Historically, startups and small businesses haven’t had the time or resources to take full advantage of cutting-edge technological advances that allow them to grow their business.
With the emergence of FinTech and product-based, customer-focused financial services, new opportunities for startups and small businesses are being created every day.
In the latest episode of Pencils Down™, Zach Emig, Capital Markets Leader at MainStreet, shared his journey from MIT to Wall Street, and how FinTech is changing the capital markets landscape.
In this article, we cover some highlights from the conversation, including:
- How to build FinTech products based on your customer’s needs
- Challenges facing startups and small businesses
- How MainStreet tackles these challenges
Focusing on customer needs
The rise of FinTech in recent years has been a boon for many — especially small businesses, who now have access to sophisticated financial tools previously only available to much larger organizations. At MainStreet, Zach is on a mission to design such tools and get them into the hands of the small businesses who stand to benefit the most. But doing so successfully means never losing sight of one thing:
Anyone who has ever led a business understands the challenges it throws at you — which are arguably even more pronounced in the tech industry. A lot rests on the decisions you make for your business’ future and how you tackle the inevitable problems you’ll face.
No matter how pressing the problem, however, if your solution doesn’t ultimately benefit your customer, it’s not a real solution.
It’s that simple.
“It's easy in everyday life to always be focused on the problem ahead of you, but we try to always step back and ask: What’s best for the customer?” — Zach Emig
At MainStreet, that means everything they do needs to ultimately fulfill their mission to empower startups and small businesses and ultimately create jobs and opportunities across the nation.
The company is fulfilling its mission by helping startups and small businesses take advantage of government tax credits, capital markets, and other opportunities to maximize their ROI.
Unlike their much larger counterparts, startups and small businesses often don’t have the time or resources to throw at squeezing every available penny out of various financial markets and tax incentives, which often means they are simply leaving money on the table.
That’s totally understandable, of course — smaller organizations have to prioritize using their resources for the bigger problems they face in order to scale and, eventually, grow enough to have the time, money and teams to go after these opportunities.
At least, that’s how it has always been in the past.
Thanks to FinTech, that’s all changing.
“We're not a bank, but our small business customers bank on us to handle their funds.” — Zach Emig
What once would require a prohibitive time and resource commitment for startups and small businesses, is now a quick, simple and easily affordable option for even the smallest organization.
And given how much money such a small investment yields in return — it’s a no-brainer.
How FinTech like MainStreet helps
FinTech opens up a whole host of opportunities for smaller organizations to maximize their ROI easily and effectively, which is readily apparent when you look at MainStreet’s offerings.
MainStreet’s flagship product takes aim at the various available tax credits smaller organizations often fail to discover, let alone capitalize on, due to the more pressing issues demanding their full attention. Yet, these tax credits are no small matter — smaller organizations are leaving significant chunks of cash on the table.
“There are billions and billions of dollars in tax credits that are not taken by startups and small businesses.” — Zach Emig
MainStreet programmatically and algorithmically helps smaller companies find, and avail themselves of, these credits, such as the ones available to offset expenditures like R&D. Before, smaller companies would need a small army of lawyers to pull this off.
Yield, another important product in MainStreet’s line, gives small businesses an opportunity to take any and put it to use, commanding the high-yields once only available to larger companies.
One obvious example where accessing yield opportunities like this is a game-changer is for recently-funded startups.
As startup founders will tell you, you don’t spend your funding all at once — you need to spread it out as you scale. Yet, until you use it, it’s not helping you.
That’s where Yield comes in — it allows startups to take a portion of their Series A and B funding, which would otherwise be idling in their low-interest bank accounts, and use it for yield opportunities in the meantime.
Of course, this comes with risk, but MainStreet understands that and, as such, has plans that can address every level of risk-tolerance.
As you can tell FinTech like MainStreet’s product line is changing how small businesses operate and, ultimately, reshaping the business landscape.
In the end, that’s good news for everybody.
You can find this interview and many more by subscribing to Pencils Down on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or here.
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