The American leg of the SWIFT Innotribe Startup Challenge took place this week, showcasing 15 regional semi-finalists: startups and innovators in the fintech space selected by a panel of expert judges from more than 170 applicants.
While only five of the semifinalists will move on to present at the finals of the competition at Sibos this year, all the companies that made it this far were recognized for their innovative ideas in financial services technology.
Here's Bank Systems & Technology's takeaways of the trends seen at Innotribe this year:
1. The Evolution of PFM
The stature of PFM within the industry continues to grow. Banks understand the importance of offering good PFM services as a part of the customer experience, while PFM industry leader Mint recently announced its product will become available to financial institutions to integrate into their online and mobile banking services.
Several of the presenters at Innotribe also had a PFM flavor to them. Chile-based AgentPiggy is a sort of PFM for kids. It's CEO, Pablo Abraham, said the product is designed to "educate kids to make better financial decision throughout their life," and is available to individual households on a subscription basis and to be licensed by schools to integrate into their curriculum.
Meanwhile, online tax planning solution GoodApril provides year-round tax planning services for consumers, and was described by its co-founder as "the same as Mint -- except for taxes."
2. Mobile P2P
Mobile financial services continue to be a hot trend, and mobile person-to-person money transfers are one of the most noteworthy. One of the semifinalist winners, P2P Cash believes it has the model for the future by offering consumers the ability to send money for free to any cell phone on the planet.
The company says its advantage over remittance firms like Western Union and Money Gram is its ability to grow its Trusted Agent Network, while maintaining a high degree of reliability and security with guaranteed payments.
"Mobile wallets are exploding all over the planet, and we're trying to be a hub for that," said P2P Cash's CEO Tom Meredith.
With this explosion in mobile financial services also comes just as many security concerns. With consumers using their mobile devices to make more financial transactions, they need to be assured that doing so is secure. Several of the Innotribe semifinalists attempted to solve this problem.
VoiceTrust provides biometrics solutions for authenticating in mobile, online and telephone channels, while Zighra provides a fraud-risk intervention solution that leverages mobile network intelligence, crowdsourced analytics and real-time user authentication to improve fraud discovery and reduce false positives.
Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio