Where to next for Fintech, aggregation or cooperation?

“It makes perfect sense. You originate loans we will get your clients for you and manage all those clients in one place”.

In a few words this is every single pitch from aggregators that I have received at Ablrate. Usually with ‘we can out-spend you in advertising’ added on when I don’t sound impressed.

Now don’t get me wrong, price comparison sites, bloggers, vloggers and ‘advice’ sites are not the target of this post, those guys are part of the ecosystem and we like to reach out to all of those. My issue, is with those who don’t originate anything but would like to share in platform revenue, or worse, charge customers for access to loans.

I get the concept.  An aggregator is one platform that can be used to access many. Think Hubspot, or some other platform you use to manage all your social media accounts. These are useful, one platform multiple ways to manage several other systems, job done.

In p2p lending the line is the same – one platform, convenience for lenders etc, but the problem is there isn’t one aggregator platform, there are loads of them and they are popping up all the time. What does a platform do? Join all of them and see which one wins?  Or do they join one and champion that platform?

If you are an aggregator and you are thinking of calling, we wish you the best but the answer from platforms should be ‘none of the above’.

There are specific reasons for this, which I wont go into in depth, but here are a few snippets:

You are pitching to have the platform database join your platform and leave theirs. Not going to happen.

You are pitching an extra layer in the ecosystem. P2p is supposed to de-layer the industry.

No. You don’t do better due diligence than the platform, if you did, you would run a platform.

No. you don’t provide more useful tools, and if you do, the platform should code the same things and provide them directly to their lenders.

I imagine I won’t get invited to ‘Aggregator Conference 2019’ and I certainly won’t be popular for saying this, but, the future of p2p, or fintech in general, is not aggregation. Layering technology on top of technology so that someone else can make some money does not a revolution make.

Most of the guys I have met doing this are clever fellas, I certainly would not mind them on my team and I have nothing against them, so my advice to you is take those brains and point them elsewhere, your aggregation platform will not work.

What makes a revolution is different thinking.

In my humble opinion, the future of fintech and p2p along with industry itself, is cooperation. We are staking our reputation and our money on it. We are building a technology right now that will revolutionise p2p and private debt trading in general.

It won’t mean that one lender will leave a platform for another (in fact it will increase stick-ability), it won’t add an extra layer of unnecessary expense, it won’t cause privacy issues and it wont be expensive. It will be fully controllable by platforms and they wont need to build too much tech to integrate.

What it will do is tap into the sharing economy, where previously competing platforms will have to spend less on advertising for lenders and will be able concentrate more on quality origination because all lenders will be able to trade on any platform.

I have no doubt that none of the big p2p players will join ASMX at first and, as such, they will be disadvantaged, because as the ecosystem grows the strength of each platform will grow  because of the network effect of the community. Basically one platform is as powerful as all the platforms combined. Ultimately the network will be competing as a cooperating community against the incumbents.

Blockchain technology allows this to happen, and will change the face of industries all over the world, so if you are in an industry where the aggregators are circling, think cooperation and blockchain and while no one is watching you will win your market.


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