Beyond the Arc will be blogging live from Finovate Spring. We’ll be reporting on the latest breaking developments, as they happen. We’re looking forward to two days of announcements and product innovation in the field of financial technology.
William Mills III, Chief Executive Officer of William Mills Agency is live blogging today at Finovate Spring 2014 in New York City. William has more than 30 years of experience in financial technology and is a recognized leader in financial and technology marketing. William has personally advised more than 300 chief executives on marketing strategy, business development, mergers and acquisitions, company branding and public relations. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by twitter @williamemills. ^WM
Finovate is in a new venue in downtown San Jose this year. I’d say the accommodations are excellent. Plenty of space, electricity at every seat, and the stage looks great. It makes a difference when you have a comfortable, well-equipped venue.
With just a few minutes to show time, the presenters are probably battling those last minute butterflies. Crowd today is projected to be over 1,000. Wondering if anyone is going to have that “Bill Gates Moment” when the technology totally crashes? Who am I kidding, that’s why I’m sitting in the front row. Who could miss that?
First up is one of several next generation biometric security companies. Making customer accounts more secure, without cumbersome authentication procedures, will no doubt be a theme of several of the presentations.
EyeVerify – Toby Rush (CEO/Founder), Chris Barnett (EVP Global Sales & Marketing) EyeVerify brings secure biometrics to your mobile device, with “secure authentication at a glance.” From a customer experience perspective, I like the idea of the convenience. I do have flashbacks to a Total Recall/Blade Runner-inspired scene. Or, is that just my days from Berkeley catching up with me? iPrintID is EyeVerify’s product, rolling out to 20 banks in Australia. You only need a 1 megapixel camera. Image matching algorithms power the application. BTA knows from a data science perspective how complex this is to achieve.^SR
Everyone hates passwords. They’re costing us a lot of money. This past year, an estimated $240m was lost because of data breaches, identify theft. Eyeprint coming to more than 20 banks in Australia–quick, easy. Picture of eye is a digital key to log in to bank account. Fundamental: Existing 1 megapixel camera, using blood vessels to map eye picture. This is the lock on the container of all personal, sensitive information. Secure, convenient, private. Imposters? 99.99% accuracy, but can a picture of the person’s eyes be used? Apparently not–seems to be a secure process, scanning completed 4 times at setup, no image stored, rather info is broken down and sent to a template of sorts. Still, what if it is a really great, high-res shot?
Effectively it’s50-character password, encrypted to a template, all local. Both-factor solution. SDK, can integrate easily and simply into internal applications. Can download already from iTunes to try it for yourself, if interested. ^CE
Motif Investing – Hardeep Walia (CEO/Co-Founder), Ramak Fazeli (Manager of Advisor Svcs/Sales)
Motif allows investors to invest in an idea, not just a stock. Today, they are taking the next step and creating a product for financial advisers to use with their clients. “Motif Advisor” gives the adviser a comprehensive view of client accounts, including allocation model. You can view by asset classes, by sector, or by “motif”. Search engine helps you find investment themes, based on keywords and ideas. Interested in LGBT-friendly companies? MSFT may be an option you wouldn’t have otherwise considered. Smart pivot, they realize they don’t have to compete with advisers. ^SR
Online broker with a twist–invest in ideas. Act on ideas by turning them into a ‘motif’. Create a basket of 30 stocks centered around customized motif. Build your own, or use preexisting–your choice. Simple, yet powerful. Tailored specifically for financial advisers. Digital; one-click assignment of motif (kept current); monthly subscription. List of clients shows up, can see how clients are allocated based on different asset classes–you can see where every penny is invested; sector; or by motif. Examples of motifs: Precious metals; Socially Responsible. Can search for a company like Microsoft, all motifs it falls into show up (Gay-friendly, Dividends, etc.). Easy to buy stocks, add to portfolio–purchase stocks no transfer/service fee (part of subscription theme).^CE
LendingTree – Doug Lebda (CEP, Founder & Chairman), Nikul Patel (CPO)
Comparing mortgage offers with LendingTree. Mobile app to compare loans. Aside from the mobile part, I’m not sure how this is a game-changer. If you can’t invest in your own app or marketing, they help to provide leads. Looks like it really drives down price, not sure of value prop for the lender. ^SR
Old days–mortgage comparison shopping, literally had to go bank to bank. LendingTree helps improve loan offers across different loan types. Created app that empowers consumers, to shop for mortgage in 90 seconds, take offers, compare real-time against all offers flowing through the LendingTree exchange. Easy-to-use app, uses Good Faith Estimate to populate data fields. One click, offers compared, savings alerts show up if lender (various types, big small) has better offer. Clear graph results, real speak, plain English. App shows real rates, names, ratings, all elements of a particular offer. Consumer can contact directly. Gamechanger for consumer AND lenders–but how? What is different here? A ton of competition between lenders today, but they say this app shows service ratings, reviews, making it easy to connect with customers based on exactly what they are looking for.^CE
IntelliResponse – David Lloyd (CEO/President), Paul Smith (VP Product & Services)
They have a new Voice of the Customer offering, “voices”. Like “a data scientist in a box”. Hmm, not sure our data scientists would work well in a box. You know, they like a little space. The Voices tool looks at greatest volume of consumer issues. They can track trends that are rising or falling, and they are color coded. The interface is attractive, but not sure it is overly actionable. Lots of bubbles, and they move around, hard to really get a handle on what it all means. Customer experience and VOC could certainly benefit from new tools for banks. The idea is good, execution not quite there yet. I’m also skeptical about the “in a box simplicity.” ^SR
Answering the way humans would respond. Example: customer asks question about cancelling check payment; instead of giving too many results, gives one right answer. “Basically acts like Siri for your enterprise.” Imagine a data scientist in a box. Voices (the product) mines from conversations–top-trending themes show up clear in a series of ‘bubbles.’ Click bubble, see all types of questions in that topic, in the customers’ own words. Colors, shapes, sizes show data in easy-to-use format for immediate browsing of data or for spotting trends and showing what needs action immediately. Amount of bubbles can be confusing. Voices in compare mode allows you to deal with exceptions, instead of concentrating on everything, all data at once. Analyzes sequence of questions customers ask i.e. what is an e-deposit, do i still need to sign check, then what do I do with check? Understand from customer point of view, use analysis of sequence of questions to anticipate customer needs for next time. Everyone has access to live customer data–no special IT or big data required. ^CE
Roostify – Rajesh Bhat (CEO/Co-Founder), Jonathan Kirst (Lead Engineer/Co-Founder)
Save time in managing documents for mortgage processing. Automate compliance and simplify the workflow– that’s a great set of benefits to lenders. Calendar view let’s you see the life of the loan, with all of the key milestones. Great workflow tool with partner API (for example, for lender reports or lead gen intelligence.) Very comprehensive, I wonder what the implementation challenges are? ^SR
Bridging gap between consumers and lenders. Helps lenders close faster. 45 day average to close is typical, but this platform improves communication and lessens closing process by weeks. Once in Roostify, mortgage application is specific to customer. Other online sources to fill in data, i.e. employment info from LinkedIn (though, this requires customer already has one fully built profile); then platform generates list of documents needed for closing process. Still seems as if a lot of the application questions will require acquiring info from multiple sources, not as easy at it seems. Can upload required documents right then, and share accounts. Brings in actual transaction data from accounts, helps with real-time debt-to-income ratio analysis, thus helps close faster. Lender side: lender can see all data customer submitted; exports to loan origination system integrated to platform, no uploading required on lender side; underwriter can get to work immediately on approving loan. Automated workflow spells out closing process task, shows time constraints, and provides two-way access–Roostify stresses real-time notifications. Customization with branded product–can build applications on top of Roostify platform, i.e. analysis to understand market trends. ^CE
Loop – Will Graylin (CEO)
We can expect to hear from several mobile wallet providers at Finovate, and Loop is first up. With a smartphone app and a dongle/fob, you can scan all of your cards into your phone. There is a Loop phone case that also has certain additional functions, to make data transfer quicker. Product offers “EMV-like” security to transactions. EMV cryptogram offers security to existing POS systems, without having to buy new equipment or retrofit. This could be great, particularly for merchants who don’t yet want to invest in infrastructure upgrades.
Oh, first gong of the day! A little over 7 min, but he got it all in. ^SR
Uses existing magnetic strips with no changes to merchant systems. Loop invented technology that can be used across many devices directly to the point of sale.
Consumer–can sign up for account, wallet recognizes Loop-ready device, simply swipe all cards, server recognizes track data, makes sure cards match your account. Then, device can transmit directly to point of sale. Can choose from all your cards, can set up default card. Loop device has button than you push when over your magnetic strip reader, pays. Seems like all devices need the hardware embedded, which is something company is working on. Can transfer magnetic data AND dynamic data. What does that mean? Dynamic data–encrypted data, in effect card issuers can provide EMV-level security onto existing point of sale systems–cheaply and quickly. ^CE
Vorstack – Joe Eandi (CEO/Founder), Mark Manning (VP Technical Services)
Network security to avoid data breaches– this has become vastly more important in recent months! Vorstack wants to help you avoid a “front page event”. In addition to traditional datawarehouse environment, interfaces with Hadoop, splunk, and other emerging platforms. Nice visual dashboard to monitor security across the entire network. They use “trusted circles” with item-level permission sharing. Real-time remediation of attacks. ^SR
Automation and control platform for cybersecurity collaboration. Target security breach example: trust lowered, in trouble with government AND consumers. Pulled up list of emails that point out threats, various senders–pulls up one that shows IP addresses to check into. Too much time, too much info, sifting through to find what’s critical is hard–but could have prevented security breach. This software parses out security info from email, then looks for anything relevant. Within seconds, shows all things relevant, and you can focus on items and threats that matter. Can use handheld for incident response. Beside autoprocessing, autocollaboration–coordinated cyberdefense against coordinated cyberoffense. For any sharing, parameters can be set to determine what is shared with various others. Network allows info to be pulled from other sources to analyze threat level (sees history of certain IP addresses, if consistently troublesome, knows to avoid contact with). We are stuck in world of email; this technology lets you do real-time interaction, immediate analysis of what’s important, data analytics to sift through noise. ^CE
Realty Mogul – Jay Samit (Executive Chairman), Justin Hughes (CTO/Co-Founder)
Realty Mogul provides online investment in private equity real estate projects, with info and tools for investors. Investors also get perks, like access to a VIP suite at the hotel they’ve invested in. 24/7 access to investor dashboard that shows portfolio, earnings, and transaction history. I’m wondering if this pulls non-qualified investors into private equity deals they don’t fully understand? ^SR
Real estate investing: simple. User can see different criteria needed for investment; learn in depth about asset itself. All info visible to investors: tabs break down strategies, perks, management descriptions, PDFs of analysis used to determine financials, FAQs, videos, etc. To start process, after reviewing all info, usually cumbersome. However, this technology shortens to just a few minutes–safe and secure investing with a click of a button, all info organized in one place. Dashboard shows investments, account info, earnings, reports. Seems clear and easily used. ^CE
Digital Insight – Karishma Anand (Director of Product Management), Marshall Yuan (Senior Product Manager)
Location-based cross-selling via mobile device. Context is king, so energized to hear what Digital Insight has to offer. They’ve made the case, will the product deliver? Their demo: contextual experiences for a car shopper (and avid mobile banker). One to one marketing, reaching out to customer when they are ready to buy. Payment calculator is included in the app, to evaluate what the offer means for the customer. Demo is fairly high-level, but this technology is exciting. I’ll need to have a follow-up conversation and report back. I notice that Digital Insight has recently been acquired by NCR. ^SR
Promotion Suite for mobile–wants financial institutions to connect with customers in their time of need, while driving revenue. Present your products and solutions in most contextual way possible. Digital Insight thinks there is much room for improvement with mobile–banks can present with a product or service when relevant. Example: customers looking for a car… therefore, a car loan. Customer searches online, narrows down, goes for test drive, but before walking in, fearful of face to face negotiation with dealers. So what to do? Opens bank account on phone, sees auto loan presented right away–tailored to him, exactly when he is at dealership. Offer info page includes calculator, helps understand monthly payments. Customer can decide if relevant and determines if wants to see notification again. Can reschedule ‘pop-up’ and can chat with live agent (video), or via other contact methods. Omnichannel experience is what this company is aiming for, but not sure how this is innovative.^CE
TextPower – Scott Goldman (CEO/Co-Founder)
First presenter to use a prop: Scott dribbles a basketball on stage. But, now what does he do with it? TextPower also takes on the challenge of authentication, this time for network access. Their origins are in text messaging (SMS). Their product uses a “digital fingerprint” of a mobile device. ^SR
Works on textkey authentication systems. Security from a text message sent to a phone by computer is nonexistent. But when text sent FROM a phone, secure. Mobile authentication–textkey plainly connects websites with own secure texting verification. Piggybacks carrier’s security. Phones have individual fingerprints; TextPower uses carrier method to determine if phone is authorized for a given account. Secure handshake around a browser to deny or grant access to an account. What happens when try to do fraudulently? Easily caught because mobile number doesn’t match account. Simple, better way for authentication to occur (as opposed to CAPTCHA, etc.?) Whether VPN, or a website login, anything–can be authenticated just by text messaging. What are the security concerns though? Seems too easy. ^CE
Kofax – Drew Hyatt (SVP Mobile Applications), Dimirti Snowden (Sr. Sales Engineer)
Easy way to track the balance on your gift card. Simple gift card app allows you to hover over the card, snap a pic, and scan. From the photo, you get the card number, pin, and current balance. Kofax has a new use case for their scanning technology. They are doing a nice job in expanding the value of their solution. ^SR
Introducing latest innovation off mobile capture platform. App lets you hover phone over giftcard for ease of card info, i.e. balance. Unspent giftcards are plentiful, why? Too lazy to call and enter long code to check balance. So how does Kofax make this easy? Hovers phone over barcode, takes picture–card number and pin shows up. “Submit” and goes to backend systems of retailer and simply shows balance. Can add to wallet feature–running summary of giftcards you have. Easier for retailers to do business. Happier customers when laborious steps removed–one pain point down. Retailers want to understand customers through giftcard analysis–analytics platform pulls together info by giftcard type, inquiry, location, etc. Seems informative and helpful, but still need to explore analytics program.^CE
CUneXus – Dave Buerger (President/Co-Founder), Darin Chong (Co-Founder)
Banks and credit unions can use their internal data to reduce or eliminate paper in the loan origination process. Are you using data to make preemptive loan offers? Of course you’re not, but maybe you could. The app lets you provide a wide array of pre-approved, personalized offers. “We don’t guess what customers want.” Customers can redeem offers for credit. I’m wondering if the lack of a loan application has compliance implications? The mobile app seems easy to use, and has the ability to scan a VIN to get information on the car while you’re on the lot. ^SR
Driving significant revenue from mobile banking supposedly hard–they want to prove that notion wrong. Example: customer at a dealership. Pulls up app, offer is timed specifically to pop up because app knows you are car shopping, provides instantly actionable offer. Can scan VIN barcode to ensure good deals. App identifies car info, pricing info. A few steps, a couple of photos, application for preapproved offer complete. Too easy? ^CE
FlexScore – Jason Gordon (CEO), Jeff Burrow (COO/President)
Users can now get custom advice with the help of an adviser. New feature of the FlexScore platform. Very interesting that “disruptors” are partnering with established wealth management and brokerage advisors. As industry pundit JP Nicols has said, their is a next-gen need for “high tech” to meet “high touch.’ ^SR
FlexScore wants to drive business to your brand. Help consumers do better with their money, at the same time as building revenue. FlexScore is personal, financial score. New credit score or budgeting app? No.
Budgeting credit and your future is important–this tracks, monitors and guides uses on track to financial health. Customer must reach 1000 points to be considered healthy, financially independent; needs to fill out profile for platform to build your goals and outline details of your financial health. Customizable debt calculator, goalsetter. Missing handholding from an advisor–FlexScore Pro, launched today, fixes that. Advisers throughout country can connect with FlexScore customers–you can narrow search criteria for the right fit. Can be used at home, or alongside trusted adviser–good for both. What’s innovative? ^CE
Interactions – Dan Fox (Marketing Manager), Phil Gray (EVP Business Development)
Intelligent, automated, customer support. And, assistance in Spanish, nice! Voice interaction, SMS, all well integrated. Definitely something that banks should be looking at, technology is deployed at many large customers. According to Interactions, “Conversational solutions can seamlessly provide callers with access to balance, transaction history, and account information…” You can review case studies on their website http://www.interactions.net/solutions/industry-solutions/ ^SR
Changing ways customers can communicate with businesses. Consumers fed up with rigid self-service systems that don’t work for them. Integrate human and artificial intelligence. What is the product?
Verification phone call to order a new card–talking to automates speaker, seems to be a bit more conversational than your average robot. Can ask for things like a copy of statement, email change, etc., and responds back fairly human-like. What happens when robot cannot answer question? Pretty cool to be able to request texts, documents, etc. Fun to have a conversation via voice or text. Still, would like to see limitations.^CE
WePay – John Canfield (VP Risk), April Rassa (Director of Product Marketing)
Technology for small business, nice to see a range of solutions at Finovate. This technology better manage risk, with data from a variety of sources including social media. This helps to confirm who the person really is. Reminds us that people spend years building up their Facebook profile. Merchants can approve new customers and transactions, to make risk management simpler. ^SR
Facilitates payments for online marketplaces, small business platforms, etc. Shields customers from fraud and risk. How?
InvoiceASAP is new–instead of sending to client to get check, which can be long process, can have client fill out credit card info right on platform. The more data fields you have user fill out up front, higher dropoff rate. Traditional credit card processors have long form, annoying; in contrast, WePay streamlined to a single click. WePay’s proprietary risk engine, Veda, collects information from social media and other sources; a lot of info collected, info available.
Not clear what the product is, nor how secure this is.
Now plugging social media data collector. Analyzes and scores merchant info for client, shows raw data and shows simple data. All for risk management. Veda is simply an analytics platform? How is it different from others? ^CE
Quisk – Praveen Amancheria (CTO), Dan Glessner (CMO)
Don’t carry cash? Quick is a startup that provides a digital cash alternative. More info on their website at http://www.quisk.co/. They are currently in-market in several countries, looking to ramp up business in the U.S. They bill themselves as a safe alternative to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. They help to digitize existing currencies. ^SR
Enable cashless transactions and financial services for anyone with mobile phone. “All about digitizing cash.” Personal safety risks for consumers carrying too much cash, inconvenient to find ATMs. Merchants would prefer cash to credit cards, but still incur cash-costs, and cash prevents from getting to know customers better. Cash leads to shadow economy.
To make a transaction, enter mobile phone number at register, enter pin, simultaneously on phone is the verification process. Easy for consumer, less costs associated than with credit cards. For merchants, enables to have branch at hand. Offers bank-rate security. Can go online to see transaction history, or list of merchants who accept Quisk as form of payment.
Unlike Bitcoin, Quisk collaborates with local banks under regulations.
Are a lot of companies, small businesses Quisk-compatible? If not, that’s a major drawback.^CE
Dealstruck – Ethan Senturia (CEO/Co-Founder), Russell McLoughlin (CTO/Co-Founder)
Can’t get a bank loan? Small businesses now have an alternative. DealStruck platform provides real-time offers. To accept an offer, you upload docs to their portal. They have integration of accounts via Yodlee. Individual investors invest in these loans, with borrower name being kept anonymous. DealStruck provides risk ratings and loan payment history. This platform really opens up new sources of private capital for small businesses. Now, DealStruck has an API for institutional investors. Let’s banks get in on the action. ^SR
Peer to business lending platform–enables small businesses to finance their growth. Platform provides investors access to borrowers. First stop: online prequalification determination tool, presents real-time offers. Next: verifying info (easy, as long as physical copies of documents are accessible to verify). Finally, bank statements, and complete application goes out to lenders.
Dashboard–review portfolio, explore new opportunities, etc. Can search specific loan info, borrower info–rates based on risk, shows repayment history, amortization schedule.
Biggest selling point: Bulk access in real time–Invest API Developer. Manipulate data yourself, build custom portfolio.^CE
SmartAsset – Michael Carvin (CEO), Noel Curtis (Senior Software Engineer)
Launching new mobile product for users to understand how much house they can afford. Self-directed mortgage information, that has the potential to improve the customer experience. Now available to banks as a white-label service. Very powerful. Also great current user adoption for this technology. ^SR
Uses their software to provide automated answers to important financial questions. Build model to ask what financing makes most sense for customer, and why? Retirement, refinancing, home buying, etc.–over 80 questions from various topics can be answered. (just 80?)
Tool helps determine what customer can afford. Their data input combined with backend data processes through SmartAsset financial model, and presents “the right answer” to customer. Example: does buying or renting make more sense? Am I saving enough for retirement? Tool shows clear comparisons, graphs, figures, in plain language–and recommends personalized solutions.
Similar platforms seem to give customers easier access to contacting an actual person. ^CE
NICE Systems – Elad Hoffman (Solution Manager)
Nice Systems is using the customer’s voice for user authentication. Within 10 seconds, the software can passively acquire your voice and validate your identity. The system can identify imposters, and will show the agent a confidence score. They also serve up two-factor authentication questions for additional security. Streamlined process using voice biometrics. ^SR
Goal: To make customer Interaction with banks more personal. Experience of NICE is in customer experience and service solutions. Using voice biometrics to create better experience that gets to the point; less action for verification required.
How it works: Customer talks into phone for several seconds, then system confirms. How is this possible? Dashboard shows front AND backend. On left, confidence score is constructed as audio is accrued, on right, verification screen. How secure against fraud? System senses discrepancy in voices–what happens? Second security feature with questions pops up–”two-factor authentication is a nightmare for fraudsters.” ^CE
TD Ameritrade & LikeFolio – Andy Swan (LikeFolio Co-Founder), Nicole Sherrod (MD Active Trading, TD Ameritrade)
Nicole notes that Gen Z is incredibly risk averse, and don’t have trust investing in the markets. With LikeFolio, you can “invest in what you like.” They have used Twitter to show Gen Z which companies and brands are mentioned most frequently in social media. If you like them in social media, why not invest? I like that they are thinking about the next generation of investors, and realize that the customer journey will be very different. However, could this open up the chance that people spam social media to influence young investors? It can be easy to manipulate social opinion. ^SR
TD Ameritrade is industry leader in investment opportunities. Today, world is filled with brand-conscious consumers. Young audience–wants to help connect brand names with the companies themselves.
LIkeFolio–making main street to Wall street connection. How? Uses social media to look for mentions of companies.
Platform has cool graph features, geared toward trendier audience. Interactive graph lets you search and pinpoint specific posts and mentions of a given company–unlimited list of companies. Ties back social media preferences to bigger-company products to either encourage investment or present info why you shouldn’t invest in a certain company.
LikeFolio is launching brand enthusiasm index for existing brands. TD Ameritrade partnered with them because LikeFolio looks at brands, not just hashtags, which provides better insight to investment opportunities. ^CE
ChiaraMail – David Head (CMO), Robert Uomini (CEO)
Your bank can use email to send offers, but there is a hazard with spoofing and declining trust. ChiaraMail’s alternative offers email privacy and protection by splitting the message from the email “envelope.” Helps you avoid encryption, to keep it simple. ^SR
Email is risky–spam emails can reflect poorly on your company, if your name is on it. ChiaraMail is a new approach: reduces fraud, enhances privacy, maintain control over email. Eliminates spoofing, so you can send sensitive info. Only recipient can see–not provider, not NSA, etc. Envelope of message content goes to secure server, and only envelope is sent to recipient. The email shows up as confidential in your inbox, and is simply a notice there is an important message waiting to be read.
Color coding is supposed to help determine what is authentic email, what is spam–but confusing to know what color means what. Seems like a lot of little steps need to take to get the feature working effectively. Cool idea for secure sending, better explanation of the securities and processes needed. ^CE
Insuritas – Jeffry Chesky (CEO), Matthew Chesky (SVP)
Turn your brochure site into an ecommerce machine, for insurance products. Allows banks to sell a wider array of insurance products, without heavy investments in product development or infrastructure. ^SR
Provides private-labeled virtual insurance agencies stitched into fabric of financial institutions. Many people digitally pay bills. Financial web ecosystems are filled with ads, other sales pitches, but fail to generate income. Solution: blend ecommerce and insurance together. By allowing consumers to do business in web ecosystem, attention to marketed products increases. No-third party engagement–everything stays on same page. Basically creates personalized online store of financial products. When ready to purchase, fill out payment info as usual, and it remembers. For future purchasing, remembers info but offers several security steps. ^CE
Digital Retail Apps – Wendy Keith (CEO/Founder), Jakub Ostapinksi (Marketing), Susan MacKay (Marketing)
Demo of their SelfPay mobile app that helps you to extend the merchant’s POS to the customer’s smartphone. Sort of like the “honor coffee”, where you drop your dollar to the jar before you head out the door. Makes it fast and easy for customers to check-out using only the forms of payment accepted by the merchant. Helps customers to skip the checkout line. Gives merchants direct, contextual, connection to the customer. Their business model is based on flat monthly fee to retailers. ^SR
Disjointed in store shopping and payment flow–they’ve solved. Self pay changes how a person spends time in store. The app leads customer to in-store shopping page, let’s them scan and pay immediately. App lets you use different cards, payment methods–merchant specific. When leaving store, merchant scans and the shopper is free to go. So this essentially keeps you from having to stand in any lines. But won’t you still have to wait for an available merchant, which could be the same amount of time as standing in line? Sounds like merchants must have special presence at front of store to check on customers walking out. What are the security flaws though?
Ease of payment suggests customers buying more–no line to wait in, “can just keep shopping.” ^CE
BodeTree – Christopher Myers (CEO), JT Archer (COO)
No business owner started their company because of their passion for spreadsheets and financial reports. (Well, unless they are an accountant.) Helps small business owners to understand how their financial performance stacks up against comparable firms. An interactive goal builder helps with future planning and roadmap to get to those goals. Core product is free to small business. What is their business model? ^SR
“Small business owners struggle to make decisions, let alone right decisions.” BodeTree helps small business owners see where they’ve been, where they are, and how they can win going forward.
Syncs automatically with Quickbooks and Zero to draw all accounting info together. No manual data entry required. Scoring system outlines strengths, weaknesses, what matters, etc., and presents results in plain language. Shows comparisons of competitors, clear graph formats. Interactive goal builder helps you identify what drives your business in your industry. System present actual roadmap, with tools and resources necessary to acheive goal. Then, system helps business owner “take action”–links user through funding and solution centers. If in need of capital, shows the way. Solution center has partners embedded through every point of system, from accountants to brokers, to help ensure right solution is found.
Consider this “homebase” for small businesses looking to manage their business. But is this a replacement for a financial advisor, or can your advisor access this too? Seems helpful, but also more work if already using other programs to manage business. ^CE
D3 Banking – Mark Vipond (CEO), Kevin O’Kane (CPO)
Tries to improve the customer experience in money movement. Better experience at a better price, with data flowing to the FI to understand more about the end-to-end activity. Gives banks more control over payments and money movement. Visual dashboard gives the FI a simple tool. ^SR
Financial institutions have lost control of their customers digital interactions. This is a one-digital-stop solution: access to histories, all accounts; tools include automatic creation of budgets, etc. Customizable.
Key service allows money moving easily, and with technology-changing innovations, problems come up that D3 solves. D3 wants to help keep users focused on their immediate needs, not wondering about other aspects of the processes.^CE
mShift – Jeff Chen (VP Business Development), Alan Finke (VP Engineering & Development)
Anywhere Mobile from mShift, offers consumer savings and ease of use. They are starting with gas stations as their first industry vertical. Uses mobile GPS to confirm customer’s geolocation. No card number, there is a unique PIN and code behind the scenes. According to mShift, the consumer, merchant, and FI all benefit. Merchant gets 50% reduction of payment intercharge fees. FI still gets profit margin because of lower cost of transaction, takes cost out of the ecosystem. Anywhere Mobile cites reduced fraud, and hence fraud-related costs. ^SR
Mobile banking is presenting many challenges. AnyWhereMobile solves mobile banking problems. Emerging as leading method of payment. App shows where merchants who accept this form of payment are–Scan code at location (what if this is a pain to find?) to receive discount rate; then pay by entering PIN (no need for other card numbers) and receipt shows up immediately.
3 parties must benefit: consumer, merchant, and financial institutions. Easy for customer, but how can merchant afford to give discounts? This entire AnyWhereMobile system saves transaction costs, freeing up money. Middlemen snag own fees; this takes out middleman by creating direct interface between consumer/merchant. Plus, erases any need for card numbers, which lowers risk of fraud/theft. ^CE
Sureify – Dustin Yoder (CEO), Chris Cichon (CMO)
The goal is to make it easier to buy life insurance, particularly for Millennials. Interactive online tools help customers explore options in real-time, side-by-side. Sureify’s “action page” provides recommended plan, complete with potential carrier and agent. They can refine and take action with a trusted advisor. @sixthirty dubs it “Kayak for life insurance.” ^SR
Example: With baby on way, now on market for life insurance. So Sureify answers basic questions”: what is term life insurance what is whole life insurance? Brief overview of each policy, visually straightforward, so anyone can understand. Built for millennials—once understand, can move on to figure out how much coverage they need for their specific situation. Using customer data, Sureify creates comparison chart. At any time, customers can ask their trained staff or your own staff questions via various communication channels. Once policies pulled up, can purchase or connect with local agents if desired. Seems very helpful for someone like myself—pretty unfamiliar with how to find best life insurance policy. Would this appeal to all, or just millennials? ^CE
ZenPayroll – Joshua Reeves (CEO/Co-Founder)
Currently processing over $500 million in annual payroll. “33% of all businesses in U.S. are fined for doing their payroll taxes incorrectly.” ZenPayroll is completely paperless. Employee and employer are considered as equal stakeholders. “Employers rewarding employees for their hard work.” There is an employer dashboard and employee dashboard. API allows employers to populate data behind the scenes, for example from a timecard partner. Employee info transfers across employers if they both use ZenPayroll. Enables employees to make charitable donations via the dashboard. ^SR
Payroll usually seen as a hassle or chore for many small businesses. Modern software finally arrives—everything is paperless with ZenPayroll. Very focused on people-aspect of payroll. Ecosystem—API from day one, to make easier for data to flow so not re-entered by hand every 2 weeks. Approachable dashboard, surfaces and highlights birthdays, action items. Access for both ends—employee can see own version of dashboard, in attractive format. Seems great—is there a catch? ^CE
Verde International – Patrick Reily (CEO/Co-Founder), Robert Hughes (CEO, Finance and Thrift)
Advance models and customer experience are used to supplement credit default, as a way of measuring risk. Big Data makes credit decisioning more powerful. NPV, cashflow metrics, and other financial jargon? Not a great way to build the “wow” factor at Finovate. Talking around the product, not really speaking to its unique benefits. ^SR
Loan decision solution to satisfy unmet demands and improve loan terms across board. Verde Aurora model predicts payment behavior, and uses to drive proformace for each set of loan terms. Getting to the best ‘yes’. They use advanced models to predict behaviors, timing and magnitude. Big data and analytics now affordable enough to make all these calculations on this platform this fast. Creates real-world estimation scenarios to aid loan decision process; shows long-term outlook graph defining what the best choice is compared to other terms. Economic decision, not just credit risk decision. Gets user to the best guess for all stakeholders. ^CE
CREALOGIX – Geraldine Critchley (Head of Product Marketing), Ivan Inderbitzin (Senior E-Learning Author)
Crealogix provides online advice and investor education, to meet investor compliance requirements. Client doesn’t have time for a face to face meeting? Now they can learn what they need online, so they can be an educated investor. Demo shows options trading, and the learning platform includes a mini quiz to test your knowledge. “Badges” incorporate an element of gamiifcation. Surprisingly, there have been very few “gamified” product offerings at this year’s Finovate. ^SR
Leading provider of digital banking solutions in Switzerland and Europe. Their question: How to mix online learning with online banking? Want to do this to re-empower the client.
Clients frustrated by amount of research needed for investment decisions. Just want information, clear and quickly, without having to talk with bank. This solution is online advice mixed into online banking program. But this is more than advice–creative dashboard allows freedom to manage investments. Example: looking to buy Swatch warranty, before continuing to buy warranty, bank presents quick training video of option strategy. Interactive; quiz at the end, now ‘certified.’ Badge awarded–bank ensures you know what you are doing. “High score” pops, seems like a fun game to play while considering investments and budgeting. Seems like there are actually a lot of ads. Instant knowledge, in the right context, accessible–but are the videos actually helpful? ^CE
defi SOLUTIONS – Stephanie Alsbrooks (CEO/Founder), Chris Holt (Senior Engineer, Automation)
Isn’t it time that you updated your loan origination system? You don’t have to go it alone. Instead of building it all in-house, defi gives you flexible platform to build and customize your own system. You don’t need a vendor to create forms, dashboards, or other critical functionality. Set your own business rules and tailor it to your lending policies. You can also integrate 3rd party data sources and modify the data schema. “Lending experts” meet “tech experts” at defi. ^SR
Loan origination technology. Tech options for lenders used to be weak: too long, too expensive, etc. This system was founded on all lender pain points. How does it do things different?
Gives lenders back control. Easy streamlined process to set up system and access immediately. Wizard guides through next steps–seems easy to follow, and still customizable. Not just customizable appearance–fields can be created, too, and specific rules can apply to each. Scorecards are easier to create now and in effect immediately. 3rd parties–easy to bring into picture, do not need to be hardcoded anywhere on the backend, and you can control what data goes to your data warehouse. Seems like a good tool for lenders (minus the fact it seems like you need to have a lot of tabs open), but what sets them apart from other loan application systems trying to keep everything in one place? ^CE
Ondot Systems – Vaduvur Bharghavan (CEO)
Gives consumers the ability to use their mobile device to put controls on their payment card. Don’t want your card to be used for e-commerce? You can block its use in that way. You can limit by payment type, merchant, amount, and location. Gives you control over your card, but are the use cases compelling enough? The one that is most interesting is the ability to limit the card usage by region. It can be used in a location that you authorize, but your kid can’t skip off to Vegas and use it away from home. What could be interesting here is that an FI could develop some differentiation in a crowded market. ^SR
Everyone has credit or debit card, and smartphone. The Ondot solution allows consumers to remotely control existing payment cards from phone. With a single touch, you can control when where and how cards are used. App shows card details, different cards. You can turn cards on and off–but why would you want to do this? To control spending (yourself OR your dependents). Even more, you can control certain actions for your card, i.e. no ecommerce purchases allowed, but ATM access allowed. Pretty nifty, if applicable, but seems like the target audience is parents for controlling their kids’ cards and spending.
Cooler aspect: sign into your location, card can only be used then. Or, sign into region you want to transact in. Good fraud protection. ^CE
Stockpile – Avi Lele (CEO), Dan Schatt (CCO)
Use a gift card to make a gift of publicly-traded stock. For example, you can give $50 in stock with an easy to use interface. The recipient can accept the gift, re-gift it (!), or select another stock. The value proposition is that in 2 minutes you can open a full-fledged brokerage account in less than 2 minutes. The account is SIPC-insured, and very consumer-friendly. What’s interesting here is that you browse companies based on their brands, not really on their financials. This underlying idea has surfaced a couple of times today. One one hand, it opens up stock investing to a much wider audience. On the other, it seems to dramatically deemphasize some of the consumer protections that apply to other investment channels. If consumers lose money, who will be named in those shareholder suits? I see some compliance hurdles with this offering. ^SR
First the time ever, you can gift stock. Easy process–create gift card, pick amount, pick stock from shopping mall full of stocks. Pretty cool to customize the stock–if a coffee-nut, get Starbucks, if outdoorsy, pick NorthFace. Simply purchase without needing to open account, and email to recipient. Seems super easy–no info for recipient needed except for email.
Now, recipient end: Gets email, “you’ve got stock!” Taken to site, many options. You can regift stock, switch to different stock, convert to useable giftcard from any of the listed companies. Difference here, recipient needs to create account. Doesn’t seem like a hassle, seems worth the time. 5 points: Incredibly easy to buy, sell or gift stock. iTunes-like pricing (no-brainer). Process takes less than 2 minutes. Can buy stock with credit or debit card. Kids/teens can do it too. But what are security concerns here? ^CE
Day 1 of Finovate has come to an end! Some of the themes that were more prevalent today included customer experience and big data, very happy to see these issues hit the radar. Mobile apps were dominant, and in fact have now become table stakes for FinTech companies. One key observation is that a number of Finovate veterans now have offerings for the industry. Lot’s of talk about “white label”, and two versions of the platform, one for consumers and the other for FIs. This makes tremendous sense as start-ups seek to diversify their revenue streams. ^SR