FinLab Winners’ First Meeting

Asad Ramzanali
FinLab winners' first meeting puts consumers at the center of the conversation
FinLab winners' first meeting puts consumers at the center of the conversation

FinLab hit the ground running by spending a day in the shoes of the financially underserved. Last week, the Lab winners came together to discuss the state of financial services and how to strengthen their products. The day-and-a-half-long meeting in San Francisco consisted of a series of discussions and activities, all of which focused on the challenges attendant to building products that improve consumer financial health.

The first day kicked off with FinX, CFSI’s experiential simulation of the alternative financial services market. FinX grounded the group in the challenges faced by the millions of Americans who lack access to traditional financial services. Among other tasks, the group had to cash a payroll check, send money to friend, and use a prepaid card. The experience was particularly impactful since this exercise occurred in San Francisco’s Mission District, the backyard of many Lab companies.

Sheri Atwood of SupportPay, Beier Ko of Digit, and Jane Leibrock of Even try to navigate various tasks using alternative financial services.

Sheri Atwood of SupportPay, Beier Ko of Digit, and Jane Leibrock of Even try to navigate various tasks using alternative financial services.

FinX surfaced a number of insights:
1. Accomplishing common financial tasks can be stressful in a time crunch. The best financial products allow users to accomplish tasks quickly and easily.

2. Alternative financial service providers generally have good customer service. Employees tend to be helpful, empathetic, and knowledgeable. The new generation of products serving the financially underserved would be well-suited to replicate these customer service principles.

3. While service is often personal the product experience is often inconsistent, expensive and frustrating. For example, the experience of purchasing a prepaid card at one merchant, loading it at another, and using it to pay was extremely time-intensive and laborious.  This insight highlighted the importance of thinking about a user’s context when designing the user experience.

A detailed account of FinX can be found in this Fast Company post from last year.

Lab Winners Meet with Chris Larsen

The next morning, meeting attendees heard from Chris Larsen, founder of E-Loan, Prosper, and Ripple Labs. Chris encouraged the class to think about regulation and compliance early in their company’s journey and surround themselves with people who have experience working with relevant legal and regulatory frameworks.

 

Chris Larsen talks to Lab companies about his entrepreneurial experiences.

Chris Larsen talks to Lab companies about his entrepreneurial experiences.

During the meeting, we were joined by representatives from Lab sponsor JPMorgan Chase and from Lab partners ideas42, IDEO.org, Promontory Financial Group, First Annapolis, Paul Hastings, and Bryan Cave. The partners provided valuable insight, advice and guidance in group and one-on-one conversations throughout the two-day event.

 

Lab winners and partners discuss and prioritize challenges and obstacles

Lab winners and partners discuss and prioritize challenges and obstacles

The Lab’s next meeting is in mid-August, where the group will build on these insights and begin to share learnings from their own entrepreneurial and product experiences.

How can you keep up with the latest?

  1. Stay engaged with the FinTech community. Join the Financial Solutions Lab email list and get regular access to the latest insights in innovation and be among the first to learn about the Lab’s next challenge! Subscribe here
  2. Sign up for our September webinar on fintech trends: Emerging Fintech Trends that Drive Positive Consumer Outcomes.
    Sign up now

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