Tell me a little about your career and yourself.
In 2007, I completed my bachelor degree course of the University of Warwick in Economics. After a year, I took the Master’s degree in Mathematical Finance at the Imperial College London. After finishing my education, I held different positions at Deutsche Bank Group in London. Among other things, I managed the team working on strategic transactions in Russia and the CIS. My responsibilities included dealing with issues of public convertible and hybrid instruments by Russian issuers, and provision of private lombard and derivative funding. At that time, I became a CFA Charter holder.
While being a student, I did my internship at Deutsche Bank, where I met Boris Batine. We were on one accord on many things, including business. Working in London – the capital of the world finances, we witnessed a true revolution in financial technologies. After the mind-blowing boost of British Wonga, companies popped up like mushrooms after a spring rain. And this happened not only in lending but also in payment transactions, personal finance management, etc.
It became clear to us that this wave was about to cover the entire world, and it would be a good idea to ride on the wave as an insightful surfer. We had been cherishing our idea for long, and eventually, in 2011 Boris and I registered the company and prepared its launch. In 2012, I quit my job at Deutsche Bank to spend all my time for our project – the online lending service MoneyMan. As soon as in 2013, we founded a fintech company ID Finance in order to cover our international expansion. Currently, ID Finance focuses on credit scoring and data science. Among other things, technologies developed by us are used on lending money online.
The fintech world has become a synonym of not only radical and disruptive changes that re-shape the financial system. It is also a symbol of innovation that leads to evolution -or even revolution- in the financial world. In your opinion, is it true or is it just a bubble waiting for the “big boom”?
Certainly, technologies drastically change the world. FinTech acts as the driving force for transformations both for customers and for companies, changing their relations with the world of finance.
According to the PwC research “Blurred lines: How FinTech is shaping financial services” conducted in March 2016, 83% of respondent companies, representing conventional establishments of the financial services sector, consider that they are under the threat to lose a part of their business, which may be taken over by new rivals – fintech companies. If we look at banks only, this indicator is even more impressive and reaches 95%, claims PwC.
Financial technologies are changing the whole model of conventional intermediary services, making them unnecessary. A special term Uberization (by name of the company disrupting taxi services) appeared to describe this process. In the past, financial sector institutions acted as intermediaries within the financial system, providing various services to clients. Nowadays, fintech companies are successfully taking these functions, using their new business models to introduce innovative technologies.
For example, the AmmoPay project, which automates the most resource-consuming processes of the conventional POS-lending, is a disruptor. That was exactly the project which we presented at the Phoenix FinTech Conference. A service that simplifies purchases in the conventional retail shops both for buyers and for sellers. In a few words, any buyer can apply -and receive immediate approval- for an independent installment in a shop, using its mobile gadget. The shop will save useful space for selling (instead of providing it for some bank’s stall). That way, the problem with queues is eliminated, which speeds up the process of handling purchases. Thus, AmmoPay deletes the bank as an intermediary between a buyer and a seller.
We already tested AmmoPay in one of the countries where ID Finance operates; we have found our niche and assessed the project’s potential. In the near future, we will be ready to scale it up to other countries as well.
Simple as that, internet-based financial technologies go offline and bring a drastic change to the balance of powers in the market of direct lending in retail. The same may be observed in the segment of cash transfer and payments, acquiring, accounting, personal finance management, investment management, etc. FinTech start-ups are focused on creating a specific service or facility. At the same time, even purely retail banks often have to temporize, preserving the average level of products and rarely bringing any product to the ideal level. The higher the comfort of a client is, the more issues a client can deal online, thus the more competitive a financial institution should be. Therefore, a certain reorientation of the market and substitution of some financial services of conventional players by fintech companies is inevitable.
Which features attracted you first to our Phoenix Conference in the first place and what are you key take-always from the event in terms of the business values for your organization?
First of all, the Phoenix FinTech Conference is interesting by its study of potential financial technologies in the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe. The majority of conferences are held in London or in the USA. They help you see the big picture, but if you want to examine some markets in details, conferences such as Phoenix are irreplaceable. Banks across the whole region expressed their serious interest in the event. It is amazing to see that large regional institutions as Erste Bank, Alior or YapiKredi are so interested in innovation.
Would you recommend our event to your peers? Why?
Certainly! I would recommend fintech companies to take part in Phoenix FinTech Conference. It is not only a unique networking event but also an opportunity to obtain expert evaluation of a project from competent experts, startup peers, who are in continuous search for new solutions in technologies of the financial sector.
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