“You have a great UI, but this is never going to work: people don’t trust startups with their money”
This was a comment often heard during the presentations of the two following financial startups during the Tecrunch Disrupt conference in New York: Plantly and Betterment. It appears that most(?) people in the industry seem to believe these skeptics/realists (depending on your point of view) are right. In the FastCompany article on BankSimple a journalist noted the following:
Online personal finance has proven to be a difficult business to master. Witness the fall of FiLife last month. Mint.com has not seen a significant increase in unique visitors since it sold to Intuit for $170 million in September. Thrive was sold to Lending Tree in February of 2009 in a rumored fire sale. And Geezeo dropped its consumer facing service in January. And while online banking works, for the most part, no one raves about innovation in that space.
On the other end, during the Techcrunch Disrupt conference I saw these guys presenting:
Skeptics have it wrong, there is something great happening in the financial services industry. Plantly may not be the best company, may not succeed, may not have a crazy business model but here are two guys (one somewhat related to Finance) building something in their “garage” to solve one of their issues, making investment decisions understandable to them through technology.
Everyone knows the famous Bell Curve of the technology adoption lifecycle
On the left side of the graph you find the Plantly, Banksimple creators; it is probably an obvious statement but innovation comes from entrepreneurs trying to solve their or others pain points. The fact that we see more and more people on that left side of the curve in financial services innovation makes me believe that there will be new viable key disruptive companies in financial services soon.