GlobalFintechSeries Interview with Parag Goswami, Chief Executive Officer at Clik.ai
The future of banking lies in your handheld mobile!
Even though the recent years has seen a gradual fall in the number of banking customers choosing to visit brick and mortar establishments for their financial needs, today’s rise in choices when it comes to app-based digital-first banking platforms also demands that financial providers take the time to understand the nitty-gritties in user preferences and their changing adoption patterns; (for instance, millenials are more likely to opt for a provider that is not associated with their parent’s bank!). In this chat with GlobalFinTechSeries, Parag Goswami, Chief Executive Officer at Clik.ai discusses more while sharing a few takeaways for emerging fintech-preneurs:
Tell us a little about yourself Parag…and the story behind Clik.ai – as a fintech entrepreneur; what were some of your team’s initial challenges?
I’m the founder and CEO at Clik.ai, I’ve worked as a software engineer for various real estate tech companies and went on to found HouseThat.in and Integrand Analytics. Between these two companies, we helped support over $7 billion in property valuation, loan, and investment transitions across the globe. Since its founding in 2017, Clik.ai’s artificial intelligence software has been used to underwrite over $20 billion in commercial real estate properties, mortgages and assets.
My experience in financial technology and the operational challenges that came with growing headcount to support projects from growing list of clients such as mortgage banks, investment firms sparked the idea of creating Clik.ai. I saw the impact technology made in managing 5x more work without growing employee numbers, specifically artificial intelligence and automation-based technologies, and how it is giving smaller firms a fighting chance and gives more established firms a run for their money.
Clik.ai is different from the others because it was the first to revolutionize the underwriting process for lenders. Our easy to use plug-and-play software simplifies the lives of the principal, brokerage, and the financing side of the commercial real estate industry. Our clients are happy to be able to prepare their own loan underwriting model within minutes and spend more time managing assets and reporting way more easily.
As many start-ups, my team faced challenges such as constantly growing headcount and operations to managing growing client lists and projects. We overcame these hurdles by implementing changes such as building our own document extraction technology and create technologies to structure data in a way easier manner.
How have you seen the fintech and especially the banking sector being impacted by Covid-19; what will some of the long-term effects of the pandemic on the future of fintech and banking be according to you?
Covid-19 has changed the finance industry in that banks have been pushed to incorporate fully digital business models almost overnight to meet their customers’ needs while maintaining the security that we count on banks to provide.
A significant long-term effect this situation has had on the banking sector is the lack of need to make in-person bank transactions. Visiting a bank for everyday tasks was not necessary even before the pandemic as most banks provide the same services online.
We have embraced a world of instant gratification by shifting virtually everything online. Consumers no longer wish to make a trip to the bank if they can quickly accomplish regular tasks through a bank’s smartphone application.
The future of banks lies in their own hands in that they need to make changes to adapt to our virtual world or consumers may look for different options.
Can you talk about some of the interesting digital banking solutions that have launched in the last few months in the B2B marketplace to help meet changing needs of the new normal?
Banks remain essential to the economy being highly regulated institutions and they continue to be the gateways to the world’s largest payment systems. However, some things have changed. First, the financial crisis harmed trust in the banking system. Second, mobile devices’ universality has begun to undermine the advantages of physical relationships that banks previously enjoyed. Millennials and Gen Z population also are more likely to consider a new financial service provider that is not their parents bank, which encourages more traditional banks to embrace the digital transformation through advanced technology to keep businesses running smoothly. Digital banking solutions include creating a website that can be easily navigated, and smartphones enable a new payment paradigm and offer fully personalized customer features.
How do you feel emerging tech like AI will impact the future of digital banking solutions? Can you talk about some of the most innovative AI-powered solutions in fintech and banking from the global marketplace?
As automation of physical and tedious work advances and appeals to people, jobs will not be threatened but rather refined (for now). Some are taking advantage of technologies like artificial intelligence as it plays a vital role in helping accomplish daily tasks even while maintaining social distancing. Artificial intelligence can provide banks and customers with resources like a 24/7 chatbot for their websites, the ability to identify customers physically, fraud identification, and acts as a quick-reading and scanning mechanism for industries involved such as commercial real estate.
Incorporating tools like artificial intelligence can help with keeping the connection between banks and customers or help organize finances while leaving room for this year’s changes as well as future ones.
How would you describe this market over the next decade?
The market size has potential to increase dramatically, we can already see this happening in the shift from traditional to modern resources in this industry. Competition in the banking industry is on the rise and we are seeing it from large brands like Apple and PayPal emerging with credit and debit card options steering consumers away from typical banking choices.
With the direction we are headed now there is no stopping financial technology and with big name players involved, the possibilities seem to be endless. The market will soon be filled with many fintech companies and consumers will have increased options as to who to trust with their money.
In your view; what are some of the top global fintech companies to watch out for over the next few years?
Some of the top fintech companies we should keep an eye out for are SoFi, Avant, and Adyen. These companies are offering modern and reasonable banking options to middle-income consumers around the world. Incentives like student loan refinancing, wealth management, the ability to manage all payments through a single platform, and low interest rates are drawing attention from everyday people and could become a large competitor for traditional banks.
Before we wrap up, your 5 big takeaways for fintech entrepreneurs?
- Plan and strategize: Examine the effects of adopting technologies on your growth strategy, operations and workforce. Further, develop a plan for your organization’s digital transformation.
- Access customer and operations data and analytics: Utilize customer and operations data to drive your adoption to generate insights to drive growth and efficiency.
- Explore potential partnerships: Explore possible technological integrations and partnerships that can help your organization fuel growth.
- Focus on consumer feedback: Focus on customer interactions and feedback that would help you better understand technological trends shaping demand. This would help you create an environment of “innovative thinkers.”
- Analysis of customer interactions: during the lending or house-buying process would be useful for customer service analytics. AI-powered chatbots could also be used to answer any question from a potential prospect in a jiffy and make personalized offerings based on user preferences, without the need for a sales agent.