On Tuesday there was a gathering of a number of financial start-ups in San Francisco. There are so many of them that industry’s leading conference, Finovate, has stretched to two days this year instead of the single day it has been in the past. Instead of being a big event like Finovate, this was more of an informal mixer. Lending Club and their main product guru Rob Garcia brought together a bunch of companies to create SF Beta: Financial Innovation.
With such an event in my backyard, how could I not go? Silicon Valley Blogger, her Digerati husband, and I carpooled up to the city to “mix.” I didn’t do much meeting with the attendees. There three main reasons why I didn’t. One, I’m quite shy. Two, I suspect Rob Garcia had some nefarious plan to intimidate me by hiring a bunch of runway models to pose as “attendees.” Three, I was really there to meet with companies and see what they were up to.
What did I learn? Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll go into more detail, but for now I’ll give a quick run-down:
- Credit Karma – Credit Karma was there showing off its Vantage Score and its Auto Insurance Score. If you care about your credit (which you should) and haven’t signed up for Credit Karma, get to it!
- Credit Sesame – After yesterday’s extensive review of Credit Sesame, I don’t need to go much more into it, except to say that Irene Shubladze is quite possibly the most friendly person in the world… seriously.
- Zecco – It’s been awhile since I wrote about Zecco as I haven’t been trading with brokers much these days. Still, I think their ten free trades a month (for accounts with $25,000 or more) is one of the best deals in the industry. They showed off a Zap Trade feature, which is essentially a glorified GreeseMonkey userscript built into a Firefox plugin. For those who don’t speak geek, it edits other pages like CNN Money so that when you see a stock symbol on a story that you are reading, one click opens up a trading window. Zap, you’re investing! (They claim its patent pending, but this kind of stuff is built into products like Skype, and I demoed it for my start-up in 2004, so we’ll see how that goes).
And, of course, Silicon Valley Blogger covered SF Beta as well.