Ukrainian payment market is developing rapidly and every year it closes half a dozen customer «pain points” seeking for cashless-infrastructure. They report on profits, new customers and victories, their CEO give interviews in mass media and make inspirational posts on their Facebook pages.

However, for every success story like this, there are 7–10 fail stories. They happen for a wide variety of reasons, they had a million excuses and regrets. I often talk about how fintech projects succeed, win not because of, but contrary to circumstances. And now I would like to highlight several main reasons why fintech startups fail.

This question has a simple and a complicated answer. If you are looking for universal answers to complex questions, or you just have no time to read my blog to the end — I give a simple and correct answer — which won’t explain the entire problem. Fintech startups fail because they don’t make enough money.

A completely different question — why do potentially successful projects with perhaps a strong development team and a good idea turn out to be in such a situation? Understanding this will be a little more difficult. But we will try.

Underfunding. The most obvious reason that also has pitfalls. On the one hand, making a financial product is expensive. A good UI / UX is expensive and time consuming. The same thing is for development, after which won’t take another three months to make corrections from the tester. And all this fades before the need to spend a huge amount of money on marketing. Most often, projects don’t take into account half of the actual costs. Because of this, many don’t even reach the release — they simply run out of money.

Unawareness in your niche. A very universal problem. Firstly, it concerns startups themselves. For example, someone decided to create a money transfer application because they read (possibly in my blog) that this is one of the most promising niches. The team takes a note of 2–3 successful applications and copies their mechanics. However, they don’t know what is happening “under the hood”. How to legally resolve the issue of paying cashback for transfers? How to work with commissions? What are the basic requirements for a financial company with a license to transfer money? All this needs to be studied in detail, and only then you can start developing and writing an inspiring stories.

The other side — fintech niche is not always understandable by traditional banks who want to make a new product. They say something like «we want it like [insert the name of a cool project], but for us and don’t make it very similar.But make cheaper!» Banks want to build communication by traditional methods, don’t delve into the nuances of development and the need to implement additional «cool stuff» for customers.

Forming your offer solely on price competition. The main feature of fintech services is that they are more convenient, easier than banking and cheaper. With a minimum fee or without it at all. Many believe that the last point is enough for success. Alas, this is simply a necessary condition to start.

Banks whose budgets and coverage will always be higher can’t be ignored. We must cooperate with them. Bank resources + technical and marketing expertise of fintech projects = the ability to maintain a competitive advantage in fees for a very long time. Because there are so much stories, when fintech startups started with active dumping, but when scaling up, its financial model simply could not stand it very much.

Vanity. A very subjective reason, but at the same time connected with real fail stories. Too many startups have bloated opinions about the value of their technology solutions. Yes, it can be cool that you came up with this and you can even develop and release it. But why haven’t this been launched before? Maybe because this is an irrelevant or simply unprofitable idea? Perhaps some successful company rejected this idea long time ago at the planning stage and did what gave them their current profit and status. And you shouldn’t pick up this idea.

Lack of profit — a sign or reason for the failure of fintech projects?

A rhetorical question, the answer to which will depend only on the actions of a particular fintech project. More specifically, from his business model. Those who stick exclusively to the B2C model, often overestimate the extent to which customers will change their behavior for a new product. Money motivation doesn’t always work.

I know from my experience that B2B may be the best way for many projects. Many fail, not realizing that they are a supplier, not a “partner.” That service payment business doesn’t sound so cool and prestigious as attracting hundreds of thousands of customers. Yes, you will be less likely to be invited to give presentations at conferences, and it will be more difficult for the press to understand what you are doing. But you will earn money. And this the goal is more important than anything in the long-term run.

CEO of the international payment system LEO, the shareholder of IBOX Bank