Money makes the world go ‘round and, the 2015 FinTech Startups Conference brought together forty Silicon Alley game-changers to continue the dialog on revolutionizing how we use it. Here were my favorite, thought-provoking moments from the conference:
“If it was easy for financial institutions to innovate, they would have already done it.”- Chris Chen, Yodlee Interactive
Chris Chen envisions a time when big banks will never completely disappear and will instead increase tech innovation through partnerships with startups. We are currently at an early stage of disruption where, in the disaggregation of banking, innovators are picking the low-hanging fruit. A question posed during the Everything You Need to Know About FinTech APIs panel,for all you innovators hungry to go above and beyond said low-hanging fruit: “Can you build an Uber for banking?”
“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”- Michael Corleone, apparently talking about fintech strategy in The Godfather 2, although the original quote came from Machiavelli (The Prince)
Mark Egerman, cofounder of Cover, had plenty to say during the 6 Month Status Report on Apple Pay panel:
- Google Wallet couldn’t catch a break but for some reason, in its early stage, we consider Apple Pay a success.
- As mobile payments become increasingly prevalent, issuers and phone companies will want a slice of the pie.
- Mobile payment accessibility isn’t going to get consumers to switch between Android and iPhone. This is where Facebook becomes a legitimate competitor: Facebook is on every phone.
- Americans are the only people who are perfectly okay with handing our credit cards to a stranger in a restaurant and letting them walk out of our sight.
- If an app is shiny enough, we’ll give it our credit card number, too. (Here, I make a mental note that maybe it’s time I give up the credit card life.)
“It would be weird if billions of dollars went through mobile payments and no one tried to steal some of it.” – Mark Egerman on the security threat of mobile payments
Pertinent to my pursuit of post-college employment, this reflection during the Disrupting Wall Street panel makes me hope I’m not subconsciously institutional:
“The biggest mistake is in backing people that are more institutional.”
A startup is only as good as the team behind it. Likened to Google’s hiring practice of no longer caring about the prestige of applicants’ colleges, hopefully this will give any non-Stanford grad a little ego boost and remind companies to seek out the best team members:
“Lending is a highly regulated area and you can’t take two Stanford kids alone and say ‘go fix this problem.’”
Vince Passione of LendKey also crushed some dreams during the “Growth of Lending: Something Borrowed, Something New”panel:
“If you major in underwater basket weaving, you’re probably not going to get a good [student loan] rate.”
CompStak’s Michael Mandel demoed how “data wants to be free” and how “data is coming to the real estate industry” with the first and largest crowd-sourced website for commercial real estate information.
Django Lor forecasted the future of cloud security with Quiver, which gives the sender ultimate control over who can see particular files and for how long.
Anthony Schrauth presented Betterment, a goal-based online investment company that makes investing accessible to the masses.
The final demo of the day, was Moven, a debit account described as the “bank of the future.” Moven takes the work out of money management and does it all: no ATM fees, instant spending insights, lets you pay your friends via phone, and works with MasterCard PayPass so you can tap to pay.