Financial services firms are on the hunt. They’re hunting unicorns. As firms like Revolut and TransferWise attain valuations of $1 billion or more, the pressure to find the Stripes of this world before their value skyrockets has never been stronger.
But it’s not just the unicorns that firms are hunting. They’re also chasing the wolpertinger. In case you’ve never come across this delightful creature, here’s a picture of one:
The wolpertinger is a mythical creature that’s part rabbit, part pheasant, part squirrel, and part deer. Outside of Bavaria – where it comes from – its closest cousin is the equally mythical fintech expert. The main difference is that the fintech expert is an even more complex beast: It’s part business strategist, futurologist, technologist, negotiator, influencer, and entrepreneur. Financial firms from J.P. Morgan to Visa are keen to find one to make the most of the fintech opportunity.
What are we to make of the numerous job adverts outlining the perfect hire skilled in business strategy, technology assessment, entrepreneurship, and more? The good news: Having a startup champion will improve your chance of building successful startup partnerships. The bad news: Neither the wolpertinger nor the fintech expert (as currently imagined) exists.
So what are your options? As I write in my new report, successful startup partnership programs are made up of distinct phases, each requiring different skills. Your fintech expert will probably come from the startup community, a venture capital firm, or even your own company. Each candidate will bring something different to the table, but it’s unlikely that any of them will have all that’s required. So instead of hunting the wolpertinger, build a permanent or ad hoc fintech team with a mix of skills to get the job done.