Crowdfunding, bitcoin, identity and security, and, of course, personal finance management dominated the first day of Finovate Europe in London. Finextra watched the demos, followed the tweets and spoke to the players. Here's what caught our eye.
The Old Billingsgate Market was packed today as FinTech enthusiasts gathered to watch the infamous 'seven minute' pitches from a slew of startups hoping to inject some innovation into global banking and financial services.
A total of 40 firms presented at Finovate on Day 1. The firms that stood out during the first morning session included: eRipple, a professional matching service, which can best be described as Klout meets LinkedIn meets OK Cupid. Trade River Finance, which presented an online trade finance solution to rival those from banks. And Quantitative Credit Research, which allows banks to stress test their credit risk exposure. Five Degrees also managed to demonstrate API banking.
Watch Duncan Peters, founder of eRipple explain why professionals need a matching service like his, when faced with established competition from the likes of LinkedIn and Twitter.
The second half of the morning saw the first of two women present on stage at Finovate, Xsolla and TiVitz. TiVitz is an American company that allows students to play games in order to save up for future university fees. While this is an admirable service, the TiVitz demo was let down by a rather retro web design.
The morning also saw two identity presenters, IDmission and iSignthis. The IDMission demo adequately showed how to use biometrics for easy client onboarding. Identity and KYC is a major trend with the chattering classes attending FinTech conferences in 2015.
Watch Ashim Banerjee, CEO, IDMission explain how the service links with banks own back-end systems and how compatible it is with more stringent KYC requirmements from most financial firms.
However, the breakout star of the morning had to be Australian bitcoin startup CoinJar, with its 20 year old founder Ryan Zhou, which is a hedging bitcoin platform. Watch Asher Tan, CEO, CoinJar here:
The afternoon sessions started off with a 'smart' card from Dynamics. The vendor showed a multi-currency MasterCard which lets the user switch between sovereign accounts. They even 'cracked open' the card to show the electronics embedded within the card. MasterCard is a Dynamics partner.
One of the best presentations of the afternoon came from Backbase, which outlined the journey via multiple devices a customer would take when purchasing out a retail product such as a car loan. Retaining the customer as they discover a product, enter personal details and make a purchase, via a range of devices, such as a desktop PC or mobile phone is an issue more financial firms need to make further investments in. Jouk Pleiter, CEO of Backbase discusses the customer journey many customers take on multiple devices.
However, audience favourite, MoneyHub showcased a well designed user interface to allow people to manage their personal finances by assigning monetary values to financial goals.
BizEquity also garnered a lot of love from the Finovate audience, with one delegate proclaiming it the first 'disruptive' presentation of the day. The service offers what it calls 'Valuations as a service' or VaaS, in the cloud, using a proprietary standards-based algorithm. Mike Carter, CEO, BizEquity compares his service to traditional bank offering here:
The firms that stood out in the afternoon were audience favourite Meniga who showcased a Facebook-like PFM platform white labeled tool for banks. Watch Duena Blomstrom, CMO, Meniga talk about elegant user experience here:
Keeping with the steady stream of identity and security offerings, Irish provider Sedicii demonstrated a two-factor identification platform that was transparent to the user. They even showcased a case study where users move from a Twitter interface to identifying themselves while in conversation with a bank.
The last noteworthy demonstration of the day came from newly launched InvestUP. It is estimated that there are 75 crowdfunding and P2P lending platforms in the UK alone. InvestUP offers a 'Moneysupermarket-style' discovery and transaction platform to navigate the crowded market.
Check back tomorrow for Finextra's day 2 coverage of Finovate with tweets and videos.