In another conversation, I just spent some time at Finovate Fall in New York.
It’s grown a bit since I was last there four years ago - I would estimate a doubling of attendance …
… and it’s still back-to-back demos of PFM, biometric tracking systems, social trading, mobile innovation and such.
In fact, it’s a bit disappointing that there’s not a BIG NEW IDEA out there although, to be fair, there may well be one as I only attended part of the second day of the show. If anything, the main learnings seemed to be that everyone wanted to solve the secure sign-on dilemma through eliminating passwords and usernames by using biometrics and creating a great mobile omnichannel digital user experience (barf, barf).
However, what really hit a nerve is when one person, on the inside track of fintech innovation, turned to me and said: “so when do you expect this bubble to burst?”
I said: “what?”
He says: “this fintech bubble of over-zealous investing. When’s it going to stop?”
Now I blogged recently about the billions of dollars going into fintech start-ups and then I thought: how many of these have had a real breakthrough? Where is the next big thing in banking? Is there another PayPal out there?
And the answer is, unfortunately, no.
Square seemed to be a big deal, but it’s not.
Wonga got interesting, but is now being squeezed.
Much as I love Zopa and Funding Circle, my banking friends dismiss them as small beans.
And no matter how much we bang on about bitcoin, has it delivered anything yet?
Not really, apart from a great deal of media coverage.
Where’s the real deal?
What’s going to change the markets?
It’s not Simple, which got bought by BBVA and suffers real-time dilemmas, and it’s not Moven, which has moved towards working with banks rather than disrupting them.
And I guess that’s the bottom-line: that there is no great big thing that is disrupting and changing banking … just lots of little things that are interesting in the financial world, and that banks are exploiting to their advantage if they prove to be worthwhile.
So let’s stop banging on about disruption, as there isn’t any, and start talking about the LITTLE NEW IDEAS that are worthwhile for banks to consider.
Ideas like banks using the bitcoin protocol – the blockchain – to create new models of transacting.
Ideas like banks using social trading to improve the individual investor’s knowledge base.
And banks investing in Facebook service, to be where the customer’s at.
Things are changing, but only little by little. There is no REAL DEAL, BIG THING or BANK DISRUPTION (as I said again recently).
Get over it.
And, for this reason, I expect the fintech bubble to burst within the next two to three years. Or maybe I just expect it to plateau as, like with bitcoin, we move through the trough of disillusionment to some really interesting new things.
Meantime, if you’re interested in Finovate’s best in show this fall, they are:
blooom for its simple tool built to fix the millions of mis-invested 401(k) allocations for individual clients.
CrowdFlower for its leading data enrichment platform to help data scientists, analysts, and engineers collect, clean, and label data to make it useful.
Loyal3 for its use of social technologies to democratize the markets, making investing in IPOs and stocks easy and affordable for everyone.
MX/MoneyDesktop for its WideNet Technology to help FIs expand their market reach, and its Helios cross-platform digital banking app.
NICE Systems for its real-time authentication that strengthens and streamlines the authentication process in real-time, while customers converse with an agent.
Toopher for its multi-factor authentication platform that uses the location awareness of your smartphone to automate authentication for logins and critical actions.