Since 2016, Citi Ventures has explored emerging technological, behavioral, and societal trends that we believe are impacting the future of financial services. These trends take shape for us each year based on conversations we have with startup leaders, clients, and our innovation partners across Citi. This theme-based approach informs the investments we make, the technologies we investigate, and the solutions we create.
These trends are of particular importance in 2022, as the world continues to grapple with the economic and societal ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking ahead, this decade will be defined by how humanity responds to the significant challenges posed by COVID, climate change, inequality, and increasing political and societal polarization. In such an environment, global business leaders have both an obligation to prioritize societal well-being and an opportunity to lead the way forward to a more equitable, sustainable future.
Here are the five global trends that Citi Ventures is examining in 2022.
The Trend: The pandemic and climate crisis have laid bare the dire need for resilience in all forms and at every level of society—from global supply chains and healthcare systems to individuals and communities.
The Opportunity: Financial institutions (FIs) can help support resilience in a variety of ways, such as: capitalizing companies that facilitate climate solutions; financing disaster recovery efforts; investing in/developing solutions that embed resilience within supply chains and the operations of public and private institutions; supporting the sustainable, equitable management of common goods; and helping consumers “hedge” their life and financial plans to account for future volatility.
The Trend: Financial power, once reserved for relatively few people and organizations, is being dispersed among individuals and self-organized groups, who are using it to build wealth, shift markets, and democratize access to the financial system.
The Opportunity: This transition should provide FIs with critical opportunities to meet next-generation customers where they are and better serve their changing needs. This could include: helping younger consumers manage their money through digital platforms and educational resources; working with the DeFi ecosystem to develop safe, secure, and accessible products and services; securely financing the creator economy; and investing in new pathways for wealth creation.
The Trend: Amid growing inequality, widespread economic and societal disruption, and pervasive online misinformation, rising tensions between geopolitical superpowers including the United States, Russia, and China are threatening to further destabilize the global economic system and diminish trust. This will likely make collective action on critical global issues such as COVID and climate change all the more difficult, and may lead to state-sponsored conflict on the ground and/or in cyberspace.
The Opportunity: As global organizations that regularly interface with key stakeholders in both the public and private sectors and are fundamentally built on trust, FIs are well-positioned to offer leadership and sound guidance in the midst of these unpredictable times. By investing in stabilizing forces and speaking out against unethical companies, governments, and other actors, FIs can help foster renewed trust around the world and rally various stakeholders around such key issues as ESG, racial equity, and public health.
The Trend: From e-commerce to the Metaverse, our increasingly virtual lives are driving the growth of digital economies and giving rise to brand-new markets, while upending traditional concepts of ownership, wealth, and value and making it harder for consumers to track their purchases and assets.
The Opportunity: As these fast-evolving economies mature, their stakeholders will need strategic guidance, support in scaling, and help understanding their potentially vast implications. This presents compelling opportunities for financial leaders to engage with the space by: exploring “fractional ownership” and the shift from ownership to access models; helping expand the crypto and DeFi ecosystems; banking the Metaverse; empowering digital wealth creation and management; and more.
The Trend: Remote/hybrid work, the “Great Resignation,” and blockchain-based Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) are raising questions about what the future of traditional institutions such as corporations, universities, and cities will look like.
The Opportunity: While still in its early days, this trend could open up a host of new opportunities for FIs to engage with such questions as: how to manage a truly global talent pool and maintain culture and connectivity in the future of work; how to manage physical real estate and infrastructure in a hybrid world; and even what a DAO-based, decentralized “gig economy” could look like.
These are just a few of the many trends Citi Ventures is tracking for 2022, and we will continue to explore them as the year progresses. Stay tuned for more on these topics in the weeks and months to come.