonymity of outsourced investing to the stock market, why not look around for who or what needs money in our towns and communities?

The Obama administration is already in the process of curtailing the regulations that prevent nonmillionaire investors from putting money into one anothers' businesses. This means we can begin to depend on local money to start-up our own ventures, and on local ventures to build our own savings.