Here’s another round of my notes from yesterday’s Finovate demos. Since each company only got 5 minutes to show their stuff, my notes are short as well. I got to meet many of the companies afterward to get more detail.
Expensr – I thought this might steal Best of Show. It’s a personal finance management tool like Mint, but with a strong focus on widgets. The idea is that you can customize everything to your liking, which is one of the things that came up a month ago at a blogger meet-up they sponsored. They also have been acquired and will change their name to MoneyStrands. Shawn and Reman also put on a witty presentation ending with a humorous revelation that Mint must be scared of them because they bought an ad on Google for expensr.
SmartyPig – I’ve mentioned them in the past and hope to have a more complete review of their product in a week. They focus on three things as far as I can tell: making savings goals public so others can contribute, savings from their partnered retails, an interest bearing account earning a good rate.
Invesra – Retirement planning for financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. Not affiliated with a fund family which makes them unbiased. I believe they sell their product directly to the banks, so if your bank doesn’t buy it, you can’t use it.
Typhone – Mobile contactless payments with a great emphasis on security using industry jargon that I didn’t really understand. I don’t think I care about mobile payments much.
Wesabe – Wesabe had one of the most interesting demos in my opinion. So good that I went back after to see it again (and offer advice for how they can improve the product). They rolled out a new way to compare merchants and find better buying options. It’s much better than what they launched with originally. I could actually see myself using this, which may be the biggest praise I can give.
Wonga – This was one of the oddest entries of the show. It’s a UK-based company, with the URL of Samedaycash.co.uk. You can borrow money for the short term and pay them back at about a percent a day. Want to borrow money for 30 days, you’ll have to pay back 30% (though the interest rate wasn’t mentioned). Ramit and I turned to each other and said, “payday loan.” He made a good point that a credit card is a better deal if you have to pay it off within 30 days (as is the case here). You could pay no interest with the credit card.
Loanio – The much anticipated P2P lending company did show and demo the product. It looks like an unpolished Prosper.com. I have been waiting to hear what make them different than Prosper. It seems there are two things. You can have a co-borrower/co-signer on your loan and you can pay an additional fee to have a platinum listing (I’m not 100% sure what that got you).
Confident Technologies – Tries to the Internet of passwords. They partner with financial institutions to create a new way for customers to log into their accounts. Customers choose two categories like bikini babes and money. When you login, you type your username and up pops 16 pictures of various things like fish, hats, dogs, etc. Two of those 16 pictures will be a bikini babe and a picture of money. You select that pair and it knows it’s you. Bikini babe and money photo is different every time. Lots of scientific psychology studies back this up as a good thing for users. Not sure if bikini babes is one of the available categories – I would imagine it’s not.
IP Commerce – From my notes, “No idea what they do… energetic presenter.” I talked with a few people afterward and only one person had an idea of what they did, because it’s highly relevant to their day job.
SimpleTuition – Approximately from my home town in Massachusetts, they help students find loans and easily apply for them. It’s that “Simple” and useful.