The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage

3+

Every morning, we run the Narrative Machine on the past 24 hours worth of financial media to find the most on-narrative (i.e. interconnected and central) stories in financial media. It’s not a list of best articles or articles we think are most interesting … often far from it.

But for whatever reason these are articles that are representative of some sort of chord that has been struck in Narrative-world.


Scott: Hey, how’s your girl, man? 
Luis: Ah, she left me. 
Scott: Oh. 
Luis: Yeah, my … mom died, too. 
[Beat; Scott gapes in awkward silence]
Luis: And my dad got deported. 
[More silence]
Luis: But I got the van! 
Scott:[quickly] … It’s nice!
Luis: Yeah, right?!

Ant-Man (2015)

The Solution To The Fintech IPO Shortage [Forbes]

The headline is bullish. The tone is positive. But the article is dour as hell. Why haven’t we seen Fintech IPOs, it asks, then provides the answer: because they don’t have sustainable business models, the companies don’t have clear value propositions, they can’t get to scale, IPOs did terribly last year and they haven’t done anything to change the actual economic proposition of financial services products to end users.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...

Still, the piece manages to end with the kind of relentless optimism that you have to admire on some level. If they can figure those fourteen things out, expect more IPOs! Still, it’s an interesting question, given how powerfully non-financial tech and VC has managed to cultivate a supportive narrative. The problem is pretty simple, and it’s a narrative problem:

Everyone knows that everyone knows that financial services switching costs are extremely high.

It’s the source of the fundamental economic malaise affecting these companies – their stratospheric customer acquisition costs. It’s the source of the scale problem. It’s the reason the business models aren’t sustainable. Having a product that disrupts something customers hate isn’t enough if they still can’t fathom the pain in the ass that is figuring out, learning and actually pulling the trigger to do something different.

The successful Fintech plays have (as the article points out) either served other financial services businesses directly or have figured out how to make the complicated process of switching or simply starting to use a financial product people haven’t used before, well, easy. Any such company that isn’t actively owning its cartoon on this dimension – continuing to obsess over addressable markets and consumer frustration with incumbents – will continue to miss the boat.

3+

To receive a free full-text email of The Zeitgeist whenever we publish to the website, please sign up here. You'll get two or three of these emails every week, and your email will not be shared with anyone. Ever. It's our effort to spread the word about what we're doing, and allow you to read more Epsilon Theory!

Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Daily Zeitgeist

The Lystrosaurus

By Rusty Guinn | June 17, 2020 | 12 Comments

There is practically no information in knowing that everybody is talking about something. There is some information in knowing that everybody is using the same language to talk about something.

But there is a lot of value in knowing that people and publications with no underlying connection are simultaneously inspired to use the same language to talk about different angles of the same issue.

Read more

No Country for Old Men

By Ben Hunt | June 12, 2020 | 12 Comments

We all know someone who is in urgent-but-not-emergency need of some medical procedure that can’t be scheduled while Covid-19 is storming the hospital ramparts.

I’m one of them.

Read more

Misfortune vs. Carelessness

By Ben Hunt | June 9, 2020 | 6 Comments

What’s happening with the Bureau of Labor Statistics with recent employment data reports is an intentional, political carelessness that supports status quo cartoons of control.

It’s not a Democrat thing and it’s not a Republican thing.

It’s a power thing.

Read more

Never Forget

By Ben Hunt | June 4, 2020 | 8 Comments

Since June 4th 1989, the Chinese government has tried to erase any record of the Tiananmen Square massacre from history.

Can a Tiananmen Square massacre happen in the United States? I doubt it.

Can a Tiananmen Square rewriting of history happen in the United States? Absolutely. It already is.

Read more

The Hertz Story Isn’t What You Think

By Ben Hunt | May 27, 2020 | 5 Comments

The Hertz bankruptcy is not a story of financialization by an entrenched, self-dealing management team.

It’s a story of financialization by an entrenched, self-dealing minority ownership.

Read more

Hateful Memes and Election Season

By Rusty Guinn | May 13, 2020 | 1 Comment

There’s light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, and there’s light at the end of the pandemic narrative tunnel. No, on second thought I think that’s an oncoming train called “election season.”

Read more

DISCLOSURES

This commentary is being provided to you as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. The opinions expressed in these materials represent the personal views of the author(s). It is not investment research or a research recommendation, as it does not constitute substantive research or analysis. Any action that you take as a result of information contained in this document is ultimately your responsibility. Epsilon Theory will not accept liability for any loss or damage, including without limitation to any loss of profit, which may arise directly or indirectly from use of or reliance on such information. Consult your investment advisor before making any investment decisions. It must be noted, that no one can accurately predict the future of the market with certainty or guarantee future investment performance. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Statements in this communication are forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements and other views expressed herein are as of the date of this publication. Actual future results or occurrences may differ significantly from those anticipated in any forward-looking statements, and there is no guarantee that any predictions will come to pass. The views expressed herein are subject to change at any time, due to numerous market and other factors. Epsilon Theory disclaims any obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements or views expressed herein. This information is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation of any offer to buy any securities. This commentary has been prepared without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it. Epsilon Theory recommends that investors independently evaluate particular investments and strategies, and encourages investors to seek the advice of a financial advisor. The appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives.