in Fintech

Fintech Startups of NYC- One Year Later

Last year, I thought it would be a good idea to write a guidebook for the notable fintech startups in the NYC scene.  It was inspired by three things:

1) My job included exploring different startup ecosystems (I co-founded a large scale tech event) and occasionally I had to help aspiring entrepreneurs to understand NYC’s scene.  Slideshares on the topic (including Steve Schlafman’s Guide to NYC Tech and other cities) were always pretty value resources and I appreciated the no-shenanigans design and super easy experience.

2) A conversation I had with a VC who was curious if I thought NYC a) could have a proper fintech scene if it didn’t have a $1bln exit and b) who would be the first unicorn.  As you can see from the original blog post, I guessed correctly, and then later saw it IPO and get cut in half. (So if we’re rebooting, I guess my next guess is Betterment)

3) At the time I was a co-organizer of the largest fintech meetup in the country, and I was connecting with people from all over the world who would basically want a taxonomy of the big fintech startups in town.  I thought something like this would be useful.

So I put it out there on slideshare and it had some views (nearly 5,000) and a bit of social effect. Bottom line, a handful of people have found it useful as a tool in evaluating investments in the local space so based on that it is a success and worth the effort.

I have been thinking that with the unprecedented expansion of fintech startups and funding in the space it would be fun for people to see what a difference a year makes.  I.e. the monster Series A rounds and the $250mln acquisition and all.

My Y/O/Y observations:

– Obviously big money went to the best teams in the last year

– Alt-credit analytics as well as Blockchain startups serving bank/FI middle/back office) are finding their rightful home here in NYC and we will be the leader (proximity to decision makers, etc.)

– No down-rounds that were publicized, no deaths from my deck (although not every acquisition is win for the company or the founder)

– The local fintech focused VC’s put their money to work and supported NYC (Fintech Collective, SenaHill, NYCA) as did major Wall Street CEO types (Mack, Pandit, etc)

– Diversity is still a major issue, so few female founders for fintech startups even in NYC.

– Researching this still sucked, and mentalities from Wall Street die hard.  Many early stage startups are opaque about pricing, how they charge, and often miss simple opportunities with UX that attracts prospective enterprise clients to reach out.  I’d love to see more transparency, “We charge an X fee”, or “here’s our pricing” instead of hiding it deep in the FAQ’s or disclosing in interviews but not on the site or building a dome of secrecy even after they’re launched and have customers.

I always have plenty of thoughts on the scene, so hit me up at Podell {at} Alumni.ufl.edu any time.  I’m super proud of the teams here and the community that has nurtured it.  One can only imagine what the next year will bring!