I’ve been working in this sleepy little backwater of the financial industry, called FinTech, for longer than I would care to admit. For the majority of that time, I’ve had to endure awkward cocktail parties as I told people that I worked in finance or public relations or technology. Quite often I’d say “it’s complicated” and leave it at that.
Then about a year ago something strange happened: people began to drop FinTech in to casual conversation the same way they talked about “cloud” or “the Internet of Things.” For those of us who’ve dedicated most of our professional careers to the space, the sudden recognition is both gratifying and somewhat irritating. How I feel about it is best summed up by an email I received from a friendly competitor who’s been in this industry for about as long as I have:
“My colleagues were passing around the following [FinTech Report] excitedly today … it’s like we discovered cheese!! How can something boring and stuffy that you and I have been doing in our sleep for decades now be the hot new tart in town?!?!?!?”
To understand why FinTech has suddenly shot from president of the chess club to star quarterback, I spoke with six leaders of the FinTech movement: Jon Stein, CEO & Founder of Betterment, Justin Brownhill, Managing Partner of SenaHill, Alex Tabb, COO of the Tabb Group, Jean Donnelly, Executive Director, FinTech Sandbox, Jon Zanoff, Founder, Empire Startups and Evan Rapoport, CEO & Founder of HedgeCoVest. I asked them what was accounting for the surge in interest in this space, what this meant for their recruitment efforts and what got them interested in FinTech in the first place.