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If you’re reading this after the 8th and 9th of February, Europe’s premier fintech event has been and gone. A thousand industry professionals from across the World will have watched 70 fintech companies stand on stage and present themselves and their offerings for 7 minutes each. It’s Finovate, and whilst it may only last 2 days, the ripples spread far and wide.

I ask Jim Bruene, the founder of the event, to fill in a few gaps.

Jim, what’s it like for you, in the run up, a few days before the event. Do you get the fear? I’m sure the presenters do.

Well, it’s a little intense, that’s for sure. But it’s way worse for the presenters of course. They are putting themselves, and their companies, on the line in front of a who’s who of fintech investors and potential clients. Not to mention the video of their demo, which lives on forever. And some of them have practiced a hundred times or more to get the message just right. Add to that the anxiety around doing a live demo, and you can understand why nerves are frayed.

So yes, we are anxious that everything we control….the lights, sound, food, coffee/tea/beer and so forth… be top notch. But it’s nothing compared to what the presenters go through.

How does Finovate Europe compare the the US events? Same Size, Same Format? What’s the spread of companies like?

The Europe event is exactly the same format as those in the United States. In terms of size, since we started in the U.S. three years earlier in 2007, it’s taken Europe a few years to catch up. But this year it’s done just that. FinovateEurope 2016 will be bigger than our San Francisco event and nearly the same size as our original FinovateFall in NYC. We are so thankful to the support of the fintech community across Europe.

What’s the trend in the States right now, in terms of fintech innovation, I’m guessing blockchain’s a biggie, but anything else? Is there anything that’s ONLY happening there?

The innovations are pretty similar across most geographies. But some take off faster in some countries based on regulations, market conditions, and customer responsiveness.  One of the biggest innovations of the past 10 years has been peer-to-peer lending. While it has a good foothold in the U.S., there are 10 times as many players in Europe due to a more relaxed regulatory framework in many countries, especially the UK.

Certainly distributed ledger/blockchain tech is hot now, but it’s not exactly ready for the mainstream. One thing that’s trending worldwide is the rewiring of the back-end through APIs, SDKs and more-and-more third-party integrations. It allows best-of-breed services under one trusted front-end/brand. It’s a game changer and will impact the industry dramatically for the next decade or two.

Last question. London or New York, who’s got the best fintech newspaper? 🙂

London of course. You have a 5-hour head start every day!!

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