How Fintech Is Powering the Global Economy
Entrepreneurs in financial services companies say businesses like theirs are doing a lot more than making established Western banks worried about their market share. During a panel discussion at SxSW in Austin this past weekend, they argued that they’re helping create a new middle class in the developing world, with tremendous consequences for the global economy.
“There are billions of people in the world who are not connected—so they’re effectively not in the economy,” said Scott Picken, founder and CEO of Wealth Migrate, a real estate investment firm that uses crowd funding to provide greater access to property ownership. “If we have 7 billion people on the planet and only 2 billion are economically active, what effect will it have if there’s a three-fold increase?”
At the end of 2016, only about half of the world’s population had access to the Internet — and in Asia and Africa, that rate is even lower (44.7 percent and 26.9 percent penetration, respectively). But Internet usage in third-world regions is growing exponentially—and those emerging markets also hold enormous opportunity for fintech, said Picken.