FinovateEurope 2012: More Payments and Mobile, Less PFM
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Sometimes our blog entries are like London busses - you wait for a while and then two turn up in a row... This is my second entry this week, but I am back from travels and wanted to reflect on FinovateEurope, which happened earlier this week in London. For those who are not familiar with Finovate, it's an event where companies are given 7 minutes on stage to demonstrate their products and solutions. Many companies are start-ups, although sometimes large and established players are also there promoting their innovations. This was the second Finovate event in Europe and I was privileged to attend both. 2011 was good, but as expected, the 2012 event was even better. Many things stayed the same, such as the format, the number of presenters (35), etc., but it had a much bigger audience (and hence venue) and was even better organised. Without getting into too much detail and specific companies, what were the key take-aways? To help identify key themes, Celent defined the solution categories and assigned individual companies to the specific categories - the assignments, of course, are subjective and based on Celent's best understanding of the solution demonstrated and what the company does more broadly. Based on this categorisation, last year's event was dominated by Personal Financial Management (PFM) with 6 companies presenting their solutions in this area, whereas this year, only one firm was firmly in the PFM category. Also, there was only one company that was focused on Financial Advice this year vs three companies last year. This year saw the introduction of a new category - Mobile Platforms, which included five companies focused predominantly on developing mobile platforms which enable banks and other players to develop apps and other mobile services. Payments category grew from six to 10 companies this year, but the definition also broadened to include companies that provide card technologies or services to card companies - as a result, some companies, such as Cardlytics moved from Miscellaneous into Payments category this year. The Payments category also includes PayPal, which is obviously a payments company, although this time it did not demonstrate a payments innovation; instead, it showed a creative way to acquire customers and open new accounts. Overall, 12 of the 35 companies presented in both years, although often with new or enhanced solutions. Celent clients may remember my report Innovative Payment Startups: Bank Friends or Foes? in which I reviewed payments companies that presented at FinovateEurope 2011. I intend to do the same again this year, so look out for another report in the near future.