Start Me Up: New Finovate Program Embraces Fintech’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

One of the big additions to FinovateEurope (February 11-13) this year is a new initiative designed especially for fintech startups. Finovate Research caught up with Greg Palmer, Finovate Vice President, to discuss the new program, how it came to be, and what impact he hopes it will make on the broader fintech community.

Since its founding, Finovate has been synonymous with new financial innovation. But the idea has always been that you’ll take innovation wherever you find it – whether it comes from new companies or incumbents. Now Finovate is going all in new companies, fintech startups exclusively, with this new program. What’s the thinking behind it?

Greg Palmer: Finovate is still very much about taking innovation wherever it happens to come from, whether that’s from new startups, established industry behemoths, or anywhere in between, but we know it’s difficult for early-stage startups to get traction, and so we wanted to give them a little extra attention with this program. When it comes to getting a demo slot on stage, we’ll continue to look at the quality of technology first and foremost, rather than the age or revenue of the company behind it; the Startup Booster is really about giving early-stage companies some insights and connections to help them get to the point where they’re ready to stand up in front of large numbers of people and fly their flag.

What are the components of the program? What will the startup companies actually do?

Palmer: We’re still in the first iteration, so this will likely continue to evolve as the program grows, but there are really three primary components to it. The first is that we’ll be offering a dedicated track onsite at our events with information that is specifically relevant to new startups. In that track, we’ll cover things like how to scale up, how to put together a convincing pitch, etc. We’ll follow up that informational session with a condensed networking session, giving attendees a chance to connect with early stage companies and learn about what they do. Finally, we’ll continue to follow up with the companies that participate after the events, with a series of webinars and learnings, so the program doesn’t end just because the event is over.

What do you hope companies participating in the program will gain from it? How do you think it will help the fintech community as a whole?

Palmer: The first thing that companies will gain from it is pretty simple – they’ll be able to come into Finovate for a substantially reduced rate, giving them a chance to see and hear it all for themselves. Beyond that, we want the companies who participate to leave with a greater understanding of what they need to do to grow to the next level along with some connections that can help get them where they want to go.

From my perspective, the industry as a whole needs to have these startups pushing the incumbents, or else the speed of innovation will slow down. Challengers play a vital role in keeping everyone else honest, and fintech has grown into what it is today because new companies have come in and pushed hard for changes. If we can help give those startups the tools and connections they need to grow, the industry as a whole should be better off for it.

Where do you hope this goes in the near future? Will there be a startup program like this for all Finovate events going forward?

Palmer: We’ve already got the Startup Booster in place for FinovateEurope and FinovateSpring, and we’ll be setting it up for FinovateAsia and FinovateFall too. Our first goal is simply to get as many companies as possible involved, and from there we want to start engaging with the group to see where we can be helpful to them. Big picture, we want to put these companies in the position where they can come back to Finovate as demoing companies and do well up there on the big stage. If we’re able to help companies get there, it’s a win for everybody – our audience will keep getting to see new, cool companies, the companies themselves will be able to show the entire audience what they can do, and we’ll get to keep being a place where the fintech ecosystem comes to connect with each other.

For more information about the Finovate Startup Booster program, e-mail us at

Here is our weekly roundup of the latest news from our Finovate alumni:

  • Coda joins Temenos Marketplace to help banks integrate with accounting packages used by their small business customers.
  • DocVentive joins Quadient’s Partner Advantage Program.
  • Lighter Capital to sell up to $100 million in credit assets to fund early-stage tech startups.
  • Tink becomes BNP Paribas’ preferred tech partner in Europe.
  • Personal Capital launches Personal Capital Cash joint savings account.
  • Miva partners with Signifyd for fraud prevention.
  • Avaloq and atpoint team up to launch atpoint.FINAP360, a “credit highway” for mortgage and SME loans.
  • Aixigo expands its presence in U.K., Italy, and Southern Europe.
  • ForwardLane receives investment of undisclosed amount from SEI Ventures.
  • Illuma Labs wins top honors at VentureTech 2019.
  • Fenergo launches e-KYC Connect to allow banks to make their KYC services more efficient.
  • InComm partners with instant ticket expert Pollard Banknote to launch ScanACTIV, a tool for lotteries to merchandise instant tickets at retail locations.
  • ACI Worldwide selects The Bancorp and Visa as payment providers for corporate disbursements.
  • TickSmith’s core software platform, TickVault, is now known as the GOLD platform.
  • Creatio wins Gold in One Planet award for helping companies accelerate growth.
  • AxeTrading integrates Overbond’s COBI pricing analytic platform.
  • Temenos Infinity and Transact now help new U.S. digital banks go live in 90 days.
  • Worldpay partners with Flutterwave to power payments in Africa.
  • Backbase opens regional headquarters in Singapore.
  • Habib American Bank implements the Commercial Lending Center Suite from Jack Henry’s ProfitStars.
  • TONIK selects Finastra’s core banking solution to power its Southeast Asia-based, licensed digital bank.

Alumni Features and Profiles

Persistent Systems and ValidSoft Team Up to Enhance Voice Authentication – The two companies are working together to develop a digital voice authentication solution that integrates into Persistent Systems’ banking offerings.

SoFi Teams Up with Mastercard to Boost Benefits for Members – Courtesy of a new partnership, SoFi members will have access to a new range of products and in-person experiences – including a new fan experience for visitors at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. 

Accenture Taps the Blockchain for New Procurement Platform – Consulting and technology services company has launched a new procurement solution today called the True Supplier Marketplace. The new tool taps into the blockchain to more efficiently connect buyers and suppliers.

Our latest series of FinovateEurope Sneak Peeks are up. Meet Qplatform, iProov, Apiax, Efigence, Subaio, FinTecSystems, Scientia Consulting, ReceiptHero, and ARM Insight.

FinovateEurope Alums Reel in $940 Million in 2019 – With FinovateEurope less than a month away, we thought we’d take a look at some of the fundraising success the conference’s alums had in 2019.

How Trusona Stops the Funding of Evil – If you’ve ever been hacked, having either money or personal credentials stolen, did you stop to think about what type of person, organization, or agenda you were inadvertently supporting?

Also on

How to Engage the Customer in an AI-First World – Which digital technologies will make the biggest differences in shaping the customer experience in the new decade?

Vive Lands Banking License – Challenger bank Vive Bank received some good news from the Bank of England today. The U.K.-based startup has been granted a banking license with restrictions.

Lift Every Voice: Fintech’s Other Diversity Challenge – When the discussion of diversity in the tech world comes up, the conversation is typically oriented around gender diversity. But diversity along ethnic lines is also a goal that technology companies have increasingly begun to strive toward.

Fintech Challenger Bank Qonto Raises $115 Million – Vive la France, indeed! One week after French payment app Lydia announced a $45 million fundraising, neobank Qonto reports that it has just closed the largest funding round to date for a French fintech.

AvidXchange Secures $260 Million in New Capital, Earns $2 Billion Valuation – Does fintech have its first “double unicorn” of 2020?

Paga Acquires Apposit, Announces Geographic Expansion – Mobile money operator Paga is poised for growth. The Nigeria-based fintech acquired U.S. software company Apposit and announced plans to expand its services geographically.

Japan’s Digital Yen; Visa, Plaid, and the Opportunity for African Fintechs – Finovate Research has been busily putting together a variety of features looking at different issues surrounding fintech in Europe. These insights will be published in an upcoming special supplement; stay tuned for our celebration of and reflection on PSD2’s second birthday, our look at venture capital’s impact on the surging challenger bank movement, and more.