I always circle the spring Finovate show on my calendar because it offers insight into the future of fintech. Inevitably, two questions get asked: First, which of these companies should be on the radar for bankers, investors, and consumers? Second – and this is my favorite part of the hobnobbing and side bets – which one of the startups will exhaust their oxygen and cash first? In short, this is a show about innovation, change, and collapse.
The roster of companies at the first Finovate show I attended in 2010 featured disruptors, partnership opportunities, and acquisition targets such as Bill.com, Expensify, Kabbage, Mint, and Pageonce (which rebranded as Check, and then was acquired by Intuit and renamed Mint Bills). But that Finovate class also included Blippy, the media darling that won my vote for first to die…please. The on show on May 12-13 in San Jose has grown to two days, and it features about 72 companies covering a range of specialties. But as I scope out the field from my vantage point in omnichannel financial services, I am zeroing in on presenters that are taking aim at key trends such as:
- Redefining personal finance management and the basic banking relationship, helping consumers better understand money and their financial decisions (Moven, Credit Sesame, Note, NAMU Systems, SmartAsset, Trizic, and Hip Pocket).
- Efforts to capitalize on only-in-a-smartphone technology like the camera, in this case to advance photo finance that can improve how consumers deposit checks, pay bills, authenticate digital applicants, and smooth application processes (Kofax, Mitek, Malauzai Software, and Top Image Systems). Expect to see some forays into wearables and other efforts to fit finance into the consumer's hectic lives, too, a trend Ian Benton and I delved into most recently with Push Notifications Change the Game for Financial Alerts in April.
- Efforts to give customers more financial control, a necessity as the industry evolves from performing services on behalf of customers to empowering them (OnDot).
- Attempts to streamline the user experience and financial chores like opening accounts (Avoka). There’s no doubt in my mind that for years to come these needs and trends will be central parts of the strategic and tactical planning and conversations with bankers, fintech vendors, payments companies, and regulators. But place your bets for whether a presenting company will be “best in show” or “first to go.”