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FinovateAsia 2013 Best of Show: IND Group

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Best of Show: IND Group

“Shaping trends, pursuing innovations and our enthusiasm in e-finance are what make us capable of creating and delivering state-of-the-art solutions. 

The fact that we were named among the 100 best global vendors shows that IND has reached the top.”
–Balazs Vinnai, CEO, IND Group.
Who knew that IND Group was just one inspired Finovate demo away from even further accolades from the fintech community? Within weeks of earning its first spot on the Fintech 101, IND Group was returning home from Singapore with their very first Finovate Best of Show award.
People will rightly talk about IND Group’s laugh-out-loud demo, a skit that used an imagined wild night on the town with a cast of crazy characters to help showcase the company’s mobile banking and personal finance management app, Essence
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But what also won fans is the way Essence is designed around both basic banking functions like checking an account balance or a transaction history, while at the same time providing modern features like the ability to send and receive money through Facebook.
The result is a very efficient user experience and a new channel through which financial institutions can engage their customers. 
To see IND Group’s Best of Show winning demo, click here.

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Why They Won:
  • Mike Tyson jokes and gorilla suits aside,  IND Group’s presentation of Essence reminded our FinovateAsia audience how much our spending and saving says about us. Essence also showed us how we can use that information to guide us to our goals, or even just from one end of the day to the other.
Bottom Line:
  • A funny and memorable presentation, a powerful and practical personal finance and banking app, and the support of and industry veteran like IND Group suggest a major new entry in the race for the perfect PFM.
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Interview with Viktor Balint, Marketing and Communications Director, IND Group

Finovate: With more than a wink and a nod at the hit comedy film, The Hangover, the team from IND Group made sure their demo would be memorable. Can you tell us a little bit about how a “slice of life” demo (albeit one that was over the top) helps tell the story of how people can manage the little slices of their own lives via your mobile PFM app, Essence?

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Viktor Balint: With our demo we not only wanted to wake the audience up and enjoy a presentation that was something different, but to reflect how our mobile bank, Essence, is part of our everyday lives. Essence is all about the customer, their real life experiences and needs. 
The most successful companies are those that build up their structure, processes and products purely from the customer perspective. People don’t want to do banking. They want to live their lives, managing their goals and achieving their dreams in the most comfortable way. We wanted to create a mobile bank that helps them do just that, quickly and easily.
Finovate: At the beginning of the year at FinovateEurope, you showed us “Story of My Finances” which merged  online banking and PFM. Is Essence the fully-realized version of that vision?
Balint: “Story of My Finances” differs from traditional PFM tools that can be complicated and boring to use. That is the reason banks get disappointed when their customers don’t get excited about PFM modules. As in all IND products, our PFM’s starting points are a customer’s life situations and their financial health. Instead of functions and features we have developed stories that are real life events with financial impact (like “expecting a baby”). 
Our new mobile banking product, Essence, includes PFM features (or as we call our new approach: PFP – personal finance planner) we invented for “Story of My Finances”, such as goal setting and third party offers, but it is a complete mobile banking solution based on the uniqueness of mobile usage. Essence aims to make mobile banking simpler and more enjoyable by concentrating on the basic functions that people require when banking on the move: balance enquiry, money transfers and transaction history. Just like our PFM, via excellent customer experience it increases usage and so boosts sales and revenue for the banks.
Finovate: IND Group was recognized as one of the Fintech 100 by American Banker magazine. Fifteen years after the company was founded, what does earning this recognition mean to you and your colleagues?
Balint: This recognition is another clear sign of how much we have reached. IND was founded by three college friends in 1997 and now we are servicing 40 clients in 18 countries and continuously entering new markets. For several years now our clients have won numerous innovation awards with our solutions. FinTech 100 proves that we are not only a great innovator but also a global front runner in digital banking. 
Ovum, one of the most influential financial analyst firms also confirmed this in its latest report that gives a wide picture of the leading global digital banking vendors and we are proud that IND Group is among the vendors it recommends.
Finovate: We in the West hear and see so much innovation in banking come from Eastern Europe. What is it that Eastern European innovators are doing that the rest of the world could learn from?
Balint: Eastern Europe as always hosted a large-scale work force, and thus been a great place for outsourcing. The region has also shown potential to become Europe’s Silicon Valley. It is the human assets and the excellent educational background of the region that make it a major player in technological innovation.
We have indeed been called the fastest growing technological company in Central and Eastern Europe. This is thanks to our software developers that are talent professionals and we are constantly looking for more creative people to work with. We also invest a lot in keeping up-to-date with customer demands and researching what people want from banking. That is do
ne by IND Labs, and we think this is one of the most important ingredient of our secret sauce for success.
Finovate: What’s next for IND Group? What can we look forward to seeing by way of further innovation in Essence and mobile banking?
Balint: IND Group’s vision is to reinvent every unloved aspect around banking and to give people a chance for an easier and healthier financial life. Our next innovation will be launched in February at FinovateEurope. Our new internet and tablet banking platform, Foundation, is built on the idea that online banking can be more intuitive and efficient – and maybe even fun. 
Our solution focuses on usability and ergonomics and we are convinced that this will lead to more engaged and happier online banking users, providing the implementing bank with a real competitive advantage. With this approach we believe also new customer segments can be engaged in digital banking: both young and older generations, people that would love to manage their money digitally, you just need to provide them with the right solutions!

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