2015 Innovators to Watch: 36 to 40

  • Philip Ryan
  • June 10, 2015
  • 2

36. Matt Wilcox, senior vice president, marketing strategy and innovation, Fiserv

matt_wilcox2It is true that Fiserv is a dominant player in banking technology; its market capitalization of $20 billion supports that. But it is equally true that Fiserv has not been the most ardent advocate of banking innovation in recent years. Matt Wilcox (@mattwilcoxpro) is out to change that. After joining the Minneapolis-based company in 2013, Wilcox, a former top innovation executive at Zions Bancorp, has been head-down building Fiserv’s innovation team, which now houses some true talent within its ranks. This is not to say the transformation at Fiserv will be quick — the company was founded more than 30 years ago, after all. But Wilcox has a unique blend of vision, tenacity and a gentlemanly quality that you can’t help but admire. Like Fiserv, we’re betting he will get the job done, and then some.

37. Kristina Campbell, general manger, GoBank (Green Dot)

kristina_campbell2Green Dot veteran Kristina Campbell took the reins at GoBank in Nov. 2014. Formerly working on products with broader user bases and fatter margins such as the Walmart Moneycard, she now faces a challenge with GoBank, which has always been promising but never quite “arrived.” GoBank has had ambitious marketing throughout its run, with spots on TV shows and in special displays at retail stores, before its exclusive deal with Walmart. The Walmart relationship, recently renewed for five years, has always been Green Dot’s albatross and life preserver. And GoBank’s fate is tied to the Bentonville giant, as well. Are Walmart customers the same as GoBank customers? Campbell will need to figure out the correct positioning if this product, one of the best of its kind, is to have a fighting chance.

38. Aaron Frank, CEO, Final Card

aaron_frank2In late 2013, Final CEO Aaron Frank (@arfrank) found himself a victim of the Target data breach and decided credit cards were broken. (His certainly was — it was cut in half.) Frank’s Final Card generates a new number for each merchant the user interacts with. If that merchant suffers a breach, the number is shut down and Final issues a new one. Frank and his team’s obsession with better control of cards shows in the product. Users can set a disposable number for a single transaction, or a number to use for a certain period of time, or whatever. But tokenization, you say? Chip and PIN? Card-not-present fraud is still a risk for smart cards, which is Final’s play. There are a lot of prestige cards and all-in-one cards out there, but Final’s ability to master your card seems like the winning model, if we’re stuck with plastic.

39. Sophie Guibaud, vice president European expansion, Fidor

sophie_guibaud2Fidor, a German bank started by entrepreneur Matthias Kroner, is expanding outside its home country to the U.K. and elsewhere under the leadership of Sophie Guibaud (@sophieguibaud), a veteran of Startupbootcamp FinTech, cloud payments company Bankable, and Brussels-based KBC Bank. While properly lauded for its innovation efforts, Fidor has not seen significant traction inside cash-loving Germany. Digital payment in Britain, however, is far more desirable, making it seemingly fertile ground for Fidor. However, so far the Big Four Banks that control the UK’s payment system (HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Barclays) have been put off by Fidor’s love of cryptocurrency. It’s up to Guibaud to evangelize and communicate the value proposition of what is perhaps the world’s most innovative bank.

40. Dan O’Malley, chief digital officer, Eastern Bank

dan_omally2Dan O’Malley (@dan_omalley) is best known for his unsuccessful debit rewards startup PerkStreet, but O’Malley, along with many other ex-PerkStreeters, has found a new mission at Boston-based Eastern Bank. O’Malley heads up the innovation lab at $10-billion Eastern, which incubates startups and launches them as bank-owned companies. This model is more aggressive than other banks, and the lab employs 110 people. O’Malley points out that the bank, as a mutual bank, has no shareholders to report to, and can take a longer view on investments. O’Malley, who spent time at Capital One pre-PerkStreet, is happy to be working behind bank walls again — and when you’re running an innovation lab, why not?

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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism, which makes him quite old. He can be reached at pryan@royalmedia.com.

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