FinovateFall 2011: Day One / Session 1 of 4

by Bryan Derman on September 20, 2011

in Bryan Derman, Conferences & Meetings, Finovate, Innovation, Technology

Glenbrook’s Bryan Derman is live blogging from Finovate in New York City. This is only one of a series of posts featuring Bryan’s impressions as over sixty payments technology companies perform 7 minute demos (no PowerPoint slides allowed!) over two days. The index for Bryan’s Payments Views coverage is here.

I’ll be posting brief write-ups of each company presenting, in groups of nine.  Here’s the first batch:


  • Use social networking to help lenders and borrowers interact
  • Professional lenders only; borrowers pay no fees
  • Borrowers describe their project and can post a credit score
  • Lenders do the active searching to find borrowers and projects they want
  • Facilitates a direct and rich dialog between borrower and lender

  • Help lenders and marketers learn more about customers through custom APIs
  • Use phone, email, address to gather information about lists of prospects
  • Up to 40 personal attributes:  Which social networks are they in?  What are their demographics?  What telecom carriers do they use and what sort of plan do they have?
  • [Editorial comment] Scott McNealy was right – forget it, you have no privacy any more


  • Demoing “Google advisor” to help search for financial products
  • Various controls and parameters that can narrow the search (e.g., I can only about interest rate; or I want to see banks with branches near my house)
  • Trying to eliminate any “bait and switch” experiences with providers who list on Google advisor
  • User can share contact info or request a call back – user can also use a proxy email address that will stop working after a period of time (a feature we always liked on Google Checkout)

Betterment (former Finovate Best in Show winner)

  • Investor site based on adjusting asset allocation across broadly-diversified stock and bond funds rather than selling individual securities
  • Now adding “goal-based investing” – a service where Betterment suggests an asset allocation appropriate for a particular objective (e.g., buy a house 3 years from now)
  • They believe most investors underperform because they manage their money too actively – Betterment helps the investor follow the market with an appropriate risk/return tradeoff


  • Reviews transaction flow on behalf of banks to create profiles of “Key Lifestyle Indicators” (KLIs) about customer
  • Can find customers that meet certain criteria that might make them good prospects for a particular product or campaign (e.g., new credit card for customers that do a lot of traveling)
  • Goal is to make data immediately actionable


  • Provides working capital to small online sellers
  • Uses non-standard data to augment the underwriting (mostly social data like reviews from customers) – effectively crowdsourcing the credit decision
  • Can fund a loan into a business’s PayPal account within 10 minutes
  • Compiles results/reviews from various social networks (likes, tweets, etc.) and even compare them to those for similar businesses

  • Equity research platform for individual investors
  • Offers stock screeners to help select stocks to buy and now introducing an early warning alert system to help identify stocks that are undergoing significant changes in financial condition
  • They have back-tested various changes in financials in order to predict the likely impact they will have on the stock price
  • They cover 45,000 companies across more than 100 stock exchanges

Rebirth Financial

  • Helping small businesses gain access to credit by connecting them directly to financial institutions
  • Businesses fill out an application on Rebirth’s site and their platform runs a predictive model to produce a credit score for the business.  Lenders can use the score much as they would use credit ratings for a large public company
  • The model rates the applicant against other companies in its industry
  • They believe they can save community banks about $100 on the cost of screening loan applicants in order to decide which ones are deserving of detailed due diligence

Credit Sesame

  • Online personal financial tool for responsibly managing loans and credit lines
  • Applicants are verified and get a free credit score and an overall review of their financial condition.  They are then issued very levels of “member badges” that shows they are verified and actively managing their finances.
  • Badges are private by default, but the applicant can choose to share them on social networks and other websites, allowing a person to effectively advertise their creditworthiness (e.g., a job applicant might use the badge to demonstrate their financial responsibility; a small seller on eBay or another commerce platform might want demonstrate their financial stability).

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