In a world where technology is increasingly taking over mundane human tasks like capping toothpaste tubes, completing sentences, managing inventory and even driving, automation has played a huge role in the workplace economy by helping cut down human input on repetitive tasks.

It is estimated that office productivity loss due to employee time spent on administrative tasks (that can be easily automated) costs nearly $5 trillion annually, and roughly 69 workdays are spent doing such tasks. For gig economy workers and independent professionals who earn money based on the time they spend producing results-oriented work, this loss in productivity translates directly into decreased incomes.

This and many other reasons compelled Gaurav Tripathi, a graduate of IIT-Bombay, to set up Superpro.ai – a platform that helps independent professionals save time and earn more money by using artificial intelligence and automation to help perform time-consuming, yet simple tasks such as scheduling consultations, collecting payments, sending email reminders for follow-ups, generating invoices and sorting and collecting data, among others.

Gaurav says Superpro’s value proposition is that it substantially helps independent professionals increase their billable hours. It also gives them access to analytical tools that provide insights on how professionals can maximise their productivity, improve their performance and grow their business faster – stuff that was previously only available to big corporates.

“We combine nearly eight to nine tools that professionals would have required to offer their services, into one, and save them a lot of precious time which they can spend on billable tasks,” says Gaurav, in an interview with YourStory.

The platform, in addition to backend automation and analytics, allows professionals to create their own professional page that highlights their expertise and services – starting with a video message that it asks its users to shoot and upload. It gives businesses wanting to get in touch with professionals listed on Superpro several contact points within the platform, without ever revealing their personal information such as emails or phone numbers.

Most of the ‘solopreneurs’ on the platform use it to offer video-based services such as consultations, webinars, coaching, live courses, and training, among others.

Superpro

An screengrab of Superpro.ai's platform

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COVID-19 accelerating the ‘future of work’

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in the number of people coming online to look for work, and geographical boundaries have blurred between those offering services and those needing them.

Gaurav says he has seen an uptick in the number of professionals on Superpro over the last couple of months too – more than 1,000 people are now offering services ranging from music and dance lessons, to live cooking classes, on the platform.

“Where earlier professionals were able to sell their services only in their neighbourhood or their cities or towns, geographical boundaries have now expanded. We had someone recently sell piano lessons to learners in the US, so no longer do people have to stay confined to their geographical location,” he adds.

Users have to spend not more than two minutes to get set up on the platform, which comes pre-loaded with a host of software and applications that enable video calling, payment collection, email automation, etc.

“Professionals can start delivering without any investment – they don’t need to buy subscriptions, websites. Their only investment is their laptop or their mobile phones,” Gaurav quips.

The sign-up and the services are free for Superpro users – the startup only takes a small cut of the money they make, when they start making it.

“We get paid when you, a Superpro user, gets paid,” he says.

The startup, founded in August 2019 by Gaurav and his co-founders Vijay Goel, Vivek Kumar, and Sagar Ramteke, earns over Rs 5 lakh, annually. Superpro.ai, which has been incubated by SOSV is currently looking to raise $500,000 over the next one month.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

Original Source: yourstory.com

Reaching your twenties is an exciting milestone for most as it means you’ve officially entered adulthood. Along with that milestone comes new responsibilities and worries that we didn’t picture when our teenage selves dreamed of turning 21. We imagined our college graduation, moving into our first apartment, and launching our new career. That vision didn’t include dealing with student loan debt, taking on a low paying entry-level job, or having to confront that despite spending 4 years in college, you’re still unsure how the world of personal finance actually works.

It’s easy to dismiss it all because well you’re a 20 something, and you’ll have plenty of time to play catch up. The reality is that each decade plays an important role in our future financial health. Take the time now to learn about your money and follow the money moves outlined below to put yourself on a path of lifelong financial success and eventual freedom.

Money Moves to Make in Your 20’s:

Learn How To Budget

Building a budget doesn’t have to be overly complicated or time-consuming. It’s actually the first step in putting yourself in control of your finances because it means you know where your money goes each month. The good news is that there are lots of apps and online tools that can make the process a breeze. Consider a system like Mint that will connect to your accounts and automatically categorize your spending for you. The right budgeting tool is simply the one you’ll stick with long term.

Pay Off Debt

Debt isn’t all bad. It may be the reason you were able to earn your degree, and a mortgage may help you one day buy a home. It can also quickly overrun your life if you aren’t careful. Now’s the perfect time before life gets more hectic with family commitments to buckle down and tackle any loans or credit card balances so you can be debt-free going into your 30’s.

Build a Cash Cushion

The financial downturn caused by the pandemic has reminded the whole world of the importance of having an emergency fund. We don’t know what life is going to throw at us and having a cushion can help you navigate the uncertain times. Though it’s not all about having a secret stash of cash to deal with the bad news of life (medical bills, car repair, layoff), it can also be about having the cash to seize an exciting opportunity. Having savings gives you the freedom and security to deal with whatever life brings your way – good or bad.

Understand Credit

Your credit score can dictate so much of your life. That little number can play a big role in the home you buy, the car you drive, and even the job you hold as some employers (especially in the finance world) will pull your credit. It’s important that you check your credit report and score (also available through Mint), learn how it’s calculated, and work to improve it.

Money Moves to Make in Your 30’s:

Invest For Retirement

Now that you’ve spent your 20’s building the foundation for your financial life, it’s time to make sure you’re also tackling the big picture goals like saving and investing for retirement. I typically recommend that clients save 10% to 15% of their annual income towards retirement. That may seem like an insurmountable goal, but starting small by saving even 1 to 3% of your salary can make a big difference in the future. Also, make sure to take advantage of any matching contributions that your employer may provide in your retirement plan. If, for example, they offer to match contributions up to 6%, I would try hard to work towards contributing at least 6%.

Buying Your First Home

Buying your first home is a top goal for many, but it also seems to be getting increasingly more difficult especially if you live in a major city. The most important steps you can take is to improve your credit score, pay down high-interest debt, and be aggressive about saving for a down payment. Saving 20% down will help you qualify for the best loan terms and interest rate, but there are still home loans available even if you aren’t able to save that much. Just be realistic with your budget and what you can afford. Don’t let a lender or real estate agent determine what payment will fit into your budget.

Be Covered Under These Must-Have Insurances

You’ve spent the last several years building your savings and growing your family. It’s now crucial that you have the proper insurance coverage in place to protect your assets and your loved ones. Life and disability insurance are top of the list. Life insurance doesn’t have to be expensive or complex. Get a quote for term-life that will last a set number of years and protect your partner and children during those crucial years that they depend on you. Disability insurance protects your income if you become sick or injured and are unable to work. Your earning ability is one of your biggest assets during this time, and you should protect it. This coverage may be offered through your employer, or you can request a quote for an individual policy.

Invest in Self-Care and Well Being

Mental health is part of self-care and wealth. Most people don’t talk about how financial stress and worry affect their overall health. When you can take care of yourself on all levels, you will feel healthier and wealthier, and happier. But it is not easy. It takes work, effort, awareness, and consciousness to learn how to detach the value in your bank account or financial account from your self-worth and value as a human being. When you feel emotional about your money, investments, or the stock market, learn ways to process them and take care of yourself by hiring licensed professionals and experts to help you.

Money Moves to Make in Your 40’s:

Revisit Your College Savings Goal

As your kids get older and prepare to enter their own journey into adulthood, paying for college is likely a major goal on your list. Consider opening a 529 plan (if you haven’t already) to save for their education. 529 plans offer tax advantages when it comes to saving for college. There are lots of online resources that can help you understand and pick the right plan for you. Visit https://www.savingforcollege.com. This is also a great time to make sure you’re talking to your kids about money. Give them the benefit of a financial education that you may not have had.

Get Aggressive with Retirement Planning

Your 40’s likely mark peak earning years. You’ll want to take advantage of your higher earnings to maximize your retirement savings especially if you weren’t able to save as much in your 20’s and 30’s. Revisit your retirement plan to crunch the numbers so you’ll be clear on what you need to save to reach your goal.

Build More Wealth

You’ve arrived at mid-life probably feeling younger than you are and wondering how the heck that big 4-0 got on your birthday cake. We typically associate being 20 with being free, but I think we’ve got it wrong. There is something incredibly freeing about the wisdom and self-assurance that comes with getting older. You’ve proved yourself. People see you as an adult. Your kids are getting older and your finances are more settled. Now’s the time to kick it up to the next level. Look for ways to build additional wealth. This may mean tapping into your entrepreneurial side to launch the business you’ve dreamed of or buying real estate to increase passive income. Now’s also a great time to find a trusted financial advisor who can help guide your next steps and help you plan the best ways to build your wealth.

Revisit Your Insurance Coverage

Insurance was crucial before, but it’s time to revisit your coverage and make sure you’re protected especially if you decide to launch a business or buy additional real estate. This is also where a financial advisor can help you analyze your coverage needs and find the policies that will work for you.

Consider Estate Planning

Estate planning (think wills, trusts, power of attorney) isn’t the most fun / exciting topic. It involves imagining your gone and creating a plan for the loved ones you leave behind. It is also often overlooked by adults in their younger years. It’s easy to assume estate planning is something the wealthy need to do. It really comes down to whether you want to decide how your life savings will be managed or if you want a court to decide. It’s also crucial for parents with children who are minors to select a guardian and have those uncomfortable conversations with their family members about who would care for the children if the worst were to happen. It’s also a good time to visit this topic with your own aging parents and make sure they have the proper documents and plans in place.

 

Whether you’re in your 20’s, 30’s or 40’s, it can be easy to put off planning your finances especially in the middle of a pandemic. Most of us are busy, and it’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll have time to work on a goal in the future. Commit to setting aside one hour each week or even each month to have a money date and review your finances. Don’t let yourself reach a milestone birthday (30, 40) and regret not being farther ahead. Follow these money moves now to seize control of your financial future.

The post Money Moves to Make in Your 20s, 30s, and 40s appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Original Source: blog.mint.com

Whether you want to free yourself from the personal and financial restrictions of employment or you just want to supplement your salary with some extra spending money, working for yourself or starting and growing a business has never been easier — and there’s never been a greater choice of roles to choose from.

Below are several incredible freelance and small business opportunities in a variety of different industries you can start working on today.

Home & Remote Business Opportunities

What’s not to love about working from home? Zero commute, complete kitchen facilities, and maybe even the ability to work in your pajamas.

Here are some great business opportunities that will allow you to work from the comfort of home:

1. Professional Consulting

Those with an enviable track record in setting up or helping to grow businesses have easily-transferable skills they can use to make money from home.

Market yourself as a professional consultant who assists others in launching and building successful businesses through online sites like Clarity. Alternatively, you could also offer (and charge more for) in-person consultations, either going out to visit clients on their turf, or having them come to your home office (although you should probably get changed out of those PJs first).

2. Home-Based Child Care

Childcare is and always will be essential to many families, and daycare centers don’t come cheap. If you’re already spending the day keeping a watchful eye over your own little ones, why not pocket a little extra cash by undercutting the “pros” and providing childcare to friends and neighbors, too?

3. Tutoring

What in-demand skills do you have that you can teach to others? Business skills like consultancy are generally the most profitable, as you can charge much more for your time — but it’s usually harder to find clients, and many of your bookings will be one-off training sessions.

Other skills, from teaching languages to music to helping with reading or writing, are all easy to turn into businesses — and they can be reasonably lucrative and hugely rewarding, too.

What you can charge will depend upon your experience, location, and vocation you’re teaching; just don’t expect to make your millions this way. That said, most of your customers will visit on a recurring basis, so tutoring should at least provide you with a regular, reliable income.

4. Elder Care

Like childcare, care for the elderly is an essential service that will always be in demand. What’s more, those that need it often do better when able to remain in their own homes instead of moving into assisted living.

While certain elements of care require medical qualifications, helping clients with day-to-day tasks like shopping, cleaning, and cooking do not.

5. Private Chef

If you’re skilled in the kitchen but don’t fancy the long hours and stressful environment that’s synonymous with full-time restaurant work, you might want to consider working as a private chef instead.

Exactly what this entails will vary from job to job, but expect to mainly be dishing up quality cuisine to groups of friends and family at dinner parties. Just bear in mind that you might need to employ waitstaff to serve food and drinks and look after guests.

6. Driving

The gig economy isn’t for everyone, but for the right person, driving for Uber or Lyft are great ways to make a little cash. You can choose the hours you drive, and the app will automatically connect you to clients who need a ride. 

7. Thrifting

Have you ever seen a piece of furniture on Craigslist that has potential if someone would just give it a little TLC? If you are particularly handy, you could go to thrift shops and garage sales, pick up items at low prices, refurbish them, and turn them around for a higher price.

This concept doesn’t just apply to furniture, either. If you have a good eye, you could scout for collectibles, oddities, and more. Auction sites like eBay can connect you with a wide audience looking for your items.

8. Makeup & Hair Styling

Proms, weddings, and other special occasions compel people to look their best. You can become an independent stylist and have people come to your home studio, or you can make house calls or work on-location. Eventually, you might consider opening up a salon or spa, but many independent artists love the flexibility of working from home and/or being mobile.

9. Pet Sitting

Just like in-home child care, pet sitting is an industry that you can tap into to make extra money. Many folks want the peace of mind knowing that someone is there for their fur baby, ensuring they’re comfortable and safe while they’re gone. Sites such as care.com help put potential clients in front of pet sitters in their local area.

10. Airbnb

If you have an extra room, casita, or property, you can use it to earn money when you sign up as an Airbnb host. You can list your space for free, and Airbnb does all the heavy lifting for you, making it easy to attract and host travelers. You can charge what you want, and Airbnb even protects you with property damage and accident insurance.

Online Business Opportunities

Online business opportunities also afford you all the benefits of working from home, but even better, many of them allow you to work from absolutely anywhere (which has never been easier or more fun, thanks to the ever-growing coworking industry).

Tommy Landry of Return on Now, explains this transformation. “One of the major changes to ‘how we work’ over the past decade is the massive shift toward free agency, i.e. freelancing, consulting, or running solopreneur-types of businesses,” he says. “While many older workers were taught to pursue security in the form of a full-time job, that is no longer the only way to make a living. In fact, it has become super easy to make the leap out to independence heading into 2019. You could consult or freelance in a number of areas from copywriting to marketing strategy, or run your own ecommerce business from your home.”

He also advises that no matter which path you choose, the smart way to “escape” your full-time job is to start making this transition while you’re still working. “I started my own business as a side gig back in 2009, while running marketing teams for local high tech companies,” he explains. “It took 2.5 years to build up the business enough to sustain a living income, and I went full-time in 2012. I’m living proof … if you want to run solo, you can do it with the right business model, a sound exit strategy, and a lot of hard work.”

11. Gig Work

Want a way to start making money in minutes? Sites like Upwork, Freelancer,  and People Per Hour allow you to do just that.

Another valuable (but often overlooked) resource for finding freelance work is Craigslist. “Craigslist has a whole section devoted to Gigs you can join to make additional money,” says Carl Sednaoui, Director of Marketing at MailCharts.

Just bear in mind that these jobs aren’t scalable. What they are, however, is a great way to make a little extra pocket money by outsourcing your skills on your own terms.

Some sites are better than others — in terms of both opportunities and pay — so you should do your research to find the best match for your skills, abilities, and expectations.

It’s also well worth considering some sound advice from Foundr‘s Jeremy Noronha. “Go where your customers are, not where your competition is,” he advises. “Many freelancers who get started tend to hang out in the online communities with their peers and not their potential clients. The best way to develop and build the right relationships is to provide value in all the places your ideal clients spend their time.”

Some skills are more in demand than others. The rarer the skill (and the better you are at it), the more you can expect to earn. 

12. Web Design

It can be tough to find great web designers and developers, and that’s why freelance web designers are highly sought after. As Ashley Faulkes, founder of Mad Lemmings explains, one of the biggest reasons behind this is the fact that the industry is overrun with cheap-yet-underskilled designers and developers.

“Web design and development has gotten a bad rap lately with so many cheap options available, but I still find clients who want a personal and professional touch,” she says. “You can start with the basics, and produce top-notch sites using online tools, or start with WordPress and good themes and page builders. Focus on quality and great communication and you will soon make a name for yourself.”

13. App Development

More than half of all web traffic is mobile. It may be competitive, but if you’ve got the skills, there’s big money to be made either in developing and distributing your own app or developing apps for others.

14. Amazon Selling

While the working conditions of Amazon’s own employees regularly come under fire, there are plenty of ways to make money through Amazon without being on its payroll.

Thanks to services like Amazon Fulfillment, it’s easier than you might think to sell products from home, since Amazon will pick, pack, and deliver your orders for you. The service can even enable you to import and export outside your home country.

Other opportunities include self-publishing ebooks (you can learn more about writing books that sell here) and affiliate marketing, which involves linking to Amazon products from your website, and earning a commission if a link is clicked and a purchase made.

15. Etsy Selling

Etsy is the platform for selling goods such as arts, crafts, jewelry, and much more. Basically, if it’s handmade, vintage, or just a little bit different, Etsy’s the place to find it (and sell it).

16. Course Creation

Sites like Udemy and Coursera allow you to market, sell, and profit from courses you’ve created yourself. Few of the courses are accredited, but that’s reflected in the price students pay.

They’re also far more popular than you might think. “Online courses are huge right now,” says David Hoos, Head of Marketing at The Good marketing agency. “They can be incredibly helpful to develop niche skills and businesses will often use them for professional development purposes. If you have a unique skill that you can organize and share, a course is a great way to do it!”

17. Virtual Assisting

Working as a virtual personal assistant takes minimal skill and is easy to get into, since there are always businesses looking for people to take on day-to-day grunt work without the cost of hiring an assistant in-house.

18. Influencer Marketing on Social Media

This one might sound like wishful thinking, but countless people are making substantial amounts of money simply by having a large and engaged social following.

Sure, it’s not for everyone, and even if it is for you, it takes time to become successful. That said, if you’ve got the right personality and patience, making money using your influence online is a very real possibility.

19. Freelance Writing

With the demand for digital content, you can position yourself in front of clients who need text produced for their websites or other collateral. The most popular freelance opportunities are in:

Content writing – Writing article content to drive traffic.
Copy writing – Writing sales copy to drive conversions and revenue.

In addition, you can even be more specialized within those functions. For example, you could focus on case studies or whitepapers.

Federal Business Opportunities

This might sound surprising in the age of corporate giants, but where possible, the U.S. government supports small businesses by contracting work out to local independents. This means there are always opportunities for the “little guy” to get their foot in the door with the federal government. You can view a forecast of contracting opportunities here.

Meanwhile, common federal business opportunities include:

20. Construction

This could entail constructing new government buildings or updating or maintaining existing buildings. Even simple janitorial work is understandably always in demand.

Opportunities are typically listed on job sites like Indeed and Simply Hired.

21. Security

Security is, understandably, of extreme importance in government buildings. While this will include security measures like cameras and alarms, security personnel are often employed in order to screen visitors and patrol the interior and exterior of buildings at off-hours.

While you can provide security services as a sole contractor, the business is easily scalable by employing and finding work for others.

22. Consultancy

Consultants are experts in a specialist field who are employed to advise those with less knowledge and experience than themselves. Government consultants are no different.

Don’t expect finding work in this area to be easy, however. You’ll need solid proof of your ability to do the job, and you may well be required to have a degree — in some cases, even a master’s or Ph.D.

Other Business Opportunities

If none of the opportunities above sound like something you could leverage, here are a few other lucrative business opportunities that could be the right fit for your skills:

23. Personal Training

Health, fitness, and general wellbeing are big business. That means those with the skills to help others be their best are in high demand. That includes personal trainers, for one.

So how do you get started as a personal trainer?

Personal training is an unregulated industry, but that doesn’t mean your 3-year gym membership qualifies you to help others improve their strength and fitness. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could cause somebody serious injury.

You can read up on reputable personal training courses and what to do once you’re qualified, here.

24. Real Estate

In many states, you can complete the required training, become a licensed agent, and start a new career in just a few weeks or months. While it does require an investment of time, money, and effort, it can be well worth it. You can be your own boss, work a flexible schedule, and have the potential to make a lot of money. While there is no shortage of real estate agents in the industry, there’s still plenty of space for agents who genuinely want to do the best they can for their clients. Learn how to get a real estate license here.

25. Turnkey Businesses

Turnkey businesses offer an ideal startup model for those with limited time or budget, largely because the time investment is minimal.

Examples of turnkey businesses include storage units, laundromats, and automated car washes — basically, turnkey businesses are those that are largely self-sufficient and can almost manage themselves.

26. Trade Work

If you’re skilled in DIY and happy to compete on price while making a name for yourself, you can start leveraging your skills for cash right away.

Don’t know a hammer from a hacksaw? Then enroll in a course and learn. Skilled trades are one of the few industries in which demand outstrips talent. Whether you want to start out on your own, or begin by working for someone else, the pay is good, the work is rewarding, and job security is pretty much guaranteed.

A few trades you might want to consider include:

Carpentry
Plumbing/HVAC
Iron work
Cabinetry
Auto repair
Auto detailing

27. Lead Generation

Almost all B2B companies have a need for leads. What they don’t all have is the time to acquire them.

While there are numerous services offering up automated lead data, the quality of those leads is questionable at best. That means there’s good money to be made sourcing qualified leads for time-strapped, growth-focused companies.

AeroLeads‘ Pushkar Gaikwad has some good advice on how to do this. “Partner with local marketing agencies and provide them with B2B data, prospects and leads, based on their requirements,” he says. “You can gather such data using various free and paid online tools. Later you can start your own lead generation agency, too.”

28. Food or Coffee Truck

Running a restaurant or coffee shop is risky business, primarily because overhead is so high. Traditional brick-and-mortars are not your only option when it comes to managing a food or drink business, however. You can be super-successful for a fraction of the cost with a food or coffee truck.

Izaak Crook of AppInstitute agrees. “Food trucks are a fantastic way to showcase your culinary expertise without the overhead of opening a static restaurant — and what’s more, you can take your food on the road to different events and festivals to raise awareness of your brand,” he explains. “Create your own mobile app for your truck and help to build a loyal customer base through offering a loyalty scheme — and even offer pre-ordering so that punters don’t have to wait out in the cold whilst you prepare their meals!”

The key to any successful small business is knowing exactly who your audience is, how you plan to attract and serve them, and why they should buy from you. Start planning for your business today.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Original Source: blog.hubspot.com

Launched in 2012, YourStory's Book Review section features over 250 titles on creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital transformation. See also our related columns The Turning Point, Techie Tuesdays, and Storybites.

Transformations in the worlds of money and technology are converging, as described in the book by Sanjay Phadke, Fintech Future: The Digital DNA of Finance.

The material is spread across 17 chapters, and makes for an informative read for beginners new to this field. However, the choice of font could do with considerable improvement, and there are several typos; more figures would have been a welcome addition to improve readability as well.

Sanjay Phadke is the Head of Global Platforms and Alliances at Vayana Network. He describes himself as a “tinkerer (almost) and teacher (hopefully)”. He graduated from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies and Sardar Patel College Of Engineering.

Here are my takeaways from the 190-page book, summarised as well in Table 1. See also my reviews of the related books Prediction Machines; Seeing Digital; A Human's Guide to Machine Intelligence; Machine, Platform, Crowd; and The AI Advantage.

T

Table 1: Fintech transformations (image credit: YourStory)

Evolution of money

The invention of language and money are key contributions to the evolution of society, Sanjay begins. Money acts as a bridge from past to present and future. It is a form of payment and trust, and even a way to acquire more money through financial investment.

Money is a means of exchange and way of comparing the worth of different assets and services. It has deterministic, probabilistic, and even emotional connotations. Evolving from shells to coins and banknotes, currency and its governance are being transformed in the digital era.

While coins did not need numbering, banknotes do. Banknotes today account for only five percent of monies globally, Sanjay explains; the rest is stored in digital or ‘dematerialised’ form.

“Digital money is data,” the author observes, it is a string of characters, and does not derive trust from its physical form any more. New risks arise, of course. “No digital property can be guaranteed to be foolproof from digital theft,” he cautions.

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Key players

Banks, big tech giants, and fintech startups are the three categories of players in today’s financial scenario, Sanjay explains. The industry is tightly regulated, so governments and exchanges play a key role as well.

There are significant differences in the mindset and operations of banks and tech-led firms. Tech DNA is about rapid change, agile development, and learning quickly from mistakes to develop easy-to-use offerings. Bank DNA is about being cautious, paranoid, careful in experimentation, and slow change.

One chapter traces the evolution of the “finscape” in the US, China, and India. The US already had a mature system in place in the pre-digital era, with social security numbers, credit cards, and credit bureaus. “China and India, in contrast, had vastly underdeveloped ecosystems,” Sanjay observes.

The US tech players have now set high expectations for engagement among the younger generation of mobile-connected always-on users around the world. “Silicon Valley is coming,” in the words of Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan.

The market value of US tech giants like Apple and Amazon is around half of India’s GDP, and they are entering the world of finance along with Google and Facebook as well, Sanjay explains.

Fintech 1.0

Mobile payments and digital-only banks are some forms of Fintech 1.0, Sanjay explains. Alibaba’s Ant Financial set up MyBank as a digital-only bank to offer loans to small businesses in just minutes. It draws on transactional and social media data, fed into AI scoring models.

Neo-banks do not have a banking license but partner with banks to offer banking services. Some existing banks have also rolled out their own digital-only banks, such as Fidor by JPMorgan Chase and Kotak’s 811.

Payment via QR codes has accelerated mobile payments even more. IoT and the emergence of 5G will speed up the momentum further. IoT sensors in vehicles are being used by automobile insurance firms; voice-based assistants and face-recognition technologies are other trends to watch in fintech.

Paypal was one of the first “native-Internet” fintechs. Microsoft is more likely to be a collaborator with banks than a competitor. Softbank is another player to watch, thanks to its investments in fintech startups, the author writes. Fintechs in other countries include Adyen (Netherlands) and Klarna (Sweden).

China has a highly-innovative landscape at scale, as seen in Alibaba’s Alipay, Yue Bao (money-market fund), and Sesame Credit (social credit rating). Ant Financial is the first of the “super fintechs," according to Sanjay. (See also my reviews of the related books Tech Titans of China, China's Mobile Economy, and AliBaba.)

There are new active players in wealth management, consumer loans and insurance. Alibaba also expanded into finance for logistics services, a move copied by other players around the world. Thanks to not having legacy baggage, China has created a “futuristic fintech ecosystem,” Sanjay explains. However, it is siloed into the BAT trio worlds.

India has emerged as a laboratory for global big-tech players, along with local firms like HDFC Bank and Bajaj Finance. Among startups, the book focuses largely on Paytm and not the broader spectrum of players. Paytm’s fortunes were boosted by events like demonetisation, and also received India’s first investment by Warren Buffet.

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Fintech 2.0

The world is awash with money, yet few get loans, the author laments. Cautious banks need collaterals, guarantors, or credit history data based on past records. Unfortunately, the aspirational needs of low-income or poor people cannot be fulfilled in such a system, even though India has 120,000 bank branches – the highest number in the world.

“The poor pay the highest for a loan and gets next to nothing on deposits,” Sanjay observes. Even remittances of foreign labourers are charged relatively high service fees.

Frauds and false identities have plagued the banking system. Digital transformation can help in this regard, but there are also risks regarding theft of data, money and reputation, the author cautions.

India’s larger fintech moves have been cautious and led largely by the government, as seen by inter-connected developments in the B2C and B2B sectors like biometric UID, UPI (Unified Payment Interface), and GST. The author identifies other developments as well, such as DEPA (Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture), PCR (Public Credit Registry), and AA (Account Aggregator).

Aadhaar helped Jio acquire a million customers a day, and reduced activation times. Jio is forging alliances with a range of tech giants, Sanjay observes. Digital technology and finance innovations helped spur the Chinese economy and created a vast pool of SMEs; it is hoped that a similar boom can take place in India as well.

The API architecture is spurring a range of innovations on top of existing digital infrastructure, driven by the talent of entrepreneurs. Hopefully, these combined developments can make access to capital easier and more automated, given the rapid growth of data communications in India.

The success of emerging economies like India depends on democratising access to capital as raw material for the needy, the author emphasises.

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Fintech 3.0

The author charts a range of technologies in the next wave of fintech, clustered as the new ABC: AI, algorithms, autonomous operation; big data, blockchain, bitcoin; and cloud, crypto, cybersecurity. Other trends to watch are quantum computing, which can also pose risks to security via the ability to crack codes.

Continuous feeds of data and powerful algorithms can improve automation and robustness of financial processes at scale. For example, they can improve assessment of ability and willingness to pay by better understanding social psychology (though overcoming bias will be a challenge). Spotting anomalies and outliers can improve fraud detection defences.

Bitcoin regulations vary around the world, but some blockchain features are being implemented. Hybrid systems may emerge in such a context, the author observes.

Platformisation combined with AI is a powerful combination. But countries have adopted varying positions on cloud infrastructure and data sovereignty as well (eg. EU’s GDPR), and trade wars have triggered off new moves in geopolitics.

If all goes well, however, the dream of making financial security and prosperity for all can become a reality when arteries of finance become unclogged, the author sums up. Innovation, agility and scale can be enhanced through financial ecosystem partnerships and progressive regulation.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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Original Source: yourstory.com

Kali Roberge headshotCourtesy Kali Roberge

 

My parents taught me great savings skills growing up, and I didn’t take on any debt until I bought my first home at age 30.
But I realized I didn’t learn about investing from them, because they never really had to invest. 
So I set out to learn, blogging about my experience along the way, and settled on a passive investment strategy and a Roth IRA to start.
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I was lucky to grow up with parents who constantly talked about the importance of saving money. Their advice helped me get started on the right financial foot as an adult.

They instilled in me the belief that I should never spend money I didn’t have, something I took so seriously that I managed to live debt-free until the age of 30 (when I took out a mortgage to buy a house).See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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