The confluence of internet-based technology and big data has proven a boon to a number of industries, from automobiles to appliances, but it’s leading to especially fruitful innovation in financial services, a sector that touches on the lives of just about everybody. So-called fintech—financial technology—startups are poised to disrupt the banking industry and offer consumers and institutions new ways to manage money.
The latest developments in this area were on display recently at a series of events marking the one-year anniversary of FinTech Sandbox, a Boston-based nonprofit launched by entrepreneurs and investors interested in financial technology. It offers resources to help fintech startups solve a key problem: the high cost and inaccessibility of data. Fintech Sandbox is supported by some of the world’s leading financial institutions, data providers, and venture capitalists—including Thomson Reuters—all of whom have a stake in helping fintech entrepreneurs build great products and get them to market.
At the anniversary event, I shared my views about how financial technology startups stand to gain by partnering with Thomson Reuters.
All startups face a host of challenges as they get off the ground. They must have a solid vision, raise money, and hire a team to bring their solution to market—not to mention manage logistical hurdles such as finding office space. But for a fintech startup, that’s only part of the equation. They also need access to data, and that’s where we come in.
Our deep well of content and the tools to manage it help them foster innovation in a business that requires trustworthy, current data. We also bring them “people knowledge”—expertise only a long-time global leader in information and analytics can provide—to help them scale up. In addition, our open data strategy resonates with fintech startups, whose very existence is a call to arms against the concept of walled-off, siloed information in the financial services industry.
Several Thomson Reuters startup partners were at the Fintech Sandbox event, and they offered interesting insights into the industry and how partnering with us has helped them succeed.
Zac Sheffer, co-founder of Elsen, said that for a small company such as his, gaining access to Thomson Reuters global resources, which includes tens of thousands of unique data and content sets that are normally only available to large asset managers, has given his company a major boost. One benefit of the partnership, he said, is feedback on their product from our experts, an invaluable resource as they move forward.
Sheffer also is a firm believer in the move toward open data, a core Thomson Reuters business strategy. Open source platforms mean more eyes are on the technology, he said, and that only makes them better.
Companies that have long had access to data considered it their “secret sauce,” says Adam Falls of Kyper. But as the information economy continues to reshape the business landscape, there will be increased motivation to make data open, and companies will seek strategic partners to help them leverage it. Startups must find large, stable partners that are well established but willing to align their interests with new companies to create a better future.
Nathan Stevenson, chief executive of ForwardLane, says partners are crucial for startups because they bring resilience and reliability. Thomson Reuters market data and platforms have helped the company in the U.S. and the U.K., and Stevenson looks forward to creating products with us that are specifically tied to ForwardLane’s technology.
I left the Fintech Sandbox more certain than ever that fintech startups will play a key role in our partners ecosystem. We have the data and tools they need to thrive in a competitive sector, and they bring us exposure to the cutting-edge ideas and innovations that are quickly reshaping the financial services landscape—a win-win situation.
Entrepreneurs participating in the FinTech Sandbox Demo Day on March 2016 share their thoughts on the importance of open technologies and their partnership with Thomson Reuters.