2017 Innovators to Watch: 5 to 11

  • Grace Noto
  • June 1, 2017
  • 0

5. Dan Kimerling, Head of R&D, Silicon Valley Bank

Dan Kimerling has done just about everything in the world of financial technology: He has led two startups, Gifty (acquired by Giftcards.com in 2013) and Standard Treasury (acquired by Silicon Valley Bank in 2015); works at a bank (but doing the fun stuff); and co-founded and runs a venture fund, Deciens Capital. Kimerling is a fixture on fintech Twitter and also stages around the world. He is known for calling things as he sees them, and he sees much farther than most of the rest of us, so it’s worth listening when he speaks.

6. Sallie Krawcheck, CEO, Ellevest

As the former CEO of both Citi and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Sallie Krawcheck is bringing her substantial financial experience to bear on what she terms “the investing gap” for women. Starting in 2015, Krawcheck’s female-focused online investing platform, Ellevest, has focused on providing women with more financial knowledge and opportunity through the platform. Krawcheck, who originally balked at the idea of creating a platform aimed at women, speaks on the topic regularly on panels or through Ellevest videos — she’s even written a book on the subject, released this year: Own it: The Power of Women at Work. Well, Krawcheck definitely has power — and she’s not afraid to put it to work.

7. Robb Gaynor, Chief Innovation Officer, Malauzai

Historians of mobile banking (if they existed) would see that many important innovations began among the smallest banks, and that among those banks is Austin, Texas-based Malauzai.

Robb Gaynor, who leads the company’s innovation efforts, is a veteran of Digital Insights and Union Bank. Talking to him is like taking a tour of mobile banking’s underbelly — the things that didn’t work; the things that worked but no one adopted them; the problems that don’t make their way into the financial media (ahem!) Gaynor has Malauzai, a vendor offering a fuller suite of products than just mobile these days, and his hard-won wisdom about the market keeps Malauzai at the forefront of product innovation.

8. Theodora Lau, Market Innovation, AARP 

Bankers and startup entrepreneurs alike are obsessed with millennials, but the problem is millennials have simple financial lives (read: no money), while older folks have money and complexity to spare.

Theodora Lau, director of market innovation for the well-heeled AARP, is looking to change that by bringing high-tech coolness to the least cool place of all: old(er) people. To this end, she has expanded the organization’s sponsorship of hackathons and taken an aggressive approach to Twitter, where she has become a formidable presence, speaking up for the 37 million members in her group. The challenge for Theo and the AARP is getting the 60+ crowd to use mobile banking. Use stands at around 20%, while two-thirds of millennials bank via app. But mobile use is growing quickly among older folks — and everyone else is getting older.

9. Dominic Venturo, Chief Innovation Officer, U.S. Bank

If you’re ever looking for Dominic Venturo, forego the “latest” buzz or “trendy” tech conversations — Venturo and his Innovation Group at U.S. Bank are busy setting trends, not following.

The bank — and Venturo — have been at the epicenter of innovation in the industry, piloting NFC payments and blockchain POCs before those were cool. What’s the secret of the group’s success? “Of course, there is the secret sauce of how we think about a technology and its implication … but a lot of it is technical,” Venturo told Bank Innovation recently. “We literally scan the globe every single day to see what’s new and different. The team has grown a little bit, we are currently about 30 people, and our structure allows us to have pure R&D focused folks, that oversee products from research, to testing, to deployment.”

10. Jane Barratt, CEO & Founder, GoldBean

Yes, Jane Barratt, GoldBean’s fearless leader, has been on this list — and other Bank Innovation lists — before, but we can’t help it. GoldBean — a graduate of this site’s sister accelerator INV Fintech — arguably is the leading startup aiming to bridge wealth management education and its practice. The company is aiming to guide newcomers to their first investment. Upon signing up with GoldBean, users get a personalized portfolio, an ongoing education, as well as trading access.

Fintech is done best when it serves a purpose — aside from making it to the unicorn ranks. GoldBean — and Barratt — is a prominent example.   

11. Adam Dell, CEO & Founder, Clarity Money

Personal finance management is one of the most saturated areas in financial technologies, so succeeding as a new PFM startup is a worthy challenge for an entrepreneur — one that Clarity Money CEO Adam Dell might have completed within the first week his app was live. Dell’s app saw 10,000 customers downloads a mere two days after its official launch in January 2017, and according to Dell, that’s due to focusing on providing their users with financial “leverage.” This means clear, precise, and fast tools to help users manage their daily financial needs, a refrain that’s becoming more common in financial services (and especially in PFM), but very few have mastered. Maybe Dell will offer lessons.

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