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Tracking fintech, banking & financial services innovations since 1994
Join Finovate VP and host of the Finovate Podcast Greg Palmer as he wraps up 2023 and gets us ready for 2024 with a quartet of conversations about the latest trends in fintech and financial services.
From life stories about women and men who became fintech converts, founders, and innovators later in their professional careers to discussions on enabling technologies like Generative AI, the Finovate Podcast is a great place to hear some of the smartest voices in our business talk about what matters most.
Join Finovate VP and host of the Finovate Podcast Greg Palmer as he talks with the entrepreneurs whose innovative companies took home top honors at FinovateFall 2023 in New York this year.
From new tools for credit unions members to embedded micro life insurance solutions to strategies to help FIs better engage mortgage-holders, the Finovate Podcast is a great way to keep up with the trends driving fintech today.
With more than 100 new loans in Q2 and over a billion dollars in new loan commitments, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is “doing the same thing we’ve been doing for over 40 years,” according to SVB’s Head of National Fintech and Specialty Finance Nick Christian. Now a division of First Citizens Bank, Silicon Valley Bank has been a key component of the innovation economy since 1983, providing critical financial services to Bay Area technology entrepreneurs and their companies.
Nick sat down with Finovate Vice President and host of the Finovate Podcast Greg Palmer earlier this month in the wake of SVB’s recently released Future of Fintech report. The report looks at the outlook for innovation in the fintech sector based on SVB’s unique sector knowledge and proprietary data. How are cash reserves holding up for fintechs? Which direction are valuations going? What can we expect from funding growth heading into 2024? Nick and Greg discussed these issues and more including:
The resilience of early-stage companies in the face of the funding slowdown
The importance of becoming cash-flow positive
How embedded finance is revolutionizing payments and putting new emphasis on monitoring and compliance
It’s been a busy summer for Finovate VP Greg Palmer and the Finovate Podcast. If you’ve missed an episode or two, now is a great time to join Greg and his guests as they talk about some of the most pressing issues in fintech today.
From the challenge of optimizing the customer experience to strategies to make fintech-bank partnerships thrive, the Finovate podcast is a great source for insightful conversation on the key trends and opportunities in our industry.
“NayaOne is a digital transformation platform that helps you leverage the fintech ecosystem. We work with product, innovation, and tech teams in banks and insurance companies to help them get their products to market much, much quicker. We have synthetic data sets and building tools on the platform. Typically, it takes companies nine to twelve months to begin working with a fintech. Our customers can get to that outcome in about six to eight weeks.”
“We provide the industry with a digital banking market research platform that’s analyzing the digital offerings of banks, fintechs, credit unions, across the U.S. and worldwide. We analyze – from A to Z – what the banks, fintechs, and credit unions are offering, how they offer it, (and) how well they offer it, all while providing them with the ability to benchmark against the market and organize their product roadmap to implement their digital banking strategies.”
“10x is a cloud-native banking platform that acts like a real-time operating system for banks. It allows you to build and run your bank at record speed at a fraction of the cost. We demonstrated that at Finovate through the use of our Bank Manager UI application. This allows product managers at banks to build products in minutes rather than months. In that seven minutes, we built a current account with a card and also a loan ready for launch to production.”
“We are a scale-up, San Francisco-based, that provides a software-as-a-service, machine learning platform which enables business experts to stay in control of their AI models. We also empower the data science and engineering teams through our technology that consists of the ability to continuously learn from the data as the business world changes. We provide continuous explanations to business users and give them the ability to give feedback to the models so that the models are aligned with the business all the time.”
Stay tuned for more insightful conversations from Greg Palmer and the Finovate Podcast!
Finovate VP and host of the Finovate Podcast Greg Palmer (@GregPalmer47) recently sat down with James Robert Lay of the Banking on Digital Growth podcast. The two talked about a wide range of topics, from Finovate’s return to live, in-person fintech conferences to the challenges of building a truly people-focused fintech business in a post-COVID world.
Palmer: “What I didn’t necessarily expect was the way that the financial industry was going to respond to the pandemic by really diving in to technology and seeing a lot of these kinds of older holdouts all of a sudden saying, “wait a minute, we really have to do things differently.” This impetus, this drive to change, I think is the thing that surprised me the most.”
Lay and Palmer also talked about what it takes for a fintech company to manage the balance between creating novel, ground-breaking technology on the one hand, while remaining accessible, and easy to use for consumers on the other.
Palmer: “(Financial technology) tends to draw people in who are comfortable with numbers, who are comfortable in front of a computer screen, who want technology to do things that it hasn’t been able to do before, which is obviously really impressive and these are intelligent people. But what sometimes gets missed is the idea that, at the end of the day, you’re not building technology for yourself.”
Palmer: “The number of people, the number of interesting companies that came across our radar over 2022 was really exciting. And I think, for me, obviously getting people there is great, getting the right companies on stage is great, but the energy of the room was what was really positive for me. Hearing those conversations, watching people connect and engage with each other organically and discovering where you have common interests or places where you can help each other out, that’s really why we do what we do at Finovate.”
On the challenge of putting people first in fintech and financial services
Palmer: “Well, I think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to people. I think people forget that financial technology is ultimately about serving people … at the end of the day, you’re not building technology for yourself. You’re building technology for other people to use. And if I look back and say, what is one of fintech’s biggest failings over my time (in) fintech, I think it’s really been around people.”
On leveraging data to become a more people-focused business
Palmer: “The first step is understanding the data that you have, looking at this and really making sure that you have a good idea of how people are engaging with your technology. The other one, which is almost so simple that I can’t believe I need to say it, (is) you need to hire up. You need to hire people who have this as a skill.”
Finovate Podcast host Greg Palmer wrapped up a year’s worth of fintech conversations with this handful of episodes featuring Finovate Best of Show winners, innovative bankers, and insightful venture capitalists.
“What you should understand about our fund is that it’s all B2B. There are four themes that we specifically focus on – the key one is modernizing financial institutions. And whether that’s banks or insurers or asset managers or wealth managers, I think it’s all about bringing the technology, the digitalization, and more to these institutions to increase their competitiveness.”
Michael Ruttledge, Chief Information Officer and Head of Technology Services, Citizens Bank
“We set out a bold vision to modernize the technology platforms and infrastructure through something we called Next Generation Technology Strategy. What I’m most excited about are some of the key critical businesses we have been able to enable. We’ve done a tremendous job moving to the cloud; we partner with both AWS and Azure and, with AWS, we’ve actually built a platform that’s really been able to unleash developers.”
Melanie Pickett, Head of Asset Owners, Americas, Northern Trust
“I joined Northern Trust specifically to launch a fintech within the bank called Front Office Solutions, where we serve the world’s largest and most complex endowments, foundations, family offices, and pensions, and help them with the very complex portfolios that they’re managing and some of the very complex data management challenges that they have.”
Neepa Patel, Founder and CEO, Themis
Finovate podcast host Greg Palmer talks with Themis founder and CEO Neepa Patel on expecting more from your compliance department. Episode 153.
“Themis is a collaboration tech platform. Think of something like Airtable or Jira or Monday, but specifically created for governance, risk, and compliance workflows. Our modules represent different workflows that your company is already doing, but are probably doing it in the most inefficient way possible. We’ve brought all those tools that you’re using (and) put that information into one holistic view so that you get a better sense of what’s going on with compliance in your company.”
Don Shafer, Co-Founder and Chief Evangelist, Quilo
Finovate’s Greg Palmer talks with Quilo co-founder and Chief Evangelist Don Shafer about the company’s transformative approach to funding loans. Episode 152.
“We need(ed) to build a platform that would enable a banker or credit union to provide all of their customers (with) a way to get a loan quickly. And so with Quilo, we’ve timed it over and over. If you’re already a customer of a bank or a member of a credit union, you can get your phone and apply, go through approvals and get funded, and have the money show up in your debit card in less than 70 seconds.”
Interviews with Best of Show winners and an update from the venture capital world were the conversations Finovate VP Greg Palmer shared with listeners of the Finovate podcast during the month of October. Palmer interviewed CEOs from three FinovateFall’s Best of Show winners – Debbie, Stratyfy, and Lemonade LXP last month – and checked in with Decien Capital’s Dan Kimerling on the state of fintech funding.
Finovate VP Greg Palmer talks with Debbie CEO Frida Liebowitz on the importance of offering a more effective, human-centric debt recovery solution. Episode 151.
Our mission with Debbie is to help people break the behavioral cycle of debt for good. We are building the first rewards platform for debt payoff that is entirely behavioral driven. We reward people for building up better habits, paying off debt, and eventually making their way to long term debt freedom.
What we do at Stratyfy is help credit and risk teams better assess risk through what we say is real transparency. We also have a real focus on driving greater financial inclusion, and doing that by helping financial institutions provide greater access to fairly priced financial products to a wider group of individuals than historically have had that access in the past.
Lemonade is a digital growth platform that helps financial institutions and fintechs maximize the ROI on their technology investments. There are two sides to our platform. One side is a learning experience platform that is designed to turn frontline staff into digital experts so they can promote and support your technology. And then the other side is a digital enablement or digital adoption platform.
Dan Kimerling, Founder and Managing Partner, Deciens Capital
What I would say is we haven’t seen a slow down in the level of entrepreneurial behavior and activity. It seems, broadly speaking, like people are excited to start new businesses and, if you go back to at least the 1970s, there seems to be relatively little relationship between macroeconomic behavior and entrepreneurial dynamism.
In addition to hosting the biggest FinovateFall to date, Finovate VP Greg Palmer has spent the month of September talking with some of the most interesting achievers in fintech. From CEOs of digital banks to entrepreneurs working to bring about greater financial inclusion, Greg Palmer’s Finovate Podcast is a great way to meet the people who are driving innovation in our industry.
Below is a rundown of recent episodes from late August through September.
“The regulated segment of the industry was not matching up to the creator side of the industry … FV stands for Fintech Ventures Bank and the purpose of developing FV Bank was so that we could create a regulated banking environment where fintech creators would have a place to work with people who were really there to help them grow their business as opposed to keep(ing) them out.”
“I learned very quickly that men are actually given investment for their potential, while women are given investment for what they’ve done. That’s definitely been one of my biggest lessons. And the stats are also horrendous. You know, we’re in 2022 and less than 3% of the venture capital still just goes to women in general, less than 1% to minorities.”
Roman Chwyl, Managing Director Fintech Unicorns, Microsoft; Paul Walker, SVP, Revenue and Partnerships, Helix
“Currently we’re helping several brands together, like Acorns, Credit Karma, Gusto … These are all brands that have real scale and are focused on (underserved) segments. One of my key goals today is just to make real impact and change, and (talk about) how Helix and Microsoft can share our partnership story and work with other companies out there looking to do the same.”
“Linden Lab was started a long time ago, and is actually the parent company of Second Life, which is the sort of OG metaverse. You’ve heard a lot of talk about the metaverse and virtual worlds. Second Life was the first one that really created an economy … A guy named Philip Rosedale, who happens to be one of my closest friends, came up with the idea. Building a virtual world.”
Billie Simmons, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Daylight
Billie Simmons of LGBTQ-supporting digital bank Daylight and Finovate podcast host Greg Palmer talk about supporting customers and enabling them to live their best lives. Episode 143.
“It’s an incredibly expensive, time-consuming, potentially dangerous process to get your name and gender updated across all of your banking services. You have to go to court. You have to get documents notarized. You have to out yourself multiple times as trans … I just realized through talking about these things that we can do so much better. That’s really how Daylight was born.”
Greg Palmer’s Finovate Podcast continues to be the source of many of fintech’s most compelling conversations.
From discussions with innovation experts to deep dives with veterans of the VC world, the Finovate Podcast is a great way to learn about the trends that fintech enthusiasts are most enthusiastic about.
Here’s a rundown of recent episodes you might have missed over the summer.
“(Grasshopper) is a company that is focused on providing digital financial solutions to the business and innovation economy, mainly SMBs that are focused on technology and are technophiles by nature. We think there’s a big demand pull that has been coming for some time in the business side, and we think it’s the next great place for disruption from a digital banking perspective.”
Tony Ulwick, Creator, the Outcome-Driven Innovation Process
Greg Palmer introduces Tony Ulwick, founder and CEO of Strategn and creator of the Outcome Driven Innovation process, to Finovate audiences in this podcast conversation. Ulwick explains the importance of focusing on innovation that matters and successfully bringing new ideas to the market. Episode 141.
“I thought: if we just knew the metrics they were going to use to judge the value of our product a year and a half ago when we started developing it, we could just design the product to meet those metrics and we’d win in the marketplace. It sounds simple enough. But the (next) thought was: what are those metrics? How can we capture them? Do they exist?”
Tiffani Montez, Principal Analyst, Insider Intelligence
Podcast host Greg Palmer talks with Tiffani Montez, Principal Analyst with Insider Intelligence. In their conversation, Montez discusses strategies for keeping customers happy in times of economic uncertainty – and finding opportunity in challenging times. Episode 140.
“How do you safeguard consumer trust? We know that digital trust is the confidence that consumers place in their bank’s digital channels. And they have a prime opportunity to build this up as a commodity. We know over the last year the largest U.S. banks have come to aid in a time of pandemic related crisis. And customers have repaid that flexibility with greater trust in their primary financial institutions.”
“I would be remiss not to say that I struggle with startup nomenclature like this (neobank). These organisms evolve so quickly. Terms like “neobank” – at first they seem grandiose, way beyond what the businesses actually are. And then, before you know it, the end up feeling overly narrow and constricting.”
Greg Palmer and the Finovate Podcast have spent much of the first half of 2022 featuring Best of Show winners from FinovateEurope and FinovateSpring. Be sure to check out our podcast columns from the spring and summer for any Best of Show interviews you haven’t seen yet.
You also may not have caught some of the Finovate Podcast’s non-Best of Show coverage. Whether it’s talking with venture capitalists on the next big thing in fintech or checking in on credit unions that are partnering with innovative fintech startups, the Finovate Podcast remains one of the best ways to keep current with what counts in the ever-changing world of fintech innovation.
To this end, here’s a look at some of the recent Finovate podcasts you might have missed.
Jeff Keltner, SVP of Business Development, Upstart
Host Greg Palmer talks with Upstart Senior Vice President of Business Development Jeff Keltner on why the universe of creditworthy customers is about to grow dramatically thanks to the combination of AI and lending. Episode 123.
I was trained as an engineer and spent my career at the intersection of business and the application of technologies – first at Google where we launched what is now Google Cloud and Workspace. Coming here to Upstart, we really felt like the application of modern technology, and particularly AI, to help lenders produce a better experience for borrowers and better credit decisioning outcomes that help both the institutions and the borrowers was something that really was “of the moment” to happen. That’s what we came here to do.
Rob Perrelli, Vice President of Partnership Development, Alliant Credit Union
Host Greg Palmer and Rob Perrelli, VP of Partnership Development at Alliant CU, discuss how to build successful partnerships and create advocates. Episode 122.
Prior to joining Alliant, I worked with fintechs mainly from a private label perspective to support our direct-to-consumer offering. So it was really interesting. At the time we developed that strategy, where we’d made the choice to go digital-first – even though we had a super-large net of branch representation in our geographies – we were pretty clear that partnerships with fintechs was the way to go forward as we offered new solutions to our customers. With Alliant, we are working with a number of different fintechs in the unsecured, solar, and home equity and improvement spaces to grow our reach nationally and introduce borrowers to Alliant membership and its many benefits.
William Crowder, Managing Partner, Aperture Venture Capital
Host Greg Palmer checks in with Aperture Venture Capital Managing Partner William Crowder for a VC perspective on security, ransomware attacks, and what we can do to be less vulnerable to cybercrime. Episode 121.
I am one of the founding partners of Aperture Venture Capital. We are a relatively-speaking new fund, with a focus on investing at the intersection of financial innovation and culture. If you think about where financial innovation and fintech meet diversity and the opportunities to build a more inclusive economy, then that’s where you’ll find us. We’re backed by some major corporations because we have a fairly unique model in terms of how we approach working with companies. We have folks who’ve invested in us, including FIS, Truist, PayPal, Bank of America, and a few others we have not yet announced publicly.
Amir Kabir, Partner, AV8 Ventures
Host Greg Palmer chats with Amir Kabir, Partner, AV8 Ventures, on what we need to know about embedded insurance and how insurtech will shape fintech in the coming years. Episode 120.
I am currently a partner at AV8 Ventures, which is an early stage fund in the Bay Area (that) started around three years ago. We are in our second fund with around $180 million – with a similarly sized first fund. We have four areas or sectors that we focus on – which, in part, have some overlap. One is enterprise, which incorporates SaaS and infrastructure software. The other one is a healthcare practice. The third one is kind of frontier tech. And the fourth one, which I’m leading, is the fintech and insurtech practice. We typically invest in seed to Series A, $1 million to $5 million – though we are flexible in that regard.
Alison Harwood, Vice Head of Marketplace Banking, Varengold
Host Greg Palmer catches up with Alison Harwood, Vice Head of Marketplace Banking at Varengold Bank, on the emergence of VC funding-as-a-service, Varengold’s new VC offering, and fintech trends for 2022. Episode 119.
In “marketplace banking,” we are working with fintech lenders across Europe to support their business through wholesale debt financing and through banking-as-a-service regulatory fronting business where we are supporting their launch into new markets under our banking license. One of the milestones for our business last year was putting together some retained profits (and) setting them aside to help service our clients more holistically, enabling us to subscribe for equity when they are coming up to a Series A (or) Series B funding.