As I’m writing this blog post I’m finishing up an amazing week. Last Tuesday I attended FinovateEurope. And not only attended, since Backbase was selected to demo, Jouk and myself where on stage as one of the first presenters.

For those of you that don’t know Finovate: the Finovate conferences offer a platform for fintech companies to demo their latest innovations to the financial world. Attendees are a mix of bankers, other financial professionals, VC’s and bloggers/twitterazi. The companies have to apply for a demo slot and will be hand picked by the Finovate organization. All companies get 7 minutes on stage (your mic will really be shot down after 7 min. and a big gong will tell you you are over time). Slides are not allowed, only the real thing! Personally, I like this format, since it offers a real insight in the companies, their product and you never get bored. Finovate shows are organized in San Francisco, New York and last Finovate was the second European edition, held in London, United Kingdom.

Back to the Backbase demo: we showcased the latest edition of our Bank 2.0 Portal. Focused on advanced segmentation: creating unique online banking environments for different customer segments, all done using our Portal Manager, so it is the e-business professional instead of the developer that is in control. Our demo went great and was very well received. Specially nice to see the enthusiastic tweets after we held our presentation. In this post I won’t focus to much on the Backbase demo (I will make sure to post the video recording once it becomes available), but will share my general take aways.

The first thing that made this Finovate stand out from last year is something Benjamin Ensor also noticed in his recap ‘Finovate Europe 2012: Innovation In Digital Financial Services‘ on the Forrester blog. Where last year we saw four main topics (UX, PFM, Mobile, Security) this year the demos were more diverse. Making the demos more specific and stand out.

Another great thing to see was that the percentage of bankers increased drastically. Where most in the audience last year where vendors and consultants, this year most of the big European banks had two or more people attending. This indicates that Finovate is gaining more traction in Europe and fintech is higher on the agenda of most banks.

But best of all: user experience is king. The companies demoed with a great design, good flow and interaction model really stand out. They got the loudest applause and when looking at who won best of show: Cardlytics, Dynamics, eToro and Nutmeg, the one thing they have in common: a great user experience.

Backbase will definitely return to FinovateEurope next year. And for those attending FinovateSpring in San Francsico this May: See you there!