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We’re Still in the Early Days of Fintech


July 21, 2020

We experienced this same phenomenon with the Internet. It was created and took off. Then, with Internet 2.0, it exploded and new leaders emerged.
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By Clay Wilkes, CEO, Galileo

Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Peter Renton, moderator of the Lend Academy podcast, to talk about all-things fintech. Peter, who is also co-founder and chairman of LendIt Fintech and founder of Lend Academy, and I had a free-wheeling discussion that touched on many issues in today’s fintech scene. It was fun to go deep with a colleague who for many years has been an active participant and keen observer of the industry and who continues to find the possibilities of fintech as invigorating and motivational as I do.

Peter pulled me back in time by asking me about the origins of Galileo, which recently has been called an overnight success 20 years in the making. I shared with him that the inspiration for Galileo was to make a difference in people’s lives by solving a problem that affects us all; that is, payments. Our goal setting out was to democratize payments, although we didn’t use those words exactly. But we knew we wanted to liberate payments from the large, rigid, monolithic systems that prevailed nearly two decades ago and prevented the emergence of flexible payment options that could be adapted to hundreds of use cases to make it faster, easier and less expensive for people to handle their money. And we did that by architecting the Galileo payments platform in a way that is both flexible and scalable.

Fast forward a dozen years or so, and the business segment we now call fintech was born from the work that we and others—which Peter identified as PayPal and “a handful of others”—were doing in payments. During the past five years especially, fintech has exploded in terms of the companies and people involved, VC investment, creation of fintech unicorns in the U.S. and across the globe, and—mostly importantly, the challenges Galileo and our colleague organizations are solving. We’re accomplishing our goal of making a difference.

But we’re still in the early days of fintech. The progress we’ll make in the coming years will dwarf that of the past 20. Exits and IPOs aren’t signaling that fintech is near the end of its lifecycle or even near maturity. They’re a sign that fintech is vibrant and consolidating to do more as we move along the continuum of problem solving. For every step forward, there are 10 new challenges to address and opportunities to explore.

We experienced this same phenomenon with the Internet. It was created and took off. Then, with Internet 2.0, it exploded and new leaders emerged. We’ll see that again in the world of fintech during the next five or even 10 years. It’s a global phenomenon led by companies whose names you haven’t yet heard of, emerging from every corner of the world—India, China, Hong Kong, Latin America, Europe, the U.S. Big tech, too, will emerge in payments, playing an increasingly larger role. It’s all coming, and consumers will be the focus.

Galileo is already witnessing this explosion of interest. Companies are reaching out to us to help them address the new challenges of the age we live in. Fintech is by no means done; we’re just barely beginning. There are still a lot of stories to be told. And that’s what keeps me hungry, motivated and coming back for more.

Click here to listen to the full Lend Academy podcast, featuring moderator Peter Renton and Galileo CEO Clay Wilkes.