FinTech and Finance Innovation 2025: Insights by Christophe Bourbier - CEO Thunes Collections
Christophe Bourbier, CEO of Thunes Collections (formerly Limonetik), was one of the international contributors to the report "Finance and Fintech Innovation 2021 – Hybridization Designs the Future of the Finance Industry". We spoke about the impact of COVID-19 on commerce, embedded finance, today's success factors of FinTech companies, and so much more.
The point of no return for e-commerce
2020 was a pivotal year in digital commerce. E-commerce reached unparalleled heights in 2020, digital payments solutions thrived, and local marketplaces allowed small entrepreneurs to sell their goods online and test new market opportunities easily.
"Where digital was a nice-to-have before the pandemic, it became a must-have", explained Christophe. Social distancing stimulated consumers to test new ways to buy their goods. Suddenly everybody experienced the convenience of online shopping and digital payments, from teenagers to their grandparents.
Now they experienced this convenience, and this behaviour is not expected to disappear completely. Gone are the fears of contactless and mobile payments. Cash is seen as an unnecessary inconvenience in the shopping experience.
Yet, Christophe does not want to talk about a transformation in commerce: "COVID-19 didn't transform our industry, it merely accelerated adoption of digital by the end-customer". Until the pandemic, banks and FinTech companies were the ones pushing customers to digital solutions. Today these customers are pulling for more digital.
The future of finance is embedded
Technology is a means to an end, and that end is very often customer experience. In financial services, this means that financial products are embedded in non-financial customer journeys.
Christophe rightfully defined embedded finance as "the ability to put financial services like payments embedded in other services, so people don't even realize that they deal with finance as an end-customer. The more embedded services are, the easier it gets to sell them. When you hail a taxi in the streets, you do not realize that you are paying for a taxi anymore. You just hailed a taxi. The same is true when you order food and deliver all without realizing you're paying."
Banks will need to find partners to fulfil this mission to embed their services in third-party journeys. They cannot keep pace on their own.
Christophe: "I believe that we will see more interaction between banks and FinTech because it is a matter of survival. It was a matter of survival before this crisis, and it has become even more substantial now for banks. Therefore, collaboration is going to be stronger."
Mixing a Fintech company's agility and innovation and a bank's existing network and clients could be a match made in heaven if the collaboration works well. Connected FinTech companies will grasp the most success of this evolution.
With every new connection they make, the trust in their brand grows, and more organizations will partner with them to grow stronger altogether.
FinTech is a people business
The Thunes Collections platform has a proven track record with +10 years of experience, which helped merchants quickly adapt to this new reality. With a coverage of 285 alternative payment methods, these merchants test new solutions and more markets.
Despite the excellent technology stack, Christophe does not want to emphasize technology as FinTech's unique selling proposition. A FinTech needs more than technology to thrive.
Christophe: "We have good technology. But at the end of the day, this is definitely not sufficient. What makes the difference is the time spent with our clients and their people, which is almost mathematical. The revenue we generate with clients is nearly proportional to the time we spend with them."
These people build valuable connections, detect the market's needs, and develop solutions to cover these needs. The people make a FinTech successful, and technology is merely a result of the team behind the company.
If you like to know more, we recommend you to read the white paper "Finance and Fintech Innovation 2021 – Hybridization Designs the Future of the Finance Industry", including insights of Christophe Bourbier and many more key stakeholders of the finance industry.
More articles of different contributors to this study can be found here.
At The Banking Scene Conference 2022 Luxembourg on February 22, you get the chance to join the conversation. Together, we investigate how banks should pivot their role in society to continue being trusted partners for their stakeholders in the future.