By W.B. King
Billed as the world’s largest fintech event, Fintech Meetup offers a novel way to connect with colleagues. Travel is not required for this virtual event. No lengthy webinars or presentations are scheduled. Instead, thousands of attendees have the opportunity to schedule as many as 24 15-minute one-on-one meetings over three days.
“The reason we launched Fintech Meetup is that when we talked to people in the industry, what they told is that the most important thing [about conferences] was the connections and the meetings,” Fintech Meetup Co-Founder Jon Lear told Finopotamus via Zoom about the upcoming second annual event.
“If you are a fintech looking to partner with a credit union, you want to start those conversations,” Lear continued. “If you are a credit union, you want to see all the solutions and you want to do that in an efficient way.”
During the inaugural event in 2021, more than 2,100 attendees from 1,057 organizations participated in approximately 19,400 15-minute one-on-one "speed date" meetings. In total, 1,858 email introductions were also made. After the event, attendees were polled with 94% noting they were “satisfied” with the experience.
The virtual conference concept was conceived, in part, due to COVID-19, explained Anil D. Aggarwal, chief executive officer of Fintech Meetup.
“We launched Fintech Meetup as a meetings-centric virtual event because the pandemic made it impossible to hold a comprehensive and inclusive in-person event,” he said of the 2021 event. “Our proprietary technology, which enables and simplifies collaboration, will facilitate tens of thousands of highly targeted on-site meetings to help catalyze payments, banking and financial services innovation.
For this year’s event, which takes place online from March 22 to 24, Lear estimates that more than 30,000 meetings will be scheduled.
“Looking forward, it is clear to us that connecting people, enabling collaboration using technology has really transformed how fintech comes together,” said Lear. “It’s a really exciting time.”
An Event Catering to Credit Unions
Lear explained that the Fintech Meetup team studied various events and conferences in the space. Many of them, including Money20/20, are successful business models, he said. But when it comes to collaboration and partnership across fintech, banking and payments, he said a “huge opportunity” still exits.
The first part of the strategy, he said, is using technology to make it easier for people to connect and create a “really great” user experience. And to this end, attendees will include executives from credit unions, community banks, emerging fintech, big tech and big banks.
“The other piece is building the community and getting together so the credit unions can meet the right organizations, and the right individuals from those organizations—it’s a pretty unique event,” Lear said.
What makes this an even more attractive event for credit unions is that the ticket fee is waived. There are, however, stipulations. To qualify, attendees representing a credit union must be responsible for buying or evaluating payments, banking or financial services technology or solutions. Additionally, credit union attendees must schedule up to four 15-minute double opt-in online video meetings with participating attendees.
“We are big fans of credit unions. They play such a critical role in the community and the economy,” Lear said. “We know they might not have budgets to attend events but want to be exposed to all the solutions and technologies.”
Enhancing the Experience
Lessons in optimization were learned from 2021, Lear noted. These include Fintech Meetup’s product and engineering team reconfiguring aspects of the platform.
“We stepped back to see how we could improve the experience. One of the ways is that we built it so it is much faster and easier to complete your profile,” he said.
Another update was simplifying how credit union attendees, for example, connect with fintechs offering approximately 130 solutions - from lending, credit, acquiring core banking to deposit solutions, among many others.
“We also built in a lot of collaboration tools,” he said.
Based on last year’s data, Lear explained that each participant will likely attend nine meetings, but this figure, which could be as high as 24 meetings, is dependent on an individual’s schedule. The goal is to have the equivalent of three months’ worth of meetings in three days.
“There is so much happening in fintech that people want to get straight down to business,” Lear said, adding that tickets are on sale until March 4.
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