Last week, my colleague Kieran Hines and I attended FinovateEurope 2022, which was back in London as an in-person event again, and it was such a pleasure! The joy of meeting real people and hearing what’s on their minds, seeing the speakers live again, and placing mental bets* on how many demos during the day will get the dreaded 7-min gong! Even Greg Palmer, the irreplaceable master of ceremonies, was pleased to be back on the actual stage, as he lamented that “his jokes weren’t remotely funny” (get it?)
As is often the case, many of the demoing companies had their finger on the pulse and showcased solutions helping the financial services industry tackle acute challenges of the day. Dreams Technology, one of the 'Best of Show' winners, demoed their engagement banking platform rooted in cognitive and behavioural science. It showed how customers can be nudged into looking after their financial wellbeing, which couldn’t be more topical given rampant inflation and economic uncertainty. Meniga, by now an experienced veteran of Finovate, also impressed with their Insight Factory demo.
The importance of responsible and compliant business communications was highlighted when JPMorgan Chase was fined $200 million at the end of last year for conducting business on WhatsApp. Right on cue, a number of demoing companies, including LeapXpert and txtsmarter showed how their solutions can help support financial institutions address such challenges. Of course, Customer Communications Management is a big focus area for Celent as well, where we have a lot of in-depth research.
Embedded finance as an idea and practical tools to make it easier for banks to integrate with third parties also received a lot of attention, as demonstrated by companies such as mmob, another 'Best of Show' winner, Crassula, Fispan, and others.
I was somewhat surprised by how many bankers and other attendees I spoke to brought up the topic of metaverse. Clearly, the recent buzz around it hasn’t gone unnoticed, and bankers are beginning to think about what it might mean for them. Fyndoo, the “end-to-end SaaS lending platform”, even had their demo happening in a metaverse – actual humans were in different corners of the conference hall wearing VR headsets, while their avatars were sitting around the table in a virtual bank branch discussing a loan to purchase metaverse land!
Thank you to everyone that made the time to meet with us. And a big thank you to Katie, Charlie, Lilli, and the rest of the Finovate team for inviting me again to present during the Analyst All Star session - always a pleasure! I also had the opportunity to sit down with David Penn, Finovate’s Research Analyst for a chat – if you have 5 minutes, you can watch the video of the interview by clicking on a button below.
For me, this was a proof – if one was needed – that while Zoom, Teams, and other video tools have been fantastic and we couldn’t do without them, the real-world in-person interaction is hard to replace. Perhaps something to bear in mind as the world rushes to move into metaverse?
(Also, thank you, Kieran, for your support from the front row during my presentation, and for taking this picture!)
* If I am not mistaken, it was four demos that got the gong.