Finovate is a conference series that showcases the best new innovations in financial and banking technology via a fast-paced, demo only format aka no powerpoint slides, 7 minutes to tell your story and demonstrate your product.

Needless to say, I LOVE the format...

For those of you that were there, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the 7 key takeaways below. For those of you that weren't, I hope you find these useful and by all means, try and make the next one as it's an awesome experience.

Just in case anyone was wondering, if someone wants me there for Finovate Asia in Hong Kong on November 8th, I'm 1000% in there like swimwear!

1 - Entrepreneurial DNA of transformational ecosystem is strong, contagious + massively "can do" across all stakeholders

Whether it was the start-ups, smart money or corporate "intrapreneurs" (Corp Strategy, Engineers, Product, Innovation, IT/Architects, CDOs etc), everyone had "the disease" aka the passion to create/innovate/build businesses.

To that point, I loved how The Bancorp was referenced several times on stage as "the hipster bank of FinTech" as they've been a sponsor since day one aka before "it was cool"...high praise.

2 - Quality + quantity of start-ups that have pivoted from B2C or purpose built from day one as B2B2C was notable

While there are a number of factors driving this trend, I believe the most interesting aspect is the challenges large companies are facing in figuring out where they are in their Transformation process and how to answer the "partner vs. buy vs. build" question. The right partnerships with the right start-ups structured/activated the right way unlocks a lot of value for both sides of the market. I really liked the way Moven's Greg Midtbo framed their B2C business as a lab to effectively test/learn to harden insights/innovation to then bake into their B2B2C core business.

3 - Big companies showcasing the ultimate results of their Transformation via homegrown IP and "real business innovation + incubation" was awesome

Transunion's Prama and ING's Aleo are 2 great examples of what happens when big companies embrace bimodal IT as a pillar of their Transformation roadmap to create innovative new businesses that embrace and operate at the speed of digital business. Super impressive. (Hey Courtney Brinkman of Prama, I told you I was going to write about you guys and give you a shout out! ;)

4 - Evolution of FinTech start-ups from a primary focus of "convenience" to "experience" with laser-like attention to harvesting actionable data to improve the omni-channel experience was crystal clear

One of the most important macro trends associated with the "Connected Economy" is the notion that the last, best experience that a human being (not B2C or B2B but B2Human) has is the expectation they carry with them into all future experiences with a business regardless of industry or channel aka in the real world, on a digital screen or both.

Also, on the data front, MapD demonstrated a killer platform that crunches massive data sets "lightning fast" that was thought provoking on several application fronts.

5 - On-boarding new clients and digitizing as much of the paper aspects of the process seemed to be a real priority for a lot of the Corporate attendees

Makes sense as there are very few things out there that "get my Irish up" more than having to fill out paperwork in general, especially paperwork with duplicative requests. Backbase's demo illustrating the on-boarding of a brand new client in under 60 seconds was a head turner. Daon's biometric authentication was impressive and I really liked FutureVault and their comprehensive digital safety deposit box.

6 - Cognitive Computing / Artificial Intelligence to facilitate a leading edge and enhanced value exchange between banks and their customers was exciting to see

I really enjoyed Bankjoy's demo using Amazon's Alexa as well as a variety of others demonstrating how financial institutions can use AI-powered predictive analytics to provide digital advice, guidance etc associated with financial goals and behaviors. Bankjoy, the Y-combinator backed start-up gave a really clean and impressive demo. Also, loved the AI platform and energy/hustle of the Clinc team which I'm sure is making Jim Harbaugh and those that fill the "Big House" proud...

7 - Impressive to see marketplaces being purpose built to solve for a specific pain point between a specific profile of buyers and sellers that require financial innovation to unlock a business opportunity/transaction

AutoGravity enabling people to take control of their auto financing options was impressive. Given their consumer facing relationship to the automotive industry, it's logical that they're headquartered in the LA area. When I learned one of the executives is connected to THE USC, there was NO QUESTION they were going to be included in my recap...once a Trojan, ALWAYS a Trojan!

Shameless plug but relevant to this post, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine agree, hence the USC School of Disruption via their $70M donation.

Also, Full Profile and their agri-blockchain and commodity management software solutions bringing efficiency to agricultural commodity supply chain transactions is a great example of this type of marketplace innovation.

E:; T/IG: @Alec_Coughlin