專訪：香港區總經理陳明發 (Vpon Big Data Group 威朋大數據集團) http://www.vpon.com/ 「Vpon是一間Big Data公司，而不只是手機流動廣告公司。」訪問開始，香港區總經理陳明發(Arthur)劈頭第一句說。 Vpon 2008年於台灣成立，當時做的是手機優惠券(Mobile Coupon)。由於手機優惠券業務範圍狹窄，公司於2011年正式開始轉型，同年於上海成立台灣以外的辦公室，研發當時尚未普及、但門檻更高的手機流動廣告。2014年正式打進香港市場，成為台北、上海及東京後第四個據點。 執筆之時，消息指蘋果將要發布可能名為iPhone7的新一代智能手機。當iPhone已經發展至第七代，大家也可以預計到手機及數碼營銷的市場成熟而且競爭劇烈，那Vpon有什麼過人之處? 「數碼營銷，特別是手機流動營銷，並不是你從前在蘋果日報落廣告，到PC年代在蘋果日報網頁落廣告，現在則到蘋果日報App落廣告。每人使用手機、網頁、App等都有不同使用習慣，傳統Media Buy的廣告購買型式已經不太合適。」 Vpon是本港少數運用大數據分析，為客戶提供針對性及度身訂造式的營銷方案的公司。大數據分析的好處，正好切合手機流動市場碎片化及快速轉變的環境生態，針對個別手機用家不同的喜好及需求，甚至基於各種情景去接觸目標受眾，提升營銷活動效益。…
FinTech or TechFin?
Interview with Alex Medena, CEO of FinFabrik and Advisory Board Member of WTIA’s Fintech Core Focus Board.
Hi Alex, can you tell us a little about your company and where its value lies?
Alex: Sure, FinFabrik is a capital markets and wealth management technology solutions builder, comprising of three products; BrokerFabrik a fully integrated software system which caters to brokerage firms, AlgoFabrik which specializes in investment management using automation capabilities, and WealthFabrik which is a bespoke wealth management platform powered by machine learning layers for wealth management businesses.
We basically started 11 months ago by acquiring the IP (intellectual property) of InvestLab, a HK-based retail brokerage platform focused on global retail trading.
Imagine you have a brokerage license, RO, capital but you don’t have front, middle, and back end technology or the architecture to make financial advice and trades on the fly for your clients. This cloud-based technology aims to change all that: our solutions are B2B or B2B2C SaaS model.
For us, it all boils down to customer experience. Now there are two types of retail-investment experiences; active trading where a client may have intrinsic motivation to buy stocks based on hearsay or market news, and then there’s passive trading where a client wants to save for future plans such as college, retirement or for a rainy day which is more under wealth management that today involves robo-advisors. FinFabrik deals with both kinds of experiences: we marry retail trading to wealth management.
Unlike most startups; they start with an idea, a little capital, a powerpoint, they do an MVP and try to pitch to market and sell, we have technology from the get-go.
What’s the current direction FinFabrik is taking to develop its business?
Alex: We have a 1-2 year roadmap where we will bring more sophisticated data analytics tools and machine learning technologies to help end-users or end-investors to make the best decisions for their financial goals. It could be highly customized to the individual with risk-level assessments, bespoke research report and advice based on personal investment preferences and habits. Machine learning is aimed at helping customers learn much more about themselves than they would on their own, especially when they are overloaded with so much market information available everywhere.
And where do you find challenges in your business?
Alex: We do find that many brokerage firms and wealth management companies have either full or partial inflexibility in their infrastructure, meaning they are unable to shift or change due to technical complexities or costs. What we do is we built our solutions in modules and through APIs which could plug into their current existing infrastructure and deliver the functionalities they need. For example, a company may need portfolio management tools, fix connectivity or a dashboard for brokers; they can add that to their existing infrastructure.
Your company stresses on something called “financial inclusion”, can you talk a little about that?
Alex: Yes, this is absolutely important to us. There is the misconception that wealth management is only for the wealthy. Our mission, and myself as well as our other two cofounders strive to create a legacy to change things which include engaging and opening doors of financial education and wealth management access to under-served or unserved population; this includes middle-to-low income earners, minorities, women, or the financially illiterate who have the same kind of financial goals as the higher earners though at a lower scale. That scale doesn’t make it less important for the people in that “segment”.
We are in 2017 and we still talk about financial inclusion which means we haven’t done enough in Fintech. The technology is there and the cost of running these platforms is lower than before.
Banking in general and private banking in particular is a relationship based business though the latter is not scalable anymore and there is limit as to how many clients a relationship manager can service properly. Second, technology helps understand clients’ needs better and service them efficiently. Thirdly, and again technology plays a big part here, financial literacy is a key aspect particularly with gamification.
And what is FinFabrik’s role in Fintech?
Alex: While most companies tout the word “FinTech” and call themselves “FinTech companies” they are more “TechFin” companies.
The technology is actually irrelevant and merely an enabler to enhance customer experiences and business processes. We honestly believe that FinTech should mean that finance comes first.
We have a vision that is further than individualised solutions based on demographic segments: we want to create hyper personalised content catered to each and every individual and this could be done through AI (in the broad sense), but the end goal is not to build a business on machine learning or AI, the goal is to provide financial services to people in the best possible way.
Therefore, we market ourselves as such and we are doing what we can in terms of public speaking and education to bring more awareness to easier financial management enabled by technology.