850 finance and technology executives, bankers, venture capitalists, analysts and press attended FinovateSpring 2011 in San Francisco. After watching seven-minute demos of 63 of the newest innovations in banking and financial technology, the audience voted for the top performers of the event, selecting 7 winners. In alphabetical order, the winners are:
- BancVue (www.bancvue.com)
- BankOns (www.bankons.com)
- Dwolla (www.dwolla.com)
- Mitek Systems (www.miteksystems.com)
- oFlows (www.oflows.com)
- PayNearMe (www.paynearme.com)
- Wikinvest (www.wikinvest.com)
These were clearly some of the best presentations from an overall strong field. Here are some themes and personal favorites:
There were five payment related presentations at Finovate this year: 1) PayNearMe demonstrated cash bill payment at 7-11 stores; 2) Dwolla offering online and now mobile payments for 25¢ 3) eWise demonstrated new uses of Secure Vault Payments ACH transactions linked to mobile scan of a QSR code; and 4) There was also the use of unused gift card balances to pay bills from ChargeSmart and Plastic Jungle.
I was surprised that there were no bill to carrier mobile payments schemes featured.
In the person-to-person (p2p) payments space there were three contenders: 1) PayDivvy provides the ability to split recurring bills among roommates; 2) Pay2Face from Liqpay.com to pay Facebook friends; 3) Discover built Money Messenger on the PayPal platform. These seem to be targeting very niche opportunities and it will be interesting to see the applications or extensions they pursue. An obvious choice for Discover will be extending to micro-merchants and mobile services.
Merchant coupon redemption
Four companies addressed merchant coupon adoption. Edo Interactive, FreeMonee and ClovrMedia all presented solutions for card-linked rewards. ClovrMedia in particular demonstrated using your mobile phone to read a QSR code on a print adds and then your credit card for redemption in-store. BillShrink had a different answer using mobile phone generated bar code for POS redemption.
Is Mobile Innovation?
Many of the announcements at Finovate were the movement of an online solution to the iPad or smart phone. Mobile applications allow the use of location, time, alerts and even call back. Bankons “Bank plus Coupon with geo-location” and Dwolla using the phone to mash “Foursquare like” merchant access with their online payment scheme had taken mobile to its most innovative.
PFM or TMI?
PFM was also a dominant theme at the Fall 2010 Finovate. Aggregation and organization are admirable goals but there is only a small segment of people willing to put in the effort to reap the benefits of these systems. I appreciated Balance Financial for looking for a new customer segment – those who want to outsource completely. They have PFM technology but add a network of personal bookkeepers across the US to classify entries, check uploaded information and manage finances for consumers.
Solving Real Problems
Several presenters were solving real problems with interesting solution. Debt Coach for debt counseling, Expensify and Ready Receipts for imaging of receipts and Enloop for generating better business plans.
My personal must watch company is Mitek Solutions. Known for their mobile remote deposit capture of checks, they launched a mobile photo bill pay app. Great technology used in both applications and a real opportunity to reinvigorate mobile banking.
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Congratulations to Eric Mattson and Jim Bruene for a great job on a big, complicated show.