22 July 2018
Elizabeth Lumley
Elizabeth Lumley

Elizabeth Lumley

Elizabeth Lumley - Girl, Disrupted

165Posts 712,977Views 173Comments
Social Banks

Social Banks

Social Banks is a group that aims to discuss trends and debate as the financial services take their first steps into social media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc..debate all here.

Where can I find the 'wisdom' in crowds?

12 April 2012  |  5934 views  |  1

Late last month I was invited to the Friday night kick off for Seedcamp's Seedhack financial technology 'hack-a-thon' event held at the Google-run UK Campus, recently launched in London.

When you go to as many conferences and listen to the gilded prose of many a social media 'expert' as I do, you hear some of the same stock phrases repeated over and over: 'the new normal' 'Web 2.0' 'It's all about engagement!' 'You might not be on Twitter, but your customers are' and of course 'The wisdom of crowds'.

Most of you know that the term actually comes from an old (in internet terms) well-known book by James Surwiecki, written in 2004. But, here in 2012, in my world of payments "innovation", European banking regulation and enterprise risk management systems that seem to be shipped with optional 'on' buttons - I've been denied the chance to witness the wisdom that is 'The Crowd' in real-life. 

That is why I found Seedhack so fascinating. The room at the new start-up incubator 'Campus' in right outside the City in London was filled with t-shirted young men (com'on girls get coding!) waiting to choose from a list of available FinTech APIs in which to embark on a weekend of application development.

The only way I can describe it is 'speed-dating for coders'.

Out of the list of APIs, presented as a three minute pitch by the following companies: 

  • Bilbus
  • Archivme
  • TransferWise
  • Holvi
  • Hypernumbers
  • Paypal
  • Mobank
  • Leecthi
  • AXA Banque
  • GoCardless

The groups of coders then assembled, after dinner, to start dreaming up and developing a real-life financial app. The weekend ended late Sunday afternoon with product pitches from the teams. The following apps came up trumps:


A CRM solution for churches to manage churchgoers + mobile & social app to allow anyone to donate anywhere via PayPal


Are creating a casual social game to help friends bet each other about the topics they care about.


Sayvd is a social mobile app giving you an easy way to save small amounts of money and stick your savings in a safe place for bigger purchases later. Save 2.5 on a coffee towards your snowboard.

Sometimes I get annoyed with hipster start-ups poo-pooing all the evil, unfashionable banks who then express dismay and surprise at the complicated, regulation-heavy road that is modern payments and banking. However, not this time. 

Notice anything similar in these three apps? They're all small. They aren't Faster Payments or even Barclays Pingit. They are transactional apps that full fill small, but important needs for consumers. 

Want to throw some change in a Salvation Army bucket, but have no change? HolyLight.

Looking for an easy way to save small amounts of money on a regular basis? Sayvd.

Even an app for those of us looking for a way to match real money with bets between friends - MiniPots. 

Does anyone see banks developing any of these? Is it even in their interest to do so? However, at a crowded weekend in London at the end of March developers came up with three workable payment apps that fulfilled a consumer need. 

Will any of these developments storm the financial technology world? Who knows - maybe not. But innovation sometimes emerges from small places and this one was fuelled by a crowd. 

I bumped into one of our MobeyDay speakers at the event. He commented that this type of event was the 'new' Finovate. No one had to sit through presentation after presentation of 'hit or miss' FinTech start-ups. This weekend was exciting and dynamic and fresh. 

If 'The Crowd' interests you - we'll be talking about Crowds at our Social Media Days event on April 25. Register to come along! 

TagsPaymentsRetail banking

Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 16 April, 2012, 13:06

Glad to see innovation is alive an well! I look forward to seeing which app makes it to the mainstream and which apps will remain niche apps ...both of which serve a purpose.

The title of your blog post hit me (as did the stock phrases), and I am curious to know how Steve Jobs reacted to the widsom of crowds? Mr. Jobs was famous for not listening to what people wanted, but telling them what they wanted.

Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 thumb ups!
Comment on this story (membership required)

Latest posts from Elizabeth

FinTech does not live in London - It is global

29 June 2016  |  9278 views  |  0 comments | recomends Recommends 0 TagsInnovationBrexit

Invest in dirty fingernails, not manicured hands

20 April 2016  |  3966 views  |  2 comments | recomends Recommends 1 TagsInnovationStart ups

Trust me, it's not a secret

17 February 2016  |  3115 views  |  2 comments | recomends Recommends 1 TagsInnovationStart upsGroupWomen in Technology

Fix the crumbling infrastructure or DIE!

06 January 2016  |  2821 views  |  3 comments | recomends Recommends 1 TagsRetail bankingInnovation

You can believe in unicorns, I’d rather plant seeds

09 November 2015  |  3132 views  |  2 comments | recomends Recommends 1 TagsInnovationStart ups

Elizabeth's profile

job title Global FinTech Commentator
location Crayford
member since 2009
Summary profile See full profile »
Global FinTech commentator. Author of the Girl, Disrupted blog

Elizabeth's expertise

Member since 2007
165 posts173 comments

Who's commenting on Elizabeth's posts