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MEF Director of Programmes James Williams shares his takeaways from a recent event in London which focussed on “embedded finance” and “super apps”.  To find out what they both are, and how their worlds collide, James moderated a panel at the event with an all-star cast of industry insiders, to find out more.

MEF is always looking for new ways to add value for its members and a key means of doing so is to bring awareness of and open up access to a host of new events. VC Innovations put together and excellent Europe-focused embedded finance and super apps related event in London and it was a pleasure being there, representing MEF.  It’s great having a new events partnership in place with VC and we’re looking forward to working with them on future events.

MEF member Lenderwize sponsored a session aimed at bringing the two worlds of Embedded Finance and Telecommunications together and I am pleased to say this mission was successful; I had the pleasure of moderating a panel full of MEF members at the event which attracted c. 400 people for the day.

On the panel with me were:

  • Lawrence Gilioli, Founder & CEO, Lenderwize
  • Jonathan Bennett, Chief Commercial Officer, DOCOMO Digital
  • Allister Fraser, Digital Identity New Business Development, BT
  • Mark Stewart, Founder & CEO, Bank of Telecom
  • Darko Sesvecanec, Global Head of Industry Advisory, Infobip

Both embedded finance and the world of super apps have become hot topics in their own right but these two worlds are now well and truly merging. Assuming nothing, let’s first look at what each of those two areas are.

Embedded finance refers to the seamless integration of financial services adopted by non-financial companies. This merger between non-financial entities and embedded finance services has revolutionised the way we interact with money and businesses alike. A super-app is a mobile or web application that can provide multiple services including payment and financial transaction processing, effectively becoming an all-encompassing self-contained commerce and communication online platform that embraces many aspects of personal and commercial life.

  Both embedded finance and the world of super apps have become hot topics in their own right but these two worlds are now well and truly merging. Embedded finance refers to the seamless integration of financial services adopted by non-financial companies. A super-app is a mobile or web application that can provide multiple services including payment and financial transaction processing..

An example of all this in action is Tesla. Buy or lease a Tesla vehicle and you’ll be offered the option of getting your insurance with them. Tesla can see how you drive from all the data collected and adjust an insurance offering to you, all collected within the monthly fee for the vehicle. You can even submit, manage and track your claims and schedule repairs right from the app.

The recent growth in embedded financing services has disrupted hugely the role of traditional banking institutions. Previously, many of our financial interactions, such as loans or payments, were only made possible through the use of bank but all that has changed. And there is no going back.

Whatever any organisation does, no matter the commercial model, nor location, without telecommunications you simply wouldn’t have much of a business today. The telecommunications infrastructure and layers of related services upon it power connectivity and the ever-expanding number of highly engaging mobile digital channels organisations globally rely on to effectively engage with your clients, potential clients, team members and indeed any other stakeholder are all things that do not appear as if my miracle. There’s a huge industry out there as practically all of you reading this very post know very well indeed. The world of Mobile is vast to say the least.

The truth is that few people outside of our little industry bubble REALLY understand what it is we all do and the influence we have on billions of people daily. For example, there are now more active daily users of SMS than email, a trend being driven by a huge uptick in the number of enterprises switching on to text messaging as a great way of successfully engaging with both their existing and potential customers.

A huge portion of messaging traffic globally is driven by customer authentication and with a rush online by so many, it has never been more important for organisations to truly know their customers really are who they say they are (think ‘KYC’, Know Your Customer) and indeed when we receive content, we individuals need to be safe in the feeling that the sender is genuine – knowing the sender. So the authentication element is critical and Allister Fraser from BT’s Digital Identity department explained very succinctly the power operators have: “If people are the weakest link in cybersecurity, let’s rely more heavily on the mobile network to help with authentication”.

Our panel set out to do our little bit to spread the word about what it is we in Mobile do and about how that ultimately without the correct and timely financing in place, there wouldn’t be an industry. Education is after all at the heart of so much of the work MEF members do and it was fantastic having such a range of speakers to call on.

Thanks to Lawrence and Lenderwize for backing this panel and ultimately bringing MEF and other members to and event many would not otherwise have been at. It’s safe to say that Lenderwize and other MEF members are doing a lot to support the worlds of embedded finance and super apps. Here’s a quote from Lawrence:  “Lenderwize is taking Embedded Finance to the next level: by adding a Funding Layer on top of Digital Content, we are creating new values and services. We’re truly providing Embedded Finance for the Telecom Industry.” And knowing what they do, we can’t argue with that!

I run the Payments related working group at MEF and if you are reading this and would like to get involved with that working group which meets monthly, then feel free to email me directly. And if you are not already a MEF member and want to get directly involved then you can also speak directly with me about MEF membership. Nothing to lose doing so and a lot to gain!

James Williams

Director of Programmes, MEF

  

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