Silicon Wall Street

Tech Gets the Wall Street Treatment at FinTech Innovation Lab Demo Day

If only someone had said, "Leave the gun, take the cannoli."
 Tech Gets the Wall Street Treatment at FinTech Innovation Lab Demo Day

(Photo: True Office)

“That’s not Jamie Dimon,” joked Adam Sodowick, founder and CEO of True Office, as an avatar in his game walked onto the screen. However, Mr. Dimon’s employer, J.P. Morgan, was one of the 12 banks that mentored the FinTech Innovation Lab participants who demoed their products to potential investors and senior executives in the financial industry Wednesday morning at Credit Suisse. (Duh, “FinTech” stands for Financial Tech–get in the game!)

True Office was one of six companies who participated in the three-month long mentoring process, during which these FinTech entrepreneurs presented their products to and received guidance from key executives in the banking industry. True Office is a mobile game that allows companies to conduct more interesting and engaging compliance training.

“This is a very large and deeply unsexy market,” Mr. Sodowick said about compliance training. “It is akin to getting a flu shot.” But TrueOffice makes the training a game, arguably incentivizing users to pay attention and learn from the process. People may even end up reading the company’s policies, where they would inevitably learn that it is, in fact, unethical to lie about your Computer Science degree.

Another FinTech Lab graduate, BillGuard, helps users uncover fraudulent credit card charges and get their money back in an efficient manner. Yaron Samid, the founder and CEO of BillGuard, said that the company arose out of his laziness: he simply didn’t want to have to check his credit card bills. But six months ago, he discovered that by clicking on a coupon on Ticketmaster, his wife had unintentionally subscribed to monthly charges on their credit card.

“These guys messed with the wrong guy,” Mr. Samid said, perhaps only partially joking–his BillGuard co-founder Raphael Ouzon did previously work for Israeli military intelligence units.

Mr. Samid told Betabeat that his experience with the mentoring process was incredibly helpful because their company is not a traditional FinTech business.

“We are a bunch of mathematicians and data scientists who have a lot of experience in the consumer web space,” he said, adding that the process taught them “what not to do” when pitching to banking clients.

In the upcoming months, BillGuard will also be expanding into phone bills so users don’t have to scan through their teenage monster’s five million daily texts to find fraudulent charges.

Renee Lorton*, the CEO of Centrifuge, began her company’s demo “with a little mystery,” proceeding to show the crowd a very Discovery Channel-esque intro video to her product. Centrifuge finds relationships and patterns in Big Data and was initially used for cybercrime and terrorist network detection.

“Imagine if Sherlock Holmes could have had us in his bag of tricks,” she giggled.

EidoSearch also helps users uncover patterns, though through a search engine format. For example, David Kedmey, EidoSearch’s president and cofounder, explained that financial analysts could search to find historical examples of volatility spikes to compare to current spikes in volatility. He compared the technology to that used by Pandora to create playlists based on the mechanics of a single song.

“What the [FinTech Innovation Lab] has really helped us to do is… get a direction on the next steps on how to translate our capabilities into something that banks could use,” Jack Hoppe, EidioSearch’s Director of Operations, told Betabeat.

Digital Reasoning, a company that helps digitize the processing of unstructured data and is also working with a number of U.S. Government agencies, also demoed during the event.

Sadly, Mr. Dimon never showed–even in dapper avatar form.

*Update: Ms. Lorton’s name was originally misspelled. Betabeat regrets the error.