Cosmin Ene is an entrepreneurial founder with an excellent first-hand understanding of the life cycle of entrepreneurial ventures, which he has accumulated over 18 years. Between 2005 and 2009, Ene was co-founder and managing director of DELUXE Television. Prior to this, he was analyst and associate at TecVenture Partners. In 2010 Ene started LaterPay, a micropayment enabler.
The idea of LaterPay started over sushi, when Cosmin Ene realized that people like to “cherry-pick” and he thought this need was not yet introduced on the internet where you have to pay for everything at once.
And so LaterPay was born in Munich, Germany with a mission of being a one-click solution to enable digital purchases, making it easy for people to purchase content without registration and cost, initially. By doing so LaterPay empowers the paid content businesses across every open ecosystem on the internet.
What type of problems are you trying to solve at LaterPay?
To make people purchase paid content in an easy and convenient way. No one else is currently doing this, everyone is adopting a “safe solution” for themselves. Where as we are trusting people first to consume content and pay later.
What are the significant shifts that you’ve seen in the industry?
Plain and simple, subscriptions as the one and only model for publishing doesn’t work. Given the fact that they are not working, companies like us are coming up with new ideas – most users don’t want traditional subscriptions and so you can start offering content to them in different packaging, e.g. as individual content.
If you could tackle any technology-solvable challenge existing today, which would it be and why?
I would tackle the problem of the annoying upfront registration and payment processes, which is exactly what we do. We want to make it super easy for users to consume content. People don’t have a problem paying for content, they are just annoyed to register and pay up front for content. People want to be treated as they are in the real world where they get served first and pay later – after receiving and accepting the benefits. Bringing this behavior to the Internet world is a challenge that I am addressing in order to make a difference!
Who do you think will be the most influential figures (or companies) in FinTech in 2016?
Companies that are democratizing investments, for example companies like Scalable Capital that make investment services affordable for everyone. And other companies that offer services that were previously reserved for banks. These previous exclusive services are moving from behind the walled gardens of banks to the backyard of startups and tech companies who speak the language of the customers and offer benefits that are appreciated by the customers. FinTech companies are painfully showing big banking brands that it’s all about benefits and less about the brand.
What are some key hurdles in the FinTech industry that you’re experiencing? And how do you see data science applications helping solve these hurdles?
Mainly the acceptance of innovation by merchants for companies that need the innovation. Sometimes you may not be a solution that your B2B customer want but a solution that they need. So, you need to create proof of concept and illustrate the gathered business intelligence, in order to get them to accept innovation. And this is a longer process.
Can you tell us what you think the FinTech industry will look like 5 years from now?
More democracy for banking services, smaller companies solving both large and small problems that are not being addressed. We will move to an environment where big companies will no longer have a monopoly but rather where many smaller boutique firms will populate the market. This will be a little bit like the USP of craft beer breweries which are offering all kinds of cool or strange blends of beer instead of having only big beer giants.
I expect the market to become much more fragmented as some areas of FinTech are not yet defined. The insurance industry for example will see a significant changes over the next 10-15 years. There will be more atomized insurance options that will have customized solutions for what you need. They will address the needs of the Facebook generation, which is more interested in individual offers then only one option that covers all. For example, imagine going on a skiing vacation and easily booking an insurance policy covering you and your skiing equipment, for just that single instance.
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