In 2007, the Finovate team set about to make the most memorable event in financial services technology, and over the course of more than a decade, Finovate events have attracted tens of thousands of attendees who have watched more than 2,000 demos and presentations from hundreds of companies (all available here and covered in the Finovate blog here).
But, times are changing, and so is Finovate. FinTech Futures sat down with Adela Knox, content and strategy director at Finovate, to discuss what’s new for the conference in 2020.
FinovateEurope is just around the corner, and we noticed it is moving from London to Berlin. Why the change in location?
For the first time ever, FinovateEurope will take place in continental Europe, offering a truly Pan-European fintech event and we are very excited about it! As we know, European fintech is booming in Dublin, Moscow, Lisbon, Istanbul, and everywhere in between and we are keen to capture this on our Stage. Our new central location in Berlin, the fintech powerhouse of Europe, makes it easier than ever to see the best of what the continent has to offer, connecting the dots between countries and creating bridges between continental Europe (east & west), UK and countries of Scandinavia and Balkan.
What’s new and exciting for the programme this year?
We’ve changed to a new, value-packed, three-day format, to make the show as time-efficient as possible.
The first day is a series of individual events, giving attendees the chance to select the specific subject area that interests them most. Day one presents the opportunity to hear from the innovators driving change in a specific field. Expert speakers will analyse the latest trends, opportunities and challenges, bringing the audience the very latest thinking and valuable insights to future proof their business in the following areas:
- Digital Future
- Open Banking
- Future Tech
- Future of Payments
- Financial Crime
- Insurance & Insurtech
The following two days will feature Finovate’s signature 7-minute demos of the latest innovations mixed in with a variety of exciting, informative speakers.
This year we are also incorporating few new elements to foster relationships with our wide Finovate community. The EXEC REBOOT Stage focuses on rebooting the leadership mindset. An invitation only program designed to provide the leading bank c-suite executives with an opportunity to rethink executive leadership and build an invaluable peer network. Our CxO guests will have an opportunity to join closed-door strategy sessions, thought provoking chats with industry leaders, off-the-record boardroom brainstorm sessions and private networking that will refuel and reenergise.
Our Women in Fintech content and networking program is dedicated to supporting inclusion and empowerment of women in fintech, offering a curated program to help women in financial services and technology build their network and advance their careers.
Finally, we are also launching a Startup Booster Program which is providing a quick boost of insight and connections to early stage start ups. At Finovate, we’ve always believed that early-stage startups are a vital part of the fintech ecosystem. They are able to challenge the status quo and bring about change in a way that’s very difficult for traditional financial institutions or more established technology companies to mimic. Participating companies (who must be 5 years old or younger and must have raised less than $5M US) will have dedicated content to help them navigate the early stages of their company’s life, and we’ll also be giving them substantial networking opportunities so they can connect with influential fintech insiders. The Startup Booster program also offers a clear path to our demo stage, where companies who are ready can showcase their technologies in front of the entire audience.
How many demos can we expect at FinovateEurope 2020? The demo format has remained unchanged – a seven-minute live demo, no slides or video allowed – since Finovate first launched in 2007. What makes this format so appealing to start-ups and the audience alike?
We’ll have two days of demos next February, showcasing around 60 companies.
The curation component is one of the reasons the format resonates so strongly with attendees. When we hand-pick companies, we’re seeking to build a diverse roster of fintech themes and technology, company stages, headquarter regions, and gender diversity among founders. These are the companies that attendees should know about. Another reason it’s successful is because the audience gets to actually see in real-time how the technology works, not just a polished elevator pitch. It’s the best (and fastest) way for them to know if there’s a need and fit within their organizations.
For the start-ups, the value comes from our competitive selection process – we look at hundreds of companies during the process – and the fact that for two days, the focus is entirely on the demos – they’re on the mainstage stage in front of our full audience. Plus, instead of a massive exhibition floor, we limit the number of booths to keep networking intimate and attendee focus on the demoers. Lots of our alumni have demoed time and again (or applied to!) as a direct result of the high ROI.
So, there’s a lot going on! Finally, let’s talk future trends. Future tech and open banking have been key topics for discussion within the fintech industry this decade, why do you think this is? What might be the defining topics of the next decade?
Understanding future technology and keeping pace with the emerging techn landscape can be challenging for even the most tech-savvy leaders. This is because exponential advances in technology have completely reshaped the way banks, insurance companies, and investment managers do business. To succeed and even to compete in today’s tech-focused culture, financial services providers need to cut through the hype and understand which new tech is potentially transformative and how and where to deploy it.
One of the most powerful places we’ve seen technology take hold is within customer experience. The obvious benefit of enhancing the customer experience is to create a happy end user. The less obvious (and perhaps even more lucrative) benefit is that by leveraging AI and large data sets companies can better understand and anticipate their customers’ needs and more successfully cross-sell and up-sell new products and services.
In the next decade, we can expect to see a progression around the discussion of privacy, which will lead to a massive evolution of regtech. AI will stay front-and-centre but will fade into the background of discussion as it becomes the rule instead of the exception. And it’s likely that cryptocurrencies will become more mainstream and evolve from an underground subtopic of fintech to more commonplace among traditional financial services.