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The Conference Journey: Why We Started FinDEVr (and Finovate)

image I just stopped by the Green Lake (Seattle) coffee shop where Eric Mattson and I first hatched the plans for Finovate seven years ago. At that time, we were so focused on selling enough tickets to pay the Midtown Manhattan-sized bills, we had few thoughts on the long-term plan. 

Fast forward seven years.

A week from today we’ll be in NYC for the eighth time hosting the largest Finovate ever, closing in on the 1,500 mark for the first time (much appreciated everyone!!!). Thanks to a surging local fintech community, the NYC event is outselling even the San Francisco area one for the first time since 2011.

Why did we create Finovate?

While I’d like to say we were hoping to bring the fintech community together to foster innovation (which I think has happened), it wasn’t quite that ambitious at the start. I’d always been a conference fanboy, going to four or five per year to speak and/or cover in our publications. But in 2007, one of my favorites cancelled. Looking to fill that void, we created the event that I would most want to attend.

One day. One track. Rapid fire. New products. In NYC. And the ability to speak directly to the speakers afterwards. And thankfully, others shared the affinity for that format.

imageSo, why did we start FinDEVr?

There is so much emphasis on strategy and the big picture these days, that the tools and technical underpinnings to get from here to there can be lost in the noise (case in point, the 1,121 articles on Apple Pay last week). And as the programmable web (APIs, SDKs, etc.) weaves its way into financial services, it’s harder than ever to keep up.

So, we created the event that I would have wanted to go to back when I was an engineer. One that focuses on how to BUILD the new services that eventually show up on the Finovate stage and in bank/CU/financial apps.

Whether FinDEVr attracts the fintech developer community in the same way Finovate has struck a chord with fintech execs remains to be seen. We already have 50% more attendees signed up for FinDEVr (30 Sep/1 Oct 2014) than we had at the first Finovate, so it’s off to a promising start (see details below).

Check back with me in seven years and I’ll let you know if it was the right move. 


You can still be part of the inaugural FinDEVr in San Francisco’s Mission Bay area. Event registration is open for a few more days. And if you’d like to bring your whole team, please email ( and we can work something out. 

There is nowhere else where you can meet the development folk at Yodlee Interactive, TD Ameritrade, MasterCard, Visa, PayPal/Braintree, Forte, Intuit, and Google. Plus Avoka, EVO Payments, Eshtapay, Financial Apps, InComm, Xignite, Xero and 40 others all in the same place and in just two days (see full list here).