• Home
  • |
  • Blog
  • |
  • Benzinga Fintech Summit – 2017 San Francisco Highlights + Kevin O’Leary

Benzinga Fintech Summit – 2017 San Francisco Highlights + Kevin O’Leary

Last Updated on September 29, 2017 by Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA, MS

Disclosure: Please note that this article may contain affiliate links which means that – at zero cost to you – I might earn a commission if you sign up or buy through the affiliate link. That said, I never recommend anything I don’t  believe is valuable

Benzinga Fintech Summit Gets Loud!

Jason Raznick of Benzinga put together a fast-paced conversation about Fintech with some of the biggest players in the sphere. The Benzinga Fintech Summit combines panel discussions and individual company presentations while introducing new platforms and discussing the state of the fintech world.

Staying on top of the fintech arena, with light speed changes, is a tall order. Here’s what’s going on now, according to Benzinga Fintech Summit participants.

Investing, Real Estate and Robo-Advisor Presenters Include:

  • Unison
  • Rocket Mortgage
  • Morty
  • Realty Shares
  • Unison
  • Mint
  • Quants
  • Trade Ideas – Holly
  • PaperTraders
  • And more

Curious about the fintech trends?

2017 Benzinga Fintech Summit - San Fransisco showcased top fintech firms in real estate and investing

Here’s what’s going on in the fintech real estate, mortgage, investing (trading) and robo-advisory platforms:

  • Individuals seeking the newest ways to capture investment markets alpha
  • Consumers that want an equity partner to buy their dream home
  • Super-fast and customized mortgage lender
  • Robo-advisor with smart beta strategies
  • Paper trading games
  • Proven daily trade ideas for active investors
  • And more

Who’s Who in the Investing and Robo-Advisory Fintech Landscape

Some of the presenters were fresh-out-of-the-box new, while others had some wear and tear. Here are several of our favorite fintech companies showcased at the Benzinga Fintech Summit.


When you think of a robo-advisor, you think – diversified portfolio of low fee index funds, invested in percentages according to your risk tolerance level and rebalanced regularly. Not so fast.

Quants Corp doesn’t fit that mold, according to Gokhan Kisacikoglu, CEO/CIO.

Launched in late 2015, Quants is a smart beta robo-advisor for active investors. This robo-advisor strives not to match the indexes, but to beat them. But not only does Quants claim to beat the vanilla index fund investing model, but the platform claims to do so with equivalent risk.

Their one-year returns meet this goal, but as anyone who’s invested for a while knows, one year is not a long enough time to claim victory over the indexes.

Through their sophisticated artificial intelligence or A.I. algorithms, Quant contends they’ll provide two times better monthly returns than the S&P 500 without tactical trading. This platform isn’t for your Mom and Pop investor, but is available for accredited (high net worth) and institutional investors.

Trade Ideas – Holly

Despite the overwhelming evidence that most investment strategies underperform the markets, there are those investors and traders that strive to beat the market indexes. Trade Ideas – Holly gives short-term traders daily, vetted investment ideas, informed by their algorithms.

According to the Trade Ideas website, “The A.I. powered robo-advisement consists of several dozen different investment algorithms subjected to over a million trading scenarios overnight to arrive at a subset with the highest probability for alpha in the next market session. The result is a curated, distilled stream of vigorously tested long and short opportunities”.

Trade Ideas is for the active trader seeking top level, A.I. informed daily trading ideas incorporating real time information.


Are you a fan of the sports sites Fan Duel and Draft Kings? If so, John Rourke, CEO, thinks you might like PaperTraders simulated investing game. Not with real money you can trade stocks online – with your friends. Launching in October 2017, you can paper trade and find out if you’ve got what it takes to beat the pros.

No real money losses! It’s social and educational.

Bonus: Get free, professional financial and investment management tool-kit

Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank Talks Financial Literacy at Benzinga Fintech Summit

Benzinga Real Estate Fintech Players – New and Newer

The real estate and mortgage markets are evolving just as fast as the investing and robo-advising areas. Here are some oldie and newer real estate related fintech players that were showcased at the Benzinga Fintech awards.


Had a great chat with Amy Kirsch of RealtyShares who gave a clear cut pitch on what makes the company distinct from a REIT.

Don’t have 50 million to invest in that commercial building? No worries, Realty Shares offers accredited investors both equity and debt positions with low fees. You can get cash flow and capital appreciation for as little as a $5,000 investment. The firm explains that over 550 projects were financed with $300 million by RealtyShares investors. Currently, there are more than 92,000 registered investors on the platform.


CEO, Brian Faux explains the automated, digital mortgage marketplace, Morty. It sounds too good to be true:

“Your Smart Home Mortgage – Any lender, any product. The best mortgage for you.”

With a few clicks, Morty instantly matches you to the best loan rates, products and takes you across the entire mortgage loan process, through closing. Morty matches you up with a variety of loan products, from a large network of lenders, offering the best available market rates. The online process streamlines the cumbersome mortgage process and gives you access to better rates and a more streamlined process.


I had a great chat with Michael Micheletti, director of corporate communications at Unison. He explained how Unison is the solution for borrowers able to pay the mortgage payments on their loan, but without 100% of the funds for a down payment. Especially enticing in expensive real estate markets, Unison typically provides borrowers with 50% of the home down payment and then shares in the homes appreciation (or depreciation). They wait to be repaid, until you sell your house!

Since Unison is investing in your home, not lending you money, there are no interest charges or monthly payments. And because the money returned to Unison (plus the percentage appreciation – or depreciation) until you sell, the money for the equity share comes from pension funds and other major long term investors.

Founded in 2004, Unison has made investments in residential real estate worth more than $300 million.

Final Wrap Up From Benzinga Fintech Summit in San Francisco

Mint.com’s head of product, Kevin Kirn discussed the disciplined approach the company goes through when rolling out new features for their popular financial management app. When discussing their bill reminder, he stated that Mint’s goal is for zero users to miss paying a bill!

In closing, Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank fame rocked the house with his fintech thoughts. He promoted his Beanstox app and his thoughts about how to promote financial literacy.

Keeping up with the lightning speed fintech sector is a full-time job. Stay tuned to find out which firms expand and which ones die off. It’s an exciting and rocky ride.

Don’t forget to sign up for free budgeting, investing, and money-management software. (no spam + unsubscribe at any time)

Related Posts

Robo-advisors With The Most Assets Under Management -2023

Robo-advisors With The Most Assets Under Management -2023

M1 Finance Promo Codes* | High Yield Cash, Huge Cash Back Credit Card

M1 Finance Promo Codes* | High Yield Cash, Huge Cash Back Credit Card

Robo Advisor News – Wealthfront, M1 Finance, Vanguard And Betterment

Robo Advisor News – Wealthfront, M1 Finance, Vanguard And Betterment

Wealthfront Cash Account Review – Free, High-Yield Account 

Wealthfront Cash Account Review – Free, High-Yield Account 

Barbara A. Friedberg, MBA, MS

Barbara Friedberg, MBA, MS brings decades of finance and investing experience to Robo-advisor Pros. She is a former investment portfolio manager and taught Finance and Investments at several universities. Barbara Friedberg's published work includes Personal Finance; An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management (Greenwood Press), Invest and Beat the Pros-Create and Manage a Successful Investment Portfolio and How to Get Rich; Without Winning the Lottery. Follow her on twitter