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Trends at FinovateFall: The Big, the Small, and the Surprises

FinovateFall is happening in less than a month, and we’re taking a look at the fintech trends that will grace the stage over the course of the three-day show.

This year’s word cloud of themes hints at the major points the demoing companies will showcase on September 23 and 24, and leads us to the topics of discussion we’ll see on stage during the panels and keynote discussions on September 25. Register in advance to secure your seat at the show.

I’ve broken down this year’s trends into three groups; the big, the small, and the surprising:

The big trends

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
This is a trend that needs no introduction or explanation. We’ve seen AI come out on top as the largest trend in every Finovate conference this year, and next month’s show will be no different.

Data is a necessary component behind two of this year’s hottest trends– AI and machine learning. And since banks have an overload of data that gets larger by the minute, the way that they manage data is just as important as how they use it.

Buried within the regtech subsector of fintech, compliance is one of those topics that no one wants to think about but everyone needs to have a plan for. And these days, compliance is no longer just for banks. With bank-fintech partnerships on the rise, fintechs are increasingly expected to play by the rules, too.

Small but mighty trends

Chatbots may not dominate the conversation at FinovateFall this year but that doesn’t mean people won’t be talking about them. Customer experience is top on the minds of both banks and fintechs alike, and having a chatbot can ease a lot of headaches associated with taking care of customers, including lowering costs, offering the ability to scale, and providing a mobile-first solution.

Customer service
In many ways, 2019 is the era of the customer in fintech. We’ve seen both banks and startups throughout the industry refocus their solutions not only to attain new customers, but also to retain existing ones. As these efforts come to a head, investment in customer service solutions is at an all-time high.

Investment technologies experienced their hey-day in 2015, when the use of AI was in its infancy and new robo-advisors were launching every week. Now, after much consolidation, investing technology is making a comeback with more sophisticated AI advancements.

Surprising trends

IoT devices
Fintech may be all about technology, but the application of IoT devices has been slow to take off. Applications for Google Glass failed to prove valuable and the growth of Fitbit Pay remained stagnant. Today, not many new players in fintech have come forward.

Mobile wallets
Technology that was the hype of 2011, mobile wallets, are everywhere and no where. A lot of players offer them, including PayPal, Square, and most alt-banking services providers. However, mobile wallets have faded into the background of fintech hype as they have transitioned into a necessity for many players.

Unlike the previous two trends, insurtech is surprising not because it appears in the word cloud of trends we’ll see at FinovateFall, but because it appears to be such a small fraction compared to the size of other trends. The U.S. has never had a large number of insurtech players, especially compared to the U.K., but insurance is widely used across the country. Perhaps 2020 will mark the year of insurtechs in the U.S.