A VC’s Inside Look At FinovateSpring 2013

Welcome to the inaugural edition of PYMNTS.com’s VC Voices: a weekly column where we bring you commentary from the best of the best around the world of payments investment. Want to know what the biggest backers of our industry’s innovators and disrupters think? We give our VCs 500 words of unedited space to do with as they please, so you’ve come to the right place.

This week, PYMNTS.com hears from Dan Rosen, general partner at Commerce Ventures, about his experiences at FinovateSpring 2013.

By Dan Rosen, General Partner, Commerce Ventures

Greetings form San Francisco, where this week’s FinovateSpring drew a record audience (reported 1,200 attendees) of entrepreneurs, investors, industry executives and analysts. There were a few themes that emerged from the two days of product demos: 1) security and fraud management, 2) EIPP and 3) small business credit.

Since the majority of the intended attendees are IT buyers inside of financial institutions and payments companies, it’s not surprising that fraud prevention was a major theme this year. The past year has seen persistent cyber-attacks on financial institutions, and fraud continues to be a nuisance for eCommerce merchants and banks.

Electronic Invoice Payment and Presentment (EIPP) has been on the horizon for a long time (perhaps longer than mobile payments), but this year, it appeared to be “crossing the chasm”. The category included new presenters like InvoiceASAP, as well as Finovate vets like Expensify, who has realized that “expense reports are nothing more than just invoices.”

Similarly, there is a continued focus on small business credit. In general, it seems financial institutions are searching for lending opportunities, and the small business is perceived to be an underserved, less regulated target customer in which banks have strong interest.

Despite the B2B dominance of these themes, this year’s Best-In-Show winners were mostly dominated by consumer-facing innovations: FamZoo, LendUp, TipRanks and show veterans PayNearMe and MoneyDesktop. Congrats to all of the winners! Overall, FinovateSpring delivered on its core promise for IT and innovation hunters in large financial-related organizations. The audience, although larger than ever, seemed to draw more mid and lower-level corporate execs than in years past. The audio/visual and Internet reliability was solid (perhaps the best it’s ever been) and, most importantly, the lunch was decent.