Finovate Europe Part II: Best in Show and other standouts

Finovate Europe Part II: Best in Show and other standouts

Clearly we haven’t yet exhausted the wellspring of ideas.

March 27, 2018

In part one of my Finovate Europe recap, I focused on the broad product categories that took center stage at the March event in London. Let’s now shift focus to some of the company names to watch.

First, however, it’s worth noting that marketplace lending solutions were all but absent from the agenda, no doubt because of the challenges faced by several early movers in the space.

As one conference speaker sagely pointed out, companies built on a balance sheet-based business model (such as lending) are likely to be valued like balance sheet companies.

This is a telling comment: It implies that “disruptors” may well pivot away from this space in pursuit of higher-valuation opportunities and also that the balance sheet management expertise financial institutions bring to the table is becoming more recognized and valued.

One of my favorite presenters—and I wasn’t alone since it took home a Best of Show—doesn’t fall neatly into any of the categories I spelled out in part one. Be-IQ, which is short for Behavioural IQ (London-based, as you can tell from the spelling), uses a gamified approach to determine an individual’s risk tolerance.

Investment advisors typically send out questionnaires to document their diligence on such matters, but Be-IQ purports to generate more realistic responses through scenario-based quizzes.

Beyond Know Your Customer box-checking, such information strikes me as quite powerful for tailoring segmented marketing strategies.

Two firms with similar value propositions showed impressive progress in receipt and invoice recognition.

Microblink’s BlinkReceipt product took home a Best of Show Award. It creates structured data from a snapshot of a receipt with the goal of “replacing text input with simple scanning.”

Sensibill, which won a Best of Show at a prior Finovate, touted its own market traction, rolling out an SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) product with NatWest in the U.K. Both show great promise in simplifying tedious processes and creating new account holder value.

A trio of companies showcasing digital banking platforms won Best of Show accolades, an indication that the financial institution community continues its quest for a magic bullet to address its omni-channel customer experience challenges.

Dutch firm Backbase’s Smart Banking solution promised “white glove customer service in a digital setting,” and boasted of having Amazon capabilities built into the core product.

Hungarian company W.UP unveiled its new Sales Up module, offering customer insights (such as shopping patterns) “normally outside the bank’s line of sight.”

And Crealogix, a 20-year Swiss fintech veteran, launched a new smartphone banking app (Gravity) designed to pull in data from multiple institutions and deploy a tap-through paradigm to view detail in bubble chart form.

This was among the best batches of Finovate companies I’ve seen yet. Clearly we haven’t yet exhausted the wellspring of ideas.

I look forward to seeing whether innovators can maintain the momentum in the stateside shows later this year.

GLEN SARVADY is managing partner at 154 Advisors. Follow him on Twitter via @154Advisors.