A newly released report by Finch Capital says that, despite short-term pain, the pandemic will ultimately drive adoption, creating a virtuous cycle for fintech companies through the COVID-19 crisis.
"Fintechs have been trying to advocate for the world to move to digital [alternatives] and away from the expensive, costly and slow incumbent, and that is being accelerated," said Radboud Vlaar, managing partner at Amsterdam-headquartered Finch. "It will be a bumpy ride, but those with cash will be able to grow faster." Fintech startups that have recently raised cash are expected to have a runway to weather the storm, while more mature startups could be in a position to acquire other fintech companies. James Green, DeVere Group's divisional manager of Europe, agreed that the pandemic and the steps taken to combat it have significantly accelerated fintech adoption. This week, the financial advisory said isolation and lockdowns have driven up the use of its financial apps by its European clients by 72%. However, the potential negative impact of the crisis isn't easily discounted. The Finch report noted that a pullback of corporate VC investments and higher hurdles for companies' access to funding may put pressure on valuations. Some fintech subsegments are more exposed than others. Payments companies, for example, that rely on large volumes of consumer spending may struggle to cope. Lending companies that are overexposed to consumer and small business loans may struggle in a downturn as well.