7 Minutes of Fame at Finovate

27 February 2017


At Finovate Europe, 2017, 71 Fintech companies got to present their latest and greatest products via a 7 minute live demo, in front of 1,500 people.  What makes this years’ Finovate extra special, is that Icon’s Instant Payments Framework (IPF) was one of the products selected to be demonstrated in what is generally a very competitive selection process.

A 7 minute live demo is a great way to showcase your product, especially where you have a visually attractive front-end, neat tricks to illustrate your point (on-boarding using facial recognition and card delivery by drone) or IoT enabled piggybank (at least I think that’s what it was!).

So, when you have to demonstrate a back-office, payments framework that does the “heavy lifting” for real-time payments, what do you do?  Especially with a limited front-end to show, no drones, no iPhones or IoT enabled gadgets…. Help!

So, how did Tom Hay and myself fill our 7 minutes IPF demo in front of 1,500 people?

Well, you can’t get much sexier than a UML diagram to represent the ability of the end-user to configure and customise the payments flow now can you?  Especially when it can automatically generate Java code to update the flow engine. We did stop short of showing the Java code but I’m told there are some in the room who would have enjoyed that!  There was a serious point to this, in that instant payments will underpin New Product Development and the power to make changes needs to be back in the hands of the bank or PSP, not the vendor.

Next up, we presented the SCT inst payments templates, showing how we can deliver a pre-configured product and the automated functional test scripts for SCT inst. This is delivered upfront to enable testing in minutes rather than days.  So, a sexy live showing of the Cucumber text scripts!  Again, there is a serious point here, as a recent study by Icon and Lipis Advisers showed that testing accounted for 25% of an instant payments project costs during development.

Finally, we did manage to get a user interface in there to show resilience and high performance transaction processing.  Icon achieved this through codification of our many years of instant payments experience within the best open-source frameworks.  One of our key points was that banks and PSPs need to use the same kind of open-source technology internet giants of GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) and BAT (Baidu, Ant Financial and Tencent)in order to be able to compete.

So, did it work?  Well, we get through our seven minutes without any technical hitches or verbal stumbles and most importantly within the tightly policed time-slot.  One participant did tweet a picture of our UML payments flow, which personally I’m taking as a compliment.

You can view our IPF 7 minute demo here.

Whilst there are no reviews of our ‘7 minutes of fame’ on stage, we did receive commentary in the press of a different kind.  So for the final word, I’ll leave you with a quote from our interview with the International Business Times:

“It should be said, Hay and Dear, who were demoing their Instant Payment Framework (IPF) at Finovate 2017, are not your typical fintech startup. Their suits are grey and so is their hair….”

Daniela Sarti