We’re Launching a Sustainability Scholarship for Demo Companies

We’re Launching a Sustainability Scholarship for Demo Companies

The environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiative is no longer just for niche investment portfolios. Instead, the entire banking and fintech industry is going green, and we’re here for it. With that in mind, we have something exciting to announce.

Sustainability Scholarship Program

New this year, we’re promoting ESG within the industry with our Sustainability Scholarship Program for demoing companies. We launched the program to highlight and help the individuals and companies driving fintech forward through sustainable and equitable practices.

How it works

Starting with FinovateSpring, taking place May 18 through 20 in San Francisco, we’ll be looking for applications from prospective demo companies led by underrepresented founders and startups tackling climate change, diversity, and financial inclusion, and granting them complimentary demo participation. Select companies from that applicant pool will be granted complimentary demo slots in our demo line-up for the show.

We’ve always had an application process for the demos we showcase on stage at Finovate events, but the new Sustainability Scholarship Program will help expand our demo lineup. By offering a scholarship to ESG focused startups, we’ll be able to include more voices, more perspectives, and more cutting-edge thinking within fintech, which is an incredibly important initiative.

How to apply

Each event, starting with FinovateSpring 2022, will have scholarship opportunities for eligible* startups working in the following categories:

  • Environmental: Available to companies pursuing climate-related, environmental, or green fintech
  • Social: Available to companies with socially conscious fintech solutions
  • Governance: Available to companies that emphasize responsible governance and leadership
  • Person of Color Founded/Owned: Available to companies with person-of-color founders or owners
  • Female Founded/Owned: Available to companies with female founders or owners

Our team will review submissions in each sustainability area and award complimentary demo packages to each of the winners. As part of the demo package, each winner will also receive special sustainability branding.

Companies working in these areas who are interested in demoing at an upcoming event should apply through Finovate’s traditional application process and note their scholarship interest on the application form.

*To be eligible for the program, startups must have less than $7 million in funding.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Beyond Trendy: Fintech Themes at FinovateFall

Beyond Trendy: Fintech Themes at FinovateFall

We have 70+ demo companies at this year’s FinovateFall event, taking place September 13 through 15 online and in-person in New York City. These demos, combined with a full lineup of keynotes and panel discussions, will bring a wide variety of themes. To get an idea of what’s trending this year, we’re taking a look at the key themes repeated throughout both the demos and the discussions.

For the demos, we’ve distilled the themes into five major categories, as outlined below.


Today’s data discussions transcend the conversations of Big Data that were en vogue in 2015. This year, data is everywhere; it touches everything. Companies will be looking at how they can help gather, clean, and analyze data; how they can place the customer in charge of their own data while allowing the firm to leverage consumer data; and how they can collaborate with others around data. They will also be discussing specific use cases such as receipt data and pulling data from paper documents. At this year’s event, seemingly everything is data-driven.

Fraud prevention & compliance

We can expect to see solutions to prevent financial crime at pretty much every event. Fraud is ubiquitous in financial services because bad actors consistently benefit from it. This fintech sub-sector is continuously evolving as hackers become more and more cunning. And this year, we’ve noticed the addition of more compliance tools to assist with regulations and audits around fraud.

Digital assistant

With the Delta variant in full force, we still have not entered a post-COVID world. Given that our social distancing habits must persist, companies are investing more energy in developing digital assistants. No matter how you may feel about chatbots, they have proven to be a viable way to communicate with clients when in person discussions are no longer an option. And this theme goes beyond chatbots. Digital assistants including AI-powered call centers and automated customer interactions of all types are rising up to help take the burden off of customer service agents during a time when in-branch conversations are not possible.

Customer engagement

Another byproduct of COVID’s aftermath, customer engagement technologies continue to be front-and-center on the minds of banks, fintechs, and (of course) consumers alike. Because so much of our lives currently takes place online, customers now expect an engaging, personalized customer experience.

One of the ways financial firms are tackling this challenge is by creating a gamified user experience. By taking wha typically is viewed as a chore and making it into something fun, customers are more likely to use and return to an app or an online experience.

Another key to customer engagement is, of course, personalization. By leveraging data to center the user experience around the customer’s needs, fintechs and banks can ensure to captivate their existing client base and reign in new ones.

Financial planning and investing

The roboadvisor craze of 2015 has matured, and has left a number of powerful fintechs in its wake. This is thanks to increased popularity combined with enabling technologies of the new decade. Unlike the first wave of roboadvisory tools, today’s offerings tend to take a more holistic and personalized approach. At this year’s event, we’ll see tools that look at consumers’ financial wellness as a whole, not just their retirement savings.

Another difference from early wealthtech tools is that more of today’s offerings are B2B instead of strictly B2C. At FinovateFall 2021, we’ll see tools that help advisors create more value for their clients and products for employers to help their workforce build better financial health.

What’s missing?

Notably absent from this list are two major themes I would have expected to see. The first is Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), the payment technology that allows customers to pay for purchases in installments after receiving the product. Companies like Afterpay, Affirm, Klarna, and Sezzle have popularized BNPL, and many retailers and payment companies alike have implemented various versions of this model. Given the seemingly viral nature of BNPL, it’s surprising that only a single demo company, Zeta, offers BNPL technology.

The second missing piece this year is AI, which has been a top trend for years. So how can discussions of such a pervasive theme be so absent? The answer is in the question; AI is so pervasive that it has now become table stakes for every fintech sub-sector. In other words, AI has blended into the background. If firms want to compete and offer worthwhile products and services, they must, at a minimum, be leveraging AI.

FinovateFall won’t just be about the demos. We have an impressive lineup of keynote speakers, panelists, and fireside chats to share a range of perspectives on today’s hottest fintech topics. While you’re at the event, keep an eye out for the following themes:

  • Cybersecurity & financial crime
  • Neobanks
  • ESG
  • Financial inclusion
  • Leadership
  • Automation
  • Open finance
  • Wealth management
  • Digital transformation
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Faster payments
  • Customer experience

We’re so excited to return to New York this year! We’ll see you either online or in person starting September 13 at 8 a.m. Eastern time and continuing through the 15th. Book your tickets here.

Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash

6 Reasons to Attend FinovateSpring 2019 – Register by Friday and Save up to $400

6 Reasons to Attend FinovateSpring 2019 – Register by Friday and Save up to $400

FinovateSpring 2019 is less than two weeks away, and it’s time to lock in your spot!

With a new venue in a new city, new visionary keynote speakers, new cutting-edge innovations and a new consolidated event format, you’ll get all the insights you need no matter what your focus!

Join 1,100+ senior financial and banking executives, venture capitalists, press, industry analysts, bloggers, regulators and entrepreneurs from the Bay Area and beyond in San Francisco.

Book your ticket by Friday, April 26 and save up to $400.

Top 6 Reasons to Attend

1. Highly efficient format

Our short-form demo-based format allows you to see a huge number of demos over two days. Each presenter has just seven minutes – with no slides or video allowed. You see live technology with no filler. Learn more about who will be on stage.

2. Stay ahead of the curve

Fintech innovation continues at a blistering pace. Finovate is the best way to find the next big advantage before your competitors. Don’t get left behind. View the 2019 agenda.

3. Only the best

Our competitive application process means you only see the very best demos. We handpick each company on stage, and they all give you a live demo – so you only see technology that works today. Learn more about the industry problems the demoing companies will be solving.

4. One-on-one connections

Speak to the founders, innovators, directors innovators and more. This isn’t your typical trade show. It’s your chance to engage directly with the people behind the world’s most exciting technology. And Finovate’s new networking app suggests the most relevant contacts for you based on your needs. Learn more about who’s attending.

5. Learn from visionaries

Hear from industry leaders and find out what’s coming next. The demos show you the best technology available now, and the speakers provide a unique insight into the future of the industry. Learn more about the speaker lineup.

6. Something for everyone

Whether you’re looking for a specific solution or just curious to see what’s out there, you’ll leave Finovate with new ideas and a fresh outlook. Broad vision or deep insight – we’ve got it all. Now is your chance to save up to $400.

FinovateSpring 2019 in 60 seconds

Book online today or contact our customer services team at +1 (888) 670-8200 or register@knect365.com.

See you in San Francisco next month!

Save up to £400 if you register for FinovateEurope before Friday!

David Birch
Global Ambassadaor
Consult Hyperion

David will be the chairman of Day 3 at FinovateEurope 2019. He is an internationally-recognised thought leader in digital identity and digital money; was named one of the global top 15 favourite sources of business information by Wired magazine and one of the top ten most influential voices in banking by Financial Brand; created one of the top 25 “must read” financial IT blogs; was found by PR Daily to be one of the top ten Twitter accounts followed by innovators, along with Bill Gates and Richard Branson and was rated Europe’s most influential commentator on emerging payments by Total Payments.

Russell Pert
UK Head of Industry

Russell will discuss how technology is augmenting relationships between brands and customers and why the future of loyalty is centered around relevant and meaningful one to one interactions, at scale.

Tan Le
Founder & CEO

As one of Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Technology and Forbes’ 50 Names You Need to Know, Tan will show you how automation is an opportunity rather than a threat, as humans and machines become increasingly integrated.

Save up to $1,300 if you register for FinovateSpring before Friday!

Tim Urban
Founder @ Wait But Why
The Rise of the Machines – The Artificial Intelligence Revolution and the Road to Superintelligence. What will AI mean for the future of financial services and the future of work?

Michael Butler
President & CEO
Radius Bank

Nicholas Kopp

Mashima Chawla
Growth Lead
Square Capital

Secil Tabil Watson
Executive VP
Wells Fargo

Lisa Gold Schier
Group Senior VP

Rick Winslow
Chief Experience Officer

Ramneek Gupta
Venture Investing
Citi Ventures

Jon Zanoff
Managing Director
Barclays Accelerator


Save up to £700 if you register for FinovateEurope before Friday!

Tan Lee

Founder & CEO – EMOTIV

Tan will be joining us in London, sharing how automation, AI and brain augmentation will affect how we think, work, and live. As one of Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Technology and Forbes’ 50 Names You Need to Know, Tan will show you how automation is an opportunity rather than a threat, as humans and machines become increasingly integrated. With AI already affecting investment, customer engagement, fraud and risk management, stock prediction and even compliance, do not miss Tan’s insights at FinovateEurope 2019.

FinovateEurope Demoing Companies Announced!

Open Banking Summit

Gain insight into how your strategies will need to shift, what impact open banking will have on your work, and how you need to step out of your comfort zone.

AI Summit

Taking a deeper dive into AI, our dedicated summit day brings you case studies of where AI is being used and having an impact in the industry.

*Book by Friday, 30 November and save £700 on the main 3-day event ticket and £200 on the Summit Day add-on. Register for both and save an extra £100.

The ABCs of FinovateEurope Innovation

The ABCs of FinovateEurope Innovation

As 2018 moves into the rearview and 2019 starts to take shape, financial services innovation shows no signs of slowing. At this rapid pace, there has to be at least one category of innovation per letter of the alphabet: A is for artificial intelligence, B is for blockchain, C is for compliance, D is for digital identity, E is for ethereum, F is for financial inclusion, and so on twenty more times. That’s a lot to keep up with.

Finovate’s mission has always been to cut to the core of innovation. We cover fintech for you by reviewing hundreds of services and solutions from across the fintech spectrum, then distilling them into 65+ demos featuring exciting technology with real-world applications. In just two days, you see what’s new, trending, accepted, and contentious.

The demoing companies that will take the stage in February at FinovateEurope reflect financial technology as of today and down the road. We hope you join us for this journey! Tickets to FinovateEurope are available online. Save £700 when you book before this Friday, November 30.

First wave of demoing companies announced

24sessions IQ allows financial services companies to have better banking conversations and maintain compliance using effortless video chat and artificial intelligence.

LEONUS blockchain-based banking digital platform supplies fast easy, modular and secure digital bank deployment without affecting legacy systems through the simplicity of a modular approach and the immutability of blockchain.

ApPello Loan Factory and ApPello Digital Lending Portal simplify the long and expensive credit process for retail, corporate banks, financial institutions and peer large industrial (non-financial) companies using a digital platform which allows 3rd party companies to develop additional features or submodules.

Aqubix‘s KYC Portal solves the operational challenge of due diligence with a state of the art end-to-end solution focused on automating the operational nightmare in such processes.

Avaloq‘s marketplace solves the innovation dilemma for fintechs, banks and bank clients using the avaloq.one ecosystem – “double marketplace.”

Blinking created a reliable, trustworthy, and secure way of creating, handling and confirming client digital identities for banks, telecoms, health providers and insurance companies by using blockchain technology and giving end-users complete control over their private data.

BlueRush, a customer-centric platform, works to address the poor engagement and conversion rates for leading financial institutions with proprietary interactive personalized video software.

Cantab Predictive Intelligence‘s loan approval engine provides profitable and quick lending to customers who are not clients of the bank, with no credit history for retail banks.

CREALOGIX‘s TimeWarp — a unique, interactive and powerful tool — addresses the lack of predictive decision making for all bank customers using cutting-edge UX design and AI technology.

CybiWealth offers a simple international investing solution for forward-thinking individuals.

Dateio solves the hassle associated with today’s loyalty programs for retail customers and banks using in-house developed technology and know-how.

Denizen — a borderless platform for banking — deals with the hassles of international banking for world travelers, expats, immigrants and other global populations using a real time, truly global bank without extra fees.

Dorsum‘s My Wealth mobile app uses a hybrid approach to answer the needs of the new type of investor for wealth managers and investment providers.

Dynamics‘ Wallet Card, an all-digital telecommunications connected loT payment device, uses edge-to-edge paper-thin flexible electronics to address lack of customer loyalty, card fraud and costs associated with physical card issuance for any issuer’s cardholder.

eurobits technologies created a single digital access point that securely connects with every online financial and fiscal data source in Spain for digital services providers that require high-quality real-time data.

FCase is a fraud orchestrator mission control fixing the fragmentation of fraud management and delivering rapid benefits, such as fraud reduction and enabling compliance.

FI.SPAN‘s cloud-based services management platform uses APIs to connect customers and fintechs for financial institutions in the U.S. and Canada.

Five Degrees, a complete end to end retail bank in the cloud, solves time to market, digitisation and operational cost challenges for banks.

Icefire‘s Modularbank aims to solve the resource-heavy challenge of setting up new financial institutions and rapidly launching new products using a module-based integration platform.

IMburse Treasury 4.0, a “transaction as a service” platform, enables financial services companies to efficiently manage and provide payments using cloud-based deployment strategies.

iGTB‘s CBX ‘Contextual Banking Experience’ resolves customer dissatisfaction with the corporate banking experience for transaction banks worldwide using ‘best next offer’ point-of-need bank product offerings.

InnoValor‘s Read ID identity document verification technology solves the lack of mobile onboarding using NFC.

iProov‘s mobile palm authentication supplies a highly usable, strong customer authentication for banks and financial institutions using unique liveness and anti-spoofing technology.

ITMAGINATION redefines the modern investment experience with our advanced financial analytics platform for individuals and institutional investors by leveraging cloud-based tools to build simple and accessible financial analysis.

ITSCREDIT is a credit platform that improves credit processes using an end-to-end product covering all steps.

Launchfire‘s Lemonade combats lagging user adoption rates of digital banking products using game-based learning, production simulations, and role-play scenarios.

LOQR uses an integrated and centralized one-stop-shop approach to manage customers’ digital identity lifecycle in the financial world.

Microblink‘s next-generation identity document scanning and data extraction software targets poor user experience in a growing number of customer onboarding processes.

Minna Technologies is a subscription management platform using open banking APIs and machine learning and integrates into banks digital channels resulting in better customer experience, retention and new revenue streams.

Modular Banking‘s API increases access to, security for, and compliance with cryptocurrency for retail banks using a decentralized network development expertise and proprietary code.

Monobank‘s Mono Pay is an app with state of the art functionality and technology that solves the lack of control of poor outdated payment solutions for modern adults with high demands.

Neo‘s cash management platform supplies access to automated multi-currency accounts for medium to large corporations using restful API code.

Nine Dynamic‘s advanced financial analytics platform redefines the modern investment analysis experience for individuals and institutional advisors by leveraging the latest cloud-based tools and architecture to build simple and accessible financial analysis tools.

Nordigen Report utilizes a transaction-based categorization platform to streamline the global credit-scoring based loan decision making process using existing user data categorization and scoring models.

Qwil Messenger is a global client chat platform that enables safe and compliant business conversations for all professional service organizations from one single app.

REACH offers a SaaS solution to solve poor customer experiences, extended onboarding, delayed transaction cycles, and KYC challenges in the digital age for financial services organizations using a completely web based platform.

Salt Edge‘s Open Banking API Hub solves the interoperability problem between different APIs identifying Payees for payment for licensed third parties (banks, lenders, fintechs) using a single API gateway.

Secfense is a cyber security solution targeting phishing problems for the banking and fintech industry using a 2FA method available on any application.

Taxnology Innovations provides an online tool supplying tax return preparation in various countries for cross-border operating companies.

UX Design Agency‘s user-interface design based on user-experience engineering addresses the complexity and lack of human-centricity in financial products.

W.UP‘s Sales.UP — a digital banking sales and engagement tool — targets financial institutions’ need of customer insights and personalized automated marketing campaigns based on transactional and non-traditional data using Insight Store, Marketing Automation and Data Universe.

Last Chance for FinovateFall Presale Tickets!

Last Chance for FinovateFall Presale Tickets!

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FinovateFall 2017 will be returning to the Hilton Midtown from September 11 through 14, and tomorrow is the last chance to register for a Presale Ticket to save $800. This is the lowest-priced ticket we’ll offer — make sure you register now to lock in the savings!

FinovateFall 2016 was our largest event yet, with more than 1600 attendees on hand to view live demos (no slides allowed!) of exciting fintech innovations. We’re expanding the show this year to offer even more great content.

In addition to the two days of demos, we’re adding another day and a half full of practical advice from your peers and industry gurus alike. These discussions will provide more context around the demos you’ll see on stage and help you incorporate the latest fintech innovations into your product road map. For more information on our expansion, take a look at the agenda or the informational brochure.

Presale Tickets are still on sale for $1,595 through the end of this week. Not only is this the lowest ticket price we offer, but tickets are fully refundable until July 28, so there’s no risk in locking down the price now. Register today!

Marketing: Bank of America Reinforces Digital Banking Features, Benefits

Marketing: Bank of America Reinforces Digital Banking Features, Benefits

Hotels.com spokesperson "Captain Obvious"
Hotels.com spokesperson “Captain Obvious”


Sometimes, the most obvious things are easiest to overlook. For example, despite the importance of mobile (and desktop) functionality for website visitors, some banks, even major ones (Chase I’m looking at you), don’t bother to reinforce their features and benefits. That is probably less of an issue for big brands where most customers assume state-of-the-art digital features are readily available. But community banks and credit unions should have mobile and/or online banking listed in primary or secondary navigation. US Bank has always been good at doing just that.

Recently, BofA has been promoting its online/mobile features with a homepage promotion (see screenshot #1 below). I first noticed it while paying my BofA card Friday, but I don’t know how long it’s been running. Clicking the See popular features link delivers you to a page touting features across three categories: Manage Accounts, Payments and Transfers, and Security. The first five are visible on screenshot #2 below:

  • Set up a travel notice (currently the featured feature across top-half of screen)
  • Check your FICO score
  • Redeem credit card rewards
  • Update your contact info
  • Set up custom alerts

The other 11 (not shown in screenshot):

  • Replace card
  • Go paperless
  • Direct Deposit
  • Reorder Checks
  • Bill pay
  • Transfer and send money
  • Pay with a digital wallet
  • Mobile Check Deposit
  • Lock or unlock your debit card
  • Fingerprint sign-in
  • Security Center

Note: I’m surprised Bank of America’s “deals” aren’t one of the 16 features highlighted. Even though you can’t really make it out, the mobile phone at the top of the landing page (screenshot 2) has the BankAmeriDeals section open along the bottom (note the Starbucks logo).

Bottom line: A good explanation of digital features and benefits should be easy to find on your website and mobile app. Even though the features seem straightforward to power users like yourself, it’s all a big mystery to 95+% of your customers who just want to spend as little time as possible banking.


Bank of America invites customers to check out its digital features.
Bank of America invites customers to check out its digital features


Bank of America's extensive digital features explainer.
Bank of America’s extensive digital features explainer (link)

Bank-Distributed Content You Might Actually Use from Umpqua, Arvest

Bank-Distributed Content You Might Actually Use from Umpqua, Arvest

Content_marketing_2Discussing bank and credit union blogs seems so last decade. While the hype has certainly died, so-called content marketing is still an effective strategy if done right (remember, less is more).

Just look at Chase Bank’s site, which went through its last major remodel less than a year ago. Once you scroll down the page (below the fold on most laptops), it’s almost entirely general personal-finance content. The section called News & Stories shows 9 to 12 articles initially, or 40 if you click on “more” at the bottom. They run the gamut of what you might see around the Web with catchy titles such “5 Food Trends to Watch in 2016” or “Three Perfect Days in the Greek Isles.”


Chase has more data scientists and Ph.D.s at their disposal than NASA, and if the bank chooses to devote more than half its homepage to content marketing, you can bet they are seeing engagement, if not yet a measurable sales lift. (While I thought they went too far, cluttering their homepage, I yield to the data).

However, the problem with most corporate-written “content” (not to pick on Chase) is that most of it – from any large organization that’s not a media company – is almost always super boring. Content-by-committee is just too watered down to be compelling to readers, who see hundreds, if not thousands, of more intriguing links and articles every week in Facebook, Twitter, ESPN, NY Times or the other big media outlets.

The best FI-sponsored content sticks to local subjects that aren’t widely available in large media outlets. There are few financial institutions that have stuck to blogging over the long haul, but one that stands out is Arvest Bank. I’ve subscribed to its blog feed for many years, and I’ve found their content to be continually excellent. I’m not in their geographic footprint, so I don’t personally benefit from their insights. But as an outside observer, I think they provide a good mix of local interest material, personal as well as small biz financial advice, and simple updates on their products or holiday hours.

The four most recent posts show up in a feed on their homepage (lower left below):

Clicking through to an article brings you to their main blog page, which divides the topics into four logical categories: Community News, Arvest News, Business Banking, and Personal Finance (see below):

But blogs and traditional articles are a tough sell, especially to younger customers accustomed to getting info from YouTube, Facebook, SnapChat, and Instagram. That’s why I love the podcasts from Umpqua Bank. They have outsourced the work to a pro SuChin Pak, who interviews interesting people about money subjects (six episodes are archived on Soundcloud). The bank features the podcasts on their homepage (see main image below). The bank also posts some traditional press release news items near the bottom of the homepage (see below):

I can’t write about content market without a shout-out to Tim McAlpine and the team at Currency Marketing who do some of the best work on the planet, for example, the Young & Free campaign aimed at 25-and-unders and its newest effort, That Money Thing.

Top-right image licensed from 123rf.com