Category Archives: Finovate

Financial Services and Data exhausts

I had the luck to be invited again to Finovate 2012 as a blogger, the leading conference for financial services startups and innovation. The mix of participants is always interesting, from startups claiming banks are dinosaurs on stage to core system providers demonstrating tablet interface using Arial 10 fonts and stylus on an HP table (not kidding). You see my bias.

But one of the most interesting piece of news I got was in a conversation with Kabbage. I have written before on Kabbage and its use of outside source of information for underwriting purpose. With Ebay / Amazon / Etsy score and information, it was conceptually easy to understand how this data could be a direct link into the financial performance // risk of loan.

But it takes things to a next level when Kabbage announced me that they will partner with UPS to access delivery data to better underwrite their loan. This has been publicly released since then:



Banks, payment networks,… potentially sit on top of valuable data, in the aggregated data exhausts of their clients (payments, allocations, assets etc..). But banks, financial services startups also need to consider there are other sets of data out there, generated by their users diretly or indirectly that can be leverage to disrupt their activities. These data exhausts may contain useful signal for underwriting, marketing, intelligent banking, etc..

These source of datas may be as close as trying to leverage prepaid card data spending patterns to see if they could add information to someone’s credit score or as far (for now) as understanding what role reputation and social media activities could play (with services like Peerindex or Klout / Anthemis is an investor in Peerindex). Business reputation could also be leveraged, with reputation score on platforms like Yelp being used to verify the quality of a business to allow him to accept various payment methods.

But, as seen with Kabbage, we may have to expend our view further. The best way to do it would be to start from the customers’ multiple data exhausts, with no preconceived view on how useful they may be. If someone’s ability to manage a farm on Farmville is a possible indicator of their capacity to manage their money, why not use it?


More startups working on integrating other data exhausts in financial services:

Lenddo: Lending integrating social scoring:

What is Lenddo?

Lenddo is a scoring engine that analyzes your online social footprint (sometimes called a social graph) and provides a score that can be used to access financial services such as personal loans.

Movenbank: Mobile Only Banking integrating a credibility score

What is CRED™?

CRED™ is a measure of your credibility as a friend, colleague and customer, and it is a vital part of our reboot of banking. It will equalize the playing field between your value to Movenbank and our value to you and will help you understand the context of your day-to-day financial decisions as you make them.

CRED is what will really change banking for people moving forward. Gone will be the days of mysterious credit scores, rejections by the ‘credit department’ and all those hoops that banks and credit companies make you jump through to prove yourself before they’ll let you be their customer.

CRED puts you in the driver seat and gives you control over your financial future in a way that has never before been possible.

Finovate Europe 2011 : Part 2 [A social world and the rise of the amateur]

With companies like Etoro, Stocktwits, Cortal Consors with Hopee or Fidor, one of the key theme for Finovate Europe was how financial service can be changed by being developed around the interaction of its users.

One of the consequences of this approach is the possibility for successful amateurs to become a direct competition to established business model.

EToro (voted Best of Show) is an online Forex broker with a major twist. By implementing social trading, it allows users to copy specific trades from others or even follow a specific trader.


As seen in the image above, EToro also has added a gaming perspective to trading, by creating traders ranking and watch lists. For now it seems that what is driving the platform dynamic is mainly the game mechanic, but it could be expected that leading traders may be remunerated at some points for their financial advice (in a way close to Covestor for example).

* When copying a trade, users get a close equivalent to the precedent trade, but not exactly the same one (but teh same trades when following)
* Etoro assured me they have set a killswitch so that if you follow a trader going “rogue”, they will disconnect its followers’ trade. Continue reading Finovate Europe 2011 : Part 2 [A social world and the rise of the amateur]

Finovate Europe 2011 : Part 1 [Overall impression and PFMs]

As you may have seen on this blog or twitter, I had the chance to participate to Finovate Europe. Thanks to all the Finovate team for inviting me to the event. While we were 2 bloggers on the list (with @BankerVision), I believe I was the only one physically present that day. And yes blogging is what I do on Tekfin.

The event:
35 demos, 7 minutes each, only demos, no powerpoint let’s just say Finovate is a packed day.
Overall, each company made it through their time with a relatively good presentation. For some of them, I wished they had more time, especially when they are not really feature based but propose a all new business to explore. In most cases, the question of the business model is not discussed at all (more so frustrating when the presenter is a startup and not a Big Co)

Maybe there could be slightly less companies and a selection of 5-10 best of show which would have to present another time?

Thanks also to Chris Skinner for “Ricky Gervais”ing his hosting role, and overall providing insightful and funny comments.

Its a PFM world in Europe
Was it too much? Or a sign of the importance of PFM for banks for the coming months and years? Nonetheless PFM dominated the presentations with no less than 8 different companies (on 35 though). Now, it should be reminded that:
Europe did not have a Mint. With its success story, media coverage and final sell to Intuit, Mint helped put the PFM in more minds than any competitors in the US
A limited number of banks proposes PFM so far in Europe, especially major banks (contrary to Bank of America for example)
So it is clear the PFM should be a key item in the list of innovation banks want to push in the near future.

One of the common themes was, for providers going the white label way, the development of a specific back hand for banks to manage their communication campaigns. Most of the time it includes some kind of filter (income, existing products, socio-economic data) to allow for targeting. Also included is a tracking dashboard to provide the kind of feedback an internet based campaign has (click through rate, etc.) Continue reading Finovate Europe 2011 : Part 1 [Overall impression and PFMs]