Finovate’s Spring 2016 conference kicked off Tuesday in San Jose, CA, and as a first-timer, I can only liken it to speed-dating for the FinTech industry.

In just the first day, 39 companies presented live demonstrations of their latest technologies, innovations, apps, and solutions for everyday problems faced by the financial services industry. There were more than 1,550 people in attendance, mostly made up of banks, credit unions, and venture capital firms. I could embarrassingly admit that the highlight my day was getting a signed copy of Brett King’s new book, “Augmented,” but that wouldn’t be fair to some of the very impressive startups that made their debut.

If I could wrap up the day in just a few key themes they would include simplification, engagement and personalization.

Simplification

Roostify introduced themselves as the solution to making home lending fast, easy and transparent. They are offering an accelerated solution to the home loan and closing process with a white label, self-service platform.  Consumers can connect their home loan application to their TurboTax, Mint.com or similar account, which will then auto-populate all of the necessary information and eliminate the need for paper statements. The demo presenter successfully applied for a loan in under 5 minutes. Is this similar to RocketMortgage? Yes. Is this a sign of where the lending industry is heading? Yes.

Engagement

Engagement was another big theme across many demonstrations today with a variety of solutions that focused on engagement as a primary selling point. SaleMove in particular stood out with its offering of an engagement platform for the customer acquisition and servicing process. SaleMove’s vision is to meet and exceed the in-person customer experience online – which is very much aligned to my previous blog post, Best of both worlds: Banks combine digital and in-person advising. Customers of a bank using SaleMove can have a face-to-face video chat with a representative or expert who can guide them into the right transactions based on actions already performed online. The key is in the simplicity, but it is also entirely scalable for the bank or credit union.

Personalization

One of the most notable presenters addressing the topic of personalization was WorthFM, an enhanced robo-advisor and cash management platform for the mass affluent woman. In an effort to reach the more than 26 million women in this socioeconomic group, representing $5.6 trillion in assets, WorthFM is fixing the gap in the industry between women’s investment needs and traditional investment offerings. They are doing this by providing advice based on a holistic wealth management approach instead of just focusing on a single portfolio or just thinking about the returns. Part of the process is an assessment of each woman’s individual “Money Type” – think Meyers Briggs for your financial personality, which you can try yourself for free. According to Amanda Steinberg, CEO of WorthFM, “Women don’t want different advice, but they want it provided differently.” 

All in all, Day 1 was an incredibly educational and inspiring kick-off to a month filled with FinTech. Stay tuned for more updates from me on Finovate Spring 2016, as well as a deeper dive into the event made available to Comperemedia clients in the coming weeks. I will also be covering the Financial Brand Forum next week from Las Vegas.

Lily Harder is the Vice President of Research for Mintel Comperemedia. Lily specializes in the financial services industry, researching and presenting on the latest industry trends, competitive intelligence insights and newsworthy developments.

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