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Playing Fintech Tinder

What happens when you give fintech nerds a healthy dose of wine and cocktails over the course of 4 hours?

You get honest opinions about what is new and next in fintech. This is exactly what we did last Wednesday night after the 71 presenting companies had finished unveiling their newest technologies at FinovateEurope in London last week.

At the fintech cocktail club, we played a scientific game of Hot or Not (if you’re younger than 30, think of it as Fintech Tinder). The game was simple; we pitched a list of 11 fintech topics, ranging from flaming hot to icy cold, to the group of booze-sipping fintech-ers.

The audience, which was filled with 30+ folks from the fintech community, gave their feedback about each trend via a shouting match. We recorded their cocktail-fueled opinions and here’s how things played out:

The hot

  • Regtech
    Rank: blistering lava hot
    This topic received the most positive feedback and was by far the hottest trend of the night.
  • Open Banking
    Rank: scorching hot
    Of the 11 contenting trends, this ranked second. Considering the audience, this is not surprising. Given the pending PSD2 regulation in Europe, almost half of the technology we saw on stage at FinovateEurope had some sort of PSD2 compliance element.
  • AI
    Rank: red hot
    This topic landed in the top three hottest topics of the night, but having just come from FinovateEurope and seeing the number of successful AI solutions on stage, I expected it to rank a bit higher.
  • Insuretech
    Rank: balmy
    This field has been around for a few years and has been slow to build up steam. The fintech-ers at the cocktail club deemed it hot, but I would have expected a more confident response from the audience.

The not

  • P2P lending
    Rank: frozen tundra
    According to the fintech-ers in the audience, P2P lending is ice cold! I’ll confess we planted this one on the list to intentionally give the audience a reason to heckle us. While I personally love the high returns I get from my P2P lending account at Prosper (complete with portfolio optimization through LendingRobot), I don’t think P2P lending will be trending again until someone creates a fully-fledged P2P-based banking model.
  • Mobile Wallets
    Rank: icy
    This was a close call for the lowest trending topic of the night. The payments industry is flooded with payment applications from brick-and-mortar merchants, technology companies, banks, and card issuers. Perhaps after three years of consolidation, mixed with some enabling technologies (IoT and AI, anyone?), this will rise back up as a trend.
  • Algorithmic-based investing (roboadvisory)
    Rank: chilly
    The industry is currently overwhelmed with wealthtech solutions and so people are beginning to look toward consolidation, not expansion. Also, there’s a moral feeling that more resources should be invested into solutions that support the underbanked and underprivileged.
  • Biometric authentication
    Rank: cool
    As with the wealthtech sector, biometric authentication has had a lot of new players enter into the market since it first appeared circa 2013. In my opinion, biometric authentication will be relevant as long as it is providing a seamless way to stop fraudulent attacks. The audience, however, seemed to be jaded about the technology.

The ?

  • Real Estate/ Mortgagetech
    This was the biggest wild card of the night. I was eager to hear the audiences’ thoughts, but instead of noisy opinions I heard silence, followed by someone asking, “is that a thing?” Perhaps this is more relevant in the U.S. Keep an eye out for a blog post about this– I’ll be summarizing this sector in a bit more detail (and yes, it is a thing!).
  • Neo-banks/ challenger banks
    There were a number of representatives from challenger banks in the room, so those folks were quick to deem this a hot trend. However, most of the audience was uncertain, and a small number very confidently voted that challenger banks are not a trend.
  • Blockchain
    I was surprised at the lukewarm response to this one. The audience was split fairly evenly on the vote, but perhaps some folks were confusing blockchain with bitcoin.

As expected, this opinionated group had other thoughts about this list of trends. Sam O’Connor, CEO at Monizo, said, “Business banking is so hot right now. Consumer banking disrupters have paved the way, but small and micro businesses have much bigger money problems than consumers. And banks are just ignoring them. In the future your business account will help with tax, getting paid and keeping records. It will change everything.”

I also spoke a representative from a large, London-based bank who thought that biometrics should be divided into multiple groups. He said that facial and voice recognition biometrics are dated and that behavioral biometrics are the new and next thing that banks should be looking for this year.

Obviously since this discourse took place in London, many of peoples’ opinions were geographically-specific. I can’t wait to play it again with the audience at FinovateSpring. If you’ve already purchased your ticket, register today to get ready!

Side-note: a huge thanks to our gracious hosts Lisa Moyle, Liz Lumley, and Richard Maton for lending us their audience and fueling us with cocktails!