Investment in fintech, as a whole, tripled or quadrupled from 2013 to 2014. According to Forbes, that’s a growth from $3 billion to over $12 billion. In research complied by California Fintech Network, the most active VCs in this space, e.g. Spark Capital, Accel Partners, QED Investors, Index Ventures, Andreesen Horowitz – average over 10 fintech investments. It’s clear that fintech is disrupting the status quo in financial services, but how does this benefit the consumer? "Fintech companies have had the benefit of crafting their companies around the new demands of the consumer. As many Americans saw their savings evaporate, lost jobs and had their lives significantly altered by the crisis, a large gap of distrust grew between consumers and banks, especially among the millennial generation. Consumers suddenly felt that the status quo would no longer serve them. They wanted to be knowledgeable and in charge of their financial futures. Fintech startups have been able to hone in on the customers' need for trust and an enhanced personal experience," according to CNBC. Consumers are emerging as winners with increased competition and more choices. Fintech startups can beat out larger banks and lenders to develop new technology that’s tailor made to solve consumer pain points. In September 2015, FinCon, an annual conference for digital content creators in the personal finance and investing space, held their first-ever Fintech competition, in partnership with Chase. It was billed as an early-stage business competition dedicated to technology products and solutions in the consumer-facing personal finance and investing verticals. The FinCon community saw itself in a unique position: They could help screen and promote the best fintech products solving consumer pain points. After all, as writers, bloggers, and podcasters, they hear from their audience everyday about their money stresses. They are the voices of their readers. Ten startups participated in the competition, all competing for the top cash prize of $6,000. First prize winners also received promotion on FinConMedia.com, PTMoney.com, a complimentary booth and two passes for #FinCON16. Below is a brief description of each company:
- Wherewithal helps users fund financial goals by earning cash rewards when they shop online.
- Draft uses crowd-sourced data to help users understand and compare their portfolios.
- TickerTags connects trending social content to investable companies.
- FamZoo is an online family banking designed for kids and parents.
- myFinancial Answers is a technology platform that delivers robust financial planning.
- Simply Wall St. helps investors understand the Stock Market by turning complicated data into simple visuals.
- HipMoney analyzes users’ spending without making them change it.
- Dyme is a text-message powered savings tool.
- Sweep helps users get ahead of bills, expenses, and savings goals so they never have to budget again.
- Penny is a Personal Finance coach who automatically identifies and categorizes your spending so users can spend smarter, save more, and live happier.
Each startup presented for 3 minutes on stage before a panel of judges and a live audience at #FinCon15 in Charlotte, NC. They were evaluated on a variety of criteria including market opportunity, a sustainable business model, as well as differentiation/intellectual capital. Congrats to FamZoo and TickerTags, startups that tied and were both declared winners! HipMoney received the runner-up, and our community selected FamZoo for the People’s Choice award. Are you looking to promote your personal finance app through media and blog partnerships? Apply for a chance to pitch consumer-facing financial media that could promote your startup through articles, podcasts, and video content. FinCon is planning a second competition, to be held at #FinCon16, which takes place in San Diego on September 21-24, 2016. Potential competitors can submit their application at http://www.FinConExpo.com/Fintech.