A Q&A With Benzinga's CEO On The Fintech Industry: 'We Want To Be Connectors'
As founder of both Benzinga and the Detroit Fintech Association, Jason Raznick is well-versed in the space. So much so that Merriam-Webster referenced his definition of “fintech” in its entry on the term.
According to Raznick’s definition: “The impact that fintech is making throughout our economy is still in its infancy stages. Fintech is really just about innovating and bringing solutions to the banking, lending and capital markets.”
The nascent industry is still in need of platforms to connect innovators at startups with the institutional executives who hold the keys to the financial services industry.
Benzinga is hosting the Fintech Summit Nov. 14 in San Francisco, where the leaders in payments, lending, capital markets, blockchain and cryptocurrency will gather.
Ahead of the event, Raznick answered questions about industry trends, investment opportunities and the Fintech Summit itself.
BZ: What has been the most impactful fintech trend to date? Why?
JR: The most impactful fintech trends to date are twofold: artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Both of these technologies allow a company to scale and make an impact in an entrenched financial services industry in a way that simply was not possible before.
Artificial intelligence allows a small team to analyze a vast quantity of information — be it creditworthiness of borrowers or movements of a stock — and create actionable insights from that. The trend of more and more powerful artificial intelligence coming into play is enabling innovation at a scale that was previously impossible.
BZ: Where are the investment opportunities?
JR: In the consumer fintech space, part of the big wave of fintech disruption that started to crest a few years ago was fintech startups doing one thing really well and growing an audience around that. Now, we’re seeing startups offer more and more services that bring them closer to being banks.
The companies that have the capital, operational expertise and customer trust to become true financial services standbys are the true investment opportunities.
In the institutional B2B space, the true investment opportunities are where you find skilled operators with experience in the space solving a specific problem. Financial services is a strictly regulated space, and we’ve found that the Silicon Valley “break things” model struggles to get traction here. A bank or brokerage that’s handling trillions of dollars doesn’t want a startup to break anything!
They want startups to be compliant with regulations, to understand their customers and their needs, and to have technology that readily fits into their stack. That’s why experienced teams are so key to these investment opportunities: founding teams with institutional relationships and technical expertise will be the ones that win business and potentially get acquired.
BZ: How does Benzinga approach fintech differently than others?
JR: Benzinga’s approach to fintech is telling the good stories and highlighting the opportunities in fintech. We want to be connectors and bring the impactful ideas and companies together with the institutions that have the power to shape the future of financial services. That’s why we’re hosting events like the Benzinga Fintech Summit.
BZ: Why should an investor attend the summit?
JR: If you want to meet all the startups that will be impactful to the future of financial services, this is the place to find them. No other event will be as valuable to investors in fintech.
Want to learn more about the industry and meet leaders of the hottest fintech startups in person? Be sure to grab your tickets to the BZ Summit before they sell out.
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