Best of Show: Catching Up with the Favorites of FinovateFall

Best of Show: Catching Up with the Favorites of FinovateFall

These nine fintechs wowed our FinovateFall audiences last year with their innovations in embedded finance, payments, wealth management, and more. To whet your appetite for FinovateFall next month, September 12 through 14, here’s a look at what our FinovateFall 2021 Best of Show companies have been up to since taking home Finovate’s top prize last fall.

FinovateFall 2022 is only two weeks away. Register by September 2nd and take advantage of big early-bird savings!


Won Best of Show for its API-based and embedded personalized consumer credit, identity, and financial wellness solutions. Headquartered in New York City. Founded in 2020.

Forged partnerships with fellow Finovate alums Jack Henry Associates and Alkami Technology. Won a second Best of Show award at FinovateSpring 2022.


Won Best of Show for its small business digital invoicing and online payment acceptance solutions. Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. Founded in 2017.

Raised $50 million in funding. Named a finalist in the Best SMB/SME Banking Solution category in the 2022 Finovate awards.


Won Best of Show for its technology designed to help financial institutions provide wealth management services. Awarded Best of Show at FinovateAsia 2017 in Hong Kong and at FinovateAfrica 2018 in Cape Town. Founded in 2016. Headquartered in Singapore.

Launched docuseries, Behind the Robo. Named a major player in the robo-advisory market by The Business Research Company. Worked with Standard Chartered Bank Kenya to help them launch their new money market fund offering.


Won Best of Show for its engagement banking platform that offers a unique way to engage customers and responsibly expand revenues. Awarded Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2021. Founded in 2014. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.

Awarded Best of Show at FinovateEurope 2022. Partnered with fellow Finovate alum Mastercard to deliver sustainable banking products for financial institutions. Named to The Fintech 250.


Won Best of Show for its platform that helps banks accelerate digital banking knowledge, fluency, and adoption. Awarded Best of Show at FinovateFall Digital 2020 and FinovateEurope 2020 in Berlin, Germany. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Founded in 2011.

Partnered with fellow Finovate alum ebankIT to support financial institutions undergoing digital transformation. Powered the new digital learning platform launched by Pacific Western Bank. Awarded Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2022.


Won Best of Show for its Mobile Native app that brings hyper-personalized experiences for every user in one single bank app. Founded in 1994. Headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Partnered with TESOBE to help banks in Latin America leverage open banking to build better, more customer-centric apps and services.

Long Game

Won Best of Show for its gamified finance app that helps banks acquire new customers and increase engagement with their Millennial and Gen Z customers. Headquartered in San Francisco, California. Founded in 2015.

Acquired by Truist Financial.


Won Best of Show for its intelligent automation technology that transforms documents into data analytics, helping lenders make timely, high quality credit decisions. Founded in 2014. Headquartered in New York City.

Raised $80 million at a valuation of $500 million. Partnered with fellow Finovate alum Blend to bring automation to the mortgage process.


Won Best of Show for its Customer Link solution that turns customer data into smarter action and provides a 360 degree view of your customers. Founded in 1845. Headquartered in New York City.

In partnership with Microsoft, teamed up with Finovate alum FintechOS to build a digital banking solution.

Who will take home the trophies this year at FinovateFall 2022? Join us in New York next month as we showcase upwards of 60 innovative fintech companies – all vying for the title of Best of Show.

Photo by Wendy Wei

Conversations from FinovateFall: The Road to Collaborative Banking with ASA Head of Fintech Relationships Ryan Ruff

Conversations from FinovateFall: The Road to Collaborative Banking with ASA Head of Fintech Relationships Ryan Ruff

At FinovateFall we had a number of conversations with fintech professionals on the challenges of forging successful fintech partnerships. One of the more illuminating discussions we had was with Ryan Ruff, Head of Fintech Relationships with ASA Technologies, who discussed his company’s unique approach to helping fintechs and financial institutions build more constructive collaborations.

As both a fintech executive and a fintech founder, Ruff has a unique understanding of the challenges that fintechs and financial institutions often face when trying to work together. In our discussion at FinovateFall, he explained what some of those pain points are and how ASA Technologies’ platform enables both parties – fintechs and financial institutions – to maximize their interaction with each other, minimize inevitable risks, and focus on core competencies.

On the challenges financial institutions and fintechs face when trying to forge meaningful partnerships.

One of the things we’ve noticed is that everyone understands banking-as-a-service. What that really (represents) is a relationship between one fintech and one financial institution. And there’s a lot of risk there. On the financial institution side, they are asking the question: is this fintech really going to succeed? Do they have the capital? Are they PCI compliant? SOC-2 compliant? There’s a lot of risk in that relationship.

What we do is (offer) a contractual agreement where one financial institution enters into a partnership with all of the fintechs (on our platform), so that if one of them fails, it’s not that big of a deal because there are more coming and there are others on the platform, so it takes away that risk of partnering.

On the other side, the fintechs, when they get on to our platform, they are now partnering with all of the financial institutions, so they can go and find the ones that are most conducive to their clients and can send all their clients to that institution.

On the importance of building understanding and trust among all parties

It’s important that the technology piece is secure, that it’s being done in a compliant way … that’s very important and we work on that. But it’s also important that the revenue models work for both parties as well. (For example) if a fintech has a lead for a banking service like a home loan or a car loan or a student loan, they can send that back to the ASA platform, where the customer is actually a client for the institution. That institution gets to do that loan and then the referral fee goes back to the fintech that provided the referral. So both sides are making money, and they are able to stay in their core competencies and really work at scaling their core value propositions.

What makes a fintech special is that it’s a niche application. It’s something that’s going to help a specific user. Ironically, when you try to go partner with a financial institution, they are looking at it and saying I don’t know if this is going to affect a big enough segment of our user base, so I don’t know if it’s worth doing the partnership. The very thing that makes your fintech special, is what makes it hard to partner.

Now in (our) model, the financial institution is not just getting this one fintech that gets one sliver, they’re getting all the fintechs (which will) hit a much wider base collectively. So it makes more sense for both parties when you’re doing it “multiple (fintechs) to multiple (financial institutions).”

On the way that the current social and economic climate has impacted the work ASA does

It’s made the need for what we do even greater. People are changing what they need out of a bank, and they’re changing what they need out of a fintech because our world is changing. We’re trying to come into a new normal right now that a lot of people don’t understand, and wonder what the future is going to look like. We’ve got a platform where people can build those user experiences really quickly, get them to scale, and get them to market quicker than ever before. So really this moment brings an opportunity for our institutions and our fintechs to be able to collaborate together quickly to build those experiences that people are going to want in this new environment that we’ve all been thrown into.

Check out the rest of our conversation with Ryan Ruff from FinovateFall 2021 on creating successful fintech partnerships – and the importance of moving beyond open banking to what he calls “collaborative banking.”

Photo by James Lee from Pexels

It’s Time to Watch Some FinovateFall Demos and Chill

It’s Time to Watch Some FinovateFall Demos and Chill

Grab the popcorn. It’s time to watch some FinovateFall demos and chill. All 74 of this year’s live demos from FinovateFall 2021 are ready for your viewing pleasure.

Simply check out the demo tab on the Finovate website to browse, find, and watch any of the seven-minute demos from last month’s event for free. Already seen them all? Send a link to a colleague who wasn’t able to make it!

The best way to dive in is to check out the demos that the audience voted as Best of Show. Here’s a list to get you started:







Long Game



Photo by Georgia Vagim on Unsplash

Fresh Off the Stage: The Finovate Demo Experience

Fresh Off the Stage: The Finovate Demo Experience

FinovateFall returned to America’s financial capital last month, and was able to put the live demos back on the main stage. Over 75 companies took their chance to present their latest innovations to the audience, competing for the coveted Best of Show awards (find out who took home the hardware here).

The demo timer runs down quickly with only 7-minutes on the clock, so we sat down with several demoing companies to hear a little more about their origin story, overcoming the challenges of the past year and their experience as a Finovate demoer. Check out the conversations below!

Marc Corbett, Senior Solutions Engineer, Backbase

Ryan Ruff, Head of Fintech Relationships, ASA Technology

Bolun Li, Founder & CEO, Zogo Finance

Find out more about FinovateFall and stay up-to-date with the latest announcements about 2022!

4 Reasons to Believe Cryptocurrencies Are Here to Stay

4 Reasons to Believe Cryptocurrencies Are Here to Stay

On the final day of FinovateFall a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk with James Wallis, Vice President of RippleX, Central Bank Engagements, and CBDCs, on the topic of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and the potential traction both are gaining within mainstream finance.

Wallis offers an unqualified “yes!” in response to the question of whether or not digital assets and the technology that makes them possible are gaining in popularity with financial institutions. Pressed for examples that support his conviction, Wallis had more than a few examples to share with our attendees. Below, we excerpted a few highlights from his remarks on where to look and what to watch for as the financial sector begins to shift from crypto-curious toward a potentially more enduring embrace of the technology.

Trade Finance

“Traction is being gained. It has been steadily growing over the past four or five years. A few examples, or proof points, particularly in the blockchain space: there are a number of trade finance initiatives around the world, different consortiums are live and running, facilitating trade finance with different blockchain platforms.”

“With RippleNet we have a global network for cross-border payments, which is blockchain based, and we use a native crypto, XRP, to facilitate cross-border payments in what we call ‘on-demand liquidity’.”


“We’re seeing lots of different assets being tokenized, whether that’s NFTs, or securities, whether it’s currencies … That, I think, is a big trend. I think the World Economic Forum has predicted that something like 10% of the world’s GDP will be tokenized by 2027. I think that equates to around $24 trillion of goods and assets being tokenized.”

Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs)

“It’s a very busy environment right now. I think there’s a clear distinction between research and proof of concept versus building out real systems. Among the ones that are furthest ahead in building out real systems, China is probably the biggest one of scale. They are still in pilot mode; they are not fully operational. But they have had a number of pilots in different cities around China, and also are looking now to do some pilots cross border, as well. On the other end of the scale in terms of size, you have the Bahamas with their sand dollar, which is up and running.”

“Others that have done a lot of great research and are fairly well along but have not really pulled the trigger to go live yet are in Sweden with their digital e-krona and then, of course, Singapore with the Monetary Authority there. They have had a number of different projects over the last several years.”

Commercial bank interest rising

“I’ve seen personally a big uptick (in interest) in the last three or four months from commercial banks, household name banks wanting to understand more about what their role will be or could be in a CBDC. You know, when commercial banks start paying attention to something its because they’re either feeling there’s an opportunity to make more money or they feel there’s a threat against them.”

“A lot of early work was really wholesale: bank to bank transfers through central bank accounts. And that’s a valid use case. There’s been a trend in the last 12 months more towards retail, people looking at digital cash or other use cases around retail. Most of those, so far, have been domestic. In the Bahamas it’s really allowing people to send digital money to each other across the different islands there. But we are seeing an increase in interest, as is the Bank of International Settlements, in cross-border CBDCs: so how do you transact, say, with a digital U.S. dollar to a digital Euro to a digital yuan? I think use cases will just keep coming and coming, to be honest.”

Photo by Alesia Kozik from Pexels

A Passionate Mindset and Superior Execution: A Conversation with BM Technologies’ Luvleen Sidhu

A Passionate Mindset and Superior Execution: A Conversation with BM Technologies’ Luvleen Sidhu

Is there a better person to lead a conversation about bold leadership in fintech than Luvleen Sidhu? Chair, founder, and CEO of BM Technologies, Sidhu was the youngest female founder and CEO to take a company public when her firm listed on the New York Stock Exchange at the beginning of the year.

“I am proud to see BM Technologies take this historic step and enter the public markets,” Sidhu said in January. “We are delighted to be one of the first neo banking fintechs to go public. We are also EBITDA positive today, which serves to set us apart from other neo banking fintechs in the market.”

Formerly known as BankMobile, BM Technologies currently has more than two million account holders, and provides disbursement services at 700+ college campuses in the U.S., reaching one out of every three students in the country. The BaaS innovator was among the fintechs to earn recognition at the recently announced Finovate Awards, taking home top honors in the Best Fintech Partnership category for its collaboration with T-Mobile.

Beyond the Arc’s Steven Ramirez hosted a fireside chat with Luvleen Sidhu as part of the FinovateFall conference in New York last week. Below are a few excerpts from their conversation.

On what it takes to be a bold leader today

For me, being a bold leader really comes down to a few key things that, in my opinion, a bold leader would demonstrate. So that is being able to have a compelling and unique and unifying vision and purpose. (It is) being able to get people to buy into that, to be energized by that, committed to that. (It is also) being able to have superior execution, because you can have a great idea and be in the clouds, but unless you are working on improving, iterating, and being agile and adaptive to the times, you’re not going to succeed.

On the inspiration behind her company’s “bold bet” in 2016

We launched in 2015 as a direct-to-consumer strategy – like the Chimes, the Varos, the N26s of the world are doing now. We found out pretty early on that our pillar of being able to have a profitable, sustainable model as fast as possible wasn’t happening. The CAC was really high. We weren’t getting the sort of engagement and direct deposit customers which are critical in banking to actually get. So we took a bold bet in 2016 where we took a B2B2C approach and started implementing banking as a service, which is our strategy today.

On practicing bold leadership on an individual level

I think it’s contagious. When you’re bringing that innovative sort of passionate mindset and energy to work, then you engender that with everyone that you work with. It creates this ripple effect and you get others to buy in and work with you and you create a lot of tremendous momentum from that. I think it’s (important to) remain keen to continuous learning. This space is moving so fast. We can’t rest on our laurels for more than six months (before) you’ve got to innovate again. And so it’s people that make sure that they’re looking at what their customers are saying – and responding to that – but also looking at the competitive environment, how is it changing, how is it evolving … (That’s) how you remain competitive in the space.

Check out the rest of Luvleen Sidhu’s Fireside Chat: Why We Need Bold Leadership More Than Ever Before from FinovateFall 2021.

What You Saw and What You Missed at FinovateFall 2021

What You Saw and What You Missed at FinovateFall 2021

Earlier this week we celebrated the return to in-person events with FinovateFall. Though this year’s event felt a bit different from years past, with vaccination wristbands and social distancing replacing handshakes and hugs, there was an undeniable energy present. While it was wonderful to see many familiar people face-to-face, it was also refreshing to see new ideas and technology presented by the experts themselves.

With three days of demos, panels, keynotes, and networking, there was a lot to take in. Whether you attended in person or digitally, you were able to see some of the newest ideas and technology in banking and finance. And if you weren’t able to attend this time around, here’s a recap of what you saw and what you may have missed.

Overarching themes

  • Consumers have changed how they choose their bank.
    This one seems like a theme we’ve been hearing for a couple of years now, but I think it is becoming even more concrete as the move to digital is ever-accelerating. The anecdote I heard multiple times was how consumers used to base their banking relationship on which FI had the closest branch or the most ATMs in their region. Today, with the abundance of neobanks, consumers have a different mindset. They choose their banks based on the brand. Does it appear trustworthy and transparent, or is there too much fine print? Does it offer unique features such as early wage access that speak to the customer’s needs? Does it benefit the community? Does it speak to the unique needs of the customer’s tribe?
  • Cybersecurity should still be top-of-mind.
    The cybersecurity and fraud prevention theme is one that has been around since the dawn of fintech. It is also one that isn’t going away any time soon. With the push to digital, fraudsters are finding increased profits. At this week’s event, we saw multiple fintechs looking to stem the flow of cash into criminals’ pockets.
  • Regtech is rising.
    The U.S. has been slow to adopt existing regtech tools and create new ones. However, we’ve seen an increase in regulation around consumer data and customer communication. Not only that, but new technologies are also bringing pending regulation around AI, smart contracts, and cryptocurrencies. Fintech is here to fill the dearth of regtech solutions and save financial services companies and fintech alike from legal headaches.
  • Consumers are ready for self-service.
    We now live in a world where people no longer want to make a phone call to order a pizza, but would rather do so via an app. On top of this mobile-first preference, consumers also expect things on-demand. For these reasons, the chatbots that were dismissed in years past as a solution-looking-for-a-problem. At this week’s conference, however, we heard that chatbots are now some of the most practical tools FIs can implement to best serve their clients.

My highlight

My favorite session was the Investor All Star panel featuring Alexa Von Tobel, Founder and Managing Partner of Inspired Capital, and Matt Harris, Partner at Bain Capital Ventures. The two discussed the new “creator economy,” a sub sector of the gig economy that represents not just social media influencers, but anyone who monetizes content online.

Harris pointed out that, in general, relatively little money trickles down to creators such as musicians and artists because much of the funds are gobbled up by middlemen such as studios, auction houses, galleries, and publishing companies. However, with the advent of NFTs it is now possible for any artist to directly reap the rewards of their labor using only an NFT Marketplace.

Von Tobel added that banks need to be ready to serve the unique needs of this new workforce, many of which are Gen Z, that wants to ditch traditional jobs to work for themselves.

Hints at what to expect for 2022

  • We’ll see more no code and low code solutions.
    At FinovateFall this year, it was obvious that the no code movement is having a moment. It democratizes the internet, making it easy for almost anyone to launch a new tool, product, solution, or even an entire business. Competition in this arena has been slowly heating up for years and next year we can expect it to explode.
  • There will be more chat bots and AI-enabled help channels.
    With all of the mentions of self-service technology that pulsed throughout this week’s conference, it became clear that the chatbot movement isn’t just a passing fad. Given this, combined with the difficulty of creating self-service tools that actually meet customers’ needs, we can expect to see more, smarter chat bots and a wider variety of self-service tools.

This was Finovate’s last event for the year. Keep an eye out for updates on our conference roster for next year, including:

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Welcome to Day Three of FinovateFall 2021!

Welcome to Day Three of FinovateFall 2021!

After two days of live demos from innovative fintechs and financial services companies, today is a day dedicated to discussing the key themes and critical issues facing our industry today.

From our Investor All-Stars presentations to our special focus tracks on Future Tech, Future Payments, SME and Consumer Lending, and Digital Transformation, Day Three of FinovateFall gives us the opportunity to put two day’s worth of fintech innovation into context – and to turn that context into action: to grow and evolve, to improve ROI, and to change the customer experience for the better.

Thank you for spending the week with us here at FinovateFall. Here is the agenda for today. All times Eastern.

8:15am – 9:00am | Registration, Breakfast, and Networking

9:00am – 9:05am | Welcome from Finovate

9:05am – 9:35am | Investor All-Stars

9:35am – 9:50am | Mastermind Keynote featuring Jon Curtis of Samsung Electronics America

9:50am – 10:40am | Seven in Seven: 7 Expert Speakers Tackle Top Issues in Fintech

10:40am – 11:10am | Networking Break

11:10am – 11:25am | Special Address: The Growth of In-Car Intelligent Assistants

11:25am – 11:40am | Mastermind Keynote: The Future of Digital Identity is NOW

11:40am – 12:05pm | Five in Five: 5 Expert Speakers Tackle Top Issues in Fintech

12:05pm – 1:05pm | Lunch and Networking Break

1:05pm – 2:25pm | Finovate Focus Tracks

  • Future Tech
    • Fireside Chat: Digital Currencies, Diem, Central Bank Digital Currencies & Blockchain – Are Digital Currencies & Blockchain Finally Gaining Traction with FIs?
    • Mastermind Keynote featuring Nick Mates of Lendr
    • Keynote Address: Harnessing AI to Improve Efficiencies, Increase Margins, and Prevent Fraud
    • Power Panel: The Conversational AI Market is Expected to Reach a $14 Billion Valuation by 2025 – How Can You Leverage It to Deliver ROI-Driving CX?
  • Future Payments
    • Mastermind Keynote: Creating a Winning Cardholder Experience
    • Fireside Chat: The Need for Speed – Where Next with Faster Payments?
    • Keynote Address: eCommerce and Post-Pandemic Priorities
    • Power Panel: How Will New Technologies, New Competitors, and New Business Models Shape the Future of Payments? Is Payments Orchestration About to Have its Moment?

2:25pm – 4:00pm | Finovate Focus Tracks

  • Digital Transformation
    • Keynote Address: Customer Insights – Sharing Real Life Examples of Best Practices in CX and How to Blend Human and Digital CX
    • Keynote Address: Financial Services Digital Transformation: Embracing the Next Generation of Technology
    • Power Panel: How Open Innovation & Strategic Partnerships Can Help You On Your Digital Transformation Journey
  • SME & Consumer Lending
    • Keynote Address: PPP Loans – How Community Banks Rose to the Occasion & What Lessons Can We Learn from Their Success?
    • Mastermind Keynote: Onboard at the Speed of Digital – Flatten Silos, Fuel Lending, and Regain Control
    • Power Panel: Lending 2.0 – What Are the Problems that Need to Be Solved for Consumers & SMEs in the New COVID-19 World?

4:00pm – 4:05pm | Close of FinovateFall 2021

FinovateFall 2021 Best of Show Winners Announced

FinovateFall 2021 Best of Show Winners Announced

The Best of Show winners of FinovateFall this year featured both veterans and newcomers, established companies and bold, Millennial-led startups, fintech innovators from as far away as Europe and Latin America, as well as home-grown talent from right here in the U.S.A.

To be honest, we could not imagine a better way to celebrate Finovate’s return to New York!

So please join us in offering a hearty congratulations to the companies selected by our attendees as the FinovateFall 2021 Best of Show.

Array for its personalized consumer credit, identity, and financial wellness tools available via both API as well as embeddable components. Video.

AutoBooks for its small business digital invoicing and online payment acceptance tools for FIs. Video.

Bambu for its B2B robo-advisory platform for financial institutions and fintech disruptors. Video.

Dreams for its banking platform that leverages behavioral science to boost customer engagement and financial well-being. Video.

Horizn for its platform that helps banks accelerate digital banking knowledge, fluency, and adoption. Video.

Infocorp for its Mobile Native App, that brings hyper-personalized experiences for every user in one single bank app. Video.

Long Game for its gamified finance app that helps banks acquire new customers and increase engagement with their Millennial and Gen Z customers. Video.

Ocrolus for its intelligent automation technology that transforms documents into data analytics, helping lenders make timely, high quality credit decisions. Video.

PwC for its Customer Link solution that turns customer data into smarter action and provides a 360 degree view of your customers. Video.

Thanks to all the demoing companies, our sponsors and speakers, and our attendees for making our return to live fintech conferencing such a resounding success. Keep in touch with us via the Finovate blog for updates on our upcoming events next year in London for FinovateEurope, in San Francisco for FinovateSpring, and beyond!

Notes on methodology:
1. Only audience members NOT associated with demoing companies were eligible to vote. Finovate employees did not vote.
2. Attendees were encouraged to note their favorites during each day. At the end of the last demo, they chose their three favorites.
3. The exact written instructions given to attendees: “Please rate (the companies) on the basis of demo quality and potential impact of the innovation demoed.”
4. The nine companies appearing on the highest percentage of submitted ballots were named “Best of Show.”
5. Go here for a list of previous Best of Show winners through 2014. Best of Show winners from our 2015 through 2021 conferences are below:
FinovateEurope 2015
FinovateSpring 2015
FinovateFall 2015
FinovateEurope 2016
FinovateSpring 2016
FinovateFall 2016
FinovateAsia 2016
FinovateEurope 2017
FinovateSpring 2017
FinovateFall 2017
FinovateAsia 2017
FinovateMiddleEast 2018
FinovateEurope 2018
FinovateSpring 2018
FinovateFall 2018
FinovateAsia 2018
FinovateAfrica 2018
FinovateEurope 2019
FinovateSpring 2019
FinovateFall 2019
FinovateAsia 2019
FinovateMiddleEast 2019
FinovateEurope 2020
FinovateFall 2020
FinovateWest 2020
FinovateEurope 2021
FinovateSpring 2021

Welcome to Day Two of FinovateFall 2021!

Welcome to Day Two of FinovateFall 2021!

“Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome …” to Day Two of FinovateFall 2021!

From the smiles on the faces of the hundreds who joined us yesterday at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square to the thunderous applause that greeted virtually every demoing company and keynote speaker, yesterday was a wonderful reminder of both how much we missed hosting live events and how much so many of you have enjoyed attending them.

Today on Day Two we plan to keep the momentum going with another full day of fintech demos, insightful keynotes, and fireside chats. And to finish off the day – in addition to our Best of Show Awards Ceremony – we’re hosting a quartet of free-wheeling, no-holds-barred, Champagne Executive Boardroom sessions held under Chatham House Rules. With topics ranging from New Technology and Fighting Financial Crime to Open Banking and how to take advantage of “the Single Biggest Wealth Transfer in History,” these cocktail-hour sessions are not to be missed.

Here’s the schedule for today. All times Eastern Standard.

8:00am – 8:50am | Registration, Breakfast, and Networking

8:50am – 8:55am | Welcome from Finovate

8:55am – 10:20am | Demo Session #1

10:20am – 10:35am | Mastermind Keynote: The Transformative Role of AI in Financial Services

10:35am – 10:50am | Fireside Chat: The Platform Economy is Coming – How Much of a Threat Are the Tech Giants to Incumbents?

10:50am – 11:20am | Networking Break

11:20am – 11:35am | Mastermind Keynote: Accelerating Innovation in Financial Services with Unqork and InterSystems

11:35am – 12:45pm | Demo Session #2

12:45pm – 1:30pm | Lunch & Networking Break

1:30pm – 1:45pm | Mastermind Keynote: AI-First Digital Engineering for Financial Services

1:45pm – 2:45pm | Demo Session #3

2:45pm – 3:15pm | Networking Break

3:15pm – 3:30pm | Mastermind Keynote: Open Banking – Powering the Future SME Marketplace

3:30pm – 4:30pm | Demo Session #4

4:30pm – 4:45pm | Fireside Chat: Why We Need Bold Leadership More Than Ever Before

4:45pm – 6:15pm | Networking Reception with cocktails & appetizers

  • Champagne Executive Boardroom Sessions 4:45pm
  • Best of Show Awards Ceremony 5:30pm

6:15pm – 6:20pm | Close of Day 2

Welcome to Day One of FinovateFall 2021!

Welcome to Day One of FinovateFall 2021!

The day we’ve been waiting for is here. After more than a year and a half of all-digital events, Finovate is LIVE!

With more than 75 innovative fintechs scheduled to demo their latest technologies and 1,100+ registered attendees (900+ in person), we could not be more excited for the start of FinovateFall this year.

Our return to the live stage begins bright and early Monday morning and continues through Wednesday afternoon with live demos, dynamic panel discussions, and keynote addresses from some of fintech’s most insightful and accomplished analysts and entrepreneurs.

For those who are joining us in New York at the Marriott Marquis Times Square, we look forward to seeing you in person this week. We also want to assure you that we take the challenges of COVID-19 seriously, and have taken a number of steps to comply with local guidelines and requirements to provide the safest possible environment for this week’s event.

To this end, please review our FinovateFall 2021 At-Event Safety FAQ, which provides information on vaccination requirements, masking policy, and other additional measures we are following.

And if you can’t make it here, you can still enjoy Finovate anywhere you’ve got an internet connection via our Digital Pass offering.

However you plan to join us, here are the essentials for Day One of FinovateFall 2021 that all attendees – in-person and virtual – need to know. All times Eastern Standard.

8:00am – 8:50am | Registration, Breakfast, and Networking

8:50am – 8:55am | Welcome from Finovate

8:55am – 10:20am | Demo Session #1

10:20am – 10:35am | Mastermind Keynote: Why Three Decades of Cybersecurity Advances Still Don’t Protect Our Data

10:35am – 11:05am | Networking Break

11:05am – 11:25am | Analyst All Stars: How Financial Services Have Been Changed Forever

11:25am – 12:50pm | Demo Session #2

12:50pm – 1:40pm | Lunch and Networking Break

1:40pm – 2:10pm | Women in Fintech Power Panel: Paving the Way for the Next Generation of Female Founders and Executives

2:10pm — 3:25pm | Demo Session #3

3:25pm – 3:55pm | Networking Break

3:55pm – 4:10pm | Mastermind Keynote: What Are The Key Questions to Ask When Evaluating Neobanks?

4:10pm – 5:10pm | Demo Session #4

5:10pm – 6:45pm | Networking Reception with cocktails and appetizers

Beyond Trendy: Fintech Themes at FinovateFall

Beyond Trendy: Fintech Themes at FinovateFall

We have 70+ demo companies at this year’s FinovateFall event, taking place September 13 through 15 online and in-person in New York City. These demos, combined with a full lineup of keynotes and panel discussions, will bring a wide variety of themes. To get an idea of what’s trending this year, we’re taking a look at the key themes repeated throughout both the demos and the discussions.

For the demos, we’ve distilled the themes into five major categories, as outlined below.


Today’s data discussions transcend the conversations of Big Data that were en vogue in 2015. This year, data is everywhere; it touches everything. Companies will be looking at how they can help gather, clean, and analyze data; how they can place the customer in charge of their own data while allowing the firm to leverage consumer data; and how they can collaborate with others around data. They will also be discussing specific use cases such as receipt data and pulling data from paper documents. At this year’s event, seemingly everything is data-driven.

Fraud prevention & compliance

We can expect to see solutions to prevent financial crime at pretty much every event. Fraud is ubiquitous in financial services because bad actors consistently benefit from it. This fintech sub-sector is continuously evolving as hackers become more and more cunning. And this year, we’ve noticed the addition of more compliance tools to assist with regulations and audits around fraud.

Digital assistant

With the Delta variant in full force, we still have not entered a post-COVID world. Given that our social distancing habits must persist, companies are investing more energy in developing digital assistants. No matter how you may feel about chatbots, they have proven to be a viable way to communicate with clients when in person discussions are no longer an option. And this theme goes beyond chatbots. Digital assistants including AI-powered call centers and automated customer interactions of all types are rising up to help take the burden off of customer service agents during a time when in-branch conversations are not possible.

Customer engagement

Another byproduct of COVID’s aftermath, customer engagement technologies continue to be front-and-center on the minds of banks, fintechs, and (of course) consumers alike. Because so much of our lives currently takes place online, customers now expect an engaging, personalized customer experience.

One of the ways financial firms are tackling this challenge is by creating a gamified user experience. By taking wha typically is viewed as a chore and making it into something fun, customers are more likely to use and return to an app or an online experience.

Another key to customer engagement is, of course, personalization. By leveraging data to center the user experience around the customer’s needs, fintechs and banks can ensure to captivate their existing client base and reign in new ones.

Financial planning and investing

The roboadvisor craze of 2015 has matured, and has left a number of powerful fintechs in its wake. This is thanks to increased popularity combined with enabling technologies of the new decade. Unlike the first wave of roboadvisory tools, today’s offerings tend to take a more holistic and personalized approach. At this year’s event, we’ll see tools that look at consumers’ financial wellness as a whole, not just their retirement savings.

Another difference from early wealthtech tools is that more of today’s offerings are B2B instead of strictly B2C. At FinovateFall 2021, we’ll see tools that help advisors create more value for their clients and products for employers to help their workforce build better financial health.

What’s missing?

Notably absent from this list are two major themes I would have expected to see. The first is Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), the payment technology that allows customers to pay for purchases in installments after receiving the product. Companies like Afterpay, Affirm, Klarna, and Sezzle have popularized BNPL, and many retailers and payment companies alike have implemented various versions of this model. Given the seemingly viral nature of BNPL, it’s surprising that only a single demo company, Zeta, offers BNPL technology.

The second missing piece this year is AI, which has been a top trend for years. So how can discussions of such a pervasive theme be so absent? The answer is in the question; AI is so pervasive that it has now become table stakes for every fintech sub-sector. In other words, AI has blended into the background. If firms want to compete and offer worthwhile products and services, they must, at a minimum, be leveraging AI.

FinovateFall won’t just be about the demos. We have an impressive lineup of keynote speakers, panelists, and fireside chats to share a range of perspectives on today’s hottest fintech topics. While you’re at the event, keep an eye out for the following themes:

  • Cybersecurity & financial crime
  • Neobanks
  • ESG
  • Financial inclusion
  • Leadership
  • Automation
  • Open finance
  • Wealth management
  • Digital transformation
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Faster payments
  • Customer experience

We’re so excited to return to New York this year! We’ll see you either online or in person starting September 13 at 8 a.m. Eastern time and continuing through the 15th. Book your tickets here.

Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash