Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Cap in hand

As the financial services Industry has focused on the largest global investment opportunities and moved inexorably towards electronic decision making the industry has become less and less relevant to consumers.  Interestingly, the vacuum this structural change has created has not been filled as quickly as one might expect.  But there are sign if life in the customer orientated space that has been left behind.

Innovation will always win out and there are signs that people power armed by the web will change the finance industry for good - enter Kickstarter, a “crowdfunding” website, that has recently raised $10.3m from 68,929 people for PEBBLE (a watch that displays messages from the wearer's iPhone), after Pebble's inventors posted a pitch on Kickstartera “crowdfunding” website, this dwarfed the previous high of $3.3m set in March.  This success “feels like an inflection point”, says Yancey Strickler, a founder of Kickstarter, a site where anyone with an idea can ask the crowd for small sums of money that, added up, can bring it to fruition.

Crowdfunding is booming. A report by Massolution, a research firm, forecasts that $2.8 billion will be raised worldwide this year, up from $1.5 billion in 2011. The effect of this has perhaps been most marked in the creative arts: around 10% of the films shown at the Sundance and Cannes festivals this year were crowdfunded. 

So as the titans of Financial Services withdraw further into algorithmic and electronic trading a there is hope for the little man – if he is prepared to go cap in hand to the Web!!

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