CEO Interview: Mike Iacobucci of Interactions

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For many in attendance at FinovateSpring 2014 in San Jose watching the Interactions demo, the “Aha!” moment came when the virtual agent began speaking flawless Spanish. 

The demo was already impressive, with murmurs of appreciation from the audience as the seamless call and response back and forth between the presenter and the Interactions virtual agent made believers of everyone in the room. 

Mike Iacobucci 2

But the Spanish might have been the breaking point, that moment when technology seemed to do that thing that the great Arthur Clarke insisted it could always do: become indistinguishable from magic.

Magical as the technology may seem, Interactions virtual agent technology is far from magic. Rather, it is the result of a patent-pending technology that succeeds where other virtual technologies, including Apple’s Siri, have struggled. 
Interactions technology has been deployed in industries ranging from retail to hospitality to healthcare, and include Fortune 500 financial services corporations. The company, founded ten years ago, is headquartered in Franklin, Massachusetts, and includes Softbank Capital, North Hill Ventures, Cross Atlantic Capital Partners, Sigma Partners, Prime Ventures, and Updata Partners among its investors. 
We talked with Interactions President and CEO Mike Iacobucci about his company’s technology, how it came to be, and the ways it can be put to use to save money, improve efficiencies, and help improve the customer/client experience.


Finovate: Interactions is a two-time Best of Show award winner. What is it about Interactions that draws such a positive response?
Mike Iacobucci: There are two reasons our demo was impactful: first, because it was a live demo and second, because our technology works flawlessly. 
We’ve all used an automated system in the past, be it an IVR when calling for customer care or Siri on an iPhone. And we know from these experiences that they’re far from perfect technologies. Many of us have seen the replays of Microsoft’s live speech-recognition failures during keynotes in 2006 and 2012.
interactions_homepage_new1
The other reason is because our technology appeals so much to the audience as consumers. Not only do we have a cool technology. It also addresses a serious problem that people know all too well – that a five-minute customer-service call can raise our blood pressure more than our teenage children. 
Our technology makes contacting customer service a value-added experience, and that innovation makes our presentation even more exciting.
Finovate: What has Interactions been working on since FinovateSpring in April?
Iacobucci: Interactions is working to expand our product portfolio by bringing enhanced human-like text and speech-based conversations to every channel and device. Our services are rooted in customer care, but we’re moving into more revenue-generating areas like marketing and sales. 
We’re rapidly expanding into Asia and delivering customer implementations in newer channels like mobile chat and proactive messaging.
Finovate: What makes Interactions’ “Adaptive-Understanding (TM) technology” different from other voice-automation technologies?
Iacobucci: Speech recognition averages 75% accuracy with simple, open-ended prompts in the best conditions, which means that it’s going to fail for consumers in at least one out of every four attempts. Comparatively, our patented Adaptve-Understanding technology performs with 95+% accuracy on simple to complex open-ended prompts, which really changes the game.
Our technology focuses on how computer and human intelligence can work together to achieve a desired outcome. We always use automated speech recognition to apply business rules. When needed in small doses, we supplement with our Human Assisted Understanding capability to leverage a trained analyst’s natural proficiency at noise discrimination and interpretation.
In short, it’s automation with a human touch. And we’ve accomplished this and made it scale for very large multinational enterprises.
interactions_homepage_new2
Finovate: Are there things that a virtual assistant does better than a live human customer service representative? Do you see this changing as VA technology becomes more sophisticated?
Iacobucci: Absolutely. Customer service representatives are great at handling unique situations, troubleshooting complex issues, sales inquiries, and retention calls. However, there’s nothing value-added by having customer service representatives handle data-collection processes. For example, we can fully automate a loan application. It’s a lengthy process, but for us, it’s just capturing a few dozen fields of data. Nothing we can’t handle. And by automating these transactions, the savings are incredible.
When your virtual assistant is handling all of these data-collection transactions successfully, your agents can then spend more time with the call-types best handled by people. And that improves agents’ job satisfaction and retention rates. And, it keeps them more engaged.
Additionally, a virtual assistant is much more secure than a live agent, and collecting private information is an area where we excel. Moreover, we’re consistent, and this is extremely relevant to the financial services sector. The virtual assistant engages in a consistent manner from conversation to conversation, and if anything needs to be read back word for word, our solutions are a much safer bet than a live agent.
interactions_homepage_new3
Finovate: Two years ago in an interview with the Boston Business Journal, you hinted at an initial public offering. Is that still under consideration?
Iacobucci: We have no specific plans for a public offering. The company has the characteristics of a company that can be an innovative institution to a large market.
Finovate: What is the clim
ate like in Boston for fintech innovation? How does it compare to that of Silicon Valley?
Iacobucci: In many ways, Boston and Silicon Valley are extremely similar. With an incredible amount of talent pouring in from the top institutions in the country and an entrepreneurial spirit rivaled by few other cities, Boston is an extremely inviting climate for fintech innovation. 
This is only magnified by a strong presence in venture capital as well as progressive banking and financial institutions like Fidelity, State Street, and Putnam Investments. Additionally, there is a highly concentrated and rapidly growing focus on speech recognition, as seen by recent investments in Boston from Amazon. Google, Nuance, and Interactions.
Finovate: What can we expect from Interactions in the coming months?
Iacobucci: We’re looking to be a broad provider of services to the market beyond the customer care market. We want to leverage our platform to reach other market segments and other regions in the world where speech technology is otherwise inefficient or incapable.
We’ve created interactive systems in both speech and text that can foster the types of conversations that were never thought possible with automation, and with our technology, our potential applications are limitless.
Learn more about Interactions. Watch their Best of Show winning live demo from FinovateSpring 2014 here.

CEO Interview: Mike Iacobucci of Interactions

Thumbnail image for InteractionsLogo.jpg

For many in attendance at FinovateSpring 2014 in San Jose watching the Interactions demo, the “Aha!” moment came when the virtual agent began speaking flawless Spanish. 

The demo was already impressive, with murmurs of appreciation from the audience as the seamless call and response back and forth between the presenter and the Interactions virtual agent made believers of everyone in the room. 

Mike Iacobucci 2

But the Spanish might have been the breaking point, that moment when technology seemed to do that thing that the great Arthur Clarke insisted it could always do: become indistinguishable from magic.

Magical as the technology may seem, Interactions virtual agent technology is far from magic. Rather, it is the result of a patent-pending technology that succeeds where other virtual technologies, including Apple’s Siri, have struggled. 
Interactions technology has been deployed in industries ranging from retail to hospitality to healthcare, and include Fortune 500 financial services corporations. The company, founded ten years ago, is headquartered in Franklin, Massachusetts, and includes Softbank Capital, North Hill Ventures, Cross Atlantic Capital Partners, Sigma Partners, Prime Ventures, and Updata Partners among its investors. 
We talked with Interactions President and CEO Mike Iacobucci about his company’s technology, how it came to be, and the ways it can be put to use to save money, improve efficiencies, and help improve the customer/client experience.


Finovate: Interactions is a two-time Best of Show award winner. What is it about Interactions that draws such a positive response?
Mike Iacobucci: There are two reasons our demo was impactful: first, because it was a live demo and second, because our technology works flawlessly. 
We’ve all used an automated system in the past, be it an IVR when calling for customer care or Siri on an iPhone. And we know from these experiences that they’re far from perfect technologies. Many of us have seen the replays of Microsoft’s live speech-recognition failures during keynotes in 2006 and 2012.
interactions_homepage_new1
The other reason is because our technology appeals so much to the audience as consumers. Not only do we have a cool technology. It also addresses a serious problem that people know all too well – that a five-minute customer-service call can raise our blood pressure more than our teenage children. 
Our technology makes contacting customer service a value-added experience, and that innovation makes our presentation even more exciting.
Finovate: What has Interactions been working on since FinovateSpring in April?
Iacobucci: Interactions is working to expand our product portfolio by bringing enhanced human-like text and speech-based conversations to every channel and device. Our services are rooted in customer care, but we’re moving into more revenue-generating areas like marketing and sales. 
We’re rapidly expanding into Asia and delivering customer implementations in newer channels like mobile chat and proactive messaging.
Finovate: What makes Interactions’ “Adaptive-Understanding (TM) technology” different from other voice-automation technologies?
Iacobucci: Speech recognition averages 75% accuracy with simple, open-ended prompts in the best conditions, which means that it’s going to fail for consumers in at least one out of every four attempts. Comparatively, our patented Adaptve-Understanding technology performs with 95+% accuracy on simple to complex open-ended prompts, which really changes the game.
Our technology focuses on how computer and human intelligence can work together to achieve a desired outcome. We always use automated speech recognition to apply business rules. When needed in small doses, we supplement with our Human Assisted Understanding capability to leverage a trained analyst’s natural proficiency at noise discrimination and interpretation.
In short, it’s automation with a human touch. And we’ve accomplished this and made it scale for very large multinational enterprises.
interactions_homepage_new2
Finovate: Are there things that a virtual assistant does better than a live human customer service representative? Do you see this changing as VA technology becomes more sophisticated?
Iacobucci: Absolutely. Customer service representatives are great at handling unique situations, troubleshooting complex issues, sales inquiries, and retention calls. However, there’s nothing value-added by having customer service representatives handle data-collection processes. For example, we can fully automate a loan application. It’s a lengthy process, but for us, it’s just capturing a few dozen fields of data. Nothing we can’t handle. And by automating these transactions, the savings are incredible.
When your virtual assistant is handling all of these data-collection transactions successfully, your agents can then spend more time with the call-types best handled by people. And that improves agents’ job satisfaction and retention rates. And, it keeps them more engaged.
Additionally, a virtual assistant is much more secure than a live agent, and collecting private information is an area where we excel. Moreover, we’re consistent, and this is extremely relevant to the financial services sector. The virtual assistant engages in a consistent manner from conversation to conversation, and if anything needs to be read back word for word, our solutions are a much safer bet than a live agent.
interactions_homepage_new3
Finovate: Two years ago in an interview with the Boston Business Journal, you hinted at an initial public offering. Is that still under consideration?
Iacobucci: We have no specific plans for a public offering. The company has the characteristics of a company that can be an innovative institution to a large market.
Finovate: What is the clim
ate like in Boston for fintech innovation? How does it compare to that of Silicon Valley?
Iacobucci: In many ways, Boston and Silicon Valley are extremely similar. With an incredible amount of talent pouring in from the top institutions in the country and an entrepreneurial spirit rivaled by few other cities, Boston is an extremely inviting climate for fintech innovation. 
This is only magnified by a strong presence in venture capital as well as progressive banking and financial institutions like Fidelity, State Street, and Putnam Investments. Additionally, there is a highly concentrated and rapidly growing focus on speech recognition, as seen by recent investments in Boston from Amazon. Google, Nuance, and Interactions.
Finovate: What can we expect from Interactions in the coming months?
Iacobucci: We’re looking to be a broad provider of services to the market beyond the customer care market. We want to leverage our platform to reach other market segments and other regions in the world where speech technology is otherwise inefficient or incapable.
We’ve created interactive systems in both speech and text that can foster the types of conversations that were never thought possible with automation, and with our technology, our potential applications are limitless.
Learn more about Interactions. Watch their Best of Show winning live demo from FinovateSpring 2014 here.

FinovateSpring 2014: Lights! Camera! Demo Videos!

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The demo videos from FinovateSpring 2014 are now available in our Video Archive. Check them out here.

Here’s your chance to relive FinovateSpring 2014 in its new home in what was a very sunny San Jose. Every single video from the two-day event is here, arranged alphabetically from Artivest to Zumigo

You’ll see and hear every presenter, every screen capture, every device display (from mobile payment fobs to smart watches and Google Glass), and every innovation that our 67 presenting companies had to share.
And if you’ll be checking out our presenters for the first time, then sit back and enjoy our unique, demo-only format in action.
This is also a great opportunity to see (or see again) just what it took to win the hearts and minds of our audience of more than 1,200 fintech professionals who voted for Best of Show. As a reminder, our FinovateSpring 2014 Best of Show winners are below. Click on the company logo to see the award-winning demo.
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Best of Show Winners from FinovateSpring 2014

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Our record-breaking audience has spent a hot two days in San Jose watching 68 demos covering the best in fintech.

After watching the 68 demoing companies show off their newest innovations on stage in front of the sold out auditorium, the crowd voted for their 3 favorite demos at the end of each day. The eight companies with the highest number of votes were crowned winners.

Here they are in alphabetical order:

Thumbnail image for EyeVerifyLogo.jpgEyeVerify, for its Eyeprint Verification technology that enables mobile biometric authentication

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Loop, for its smart mobile wallet system accepted at virtually every retail POS terminal without making changes to the existing POS system

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Interactions, for its voice-activated self-service solution for mobile and phone interactions 

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Motif Investing, for its Advisor Platform that streamlines the way advisors build, monitor, and rebalance investment portfolios
OndotLogo

Ondot Systems, for its CardControl technology that allows users to remotely control their credit and debit cards via their smartphone

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PrivatBank, for topless, contactless smartphone-enabled Android ATM technology

SaveUpLogo

SaveUp, for its Gen Y/Millennial-oriented solution that combines gamification with personal finance

stockpile_hi_res_FS2014

Stockpile, for their “give the gift of stock” solution that helps people invest in the brands they love  

As always, thanks for your continued support. See you next year at FinovateSpring 2015!
All of the demo videos will be available on Finovate.com in two weeks.

——————————————————————

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 eight 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. 

With Interactions’ Conversational Technology, Customers Can Converse Using Natural Language

InteractionsLogo

This post is part of our live coverage of FinovateSpring 2014.

Next, Interactions showed its conversational solutions:
“Interactions is demoing their conversational solutions for financial institutions. Conversational solutions can seamlessly provide callers with access to balance, transaction history, and account information; yet, Interactions goes a level beyond by allowing the caller to inquire into recent charges, ask complex questions about their accounts, change account information such as addresses and emails, report a card as lost or stolen   . . . the list goes on. 
During our demo, we are calling into a live demo application for a demo client “Franklin Bank & Trust” and interacting with the solution in real time.”
Presenting: Dan Fox (Marketing Manager) 
Product Launch: September 2013
Metrics: We have raised over $100M to date, most recently highlighted by a $40M round led by SoftBank Capital. Our customers include several Fortune 100 companies.
Product distribution strategy: Direct to Business (B2B)
HQ: Franklin, MA
Founded: 2004
Twitter: @interactionsco
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FinovateSpring 2014 Sneak Peek: Part 2

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This year’s return to California for FinovateSpring will feature both new and old faces, as innovative startups make their fintech debuts and established veterans continue to remind us all that they’ve still “got it.”

Maybe your interests in FinovateSpring lie in something specific like security or mobile payments. Or maybe you are just looking forward to taking in all that this year’s crop of FinovateSpring presenters has to offer. 

Whatever your fintech appetite, we think you’ll find our Sneak Peek series a helpful way to get to know the entrepreneurs that will be taking the stage next month in April.

So today we introduce you to another set of six companies: Interactions, Kreditech, Market Prophit, Personal Capital, Yseop, and ZenPayroll. And if you missed the first installment of our FinvoateSpring 2014 Sneak Peek series, click here.

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Interactions Corporation is the only truly conversational, self-service solution to move more activity to self-service and free up agents for higher order tasks.
Features:
  • Delivers a fully unstructured, open-ended conversation between businesses and their customers
  • Understands with an unrivaled 95% accuracy in both speech and text
  • Deploys in 12 to 18 weeks
Why it’s great: We put customers first by engaging them in a free form dialogue, allowing them to solve problems quicker, and with less effort.
Phil Gray
Responsible for leading business development. Phil is a successful startup executive with extensive experience in natural language understanding and contact center technologies. 
Dan Fox, Marketing Manager

Kreditech uses Big Data and complex machine-learning algorithms to enable faster, better, and more sustainable credit decisions.
Features:
  • Developing self-learning, self-calibrating Big Data scoring
  • Building the “Amazon for consumer lending”: 24/7, always and everywhere available lending platform
  • Innovative FinTech products
Why it’s great: Based on Big Data scoring, Kreditech is building a centralized and global online lending service for innovative consumer finance products.
Sebastian Diemer, Co-Founder and CEO
Started building one of the most innovative global Big Data technology companies in 2012. Today, Kreditech is innovation leader in Big Data scoring.
Alexander Graubner, Founder and CTO
Combines cloud-based big data infrastructure and machine learning to build the world’s consumer scoring technology.

Market Prophit empowers every investor with real-time intelligence into what’s moving the market by quantifying global, financial-related conversations in social media.
Features:
  • Real-time sentiment and buzz in stock-related social media chatter
  • Identify the “mavens” in the “crowd” with our quantitative blogger ranking system
  • Track stocks and bloggers you care about
Why it’s great: Klout + Morningstar for social media financial influencers
Igor Gonta, CEO
Extensive experience on Wall Street in sales and trading, and brings that to the intersection of Big Data and finance.

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Personal Capital’s One Click Investment Proposals enables our advisors to efficiently analyze prospective clients’ finances and deliver investment recommendations tailored to their unique needs.
Features:
  • Advisors generate 90% of a client’s portfolio with one click
  • Clients see their complete & up-to-date household financial data and a comparison of their existing portfolio to an optimal one
Why it’s great: We’re making it digital – while keeping it personal.
Bill Harris, CEO
Has spent his career dragging the financial industry into the 21st century. He’s developed financial technology for 25 years – including as CEO at Intuit and PayPal.
Jim Del Favero, CPO
Has spent his career designing and building consumer financial software. Before Personal Capital he was head product manager for Quicken at Intuit.

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Yseop is natural language generation software based on artificial intelligence that boosts sales productivity and turns each financial advisor into an expert without additional training.
Features:
  • Yseop automates the sales process from lead generation to the writing of pre-to-meeting reports, customer follow-up and personalized marketing communications — automatically.
Why it’s great:
Yseop turns data into text, leads into clients, and salespeople into experts. Double your sales force productivity overnight with the power of artificial intelligence.
Elizabeth Farabee
Has a background in inbound and direct marketing. She is passionate about Yseop’s personalized marketing potential in both the B2C and B2B markets.
Matt Rauscher
Is a consultant at Y
seop. He lived nine years in the United States, and graduated with a Master’s Degree in Finance.

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ZenPayroll is modern, delightful payroll. Our mission is to make payroll as simple and intuitive as possible using the principles of modern software.
Features:
  • Makes payroll as simple and intuitive as possible
  • Helps business owners build stronger teams
  • Empowers employees by enabling them to be equal stakeholders
Why it’s great: Payroll should be about people, not payments. ZenPayroll is unearthing the human side of compensation currently buried under layers of complexity and government bureaucracy.
Joshua Reeves, CEO and Co-Founder
Believes in the power of software to solve complex problems, and founded ZenPayroll to deliver delightful, modern payroll to businesses everywhere.

Stay tuned for the next edition of our Sneak Peek series coming next week.

FinovateFall 2013 in the Press

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Affluent Strategies
Finovate Fall 2013 Best of Show Winners
by JP Nicols
All Marketing (in Hebrew)
הסטארט-אפ הישראלי, TipRanks, זוכה זה בפעם השנייה בכנס Finovate
by Shirley Asa
American Banker
Business Lender Finds Trove of Insights in Client CRM Data
by Penny Crosman
MoneyDesktop Launches Long-Term Goal Setting Tool
by Sean Sposito
PFM Apps Dominate FinovateFall Day One
by Mary Wisniewski
Reporter’s Picks: Three Top Apps at FinovateFall
by Sean Sposito
The Cutting Edge of Online Banking, as Practiced by a Polish Bank
by Mary Wisniewski
The Top 10 Tweets of Finovate
What Engagement Banking Needs Is Less Engagement
by Jeanine Skowronski
Backbase Blog
Backbase Unveils New Commercial Banking Portal Solution at FinovateFall 2013
by Prue Duggan
Bank Innovation
‘Electronic Checks’ Give Paper Payments New Life
by Philip Ryan
European Innovators Throw Down the Gauntlet: Where’s the Innovation, Americans?
by Philip Ryan
Finovate 2013: Our take on the Best of Show winners
by Steven Ramirez
Finovate Fall ’13: Numbrs, Pixeliris, Word Sentry, and Mitek Come on Strong
by Philip Ryan
Finovate Fall ’13: Strong Demos from Float Money, BizEquity, Zighra & SpearFysh
by Philip Ryan
Finovate Fall ’13: Strong Demos from Instabank, SavedPlus & TipRanks
by Phillip Ryan
Finovate Fall ’13: Think Finance, MBank Lead the Pack
by Philip Ryan
Bank Marketing Strategy
Ten Tips To Doing Finovate Like A Pro
by Jim Marous
Bank Systems & Technology and Wall Street & Technology
5 Game-Changing Financial IT Startups
by Becca Lipman
5 Ways Mobile Banking Is Evolving: Finovate
by Jonathan Camhi
Finovate Fall 2013: A Few FinTech Providers for Capital Markets
by Zarna Patel
Finovate 2013: We’re All Infected With Malware
by Becca Lipman
Making Personal Finance Social Spotlighted At Finovate
by Jonathan Camhi
Barlow Research Associates
Innovations that Improve Business Banking Workflow
by Donna Arce
BostInno, Streetwise Media
Franklin-Based Interactions Reinvents the Virtual Assistant Application, Wins Finovate’s Best in Show
by Andrew Amato
Crain’s New York Business 
Financial-technology startups roil banking’s status quo
by Judith Messina
Hottest tech sector is all about money
by Judith Messina
Credit Union Times
Mitek Debuts Mobile Photo Account Opening
by Robert McGarvey
CreditUnions.com
5 Areas Of Innovation All Credit Unions Need To Monitor
by Scott Patterson
The Role Of Innovation In Today’s Credit Union
by David Mooney
CU Insight
Barclays Just Showed Up to the Party We’ve Been Hosting for a Year
by 
Ron Daly
Discerning Technologist
Just In Time For Finovate: Adding More Fun (And More Focus) To Fintech Applications
ExecutiveBoard.com
Scores of fun at Finovate and Money2020
by CEB Icono
Finextra
Yodlee launches financial relationships app
Finovate blog
FinovateFall 2013 Best of Show Winners
by Julie Schicktanz
Forbes
4 New Online Money Management Tools Worth A Try
by Richard Eisenberg
Forrester blog
Highlights and Thoughts From Finovate Fall 2013
by Peter Wannemacher 
GonzoBanker
Finovate Fall 2013 – The Big Apple
by Scott Hodgins
Hotwire PR blog
Mobile, data and security are hot at FinovateFall
by Lindsay Goldwert
Huffington Post Tech
NextGen Investment Advisory Firms–Go Tech Or Go Home!
by April Rudin
Investment News
Start ups pitch automated advice at tech confab
by Trevor Hunnicutt
Javelin Strategy & Research Blog
FinovateFall 2013. Drinking from the Proverbial Firehose.
by Nick Holland
The Jerusalem Post
Tel Aviv-based start-up TipRanks takes top prize at Finovate
by Niv Elis
Medium.com
Reflections On Five Hundred Minutes of Fintech
by Bradley Leimer
miiCard
Fintech Trends From The Innovators at FinovateFall
by Cassie Anderson
Mindful Insights blog
FinovateFall 2013 
The Modesto Bee
Modesto financial planners offer online tool for success
by Patty Guerra
My Bank Tracker
FlexScore Aims to Complement FICO Credit Scores
by Simon Zhen 
FutureAdvisor: Automated Investing With Tax Efficiency in Mind
by Simon Zhen 
Mitek to Simplify Account Opening on Mobile Devices
by Simon Zhen 
MoneyDesktop: Declutter and Visualize Your Financial Goals
by Simon Zhen 
SavedPlus Makes You Save Every Time You Spend
by Simon Zhen 
Yodlee’s New Mobile App Deals With Money Side of Relationships
by Simon Zhen 
The New Age Online
Finovate and the Rise of the African Entrepreneur
by Douglas White
PandoDaily
Taking data analysis to a new plateau: Narrative Science raises $11.5M
by cale Guthrie Weissman 
Payments Source
E-Check Service Offers an Alternative to Online ACH Payments
by Austin Kilgore
PC World
New services tackle small business finance challenges
by Yardena Arar
Plus World (in Russian)
Инновация ТКС Банка представлена на
PYMNTS.com
Payment Innovators Impress At FinovateFall 2013
by Dan Rosen
Silicon Hills
Akimbo and Toopher Pitching at Finovate in New York
by Laura Lorek
Snarketing 2.0
Finovate Fall 2013: Snarketing’s Best-In-Show Awards
by Ron Shevlin
What To Look For At Finovate Fall 2013
by Ron Shevlin
TechCrunch
Mobile-First Banking App Numbrs Bags Further $3.8M For U.S. Launch
by Steve O’Hear
Upstart Business Journal
Bitcoin’s missing link sneaks into main event at Finovate
by Michael del Castillo
Financial gladiator battle ends with 8 startups standing tall
by Michael del Castillo
The Wall Street Journal

How to Get Investment Advice for Less Online

by Andrea Coombes

‘Stupid’ Banks Look for Innovation
by Michael Hickins
William Mills Agency blog and Beyond the Arc blog
Day 1: Live Blog, FinovateFall 2013 by William Mills III & Steven Ramirez
by Steven Ramirez and William Mills III
Day 2: Live Blog, FinovateFall 2013 by William Mills III & Steven Ramirez
by Steven Ramirez and William Mills III
Finovate 2013: Our take on the Best of Show winners
by Steven Ramirez
We’ll continue to add coverage throughout the next few weeks. If you have FinovateSpring press coverage you would like to add, please email the link to julie@finovate.com.

Finovate Alumni News– September 13, 2013

  • FinovateLOGO.jpgTradeKing wins FINRA approval for acquisition of GAIN Securities.
  • Numbrs AG earns $3.8M in funding from parent Centralway.
  • Interactions, LearnVest, mBank & Accenture, Mitek, Money Desktop, Motif Investing, TipRanks, and Yodlee pick up Best of Show awards at FinovateFall 2013.
  • InComm, in partnership with CVS/pharmacy wins Best Third-Party Card Retailer Award.
  • Standard Distributing and Other Side Produce select eDeposit as their web and mobile payment solution.
  • Emida launches new smartphone POS app, available worldwide.
  • IDology launches ExpectID Global, an international expansion of its solution.
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.

FinovateFall 2013 Best of Show Winners

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We just wrapped up FinovateFall 2013 in New York. After a successful two days filled to the brim with 69 live demos, the audience voted for their favorites. Ultimately, the top eight companies were named Best of Show, and took home a trophy.

The winners (in alphabetical order):

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Interactions, for its voice-based virtual assistant technology

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LearnVEstlogo.jpg

LearnVest, for its iPad app and Workplace Solutions Center
LearnVest.jpg

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mBank & Accenture,  for their Bank 3.0 online platform
mBank.jpg

MitekLogo13.jpg

Mitek for its Mobile Photo Account Opening solution
MitekFFPic.jpg
MoneyDesktop, for its GuideMe solution
MDpic.jpg
MoneyDesktopLogoNew.jpg

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Motif for its platform that lets you invest in ideas in one click
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TipRanks, cloud-based accountability engine for investors
TipRanksLogo.jpg
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Yodlee, for its debut of TANDEM that helps groups manage and discuss shared finances
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All of the 69 demo videos will be posted on Finovate.com in a few weeks.

A huge thank you to everyone who joined the audience and participated in our largest New York show so far. And, of course, thanks to the 69 innovative companies who took on the FinovateFall stage in front of a crowd of 1,100+ audience members.

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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 eight 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.

Interactions Launches Virtual Assistant for Financial Institutions

This post is part of our live coverage of FinovateFall 2013.

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Then, Interactions demonstrated how its Virtual Assistant can work for financial institutions:
“Voice-based Virtual Assistant applications for Financial Institutions can seamlessly provide callers access to balance, transaction history, and account information, however they can go a level beyond – allowing the caller to inquire into recent charges, dispute charges, ask complex questions about their accounts, enroll in promotions, change account information such as addresses and email accounts, register new cards, order replacement cards, report a card as lost or stolen . . . the list goes on.”
Product Launch: September 2013
Metrics: Raised over $100M to date with a recent $40M round led by SoftBank Capital
Product distribution strategy: Direct to Business (B2B)
HQ: Franklin, MA
Founded: 2004
Twitter: @interactionsco
Presenting Phil Gray (EVP Business Development) and Dan Fox (Marketing Director)

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The full demo video will be available at finovate.com in mid-September.

Finovate Alumni News– August 20, 2013

  • FinovateLOGO.jpgFinovateFall 2013 Sneak Peek Part 3 is up. Get to know more about this year’s innovators.
  • Interactions chooses Edward Durkin for Chief Financial Officer. See Interactions demo at FinovateFall in New York.
  • Mercury Payment Systems to support PayPal in-store payments thanks to new collaboration.
  • IDology partners with AssureSign as primary authentication solution for advanced identity verification.
  • Kabbage integrates with Stripe to allow businesses that process online payments to apply for financing.
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.

FinovateFall 2013 Sneak Peek: Part 1

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On September 10 and 11, Finovate will return to New York for FinovateFall 2013.

70 companies will take the stage to present their latest technologies, including many that will be making their Finovate debut.

In the weeks leading up to our September event, we’ll help you get to know the innovators and entrepreneurs who will be demoing in New York. Today’s installment introduces our first set of fintech presenters: CR2FinanceIt/CommunityLend, Financial Guard, FlexScore, Interactions Corporation, Place2Give, QuarterSpot and Socure.
Want to join us in New York in September? Get your ticket to FinovateFall 2013 here.
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CR2 is a leading multichannel banking software provider with a focus on innovation.
Features:
  • A never-seen-before customer experience at the ATM
  • Customized and interactive banking
  • Meaningful revenue driver for the bank
Why it’s great: ATM usability inspired by kiosk and mobile practices for both customers and non-customers.
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Martin Dolan, CEO, CR2
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FinanceIt/CommunityLend allows businesses to offer consumer financing to their customers anywhere.
Features:
  • Photo ID scan for instant approval
  • iPad app
  • Consumer-facing loan application for pre-approvals
Why it’s great: FinanceIt will be live in the U.S. Q1 of 2014 and is actively looking for partnerships with merchants and lenders.
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Michael Garrity, CEO, CommunityLend
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Financial Guard is an online investment manager reinventing the financial services industry by providing professional, unbiased, transparent, actionable investment advice to the individual investor.
Features:
  • Holistic investment portfolio optimization
  • Full transparency
  • Simple enough for a college intern. Complex enough for a Ph.D in Finance
Why it’s great: Investment Advice at the Right Price, Finally
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Kevin Pohmer, President, Financial Guard
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FlexScore is the first-ever, financial scoring tool and is specifically made to make financial education fun for middle-class America.
Features:
  • First-ever overall financial scoring tool
  • Provides actionable steps to help user improve finances
  • Peer ranking tool so users can compare scores
Why it’s great: First-ever personal finance too for middle America instead of the uber rich.

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Jason Gordo, CEO, FlexScore
Jason Gordo is listed in the Forbes Top 50 RIA’s in the country. He is also co-author of “FlexScore: Financial Advice for the Rest of Us.”

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Jeff Burrow, President, FlexScore
Jeff Burrow is President of FlexScore and is co-author of the book, “FlexScore: Financial Advice for the Rest of Us.” He is a certified financial planner.
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Interactions Corporation is a virtual assistant for banking/financial services
Features:
  • Customers interact exactly was they would with a live agent
  • Significant improvements in Net Promoter Score
  • Significant operations savings
Why it’s great: Simply better customer experience

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Phil Gray, Executive Vice-President of Business Development, Interactions Corporation
Phil Gray is a successful startup executive with extensive experience in speech and call center technologies.
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Place2Give helps advisors connect and manage their client’s charitable giving.
Features:
  • Matches donors to charities using unique algorithms
  • Shortens advisor research time
  • Manages donor’s pledges, disbursement and charity tax receipts
Why it’s great: The Toolbox helps reduce an advisor’s research time, justify fee value and aid client retention.
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Gena Rotstein, Founder, CEO, Place2Give
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QuarterSpot is a new small business online lending platform using artificial intelligence to significantly lower cost of capital and eliminate need for personal collateral.
Features:
  • AI underwriting better assesses business risk in minutes
  • Lowers SMB cost of capital up to 85%
  • No personal collateral at risk for business loan
Why it’s great: Small businesses searching for capital no longer have to compromise. QuarterSpot makes it easy, fast, and affordable to secure a trusted loan.
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Adam Cohen, Co-Founder, CEO, QuarterSpot
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Socure has developed a new form of online identity verification to reduce fraud using a series of proprietary machine learning algorithms to analyze social and identity data.
Features:
  • Authenticate a user to detect ID theft and account takeover fraud
  • Improve existing KYC/AML capabilities
  • De-risk each side of a social P2P payment
Why it’s great: Socure helps financial institutions use social data to reduce various types of online fraud. 

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Sunil Madhu, CEO, Co-Founder, Socure
Sunil Madhu is an entrepreneur and architect with 20+ years of experience developing and selling innovative enterprise software solutions.

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Johnny Ayers, Director of Business Development, Co-Founder, Socure
Johnny Ayers is a management consultant turned entrepreneur. He leads Socure’s business development and operation efforts.
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For more information on attending FinovateFall 2013, see our FAQ. To register, visit out FinovateFall 2013 page here.