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The best of innovation in finance: #Finovate Europe 2012

The Financial Services Club is one of the major media partners with Finovate Europe, which took place last week.

Finovate partners

Last year I chaired the event, but my Ricky Gervais edginess proved too much for the American organisers at NetBanker, so this year was a slightly more dry affair, with a beauty parade of 35 companies demonstrating their wares:

AcceptEmail Ixaris Systems
Actiance Kabbage
Backbase Liqpay.com
Cardlytics Meniga
CurrencyFair miiCard
DCisions Mootwin
Dynamics Nutmeg
eToro PayPal
ETRONIKA Ping Identity
Fenergo Sandstone Technology
Figlo Serverside Group
Finsphere Corporation Service2Media
Fiserv Striata
Handpoint Tradeshift
Holvi ValidSoft
iBrokr AG Wipro Technologies
IND Group  

Notably, the event was not as clearly focused on Personal Financial Management (PFM) and mobile this year as last, although these were represented in some abundance by firms such as IND, Meniga and Backbase.

Finovate presentation

There were also several themed presentations around social media and crowdsourcing, as illustrated by eToro and Kabbage.

Intriguingly, there was a lack of firms presenting much about anti-fraud solutions.

There were a couple of presentations focused upon card-based solutions, but this member of the audience is only thinking mobile contactless for payments innovations rather than last century card-based systems.

Having said that, I liked ETRONIKA and ValidSoft for bringing voice and gesture recognition to sign-on processes, ensuring a secure authentication.  Although many are sceptical about such services, they do make sense to me as biometric authentication using natural sign-on is going to be a big focus for finance in the future.

Overall however, there did seem to be a slight lack of newness to this year’s Finovate, but that’s probably because it’s the third one I’ve attended in  eighteen months and it’s hard for anything really new to be invented every six months to a year.

Finovate room

So I’ve seen many of these firms like Striata, miicard, Ixaris and others before, and even some of the new guys like Fenergo and Luup I know quite well through the Financial Services Club.

But there were some notable new entrants like Figlo, a consumer portal that “enables financial organizations to create customized offerings for Personal Finance Management, Financial Product Advice and Financial Planning based on widgets”. 

Basically it allows anyone to create and configure their own, personalised bank look and feel on screen or on the phone, all with social integration.  Brilliant!

The other service I hadn’t seen before was Liqpay, which shortens payment details into digital codes for SMS and e-mail possibilities. In other words, it’s a bit.ly for payments data.  Excellent!

Anyways, about 550 people attended this year’s Finovate Europe, up about 25% on last year, and it builds on the over a thousand who show up for Finovate Spring and Finovate Fall in San Francisco and New York respectively.

Finovate attendees

Oh, and just in case you wondered, the “best in show” winners were:

  • Cardlytics, which showed an in-statement ad platform and management tools;.
  • Dynamics which launched its “Chip and Choice card for the Chip & Pin world”;
  • eToro, which launched its crowd-sourced guru finder – a systems that helps locate successful traders to follow and copy; and
  • Nutmeg, which  launched an investment service focused around the needs of the everyday investor.

Interestingly, Cardlytics and eToro won best in show at Finovate Fall, so they must be on a roll.

Meanwhile, looking forward to the next European event so well done to Eric, Jim and the team at NetBanker for getting this off the ground.


About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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