FintekNews is pleased to offer our weekly feature column “3 Questions With”. Each week, we feature a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our audience in their vernacular. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Jeff Cain of the Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator, which helps entrepreneurs launch disruptive products that leverage transactional financial data. Selected companies have the opportunity to develop their vision or product by tapping into Yodlee’s award-winning platform, technical support, mentorship, guidance and exclusive membership in the broader Envestnet | Yodlee ecosystem.
NAME: Jeff Cain
TITLE: Incubator Director
COMPANY: Envestnet | Yodlee
WEB ADDRESS: www.yodlee.com/incubator
What is your role within your firm and what do you do there on any given day?
I am responsible for running the Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator, a 6-month non-residential program that helps entrepreneurs build amazing financial applications using financial data. We provide select companies with access to our award-winning platform, technical support, mentorship, guidance and exclusive membership in the broader Envestnet | Yodlee ecosystem.
On typical days, I look for great startups and provide assistance to existing startups that have already come through our program; I talk to venture capitalists and other incubators, comparing notes and reviewing ideas; and I find mentors and other resources for our incubator companies to help them grow. Bank innovation executives are always interested in what’s new in fintech, so I spend a lot of time discussing trends with them. Additionally, entrepreneurs interested in the program understandably have a lot of questions, so I speak with them and provide guidance as needed. Entrepreneurs already in the program have different questions, so I talk – or Slack – with them regularly. Some days include market research and scouring databases, such as AngelList, for new startups. Every day includes marketing of our program and working to corral the internal resources that our company can bring to help startups. The overarching theme is helping our incubator company founders succeed, whether as a CEO coach, strategic advisor or networker.
What area/s of fintech do you believe will grow the most in the coming 5 years?
We believe that the continued digitization and personalization of user experiences will continue to grow. We anticipate that both fintech innovators and financial institutions will reduce paperwork, connect data sources, improve their mobile apps and generally provide users with the sort of experiences they have come to expect from the Amazons and Ubers of the world. Clunky applications most likely won’t survive as many fintech innovators continue to develop more personalized and predictive digital experiences. This trend runs across the financial landscape. Consumer banking, of course, but also financial advisors and wealth managers, need to address not only the robo advisor trend, but also how they communicate with clients and present proposals and portfolios. Even commercial banking will not be immune: CFOs use Amazon, Uber and Slack too, and it is likely that they will start to expect more predictive and personalized data-driven graphical experiences from their banks. This trend will drive continued adoption of enabling technologies: APIs that provide data access, and sophisticated analysis and algorithms to ensure the delivery of timely and actionable insights.
How do you feel consumers (or if more relevant for your firm – businesses) are adapting to the facet of fintech that your company operates within?
Consumers are becoming more and more knowledgeable and comfortable about sharing their data in exchange for personalized applications and services. Whether via Facebook feed, Amazon recommendations or Personal Capital portfolio advice, access to consumer-permissioned data is making user experiences more personalized, accurate and predictive.
Envestnet | Yodlee is a founding member of the Consumer Financial Data Rights (CFDR) group. As part of this organization that now includes 30 fintech companies, we seek to promote consumer rights to access and share their financial data with third party companies that provide tools to enable better financial outcomes; work with banks to support unfettered access to consumer and small business data through a secure and open financial system; and drive financial innovation in a collaborative ecosystem by bridging the needs of consumers, banks, fintech innovators and regulators.
Some of our incubator companies are also adding their own insights to consumer-permissioned financial data, providing innovative tools that help to improve consumer’s financial well-being.
Jeff Cain directs the Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator. He has extensive technology and startup experience as a business development and M&A executive at companies such as Common Sense Media, Cadence Design Systems and Red Herring.
The information, analysis, and opinions expressed herein are for informational purposes only. Nothing contained in this piece is intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type.