By Gary Zimmerman, Founder & CEO, MaxMyInterest
The annual Finovate Fall conference began on September 8th at New York City’s midtown Hilton hotel. Greg Palmer, VP at Finovate, kicked off the festivities, noting that Finovate began 10 years ago – in a basement room with poor wifi.
Initial presenters in 2006 included Mint.com and Andera, both of which have since been acquired.
Many presenters at Finovate were later acquired, and it’s logical for FinTech to see considerable M&A activity, given the synergies of combining the scale of banks’ customer bases with new revenue opportunities from innovation.
The Finovate 2016 presentations included multiple apps to help banks go digital, as well as other products that weren’t specific to banking or finance but could be employed by banks.
The kick off presenter Bluescape demonstrated visual collaboration software that provides an infinite digital canvas across which employees from multiple geographies can work together in real-time to prepare a product and marketing plan. Their platform was beautifully executed and could be used for any marketing campaign. Like many that day, this company is more “tech” than “fin.”
Similarly impressive (but also more tech than fin) was MAPD, a big data analytics company that can crunch billions of rows of data in real-time by leveraging the power of GPU chips, historically used for processing video. The speed at which they were able to conduct live analysis on 1.2 billion rows of NYC taxi ride data was truly impressive.
The highlight of the morning session was Sindeo, a streamlined online mortgage application experience. They claim 3x higher customer satisfaction scores than the national banks, putting them in the category of brands like Apple and Zappos.
Their demo highlighted a tech-driven, intuitive user interface with seamless back-end integrations. The mortgage application process was quick and clean, and highly transparent.
Most impressive was its view that as a mortgage provider, they have a fiduciary responsibility to give unbiased advice, a view that resonated with me given our focus at MaxMyInterest on doing what’s best for the customer in a highly-transparent fashion.
In the afternoon session, an early stage company called Bankjoy conducted a live demo of an Amazon Alexa plugin that they built in one afternoon “last Sunday” that enabled a user to check balances, pay bills and send funds to a friend with just a few spoken commands. Alexa was most polite and dispatched the transfers and payments with ease.
I was able to spend some time with Joe Salesky, an experienced entrepreneur who is now running CRM Next that goes beyond a typical CRM system.
Their software is designed to integrate many of the back-office functions that a teller or customer service representative might complete into a streamlined interface. This eliminates screen-hopping so that customer service reps can complete tasks from a single screen through one-click automations that orchestrate processes across multiple back-end systems.
Joe claims that this can reduce the time involved in completing common tasks by up to 90%, through bidirectional integrations into more than 100 back-end systems.
Joe made the point that in the not-too-distant future, 50% of bank employees will be Millennials, who expect an intuitive UX. For all the focus on creating beautiful user experiences on the front end, CRM Next is tackling that worthy goal on the back end. They have been growing quickly internationally and just set their sights set on the U.S. market.
As always, Finovate drew a great crowd of presenting companies, investors, journalists and bank executives from around the world – with their unique, strictly enforced seven minute live demo format.
The seven minute time limit was in fact imposed after Joe’s inaugural presentation at Finovate in 2007, when his demo ran more than 10 minutes.
That’s it, my time is up.