Co-creator of Skype Jonas Kjellberg: Disruption ahead – fintech is about to change the payments scene
The next disruptive change is already around the corner, and it is going to revolutionize the banking industry. The prediction comes from a man worth listening to – after all he co-created Skype, the company which disrupted for its part the telco industry.
Jonas Kjellberg, who spoke at the 6th annual OpusCapita Finance Forum, believes that the blockchain technology has the potential of being the internet of banking. The situation is a lot similar to the disruption that took place in the telco industry after the release of the first iPhone and the rise of the apps.
“Banking sector today is totally centralized. With the blockchain technology, everyone can participate, which leads to a fully decentralized situation. And if you look up the alternatives for going to a bank for a service, you’ll realize that there is a huge variety of new services available already,” Kjellberg states and points out that the venture capital investments in fintech startups have multiplied in the recent years.
Kjellberg says he has always been interested in finding out ways to change the game. He describes himself as a serial entrepreneur, an investor, an author and a father to four children. In addition, Kjellberg lectures on entrepreneurship at Stanford University. Until recently, he was in charge of the internet investment arm of Kinnevik Group, where he made the successful investments into several startup companies, among others Zalando.
So does the emerging financial technology mean the traditional banks are going to vanish? According to Kjellberg, it is at the end more of a question of evolving. The impacts of blockchain and the new technologies will be first visible in procurement and all types of purchasing.
“In a few years’ time we are going to see a lot of new transactions that aren’t thinkable yet. For example, my son who likes to play videogames could rent a Chinese co-player’s weapon in the game for half an hour, and pay for it securely with the new technology. Or you could pay me to use my Netflix account for the evening. This will also lead to a change in the processes of logging in and out of services.”
Innovate into tomorrow’s delight
Jonas Kjellberg asks his audience whether they think it is the big that beat the small, or is it the fast that beat the slow. A majority would put their money on the fast.
“This question has always fascinated me – is it really true that the fast wins? If we look at the stock exchange, most of the successes there are big companies. And most of my failures as an entrepreneur have happened, when I have been really fast, and have been beaten by the big players. It is actually a trick question: it depends.”
“For you to be a true game changer, you need to build a product that is beyond competition and understand how to unlock growth, and what’s important, do it when the world is ready for that change. It is hard, very painful and you lose most of the time. Sometimes you’re lucky.”
As to the big corporations, Kjellberg says he is often amazed how difficult it is for them to innovate into tomorrow’s delight. The word ‘delight’ in his vocabulary refers to customer satisfaction that is driven for instance by the features in a product or a service that are unique, compelling and new to the market.
“Most companies are good at cutting costs. Functionality and efficiency of a product are easier to solve, and they should of course not be neglected, but the delight needs to be discovered, invented – and reinvented. At some point your delight may turn into a commodity that your competitors can deliver as well. This is why companies need to keep looking into the future, and constantly innovate beyond tomorrow’s delight.”