Finovate-Finance and Technology Intersect & Should You Care?

By in Economics, Money Management, Personal Finance

Finovate Personal Finance Apps

I had lunch at Finovate today with a Vice President from Bank of the West and the future of banking topic came up…. again and again. We are attending a cutting edge conference with a steep entry fee ($1,200). So, no wannabes need apply. These presenters are in it to change the financial landscape using technology. The format of this showcase is quick and dynamic. Presenters have seven minutes to tout their product. And those seven minutes count; with hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake.

Today’s article will feature some of the presenters at Finovate and take a more philosophical look at the evolving finance landscape. As a student of finance and market history, I’m intrigued and excited about the future impact of technology and finance.

Who Attends Finovate and Why?

Venture capitalists and private investors are there looking for the next Apple and Microsoft. Bankers and credit union representatives want to stay in the know in their industry. Then there is the media (like myself) who want to see what’s going on in the money field. The room was filled with technology entrepreneurs hoping their inventions, apps, and platforms will become the next mint.com. Of course the developers, marketers and presenters would like to garner interest and investors for their new financial offerings.

finovate finance and technology

Finance Platforms at Finovate

The business-to-consumer products caught my interest. As a long time investor in the peer to peer lending platform such as Lending Club and the Prosper Marketplace, I was interested in LendingRobot. They claim to get users quicker access to the better loans for investors. But, this service, does come with a fee.

OnBudget attempts to make the unpleasant budgeting task automatic. I listened intently to their pitch as they showed how the consumer loads their prepaid debit card with money, uses the card for thirty days and then gets a screen showing where their money went. Using this information, OnBudget designs a budget for the consumer.

Imagine you’re out to dinner and you’re paying the bill when you get a text telling you the payment for this meal will put you over budget. Now what? You can go on and  pay from the dining out category or transfer an allotment from another budget category. This app looked like it could make budgeting fun! (But I worried a bit that the “overbudget” text came after you ate the meal. Doesn’t that put the user in a bind?)

Jumio demonstrated how easy it is to sign up once and then let the app sign you up on your mobile for all future offers (which you’re interested in). They keep all your identification information on file so you don’t have to re enter it again and again.

Personal Capital is one of the bigger players in the wealth management field. They manage to merge both money and investment tracking with deep insights into users investment portfolios’. They’re differentiated from the competition because Personal Capital brings a personal touch by offering trained advisors to complement the financial management services. Bill Harris, the founder gave a compelling seven minute talk.

Apps that Do Good

Tools for the average American were also displayed at Finovate. Tacfi was created by Nicole Hamilton when she was wading through the cumbersome mortgage process. Her consumer mortgage website allows mortgage shoppers more input and clarity in the mortgage seeking process. Seems like a great idea to pull back the curtain a bit from this obtuse industry.

If you have a tough time getting a loan because your credit score stinks, then Lendup may interest you. This socially conscious lending platform gives subprime borrowers more of a chance to borrow, and simultaneously improve their credit.

Grandma will love TrueLink, which prohibits her from signing up and paying for financial scams. With Truelink seniors won’t be paying for repetitive magazine subscriptions or phony charity scams any more!

Alternative Investing Ideas

If you think bitcoin is a fad, you’ll be surprised to see Coinbase, the bitcoin payment platform gaining traction with such big names as Overstock.com.

Alternative investment opportunities were also in attendance, especially for those with deep pockets. Are you looking for a way to get into the pool with the hedge funds and multi millionaires? You might be interested in Artivest. At first I thought they’d be talking about investing in art, but they’re designed to make it easy to put your money in the ring with the big boys and girls of private equity.

And Venovate launched a marketplace to get in on the private equity action as well.

Is Banking Doomed?

When was the last time you went to a bank branch? Actually, when I moved to Silicon Valley several years back, I kept my old bank accounts even though the old bank doesn’t have any branches in the region.

I love old Westerns, Bonanza, Rawhide, Gunsmoke etc. Those shows remind me of how the culture progresses. No more horses in the street, blacksmiths, or wells for our drinking water. Looking forward a few generations; what happened to the VCRs, black and white televisions, and 8 track cassette players?

Its foolish to believe that bank branches and how we use money will remain the same. Change is inevitable. The question is not whether finance and technology will evolve, but who will be left standing in this exciting arena.

Finovate brings the future and the present together. Let’s see who survives in this lightning fast money technology intersection.

What do you think of the latest finance and technology trends? What newer finance apps are you using?