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Reflections on FinovateFall: Mobile, Money and Millennials


Last week’s FinovateFall event in New York City enabled 70 companies to demonstrate their products on-stage for seven minutes to over 1,500 attendees during the course of two days.  The overall themes were—not surprisingly—mobile, money and millennials.  This post describes my reflections on FinovateFall… and on the importance of being an “unreasonable” innovator.


Woodstock” for FinTech community

Finovate has been showcasing cutting edge banking and financial technology in a unique demo-only format since 2007.  No PowerPoint slides.  Nada.  Attendees—primarily banks, investors and media—appreciate the opportunity to see and learn about 70 innovators in a condensed time period. 

You can find a compendium of FinovateFall media coverage here, but the overall themes were:

  • Mobile:  Much of the world has already gone mobile and financial services is no exception.  Almost all on-stage product demonstrations utilized smart phones to show convenience, security and ease-of-use.
  • Money:  Many innovators developed apps to help better manage money or for financial institutions to make more money.  No surprises here.
  • Millennials:  Several start-ups focused exclusively on products designed specifically for Millennials—as this demographic of people reaching young adulthood around the year 2000 is now the largest one in many countries.

Mondato, a boutique consultancy in payments and mobile financial services with significant international experience, provided their FinovateFall write-up along with companies “to watch.”


The importance of being “unreasonable”

Most start-ups at FinovateFall were innovating around a relatively smaller problem space.  That is, they were developing a new app in a well-defined market segment or being another version of an existing business model—like the 250+ versions of mobile money around the world.  This is a “reasonable” approach.

Very few start-ups were trying to create an entirely new paradigm or ecosystem to enable breakthrough benefits to participants—while complying with relevant central bank regulations (i.e., unlike the Bitcoin ecosystem).  This situation makes me recall the famous George Bernard Shaw quote:

“The reasonable man tries to adapt himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.  Thus, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

Here’s to the unreasonable innovator.  Many may not survive, but those that do truly move the world forward.  Let us know what you think.


FinovateFall reflections-Quisk blog-Sep2015

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