FinTech Minotaurs: How Financial Technology and Greek mythology are inextricably linked
me? That’s right! Splice together finance,
technology, the body of a man and the head of a bull, and you get yourself a
And when was this monstrosity created? Well, Minotaurs have been knocking about since the days of our Hellenic cousins, the Ancient Greeks. FinTechs are a little more recent, but with the creation of the credit card in the 1950s, financial technology was born. Or FinTech, as the whizz kids are calling it these days. In this case, however, a Minotaur is a venture backed company that has raised more than $1 billion in funding. This sort of Minotaur is less dangerous in a labyrinth. The first was Ant Financial, which raised the qualifying billion in 2005.
So, there’s more to it than cutting edge innovation in financial technology hooking up with the lovechild of Cretan Queen Pasiphae and a majestic bull? You got it. But, just to briefly move back to the powerful imagery you’ve conjured up there, if that was all there was to it, you could say that union has produced 3 offspring.
A rare breed, then. Indeed. Aside from Ant Financial, you can count Paytm and SoFi in this motley crew.
Big fish. No, Minotaurs.
Right, sorry. Minotaur’s a sharp name isn’t it. Damn straight. Coined by Axios Editor-in-chief Nick Johnston, ‘Minotaur’ is the sort of muscular, powerful handle the most popular kids in the investment playground demand. You don’t want to get on the wrong side of the coolest kid in your class, Chad, by calling him a ‘butterfly’. Chad much prefers the moniker ‘minotaur’. Shrewd move, Nick.
It sure is a mighty fine name. So, what does the emergence of the Minotaur say about the world of investment? I’m glad you asked me that…
You told me I had to. The rise of the Minotaur (which could easily be Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s next big budget bicep flick) signals a new form of aggressive company building. The trick is to pump an obscene amount of money into rapid expansion, so the competition can’t touch you.
Does this aggressive company building have an equally combative name to match? You bet. Entrepreneurs Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh have called it ‘blitzscaling’.
I see. Well, the term FinTech Minotaur must be on everyone’s lips? Well, err, not exactly. It’s on Axios’ lips, courtesy of Nick Johnston, and mine, courtesy of Axios, and the readers of this, if for some reason they’re reading aloud like a child.
They’re probably not. No, probably not. Just Nick and me then. But, hopefully the term will catch on; it would be nice if the FinTech investment canon was full of more mythological creatures. Unicorns are already grazing the grassy knolls of the equity capital gardens.