Thursday, January 13, 2011

FinTech: I Am Loving The Term

This is not the first time I am feeling like Fred Wilson stole my idea.

Fred Wilson: Calling All Fintech Entrepreneurs

Of course I read this blog post the day he posted it. But I have been in something of a shock for the past few days. This is Fred Wilson hitting home. I am like, wow. It has taken me a few days to recover from the shock and blog about it.

Maybe someone else came up with the term, but I never saw it before. And I have struggled for it. For months now.

Web Tech, Clean Tech, Bio Tech, Nano Tech, Fin Tech. You put it like that and it all fits perfectly.

I kept talking in terms of web tech, clean tech, bio tech, nano tech, and microfinance. But that was like saying apple, apple, apple, apple, monkey. Not oranges. The term microfinance just was not fitting.

My outfit is first and foremost a tech startup. It is not a microfinance startup. It is a tech startup. It is a tech startup that happens to want to go into, for a lack of a better term, microfinance.

But I have no desire to stay at the $100 loan size, I never did. The reason I want to give out $100 loans to 100,000 people and more is so because from among them I can spot 10,000 people who might qualify for $500 loans. From among those I want to find people who I can give $1,000 loans to. And maybe I will find one star entrepreneur who will take $10,000 from me to set up a clean tech company that will transform the lives and economies of 100 villages overnight, like magic, like when you flip a switch and light comes on.

At what point is it no longer microfinance? Is $500 no longer microfinance? 10,000 dollars definitely is not microfinance. But I would want to be doing it. I want to be transforming lives at large scales.

But with the term FinTech I don't feel such constraints.

And look at what I just said: I want to give a 10,000 dollar loan to some entrepreneur with a stellar track record in my system who will go create a clean tech company that will transfrom 100 villages overnight. Did I say clean tech? Yes, I did.

So would that make us an energy company?

I started out wanting to put web tech to the use of microfinance. So is that a web tech company?

See, it does not matter. Of course there will be cross pollinations. Those five broad emerging sectors I have identified - well web tech is not emerging, it is evergreen - should see much cross pollinations.

Cross pollinations are a good thing.

I have said a few times nano tech is going to make possible for us to create data centers that are the size of servers today. (Larry, are you listening?)

My startup is going to want those "servers" on its way to IPO. Would that make us a nano tech company? How important is it to you that you get an answer to that question? Does it matter?

No, we are not trying to be a nano tech company. But cross pollinations will benefit our outfit, as it will the world.

Web Tech - Fred Wilson's domain - will keep the royal seat among the five sectors. Because web tech is to do with the human mind.

My company is a Fin Tech company.

And thank you Fred Wilson for the term.

Fred Wilson is a special person, and he is just getting started. To those immersed in tech that might not be obvious. But I am saying this: 2011 is year one for Fred Wilson. Everything he has done so far has been in preparation for this year one.

2011 is year one to Fred Wilson's prime decade, which is the decade ahead. Mark my word.

Some guy a few weeks ago called Fred Wilson "the biggest gift to American business today." Some people might get taken aback by such a declaration. But the unfolding decade will show the dude was not that off the mark. I don't know enough about enough players in American business. But it is obvious to me Fred is going to be at the forefront of the jobs, companies and industries of tomorrow. And by tomorrow I mean during the decade ahead. He is so obviously a thought leader. But first and foremost he is a doer. He is down in the trenches. He has his boots on the ground. He is very much an action man.

When I first started reading the blog post, I am like, why is Fred suddenly getting all excited about Finland? He was in Canada last, and there are AVC MeetUps in Bosnia. And he and Brad Feld have been running up and down the street about the immigrant visa thing.

Ends up it was not Fin as in Finland, but Fin as in Finance.
Fred Wilson: Calling All Fintech Entrepreneurs: .... we are starting to see sector specific startup accelerators ..... focused on "entrepreneurs and early stage companies that are developing cutting edge technology products targeted at financial services customers." ..... The CTOs and CIOs of firms like Bank of America, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, State Street, and UBS will be participating in this program.
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