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William Mills III, CEO William Mills Agency Live Blog from Finovate Fall NYC 2012-DAY ONE

William Mills, CEO, William Mills Agency


I’m here at the conference and it’s looking bigger and better than ever. Due to technical difficulties I was unable to post this morning’s demos but plan to have most other events reported live.

10:30am BREAK from first demos

I ran into Rod Witmond from Atlanta-based Cardlytics (Full disclosure, William Mills Agency represents the company). If you are not familiar with Cardlytics they are doing great work for a number of financial institutions large and small. If you are at Finovate and would like to meet Rod feel free to send me an email at william@williammills.com.

The next group of sessions are getting ready to start.

10:48 : Waspit is scheduled to go next

Richard and Kasey from Waspit starting demo now for student demographics. 16 million + students in US alone, developed solution to address this market. Showing Apple App on splitting bills at merchants. I’m not sure why they started with students first. They also do contactless and debit cards. Auto check-in and  Facebook updates if you want. Now showing credits and debits with transaction detail with merchants.  Now showing “Banking 2.0″ – ability to upload photos of stuff you’ve done at a merchant or what you bought and tell which friends have been at merchant/venue.  Now showing an integration with Skype.

10:57 PlayMoolah Min Lee (Co-Founder) Looks like a gaming application for financial education for children. App can help children plan and save for things like game systems.  As a grandparent I think this is something my granddaughter would at least give it a try.  I believe kids can use “play” money first to learn what it’s like to earn compound interest then perhaps link to a real bank. I think they make their money by having banks private brand the application.
11:05 Billhighway Vince Thomas (CEO) and  Michele Lange (CMO) are on state now. Mobile Fundraising app is new.  I serve on Florida State University’s College of Communication and Information and this is something of particular interest to me as development is so critical right now as it relates to higher education.


Ignite Sales looks really sharp. Demo from Mitchell and Barbara. It really sounds like a great bank POS application to generate new bank business.


Fiovera – Purna and Prreeti are getting ready to demo their solution to help consumers with bill pay.  It’s like your personal bookkeeper. Right now they are showing a web-based portal on a Windows platform.

It looks pretty slick, helps consumers simplify their bill presentment and payment.


Carta Worldwide – Full NFC solution to market at low cost/risk demo by Giles Sutherland. New platform for modern payment environment.  It sounds like this will be a private label bank solution but I’m not sure. Consumers can load money through a wide variety of payment forms (pre-paid, bank direct, etc.).  Showing a demo using an merchant reader and now showing a web portal of card activity. Peer to peer payment is available as well. Real time back end system. The demo was a white label version app and web demo.


Handpoint – EMV solution demo from David and Thordur. Works with both cards and mobile phones. Showing demo on Android phone. While I know fraud is important but it looks complicated from the merchant side with the phones and POS devices. I’m going to want to learn more about what they are doing in Europe as white label solutions for banks, ISOs and more. PCI compliant.


MasterCard and Linkable Networks – Three speakers including Mario and Tom announcing partnership with Linkable and MC.  It looks like a rewards platform that’s integrated with the card transactions based on the SKU of the exact items.  Showing a Sunday newspaper FSI ad with QR code that a consumer could scan with their phones and THEN use the couple on their mobile which is pretty cool – no more coupon clipping. I’d like to know how they work with banks with this platform. I think it might be more detail based on the SKU data.


Currency Cloud from London, UK Allow businesses to make International payments direct throughout their API. Live today. Did million in payments in August. Fidor Bank in Germany, Transferwise is a P2P client, online financial sites, small banks, app vendors and others.  Mike Laven (CEO) and Nasir Zubairi (Head of Product Marketing) are showing a web-based demo. Nice reporting and transaction information. TCC Connect API is for FX payments is open and a single API payment and currency conversion. Good for small banks or businesses that do a lot of business internationally.


Getting back from lunch. The hall is really big with  a ton of people.


Compass Plus – Maria Nottingham (CMO) and Anthony Genovese (VP Consulting). Full disclosure: WMA represents Compass Plus. Compass Plus is demonstrating with a kiosk of their platform.Compass Plus develops and implements a comprehensive and integrated range of electronic payment technologies. Financial institutions, including retail banks and payment processors. TranzAxis enables FI’s to lower their cots related to a wide range of retail solutions.


Dashlane – Emmanuel Schalit (CEO) and Nishant Mani are buying a printer using the Apple Dashlane app. It’s seems to be really fast. I think it could save a TON of time with purchasing w/o entering so much data. Dashlane captured all parts of the transaction. They are chaining to the Dashlane PC App (I think it’s Apple as well). The way they are able to capture so much data is that they get the information from the consumer web site.  Speaking about advantages for all parts of the FI/Merchant value chain as a universal payment program.


Personal Capital – Bill Harris (CEO) plus two others from Personal Capital. They have built and launched a new 401k but cutting fees in half or more – 1/2 of 1% I’m assuming by new technology. It looks pretty sharp and have been noted by Apple for the GUI.  The web portal looks pretty cool. They support all types of 401k plans. I have family members or retirement age that would really benefit from this program.


SecureKey – Best of Show 2 years ago, received large investments from Intel, VISA, MasterCard and two leading telcos. Their goal is to turn each mobile device as their own personal terminal – transact online without having your card on you.  Intel/MC/Securekey pilot with a laptop for a hardware-based authentication. Christian and Chris. The bottom-line is that if everything is hardware authenticated then they should be HUGE.


MoneyDesktop – PFM and more. They presented in the past and I was impressed. I’ve been following this company and they seem to be real up and comers in the space. From what I understand their users have very high adoption rates as opposed to other PFM solutions. From what I hear their new Mobile apps with their tablet apps have a strong GUI.  It looks a lot easier to see. They are announcing their web widget so they say they have a fast sync back-end so phones, tablets and PC’s will all be up-to-date. I’m not sure HOW they are doing it as so much in banking is batch processed as opposed to real-time but I’ll have to ask them.


Blackhawk Network – Tomas Campos is presenting. Demo on their solution for gift cards. They have found that folks are always using their gift cards so I THINK it enables consumers to have their gift cards digitally.  Using Safeway gift card as an example.
In my opinion, this is the only “Gift Card Wallet” that I’ve ever seen. They may be out there but I don’t know them (yet).  Now showing the mobile experience. It looks to be an iPhone IOS Safari-based experience but also integrates to the GoWallet app on the phone. I have a feeling it does (or will) integrate with the new Apple IOS coming out as early as today.


Experian – Steve is President of the credit bureau in North America. Also presetting is Michele Pearson. Presenting prequel to prevent consumer dropout.  Leverages the current environment, the consumer’s credit and more data points to improve marketing offerings.  While improving lead gen for FI’s but also help consumer better understanding of their credit options.


About to take a break.


The presentations are getting ready to start again. People ask me why I attend Finovate, especially their Fall event. Some of the presenters will wind up failing (we’ve worked with a few) but to me it’s one of the best events where some creative thinkers in financial technology come together with a roomful of bankers, consultants, venture capitalists not to mention the press. The reason they chose to have the event every year in New York is that 1) few other FI events are held there and 2) that’s where the media is.

To me, the conference is a terrific event because of the networking opportunities.  There are so many types of people from all areas that attend Finovate.  I remember last time I was here I spent time with Steve Powless, Matt Lawlor, Dinesh Sheth, Sean Banks and even the consumer finance editor for Consumer Reports and probably 50 more other folks.
I suspect that the the banks,  credit unions and other FI’s that are represented are very forward thinking and are willing to consider technology solutions from innovative technology providers (as opposed to buying everything from one vendor).

Everyone that’s here is not in the hall at the moment but this will give you an idea of how big this event is.


Yodlee – Anil Arora (President and CEO) and Eric? (as a small business owner) to demonstrate how Yodlee has technology for much more than account. Yodlee is the engine that drives a lot of other apps in the FI space.


ACTIANCE – Sarah Carter (GM, Social Business) is showing account aggregation for social networking. I’m waiting to see what the FI aspect will be.  Integrates with SalesForce.


Akamai Technologies – Large public company, not a start up. John Buten (Director of Industry Marketing) 8 of top 10 banks use them. Focus on security today. Will attempt to take down a web site with a DDOS attack (Denial of Service?). One site is protected by Akamai, the other is not. Looks like it works pretty good and the unprotected site doesn’t work.

From the company: Akamai® is the leading cloud platform for helping enterprises provide secure, high-performing user experiences on any device, anywhere. At the core of the Company’s solutions is the Akamai Intelligent Platform™ providing extensive reach, coupled with unmatched reliability, security, visibility and expertise. Akamai removes the complexities of connecting the increasingly mobile world, supporting 24/7 consumer demand, and enabling enterprises to securely leverage the cloud.


Virtual Piggy – Public Company – Jo Webber (CEO and Founder) – Virtual Piggy helps parents help their children better manage their money with a “Kid Friendly” interface focused in an online world. It’s a check out for a wide variety of merchants and is PCI compliant.
Because kids can’t put confidential data on a web site it is a way for children to better learn about financial basics in a safe eco-system. Just signed FTD flowers as a merchant.


Dynamics – Jeff Mullen (CEO) has raised in VC. I saw them present in the past and it looks very hot. Using cards that look like standard plastic their cards have a wide variety of “smart” technology for multiple accounts on a single card. Pay with debit, credit, points and more. This year focused on EMV solutions for Europe. Only 83% of mag stripe readers in Europe can support EMV. “Chip and Choice” offers to pay with credit or points and can bypass credit. True technology agnostic: Triple interface. Swipe, insert or tap with security with anti-skim tech.


Deluxe Corporation – Petro (VP Marketing) and Tieg. Some AV tech issues; hope to begin shortly.  Solution to help consumers switch FI’s. New FI works with new customer with new tracking system; showing SunTrust demo.  Nice clean web interface. SwitchAgent moved everything over to the new FI.


Deluxe Corporation – Petro (VP Marketing) and Tieg. Some AV tech issues; hope to begin shortly.  Solution to help consumers switch FI’s. New FI works with new customer with new tracking system; showing SunTrust demo.  Nice clean web interface. SwitchAgent moved everything over to the new FI.


mSHIFT – Scott Moeller – (Chairman and CEO) – Mobile banking provider. Merging mobile banking with mobile payments. Pay from DDA or credit and does not use payment rails via ACH.  Also has mobile rewards. It reminds me of mobile banking and our former client Bling Nation a little bit in that it uses alternative payment platforms and is tied to unique merchant rewards. Also has built in fraud tools. 30 FI’s signed up for the mobile pilot.


The demo sessions are concluding today and the exhibit/demo booths are now very busy. This is where a lot of the real work gets done here.  I’ll be working the exhibit area at 4pm and am on the first row if you would like to schedule a meeting. Also, you can call or TXT me at 678-694-7213 this afternoon or email me at william@williammills.com.

About William Mills Agency

Through three decades of service, our Atlanta-based public relations agency has earned the respect and confidence of editors, reporters and associations in the financial services and technology industries. Our clients receive consistent media attention because we know what information and news the publications want, as well as how and when to share it with them.  We represent 50+ financial technology companies including Jack Henry & Associates, Online Resources, Equifax, CSI, Q2ebanking, Malauzai Software, Beyond The Arc, Bluepoint Solutions, Banno, Compass Plus, CTS, CCG, BVS, Cardlytics, nCino plus many other great companies – from large public companies to VC-backed start ups.

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