Meet the Keynotes

We’re just two weeks away from what is shaping up to be spring’s blockbuster fintech event. FinovateSpring is coming to Santa Clara, California on May 8 through 11.

On the blog, we started off our coverage of the upcoming event with our Sneak Peek series and took an in-depth look at some of the topics that will be considered as a part of the discussion days. Today, we’re unveiling the keynotes. Here are the speakers that will take the stage on days three and four of the event to offer up insight on the blockchain and voice technology:

Bettina Warburg

How Blockchain will revolutionise the industry

Warburg is a thought-leader in the emerging blockchain space and leads the blockchain practice at Animal Ventures, including research, development, and commercialization across the ecosystem of blockchain innovation.

Warburg is passionate about the convergence of technology and politics and the impact it will have on our future. She is the Executive Producer of a new tech show called Tech on Politics, interviewing some of the greatest minds in technology, media, venture capital, and government about the convergence of technology and politics. As a Public Foresight Strategist at the Institute for the Future, a Silicon Valley think tank, Warburg brought a futures lens to a variety of strategic initiatives with top corporations, foundations, education institutions, and city governments.

In 2016, Warburg was invited by TED to be one the first speakers ever to unpack the topic of blockchain to a global audience. She has given talks and curated conferences such as Skoll World Forum, Salzburg Global Seminar, City Innovate Summit, Personal Democracy Forum, and at numerous universities. Warburg’s work has been cited in publications such as The Atlantic, Center for Public Impact,, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Adam Cheyer

The rise of Natural Language Processing (NLP), smart speakers (Alexa), and a future with far less screen time

Cheyer is co-founder and VP of Engineering of Viv Labs, a startup whose goal is to simplify the world by providing an intelligent interface to everything. In October 2016, Viv was acquired by Samsung. Previously, Cheyer was co-founder and VP of Engineering at Siri, Inc. When Siri was acquired by Apple in 2010, he became a Director of Engineering in the iPhone/iOS group.

Cheyer is also a Founding Member and Advisor to (180 million people taking action, victories every day), and a co-founder of (solving the world’s hardest problems through massively-scaled machine learning). As a researcher, Cheyer authored 60 publications and 25 issued patents. At SRI International, he was Chief Architect of CALO, one of DARPA’s largest AI and machine learning projects. Cheyer graduated with highest honors from Brandeis University and received the “Outstanding Masters Student” from UCLA’s School of Engineering.

We’ll see you on May 8 through 11 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. If you haven’t saved your spot, register today. And don’t hesitate to contact us with any enquiries or customer service needs.

FinovateSpring: Open Banking and Digital Acquisition, Smart Speakers and Big Tech Banks

Don’t tell me your values. Show me your budget. So goes the old saw that reminds us that there’s a strong correlation between what we say is important and how we actually spend our time.

Our discussion days agenda for FinovateSpring is no exception to this rule. On Days Three and Four, when we turn from the live fintech demos to the deep dives and panel discussions, we’ll tackle a handful of topics that reflect some of the most critical trends facing the fintech industry. These trends may very well serve as the lens through which fintech innovation in 2018 is viewed.

Open Banking, APIs & Regulation: Shifting Sands of the U.S. Banking Industry

Coming on the heels of FinovateEurope, where open banking, PSD2 regulations, and GDPR in the Eurozone are driving both innovation and VC investment preferences, the U.S. financial community must remain on the offensive when it comes to adopting the trends toward providing more third party access and offering consumers more control over their data.

The kind of government-led open banking initiatives sweeping Europe are unlikely in the U.S., both due to the structure of the American banking system and a political climate more inclined to reduce regulations than enact them – especially in terms of the financial markets. But should the success of open banking spur increased interest in similar legislation in the States, observers like Keri Gohman, President of the Americas for Xero, suggests that innovation would be best served if banks and fintechs led the way.

While it undoubtedly opens up opportunities for banks and other financial institutions to provide better digitally enhanced services to businesses and consumers, U.S. banks will be in a better position if they partner to create standardization before the government steps in. By doing so, and by using secure APIs, they can ensure the needs of small business owners and consumers are met safely and securely.

Gohman puts data and tools like APIs at the center of fintech innovation. With more banks taking advantage of APIs to make customer data securely available to third parties, goes the argument, FIs in the U.S. can begin providing many of the benefits of open banking – and the protections of GDPR – in a more nuanced, customer-centric way than a legislator or regulator could.

Digital Acquisition and Servicing Models: New Tools and Technologies for Remote Clients

How does the rush to digital transformation affect digital acquisition and servicing models? Are there lessons to be learned from the successes of the financial mega-brands? What are the new tools and technologies they use to sell to and service client accounts remotely? From cobrowsing solutions to partnerships that enable identity verification to speed client onboarding, companies are leveraging machine learning and AI to help them get the right information to and from the right clients in real-time.

Avoka, a multiple-time Finovate Best of Show winner and specialist with solutions that help financial services firms transform their account opening and onboarding functionality, cited four challenges banks face when trying to boost digital customer acquisitions: (1) build omnichannel engagement, (2) demonstrate brand and value proposition, (3) meet regulatory and compliance requirements, and (4) go to market within weeks or months rather than years. For this multiple-time Finovate Best of Show winner, the solution is a dedicated platform. In the same way “banks already have a dedicated platform to market their services … Now they need one designed to capture the online account opening transaction.”

 Natural Language Processing, Smart Speakers, and a Future with Far Less Screen Time

Leveraging technologies such as NLP and smart speaker solutions like Alexa has enabled financial institutions to offer both new services and remove friction from old ones. How far can financial services take a screen-less user experience when it comes to banking?

It seems like every other day a new bank is announcing that it is leveraging Alexa to add to the user experience of its customers. Envestnet, demonstrating its technology recently at FinovateEurope, showed how a digital personal assistant, enabled with machine learning, AI, and advanced NLP could serve a professional financial advisor, scheduling and rescheduling appointments, providing timely reminders of important upcoming events, anticipating potential conflicts and suggesting alternative options. The rise of speech as a primary interface with technology makes sense in a world in which the smartphone is the primary technological accessory.

How are financial institutions and financial service providers making the most of this customer experience? How does the rise of speech as an interface in the West compare with the technology’s use in the East and elsewhere? And does the growth of natural language processing, and speech-directed computing pave the way for wider adoption of augmented reality technologies in financial services?

Will E-commerce Giants Become the New Banking Competitors?

As Finovate founder Jim Bruene pointed out recently, e-commerce giants like are already “in the banking business.” Bruene listed the number of services – from mobile payments and, gift, debit, and store cards to lending, currency conversion, and corporate credit lines – and concluded “the prime concern for banks is whether Amazon can move payment volume from bank-issued credit cards, where the industry enjoys healthy profit margins, to debit/ACH with narrow-to-non-existent margins.”

But banks and credit unions remain on edge. An Infosys Finacle study reported that nearly half of all FIs surveyed view technology companies like Amazon to be a significant threat. Writing in the Financial Brand, Jeffry Pilcher noted that analysts believe that the bigger challenge to traditional banks isn’t the fintechs, it’s big tech. And the nature of the challenge is more nuanced. Pilcher quotes Forrester analyst Alyson Clarke who observed:

The threat is not about Amazon taking market share, it’s that they become the customer interface, and the banks become the ‘ingredient brand.’ When you lose that connection with your end customer, you’re simply a no-name product manufacturer. And when you no longer have brand, the only things you have left to compete on are price and features.”

For more about our Discussion Days at FinovateSpring 2018, check out the agenda.

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Zuma Technologies

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 11, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. Register today and save your spot.

Zuma Technologies’ Zuma Liquidity Solutions (ZLS) is an automated multi-industry lending platform that provides a competitive marketplace for borrowers & lenders to transact based on their preferences.


  • Smart – proprietary credit decision system that improves over time
  • Automated – auto-invest rules to match your risk preferences
  • Connected – borrowers can connect to their accounting software

Why it’s great
Zuma emerged to address the large and underserved lending markets which are limited by high costs, lack of automation, and deficiency of financial data.


Francisco Liquido, VP Business Strategy
Liquido is an enthusiastic business development executive with a passion for building great teams, products, and partnerships. He has C-suite leadership experience and direct P&L responsibility.

Vika Arkhipova, Marketing/Sales Executive
Arkhipova is an enthusiastic and ambitious digital media professional working in marketing, product management, and sales. She is truly a goal-oriented person, consistently accomplishing and exceeding objectives.

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Stratyfy

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 11, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. Register today and save your spot.
Stratyfy is where AI meets IQ, empowering industry experts with a solution that combines the best of both worlds – human knowledge and AI.
  • Combine the accuracy of AI with the usability of a rule engine
  • Scale and adapt easily and automatically
  • Leverage cutting edge AI without coding or data scientists
Why it’s great
Stratyfy is not selling off-the-shelf models to replace humans. We empower experts and allow them to combine their IQ with AI to achieve safe growth.
Michael Cherkassky, CEO, Co-founder
Cherkassky is the CEO of Stratyfy, where he continues to do what he does best – delivering lasting customer impact through both enterprise-grade products and exceptional service.
Laura Kornhauser, President & COO
Kornhauser spent 12 years in JPMorgan’s Investment Bank, in corporate lending and derivatives. She was focused on helping institutional customers build and deploy risk management strategies.

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Swych

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 11, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. Register today and save your spot.

Swych breaks cross-border barriers with a blockchain-based global gifting architecture that changes how people shop, gift, and pay for purchases in a global, mobile marketplace.


  • First blockchain-based global gifting network with 1,000s of retailers and millions of product SKUs
  • Instant, secure, scalable
  • Unparalled transaction speeds costing only pennies per 1,000 transactions

Why it’s great
Swych powers not only individual gifting, but digital wallets and corporate incentives programs so recipients can “swych” to favorite brands available in their regions/currencies.


Deepak Jain, Founder & CEO
With a passion for launching/transforming early-stage startups and bringing innovative technologies to market, Jain holds 55+ granted patents with 50 more payment/security technologies patents pending.

Harpreet Chawla, VP Digital Products & Innovation
A strategic leader, Chawla delivers innovative digital commerce/payment solutions that engage, captivate, and delight consumers and maximize demand and conversion rates for enterprises.

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Flybits

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 11, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. Register today and save your spot.

Flybits offers an end-to-end intelligent recommendation platform that enhances enterprises’ digital personalization strategy.


  • Fast time-to-market – go from ideation to production within 90 days
  • Data unification – seamlessly normalize public and proprietary data
  • Privacy first – data tokenization to protect consumer privacy

Why it’s great
Flybits offers an end-to-end solution that hides the complexity of data intelligence, enabling enterprises to harness endless sources of public and proprietary data.


Dr. Hossein Rahnama, Founder and CEO
Rahnama is a recognized figure in ubiquitous computing. His research explores AI, mobile human-computer interaction, and contextual services. He is currently a visiting scholar at the MIT Media Lab.

Justin Lam, Software Engineer, Product
Lam has been a software engineer at Flybits since its inception in 2013. He has a passion for DevUX and has led the development of both web and mobile projects, including Flybits’ JavaScript SDK.

e-Magazine: Getting Practical With the Fintech Hype

Finovate has been perfecting fintech conferences and news content since 2007. This week, we’re thrilled to introduce our quarterly e-book.

In this edition, we’re pleased to share actionable insight about Open Banking, crafting a digital strategy, and low-hanging fruit in AI. We also take a look at the singular trend that dominated presentations across FinovateEurope and FinovateSpring. Finally, we celebrate International Women’s Day with some of fintech’s leading ladies.

Releasing our e-magazine series is, more than anything, humbling. It’s another reminder that we wouldn’t be here without conference attendees, blog readers, and fintech Tweeters. So thanks for your patronage as we continue our endeavor of supporting the fintech industry.


Download the e-Magazine here >>

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: NuData Security

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 11, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. Register today and save your spot.

End friction on all legitimate customers that share one account. Come see how NuData Security’s solution analyzes device intelligence and passive biometrics to build a single entity of one or more legitimate users.


  • Build a trusted entity with one or more customers who access the same account
  • Recognize customers invisibly, wherever and however they log in
  • Remove unnecessary friction on all legitimate customers

Why it’s great
Offers a frictionless experience to all authorized users of one account


Ryan Wilk, VP, Delivery
Wilk has a wealth of experience in fraud detection, prevention, trust, and safety with globally recognized organizations such as StubHub and Universal Parks and Resorts and, currently, NuData Security.

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Baker Hill

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 11, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. Register today and save your spot.

Baker Hill’s online loan application and auto decisioning solutions are powered by Baker Hill NextGen, the expert solution for lending, risk management, and analytics.


  • Ensures financial institutions meet customer expectations for convenience, speed, and transparency
  • Supports profitable loan growth
  • Optimizes the lending process

Why it’s great
With Baker Hill’s online loan application and auto decisioning solutions, financial institutions can deliver a faster, more convenient lending experience while driving portfolio profitability.


Mike Horrocks, Vice President of Marketing 
With 20+ years of industry experience, Horrocks boasts an extensive blend of financial and technology expertise. At Baker Hill, he guides the development and marketing of the company’s solutions.


Eric LaPlante, Sr. Product Manager 
With nearly 20+ years of industry experience, LaPlante builds client relationships at Baker Hill by researching consumer needs and crafting optimally designed products around them.

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Kyndi

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 11, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. Register today and save your spot.

Kyndi is building the first Explainable AI platform for financial services, government, and healthcare.


  • Structures unstructured internal text data with proprietary artificial intelligence technology
  • Provides fully explainable automated reasoning
  • Is a software product, not a consulting project

Why it’s great
Because Kyndi’s software logs every step of its reasoning process, you can transform regulated business functions with AI, and rest assured that you will also be able to justify decisions when necessary.


Ryan Welsh, Founder and CEO 
Welsh is founder and CEO of Kyndi, an artificial intelligence company that builds Explainable AI products for critical government and commercial institutions.


Lorne Kligerman, Senior Product Manager 
Kligerman is Kyndi’s Senior Product Manager with 10+ years of experience designing, building, and releasing products. He was previously a product leader on the Google Cloud Platform.