The Biggest Frictions for Startups Working With Financial Institutions

For startups, getting a seat at the table with a major financial institution is tough enough but integrating with them is a whole other story.

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David Schoenberger, Chief Innovation Officer, Eclypses
“All financial institutions demand trust. Their customers expect it and so they put a huge amount of internal focus into maintaining this trust. As a security company, we compete to be included in that trust relationship with their own customers. To add value, our goal is to complement what they are doing already — we don’t want to replace solutions they have invested in. We don’t ever approach a potential client thinking that their existing security protocols are no good—we approach it by brainstorming about how we might increase the security by building off of existing foundations.”

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Durke Stelter, CEO and founder of Pypestream
“The biggest challenge working in highly regulated sectors like financial services is ensuring new technology meets compliance. In the context of customer communication and messaging, this is amplified. At Pypestream, we have made a point to meet all the required industry, brand and statutory regulations so enterprises can rest assured that all the confidential customer data associated with interactions on our platform are secure, private and bound to strict regulatory restrictions.”

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Manoj Duggirala, Co-founder and CEO of Context360
“Our biggest challenge is moving from the innovation teams to the line of business who wants to benefit from enhanced personalization. The distance between them remains large and the time it takes to “cross the chasm” into the LOB can crush small startups who do not manage their burn rates properly.”

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Jeff Schmidt, CEO, Authomate
Friction: “Security is an overarching concern for financial institutions, a cat and mouse game when it comes to the good guys and the bad guys. Innovation is critical to get beyond just applying a band-aid to protect against hackers trying to expose these institutions for financial gain. As an innovator, it is hard to convince, or better said, pull along corporates and their trust in a small organization at an early stage.”

How we have worked to overcome it: “We have worked hard to neutralize this by working to engage with the innovation side of the house which is looking less on near-term and more on long-term solutions that can be applied to a broader set of problems. Typically this addressed more by the Chief Digital Officer, who is focused on the user experience and keeping attach rates high, as well as creating a growth model as we move from ‘Brick to Click’. In addition, we have partnered with large integrators, who have a seat at the table and add an additional level of confidence in the sustainability and viability of the solution, in other words they help advance the short and long-term vision.”

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Ravi Balasubramanian, CEO & Co-founder at Sandbox Banking
“We’ve found the biggest friction to fintech adoption by financial institutions arises from data security and legacy system integration challenges. These chicken-and-egg problems consistently add time and cost to every fintech partnership a financial institution considers. Overcoming these challenges at every institution is a burden for fintech vendors that extends sales cycles considerably.

The platform we’re building at Sandbox helps financial institutions safely evaluate and quickly integrate fintech products with their legacy systems. It allows them to try out fintech products without releasing their data while also making sure that the fintech products are seamlessly integrated with legacy systems. For vendors, Sandbox allows them to seamlessly integrate and maintain their products against all the legacy systems that Sandbox is connected to. It allows them to more efficiently sell and distribute their fintech product.”

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Christian Ruppe, CEO and Co-founder at Monotto
“The biggest friction we have found when working with Financial Institutions centers around process. Any time we speak with financial institutions, they fully understand the importance of innovation, but they almost never have a process for it. Wanting to be innovative does not automatically create an innovative working environment.

The FIs must determine which areas within their institution would benefit from ingenuity the most and seek out partners, such as fintech companies, that are prepared to offer an innovative viewpoint. We tackled the lack of process problem by creating our own, which walks through the financial institution’s needs to see where our product might benefit them. Additionally, we are always optimizing our sales cycle and remaining flexible to satisfy the differing needs of institutions. Working with financial institutions is a continuous learning process, and so far, every sales cycle has been more efficient than the one before.”

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