2015 Innovators to Watch: 16 to 20

16. Jeremy Bornstein, head, payments innovation, RBC

jeremy_bornstein2Jeremy Bornstein has the temperament of a scientist, and considering all the divergent trends in payments, that’s a good thing. Bornstein has substantial resources with which to exploit innovative payment opportunities. He has consistently put the Royal Bank of Canada at the forefront of new developments in payments: Apple Pay, Android Pay, wearables — RBC has been engaged with them all. Which leads us to expect Bornstein will continue to have RBC at payment’s leading edge, like a scientist pushing forward for that next — and lucrative — invention.

17. Melissa Stevens, director, global internet & mobile banking, Citibank

melissa_stevens2Citibank burst out of the gate with an Apple Watch app ahead of the other megabanks and, well, just about everybody. How did they do it? The groundwork was laid by Melissa Stevens’s work on Citi’s smartphone app, which was souped up with alerting capability and a slide-for-balance feature. Both of these work when a user is not logged in, and made them ideal candidates for a watch app. Mobile is a front-and-center priority at Citi, and Stevens, who has been in digital banking since 2006, wants the world to know. “We were the first bank to roll out a mobile app, in 2007,” she said. Now Citi’s first in wearables. When the Internet of Things takes off, it will probably be the first bank app in your refrigerator, too.

18. Jeremy Allaire, CEO, Circle

jeremy_allaire2Jeremy Allaire’s Circle app is about as slick a banking app as you’ll find, and it’s actually a bitcoin wallet. Scratch that, as of April 30, it’s more than that. Users can now move dollars using Circle, too. Allaire (@jerallaire) said at the time he viewed bitcoin as a “global interoperable payment network instead of a store of value.” In the cryptocurrency world, that’s a dog whistle meaning that the blockchain is more important than bitcoins proper. Allaire is running the most consumer-friendly cryptocurrency service out there, as the movement continues to creep toward the commercial side. Now, Allaire has his eyes on China, and Goldman Sachs and IDG Capital bet $50 million that bitcoin’s consumer-friendly play will gain traction — somewhere.

19. Yee Lee, CEO, Vouch

yen_lee2Exploiting social media for loan underwriting is nothing new, but the simplicity of Vouch seems to epitomize the space: When friends “vouch” for a borrower, they lower the risk and the interest rate. Yee Lee (@vouch), formerly of PayPal, got the idea from his parents, who arrived in the U.S. as immigrants. “My parents had no credit score when they first got over here, and they really relied on aunts and uncles,” he says. The service also targets millennials, who are plugged in socially but have little credit history to draw on. Of all the data-driven disruptors of underwriting, social connections seem at once the most outlandish and the most familiar — lending is supposed to be a relationship business, after all, and social media can help lenders fulfill that promise again.

20. Pierre Naude, CEO, nCino

pierre_naude2Pierre Naude‘s head is in the clouds. His company, cloud banking provider nCino has more than $50 million in funding and is signing deal after deal with banks to deliver its “bank operating system.” This is a sophisticated software layer that rests on top of a bank’s core system to provide a modern experience for tellers and loan officers. One community banker said nCino cut his servicing costs by more than 90%. This comes as no surprise to Pierre Naude, who came to banking via S1 Corporation, originally the tech division of Security First Network Bank, the first internet-only bank in the U.S. S1 was global, and Naude has ambitions to bring nCIno wherever banks will buy it, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region. Cloud banking seems to be having its moment right now, with banks as large as SunTrust ($175 billion) employing nCino technology.

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