Start-ups Talk Money, Cash, Credit At Finovate

In between stories involving Skype, Microsoft, Zynga and Lady Gaga, I checked out the Finovate conference in San Francisco today. The event focuses on technology start-ups in financial services.

The overall trends were helping people find better ways to manage their finances, and improving credit, either through better loans  or underwriting. People are still coming out of the fog of the financial crisis so these tools are in demand. One area of focus was improving loans–both in services for loans and in underwriting analysis of lending risk. Services for the “underbanked,” who often don’t have easy access to reasonable financial services, also continue to be a hot topic. There was also the inevitable slew of companies trying to recapture the magic of, which was acquired by Intuit, by organizing personal finance information.

Here are some of the interesting companies that presented:


Kabbage provides small loans for small online businesses with quick, virtually real-time responses to loan applications. The company used to vet companies based on their eBay sales account and other information. Now the company is adding accounts so that companies can submit their merchant information in support of a loan application. Kabbage is one of a number of start-ups providing loans based on a new form of underwriting and risk analysis based on new or different kinds of data.

Lendio matches small businesses that are looking to borrow money with banks that are the right fit for each particular loan. About nine out of ten business loans are rejected, but when Lendio matches borrowers with lenders, they are approved seven out of ten times. This is because Lendio only sends borrowers that are particularly suited to what each bank is looking for, says Levi King, president and COO at Salt Lake City-based Lendio.

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