It’s 2020, we’re in the midst of a global pandemic and in and out of lockdown, Kanye West (with Elon Musk’s blessings) tried to run for president, and the word ‘cryptocurrency’ is no longer a niche reserved only for people within the tech sphere.
As we debate the future of money, the usability of Decentralized Finance Applications and how bizarre it is that influencers can now create their own cryptocurrencies to gift or sell to their followers, fintech startups continue to emerge all over the place.
While many of these startups have come up with big ideas that they feel will position them as top dogs in an emerging industry that is continuously growing, a recent report has shown that the fintech space is facing huge COVID-19 related losses, with the UK sector needing to raise £825 million to see out the pandemic.
So, as early-stage fintech startups battle it out for funding in the midst of an economic downturn, how can they get their name in the media narrative and in front of the eyes of investors?
Build on the future of money debate
The digital economy has flipped collective industries on their heads, long before 2020, with the future of money one of the most hotly debated topics this year, and not just within the traditional finance space.
Predictions such as a cashless society and the demise of traditional banks have been circulating for awhile now, and the pandemic this year has catapulted these topics into the mainstream. With many events around the world also being forced to go virtual, these discussions have attracted diverse global audiences, who have been able to attend conferences and talks that they otherwise wouldn’t have had access to.
Our post-pandemic selves will vary from person to person, but one thing is clear, never before has there been such a curiosity for alternative ways of doing things. From the way we communicate and work, to the way we travel, socialize and manage our finances. Since the start of the year the move towards contactless payments has been progressively growing with Mastercard citing that their first quarter saw a 40% increase, with 82% of people viewing contactless as the cleaner way to pay.
As we limit our physical interactions, a lot of our day to day habits are changing. What this change is bringing with it is a shift away from the norm, a deeper interest and acceptance of new technologies that are able to provide solutions and make an impact on our lives.
Ask yourself, what is my fintech startup doing that’s unconventional and could serve as a replacement at a time when people all around the world are questioning the current financial system?
Making the current times more manageable — by helping people take better control of their finances, providing fairer access to credit and affordable homeownership, keeping data secure, enabling cross-border payments, creating fast and transparent access to health results — makes it more relevant than ever, to both media and potential investors.
Break down your fintech project with case studies
It can be tricky to communicate all the technicalities and intricacies of your fintech start up to the everyday person. It’s especially hard when trying to explain it to a journalist or investor who may not be as knowledgeable on the industry or technology but is interested to know more about it.
I’ve lost track of how many times a PHD candidate has shared their thesis topic with me with vigor and passion, only for me to look at them blankly as I tried to decipher what they were actually talking about.
Communicating your concept in a way that is easily understood by both veterans and beginners, draws in diverse investors and audiences as well as niche and mainstream media outlets. If you’re looking to broaden your reach, you have to pinpoint how your products and features appeal to the everyday person.
Being a fintech lending company might be easy because you can pick and choose universally known and understood products to tell your story. But what if you’re in the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) space and you’re trying to explain what data oracles are to a reporter working at a mainstream press or an investor who has heard good things about your project but can’t seem to grasp how it works?
Real-world use cases come in handy as do case studies which highlight examples of data oracles in action, such as companies who have integrated data oracles for security reasons, helping paint the picture of ways they are used.
At a time when there is $4 billion in assets locked up in DeFi projects, data oracles play a fundamental part in building trust in an industry that’s growing by nearly half a billion dollars per week. Another way to break down the technical jargon is by drawing comparisons to other similar projects in the space.
Read the situation. If an investor or journalist seems confused, then they most likely don’t understand the story you’re trying to tell them.
Locate your unique fintech selling proposition
Consistently dubbed one of the hottest startup sectors globally, the fintech market is expected to reach a market value of around $305 billion by 2025.
That number alone serves as a reminder of just how many fintech ventures are out there, each of them competing for funding and space in top tier publications that will help get them in front of investors’ eyes.
The one thing I always do when I start working with a fintech startup is ask them what they are doing differently or better than their competitors. Surprisingly, this is not something a lot of people think about when it comes to translating their business model into a story.
Pinpointing these characteristics, regardless of the nuances, is what investors and the media will be most interested in. How does your new feature or product compare to those of your competitors? You can tell your story by drawing on the distinctions and referencing them throughout.
Say you’re a new third-party financial tech app. What is your unique selling proposition compared to all the existing apps out there with a similar vision?
Perhaps your features align with demographics that have been hit the hardest in the COVID-19 outbreak, such as small business owners, freelancers, and artists, or those that didn’t get as much government support and are desperate to get their finances in order.
Your app may be the one to provide them with a unique expense tracking and bookkeeping software, a 24/7 AI assistant or an in-depth insight into their clients’ credit ratings. Perhaps it provides all the above as a one-stop-shop, and that is its differentiating factor.
Identifying the unique selling points of your fintech start up and how they differentiate from the competition, will give your story legs and help the media understand where in the ecosystem you fit in and why they should write about you. And with a lot of investment decisions driven by media attention, investors regularly seeing your fintech start up in reputable publications will no doubt be a leg-up in your next funding round.
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