Finetics™ Studio at Money20/20: Anil Aggarwal

Finetics Studio | Payments | 12/2/2015 7:19 PM

Money20/20 Founder and Chairman Anil Aggarwal sits down with PaymentEye's Sarah Gill to share his thoughts on the key trends shaping the payments industry, provide advice for entrepreneurs looking to carve out their niche in the space and explain why we are going through a period of “truly fundamental” change.


Sarah Gill, Reporter: I'm joined by Anil Aggarwal, one of the founders of Money2020 itself.  What is it that makes you so passionate to be involved in payments and financial technology? What is it that drives you to want to be doing all of this?        

Anil Aggarwal: It's something I've been in for 15 years is payments innovation. I started off in a very specific vertical and niche sector of payments. And over time, I've been very fortunate that I've brought in my scope of engagement to be-- I would call it FinTech-wide, really looking at everything going on. And that's been part of what Money2020 is actually brought to me is that view of payments and financial services that's very broad, as opposed to vertical specific.

So I love payments because we're going through a period of truly fundamental change.  And it's due to everything from consumers now being connected anytime, anywhere; omni-channel converging from being siloed and fragmented to being omni-channel. It's about integration of maybe less traditional things into payments and financial services like marketing services. 

It's the whole notion of platforms no longer being closed and monolithic, but being open and interoperable. All of these things are completely redefining payments and financial services. So in my view, there's never been a more exciting time to be in an industry. And having been in it 15 years, I've been in it for periods of time where it hasn't been as exciting as this.

And someone said to me recently, tech is hot. And FinTech is the hottest thing in tech.  And you know, I can tell you 10 years ago I'm not sure I would have predicted hearing that.  So I'm excited about it, just because there's so much incredible innovation happening. It runs so deep. It's something that people have embraced so widely that it's just an incredibly exciting place to be.

Sarah Gill, Reporter: And so I'm curious. You know, it's grown tremendously in scale.  What do you attribute that growth to?

Anil Aggarwal: Our focus has always been on covering disruptive innovation. And I think as disruptive innovation becomes more the focal point of everyone's day-to-day focus, this show has become more important. And we've become far more relevant across groups and divisions of organizations. And we've also become more relevant deeper into organizations. 

So I think when it comes to larger companies that are looking at the future of payments and financial services, Money2020 and its focus on disruption is becoming more relevant to them.  And at the same time, there are a whole bunch of new trends and access to technologies allowing companies to build new payment and financial services offerings. 

And so we represent a home for those innovators. And I think what's unique about Money2020 is that we bring the entire ecosystem together, across those large companies, the small, interesting startups; but then even beyond the more traditional definition of the payments and financial services ecosystem.

Sarah Gill, Reporter: And then, you know, I kind of wonder, as a founder yourself, whether there's been a particular piece of entrepreneurial advice that you've been given that you'd like to kind of share with other entrepreneurs at early stage, businesspeople that are here.

Anil Aggarwal: Probably the most memorable at least, and useful piece of advice that someone has given me came from my dad, right when I was starting my first tech company back in early 2000s. And he said that, you know, once you get into business, opportunity finds you. And I didn't know the full extent of what that meant at the time.  But once you start something and you're down the path of creating something new, you find that it's that engagement with other people. It's working with your first client that makes you better. It's once you've launched something, others taking you different directions to help make your product more robust, or finding new distribution strategies or new partnerships that help you really achieve that-- you know, great things.

And it's not always, and typically isn't what you might have envisioned when you first started. But as long as you start down that path, that path will carry you. That opportunity will find you. So my advice generally to people who are either thinking about becoming entrepreneurs or just getting started is that that is the most important thing, is just being down that path and then being open to opportunity as it finds you. 

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