By Maria Gotsch, Co-founder of the FinTech Innovation Lab; President and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City.
One of the key takeaways from my 10+ years of experience as an M&A banker is that companies are bought and not sold. No matter how profitable, dynamic or interesting, without a buyer, there is no deal. For those companies where there was interest, our job as the seller’s representative was to turn that interest into a need—the stronger the better.
The same can be said for technology and large financial institutions—tech products are bought, not sold. No matter how cutting edge or innovative a technology is, if there is no need or clear link to a business priority, it remains a shiny toy to be tested by an innovation group, but not a product with a purchase order. Our FinTech Innovation Lab program is all about that conversion from shiny toy to purchase order.
To help all enterprise and fintech entrepreneurs make sure that their product is on the “Buy Now” list, we ask our 43 financial institution partners one simple question—what are your top tech priorities (a.k.a. what do you want to buy?)—and then publish their answers.
For 2020, the priorities of the largest financial and insurance institutions are below. If your emerging tech company has a relevant solution, we hope you will apply to our FinTech Innovation Lab. Applications are due December 2.
Specific areas of interest for financial institutions are (but not limited to):
- Cloud: Including cloud management, migration and security
- Data: Alternative data sources to improve underwriting analytics, as well as tools for data management, governance, privacy and visualization
- Digitization: Automating and scaling internal processes to drive operational and engineering efficiencies
- Engagement: Tools focused on clients, employees or agents, including for customer acquisition and experience, product customization, predictive analytics and talent development
- Security: Solutions focused on cyber, risk and identity management, and fraud
Specific areas of interest for insurance companies are (but not limited to):
- Automation: Claims and underwriting automation (including tech enabled processing, policy administration & management)
- Collaboration: Tools connecting various parties including carriers, agents, brokers, third-party administrators, re-insurers and creating a more seamless front-end experience for the consumer between those areas.
- Customer experience: Tools and offerings focused on customer experience including digital brokerage, value-added services, delivery, engagement and servicing platforms / tools
- Data: Tools focused on data management and analytics for underwriting, claims, and new products
- Risk: Solutions focused on risk management including identification, quantification and mitigation of risk
Solutions to the focus areas can incorporate AI/Machine Learning, Blockchain, Mobile, Robotic Process Automation and other technologies. In general, there is an interest this year in more comprehensive end-to-end solutions rather than one-off point solutions.