At the beginning of November, I attended VentureTech22 in Frisco, Texas. The show aims to drive digital transformation and innovation in the credit union industry, giving fintechs a platform to present their technologies to an audience of credit unions, credit union service organizations (CUSOs), credit union leagues and league service corporations, as well as fintech investors.
This was the fifth year of VentureTech, organized by Curql Collective and CUNA Strategic Services (CSS), and my second time at the show. The conference was attended by more than 350 people, including 120 credit union representatives, 36 CUSOs, 15 credit union leagues and 15 venture capital firms. I was impressed by how much the show had grown since last year – the number of exhibitors and sponsors significantly increased, and the audience almost doubled.
In the first two days of the event, we saw 15-minute demos from 16 fintechs, all hoping to impress the credit union representatives and venture capitalists in the room. On day one, eight companies presented – Datava, PayLane, Ranqx, Cinchy, Bank Social, Senso, Fintel Connect and MessagePay. Innovations included dataware and payments platforms, a self-custodial cryptocurrency exchange service, an artificial intelligence (AI) behavioral prediction software and a growth marketing technology. The best demo of the day, voted by members of the audience, was Ranqx, a New Zealand-based small and medium business (SMB) digital lending platform, that is hoping to break into the U.S. market.
On day two, the main theme was financial health and banking the underserved. The day kicked off with a speech by Rodney E. Hood, Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), that focused on how credit unions can improve their members’ financial health. Then, eight more fintech companies presented – Credit Mountain, Zirtue, Nickels, Goalsetter, Flow Networks, Uplinq, LemonadeLXP, TAPP Engine, four of which showcased products built to improve consumers’ financial wellness. For example, Credit Mountain enables credit unions to offer declined borrowers a “Path to Approval” while Nickels’ flagship product gives credit union members a single place to manage their credit cards and receive personalized guidance to improve credit card health.
The winning demo of day two, the winner of Best in Show, and my personal favorite was Goalsetter, a mobile banking and investment platform for K-12 students and their families. Tanya Van Court, the founder and CEO, delivered a powerful presentation on how Goalsetter is closing the wealth gap in America by providing education-first savings accounts, teen and tween debit cards and investing tools.
I enjoyed the event, and I particularly appreciated the limitless opportunities to network in the exhibition hall. The agenda was well divided between fintech presentations and breaks, giving everyone a chance to mingle and build connections with the exhibitors and sponsors. Moreover, for the first year in VentureTech’s history, day three was filled with panel discussions, presentations, and group discussions, giving the audience a chance to share their thoughts on the show.
VentureTech is a great conference to go to if you’re a credit union representative looking for new innovative technologies, a fintech looking for investment or partnerships, and even a PR professional wanting to learn more about the industry and build long-term connections. I look forward to seeing the conference grow even bigger next year!