In this Q and A, we speak with Rebecca Kaden, Partner at Maveron who shares her thoughts on innovation, regulation and what underserved areas she thinks entrepreneurs might want to tackle. Rebecca Kaden and three other C-level fin tech executives will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds: Fin Tech Executives from Aspiration, LendUp, SoFi and Maveron Explain How Innovation is Eating Wall Street.
1. Is all the excitement in fin tech just an investment trend? Or is it driven by fundamental changes in the industry?
Over the last decade, we’ve been watching technology penetrate giant, old school industries, transforming at the core how they operate. It is happening with how we communicate with each other and stay in touch, how we work, how we get around, how we think about our health care. Financial services is one of the biggest industries out there—it is also burdened by old systems, untouched processes, and unhappy clientele. I think it would be a miss to think the innovation inside and around it is just a trend when we’ve watched how it has dramatically shaken up and improved so many other industries that were in comparable positions. Consumers, particularly millennials, are looking to relate to brands and feel like they are a part of them more than ever. This is creating huge opportunities not only to provide better services, utilize data, and harness technology towards better products, but to reinvent financial services brands.
2. Regulation is a significant hurdle for fin tech companies to overcome, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs to navigate it?
Go in with eyes wide open. Know the regulation cold and what it takes to abide by it (as well as what happens if you don’t.) It’s a heavily regulated arena but one in which you can build giant businesses—perhaps the biggest market there is—even in the current regulatory environment. The problems arise when young companies make moves that run them into timely and expensive walls that they didn’t see coming.
3. What area of financial innovation are you the most excited about? What are you least excited about?
I love areas where you can not only innovate on products but also on brand—where there is a gap in information, heightened confusion, a mismatch between messaging and the millennial market. Lending is one of these categories and I think that gap accounts for much of the recent boom in that consumer lending market. But there are others, too—insurance is one category that fascinates me and in which there’s a ton of room.
4. What will the financial industry look like in five years time? How about ten?
In five, we’ll see increased pressure on the current leading brands to build or buy their way into better customer experience, technology, and transparency to meet a new wave of consumer demand—and those giants who can’t start to shake. We’ll also see initial winners emerge--the first ones to successfully re-imagine the industry from the ground up with tools that cater to the online-first demo and create meaningful equity value. In 10, I think mobile banking across all services will be the absolute norm. We’ll talk about going to a brand or filling out paperwork the way we now talk about going to a kiosk to buy an airline ticket.
5. What advice do you have for prospective employees who might want to join your company or team?
What are three key things that you're looking for from them? In our case, it’s considering prospective employees for our portfolio companies. But the criteria is the same: desire to understand the old and totally transform it; appreciation of and nimbleness with data and its role in financial services (what it has done before, what it can do in the future); passion around creating differentiated products and building standout brands that can change consumers’ lives. And extraordinary desire and hustle around getting there first and best.
Rebecca Kaden and three other C-level fin tech executives will be speaking at the next Uncharted Minds: Fin Tech Executives from Aspiration, LendUp, SoFi and Maveron Explain How Innovation is Eating Wall Street.
Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PDT) San Francisco, Click here or use the code ‘insider’ for 50% off tickets to the event