FinovateSpring 2017 Best of Show Winners Announced!

Do the Best of Show winners of FinovateSpring 2017 represent our most diverse array of fintech innovations to date?

You be the judge. This year’s winners include four companies that made their Finovate debuts this year, as well as a pair of companies – Hedgeable and SaleMove – that are not only Finovate veterans, but also are previous Best of Show award winners. And when we focus on the technologies involved: artificial intelligence, automated financial advisory, OCR, machine learning, biometrics, and more, it is clear that the innovations we see on the Finovate stage are indicative of broader trends not just in fintech, but in the technology industry as a whole.

So here’s to the innovators of FinovateSpring: from those who leverage technology to solve fundamental problems in finance to others who take advantage of the “sharing economy” to introduce entirely new ways to do everything from buying a home to investing for retirement.

Alpharank for its APIs that enable FIs to turn their transaction data into predictive social graph data. for its fully-automated portfolio management and trade execution technology that turns natural language into executable investment strategies.


Hedgeable AI Lab for its artificial intelligence platform, Katana, that leverages voice commands and chatbot technology to provide financial planning advice.



Microblink for its real-time, retail receipt scanner for mobile apps, turning the mobile camera into an accurate data catcher and replacing manual inputs.



Neener Analytics for its compliant social media analytics solutions that provide frictionless credit decisioning and individual risk outcome predictions.


SaleMove for its Engagement Platform and OmniBrowse solution that helps FIs meet or exceed the in-person customer experience online.

SpeechPro for its VoiceKey.FRAUD technology that uses voice biometrics to enable call centers to detect fraudsters.

Unison for its HomeBuyer and HomeOwner solutions that helps make homes more affordable and home equity easier and less expensive to access.

What a time we had this year in San Jose! Thanks to all our presenting companies, our sponsors and partners, our volunteers, temps, and presenter-acclaimed AV team, and of course, thanks to you, our attendees. We are already looking forward to our return to Silicon Valley next year for FinovateSpring 2018. So if we don’t see you this summer in London for FinDEVr or this fall in New York for our new, expanded FinovateFall conference, we hope we’ll see you again this time next year right here.

Notes on methodology:
1. Only audience members NOT associated with demoing companies were eligible to vote. Finovate employees did not vote.
2. Attendees were encouraged to note their favorites during each day. At the end of the last demo, they chose their three favorites.
3. The exact written instructions given to attendees: “Please rate (the companies) on the basis of demo quality and potential impact of the innovation demoed.”
4. The six companies appearing on the highest percentage of submitted ballots were named “Best of Show.”
5. Go here for a list of previous Best of Show winners through 2014. Best of Show winners from our 2015 and 2016 conferences are below:
FinovateEurope 2015
FinovateSpring 2015
FinovateFall 2015
FinovateEurope 2016
FinovateSpring 2016
FinovateFall 2016
FinovateAsia 2016
FinovateEurope 2017

Welcome to Day Two of FinovateSpring 2017!

After a full day of fintech on what proved to be a great first day of FinovateSpring 2017, we’re ready to watch even more demos today. The day starts off this morning at 8:45 a.m. when the first presenter hits the stage. If you need a bit of a warm up, come as early as 8:00 a.m. to save your seat in the demo hall and enjoy coffee and a continental breakfast with a side of networking.

Here’s what to expect today:

>> 8:45 to 10:15: Demo session 1<<

>>10:15 to 10:45: Intermission & refreshments<<

>>10:45 to 12:05: Demo session 2<<

>> 12:05 to 1:00 Buffet lunch <<

>> 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.: Demo Session 3 <<

>> 2:00 to 3:00: Discussion panel moderated by Ranjit Palkar, Partner at Capco <<

Panelists include: 

  • Marc Chalifoux, TD Bank VP, Fintech Intelligence & Innovation
  • Lawrence Tang, Head of Investment Promotion InvestHK
  • Oded Shoshany, CEO of Celeriti FinTech
  • Valentina Isakina, Managing Director of JobsOhio
  • Illya Shell, VP New Product Development and Innovation at MasterCard

>> 3:00 to 5:00: Open bar and networking <<

  • Best of Show Awards Ceremony will be held at 4:15 

Welcome to Day One of FinovateSpring 2017!

FinovateSpring has sprung! Our annual spring fintech conference begins today and after a full morning, afternoon, and early evening of rehearsing on Tuesday, we think you’re going to like what you see when our 60 presenters take the stage this week.

Today on Day One we will introduce you to the latest innovations of 35 Finovate newcomers and veterans – the latter including four alums that have earned Best of Show awards. And the diversity of financial technologies that is the hallmark of Finovate conferences will be in full effect from the very first demo session Wednesday morning. From investment solutions that translate ordinary language into sophisticated trading strategies to risk analysis platforms powered by AI and machine learning, FinovateSpring 2017 is an excellent opportunity to survey the breadth of what financial technology has to offer.

So let’s get the fintech party started! Here is the lineup for today.

Registration begins at 8am

8am to 8:45am: Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:45am to 10:15am:

10:15am to 10:45am: Intermission & Refreshments

10:45am to 12:05pm

12:05pm to 1:00pm: Lunch

1:00pm to 2:00pm

2:200pm to 2:30pm: Intermission & Refreshments

2:30pm to 3:30pm

3:30pm to 5:30pm: Networking, Open Bar, & Appetizers
Best of Show winners will be announced tomorrow

All demo videos will be available for free in a few weeks in our video archives.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Welcome to Day One of FinovateSpring 2017.

Around the web

  • Vantiv acquires B2B payment workflow specialist, Paymetric.
  • Azimo introduces P2P payment functionality geared toward cross-border and remittance money transfers.
  • IBM partners with National University of Singapore (NUS) to develop blockchain module on fintech for students.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

A Full Day of Fintech Practice

With dozens of companies slated to take the Finovate stage over the next two days, we’re placing the final touches each of the 7-minute demos. FinovateSpring begins tomorrow (still time to register) and we’re excited to watch these perfected demos at the San Jose Convention Center among a crowd of C-level banking executives, startup founders, VC’s, media, analysts, and press. Check out the word cloud below for a glance of who to expect.FS17 Titles (1)

If all of this last-minute prep is making you wonder about the details of this week’s show, wonder no more:

The event will be held at the San Jose Convention Center, (Google Maps) at 150 West San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA 95113.

Check out our full list of presenters and read our Sneak Peek blog series for more information about what each company will demo on stage.

Registration opens at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 26. A continental breakfast and coffee will be served until the first demo session begins at 8:45 a.m. Check out the full agenda on the FinovateSpring home page.

After the final demo session on Thursday, we’re hosting five panelists who will discuss the demos and their role in the larger fintech scene. The panel will be moderated by Ranjit Palkar, Partner at Capco. Panelists include:

  • Marc Chalifoux, TD Bank VP, Fintech Intelligence & Innovation
  • Lawrence Tang, Head of Investment Promotion InvestHK
  • Oded Shoshany, CEO of Celeriti FinTech
  • Valentina Isakina, Managing Director of JobsOhio
  • Illya Shell, VP New Product Development and Innovation at MasterCard

Mobile app
Download the Finovate mobile app from the app store. Use the app to access the agenda and attendee list, learn about presenters, schedule meetings and more. If you use the same email address in the app that you used to register for
FinovateSpring, it should recognize you immediately. If you have any issues, please email or see a Finovate staff member at registration.

For additional help, please check out the FAQ section on our website or email We’ll see you tomorrow!

Finovate Alumni News


  • Geezeo to power digital financial management for Liberty Bank.

Around the web

  • ProfitStars unveils its CECL DataStore and Validation solution to help FIs meet upcoming compliance deadline.
  • New enhancements to nCino’s Bank Operating System make it easier to serve small business borrowers.
  • iSignthis deploys its Paydentity service to UK-based forex broker,

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Digitization, Data, and Automation: A Look at Tech Trends Driving MortgageTech

Designed by Freepik

Digitization and innovations in workflow automation and data integration are among the biggest trends driving much of mortgagetech. Whether you are a process facilitator, making the purchase experience easier on the homebuyer, or a loan servicer looking to better target your lending efforts, the efficiencies and insights provided by these technological trends are transforming this growing space within fintech.

In some ways, these are the same trends that are sweeping through not just technology but industry, as well. It’s true that workers and consumers in the 21st century have developed a love/hate relationship with an increasingly digitized, automated, and data-dependent world. But at least with regard to mortgagetech, these innovations are likely to prove more boon than bust, relieving much of the friction and many of the headaches and inefficiencies that plague all sides of the real estate transaction.

Writing at The Home Story, Timothy Ahern quoted the quarterly Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey produced by Fannie’s Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) Group in which those surveyed put “a need for digitization and automation” at the top of their list of technological innovations they would like to see in their industry. “Survey results suggested that mortgage lenders have a strong interest in a fully digitalized mortgage process,” Ahern added.

With this in mind, we looked at trends in digitization, automation, and data integration in mortgagetech through the lens of a pair of FinDEVr alums: a Bay Area startup founded five years ago called Blend (FDSV16) on one hand, and a loan origination specialist that has been in the mortgage business since 1997, Ellie Mae (FDNY17), on the other.

Blend and the Art of Adding Intelligence to Mortgage Applications

For mortgage application process facilitators, digitization has been perhaps the single most significant technological innovation. And while reams of paper are often still involved in the average real estate transaction, digitization has created massive efficiencies in the process. Describing the current mortgage experience as one that is “paper-driven,” involving “endless back and forth,” lacking in “transparency”, and overly manual, Blend co-founder and CTO Eugene Marinelli discussed last fall at FinDEVr Silicon Valley how his company “makes the process a lot more automated, and a lot more efficient.”


Pictured: Blend’s Eugene Marinelli, CTO & Co-Founder, during his presentation “The Data-Driven Mortgage by Blend” at FinDEVr 2016 Silicon Valley.

Blend, for example, engages borrowers with straightforward, “very digestable” workflows to provide basic information about assets, income, and other data that will enable the platform to complete the loan application for the borrower. Borrowers can directly connect their accounts to the platform instead of having to login to their separate bank accounts and export the information into the application. The solution also leverages optical character recognition (OCR) technology to read and extract data from uploaded documents such as W-2s and pay stubs.

Under the hood, managing workflows with less friction is similarly a matter of managing data. Blend, for example, houses application data, property data, and borrower data centrally in its data model. The goal is to “add intelligence to the application,” according to Software Engineering Lead Nivi Jayasekar. “How do we only ask the borrowers the questions they really need to be answering and how do we source that information up to them appropriately at her right moment?” she asked. The solution for Blend is “centralized rules,” which ensure that an independent contractor, for example, gets an application with different queries and has different disclosure needs compared to a salaried worker. This process also supports compliance needs by routing the borrower responses to create an audit trail as well as the centralized rules engine.

The tools of digitization, automation, and data integration are ideal for the challenge of mortgages, which Blend describes as “data-rich and insight-poor.” With automatic data extraction and the ability to leverage this data to develop business rules that create more personalized experiences and reduce costs, companies like Blend are helping make one of life’s most important decisions – buying a home – less complicated and more transparent.

“This is by nature very complex,” Jayasekar said. “Some of it doesn’t need to be and we do a good job of reducing that redundancy through the borrower experience and connectivity.”

Automation, Open APIs and Ellie Mae’s Innovation in Loan Servicing

Automating the mortgage process, as Ahern noted above, is a major goal for those firms that are directly involved in loan servicing. Ellie Mae, which made its FinDEVr debut this spring, produces the software that processes nearly a quarter of all mortgage applications in the U.S. The company’s innovations in mortgage process automation and its new focus on open APIs have positioned Ellie Mae as a firm to watch among mortgagetech’s loan servicers.

In February, Ellie Mae unveiled the latest version of its mortgage management solution, Encompass, which automates the loan origination process. The all-in-one package facilitates CRM, point of sale, processing, underwriting, closing, and funding, as well as post-closing and shipping. The platform helps ensure compliance and loan quality with features like automatic loan review and channel-specific workflows. Electronic document management includes automated auditing and intelligent document recognition. Reporting and analytic tools help lending professionals take advantage of the critical data flowing through the system to make real-time performance insights.

But during its FinDEVr New York presentation in March, Ellie Mae’s VP of Platform Engineering Jeff Collins emphasized the platform’s embrace of Open APIs. “We’ve grown really well. We’ve solved a lot of problems,” Collins said of Ellie Mae, adding, “but now it’s time to look for innovation and excitement and new opportunities from partners outside our own walls.” Collins showed how the platform’s developer portal features a “Try It” mode that allows developers to experiment with deploying sample loan objects into any of the various loan fields in a sandbox type environment without having to write the code first.


Pictured: Ellie Mae VP, Platform Engineering Jeff Collins during his presentation, “Ellie Mae Encompass Developer Connect,” at FinDEVr 2017 New York.

In addition to other features, like Pipeline that enables query APIs for loans that match specific criteria, the platform also supports webhooks, which are user-defined HTTP callbacks. Collins demonstrated the example of a how Encompass could send notification of a newly created loan product as a webhook that would enable Ellie Mae’s lender customers to integrate it into their data warehouse or into other services in their business. “Because at the end of the day,” Collins explained, “we are the system that makes the object that makes money for the lender. But that integrates into a whole bunch of other workflows including things like loan servicing, because when that loan is ready to go they may want to start asking for payments from the customer.”

To underscore Ellie Mae’s commitment to open APIs, Collins demonstrated an Alexa-based Encompass Loan Officer Connect voice app for lenders, querying the technology for the status of various loans, including upcoming rate lock expirations, as well as directing the app to “run product and pricing” on specific loans in order to find a better rate. “Anybody can plug into this platform and become part of the ecosystem,” Collins said, “The goal being that by working together … we can make borrowers’ lives easier, to lower the pain for them, to get more people into houses.”

This concludes our series on proptech and mortgagetech in fintech. In case you missed them, check out our review of proptech’s role in fintech and a closer look at real estate investment technology. For more proptech, come to FinovateSpring where we’ll showcase a variety of proptech, mortgagetech, and other fintech at the San Jose Convention Center.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Digitization, Data, and Automation: A Look at Tech Trends Driving MorgageTech.
  • The Way to San Jose: FinovateSpring 2017 Begins This Week.

Around the Web

  • Roostify taps former Appfluent Technology CEO Frank Gelbart as new Chief Revenue Officer.
  • Fraud prevention innovator Featurespace partners with UK digital family banking solution, goHenry.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.


The Way to San Jose: FinovateSpring 2017 Begins This Week!


Pictured: SaleMove CEO and Co-founder Daniel Michaeli during his Best of Show winning demonstration at FinovateSpring 2016.

Fintech’s favorite rite of spring is back! FinovateSpring returns to San Jose Wednesday and Thursday for two days of live demos of the latest innovations in financial technology. This year, we’ll be taking the stage in the newly renovated ballroom of the San Jose Convention Center, 10 minutes drive from San Jose Airport, less than 45 minutes from San Francisco, and a nice spring stroll away from some of downtown San Jose’s most interesting shops and restaurants.

The companies that will be demonstrating their newest solutions and services live on stage this week reflect many of the biggest trends in technology today. From machine learning and artificial intelligence to the API revolution and the way analytics tools to help us draw actionable, meaningful insights from data, the variety and sophistication of the technologies being deployed in the fintech space continues to grow.


If these are the themes and trends that drive your daily work, then come join us this week at FinovateSpring for a peek into tomorrow’s fintech today. Tickets are still available, so visit our registration page and save your spot.

Here’s what you need to know to be ready for FinovateSpring this year:

Registration starts at 8am, with the first demo beginning at 8:45am. Be sure to arrive early enough to enjoy complimentary coffee and a continental breakfast.

There will be four demo sessions on Wednesday the 26th and another three demo sessions on Thursday the 27th. This year, in a first for Finovate, we will feature a discussion panel following the final demo on Thursday afternoon. The hour-long panel conversation will take a deep dive into the technologies presented over two days of live demonstrations, putting the innovations in the broader context of current trends in fintech.

And, as always, we’ll wrap up the conference with our Best of Show awards presentation during the end of day networking session on Thursday. Check out our FinovateSpring agenda for more detail.

We’re looking forward to our return to sunny San Jose and hope you’ll be there to join us. Learn more about our presenting companies by checking out our FinovateSpring Sneak Peek series. And if you’ve got questions about the conference, check out our FinovateSpring 2017 FAQ page or send us an email at See you at the show!

Feature Friday: Discover’s Interactive Checking Account Comparison

discover checking comparison

Discover’s responsive page dedicated to selling its Cashback Checking is a thing of beauty from top to bottom (though we have some suggestions on a few of the finer points of the UX). We especially like the interactive comparison to the competition. Discovers starts by comparing its fees to Chase, Citi, and BofA. But the card giant makes it easy to compare against four other major brands (US Bank, Wells, Capital One and Fifth Third). Simply click on the + sign in the empty fifth column on the right and choose one of the brands from the popup (see below).

The table works on smaller screens including smartphones. But you can only compare to one other bank at a time. Users select the competitor with from a drop-down box.

Bottom line: If you clearly offer better price/value, then by all means flaunt it. While Discover makes a great case here for its Cashback Checking, it could be even better with more benefits listed (e.g., mobile deposit for one) and a tool to calculate financial savings and rewards. But overall, excellent work!

Author: Jim Bruene is Founder & Senior Advisor to Finovate as well as
Principal of BUX Advisors, a financial services UX consultancy.