3 Key Challenges Facing Scaling FinTechs in Atlanta 

“Atlanta continues to prove itself as a global fintech leader with companies like Wal-Mart, Capital One, Visa, Microsoft and AirBNB opening tech hubs here, and billions invested in local start-ups.”

Chief Financial Officer of FLEETCOR, Charles Freund.

Growth Challenges For FinTechs in Atlanta

Atlanta is increasingly being recognized as a global tech center. Every year, trillions of dollars flow across payments systems managed by Georgia companies. In fact, 70% of all debit, credit, and prepaid card transactions in the US are processed in Atlanta, garnering it the nickname “Transaction Alley”. This leadership in payments has led to the city’s development as a FinTech hub.

Major tech companies have opened offices in Atlanta. Apple, Microsoft and Google parent company, Alphabet, have all set up shop in Atlanta in recent years. More than a dozen companies started or based in Atlanta have grown to valuations of over $1 billion, the threshold for so-called unicorn status.

While this creates an exciting atmosphere, there are also a number of challenges for companies trying to scale and grow in Atlanta. At Keeper Solutions, we’ve worked closely with a number of funded start-ups and scaling technology companies in the area. We’ve developed a firm grasp of the area and have witnessed these challenges firsthand. In this blog, we will look at some of the growing pains that exist for FinTechs in Atlanta as they transition from start-ups to scaling tech firms. 

1. Resourcing and Building a Quality Team of Developers

For companies looking to hire developers in Atlanta, the software engineering and software development talent pool is incredibly competitive. Demand is at an all-time high and hiring suitable, highly-skilled candidates can be tricky. When the demand for quality talent is greater than supply, it becomes a job seekers’ market. This makes the process of hiring all the more daunting for scaling start-ups in Atlanta. Great developers can demand higher than average salaries, which is often well above $100,000 per year. 

This is not even to mention the headache that comes with undertaking long application processes, organizing interviews and making sure candidates are the right fit. Often this leads businesses to engage with HR or recruitment companies. More often than not, these companies are incentivized to get a deal over the line which comes with its own problems. 

In order to grow, companies need to find the right talent which can be incredibly difficult when companies are competing for a small pool of talent. 

Added to that, there is another challenge that often gets ignored, and that is the ability to scale up and down resources. Organizations often only need to increase numbers for a short period of time or to achieve certain project objectives. When a project finishes, and you’re left with a bloated team, this can put a major strain on resources and create a serious operational headache.

2. Getting Your Product to Market Before Your Competitors

For start-ups in Atlanta, or indeed anywhere in the world, speed-to-market is the name of the game. 

When transitioning from start-up to scaling tech firm, funding is often needed whether it be seed funding or investment from a venture capitalist. This funding is required to recruit top quality talent or expand your product portfolio. However, once funding has been taken on, investors expect a return. They have made the decision not to invest in index funds or other more low-risk options where they can yield a steady 2-7% return. Instead they have decided to invest in a technology company with the hope of 10x’ing or 50x’ing their investment. This is where time pressure comes in. 

In order to provide return on investment, companies need to expand their team quickly and get to market before their competitors. This further complicates the challenge of building a quality team of developers. The inability to scale up development capabilities and get a product to market quickly has been the downfall of many promising companies. However, getting your product to market before your competitors can provide a significant and long-lasting competitive advantage. 

3. The Challenge of Bringing an Idea to Fruition

There is a Steve Jobs quote that we often reflect upon at Keeper Solutions; “To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.”

People often think that having great ideas is what makes a company successful. However, without proper execution, ideas alone are worth very little. Execution is the force multiplier. You might have a million dollar idea but if execution is 0, then you are left with nothing. Then there comes the challenge of figuring out if an idea is even viable. Add in the above challenge of speed-to-market and the formula grows all the more complicated. 

This is where design thinking comes in. Design thinking is a way of solving problems and creating new products through considering the consumer’s needs above all else. Whether you call it a process or an ideology, design-thinking is simply an approach to problem-solving that focuses on what the end-user wants. It’s not about appeasing a board of directors or creating a product for the sake of it. Design-led development is an iterative process. At each stage of the process, you need to take time to consider the needs of the end-user, how they interact with the product and then make adjustments based on your observations. 

At Keeper Solutions, we use this process to test out ideas and see if they are worth pursuing. This process also allows you to get to market faster as you are progressing the development process as you go. After engaging in a design thinking process, you are in a much better position to execute quickly and effectively. 

Working With Keeper Solutions

Scaling up software development capabilities presents a massive challenge for FinTechs in Atlanta. In order to bring your company to the next level you need to be able to scale quickly and effectively. You also need to build a team that understands the highly regulated FinTech space. Complying with regulations is a minefield and you need to build a team that possesses both talent and domain expertise. For many funded start-ups and scaling tech firms, this is where Keeper Solutions comes in. 

With Keeper Solutions, you have an established team that understands the market and can help you grow quickly and effectively. Engaging with an outsourced development team is wholly different to employing a HR or recruitment company. At Keeper Solutions, we focus on building relationships and forming partnerships. We value loyalty, trust and going with our clients on their development journey. 

For FinTechs in Atlanta, Keeper Solutions provides a means to overcome the many challenges that come with elevating your company to the next level. To learn more about what we do, why not set up an obligation-free consultation? We would love the opportunity to get to know your business and would be more than happy to discuss your options.

To get in touch, fill in the form on our contact page.

Photo Credit
Photo by Marianna Smiley on Unsplash
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