Finovate 2016: A Firsthand Overview

Finovate 2016

Finovate Europe is the place where financial technology innovation is shown to an eager crowd each year. This years’ edition was in Februay 9-10, held as usual in London.

Seventy startups held a 7-minute presentation each to more than 1,400 attendees — a huge ordinate crowd nicely packed in Billingsgate. Everyone was there — start-ups and incumbents, investors and banks, competitors and innovation hunters.

The event received a good deal of press coverage. Of the many web articles, I recommend Chris Skinner’s Reflections on Finovate Europe 2016 and Business Insider UK talking about some froth in the market.

The organizers built a balanced mix of themes and what follows is my overall impression, focusing on what interests most Objectway and its clients, i.e. digitization trends in wealth management.

Lending & Payments rebalancing

Fintech is about disruption, and the sectors more prone to that up to now have been Lending (social lending, crowdfunding) and Payments (mobile payments, cards). I expected the majority of presenters to belong to these camps, but in the end they were only 15 out of 70. This is probably due to the advanced state of development in these areas; It’s not easy to come up with an original idea with so much investment going in the last six years.

Analytics is King

The one of two overarching themes was marketing and prescriptive Analytics. Know the customer, recommend products they need at the right time, search the Web for any source of intelligence, produce the most convincing messages, track customer behaviour in real time, adjust the marketing campaign while it runs, help the data scientists analyze data.

At Finovate 2016 analytics was king

Analytics brings new customers and new options to keep the existing ones.

Overall there were eleven presentations on front-office analytics, two on risk analytics, one in operations analytics. To these we should add four Personal Financial Management companies, that combine analytics on the Bank side with a strong impact on the daily life of the customer.

Among these were Persado, who uses semantic technology that produces persuasive language for marketing, Vipera that matches transactions and offers real-time contextual offers via an app, and Outshared, an insurance company that runs a a business-rules driven system on the cloud.

Onboarding at the forefront

Onboarding technologies are about optimizing the user experience so that prospects don’t give up on their original intention (which appears to happen quite frequently), and ensuring back-end processes run smoothly.

Some are blended to remote collaboration solutions, that include remote video meetings with insurance agents or advisors, joint compilation of contract documents, co-browsing.

Overall there were seven companies in this area, a proof of how important this area has become. In this space Objectway is offering its Conectus digital wealth experience platform with virtual collaboration and e-signature features.

Of note was OutsideIQ, that performs KYC going through all publicly available content and discovers via intelligent crawlers that come back with a report.

Avoka, recently featured in a Jim Marous post, includes a tool to design onboarding flows and to measure the transaction effort score.

Security

Security was a big issue and five companies covered this area, with solutions that do away with passwords and use unique biometric features.

IDscan Biometrics offers a solution that is both on the security side and accelerator of the onboarding process, scanning in a very efficient, noise-free way client documents and recognizing their authenticity and performing facial scans; it was voted as one of the Best of Show this year.

And more Finovate

One post is too short for such an event; given the importance of Finovate as a trendsetter and a mirror of Fintech’s most recent trends, specific posts will follow the themes of…

  • Investment Robo-Advisors.

  • Digital Banking Platforms.

  • Virtual Personal Assistants.

Stay tuned!

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