SAN FRANCISCO — The last presentation had ended at 4 p.m. and, for 90 minutes plus, a thick, anxious crowd had milled around a full bar downing stiff drinks as attendees placed their bets on which presenters would be named best of show.
The winners were called up in alphabetical order.
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First up Wednesday afternoon: FamZoo, whose online and mobile software are designed to help parents teach children about finances. Kids are given “virtual bank accounts” to manage their allowance, earnings, gifts. FamZoo claims among its key customers Verity Credit Union and PenFed.
LendUp was next up. Its target audience are people who have been declined for conventional loans by credit unions and banks and its theme is that these borrowers deserve “something better” than predatory payday and title loans. Loan amounts are initially kept small to mitigate risk, and a plus, said LendUp, is that borrowers can build up their credit ranking to score bigger and better loans.
MoneyDesktop, which has been winning praise and customers for its PFM tools for several years, was named next. At Finovate it debuted analytical tools that are designed to help financial institutions gain deeper insights into what their consumers need, so that they can offer more targeted products and services. MoneyDesktop already claims 400 financial institution clients, among them many credit unions.
PayNearMe is based on a what-is-old-is-new again idea, where its focus is on cash. What it allows consumers to do is pay their bills with cash, at thousands of participating merchants (including 7,000+ 7-11s). Its primary market are unbanked and underbanked consumers who may not have checking or share draft accounts but who want to avoid the steep fees some money order retailers impose.
Last up: TipRanks, online tools that collect performance data for stock analysts and pickers, then rates them, with scores - much like baseball batting averages. The company uses public data - mainly past picks and stock performance data - to generate its scores.
No single “best of show” winner was announced but, judging by the comments heard by this reporter, the crowd favorite was TipRanks, which, just about instantly, tells you which analysts are all mouth, bad performance, and which deserve a listening to when it comes to buy-sell-hold recommendations.