LFP214 – Improving the “Dating and Mating” Process Between Fintechs and Incumbent FS w/Katka Letzing CEO Kickstart Innovation

Swiss Kickstart Innovation are highly active in enabling deals between Fintechs and incumbent FS – when we recorded the podcast for example they had facilitated an extraordinary 300 negotiations in the prior 10 days. As we haven’t dived for many years into the whole challenge of young Fintechs managing to close deals with incumbents whose heartbeat, whose pace of change is radically different from the newcomers, it is rather overdue a visit? What has empirical evidence found in the meantime? After all you can probably meet someone new and get married in less time than it takes to seal a deal with some of FS’s slower-moving incumbents. 

Katka herself has a varied background – from Czechland through US government to Kickstart in Switzerland – all of which enables her to take a 30,000 feet view of the challenges and opportunities. The Art of Diplomacy is invaluable in marriage-making on the corporate front.

;So what are Kickstart’s experiences? What how they found works well and what not so well? What should all Fintechs that need to do deals with MegaFSCos (that’ll be most all) have on their checklists?

Topics discussed include:

  • Switzerland as attracting Fintechs from around the world to Kickstart
  • Heating dissidents
  • Katka’s working at the White House
  • Katka’s career journey
  • parallels with prior gigs
  • anecdote from the night Czechoslovakia split into two
  • how language is a real challenge – even in one country – the same terms might have different meanings for different parties – and often do when the parties are a startup and an incumbent with very different world views
  • expanding the linguistic point to include culture
  • an archetypal Case Study of a Fintech coming away from a meeting thinking that a deal is on and the incumbent coming away and thinking “never again”
  • “politeness” from Switzerland to Japan as leading to misunderstandings
  • “it’s a lot about the indirect communication that takes place”
  • the role of diplomacy in re
  • dealing with procrastinators and those who want/need to fill their diaries to “look busy”
  • borrowing ideas from dating apps
  • personal connection in a business conversation versus business connection
  • what surprised Kickstart on the upside in the process
  • intell arrived at “over a beer/coffee” outside the office
  • vitamins vs headache tablets – challenge of understanding pain points in an organisation
  • differing success criteria on both sides
  • navigating the complex internal landscape’s of organisations that might have hundreds of thousands of staff
  • need commitment from both sides
  • avoiding “free meals” – esp when PoorCo is expected to feed RichCo
  • filtering “dates” in the first place
  • learning from personal experience
  • understanding the frustrations on both sides
  • negotiation – trading off ‘time’ versus ‘great deal’
  • creating competition between incumbents
  • setting a 10 week time horizon
  • Kickstart’s space in terms of Fintechs it works with, verticals and target incumbent markets
  • 70& of Kickstart’s Fintechs they supported have been global and 30% local
  • future trends

And much much more 🙂

Share and enjoy!