Jouko Ahvenainen (Grow VC Group): “Change takes time”

“Changes take time, until they just happen,” he goes. “Timing is the difficult question as nobody knows exactly when they happen,” argues Jouko Ahvenainen, a pioneer in digital finance, FinTech and data analytics solutions.

“Take for instance crowdfunding. Just a few years ago it represented the big news whilst today it is losing relevance. Liquidity and lack of data are the big issues within the industry while most companies are trying to evolve their business models to stay in the market.”

Jouko pt1 2018
Jouko Ahvenainen

MARKETS NEVER STOP EVOLVING. This is why, for instance, they have also rebranded Grow VC Group’s CrowdValley as Difitek “since we discovered that the word ‘crowd’ ended to be detrimental for us to grow the business. Actually, companies looking for back offices solutions began to associate us to just crowdfunding. This is a clear sign of where the market is going, if you like.”

A true globetrotter, we reached out to him in the aftermath of one of the many events he is currently attending around the world. “From my perspective, the entire ecosystem as we know it, will be much more fragmented in the future as finance is becoming a component of many other services on the web.”

This is something already happening in Asia: “While western countries are monetizing the web by using advertising, the eastern world is using fintech,” he claims.

An example? “When you buy online, an e-commerce platform provides customers several lending solutions to complete their purchases. In other words, thanks to fintech, financial services will be just another payment option.”

Difitek text logo (1)
Offering modern and robust API-first platform with scalable serverless architecture, powerful integrations, intuitive Cloud Back Office and Bank Grade Security all accessible through a single online interface layer (API), Crowd Valley recently rebranded themselves as Difitek.

“We could carry on with additional examples, talking about the innovations in the real estate industry, for instance, but the point still remains the same: the entire ecosystem as we know it, will be much more fragmented in the future.”  And a clear sign of this is “the increasing number of players adopting plug-n-play components for payment solutions.”

DEALING WITH CHANGE. However, there is a lot to do especially in dealing with resistance to change. He talks about the traditional banking system: “There was a time when they were a sort of black box providing customers all the services they needed. Now, though, they are being disrupted by fintech. Of course, traditional players tend to preserve their status even though they are becoming increasingly more collaborative and this begins to foster innovation.”

While western countries are monetizing the web by using advertising, the eastern world is using fintech.


Jouko Ahvenainen

In contrast, even embracing wholeheartedly change could be an issue in itself. Take, for instance, blockchain and ICOs: “The problem with ICOs is that companies issue coins themselves and there are no independent platforms to make that environment more stable and transparent. Moreover, companies provide information on the basis of white papers thing which make extremely complex to make serious evaluations.” This is why “95% to 99% ICOs are really like lottery tickets, but with a complex technical lottery.”

THE NEXT WAVE. In the end, “it is an industry in its early phase,” he concedes and “technology is evolving quite rapidly. Tokens can provide significant solutions for companies to settle, for instance, payments to each other. This is why I am really waiting for the next wave when tokens will start to disrupt existing businesses, finance models and processes.”