Millennials Aren’t Killing Banks; They Are Forcing Them to Evolve

The following post was written by Daniel Peled, CEO & Co-Founder of PayKey.

Something interesting is happening to traditional financial systems that have long been cornerstones of our society. Most of us have moved away from brick-and-mortar institutions, to convenient online banking systems, and then, to even more convenient mobile banking apps. But the future will move us far past apps to a new era of total platform convergence.

So, what is total platform convergence, and why should you care? In essence, where people once sought out financial services they needed, today’s users want to find the services they need in just one place: the place they are in already, wherever that might be. Instead of using separate apps for payments, messaging, social interactions, and more, we are moving towards digital solutions that provide one unified address for all services.

The trend is largely driven by millennials. Often ridiculed for killing or causing the death of various industries (napkins, starter homes, diamonds, banks, and beer, to name just a few), millennials are in fact a force of dynamic, and much needed, creative destruction. While 40% of millennials won’t set foot in a bank, they aren’t actually responsible for killing off the institution, and yes, they still need financial services. But, millennial-driven change is doing something interesting; it is forcing banks to evolve and rethink the entire paradigm we operate within.

You’ve probably heard about the era of conversational commerce, heralded by former Googler Chris Messina. It refers to the nexus of AI and messaging apps that has allowed commerce to migrate and transform. It’s something we first saw with Chinese messaging giants like WeChat. With WeChat, you don’t just message your friends; you can also make payments, book taxis, order a coffee, and much more. Facebook also caught onto the trend by launching a partnership with Uber that allowed users to order taxis through Messenger.

What we are witnessing is a huge change in commerce. The landscape is becoming increasingly convenient as payment, transport, and other transactions are integrated into the spaces where users spend most of their time: messaging and social applications. On the one hand this change is a direct response to the end-consumer, millennials, who have grown up in a digital age. On the other hand, the powerful innovative force of startups is helping to drive this change. Ultimately, what we are seeing is a new mode of social banking.

Banks and larger corporations understand the need for change. Where once they were traditional monolithic institutions, today they know that agility is key, especially around the social commerce space. And they are welcoming total platform conversion by embracing the new technologies that startups bring to the table. And this is why we’ve recently seen a huge surge in a wide variety of rich and diverse corporate programs that actively seek startups.

These range from accelerators, to conferences, to hackathons, to competitions, and more. In fact, the market of opportunities is booming. As Co-Founder and CEO of a startup in the social payments arena, my main challenge today isn’t finding these opportunities; it’s sifting through the endless possibilities and focusing on those that can build the right contacts and engagement.

This abundance of opportunities stands in stark contrast to the dominant narrative of theend of the startup era,” brought about by the power of the “Frightful Five:” Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. The story here is that these corporates are killing, copying, and decimating startups. And while fewer startups may be evolving into cornerstone corporations, what we are actually seeing is increasing numbers of opportunities for startups and corporates to work and evolve together.

My personal experience working with the “Frightful Five,” supports this. PayKey is a graduate of the Microsoft Accelerator (now Microsoft ScaleUp Program) and today we work extensively with a number of financial giants. Our initial partnership with Microsoft gave us insights into how corporations think and act, and was a door opener that has led to many additional corporate connections.

While millennials have driven disruption in a number of markets where traditional players were supplanted by quick moving startups, it looks like the financial space is moving in a different direction. Here, unique regulatory demands and security requirements combine to drive a paradigm in which startups and financial institutions must partner in order to be innovative and evolve. This convergence in innovation enables the convergence in user-experience that millennials are pushing towards.

So, while millennials aren’t killing banks, and corporations aren’t killing startups, we can be sure that millennial-driven evolution will help startups and corporations thrive and evolve together.


About Daniel Peled, CEO & Co-Founder of PayKey:

A master of law, technology and economics, both by education and by skills. Assembles the best teams, gets the best investors onboard and builds relationships with the most lucrative clients.