Starting up with Fintech

The finance industry has witnessed a tremendous growth in the last few years and continues to surge forward with technology paving the path for providing faster and more convenient ways to facilitate various transactions. This has led to the emergence of a new area – “Fintech” which uses technical expertise to smoothen the working of the financial markets. The field is an especially booming one as it incorporates knowledge of exciting new fields like Block chain Development, Machine Learning, coding and their application in finance.

In recent years, many students in our campus have also ventured into this field. DoJMA was in conversation with one such student, Mohit Bhandari, Vice-President of the Wall Street Club, who talked about Fintech; the opportunities and basic prerequisites to work in this field; and his start-up “Sensum Fintech” which he co-founded along with Jash Patwa, President and Aditya Dwivedi, Quant Head from the Wall Street Club. Catch the interview here and find out how you can step into the mixed world of Finance and Technology!

DoJMA: Can you give us a brief, layman’s idea about this field?

Mohit: Fintech is an upcoming field which aims to resolve issues in the Finance industry with the help of Technology. It is a fusion of Finance and Technology. One of the popular and most recent developments in this field is cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, which aims to create decentralized digital currencies. It also led to the development of Block-chain Technology, which continues to find many applications in the area of financial services.

DoJMA: Extensive use of Technology in financial services is a relatively new field and is still in its nascent stage. How did you venture into Fintech in college?

Mohit: Finance is an interesting field. After coming to campus, I learned about Finance from online sources, seniors and lectures organised by the Wall Street club. After getting hooked onto this field and meeting people with similar interests in the club, the discussions among club members acquainted me to the applications of Technology in Finance. This led to awareness about Fintech.

DoJMA: What are the different opportunities in this field right now?

Mohit: It is a vast field, which provides endless opportunities. There’s work being done on creating banking and investment platforms for consumers, along with payment gateway systems. With recent developments in cryptocurrencies, a new way of financing things has begun, called ICO (Initial Coin Offering) which is being used in projects and start-ups to raise capital. New opportunities are also emerging, as more Fintech firms are hiring Quant Researchers and Data Scientists to solve their financial problems and to analyze Big Data.

DoJMA: How important is coding for a person who wants to work in this field? And does it require individuals to have an exhaustive knowledge of Finance?

Mohit: Coding is certainly important in some fields of Fintech. Languages like Python and R are being used extensively these days, and a basic understanding of those is a must for anyone interested in this field. But there are also roles for people to work on understanding the product being created and to look at it from a purely financial point of view. So I would say, coding is actually important for entering in this field and enthusiasts must know Python, in the least. But there are other roles too, if one doesn’t like coding.

Some basic knowledge of Finance is certainly required to break into this field as one needs to understand the problems and tasks one is working on, and a familiarity with the contemporary issues around the subject is also required.

DoJMA: Did studying any of the regular engineering courses give you an advantage while working in this field? 

Mohit: Surely some courses test, challenge and develop aptitude, which is important for working in this field. Besides, there are applications of some Engineering concepts in this field. For example, Fast Fourier Transform, a concept from Engineering, is used to reduce the turnover of trading strategies.

DoJMA: What was the role of the Wall Street Club in steering you towards this field and how much has it helped you? 

Mohit: It has played an immensely important role. Coming to college with zero knowledge in this field, the club lectures helped me in getting started and the club activities cultivated my interest. But the most important factor is that the club creates an environment for students with interest in Finance to discuss and talk about it, which makes all the difference, and one’s interest can be routed to one’s passion. This is what motivated me to get a PoR in Wall Street Club and to give back to the club by working for its development, which helped me in the long run.

DoJMA: What is the current scenario for Fintech industry on an international level?

Mohit: Fintech is booming. Innovative start-ups are enabling many elements of traditional financial services. VCs and PE houses are looking at Fintech as a viable investment. Government policies are being created to protect the consumer and to provide incentives to help Fintech grow. I would say that the industry has reached its inflection point and exponential growth lies ahead.

DoJMA: Have any big Finance companies ventured into this field?

Mohit: Yes, all the traditional financial companies are working to incorporate Technology into their framework.

DoJMA: Can you tell us something about your start-up “Sensum Fintech” – what was the idea behind coming up with the service, and at what stage of development is the start-up in?

Mohit: Sensum Fintech’s mission is to democratize algorithmic trading in India and other inefficient financial markets of the world. We are making algorithmic trading more accessible and affordable to even the least tech-savvy of Indian retail investors, thus, helping them to make money in an era dominated by the monetary and technological prowess of institutional funds and HFTs.

 

The idea behind coming up with this came from the cliché- like-minded people coming together. My co-founders, all of them being members of the Wall Street club, had discussions on this topic. Then one thing led to another and before we knew, our discussions snowballed into us working on this idea.

DoJMA: Do you have any advice for the people who want to start working in this field?

Mohit: I would say that the field is really interesting and if you want to work in this field, you can begin by understanding the basics of Finance and slowly work your way into the depths of the field. Be connected to the contemporary events happening in this field. Learn Python or R as they are being used extensively in this field.

Lastly,  meeting people with similar interests will catalyze the learning process.