How To Launch Your Fintech Into New Territories

January 16, 2024


As your fintech transitions from start-up to scale-up, you’ll look at new geographic markets. After all, 68% of fintech executives expect to expand into new markets in the next 18 months, with nearly one-third saying they are ‘ready to expand asap. 

Brands like Curve turned to crowdfunding to supplement the £72.5 million Series C, while Revolut pledged to reach 1 million users in the US by 2020. In the meantime, PayPal is establishing a foothold in China by purchasing a majority share in GoPay, a local payments company. 

Before launching into multiple territories, you need to do some research:

☛ Is there a market for your product?

☛ What cultural considerations do you need to take into account?

☛ Do you fully understand the regulatory landscape?

But first things first.

  1. ‍‍Navigating a new regulatory landscape 

Launching into a new territory presents several challenges—from recruiting and retaining talent to going head-to-head with the local competition. 

For a fintech, there’s also the obstacle of understanding the market’s regulatory obligations. Plus, adhering to data protection and payment services security laws, such as anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist funding rules. 

In Europe, open banking regulations continue to foster new business models. The EU passport system enables businesses authorised in any EU or EEA state to trade freely in any other EU or EEA state with minimal additional authorisation.  With 81% of all fintechs in Western Europe actively operating in eight or more countries, no wonder many fintechs— including Stripe and Coinbase—moved their regulated operations to Dublin after Brexit.

By 2024, half of all global fintech revenue is expected to come from the APAC region, with China leading 82% of APAC revenue. While the introduction of the Foreign Investment Law in China in 2020 provides fintechs with more protection and transparency, the complexity of the Chinese fintech marketplace means extensive regional research is required. 

Indian regulatory authorities (including the Reserve Bank of India) have adopted a consultative approach, providing frameworks and a creative environment designed to encourage innovation—but how long it will last is yet to be seen. 

In Singapore, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is renowned for its commitment to supporting fintechs. The 2020 Payments Services Act has made it easier for businesses to obtain licenses and aims to support e-money payments providers as they enter the mainstream. 

In the USA, the activities undertaken by a fintech company are subject to laws and regulations at the federal and state level. As a result, the number of potentially applicable US regulations to any single fintech firm is a potential barrier to entry. Following Brexit, the US has overtaken the EU to become the most popular market for aspiring UK scaleups looking to expand overseas.

Remember that the cost of non-compliance can be high wherever you plan to launch, so make sure your fintech has access to legal and regulatory expertise (either in-house or via a third-party consultant) to avoid getting it wrong.

  1. ‍Appealing to different cultures‍

A recent HBR study shows 74% of people are more likely to buy a product with information in their language. 

Providing financial services in international markets requires a sound understanding of specific terminology and cultural context. Make sure you have a localisation strategy that outlines: 

☛ How to adopt your brand’s tone of voice to fit audience preferences in the new market

☛ How your target audience’s age, education and income might influence the lingo you use in the new market

☛ How your target audience spends or saves their money to understand their challenges and opportunities 

5 tips to take your fintech to a new territory

1. Establish your budget

Are you getting ahead of yourself, or do we have enough capital to gain or create market share? To boost your budget, you could also look at the funding and investment scene in any potential new territory.

2. Understand the landscape

Look for the sector’s largest ‘total addressable market' — the total market demand for a product or service, calculated in annual revenue or unit sales if 100% of the available market is achieved—and identify growth areas. 

What does the media landscape look like — what channels do people turn to for entertainment and information? Always conduct basic desk research.

3. Analyze customer demand

The first step is to understand if there are potential customers interested in yourv current product or service and how much will you need to adapt your offer. 

☛ Who are your prospective customers? How does your current customer base compare to those in a new territory? 

☛ What are the gaps in the market, and where are the opportunities? 

☛ How mature is the market? 

☛ Can you stand out from the competition? 

☛ Can you afford to educate prospective customers if it's an emerging market? 

4. Get regulation ready

We already agreed that you’ll need to do your regulatory research. Consider reaching out to a local market expert to strengthen your understanding of how various rules might impact the way your business operates. 

5. Know your competition

☛ Who are they? Are they local or global? 

☛ What market share do they have in each potential territory? 

In addition, research what has and has not worked for the current companies operating in the sector.

Ultimately, it’s all about being prepared. You’ve got a great product and a tried-and-tested business model. When entering a new market, it’s essential to resist the temptation to run before you can walk.

Need Help Launching?

We create and execute strategies to help well-funded fintechs go to market, grow, and master market entry. Our team of experts has already grown over 30 fintechs. When you come with us, there’s no confusion and no wasted time. You stay flexible, slash acquisition costs, and stop worrying about what the hell to do next. Get in touch with us today.

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