The Empire Startups Fintech Conference at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco launches next week, on Nov. 10. This is the inaugural west coast event, bringing together more than 180 fintech companies, investors and others in the fintech community.
For those attending, it will be an action packed day of blockchain and borrowers, payments and partnerships. With all of these great fintech minds under one roof, there are some panels and companies we definitely recommend checking out, and some in which we’re interested in finding out more. So without further ado, here’s our ‘Recommendations’ for the panels we’re looking forward to at the show and our ‘Question Marks’ for panels that could be interesting if they stay focused, but could also turn south if things get off track.
Cash is Dead
9:30am, featuring Marqeta, plastiq, Square, Core Innovation Capital, Mastercard
With a strong lineup of panelists, this session promises to kick the day off right. These leading companies are all dealing with the here and now of changes in the payments space, rather than a distant and uncertain future, so they should bring a uniquely qualified perspective on the state of payments.
The New UX of Fintech
3:00pm, featuring Yodlee, Bento for Business, LendUp, NerdWallet, Alchemy50
As fintech marketers and designers, UX for Fintech is a subject near and dear to our hearts. With companies like Bento, LendUp and NerdWallet that spend a lot of time considering the intersection of design, communication and effectiveness in customer interactions, they should have a lot of insight to offer.
The Growth of Lending
3:40pm, featuring Ldger, Sindeo, TrueAccord, Fundbox, SoFi
We had a chance to see Ldger at Finovate Fall and Fundbox at Money 20/20, and we’re very familiar with SoFi as well, so we know they all can bring it. Plus, the panelists cover a wide cross section of the lending industry, from mortgage lending to debt collection to small business loans, to offer different takes on where lending is headed.
The People in Silicon Valley Fintech You Need to Know
10:10am, featuring Simple, Planwise, Affirm, Earnest
I really hope this isn’t 40 minutes of name dropping. It could be a very useful session if there are actionable ideas on where and how to connect with people that move the industry forward in Silicon Valley, but the second that it becomes, “You should just have lunch with Ron Conway,” I’m out.
2:00pm, featuring Barclays Techstars NY, BTCJam, Mirror, Hedgeable, Blockcypher
I believe that blockchain may be the biggest catalyst for true disruption in financial services and fintech over the next few years. However, being tied so closely with bitcoin and all of the cryptocurrency craziness it drags along with it, these sessions always hold the potential for going off the rails. If the focus remains truly on blockchain and its potential in the enterprise, this will be a great session.
Traditional Finserv: Where to Disrupt and When to Partner
11:20am, featuring Davis Wright Tremaine, Credit Karma, FlexScore, BetterFinance, Loyal3
Having known Ryan Gilbert of BetterFinance for years, he is a great speaker to have because he’s outspoken, smart and passionate, so we always look forward to seeing him. My fear with this session is that it could be too specific to the companies on the panel to be of much use to anyone else. Hopefully, the focus is on keeping the discussion specific enough to be educational but general enough to be broadly applicable.
That’s our Recommendations and Question Marks for the Empire Startups Fintech Conference next week. Do you agree or disagree with our choices? Any sessions or companies that you’re particularly excited to see? Want to meet us in person at the show? Just email me at josh @ cstmr.com and let me know what you think.
See you in at the conference!