FamZoo Partner Edition, our new co-branded version of FamZoo, is now available for financial institutions and advisors looking for an innovative new way to deliver effective youth financial education. Using Partner Edition, a financial organization can deliver FamZoo’s Virtual Family Bank directly to its client families. Partner Edition includes an administrative console wrapped around a built-in targeted advertising platform. Using Partner Edition’s self-service console, an institution can customize FamZoo’s appearance, schedule targeted offers, and monitor activity. The platform allows organizations to deliver the right offers at the right time to the right segment of their audience as kids gradually transition to real world financial products. For example, a financial institution might choose to highlight its teen-oriented debit card offering to all parents who have children between the ages of 13 and 17 or its starter savings account to parents of kids 12 and younger.
Please note: families who register and subscribe directly with us via FamZoo.com remain free from all advertising — just as before. Only families registering via a partner using FamZoo Partner Edition are subject to advertising and offers from that sponsoring partner.
The “formal unveiling” (OK, aside from my jeans, Bank of Mom & Dad T-Shirt, and orange shoes) of FamZoo Partner Edition took place last week in New York City at FinovateFall 2011, the premiere conference for showcasing new innovations in banking technology. The format consists of 63 companies delivering back-to-back, pressure-packed 7 minute demos over two days in front of roughly 1000 financial industry executives, analysts, press, and venture capitalists. To top it off, if you don’t heed the big red count-down clock and exceed your time limit, the Finovate staff rings a loud buzzer and unceremoniously cuts your microphone — whether mid-sentence or not. Pretty brutal, but we all know the deal going in, so fair enough.
I was super relieved just to make it through without getting “gonged” and without suffering any unnerving technical glitches. Several hapless presenters were not so lucky — ouch. Kudos to Chris for all the behind-the-scenes prep work and technical contingency planning, like our backup server that fortunately never got called into duty. (But, if it hadn't been there, you just know we would have needed it.) Oh yeah, and my apologies to the poor NYC subway passengers who became an unwitting audience for repeated ad-hoc mumbled rehearsals of my 7 minute schpeel in the days leading up to my time slot.
The videos of the actual demos are not up on the Finovate site just yet, but in the meantime, here’s a goofy little trailer we produced to generate a little pre-show interest:
We were absolutely thrilled (and, frankly, a little bit surprised) by the incredible interest and response we received. The audience voted FamZoo Best of Show and we received tons of genuine interest at our booth - and not just for our cool stickers! Really. Although, I must say my favorite moment was when the big, burly, tough, tattooed union guys who broke down the show booths came over to me to politely request extra stickers for their kids. How could I refuse? It’s the only time I saw those guys smile. Everybody loves cartoon stickers. They were a universal hit.
Last, but by no means least, I want to give a special shout-out to our two launch partners for FamZoo Partner Edition: Paul Comstock Partners and Jay Sanders (President of Maturity Planners and youth financial literacy educator in New York City — see Jay’s great blog). Your help and support was instrumental in ironing out those inevitable initial kinks when you deploy the real deal. Your passion for our product is insanely motivating. Jay, you were an absolute gem at our Finovate booth — I couldn’t have handled the crush without you!
To wrap up my thoughts on the show: I’m truly delighted to see an increasingly serious industry commitment to honestly teaching kids sound personal finance skills — not just check-the-box style efforts. It’s been a long road from day one in 2006, but we’re seeing lots of new activity in the youth financial literacy segment and a variety of creative approaches. That bodes well for kids and familes everywhere, and we’re proud to be a part of it.
For articles covering FamZoo’s appearance at FinovateFall 2011, see here.