To be selected as a Technology Pioneer, a company must be involved in the development of life-changing technology innovation and have potential for long-term impact on business and society. In addition, it must demonstrate visionary leadership, show the signs of being a long-standing market leader – and its technology must be proven.
Technology Pioneers are companies from around the world that develop and apply the most innovative and transformational technologies in the fields of information technology, renewable energy and biotechnology / health. The work undertaken by these companies holds the promise of significantly affecting the way business and society operate. Each innovation is another step in society’s attempt to harness, adapt and utilize technology to change and improve our world. The World Economic Forum identifies between 30 and 50 companies as Technology Pioneers every year.
Three of these pioneers are related to financial services. What’s interesting is that these pioneers are in the areas of social network, peer-to-peer lending, and mobile banking and payments.
Mint – is a personal finance social network that has 600,000 users who, according to Mint, are tracking $50 billion in transactions and $15 billion in assets.
Qifang – a social network and platform that connects Chinese students who are seeking loans for university with lenders (banks, companies, non-government organization, non-profit organizations, philanthropists and individuals seeking investment returns)
Ngpay – An Indian mobile commerce service that lets consumers use mobile phones to shop, arrange travel, view a bank balance, transfer funds, pay their bills, use direct debit to shop, and donate to charity.
What’s interesting here:
- All three technologies are driven by consumers, not by banks. All three are establishing their brands first with consumers, not banks.
- All three technologies continue to evolve and mature, worldwide, rapidly.
- All involve personal financial management – Mint by managing expenses, Qifang by providing credit to students via student loans, and Ngpay by enabling consumers multiple ways to pay with a mobile phone -including direct debit from a bank account.
- Two of the three pioneers are social networking communities and platforms. I’ve identified these types of platforms as an emerging technology provider for social banking
- One of the pioneers is about mobile – but it’s not a mobile banking vendor. It offers consumers mobile shopping and commerce – with banking and payments capabilities to facilitate their shopping and personal finance management.
Consumers: managing their finances, in communities and on their mobiles. And banks are not central to their accomplishing this goal. Yet. Ever?