The border between financial institutions and fintech startups is similar to the precise nature of how prescription drugs target proteins, IBM (NYSE: IBM) Chief Technology Officer Tom Eck said Tuesday at the 2018 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards.
“The fintechs are the small molecule drugs and the large financial institutions are the big proteins,” Eck said. “We need to increase the likelihood they’re going to find each other and ... specifically make a complementary pair.”
IBM has relationships with nearly every financial institution globally, said Eck, who leads the IBM Cloud for Financial Services. That positions the venerable tech company to be a matchmaker between fintech offerings and financial sector needs, he said.
Some of the advice Eck shared for fintech players in search of business included the following:
- “Take a shot and miss. That’s better than taking no shot. If you do nothing, you learn nothing.”
- Remove friction. Rather than presenting an API, present a solution, Eck said: “Most people don’t want to buy technology. They want help with solutions. Go in with a very concrete business case you can help solve.”
- The problems addressed in fintech generally fall into one of two camps, Eck said: cost-cutting or opening up new revenue channels.
- “You basically need to lead the client to the water that you want them to drink out of,” Eck said. “From the distance, they don’t know if that water is good for them.”
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IBM Chief Technology Officer Tom Eck speaks at the Benzinga Fintech Awards on May 15, 2018 in New York City. Photo by Mandar Parab.
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