Embracing Partnerships for Growth: Fintech Meetup 2024 Insights

Ingrid Wilson, Head of Partnerships and Customer Growth, reflects on the industry-wide shift from an in-house mindset to a partnerships model.

By Ingrid Wilson, Head of Partnerships and Customer Growth at Olive.

Like about 4,000 other people, I arrived in Las Vegas this early March to attend the annual Fintech Meetup conference. Filled with startups, major corporations, consultants and thought leaders, this event is always a rush of introductions, meetings and talks. As such, it is an excellent gauge of where the industry is and where it is headed.

This year’s Fintech Meetup was especially interesting to me as I participated in countless conversations with our partners on best practices for generating growth.  I was particularly keen to learn more about how companies, of all sizes, are approaching partnerships. Surprisingly, despite the variety of companies and applications, I came away with one recurring theme: there is an industry-wide shift from in-house development to a partnerships and collaboration model.

Tired of challenges associated with lengthy and complex technology roadmaps and the accelerating need to get to market, companies are looking to leverage partnerships so they can concentrate on their strengths, leading to better products, better services and happier customers.

In this review of Fintech Meetup, I wanted to express my thoughts on how this came to be, the forces behind this shift, why now is the time for partnerships, and how Olive fits into this narrative.

The fast track to market with the right allies

There are benefits to the “build it yourself” mantra: You have total control over the process and you can customize to your heart’s content. However, it also means that companies have to pour resources into developing a new team, a new product, a new service, many more standing meetings, more complaints, more training, more communications, etc. etc. - the list can go on and on. With that comes complexity, cost and risk.

The alternative is about playing to our strengths and finding the right partner to fill in the gaps. “Why spend ages”, these companies posit, “building something from the ground up when you can collaborate with someone who’s already nailed it?”

That brings me to the next point: finding the right partner.

Choosing a solutions partner is not unlike choosing the ideal co-pilot for a long-haul flight: you need to have aligned goals and routes, the ability to adjust to changing conditions mid-flight, and the capability to handle unexpected turbulence together.

Moreover, just as pilots rely on a foundation of trust built through years of training and certification, businesses must choose partners who are not only capable but also qualified. In both scenarios, to reach the destination safely and successfully, you need mutual understanding, adaptability and shared commitment.

Finding your solutions co-pilot

There is some legwork to be done before you can find your ideal partner, and some questions you have to think through and have good answers for. Here are some common elements that companies should consider.

Is it turnkey?

Turnkey, off-the-shelf, plug-and-play - these terms all refer to solutions that can be easily integrated into existing systems, allowing businesses to add new functionalities without extensive setup or customization. In the field of fintech, this may refer to payment gateways, API services, fraud detection and security, credit scoring, etc. I’m sure many not already in the space do not want to build out their own payment gateways.

These products eliminate the need for extensive development time and resources, streamline product development and enable businesses to adapt quickly to changing market conditions.

As more and more solutions in fintech become turnkey, there is a rise in the number of potential partnerships. For Olive, we provide a turnkey solution for customer engagement through our rounding, matching and cashback rewards solutions. Many of our clients don’t have or want to spend the resources on building their own card-linking, rounding, matching and rewards solutions. They also may not want to sign up their own offers, although with Olive, you can.

Finding partners that can integrate quickly into your platform can make a major difference in your success.

Does it proactively address future data privacy concerns?

In fintech, data privacy is always of utmost importance. Regulations and customer expectations for data privacy and security will only get more demanding in the future. To build for the long-term, it’s essential to accurately predict the requirements of the future, and plan for that in your own development as well as in your solutions partner.

When choosing a solution partner, be sure to ask about their privacy policy, their processes and technology for safeguarding user privacy, as well as their data protection compliance, such as PII Compliance. Furthermore, ask them about their future plans for data privacy and compliance development.

At Olive, we take data privacy seriously and it is built into our platform. Our secure card-linking processes do not require customers to share their bank details. With this, we’ve also found that customers are more willing to sign up to engagement programs as they don’t have the additional friction of having to share their personal information.

Does it navigate complex compliance challenges?

The complexities of compliance, especially when dealing with industry heavyweights, like Visa and Mastercard, prompt a closer look at strategic partnerships. Solutions that balance compliance requirements with the need to maintain customer engagements are crucial for the success of card-linking programs. Collaborating with partners who specialize in navigating these regulatory waters can streamline the process and ensure adherence to necessary guidelines.

Olive has worked with partners, Visa and Mastercard, from our inception. To this day, we still remain as one of a few direct partners of the networks. When planning to launch their customer program, Olive’s clients can rest assured that we will help them gain compliance with Visa and Mastercard, and help maintain that relationship.

Do you receive supportive business consulting?

Many fintechs are startups who are still navigating the industry and learning more about the possibilities of their program. Creating something truly engaging is a puzzle that our industry is always trying to solve.

At Olive, we’re a team of customer engagement entrepreneurs who have worked with a lot of startups and we’ve helped shape a lot of programs. We treat your success as our success and provide the best practices and knowledge across the vertical that we oversee.

Wrapping up: the future is collaborative

So, what’s the takeaway from our little chat? The fintech world is moving towards a future where partnerships, user engagement, and innovative card-linked services are front and center. It's about simplifying the complex, valuing privacy, and above all, working together to create something truly special.

Thanks for joining me on this journey. Let’s continue to share, learn, and grow together. 

About Olive

Olive’s card-linking platform provides a smoother way for customers to earn rounding, matching and cashback rewards to help them reach their financial goals. Businesses can onboard customers to their customer programs in as little as 10 seconds. Olive’s APIs not only provide security and real-time notifications but also come with a client dashboard to easily customize and launch programs.

Take your customer programs to new heights. 


Similar posts

Stay up-to-date with the latest in embedded finance and open finance

Our blog covers topics on embedded finance, open banking, open finance, open data, APIs, rounding, matching, customer loyalty and more.