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Fintech Warriors by Vikram singh


 In 2023 India will replace China as the most populous country. The median age of 28 makes us a perfect growth story but the demographic dividend that we enjoy also comes with a cost, Employment being the most critical one.

Owing to a vibrant start-up culture we are today among the top 3 start-up ecosystems in the world. India is on the path of becoming a big technology and innovation hub in the world and our Start-ups are soon going to be a major employment generator. The expected employment generation by start-ups in 2025 is slated to double from a current figure of 1.4 million jobs to more than 3 million. The credit goes to our burgeoning middle class and their obsession with professional education. The same momentum towards tech industry held us in good stead in the last IT boom and the highly aspirational Indian youth lapped up the opportunity making India an International IT hub.

Owing to the stupendous success of a few e-commerce businesses in the recent past, we have seen an upsurge in start-ups in industries like Finance, Logistics, Healthcare, Agriculture, etc. FinTech, EdTech, and Consumer Tech have lately become the new buzzwords. In 2022 we reached a new milestone as India’s Unicorn kitty crossed the 100 mark. Our consumption story gave E-commerce the lead but Fintech is not too far behind. Our Fintech companies have also been an outlier, as one out of five Unicorns today belong to Finance and banking industry and India leads the world in the number of real payments with a staggering figure of 48.6 billion payments in 2021. China with her 18.5 billion transactions came a distant second.

As per Devesh Sachdev, M.D. and C.E.O. at Fusion Microfinance Limited. “In past many years, adoption of smartphones, mobile subscriptions & access to internet has increased at a much higher rate as compared to access to financial services, bringing huge number of opportunities for fintech’s to provide digital financial services. 

To provide for this need of financial institutions to adopt digital financial technologies employers are looking for hiring employees with diverse new age fintech skills who can connect to young population who are major drivers of DFS (Digital Financial Services) adoption.

However, there is huge gap between industry expectations and what is taught at academic institutions. This high-growth sector is likely to have its ambitions thwarted by the paucity of talent and the extremely poor infrastructure in the country for creating a large pool of talent. We need to build an environment of learning where youth have access to content and technology that accelerates their learning of industry-relevant concepts.”

Fintech companies are offering a career opportunity that Software industry bestowed upon us in the late 20th Century. 

These specialised career opportunities can be a real game changer for our youth but the question remains are we skilled enough to grab the specialised jobs of the fourth industrial revolution.

Although, like any bank or a financial institution even in Fintech the product, sales, marketing and risk form an integral part of the business. But, due to the technology oriented nature of the industry the necessary skillsets like mobile and web engineering, data science, block-chain, back-end engineering, artificial intelligence and machine learning have taken a centre stage unlike in the past when the banking jobs were dominated by Finance graduates and MBAs.

Back in the day, the sporadic growth of Software training institutions clubbed with engineering colleges helped in skilling our youth for the most sort after IT jobs making India one of the biggest exporters of IT professionals. A similar effort is required on a war footing by the government, Universities and vocational colleges. 

There is a huge dearth of data scientists, web engineers, block chain and machine learning professionals in the country and the gap can be filled only by skilling our youth with relevant courses. Payments and lending form 70% of our fintech start-ups today. With a huge gap in SME lending and the increased adoption of UPI, QR codes and the Country becoming a cashless economy we are well poised to create world’s largest Fintech companies. Like our IT behemoths such big fintech franchises will be created on the back of skilled professionals.

Creating a huge talent pool will be an uphill task but we are confident that the IT miracle of late 20th Century can be replicated again and our fintech warriors will conquer the International financial markets.

Vikram is the cofounder of Renaissance Investment advisory company. He has written extensively on artificial intelligence, startups, leadership and space exploration

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