The Finovate conference attracts over 1,500 attendees who are passionate about fintech and banking innovation. For two days, about 80 companies delivered 7-minute demos of their latest offerings. That’s a lot of fintech! The top companies are awarded the coveted Finovate Best of Show award.

How are the Finovate Best of Show winners selected?

According the the Finovate group, here are the guidelines:

1. Only audience members NOT associated with demoing companies were eligible to vote. Finovate employees did not vote.

2. Attendees were encouraged to note their favorites during each day. At the end of the last demo, they chose their three favorites.

3. The exact written instructions given to attendees: “Please rate (the companies) on the basis of demo quality and potential impact of the innovation demoed.”

4. The five companies appearing on the highest percentage of submitted ballots were named “Best of Show.”

Beyond the Arc blogged live throughout the entire two days. Below is what we wrote about the companies that went on to win — this was published as they presented. We had four bloggers on the team and our combined contributions are below.


Banzai’s financial literacy solution uses a choose-your-own-adventure simulation allowing people to make decisions and experience consequences in a fun, safe environment. @teachbanzai Landon Glenn

As an industry we talk a lot about consumer financial education, and financial literacy. But why is so much of the content so mediocre? Banzai has taken up the challenge with content geared to kids. They are using experienced based learning and gamification. They’ve expanded past the focus on kids with content for the whole family. Banzai also provides banking content to community partners. ^SR

Real life simulation software for kids to see what it would look like when they graduated and see what it was like to pay bills. Banzai is now in 50% of U.S. high schools. Successful because of Banzai teen, where the teens play a game and make different decisions on earnings and taxes. Now have banzai junior for elementary school. Also a game where the kid wants to purchase “mineshaft” and they work out a spending/savings plan with their parents to purchase the game. Cute AI and I can see how this would be really great for kids and teens.

Then came Banzai Plus – for adults/teachers that stimulates the home buying process. To win the game, you have to save up enough money for the down payment and a good enough credit rating to purchase the home. Then banks demanded more content for their customers to place on their own website and use for content marketing. Banzai then provided a content library that you can interact with. This is also very interesting, I’d like to use this type of content for WMA’s clients as well. Track leads and usage as well with analytics. ^KT

A financial literacy game for kids. A brilliant solution for teaching young people about managing finances. They have built an experience based learning program. Now it is a platform for any industry vertical like a bank or credit union. The platform can even be used as a lead generation system and as a community development tool. ^DG’s ’empathy engine’ — a human-centered AI platform — closes the gap and disconnect between banks & consumers. Uday Akkaraju Jared Landrum

Trying to help solve the bank AI gap as compared to Google, Amazon, etc. Showing an Alexa solution that mimics what Moven does today as it relates to balance and category spending. It has an empathy engine. The Alexa skill demoed showed advanced voice tweaking via SSML and multi-session data gathering. It appeared to be voice only and not multi-modal. They already have integrations with bank cores.   ^DG

The company takes anonymized bank user data to mine for insights. The goal is to fuel personalization. They are building a contextual, empathetic, voice-based service. Demo was done using Alexa. “Let’s rock…” Now that’s conversational!  (OK, but maybe not a fit for every brand.) ^SR

I found this article from 2017 on FinTech Grad Moving to Little Rock by Arkansas Business Staff  on Friday, Sep. 1, 2017 3:24 pm

The Venture Center of Little Rock announced Friday that, a graduate of the center’s 2017 VC FinTech Accelerator, will relocate its headquarters to Little Rock from New York City.

It looks like they are based in Arkansas now.   “Power your Internet, mobile, back office and more through voice.” Showing demo with Alexa on account balance and providing an insight into the account. It seems to be a AI overlay for voice for banking.  Showing really nice UI on a mobile banking app – although this MIGHT be a slide-type demo as opposed to a real app in use.

The Alexa demo is going well and really interactive.    These have folks have done some good work to make Alexa a real interactive experience provided it is integrated with and the banks legacy technologie  ^WM


Bumped gives easy access to the stock market for over half the population who doesn’t traditionally invest by allowing them to own the brands they love. @bumped David Nelsen, Dave Merriwether

“We are making shoppers into shareholders.” Invest in companies based on the companies and products that people buy on their mobile/online spending. This is a pretty cool idea.  If these guys folks find out how much I spend on Apple products and I had used their app I’d probably own millions of Apple stock shares. Link debit or credit cards you use and choose the brands you would like to invest in and what percent of your new investments to go to each brand. It’s TINY investments in each copmany. I.e. $12.67 investment in Delta based on purchasing patterns. .01216 shares of SPOT – Spotify at $2.16 total. Now showing sale of these shares. VERY cool idea and demo. Great job. ^WM

Bumped is creating customer loyalty by turning buyers into shareholders. If I think about what I have spent on Apple products, there’s some personal appeal to me! There is an opportunity for deepening the relationship with customers. I am curious about the underlying SEC considerations (yeah, that compliance question rears its ugly head. They’ve created their own broker-dealer. So that leads to a whole set of disclosures. Not sure how those get delivered… ^SR


Golden’s financial assistant app helps the 75 million baby-boomer adults managing the finances of 50 million senior parents. Evin Ollinger Drew Gorham

As the sandwich generation takes care of elderly parents, getting a handle on finances can be a challenge.  This offers very robust functions on both the expense management and income sides. With account aggregation, caregivers can get a fuller view of balances and transactions. Automated alerts push important information, so you don’t have to rely on charts and graphs. This is the right solution! Go take a deeper look. ^SR

Interesting start. They brought their “Mom” with them. Good idea to standout in your demo.  “Financial Care for Your Parents”. Man, this is a big and growing problem for a lot of people I know. “Family Collaboration Plaform starts with a Life Score, like a credit score that shows a parent’s financial wellness.”  Now showing Mom’s accounts and their balances. This is going really well. Now showing Mom bringing out a bill and Golden scans the bill with the phone and it’s loaded on the system and now can pay from Mom’s account, his account or a credit card. Great use of humor. It looks like it can help cuts bill costs through analysis. Now showing income and what Mom might receive in additional government benefits. Now showing fraud alerts.    This is unique, I don’t think I’ve seen a solution like this at Finovate. Great job! ^WM

An AARP Winner – Judges Choice Financial Innovation. Think account aggregation/PFM for children (legal caregivers) of seniors. Can also help reduce recurring expenses. It also helps review whether the seniors qualifies for government assistance. Helps fight senior fraud too. Benefits too advisory or bank, reduced churn during wealth transfer. ^DG


Meniga targets lack of customer engagement and loyalty and uses internal and 3rd party data to drastically improve the digital banking user experience for bank and financial institution customers worldwide. @meniga Finnur Magnusson, Mark Nicholson, Isabel Moratiel

Customer on stage (Tangerine) with Meniga. That is a good call. To all other finovate presenters, bringing a customer on stage helps immensely. Meniga has been to 8 Finovates in Europe but first time in New York. Demoing 2 apps on same API.

Demo: within Tangerine’s app and introducing goals (long-term financial planning). Recommends the right goal for the right client at the right time. (Things like an emergency fund.)

Co-innovation with their customers. Go beyond traditional banking. Called “Recipes”, things like, if sports team wins, transfer or 0 to savings. Or every time you that you complete a bike ride, save up for that bike you want. Cute concept. ^KT

Thanks for reading about the Finovate Best of Show winners. We have notes on 70+ more companies from Finovate: