Live Blogging from Finovate Startup – Afternoon Session

by Erin McCune on April 29, 2008

in Banking, Conferences & Meetings, ECommerce, Mobile Banking & Payments, San Francisco, Technology

I am live blogging from Finovate Startup in San Francisco. Jim Bruene and his team at NetBanker have gathered 40 startups, rebrandings, and company debuts in online banking and finance. Each participant has a brief 5 minutes to demo their product so I’ll be typing as fast as I can. (Please forgive typos!)


Expensr / MoneyStrands 

Just acquired by Strands – rebranded as MoneyStrands. Redesigned user interface. Stronger focus on widgets because users felt online managers were too simple and desktop managers were too complex. Use widgets to customize to make as complex as you want; drag and drop, etc. Automatically sync bank accounts. New analysis widgets, including incomes & expenses.

Analyze your money and compare against people like you (career, age, location, etc.) by category. Parse your transactional data and suggest improvements. Suggest products or small day to day behavior.


SmartyPig is for everyone. Social banking application "20th century piggy bank." Reverse buy now, pay later trend. Help people save for very specific goals in your life. Possible to add minors (kids) to your account and teach them to save. 

Make goals public. Family and friends can track your progress toward your goal and make gifts. 

Advertisers, sponsors can make special offers based on your goals. 

Do not have to change your bank. Every goal must have a monthly recurring contribution from your bank. All funds at SmartyPig are FDIC insured. 

Facebook widget is linked to your public SmartyPig page that shows your goals and progress. Link to your friends and family via SmartyPig and gift them. Can also buy giftcards for someone who is not using SmartyPig (they can then create their own account). 

Stop goal at any time. Two choices to access funds: a) create SmartyPig MasterCard or b) create a SmartyPig gift card with a major retailer (often with incentive). 


Online personal investment manager that can be private labeled or co-branded by financial interfaces. Consolidate retirement accounts (stocks, mutual plans, ETFs, etc.)Wizard walks user thru creating a profile. Demographic data, retirement goals, load account data, determine risk profile. Risk discovery tool to anticipate best case/worse case scenarios based on historical data and future projections. 

Personalizes advice that is rendered on the site based on data entered in wizard. Generate Target Profile and compare to current plan. Demonstrate changes to allocations necessary to achieve target. Evaluate both value and cost of current and target. Can take action 

1) Open a fully managed account or 2) if self-managed provide buy/sell list to reallocate account by account. Report can be emailed, printed, branded with FI logo. Education can  be customers to partner. 

Delivering sophisticated investment tools previously only available via financial planner to mass affluent online. 


Leading personal finance community on the web. Community, financial management, insight based on community's collective data. Up until now, mostly advice and support. But now, with value engine, offering insight based on aggregated anonymous community data – not sponsor generated offers. Show community statistics vs. your own spending patterns. Average dollar amount, frequency, percentage of other Wesabe users that recommendations. Using tags that are created by users themselves to parse data. Can drill down by tag to find merchant comparisons based on your transactions. 

Trader Joes vs. Safeway vs. Whole Foods. Can 'cheer' the tip, add your own comment, or hide it the tip. 

Possible to search. For example, want to buy a kids bike (birthday gift for daughter). Search for merchants in your area that sell bikes. See community data by 

Provides link to Yelp for additional location data and more reviews. 

Make better financial decisions based on the "Wesabe value engine" 


Mobile banking and payments. Build technology to secure transactions via your mobile phone. Mobile banking, contactless payments via mobile, identity management, remote payments, retail services. Enable independence between choice of bank and wireless carrier. 

Utilizing memory card slot on phone (not SIM card). Has security built in with smart card controller for contactless payments. Demo with Palm (not NFC enabled) memory card enables near filed communications. Bank does not have to have relationship with wireless carrier. Third chip that enables security. 

12 patents applied for (one issued so far). 

Can also support software only mobile banking. Demo with iPhone. Integrate with GPS to find enabled retail locations nearby. Works with different software on handsets. 


From UK, live 5 months thus far. Addressing small, short term loans to consumers via web or mobile. Quick. Example. Booking flight on EasyJet to go to Barcelona. But low on cash. Link from merchant to Wonga. How much do you want, for how long? Real time calculation of what it will cost (amount borrowed + fee). Enter basic info. Real time evaluation of risk, receive verification code on mobile phone. Enter verification code on web site, enter banking info to receive funds, enter banking account to repay (not necessarily the same). Money available within minutes.   

Preview of mobile solution not available yet. Out and about. Need to make a purchase. No laptop, so no Internet capability. Send text message to Wonga address indicating amount of money you want. Enter PIN. Money is funded to bank account. Now can use debit account to make purchase. 

Not running up long term debt. 


Product is about to launch. This is the first public unveiling. New peer lending to facilitate borrowing and lending via an auction platform. Challenges with peer lending today: lots of traffic, but many consumers wanting funding cannot get funds. Poor or low credit or less than compelling profile. 

Loanio offers co-borrowing. Even if you have good credit you may want to enlist a co-borrower to enhance credit. 

Normal and Platinum (additional qualifying info entered up front) listing services. Enter Loanio request, dollars, term, interest rate willing to pay. Why you want it and how you will pay it back. Co-borrower and borrower provide more detailed information later (paycheck stubs, etc.) 

Potential loaners can view credit information on both borrower and co-borrower. Nice comic relief after lunch: demo featured pictures of Bill Gates, Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Hilary Clinton as potential borrowers and co-borrowers. 

ConfIdent Technologies 

Next generation security for online financial transactions. Used today with Live at Charles Schwab retirement. Distributed to 80 other FIs, passes muster regulators. Eliminates passwords but is more secure than other forms of authentication. 

Instead of username, choose images. You create categories (e.g dogs, airplanes). Then when you login each time you choose the pictures of the dog and the airplanes by entering the digit code in the corner of each image (in the right order) into the box below the images. Each time the images change, the digits change, and the order of the image categories changes. 

Withholds image display from unauthorized computers – authorized computers have soft token. Effective against phishing. Highly configurable. Change size of display, number of categories user needs to enter.   

Easier for user because images are easier to process than text (many years of research to support this theory). 

Very cool. 

IP Commerce 

Denver based. Address need to payment enable any application, provision payment services, address security requirements. Unlike other presenters today, not a bank, not a payment company. Partners have reach to thousands of banks – partners include [missed name], Chase Paymentech, and many software developers. 

Does not own relationship with small business. Bank does. 

Rapid receipts developed by a user using IP Commerce tools to payment-enable QuickBooks. 

Per BAI small businesses will change banks to get better services. Often make payment decisions based on guidance from IT service provider. 

Login and and have access to different services 

  • service agreements 
  • service bundles 
  • sell services across product silos that exist in my bank

For example, business with merchant services and remote deposit at bank obtains verification code from bank. Most small business people don't know anything about payments. But they do know about software activation. So makes sense when bank provides an activation code. Enter with password. Talk via platform to determine services available to each merchant. 

Encrypting data on machine as authentication code is entered. 

Services/products supported: 

  • Credit 
  • Remote deposit capture 
  • store value 
  • gift flows 
  • e-commerce (PayPal, Google Checkout) 
  • ACH

Brand payment solutions, capture incremental revenue. 


Student loans are not sexy. 

Simple solution for students to determine what their options are for student loans. Limited liquidity out there. Modeled after online travel space  in terms of interface. Enter basic info. Consolidate options. View, compare, and once select click out to go to the vendor themselves. 

Work with colleges and universities and partner with LendingTree and etc. 

Been in existence two years; 40,000 leads to lenders this month. Looking to other verticals to expand offerings. 

Record = presentation was less than 3 minutes! 


Open payment network enabling FIs to offer financial services to their customers via mobile. Both mobile banking and mobile payments. Cell phones or single purpose device (just for mobile payment). Branded software on cell phone. Push technology – receiving data from the bank real time as transactions occur. Can initiate payment, using your bank account, to send data to anyone using email address or their phone number. Enables proximity payments (catching on internationally, eventually) 

Demo'd sending amount from one phone to another. Using bank account (ACH) and PIN. 

Link phone to bank account or a prepaid card so you can access funds transferred to you via an ATM. 

Flexible platform. Balance on home screen so you know funds available. Interface can be customized, suits various handsets. Multiple technologies available e.g. blue tooth or NFC or finger recognition. Enable  interface with other applications that bank is offering. 


Worlds' first social finance community – started in 2005. 225K users worldwide (Italy, US, UK, adding Japan later this year). Adopt model to suit culture of each company. Not a peer to peer lender in the US – based on regulatory environment and security concerns partnered with Credit Unions. People who deposit money at Zopa are not lending money to borrowers. They are helping with cash payment. 

Borrower rates vary from 8.99 to 16.99. Immediate response and get loan funded within days. Borrower can reduce interest rate… 

How? Create profile to tell people about yourself. Investors deposit money in a Zopa CD. Original loan payment each month is augmented by help from members of the Zopa community. Example, $5000 loan, pay back just $2000. Getting help. 

Federally insured CD of up to $100,000. Buy CD at 3.75% but you are helping someone else at a rate of 83 cents per month. I can reduce the amount of return on my CD (to national average 2.90%) and designate borrowers to receive the other 85 basis points. 


Allows hundreds of thousands of consumers protection vs. Identity Theft. Proactive protection, not credit monitoring (simply notifies you after your ID has already been stolen). Lock on front door vs. alarm to notify that intruder is in your home. 

Launched new service "ID Freeze" 

Family package of identity protection (unlimited number of adults and children in household). $15 per month. Vs. individual plan priced at approx. $100 a month. 

Monitor buying and selling of ss#, bank account data, credit card data, health insurance data online. 

Additional services: 

Require bank to contact you before creating account. 

Reduce junk mail. Anti-spyware or software for home computers. 

Easy to re-brand and co-market (private label with Suze Orman, 100,000 sold in a single day on QVC). 


Help investors organize and analyze their investment. Example Harold with $2.4 million at Schwab and T.Rowe. Benchmark securities against appropriate assets. 

Drag and drop interface, sophisticated adjustment of graphs as click on various elements. 

My pools and public pools. Drill down by asset class to see detailed information. Auto pools generated and maintained by system. Can also create own pools. Track goals and view asset allocation of funds tied to specific goals. 

Strategies – how have they fared (eg. sovereign, Buffet, etc.) 


Mobile strategies and mobile deployments do not always mesh. Many devices, issues related to deployment to multiple handsets. In 4 minutes, build mobile banking platform. Login, go to home screen, and 

Client wizard – goes on phone. Start with home page with about/login/about buttons. WYSIWYG interface. Output is a Java application that can be utilized on nearly any handset. Create foundation and then generate pages: home, login, about. 

Rich user experience without really knowing code. Interfaces to all backends: webservices, SQL Server, etc. 

Build mobile banking application easily from modular components. 

First ROI / 

Community banks and credit unions are losing business. Offer checking account with CD style interest rate and free ATM nationwide but need marketing reach. First ROI and BancVue partner to offer online service to find, open, fund reward checking accounts online. Supported by National Advertising starting June 8th. 

Enter zip code to find banks close to you. Sort by geographic proximity or rate. Calculator to determine value: $ amt funded plus number of ATM visits per month. Choose based on your parameters. Online account opening provided by Andera (demo'd earlier).   

Big banks we are coming after you! 


B2B product. Help Financial Institutions that are big buyers of leads on the Internet to monitor their marketing investments. Track gross margin generated by source and by dimension. Eg. in Mortgage industry which states are most valuable, which dollar amounts are most successful. 

Use dashboards to measure 4-5 key metrics each day. For example leads by source (LendingTree, LowerMyBills,, NexTag. etc.) – measures leads, number closed, and cost per closed loan. Determine ROI. 

Understand what is working and what is not. Stop activities that aren't delivering. 

120% ROI increase on marketing spin (on average across customer base) 

Scalable to eery FI product. Built out Mortgage vertical first. 


Innovated online options and stock brokerage for cutting edge options and equity traders. Pioneering social community in brokerage industry. First to allow traders to share their actual trades. Naturally network around investments, remove barriers between clients and traders – wall street meets main street. 

Do not sell data or advertising. Just share data among the community members. 

Trade notes, blogs, forums, and trading activity. See trades, trade notes provided by trader, portfolio if he shares, blog if he has one, and whether or not TradeKing knows who the investor is. 

Provides expert advice and education based on trading. 

Forums are monitored for compliance reasons. Therefore trusted environment to interact safely and securely. 


Mobile banking infrastructure at 5 of top 10 banks today, moving down market to community banks. two way triple pay – rec'd bill via SMS, send text message to determine balance, open mobile web browser, send text to server to request dynamic link to website. Simply enter pw rather than username and pw. Initiate transfer from one account to another. Return to SMS and pay bill by replying with "Y" 

Single registration. Onboard at ATM. wbe, IVR, 

Open platform. SMS works on all phones. Mobile web works on many phones. Also native mobile application (in this case mfoundry). Works in retail, works in treasury, too. 

Facilitate ability for bank to ask consumer questions. Allow consumer to initiate 

Mobile lockbox. 

SMS offers "you have a $25 credit on your credit card account if you visit Home Depot this weekend." Generating new value rather than having bank pay for rewards, rather than get paid for offering rewards. 

Not dependent on back-end systems to engage with customers. 


Service, platform that connects self-directed investors to wall street pros. See what they are doing in their personal investment accounts with real money, real time. Two constituencies: 1) wall street pros, and 2) self-directed investors. 

Grown member base ten fold since January. Venture backed. 

Free enrollment. Public beta is free, so feel free to check it out. 

Investment pros – recruited like an asset manager or hedge fund would. Lots of inbound inquiries, review track records, conduct in person interviews. select investment directors for community. Individuals are not investing anonymously – have name, photo, brief strategy snap shot, performance, 

IF you are interested you can connect to investment directors. 

Look at my dashboard – view investment directors you follow (are connected to) and benchmark against appropriate indices. View holdings (by sector) and can view individual holdings (in detail). 

Entertain questions from community members. 

Okay, off to the exhibit hall to talk to the startups and hopefully find a snack. 

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One Response to “Live Blogging from Finovate Startup – Afternoon Session”

  1. MoneyPools says:

    Hi, we at MoneyPools just wanted to let you know our site is

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