BigTech, Partnerships, and the Evolution of the Fintech Ecosystem

BigTech, Partnerships, and the Evolution of the Fintech Ecosystem

The growing presence of BigTech in the fintech ecosystem is one of the stories of 2020 that will likely be among the top stories of 2021, as well. As companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft look to fintech for new markets and opportunities to innovate, how will their relationship with the fintech ecosystem evolve and change?

For a few answers to this and other questions, check out our interview with Microsoft’s Sandeep Mangaraj and Tom Feher, industry executives, Digital Transformation, Financial Services. Both Mangaraj and Feher participated in our all-digital fintech conference, FinovateFall Digital, in September.

What is the value of partnership as BigTech becomes more involved in fintech?

Mangaraj: Microsoft leads with partners. That’s been true throughout our history and especially given what we are facing now, all the uncertainty and challenges that our partners are facing. I don’t see that changing. Our partners were quick to respond to what happened with COVID. They leveraged the power of our platform, and they were there immediately with creative and innovative solutions.

That has been the story of Microsoft. What is it that we provide? We have a secure, compliant, scalable platform that they can innovate on, and we are here to help them and support them, and make sure that they take advantage of the full power of what we offer, what they offer, and what our other partners offer, to take to their clients.

Feher: Partners are key to our success. We have several programs to help incubate and expand our fintech ecosystem. This includes everything from Microsoft for Startups, a program that assists startups in building solutions on our platform, to our M12 Ventures program that invests in a portfolio of fintechs in the industry. We also have our worldwide partner organization that focuses on strategic alliances and partnerships with fintechs that enable us to bring net new solutions to market on our platform that accelerate our clients’ innovation and well as helping them drive business outcomes.

Watch the rest of the conversation. And for more from our FinovateFall Digital speakers, check out our Finovate TV YouTube playlist.

Photo by Hung Tran from Pexels

Google, 21st Century Branch Banking, and the Power of the Platform

Google, 21st Century Branch Banking, and the Power of the Platform

This year, FinovateFall Digital brought representatives from some of technology’s biggest players to our all-digital stage. One of these individuals was Paul Rohan, Solutions Consultant with Google Cloud.

Rohan’s presentation on the future of banking showed a connection between the evolution of branch banking and the necessary changes banking will need to undergo in order to thrive in the 21st century. He also discussed the changing nature of competition in financial services brought on by trends like open banking.

Check out our interview with Rohan ahead of his FinovateFall Digital presentation last month.

On the current state of open banking and PSD2

This is a major change in mindset because you start to realize that you could have the very best banking product with superb features and brilliant pricing. But if it’s not a part of these connected digital experiences across multiple brands that customers are increasingly demanding, it could fail. And you could have a middle of the road, not the best financial product, with not the best prices and not the best features. But, boy, if it pops up with the right context, with the right personalization, and the right customization – in these connected digital experiences – it could be a tremendous success.

On open banking as 21st century branch banking

Why did unit banks fall away and then branch banking become the norm? Because it didn’t matter how superb the staff were in the one branch you had, or how wonderful the customer experience was once they came into the branch, or how fast the decision-making was because everyone in your bank was in that one location. But if your one branch was in the wrong town, or beside the wrong industries, as things changed, it didn’t matter how wonderful the user experience was … In essence, (branch banking) started to allow customers to begin their customer journey with the bank where they were living their lives or where they did business.

On the difference between pursuing an app strategy versus a platform strategy as a financial services provider.

The sociology is quite different. In a traditional enterprise that’s quite reliant on doing everything themselves, and there’s always a human desire to innovate and serve your customers, if you do something clever to serve your customers, there is a big round of applause: “This is exactly what we should be doing.”

Companies that are immersed in the connected experiences of digital ecosystems (are) all about trying to make your partners clever. Enable them to be clever because they’ll do the customization, they’ll do the personalization. So there’s a huge amount of thought that goes into taking friction and difficulty out of your partner’s ability to deal with you, and to extend your brand and your proposition into segments you don’t want to serve yourself directly or you couldn’t serve yourself directly.

Watch the rest of the conversation. And for more from our FinovateFall Digital speakers, check out our Finovate TV YouTube playlist.

FinovateFall’s 25-in-5: Hot Takes from the Brains Behind the Demos

What’s the best way to get to know a fintech CEO, serial entrepreneur, or founder in 2020?

a. Coffee after breakfast

b. Drinks before dinner

c. 25 questions in five minutes

d. All of the above

At FinovateFall Digital this year we took an all of the above approach to bringing our world-famous networking-friendly events into the all-digital world. With Meet at the Cafe in the mornings and our customary, end-of-day networking opportunities in the afternoon, we were thrilled to have so many of our attendees join us, our demoing companies, and sponsors, for a week’s worth of virtual meetings.

One addition to the year’s goal of bringing the social to digital is our new 25-in-5 series. Hosted by Senior Research Analyst Julie Muhn and Research Analyst David Penn, our 25-in-5 series interviews the founders and CEOs of our demoing companies in a new and exciting, rapid-fire style. From their insight into “What Makes Their Company Unique Among its Competitors?” to their best take on “The Greatest City for Tech Startups That No One Knows About,” 25-in-5 provides a novel way to get to know about – and what’s on the mind of – today’s most creative fintech innovators.

“We wanted to stress the fun, personal side of our speakers, because all we usually see is the professional side,” Finovate VP and Demo Director Heather Stowell explained. She noted that the questions asked were a blend of fintech- and company-specific queries and more casual, inquiries designed to show a little bit of the person and personality behind the technology.

“While our technology demos are immersive, thought-provoking and insightful,” Stowell added, “let’s not forget about the lighter, more personal side of events, too. These clips we’ve put together explore the fun side.”

Check out our 25-in-5 interviews from FinovateFall Digital in our Finovate YouTube playlist. And stay tuned: our 25-in-5 series will be back in November to help you get to know the demoing companies of FinovateWest Digital!

FinovateFall Digital 2020: The Future of Finance is Digital and Social

FinovateFall Digital 2020: The Future of Finance is Digital and Social

The goal of FinovateFall Digital was straightforward: combine the dynamism and excitement of a Finovate conference with the flexibility and scalability of an all-digital event.

And if the response from attendees is any indication, the result was a job well done by all parties: event planners, event participants, and event attendees.

FinovateFall took the idea that the future of finance is digital to heart. For five days, via a blend of live addresses and panels on the one hand, and pre-recorded, on-demand discussions and presentations on the other, FinovateFall Digital was built to bring not only the kind of insightful commentary and innovative technological demonstrations our attendees have come to know and expect, but also something more.

For example, we all know that Finovate VP Greg Palmer spends a great deal of time working with demoing companies to ensure that they are able to put their best foot forward when the lights come on and it is their time to shine on stage. This year, by adding an interview component to the fintech demos, we get to learn about more than just the demoing technology. With an engaged interviewer as part of the presentation, we get these insights not from a stranger, but from someone who has spent the time to get to know the innovators and their vision as well as their innovation. The end result is something that is in some ways quite different from what Finovate has ever provided before.

Our all-digital format also provided greater access to our conference speakers and panelists. The increased availability throughout the day and the ability to schedule meetups digitally helped us provide the kind of socially-active environment that has always been a key part of the Finovate experience. Features like Meet at the Cafe, sponsored by Google Cloud, gave attendees, speakers, and analysts the opportunity to hangout before the start of each conference day, chat about the top fintech news and trends of the day, and make new connections. And our Scavenger Hunt incentivized attendees to check out a wide variety of FinovateFall Digital’s of live and on-demand content.

With FinovateWest only a few months away, we’re already looking forward to coming back with a whole new slate of innovative fintech companies. We’re also thinking about a new bunch of clever ways to ensure you get the most out of our conference and accentuate “the social” part of finance’s digital future.

Learn more about our upcoming, all-digital, FinovateWest event! And for a recap of some of the themes and conversations of this month’s conference, check out our daily summaries, Best of Show announcement, and more below.

FinovateFall Digital Daily Summaries

  • Monday: Digital, Demos, and Reinventing Fintech
  • Tuesday: Delightful Experiences and Fair Deals for Consumers
  • Wednesday: Building Consumer Trust and Creating a More Open Ecosystem
  • Thursday: Open Finance, Black Swans, and the Return of SME Banking
  • Friday: Collaboration, Mobile Security, and Fintech’s Bright Future

FinovateFall Digital 2020 Best of Show Winners Announced

FinovateFall 2020’s Final Day: Collaboration, Mobile Security, and Fintech’s Bright Future

FinovateFall 2020’s Final Day: Collaboration, Mobile Security, and Fintech’s Bright Future

The morning’s first panel, Strategic Partnerships and Collaboration Between Banks and Fintechs, brought insight into what large banks look for when it comes to partnering with a fintech. The top suggestions for fintechs looking to make themselves more appealing to banks included offering scalability and using industry standards for things like data sharing.

Google’s Mike Burr took the stage next to deliver the keynote: Redefining the Approach to Mobile Security in FinTech (and why it works). Burr considered the root concern that banks struggle with when it comes to protecting Android devices. He examined the top ways data becomes exposed and how to get the tools to ensure data security for compliance needs.

The afternoon breakout stages tackled issues on topics across payments, future technology, wealthtech, and banking. These recorded panels, along with all of the content on the main stage, are available in the On Demand section of the event platform through next week so be sure to catch what you may have missed there.

Our afternoon panel, Latin America – The Future of Fintech, and the Dawn of a New Opportunity, considered the range of opportunities in Latin American markets. The group discussed that the region’s diversity makes it ripe for investors and explained how entrepreneurs are reinventing financial services at a local level.

Closing out FinovateFall 2020 was Neri Tollardo, Head of International Relations and Partnerships at Tinkoff, who spoke on how fintechs can remain profitable in a COVID-19 era. Tollardo’s address offered a ray of hope for banks and fintechs. He expressed that the path to profitability is not mutually exclusive of growth. His points of advice included embedding profitability in the culture and the organizational structure, understanding their business, investing in good talent, and searching out verticals that generate returns.

I’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who participated in the event, from our demo companies, to our speakers, panelists, and–of course– to our audience. We wouldn’t be here without you!

Photo by McKayla Crump on Unsplash

You Had the Questions, We Have the Answers

You Had the Questions, We Have the Answers

While FinovateFall Digital attendees hunted for services and solutions to meet the needs of their firms’ biggest challenges, they tracked down Scavenger Hunt clues at the event, too! 

Attendees earned points by watching content, meeting with other attendees, exploring the platform, and finding buried easter eggs in the event map.

Without further ado, here are the winners and hunt answers.


  • Grand Prize: Om Neelay, Silicon Valley Bank
  • Raffle: Andrew Chalas, Silicon Valley Bank
  • Raffle: Tim Boon, Mostly AI
  • Raffle: Lizette Epps, Vision


Speaker Questions:

  • When Greg Palmer said “Yip yip!” in his MC remarks, what kids’ show was he referencing? Avatar the Last Airbender
  • During his keynote, what did Jeremy Balkin mention as his favorite book? Millennialization of Everything: How to Win When Millennials Rule the World by Jeremy K. Balkin
  • Sarika Sangwan mentioned her favorite business book as part of her keynote. What is it? Conscious Capitalism by Raj Sisodia
  • What is Steven Ramirez’s favorite tech gadget? iPhone
  • What podcast did the Future Payments Stage chair, Louise Beaumont, say she’s listening to in her opening remarks? Breaking Brand by Message Heard

Cafe Question: In the Google Cloud Cafe, what was the main topic for the first poll from the Finovate analysts? APIs

Easter Egg locations on Central Park Map:

  • Juggler
  • Dinosaur skeleton next to Museum of Natural History
  • Carousel
  • ATM
  • Woman sitting alone on the bench
  • The Dakota
  • Grandma walking her dog
  • Dad playing frisbee with his son
  • Woman walking with stroller

Broker Barry Riddles:

  • If money really did grow on trees, what would be everyone’s favorite season? Fall
  • Why can’t the bank keep a secret? Too many tellers
  • A man pushes his car and stops in front of a hotel and immediately goes bankrupt. What is he doing? Playing Monopoly

Fintech Francesca Riddles

  • What word becomes shorter when you add two letters to it? Short
  • What object has keys that open no locks, space but no room, and you can enter but not go in? Keyboard
  • A man buys a horse for $60. He sells the horse for $70. He then buys back the horse for $80. And he sells the horse again for $90. In the end, how much did the man make or lose? Or did he break even? Made $20

Retired Rosetta Riddles:

  • Mary has four daughters, and each of her daughters has one brother. How many children does Mary have? 5 (each daughter has the same brother)
  • Dracula’s going to the bank to keep his money, but he seems a little more pale than usual. Which bank did he go to? Blood bank
  • A chicken was given $7, an ant was given $21, a spider was given $28. How much money was the dog given? $14 ($3.50 per leg)

Thank you to everyone who played and joined us for FinovateFall Digital!

5 Questions with Mary Kate Loftus, Senior VP and Director of Digital for M&T Bank

5 Questions with Mary Kate Loftus, Senior VP and Director of Digital for M&T Bank

Partnerships between nimble fintechs and trusted banks are essential as we look to build back our economy. Mary Kate Loftus, a panelist in our FinovateFall Strategic Partnerships session, knows this well. As head SVP, Director of Digital for M&T Bank, she fields potential partnerships each month. We sat down with her to discuss what M&T looks for in a partner and where she sees the industry going.

How do you determine your needs for a fintech partner?

Mary Kate Loftus: With all things, we start with our customer. Our teams dive deep into the customer experience through journey mapping, and from this, we can see the pain points and what we need to create. Going about our innovation and partnerships from this perspective, rather than looking at our competitors and building to parity, allows us to create a truly differentiated experience.

When it comes to partnerships, we consider if we are best suited to meet the needs of the client or if we need to turn to an outside source that’s already focusing on these needs very deeply. Banks, like M&T, are able to work closely with their clients in a way that many fintech organizations are not able to do. But often fintechs, free of a complex organizational structure or process, are able to innovate in a very focused way. This ying and yang – the bank’s customer expertise and the fintech’s area expertise – allows for a truly meaningful partnership.

Once we identify a partnership need, we see if we’re aligned in our corporate purpose. This step is critical – it ensures that our approach will be both effective and long-term. Our purpose is to improve the lives of our customers in a meaningful way, and we look for partners looking to achieve the same.

What makes you take a meeting with a potential fintech partner?

Mary Kate: Referrals from existing clients, friends, connections, or colleagues are always a great way to start a potential partnership. Beyond that, I get excited to meet those who come with a clear vision of the problem they’re able to address and a strong understanding of our corporate promise. For us, it’s not enough to simply have a capability, but rather, we build for measurable results and long-term partnership.

Once we’re in the meeting, it all comes down to talent. We want to work with creative, imaginative, curious people, and we’re looking to see those qualities on day one. Together we want there to be a good energy in the room and, equally as important, great ideas.

Lastly, we’re looking to learn from our partners. What can you teach us about what we’re not yet doing?

Can you discuss the PPP rollout and how you overcame the challenge?

Mary Kate: M&T’s successful PPP rollout was thanks to a strong set of existing partnerships and a creative team that was ready to scale nearly overnight.

Before the pandemic, we were working with Blend for our mortgage digital originations so we were already aligned in our purpose. The leadership teams from both organizations were just starting conversations on how we could work together more when the PPP program was announced, and so we knew they were the partner to tap. A cross-functional team brought in Salesforce and Docusign – two other existing partners – to complete the experience.

Within minutes of the program launching, we had thousands of applications. Together, we were able to lead the country in loan fulfillment– 96% of first round loans went through within days — giving $7 billion in funds to small businesses. More importantly, our partnership allowed us to still meaningfully vet the applications, and we’re proud to say that two thirds of the loans issued went to businesses with less than 10 employees.

Our PPP response was led by Eric Feldstein, M&T’s SVP who oversees Business Banking. It’s a success story about the importance of having strong leaders with digital expertise leading a line of business. I believe this successful rollout in a time of real crisis for many will create lasting loyalty in our customer base.

What near-horizon banking technology are you most excited about?

Mary Kate: I’m a big believer in the science behind behavioral analytics and how you motivate customers by understanding how people think.

Every customer is going through a different experience. If one client is going through a life change like having a child or going through a divorce, it’s important to be able to anticipate financially what that journey might look like for them. As we are able to embed more artificial intelligence and meaningful insights, we’ll be able to guide customers toward better decisions that then will improve the quality of their life.

This is why we’re so focused on experience mapping to identify customer journeys — from there we’re able to understand what the moments that matter most are for different segments of customers. When you apply data and insights against those experiences, you’re then able to build a personalized micro-experience. What we’re doing today is lightyears ahead of what we were doing in the past, and I can’t wait to see how much more we can do in this space.

The pandemic is only going to accelerate this. We’re seeing a blend of work and personal lives, and with this, I think the financial services industry will play an even bigger role in making a difference in people’s lives.

What role does the need for diversity play in banking partnerships?

Mary Kate: Diversity plays an absolutely critical role in these partnerships.

At M&T, we know the more diverse voices we have in the room the better decisions and outcomes you can drive for customers. As an institution, you must reflect your community and customers, so you need to draw from a broad range of experiences in order to drive the best business performance and outcome.

When choosing a partner, we look at who we’re working with. We look at what systems are in place and watch out for those that could create outcomes that we don’t want to drive, and, conversely, for those that will drive us further.

This goes back to what I was saying earlier about learning from a partner. Yes, we want cutting-edge technology that will solve customer pain points, but sometimes these pain points are solved through systems, processes, or approaches. We’ve found that by working with a diverse set of partners, we’re able to think in more comprehensive, customer-centric ways.

Mary Kate Loftus is the Senior Vice President, Director of Digital for M&T. She joined the Bank in 2018 as the Head of Strategic Planning for the Consumer & Business Bank. Mary Kate is a career banker with over 20 years in financial services with experience in Digital, Branch Management and Contact Center. Mary Kate holds an MBA from Canisius College, is a 2013 graduate of the Consumer Banker’s Association Executive Banking School and is a member of their Digital Channels Committee in addition to other industry forums

Photo by Photos Hobby on Unsplash

FinovateFall Digital 2020 Best of Show Winners Announced

FinovateFall Digital 2020 Best of Show Winners Announced

Digitally or in-person, the live fintech demos continue to be one of the most popular and worthwhile features of our fintech conferences. This year was no different. FinovateFall Digital featured fewer demoing companies than in years past to better accommodate our COVID-induced, all-digital format. But, as always, the quality of demos was absolutely on point.

With that, let’s take a look at the companies that our attendees have awarded with Best of Show trophies at this year’s event.

Finzly with its BankOS open banking platform that helps banks innovate at speed by transitioning away from legacy technology.

Horizn for its ability to help financial institutions accelerate digital adoption with customers and employees.

Lendsmart for its AI-driven technology that solves for the lack of automation, transparency, and communication in the lending process.

Monit for its finance application that gives small business leaders the insights and personalized guidance they need to manage their businesses successfully.

Q2 for its online digital marketplace that makes collaboration between fintechs and financial institutions easier and more efficient.

Thanks to all the companies that participated in FinovateFall Digital! And thank you, our FinovateFall Digital attendees, for making your voices heard and for being part of a very special event this year. We look forward to seeing many of you in a few months for FinovateWest!

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 five 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 five 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 through 2020 conferences are below:
FinovateEurope 2015
FinovateSpring 2015
FinovateFall 2015
FinovateEurope 2016
FinovateSpring 2016
FinovateFall 2016
FinovateAsia 2016
FinovateEurope 2017
FinovateSpring 2017
FinovateFall 2017
FinovateAsia 2017
FinovateMiddleEast 2018
FinovateEurope 2018
FinovateSpring 2018
FinovateFall 2018
FinovateAsia 2018
FinovateAfrica 2018
FinovateEurope 2019
FinovateSpring 2019
FinovateFall 2019
FinovateAsia 2019
FinovateMiddleEast 2019

FinovateEurope 2020

FinovateFall Digital Day 4: Open Finance, Black Swans, and the Return of SME Banking

FinovateFall Digital Day 4: Open Finance, Black Swans, and the Return of SME Banking

We opened Day Four of FinovateFall Digital with a panel looking at the future of innovation in a post-COVID world. Among the highlights of the conversation was a discussion of the challenge in distinguishing between permanent and temporary shifts in customer behavior as a result of the pandemic. Our Deep Dive also discussed the positives, negatives, and uncertainties about the rise of platforms as players on the fintech scene. Lastly, the group emphasized how the rise of borderlessness creates new challenges and opportunities for companies looking for both new customers and new markets.

Our second panel on Day Four looked at the phenomenon of Open Banking. Here our panelists considered open banking as a subset of open finance, and noted that while open banking began in many ways as a regulatory initiative, progress increasingly has been driven by consumer behavior. This last point was especially relevant for fans of open banking in the United States, where any effort to encourage cooperation between banks and third party financial services and fintech providers is more likely to come about via customer demand rather than by legislation from Washington.

Day Four also marked the beginning of our Discussion Days content which offered a variety of special, themed tracks covering topics in banking, financial crime, payments and digitization, wealthtech, and futuretech. With an eye toward how technology is shaping innovation in these areas, our Discussion Days tracks looked at the rise of banking-as-a-service, the role of biometrics and identity in an increasingly digitized society, and the latest applications of cutting edge technologies like conversational AI and natural language processing in fintech and financial services.

The fourth day of FinovateFall Digital also featured our Best of Show awards. Our attendees selected five companies – Finzly, Horizn, Lendsmart, Monit, and Q2 – to receive Finovate’s highest honor. Read more about our FinovateFall Digital Best of Show winners in our announcement post.

And, of course, we started the day with our Meet in the Cafe interactive morning hangout – sponsored by Google Cloud. This morning featured a number of interesting insights and observations from cafe visitors including the idea of data itself as being as important as any enabling technology like AI or the blockchain when it comes to fintech. Those gathered also discussed the idea of the pandemic as a Black Swan event that has helped smaller financial institutions, such as credit unions, get back in the business banking game.

Sound interesting? Join us tomorrow morning at 9:30am Eastern for our final installment at Meet at the Cafe!

FinovateFall Digital Day 3: Building Consumer Trust and Creating a More Open Ecosystem

FinovateFall Digital Day 3: Building Consumer Trust and Creating a More Open Ecosystem

Finovate came back strong this morning, with excellent keynotes and a solid round of fintech demos.

Sarika Sangwan, Global Head of Strategy and Marketing- Financial Services at Pinterest kicked things off with her keynote on building consumer trust in the age of doubt. She illustrated that the best way to build trust is with intentionality and purpose. Sangwan encouraged banks to put the customer first and allow that to drive every decision they make.

The next keynote of the morning featured Tom Feher, Banking Industry Executive of U.S. Financial Services at Microsoft, who spoke on coming together to respond, recover, and reimagine during COVID-19. Feher showcased a range of solutions to help firms return to in-person operations in the midst of the pandemic. He pointed out that low code and no code solutions can not only help organizations respond to issues faster, but also reduce costs.

Today’s final keynote speaker was Paul Rohan, Head of Business Strategy- Finance at Google Cloud on how open banking is 21st century branch banking. Rohan’s discussion combined technology, sociology, and history to consider how banks can change their belief systems (as well as their computer systems) to move into a more open approach that embraces third parties.

Following this was the last set of demos:

  • Authoriti showcased the Authoriti Network that helps create new ways of preventing identity theft, fraud, and misuse of data.
  • Cirrus Secure demoed its cloud-based collaboration hub that impacts a lender’s bottom-line by creating efficiency in place of document chaos.
  • KioWare presented its touchless kiosk environment that enables kiosks to be converted to touchless operation without expensive new hardware.
  • Cinchy showed off its real-time Data Collaboration Platform that helps financial service providers solve data integration, data access, data governance, and solutions-delivery challenges.
  • Lenderfit demoed how it helps lenders close more commercial loans faster.
  • Glia showcased its digital customer service platform that connects financial institutions to their customers using chat, voice, video, cobrowsing and AI.
  • Illuma Labs demoed passive voice authentication for call centers to help banks elevate the user experience, enhance security against fraudsters, and improve operational efficiency.
  • Envestnet |Yodlee presented its data aggregation and analytics platform that provides innovation and insights for financial service providers.
  • Microsoft showcased tools to help firms protect their workforce during each phase of the return to the workplace — and beyond.
  • Horizn demoed how it helps financial institutions dramatically accelerate digital adoption with customers and employees.

Wrapping up today’s show were the Mastercard Priceless Pitches, three-minute pitches from Mastercard’s Start Path participants, including:

  • Previse showed how it leverages AI to power B2B payments and make B2B commerce more efficient.
  • Doconomy presented how it helps consumers calculate the carbon footprint of every transaction they make and offset and reduce their carbon footprint.
  • Enveil showed how it protects data-in-use to enable secure and private data sharing, search, and analytics.
  • vCita presented how it powers small business by offering them tools to manage their money, time, and clients to grow their business.

Tomorrow we’ll kick off our discussion days with another conversation at our interactive networking session, Meet at the Cafe. Afterwards we’ll feature insightful keynote presentations and breakout panels. Stay tuned!

FinovateFall Digital Day 2: Delightful Experiences and Fair Deals for Consumers

FinovateFall Digital Day 2: Delightful Experiences and Fair Deals for Consumers

With welcoming remarks from Finovate VP Greg Palmer, Day Two of FinovateFall Digital got underway on Tuesday with a pair of addresses that looked at ways that fintechs and financial services companies can make the most out of the current health and economic challenges.

In his opening keynote, HSBC Head of Innovation Jeremy Balkin emphasized that understanding how the current environment has changed customer behavior is critical for businesses looking to adapt to both those changing behaviors and the needs they represent. This has been underscored during this quarantine/lockdown/shelter-in-place era. But Balkin is quick to note that these behavioral changes have impacted not only consumers, but workers and employees, also.

“We spend a lot of time thinking about the customer experience. We need to think about the employee experience, as well,” he said.

He also talked about the historical tendency to think of partnerships and “borrowing technology” as an initiative of last resort. Balkin pointed out that successful companies have turned this idea on its head to put collaboration and partnership at the forefront of their efforts to better serve their current clients and engage new potential customers.

Our Mastermind Keynote featured Adam Dell, Head of Product for Marcus by Goldman Sachs. Dell discussed how the adoption of digital tools is accelerating and compared the current moment to other recent instances of rapid technology adoption by the public. He pointed to a “vibrant demand for digital banking services,” and said that the winners will be those that can offer a delightful digital experience, a fair deal for the consumer, and the lowest cost means of delivery.

“Individuals who sit in the value chain and don’t create value really risk being eliminated,” he said.

Dell also discussed the opportunities created by the convergence of banking services and PFM. This comes as Goldman Sachs announces that Marcus will now feature a suite of PFM tools to complement its digital banking functionalities. Marcus Insights, as the new offering has been dubbed, was spearheaded by Dell, founder of PFM innovator Clarity Money which was acquired by Goldman Sachs in 2018.

After our noon break for lunch and networking, we began the day’s round of technology demos.

Q2 demonstrated its partner marketplace and app store that solves the challenge of banks and fintechs working together.

Monit presented its mobile predictive cash flow and financial optimization solution that gives small business owners the personalized insights into and guidance on their finances they need to manage their business successfully.

payever demonstrated its solutions that help small businesses access and take advantage of the same technology that big companies do.

Obsecure showcased its technology that authenticates digital actions to ensure that digital experiences are as safe and simple as in-person interactions.

Mostly AI demonstrated its synthetic data platform that enables companies to take advantage of AI and Big Data while maintaining customer privacy protections.

The second round of demos slated for today– including Glia, Illuma Labs, Envestnet | Yodlee, Microsoft, and Horizn— have been rescheduled for tomorrow due to technical difficulties. Stay tuned for more details on timing.

We would be remiss not to mention that Day Two began with our new interactive, networking session, Meet at the Cafe. Sponsored by Google Cloud, our first edition Tuesday morning featured a spirited, interactive conversation on Klarna’s $650 million fundraising, the fate of challenger banks, and the impact of new customer behaviors in the age of COVID-19.

Meet at the Cafe returns Wednesday morning, with a special guest: David Andrzejek, Head of API Ecosystems with Google Cloud. So meet us at the cafe and join in the conversation!

Digital, Demos, and Reinventing Fintech Dominate Day 1 of FinovateFall 2020

Digital, Demos, and Reinventing Fintech Dominate Day 1 of FinovateFall 2020

We were welcomed to the first day of FinovateFall 2020 by a familiar face: Finovate VP Greg Palmer. Greg kicked things off with a discussion of the importance of digital offerings, noting the increased accessibility to all.

The opening keynote was from Pablos Holman of Intellectual Ventures Lab who issued the friendly reminder that “nobody has ever invented a new technology by reading the directions.” Holman encouraged the audience to find real problems in the world and start innovating where there is a true need. He pointed out two keys to success in this type of innovation: first, form fintech-bank partnerships to give ideas the traction they need; second, run a lot of experiments by trying a handful of things to determine what works the best.

During his Mastermind keynote, Scott Gnau, VP of Data Platforms at InterSystems encouraged the audience to leverage the inflection point that is COVID-19 to focus on digital transformation and build technology that is resilient to change in the future. Part of the key to this, he explained, is to leverage partnerships but maintain ownership of your own data to remain agile.

After a round of virtual meet-ups and networking sessions, the demos began:

  • Yext kicked things off by showing how it can improve the search experience on company websites and across the entire search ecosystem.
  • Scientia Consulting presented FinTech Insights, a tool that analyzes digital banking competition in realtime behind their login screens.
  • Finzly showed its open banking platform, Finzly BankOS.
  • Lendsmart demoed its AI driven platform that solves for the lack of automation, transparency, and communication in the lending process.
  • Glance Networks presented its solution for transforming in-branch financial consultations into digital meetings.
  • Nacha demoed Phixius, a tool that enables the secure exchange of payment-related information via open APIs within a trusted network.
  • Icon Savings Plan showcased its portable, universally accessible, workplace retirement savings plan that serves as an alternative to the 401k.
  • Remitter presented its AI-powered, white-labeled digital communications platform that helps lenders maximize revenue by optimizing customer engagement.
  • DQLabs showcased its data management tools.
  • XcooBee demoed its payment workflow automation tools that combine self-checkouts and remote pay to help reduce retail touch-points and boost transactions.