Empowering the Freelance Economy

Fintech: why it needs freelancers to maintain its growth

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OPINION

It pays to track investment trends when you’re a freelancer. The sectors that attract the most cash are equally on the hunt for talent. A case in point is fintech, which saw bumper growth last year and is on track to keep the momentum going into 2022.


Photo by Anna Nekrashevich from Pexels

In 2021, no single industry attracted more venture capital investment than financial services. Of the record $643 billion in venture capital deployed globally last year, fintech accounted for at least $131 billion, according to Crunchbase.

But unlike the more traditional banking industry, which has in some cases placed blanket bans on PSC contractors due to Offpayroll legislation and IR35, Fintech startups cannot afford to hire big teams.

Many of them have been working with remote teams anyway since the onset of the COVID pandemic. Plus, the diversity of the sector lends to its continual growth and appeal to freelancers that have not had to pigeonhole themselves to one area or client. For example, investment spanned to crypto trading to payments infrastructure to neobanks.

Many people might presume that the top fintech companies hail from the US. However, that’s not the case. According to Crunchbase, of the top 10 most highly funded companies that are still private, five are from Europe, three from the US, one from Brazil and one from the Bahamas.

Which fintech segment or company type would you like to work for?

According to London-based freelance financial expert, Natasha Ketabchi, the companies and organisations harnessing fintech are varied and equally provide a wealth of opportunities. With so many players entering the market, not all can be winners, according to Ketabchi who stated in a Toptal report, that as the market and the fintech landscape mature, now will be the time to see which companies are here to stay because they have become profitable.

“There will be some necessary consolidation and perhaps some high-profile failures,” said Ketabchi.

Here are just some of the segments active in fintech:

  • Open/Challenger Banks
  • Government/Public sector
  • Traditional Banks
  • Investment funds
  • Media/Research/News providers
  • Consumer tech companies
  • Job platforms/Recruitment Tech
  • AI/Machine Learning
  • Advice platforms that require UX/UI design
  • Insurtech and pensions
  • Lending/crowdfunding
  • Security/Identity/Cybersecurity
  • Proptech
  • Blockchain
  • Payments
  • Startups

Is this growth sustainable?

Unless financial regulators step in to place greater controls on certain fintech industries, such as the buy now pay later brigade, ( e.g., Klarna, Affirm, AfterPay), which attracted more than $4 billion in VC investment last year, then freelancers can expect 2022 to bring more recruitment opportunities.

Crunchbase, which tracks venture investment trends, is anticipating funding to be frothy in 2022 and has even mentioned some specific areas where investment will continue to be hot:

  • the infrastructure layer
  • embedded services,
  • consumer fintech,
  • B2B payments
  • crypto

It’s worth mentioning that Fintech has many freelancers to thank for its success. Its existence in some cases, such as crypto and its underlying infrastructures, came to fruition because extremely talented communities of coders, programmers and blockchain specialists moonlighted in their spare time to achieve their joint passion for a currency revolution. And it will be freelancers and solopreneurs that continue this path.

In a nutshell, fintech needs freelancers. And freelancers, due to the very nature of their curiosity and entrepreneurial hearts, need fintech.

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