An interview with the co-founders of VC firm Fiat Ventures and sister arm Fiat Growth
Of all venture capital invested in 2021, about one in five dollars went to fintech. But this boom now appears to be behind us as global fintech financing activity returned to pre-2021 levels.
Even worse, fintech didn’t escape the recent waves of tech layoffs, with high-profile companies like Brex, Chime, and Stripe making headlines for this daunting reason in recent weeks.
And yet fintech startups are still being founded and funded this year. Of the 223 companies in Y Combinator’s Summer 2022 batch, 79 more or less fell into the fintech category.
Why are founders and investors still betting on fintech, and where? For more information, we reached out to a fintech-focused venture capital firm Fiat Ventures.
Co-founders of Fiat Alex Harris, Drew Gloverand Marco Fernandez also perform his sister arm, Fiat growth, a growth consultancy working with fintech and insurtech clients. This allows them to not only comment on industry trends from an investor perspective, but also share practical advice.
One of their key recommendations is that fintech startups focus on customer acquisition channels whose costs are less variable or seasonal than others, but our exchange covered a wider range of topics from financial inclusion to offline channels and beyond. Read more:
Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Many of the linked companies are portfolio companies of Fiat Ventures or clients of Fiat Growth.
TC: What makes you say that “fintech acquisition funnels are too complicated”?
Alex Harris: Fintech products naturally have complicated acquisition funnels and enrollment flows. Some complications are unavoidable in a highly regulated environment, but unnecessary complications can arise when rigorous testing is not applied and funnels contain unnecessary swelling.
Even the smallest detail can cause friction. For example, in the know-your-customer (KYC) process, many fintechs will ask a customer for their full social security number. In most cases, for non-credit products, only the last four digits of the SSN are required for identification purposes. While it’s only a five-digit difference, it can have a significant impact on conversion rates that can save large sums of money on a massive scale.
Data is certainly king, but there is a time and place for data collection and personalization. Too often, a well-meaning data team asks personalization and demographic questions directly during an enrollment process. However, these questions usually appear in a post-enrollment survey or periodically throughout a customer’s lifecycle. Even after enrollment, these questions should be considered. We regularly see data being collected for the sake of collecting it, with no useful insights derived from it.