Week in Review: To gauge if fintech is real, follow the banking talent in 2017

  • Will banking executives leave comfort zones to launch their own startups?
  • A taxi operator in KL tries to win back consumer, regulator confidence

 

Predictably these last two weeks of the year have been slow news weeks, sprinkled with tech trend prediction articles for the coming year.

I have never been one for making such predictions but in my final article for the year, an opinion piece about the fintech hype, I do highlight one trend to look out for that will indicate to me that fintech disruption is finally getting serious.

Look to see if banking executives in Southeast Asia (SEA) leave their comfort zones to launch their own  fintech startups. Who better to identify the weaknesses in their organizations and capture opportunity presented by digital disruption.

With so much venture funding having gone into fintech, approximately US$13.8 billion (RM61.9 billion) in 2015, more than double the amount from 2014, surely some among them will fancy their chances at raising funds for their startups.

Unfortunately my article also ruffled the feathers of a leading ecosystem player who shot back with some interesting counter-points and ended by taking a dig at my Fave 5 for 2016 picks with its heavy Bricks & Clicks focus.

You can read Dr V. Sivapalan’s reaction to my article in the comments section but I would like to repeat my advice to the fintech ecosystem, especially those targeting the banks, which is, “Please take a chill pill”, and “Come back to Planet Earth.”

Undoubtedly the sexiest space in the SEA startup ecosystem, I worry the hype is beginning to cloud the judgement of VCs and is giving fintech startups a sense that they are special. Reality will hit over the next two years as they try to gain more customers (for those who actually have customers) and go after that dirty word, “Profitability”.

Speaking of which, profitability in the taxi sector in SEA has definitely taken a hit with the increasing popularity of ride share apps, Grab and Uber. The Malaysian Prime Minister even advised the public to take up a part-time job with the ride hailing services as a way to supplement their incomes!

I am sure the financial services sector has taken away valuable lessons from the mistakes made by taxi operators in facing up to the digital disruption that hit them.

Clearly, cheating customers and offering poor services is not the way to win favour with the public and regulator which is why, Big Blue Taxi Services Sdn Bhd in Kuala Lumpur stressed its focus on ensuring customers are protected and its drivers behaving professionally, when it launched a new service yesterday. My colleague who covered the event was not impressed, feeling that the e-ticket system introduced was more an occasion to show the industry regulator that Big Blue Taxi is serious about improving its service. But are such efforts, too little, too late? Consumers will judge with their wallets and Big Blue Taxi is already gearing for a tough year ahead.

But I wish all DNA readers a Blessed 2017. Happy New Year!

Editor’s Picks:

UangTeman to serve Bali, Sulawesi, and Sumatera in 2017

Chong Jinn Xiung: My Fave 5 of 2016

Karamjit Singh: My Fave 5 of 2016

Fintech folks, take a chill pill, please

Why Christmas e-shopping sucks for Singaporean customers

VavApps’ sound technology puts deals in your pocket

IPTV piracy becomes big business

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