Category Archives: Entrepreneurs and Start-ups

This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From Kobe

LA Times | Jan 27, 2020

Kobe Bryant image - This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From KobeKobe Bryant, the NBA MVP who had a 20-year career with the Lakers, was killed Sunday when the helicopter he was traveling in crashed and burst into flames in the hills above Calabasas. His daughter Gianna, 13, was also on board and died along with seven others.

For live updates and remembrance --> here

 

Inc. | Sonia Thompson | Dec 13, 2018

This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From Kobe Bryant

A few months ago, Kobe Bryant released his book, The Mamba Mentality. I've always admired his work ethic that led to his numerous accomplishments, so I was eager to dive into the text.

See:  Advancing Competition in a Changing Marketplace

During Bryant's famed 20-year basketball career with the Los Angeles Lakers, he racked up five NBA championships, two NBA finals MVP awards, and two Olympic gold medals. He's also the third-highest all-time career regular season scorer for the league.

The lessons Bryant laid out in his book are gold for entrepreneurs who want to build a legacy of greatness in their work. Here are five important lessons from Kobe's Mamba Mentality every business leader should adopt.

1. Obsession is not-optional.

Jeff Bezos often muses about how customer obsession has been key to Amazon's growth. Dropbox CEO Drew Houston talks about how critical it is to be obsessed with solving a problem that matters to you. And Kobe Bryant wrote about how his obsession with both winning and dominating, fueled him:

"If you want to be great in a particular area, you have to obsess over it. A lot of people say they want to be great, but they're not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve greatness. They have other concerns, whether important or not, and they spread themselves out."

You've got to be obsessed too, if you want to build a business that has a lasting impact. It's best when your obsession over is directly linked to your company's core mission.

2. Missed shots are necessary.

Far too many business leaders stifle their growth and potential because they let fear stand in the way of taking actions that haven't been 100 percent proven to deliver results. Talk to any transformational leader, and they'll tell you that failure is something you'll need to get comfortable with if you want to be great. Bryant is no different:

"If I wanted to implement something new into my game, I'd see it and try incorporating it immediately. I wasn't scared of missing, looking bad, or being embarrassed. That's because I always kept the end result, the long game, in my mind. I always focused on the fact that I had to try something to get it, and once I got it, I'd have another tool in my arsenal. If the price was a lot of work and a few missed shots, I was OK with that."

Feel your fear, but don't ever let it stop you from seizing opportunities.

3. Methodically eliminate your holes.

Kobe Bryant focused relentlessly on mastering every aspect of basketball. He meticulously focused on even the smallest of details, because he knew the compound effort of small improvements would allow him to dominate no matter the circumstances.

He noted, "I built my game to have no holes."

You are the architect of your business. With time and a clear plan of action, you can eliminate any weak points that diminish the experience you deliver to your customers.

See:  Take your company to the next level. Apply for FFCON20 Fintech Draft competitions

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From Kobe The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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On the second anniversary of open banking in the UK, what’s next?

Verdict | Ellen Daniel | Jan 13, 2020

open banking image2 - This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From KobeOpen banking was first launched in January 2018 and received much attention from the financial community as the potential bringer of fintech disruption.

The regulations require UK-regulated banks to share their customers’ financial data (with permission) with third party providers through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) in order to make it easier for customers to access financial services and for TPPs to develop new products.

Today marks open banking’s second anniversary and while it has impacted the financial landscape, prompting incumbent banks to adapt to innovation and opening up new opportunities in terms of consumer experience, some have argued that the regulation is yet to live up to expectations.

See:  Open Banking in the UK: what’s happened so far

Banks had until March 2019 to establish a “sandbox” environment that third party providers could access and use to test products and until June to make their APIs available to third parties, but many European banks have not adequately met key deadlines, stalling innovation. Although many traditional banks are now adhering to open banking regulations, more could be done to ensure that they also benefit from the new landscape in terms of their digital services.

It can be argued that this, along with a lack of awareness, has meant that many are yet to reap the benefits of open banking. According to predictions by PWC, 64% of adults will use open banking technology in some way by 2022, but YouGov research from 2018 indicated that 72% of adults had not heard of open banking.

This is also the case for many businesses, with new research from the Federation of Small Businesses finding that 65% of small firms would not share their banking data with other financial services providers electronically, with the majority those not currently sharing their data “wary” about doing so in the future.

Open banking anniversary: “Meaningful change takes time”

Tim Waller, partner at law firm TLT LLP explains that one of the results of open banking has been a decline in account switching:

“Commentators have recently observed a decline in the number of banks incentivising current account switching, and have argued that one of the effects of open banking has been to make it less necessary to switch personal current accounts. These same commentators argue that the clearing banks are now working harder than ever to interact with customers through new digital channels that can ‘talk to’ their traditional current accounts.

“In addition, these new digital wrappers are only going to become faster and more powerful as 5G is rolled out in the UK over the course of 2020, which is good news for customers and the development of open banking in traditional banks, challenger banks and fintechs alike.

“A real difference in how businesses are dealing with open banking”

See: 

 

Martin Buhr, CEO and Founder at Tyk, believes that open banking will open up more opportunities for smaller organisations to take on larger financial institutions:

“Open banking not only opens up opportunities for faster, better and more useful banking for existing and challenger banks, but also opens up a wide field of highly-specialised single-service opportunities to innovate beyond the scope of traditional banking services. By finally adopting service-oriented and API-first principles, banking has properly joined the information age.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From Kobe The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Wealthsimple launches its first spending account

Wealthsimple | Press Release | Jan 21, 2020

wealthsimple account - This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From KobeWealthsimple Cash offers 2.4% interest rate and lets Canadians save and spend through a mobile app and metal card

TORONTO, Jan. 21, 2020 /CNW/ - Wealthsimple has launched its first hybrid saving and spending product: Wealthsimple Cash. The new account offers users the ability to save and spend with one of Canada's highest non-promotional interest rates of 2.4% - in addition to a host of features that help people earn more on every dollar in their Cash account.

Wealthsimple Cash combines a saving and spending account to give Canadians the power to have both an account that allows for everyday purchases while also providing a safe place to grow their money. Cash clients will benefit from no monthly account fees, no low balance fees, no foreign transaction fees worldwide, and ATM fee reimbursements - all through a sleek, metal card designed to make spending responsibly easy.

"Canadians are used to the status quo when it comes to everyday banking - multiple accounts, high fees and low interest," said Michael Katchen, CEO and co-founder, Wealthsimple. "With Wealthsimple Cash, users can enjoy the power of a high interest savings account for all of their day-to-day spending needs. And they can do so while enjoying the full benefits of a Wealthsimple account: simple, affordable and transparent."

Today, one million Canadians use Wealthsimple products for investing, saving, trading, tax filing, and now spending. The launch of Wealthsimple Cash brings the company one step closer to being its clients' primary financial relationship through a more holistic, end to end financial experience.

See:  Wealthsimple to spin out advisory service into separate company

Wealthsimple Cash will have the following features:

  • 2.4% interest rate (non-promotional)
  • No monthly account fees
  • No low balance fees or account minimums
  • No exchange fees on foreign currency transactions worldwide
  • ATM fee reimbursements at Visa ATMs in Canada
  • Tungsten metal Wealthsimple Cash card
  • Direct deposits
  • Bill pay
  • Apple Pay and Google Pay support

Canadians can open a Wealthsimple Cash account today to start saving and be first to access spending features as they are rolled out over the coming months, including the Wealthsimple Cash card.

View original release:  here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From Kobe The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Manager and machine: The new leadership equation

McKinsey & Company | By Martin Dewhurst and Paul Willmott | Sep 2014

Man vs machine - This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From KobeAs artificial intelligence takes hold, what will it take to be an effective executive?

What would it take for algorithms to take over the C-suite? And what will be senior leaders’ most important contributions if they do? Our answers to these admittedly speculative questions rest on our work with senior leaders in a range of industries, particularly those on the vanguard of the big data and advanced-analytics revolution. We have also worked extensively alongside executives who have been experimenting most actively with opening up their companies and decision-making processes through crowdsourcing and social platforms within and across organizational boundaries.

See:  The Enterprise Automation Imperative—Why Modern Societies Will Need All the Productivity They Can Get

Our argument is simple: the advances of brilliant machines will astound us, but they will transform the lives of senior executives only if managerial advances enable them to. There’s still a great deal of work to be done to create data sets worthy of the most intelligent machines and their burgeoning decision-making potential. On top of that, there’s a need for senior leaders to “let go” in ways that run counter to a century of organizational development.

The contrast with the command-and-control era—when holding information close was a source of power, and information moved in one direction only, up the corporate hierarchy—could not be starker. Uncomfortable as this new world may be, the costs of the status quo are large and growing: information hoarders will slow the pace of their organizations and forsake the power of artificial intelligence while competitors exploit it.

The Human Edge

If senior leaders successfully fuel the insights of increasingly brilliant machines and devolve decision-making authority up and down the line, what will be left for top management to do?

Asking questions:  Asking the right questions of the right people at the right times is a skill set computers lack and may never acquire. Algorithms and artificial intelligence may broaden this kind of analytical complexity beyond the financial world, to a whole new set of decision areas—again placing a premium on the tough questions senior leaders can ask. Penetrating this new world of analytical complexity is likely to be difficult, and an increasingly important role for senior executives may be establishing a set of small, often improvisatory, experiments to get a better handle on the implications of emerging insights and decision rules, as well as their own managerial styles.

Attacking Exceptions:  Senior leaders will have to draw on a mixture of insight—examining exceptions to see if they require interventions, such as new credit limits for a big customer or an opportunity to start bundling a new service with an existing product—and inspiration, as leaders galvanize the organization to respond quickly and work in new ways. Exceptions may pave the way for innovation too, something we already see as leading-edge retailers and financial-services firms mine large sets of customer data.

Tolerating ambiguity:  While algorithms and supercomputers are designed to seek answers, they are likely to be most definitive on relatively small questions. The bigger and broader the inquiry, the more likely that human synthesis will be central to problem solving, because machines, though they learn rapidly, provide many pieces without assembling the puzzle. That process of assembly and synthesis can be messy and slow, placing a fresh premium on the senior leaders’ ability to tolerate ambiguity.

See: 

Employing ‘soft’ skills:  Humans have and will continue to have a strong comparative advantage when it comes to inspiring the troops, empathizing with customers, developing talent, and the like. Sometimes, machines will provide invaluable input, as Laszlo Bock at Google has famously shown in a wide range of human-resource data-analytics efforts. But translating this insight into messages that resonate with organizations will require a human touch. No computer will ever manage by walking around. And no effective executive will try to galvanize action by saying, “we’re doing this because an algorithm told us to.”

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From Kobe The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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FT Partners Report (Jan 2020): The Rise of Challenger Banks: Are the Apps Taking Over?

FT Partners | Jan 2020

FTP rise of challenger banks research - This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From KobeExecutive Summary:

The banking sector is experiencing a major shift globally, as Challenger Banks are becoming increasingly formidable competitors to traditional banks and have begun to capture significant market share. Furthermore, the lines between banks and other consumer financial services providers are blurring, with several alternative lenders and robo-advisors beginning to offer banking products to their customers. E-commerce / internet giants are also jumping into the fray with Google and Amazon, among others, beginning to offer banking products. In response to the emergence of Challenger Banks, a number of incumbent banks have launched their own FinTech brands, and traditional financial institutions will likely turn to FinTech solution providers in order to defend their turfs.

 

Download this Jan 2020 FT Partners Fintech research (216 page PDF) -> Now

 


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From Kobe The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Open Banking In Canada: Navigating The Future Of Money

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP | Stephen J. Redican, Robert Dawkins, Ross McGowan and Alexandra Nicol | Jan 9, 2020
Open Banking in Canada - This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From KobeThe Canadian financial services industry is at the threshold of change. Regulatory overhaul, the ubiquity of online services, and technological innovation and disruption will affect all players—from banks to FinTech start-ups.

Open banking will introduce new opportunities and business models for the financial services industry and new services from FinTech entrants to the market—but these opportunities come with unprecedented risks and operational requirements for a banking system that prides itself on stability. Given Canada's unique financial system and constitutional structure, the implementation of open banking won't look the same as it has in the U.K., the EU or Australia, where its introduction is already underway.

See:  Why Canada must be open to open banking

We spoke with a diverse group of leaders from across the Canadian financial services industry to understand open banking's current and emerging issues: What do you see changing? How will your organizations fit into the new landscape? What might a made-in-Canada model of open banking look like for consumers and industry?

Roundtable Participants

Anne Butler
Chief Legal Officer and Head of Policy and Research, Payments Canada
"If there isn't trust in the security and integrity of the system, especially among consumers, open banking will not succeed."

Lisa Ford
Senior Counsel, RBC Law Group, Enterprise Payments and Open Banking
"Open banking has existed in some form since the turn of the century and now technology and other changes are fuelling a more public debate."

Andrew Boyajian
Head of Banking, North America, Transferwise
"A concept like, "We're a known bank, we've been around for hundreds of years and therefore we're better equipped," doesn't necessarily make sense. Instead, it comes down to the contents and adherence to risk policies, and the importance that institutions give to cybersecurity."

Oscar Roque
AVP, Innovation, Research & Emerging Solutions, Interac Corp.
"...it's not just about the security of the technology, but also governance structure, accreditation, and making sure that the proper controls are in place so that it's not just anybody accessing that system."

Tanya Postlewaite
VP Compliance and Governance, Corporate Secretary, Chief Compliance Officer and CAMLO, Concentra
"We hope open banking will bring FinTechs into the same realm of regulation as other financial institutions, to ensure everyone is operating on the same playing field and that the integrity of the entire system is protected."

Andrew Boyajian, TransferWise

Andrew Boyajian is the Head of Banking, North America, for TransferWise, an international money transfer service headquartered in the U.K.

For a FinTech like TransferWise to grow in the Canadian market, we needed to address both operational and regulatory issues. From our experience in other markets, we find Canadian payments infrastructure can be a bit guarded. And this is a challenge not only to us, but to the entire FinTech ecosystem. As an example, in Canada only a select group of financial institutions can participate in payment systems. But Canada also goes one step further. To be a direct clearer, the current rules require financial institutions to handle a specified percentage of the gross payment volume in Canada. While this is slated to change, it can limit the system to a few big banks and financial institutions. For a company whose primary role is to provide payment services to customers, this is a challenge. First, we need to find a bank that's willing to actually onboard us as a customer. And second, we're going to rely on that banking relationship as part of our business continuity.

See:  Big Tech takes aim at the low-profit retail-banking industry

Fortunately, we've seen some progress overseas with central banks becoming more open to including non-traditional financial institutions in payment systems. TransferWise was one of the first non-banks in the U.K. to hold a settlement account with the Bank of England, which supported our direct participation in the Faster Payments Service. And more recently we learned that the Bank of England is considering even broader access rights for non-banks, in terms of holding deposits. We're seeing some progress in Canada, too, where Payments Canada is considering roles like associate memberships in the payment schemes, including the proposed real time rail. All of this movement is good, but until it's a reality there is an over-reliance on financial institutions to properly support FinTechs and their customers.

On the regulatory side, some laws and regulations are antiquated. In general, frameworks are written with the idea that businesses are physically present, with face-to-face settings for their customers. Unfortunately, we don't always see policymakers thinking about how to modernize these regimes for digital companies. But when they do look to modernize frameworks, it's important that they do so in a way that is technology agnostic. So, instead of references to specific file types, ".pdfs" as an example, we encourage policymakers and regulators to think about principles that transcend today's technology to future-proof them as much as possible.

One example of regulation that is already changing for the better is the move to safeguard customer funds held by payment service providers. It's a protection that doesn't currently exist for Canadian consumers. If you hold a balance with a FinTech, there isn't a live regulatory framework to ensure that the balance is protected, set aside, and guaranteed for the consumer. It's in a similar vein to CDIC or provincial schemes to protect deposits at financial institutions. Fortunately, the Department of Finance, as part of their overhaul of the retail payment system, saw this gap and is taking steps to put in place safeguarding methodology for Canadian consumers. It will mean protection and transparency for consumers, so they can know they're getting the same level of service from FinTech providers as they are with banks.

Often banks or regulators may feel that money transmitters, payment service providers, or FinTechs pose a higher risk for money laundering. But if we think about the topics of money laundering or financing of terrorism, those can occur through any channels — whether it's a FinTech or a bank. So, we don't think the argument of higher AML risks is a reason to exclude FinTechs from direct access to payment systems. The challenges in addressing AML are the same for FinTechs as for banks — laws do not really differentiate between the type of provider.

See: Inflection point:Seven transformative shifts in US retail banking

We can see more validity in the argument that keeping a smaller number of entities with that clearing access could promote stability. Generally, a regulator should be thinking about sound capitalization or business models and then the operational risk policies that entities have. Those concepts are broad and universally applicable. If one institution or entity is capable of meeting them in the same fashion that a defined depository financial institution is, we really don't see the difference and need to create a division in access rights between the two.

In the U.K., while TransferWise has been in a position where we have advised policy makers relating to the implementation of open banking deriving from PSD2, we have instead focused more on transparency in fees. That said, we can certainly see areas where there are benefits. For example, with any payment method other than payment cards — like direct debit — there is quite a bit of information that could be obtained about a customer to help inform a merchant whether or not those funds are actually going to settle, as well as the overall risk profile of the individual with whom they're engaged in business. One of the benefits that I can see in open banking is the ability for consumers to share that information in a standardized way.

Some technology already exists through a screen-scraping service, where a consumer might choose to enter an online bank ID and password in a third-party application. That application essentially logs in to that customer's online bank account and scrapes the screen to obtain this data and then provides that data back to a platform. But that's brittle. If a bank decides to change its interface or implement two-factor authentication, for example, that could easily break the service. Also, depending on the bank, that could be a violation of the terms of use for the account because the account owner has granted access or authorization to a third party. Open banking can be a way to simplify these protocols and allow that same data set to be universally applied. And, more importantly, it gives consumers an active role in deciding with whom and how to share that information.

In today's world, where digital information is increasingly being passed through digital channels, cybersecurity is an area that we need to deal with. And the payments industry saw that with payment cards — as things began to move from point-of-sale to card-not-present, the idea of security and how these payment instruments are being authenticated and validated became important. It's a matter of the market adapting to understand how data is being stored and transmitted, identifying where the vulnerabilities are, and knowing that responsibility is not housed within any particular provider or role in the payment chain. Instead, it's universal.

See: How Jack Ma’s $290b SME credit engine is changing Chinese banking

Whether the industry is using cloud services or their own infrastructure, they're all susceptible to possible attacks by any type of bad actor. That's not something that's exclusive to a FinTech. So, all entities need to have robust plans for fraud, cybersecurity, and data protection. Meanwhile, regulators should understand that these aren't always challenges defined by entity type, but rather by entity preparedness. A concept like, "We're a known bank, we've been around for hundreds of years and therefore we're better equipped," doesn't necessarily make sense. Instead, it comes down to the contents and adherence to risk policies, and the importance that institutions give to cybersecurity.

Continue to the full article --> here


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From Kobe The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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With Plaid Acquisition, Visa Makes a Big Play for the ‘Plumbing’ That Connects the Fintech World

Fortune | Rey Mashayekhi | Jan 14, 2020

Visa acquires plaid - This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From KobeIn late 2018, payments giants Visa and Mastercard both invested in fintech startup Plaid through a $250 million funding round that valued San Francisco-based firm at an impressive $2.65 billion.

Described as “strategic investments,” the two financial services heavyweights sought not only to provide Plaid with financial backing, but also to leverage the fintech firm’s sprawling technological capabilities to improve their own services.

See: Visa R&D Arm Develops a Blockchain System That Could Replace Financial Data Aggregators

“We’re really excited about working with [Plaid] to enhance payment experiences globally,”

Bill Sheedy, executive vice president of Visa’s strategy group, told Fortune at the time.

With Plaid’s APIs (application programming interfaces), Visa could potentially improve the customer experience via everything from fraud detection to real-time account balance verification—services that “reduce the friction around financial transactions,” as Sheedy put it.

A little over a year later, Visa has decided to come back for the whole thing.

Whether it beat its great rival Mastercard to the punch, or saw a deal that its East Coast rival did not see, is as yet unclear. But on Monday, Visa announced that it has agreed to acquire a 100% stake in Plaid in a deal valued at a whopping $5.3 billion (twice the firm’s late-2018 private valuation).

The transaction sees Visa snap up one of the more impressive growth stories in the ever-expanding realm of financial technology. Since launching in 2013, Plaid has made itself an indispensable piece of the fintech ecosystem—a company with the technological capabilities to connect one in four people with a U.S. bank account to thousands of apps and services, from Venmo to Robinhood, from Chime to Acorns.

Plaid likes to describe itself as the “plumbing” that makes the increasingly tech-enabled financial services world go round, a claim justified by the company’s already sizable reach. Given the eye-watering sum that Visa is prepared to fork over—not to mention the bullish noises coming out of the company’s C-suite on Monday afternoon—

it’s clear that the payments behemoth believes it is picking up an asset that will help it “capitalize on the fintech-driven evolution,” as Visa CEO Al Kelly put it.

“Fintechs are clearly reshaping financial services, and Plaid is unquestionably the leader in this space,” Visa president Ryan McInerney told Fortune on Monday.

The deal is about expanding Visa’s services beyond its bread-and-butter, debit and credit card solutions and into a “broader set of money-movement services,” as McInerney described it.

See:  Visa Makes Its Second Investment Into a Crypto Startup

While Visa may have 3.4 billion debit card holders globally, the acquisition of Plaid—a company that holds the keys to countless fintech services that promise to increasingly shift online the way that people move and spend their money—provides the credit card giant with access to “new products and services in a higher-growth market than we are in today,” McInerney said.

According to EY, 75% of the global consumers accessed a fintech application for money transfers and payments last year, compared to only 18% in 2015. “It’s something that positions Visa for the next decade and beyond,” McInerney added.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - This is How You Achieve Greatness. 5 Essential Lessons From Kobe The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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