Announcing the Full Presenting Lineup for FinovateSpring 2014!

By Eric Mattson on April 16, 2014 1:34 PM | Comments

FinovateSpring 2014 is less than two weeks away, and the excitement is building! More and more tickets are selling with every passing hour and on April 29 & 30, we're expecting to break Finovate's attendance record for the second year in a row with an audience of over 1,400 industry professionals and entrepreneurs.

You've probably already seen a few of the companies presenting at FinovateSpring this year, but a bunch of presenters just came out of stealth mode on Friday to complete the lineup. So, without further ado, here's the full lineup of 68 companies that will demo their latest fintech innovations in the heart of Silicon Valley in less than 14 days:

  • Artivest
  • Avoka
  • BodeTree
  • ChiaraMail
  • Coinbase
  • CUneXus
  • D3 Banking
  • Dealstruck
  • defi SOLUTIONS
  • Digital Insight
  • Digital Retail Apps
  • Encap Security
  • Endeavour
  • EyeVerify
  • FinBuddy
  • Fiserv
  • FlexScore
  • Insuritas
  • IntelliResponse
  • Interactions
  • Jumio
  • Kofax
  • Kown
  • Kreditech
  • LendingRobot
  • LendingTree
  • LendUp
  • Loop
  • LOYAL3
  • Market Prophit
  • Motif Investing
  • MShift
  • Nearex
  • NICE Systems
  • OnBudget
  • Ondot Systems
  • Pellucid Analytics
  • Personal Capital
  • Pixeliris
  • Privatbank
  • Qapital
  • Quisk
  • Radius
  • RealtyMogul
  • Red Giant
  • Rippleshot
  • Roostify
  • SaveUp
  • SmartAsset
  • Spreedly
  • Stockpile
  • StrategyCorps
  • Sureify
  • Tactile Finance
  • TD Ameritrade & LikeFolio
  • TextPower
  • True Link
  • Venovate
  • Verde International
  • Visible Equity
  • Vorstack
  • WePay
  • Wipit
  • Yseop
  • ZenPayroll
  • Zumigo

Please don't delay! Tickets are selling fast and space is limited so please be sure to register now to make sure you get a seat!

FinovateSpring 2014 is sponsored by: The Bancorp, Capital Source, Financial Technology Partners, Hudson Cook, KPMG, Life.SREDA, UK Trade & Investment, Visa, Xignite and Zions Direct.

FinovateSpring 2014 is partners with: Aite Group, ABA, Bank Innovators CouncilBankersHub, BayPay Forum, California Bankers Association,, Government of Canada, Celent, Filene, Hotwire PR, Javelin Strategy, The Paypers, SME Finance ForumVisible Banking, & Western Independent Bankers.


Mobile PFM: Tracking Automobile Trips

By Jim Bruene on April 14, 2014 6:44 PM | Comments

imageLast week, MileIQ cracked the top-50 in Apple's "Finance | Free" category. Think of it as Fitbit for cars, running in the background automatically logging all car trips (and killing battery life). 

At the end of each trip, users categorize the trip by swiping left for personal or right for business (see screenshots below). Users can also annotate transactions by "flipping" them over and typing basic details (see screenshot 2 below).

That's basically all there is to the mobile part. Users go to the companion desktop dashboard (screenshot #5) to further categorize trips, stitch the various segments into a single trip, delete items, add parking and toll fees, edit the tags, manually add a trip and create reports.

You can also create a quick email report at the push of button from within the app (screenshot #6).

It's free for 40 trips per month, but then costs $5.99/mo or $60 annually. It could make for a nice auto loan/lease premium item.


Relevance for FIs

This feature would be a nice fee-based value add for personal financial management (PFM) programs. But the more interesting aspect is the UI. Banks could provide a similar function for handling all transactions. Users swipe to the left to categorize a transaction as tax-deductible/business or right if not. Later, just the left-swiped transactions could be tagged with more specific categories (business travel, charitable contributions, etc).

This simple approach every so slightly "gamifies" mobile transaction processing, helping users save money and better manage their finances. 


Mobile UI

#1 (left) Main page shows drive(s) to classify
#2 (right) Annotation available on the "back" of each drive card

 image        image

#3 (left) Congratulations for handling all transactions  
#4 (right) Pricing options

 image       image

#5 Desktop dashboard


#6 Quick email report, generated by button in mobile



1. We've tackled PFM numerous times over the years in our Online Banking Report. Most recently here (subscription).


Apply to Demo Your Latest FinTech Innovation at FinovateFall 2014

By Eric Mattson on April 9, 2014 3:42 PM | Comments

btn3_ov.pngWith the presenter roster set for FinovateSpring, we've begun our global search for the financial technology innovations that will be showcased at FinovateFall 2014 on September 23 & 24 in New York City. 

Last year, FinovateFall welcomed a sold-out crowd of more than 1,100 executives who witnessed 69 new fintech innovations debut via our signature demo-only format.

This fall, based on the early interest, we expect the auditorium to be just as packed and to showcase even more great innovations than last year.

If your company is interested in debuting your latest and greatest at the premier event for fintech innovation, please email us at for more details.

If you're interested in attending FinovateFall to watch the future of fintech unfold live on stage, tickets are now on sale for the event at the lowest price that we'll offer.

We'll see you in New York in September (or San Francisco in a few weeks)!

FinovateFall 2014 is sponsored by: The Bancorp, CapitalSource, Financial Technology Partners, Greater St. Louis Financial Forum, Hudson Cook LLP, UK Trade & Investment, Visa

FinovateFall 2014 is partners with: Aite, ABA, BankersHub, California Bankers Association, Canada, Celent, Filene Research Institute, Hotwire PR, Javelin Strategy, The Paypers, SME Finance Forum, & Visible Banking


UX Lessons for Card Issuers from the New Starbucks Mobile App

By Jim Bruene on April 8, 2014 7:39 AM | Comments

image When I moved to Seattle, Starbucks had just four locations. So I've had a ring-side seat in their climb to worldwide ubiquity. Though not a huge fan of their coffee, I greatly admire their business model, technology, and payments innovations.

I have been paying with the Starbucks mobile app for the past few months (note 1) as have 14% of its customers. It's great as long as there is a queue. That gives you plenty of time to go through the 9-step mobile payments process (10 steps with tipping):

1. Dig out your phone
2. Enter the smartphone passcode (if applicable) 
3. Locate the app
4. Open it
5. Press pay
6. View balance to ensure there is enough cash available
    (not applicable if auto reload is enabled)
7. Wait for cashier to press the correct key on terminal
8. Position your phone under the QR reader
9. Wait for cashier to give you the OK
10. (Optional) Dig in your wallet/purse/pocket for tip money

While this process seems ridiculously time-consuming compared to a card swipe (or cash), if you are waiting in a queue (typical), you can take care of all that before your turn to order (especially if you already have your phone out and are logged in).


The new Starbucks app

image The latest version of the Starbucks mobile app (iOS released 20 March 2014) cuts two steps from the 10-step process. More importantly, the crucial "hit pay" (step #5 above), has been replaced by a shake of the smartphone to signal it to display the Starbucks QR code needed at the point of sale. While not a huge timesaver, it pretty much eliminates navigation within the app before payment, quite an improvement in UX once you get the hang of it (note 2).

The new app also offers electronic tipping, a welcome improvement for the staff, since the move to no-signature card transactions many years ago took away credit-card tips.  

The app integrates four components into the homescreen (see screenshot #1 right):

A. Top navigation with choice of:
-- Pay: Opens up QR code (in lieu of shaking) (see screen #2 below)
-- Stores: Starbucks store locator with map and list
-- Gift: Opens to virtual gift-card function with integration to iPhone contacts (see screen #3)

B. Loyalty program: A screen-dominating donut shows exactly where you stand on the path to the next loyalty level.

C. Messages: Links to a "feed" of available offers (screen #4) including:
-- discounts
-- free iTunes song and app downloads (with integration to iTunes for easy redemption) (screen #5)

D. Account history (see screen #6)
-- purchases and reloads 
-- tipping function allowed for two hours after purchase (screen #7)



There are some lessons here for card issuers:

  • Focus: Go to on your desktop browser and you'll see about 150 navigation choices delivered via mega-menus across six main tabs. It's worse than most bank websites. However, the mobile app has just three primary navigation choices (Pay | Stores | Gift), plus rewards, messages and transactions on the main screen. Starbucks rightly chose to concentrate on exactly what customers need when they are on the go. 
  • Integrate rewards/loyalty: Despite the "shake to pay" process improvement, the Starbucks mobile payment experience is still cumbersome and by no means easier than paying by card. However, because the app is integrated with rewards, all of sudden it becomes compelling, both for early adopters (certainly) and the mass market (note 3). 
  • Annotate the transaction: Besides the new tipping function, the transaction history includes both a feed of the transactions (screen #6), plus the ability to click through to a full receipt (screen #7). While not super interesting at Starbucks, when so-called "level 3" data is available for more complex purchases, it becomes an important part of the value delivered. 
  • Mobile first: If you offer information or services consumed on the go, mobile services (app & website) are the key interaction point going forward. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz understands this (note 4), does your CEO?



2. QR code (scanned at POS)             3. Virtual gift cards

image     image

4. Offer stream                                5. iTunes integration to redeem

image       image


6. Transaction history                      7. Transaction detail with tipping

image        image


1. Previously, I was paying with Square Wallet since no reloading is required. But now I'm on the quest for Gold Status at Starbucks, so Square will have to take a backseat.    
2. Since users are not accustomed to shaking their phone to make it do something, it may take a while for everyone to figure this shortcut out. Luckily, the Pay button has been moved to a position of great prominence, for those that prefer to use the old navigation process.   
3. I just put it on my wife's iPhone. Besides the map, weather, Yelp, and French translations, it will be only the fifth app she uses frequently.
4. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is a genius and seems to genuinely care about his employees and the world. If only he had stayed out of pro sports ownership (go Sonics!), his record would be virtually untarnished.


Launching: 2,000 Bitcoin/Crypto-currency Startups

By Jim Bruene on April 7, 2014 3:51 PM | Comments

English: Looking north up Eleventh Avenue (Man...

Jacob K. Javits Center (Wikipedia)

The bitcoin logo
Bitcoin first passed the $200 mark a year ago (vs. $450 today). I didn't know much about it then, figuring it was a fad best left to the speculators to debate. But I was wrong. Bitcoin, or something similar, appears to be here to stay.

Case in point: There is a 2,000-person Bitcoin event in NYC today and tomorrow, Inside Bitcoins, at the Javits Center no less. But don't worry if you miss it, the event is scheduled to travel the globe with stops in Hong Kong, Melbourne, Tel Aviv, London, Singapore, Berlin, before landing back in NYC a year from now.

In the keynote, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire estimated 2,000 startups globally are working on crypto-currency products and services. That alone makes it more than a fad (bubble perhaps, but not a fad). There is no putting the crypto-currency genie back in the bottle. The technology is too compelling. The demand for alternative stored value is so huge that I don't see it being regulated away, at least outside the west.

Relevance for Banks: U.S. financial institutions will steer clear until regulatory uncertainties are cleared up. While regulators ARE paying attention (even the IRS recently weighed in), don't expect banks or credit unions here to be accepting Bitcoins for deposit anytime soon.

However, I do expect U.S. prepaid-card based "near banks" (Moven, Onbudget, Simple) to work with Coinbase and others to make it easy to move Bitcoin value onto their cards (see note 1). For inspiration, check out the Bitcoin debit card launched today by Hong Kong-based Cryptex Card (press release).


1. Both Coinbase and Onbudget will demo separately at FinovateSpring, 3 weeks from now.       
2. For more, see our Feb 2014 OBR report on alt-payments, Money 3.0 (subscription).


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