With the exception of Amazon, our guess is that the so-called FANGS (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) will never view financial services as primary. Sure, they’ll keep hoovering up data on people and use that information to build a widening array of products, some of which will involve financial services. But these companies have their hands full with lots of other big things beyond finance. Moreover, self-driving cars, digital assistants, virtual reality devices and open data center projects sound a lot more exciting than 401(k) plans. But watch out for the new crop of tech powerhouses we’ve nicknamed the WASSUPPs (WeWork, AirBnb, Snap, Slack, Uber, Pinterest and Palantir). Several names in the group hope to go public next year, and in some ways they look smarter than the FANGs (See Snap’s rollout of its spectacles vs. Google glass) because they have learned from the FANGs’ mistakes. Perhaps more importantly, and as their bankers know, they are looking to broaden their business models to infuse more stability and growth. Could those efforts involve standalone fintech initiatives or partnerships? It’s tough to say, but it’s time to at least say hello to the possibilities, or better yet, WASSUPP?
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