Vital4 attended the first in-person Fintech Meetup on March 19th-22nd, held at the Aria in Las Vegas. The three-day conference, known as the world’s biggest fintech meetings event, deviates from the traditional format of keynote speakers and fireside chats. It instead facilitates over 30,000 meetings among more than 3,000 industry participants. We were pleasantly surprised by the event overall and will strongly consider attending again next year. The first thing we loved about the Fintech meetup was the timing! Finally, a significant Q-1 event to kickstart the year (and our pipeline) with some meaningful new connections and reconnecting with partners and friends in the world of Fintech. All in all, we had a great time and found it to be a good and well-rounded conference.
Apparently, Fintech Meetup was founded by the original creators of Money 20/20 so we couldn’t help ourselves comparing it to the long-standing industry standard, Money 20/20, which we have been participating in for nearly 6 years now. In our humble opinion, here is our breakdown:
They did a great job on the content. It was well thought out to not compete with the meetings and the exhibit hall. Each day they had four tracks and they changed up the tracks on most days for variety which we liked. Some of the hot topics we were interested in were how Fintech’s are transforming AML/KYC with innovative new approaches, how AI is being used to fight financial crime, and the future of digital identity and privacy. Additional hot topics and panel discussions we enjoyed were around Embedded Finance and Banking as a Service (BAAS).
The exhibit halls were far from the size and scale of Money 20/20 however we enjoyed walking the floor and talking with the exhibitors. They did bring in some service dogs to promote a local animal rescue which was our Co-Founder and President, Amy Barbieri’s favorite part of the exhibit hall or it could have been the lobster tails and shrimp seafood buffet at happy hour which was quite impressive to say the least!
One of the things we enjoyed was the “table talks” over lunch. This was a unique and creative approach to getting conversations flowing at lunch where typically a group of strangers all randomly wind up at a table together sometimes met with awkward silence. Table talks put together a group of like-minded people with an assigned “topic” to discuss over lunch. We met some great people and had some meaningful conversations.
Unfortunately, the welcome party that was originally by the pool was relocated indoors, but we had a great time meeting everyone. It was typical of most opening parties as one would expect. They hosted a party on Tuesday evening at the Jewel nightclub to wrap up the show but to our knowledge, there was not a “headliner” type band playing like we look forward to singing along with every year at Money 20/20.
Meetings (the meet-up part):
In our opinion this was the best part of the conference. It is what made it unique and what made it stand out the most from Money 20/20. The Fintech Meetup app was a little confusing, but once we got our meetings set up (you request meetings and others reach out to request meetings) it was a piece of cake. The app did all the heavy lifting and scheduled the meetings for you, which was a great feature. Even better, it sent out calendar invites with names of who you were meeting with at what time and a table number for the meeting. The tables were organized well and were easy to find in a massive sea of tables in a gigantic ballroom. It was speed dating for business, but it was extremely efficient.
Overall, it was a good show for us, and we hope to attend again next year. Where else can you have 10-12 meetings a day, get curated thoughtful content by industry experts, visit with customers and partners, eat lobster tails for happy hour and dance the night away at one of the best clubs in Las Vegas? Hope to see you all next year!