I subscribe to about 800 blogs/alerts and usually find one or two new fintech companies, potential Finovate presenters, every single day. But July was slower, with the pace of new companies dropping to a few per week. Even though I know summer tends to be quieter, I always start wondering if we've finally invented everything...then I wake up to my RSS feed this morning and find two clever new services launching today:
- Crowdsourced home values: Everyone who owns a home wonders how much it's worth. But unless you have a real estate agent in the family (and even then, they are probably biased to the high side), it's a time-consuming and not-so-exact science to get a professional appraisal. Enter Redfin's "home price whisperer" service. Participants simply submit their house address and target price, and the company will have 250 others users give the valuation a thumbs up or thumbs down. While it won't put realtors out of business, it's a great way to get a quick handle on where you stand on what can be a key part of your financial security. (Another new startup, Trov, just landed $6.8 mil to help value less liquid assets).
- Scam-protection geared to the elderly: Ever since Y-Combinator (YC) spawned a pair of billion-dollar companies during the Great Recession (AirBnB, Dropbox), I've been watching closely to see what its graduates will offer up to the financial services world. At FinovateSpring last May, we saw 2012 YC graduate LendUp (watch its Finovate demo here) wow the audience (and win Best of Show) with its service to lift consumers out of the payday lending cycle into less-expensive bank credit products. In a similar vein, 2013 YC graduate True Link Financial just announced a service to protect consumers, especially the elderly, from getting scammed by misleading or downright fraudulent charitable solicitations and other gray charges (it's like BillGuard, but trying to block the questionable charges first, rather than dispute later). It's basically a $20/yr prepaid card with customizable spending controls.
So, it looks like we have officially moved into the second half of the year and all the fintech excitement that will bring. I'd be remiss if I didn't put in a plug for the upcoming FinovateFall, where we'll have 72 demos (full list here) offering up a plethora of new ideas. The early-bird deadline is Aug 2. So register now and save.