OK– so this post is less than timely. FinovateEurope ended two weeks ago (on February 12), and it was great, but I was doing double-duty in London with our Bank Innovators Council Lab Day the following day, with a whole lot of follow-ups since then, not to mention already working on our next event in San Jose, just before FinovateSpring. More on that later…
After posting two previews running up to FinovateEurope, it’s only fitting to provide a recap afterward. Attendees and hardcore fans already know most of this thanks to the diligent (and much more timely) posts of the Finovate bloggers, Julie Shicktanz and David Penn. Nonetheless, here are a few of my thoughts, and plenty more thanks to Julie and David.
The week started ominously. Record-setting rainfall and horrible flooding around the River Thames, coupled with a second week of strikes by workers of the London Underground transport system were seeming to conspire to take a significant amount of fun out of this European installment of what Brad Leimer has dubbed the “Disneyland of FinTech™”.
While the flooding was disastrous for many in the UK, we were not impacted greatly in central London, and most of the hardest rainfall during the two days of the conference came whilst we are already snugly inside. The tube strike the prior week crippled the London transport system, with shockwaves similarly impacting bus lines, ferries, taxis and motor traffic. This week’s stoppage was planned for 48 hours beginning the evening commute that began right after Day One of Finovate on Tuesday February 11, but late that afternoon rumors circulated and were later confirmed on stage that the strike had been cancelled.
This year’s sold-out show featured 67 presenters from at least 27 different countries in Europe and beyond. Despite the extensive coaching that the Finovate team gives to presenters, not all heed the advice, and as in other Finovate shows, some were better presenters than others, and that usually shows up in the Best of Show award voting by attendees.
- Lots of different takes on fraud prevention and detection and data security. And for good reason. Nothing will destroy a financial brand like weak data security.
- Lots of use of the word “omnichannel”. I like it, but we don’t seem to have a common definition for what that really means. Responsive design across multiple devices is certainly a part of it, but I think it’s more than that (like, for instance Avoka‘s feature to pause applications and complete later on another device). I look forward to discussing with other FinTechies.
- Not as much discussion of Bitcoin and crypto-currencies as I expected and have heard at other recent events, but that’s OK by me. I think there is a lot more to shakeout (Mt. Gox and others) before this enters the FinTech mainstream for many of us.
- That said, when presenter Switchless showed a screen shot of South Africa’s Standard Bank’s pilot allowing Bitcoin trading, it set of a storm of Tweets and blog posts.
- SME (Small-Medium Enterprises, aka Small Business in the U.S.) as a customer segment an emerging theme, and one that is ripe for disruption. Most interesting to me were IT Sector, for their “Commercial GPS”, and SaaS Markets, which showed off their cloud-based “app stores” for financial institutions to provide a curated selection of 1500 business apps– everything from accounting and invoicing to event management and digital marketing.
- Accessible FX in the Cloud. Currency Cloud and Currency Transfer are making cross-border payments easier and more transparent, and that makes sense in this increasingly connected global economy.
- Enabling innovation within banks is another emerging theme (and we certainly need it)- Matchi.biz has created a platform for “innovation matchmaking”, and Innovation Agency demonstrated their Innovation Café virtual idea management platform. (Innovation Agency is a partner to the Bank Innovators Council, and we use their Innovation Café as a part of our social community).
- PFM is Dead. Long live PFM. Count me among the growing chorus of voices lobbying to kill the term PFM (Personal Financial Management), which has come to mean basic online banking with side order of charts and graphs. But the concept of actually using data, visualization, collaboration and context to make better financial decisions is actually getting some unique twists and compelling UIs from the likes of YourWealth, Toshl, The Moneyer, Vaamo, Tink and Meniga (which is also leveraging their data to help retail merchants). It is truly an international affair– these companies hail from the UK, Slovenia, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Iceland, respectively.
- There continues to be a focus on stock trading and portfolio management, with demos from Excess Return and Money on Toast, plus a new way to invest in private companies from Kown, and my vote for the very best presentation of the two days by Luxsoft. Minus 5 points for hiring a professional presenter, but plus 10 points for him really nailing it, and plus 25 points for the professional presenter being about 11 years of age. (Watch the video to see who I accused of being Macaulay Culkin’s younger British cousin)
Best of Show Winners
Congratulations to the Best of Show winners, all voted by the audience. (In alphabetical order):
Still Want More Finovate?
Check out these incredible graphic notes by Jonathan Hey of Nutmeg, who takes graphic communication to a whole new level.
Twitter on the Thames from the Finovate blog takes a look at a view of the show from the eyes and thumbs of the Twitterati present (including yours truly).
Post Finovate: Bank Innovators Lab Day at Level39
The Bank Innovators Council was proud to be an event partner for FinovateEurope, and on February 13, immediately after the two day show, we held a Bank Innovators Lab Day at Level39, the largest FinTech accelerator in Europe.
Brett King delivered a stirring kickoff keynote, and former Innotribe co-founder Mariela Atanassova facilitated 6 teams of bank innovators and FinTech entrepreneurs through a customer-centered journey exploring different customer personas. Click here to see pictures and video from the day.