What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word FinTech? Startups. Disruption. Banking. New York.
That is how we kicked off our series of events at SAP Startup Focus.
Over one hundred attendees representing the New York City Tech Community joined SAP Startup Focus to learn more about the challenges and opportunities around the collaboration between fintech startups and large corporations, and the state of the FinTech market on Wednesday, February 21st at SAP Leonardo center in New York City.
There is no doubt that the FinTech industry has been growing tremendously. Established players like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup continue to invest millions every year, investment in the US has skyrocketed to over US$ 13.1 b in 2016, and most major banks are engaged with FinTechs one way or the other.
Innovations in Financial Services
Tony Evans, SVP and Chief Operating Officer of Financial Services at SAP, kicked off the night with a keynote on Innovations in Financial Services. Tony provided an overview of the top trends that are transforming the financial services industry and how the convergence of disruptive technologies, i.e. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Internet of Things, Robotics is changing market infrastructures in a highly connected real-time world. As banking is one of the industries that emerging technologies are deeply reshaping, Tony discussed some of the most significant trends and strategic priorities for the retail banking industry.
Removing friction from the customer journey, use of Big Data, AI, advanced analytics and cognitive computing, and improvements in integrated multichannel delivery were identified as three most important trends for the retail banking industry while redesign/enhance digital experience for the consumer, enhance data capabilities are amongst the strategic priorities of several organizations.
Tony shared more on how SAP is helping customers to win in the digital economy and become scaled digital businesses, and the opportunities that SAP Leonardo – SAP’s Digital Innovation System – opens for customers, partners, and startups. Finally, Tony invited the audience to join the SAP Financial Services Community, a community that brings together SAP customers, Startups/Fintech, thought leaders in academia, and the Financial Services SAP team from Innovation, Partnering, Leonardo labs and Academia and provides a platform to share information and ask questions to the community.
Fintechs & Banking: What does the Future look like?
Following Tony’s keynote, we had the pleasure to hear about the latest in the banking industry from Mayank Mishra, Managing Director & Global Head Channel Services at Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions, Falk Rieker, GVP, Global Head of IBU Banking at SAP, and Simon Bain, CEO of BOHH Labs, moderated by Steve Rietzke, Director North America Go-to-Market at SAP Startup Focus. Banking is not changing, what’s changing is the speed of banking and the expectations of the new generation of millennials. Panelists discussed the potential of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Augmented Reality and how these new technologies allow for the speed of banking to evolve radically and enhance the customer experience. As data is what drives the world and the digital transformation of banks, there is even a higher need for regulations to help protect individuals.
2018: FinTech & Venture Capital
The event continued with a venture panel featuring Jalak Jobanputra, Founder and Managing Partner of FuturePerfect Ventures, Sunny Parikh, Sr. Director at Partnership Fund for New York City, and moderated by Mark Noronha, Global Lead of Startup Engagement at SAP Startup Focus. Panelists provided the latest on the state of fintech funding, the trends to expect in the years ahead, and ultimately what VCs look for in successful startups.
To Jalak, Fintech is much broader than the way we often define it. In fact, many of the transactions occurring every day are not just currency transactions, but data. For instance, technology enables machines to communicate and transact with each other. She has noticed that financial institutions are early adopters of many emerging technologies. Sunny offered great advice to the startups in attendance and some of the secret sauce of winning investors.
Three FinTechs – Symphony, Ocrolus, and Alice – took the stage to compete for the title of “Most Innovative” company by pitching their solutions to a panel of three judges, namely Falk Rieker, GVP, Global Head of IBU Banking at SAP, Sunny Parikh, Sr. Director at Partnership Fund for New York City, and Mark Noronha, Global Lead of Startup Engagement at SAP Startup Focus.
Alice, represented by CEO and Founder Avi Karnani, was awarded as the “Most Innovative” company. Alice helps working Americans keep more of their paycheck by modernizing pre-tax spending while simultaneously helping employers save on payroll tax. Alice leverages mobile first technology instead of paperwork and forms. Alice works with employees’ existing credit cards. Once a card is linked, Alice does the rest. Employees make purchases as normal, and Alice monitors pre-tax expenses, then put that money back into employees’ next paycheck through our one-click payroll integration.
In case you missed the event, here are a few lessons we learned:
“A good idea doesn’t automatically make a great innovation. Even at the crossroad of human and artificial intelligence innovation is only as great as the humans behind it. It was amazing to see the passion, sophistication and tech savviness of the startups presenting. If this is the future, it looks bright” – Falk Rieker, GVP, Global Head of IBU Banking at SAP.
“It’s been great to see the fintech ecosystem in New York grow over the years. Being in New York, fintech entrepreneurs have the opportunity to collaborate with the high concentration of financial institutions, access leading investors, hire domain experts and play a role in shaping the growing fintech ecosystem in New York.” – Sunny Parikh, Sr. Director at Partnership Fund for New York City.
“We’re humbled to have earned the Most Innovative Company award at SAP4Fintech,” said Alice CEO and co-founder Avi Karnani. “It’s energizing to see companies like SAP recognize our ‘automation over forms, math, and receipts’ approach to helping people keep more of what they earn.” – Avi Karnani, CEO and Co-Founder of Alice Financial.
“Digital transformation is impacting every industry, including the financial services space,” says Simon Bain, BOHH Labs CEO. “There is increased pressure for financial companies to keep pace with innovation and integrate new technologies to drive better processes, products and services. However, this must be balanced with security. The Startup Focus Fintechs & Banking: 2018 Beyond event was a great way to lead industry collaboration and have technology experts and fintech and banking experts come together to address safe and secure methods to offer digital services.” – Simon Bain, CEO at BOHH Labs.
“With the energy and passion apparent from customers, SAP Startup Focus partner companies, employees and so many industry experts – events like these demonstrate a banking industry already leading and gaining velocity through innovation.” – Steve Rietzke, Director North America Go-to-Market at SAP Startup Focus.
“The Financial Services & Insurance industries are perfect examples of collaboration & disruption being two sides of the same coin. The continuously evolving collaboration between established corporates and startups is a delight – this is the epitome’ of what SAP Startup Focus enables and supports to create value for SAP SE’s customers.” – Mark Noronha, Global Lead of Startup Engagement at SAP Startup Focus.
A huge thank-you to SAP Next-Gen, our partner Endeavor and Open Innovation Club, our amazing speakers for bringing their expertise to the stage, sharing their stories and advice, and the startups that took part in the startups showcase.