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How to prove investors that your FinTech idea is worthy?

It's always hard to raise money when you don't have sales and customers. Development also takes much time, effort and budget. So for many startup founders receiving investments on pre-MVP stage is crucial. In this article, we try to understand what are the main points for investors and how design thinking can help.


Start with a problem!

This is one of the most important points. Proving that the problem is real and painful is ~60% of success. It's always great to solve a problem that you personally faced with, in this case you can always get back to the origin.

So what do you start with? First of all, it's good to find a pattern of a problem to research different forums, Quora, Twitter, etc. But the best instrument is interviews, you can get some really cool additional insights. People will tell you stories from their life, cases you haven't even expected to hear. It's important to ask people about real things not about theoretical stuff.

To validate hypothesis you can perform 5 interview 30+ min each and then compare data from them to classify patterns. But unfortunately these interviews can't give you any numbers about the frequency of facing the problem among other people. Here you can use a survey among 100+ representatives of a sample. Ideally you don't want to waste more than a week on testing of a single hypothesis.

Basically, you can use any community around to leverage the needed scope for interviews. Those people can be your friends and family, connections in social networks or even paid audience in Facebook.

What makes a good problem?

Here's how Kevin Hale from YCombinator explains what makes the problem interesting for the investor.

It's always hard to raise money when you don't have sales and customers. Development also takes much time, effort and budget. So for many startup founders receiving investments on pre-MVP stage is crucial. In this article, we try to understand what are the main points for investors and how design thinking can help.
In short, you should have as much of those attributes as possible:

  • Popular, meaning lots of people have it
  • Growing, meaning more people will have it in the future
  • Urgent, should be clear
  • Expensive to solve, meaning you can charge more for your solution
  • Mandatory, they need to solve it, change in regulation is a good example
  • Frequent – many times a day us better then once per year
There are many ways to test your idea. One of the lifehacks here is to build a community around a problem and use and keep on collecting more insights about the issue and solutions. It will work not only for a problem but also for the sales process in the future. If community growth fast – it means there's a lot of energy around the problem. It's another great sign for investors as well. On the early stage, you probably will look on business angels or maybe even crowdfunding. If your investors experience the problem, that will help you a lot.

But even if you don't know where to start, there's a trendy solution to understanding and shaping your idea - it's design thinking approach.

Design thinking as an idea validation tool for FinTech Startups

Design thinking is a process that can help you find the best way to present your project. By its nature design thinking has a human-centered core that's why it encourages organizations to focus on the people they're creating for, which leads to better products, services, and internal processes.

Instead of starting with a problem, design thinking framework starts with observation. It's driven by a deep understanding of the context of a problem, rather than the problem itself and allows to find uncommon ways of reaching the goal.

The financial industry has experienced a turbulent period due to FinTech disruption in recent years. Although customers' needs are the basis for any business, in today's competitive and customer-centric landscape, businesses must understand the customer on a much deeper level to come up with more innovative solutions.

Design thinking in financial services helps to:

  • structure the approach to the research
  • plan the interview flow
  • protect you from fooling yourself
  • prove to the team that all went that way
  • generate extra content from the research
  • save time as everything is structured
  • save money
  • keep the team on track
Yes, design thinking can solve numerous problems, but many teams understand it as a one time implementation that will magically bring innovation. The problem is that adopting this approach creates a shift in perspective of solving different issues. And you'd better do it right from the beginning.

On early stage it's always hard for the team to commit a lot of time and effort in basically anything. A properly built process with a clear goals (to get to X result within Y time) helps not to waste coordinational effort. Team workshops like design thinking can hold the team alined. But it also demands a certain list of specialist present, to cover all aspects and look at the problem from different angles.


Get a taste

Depending on the idea, a team should consist of a Product Manager, Engineer or Architect, QA, Designer, etc. And here's where professional team can come in hand. Here at 4IRE LABS we provide design thinking as a service, and perform design sprint workshops to FinTech startups in order to test your ideas and find workarounds.

If you are interested in design thinking approach, please contact us to get a free 1 hour call to help you understand how it can help your product become better.


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