The Mews Blog > Unleashing the future of payments: insights from Money20/20 Amsterdam 2023
In the rapidly evolving landscape of fintech and payments technology, attending conferences like Money20/20 can be a game-changer if you want to stay at the forefront of industry advancements. This is the story of two passionate product managers from Mews who couldn’t wait to soak in all the innovations and connections the conference has to offer.
Who are we?
Medina: After starting as a test engineer, I transitioned into product seven years ago and now bring 12 years of experience to the payments industry. As a product manager, I bridge the gap between business needs and technical solutions, driven by the relentless pursuit of understanding the ‘why’. At Mews, I enjoy managing payments and gaining insights into the complex world of hospitality and travel.
Jovana: Having spent six years in the hotel industry before embracing the payments world four years ago, I was fascinated by the prospect of driving positive business change and improving guest experiences. After transitioning through three different countries and being part of Mews’ remarkable story, I’m even more passionate about business growth and prioritizing what matters to our customers.
Why we had to be at Money20/20
Medina: The constant development and integration of cutting-edge technology to drive the global economy is fascinating, and fintech has a unique allure with its innovative potential for payments technology. Money20/20, the pinnacle of fintech conferences, offers the perfect opportunity to witness the latest industry developments and future trends, network with industry leaders, and gain valuable insights from the conference's presentations and workshops. That’s why I wanted to attend: to stay at the forefront of the industry, connect with like-minded people, and expand my knowledge base to make meaningful contributions to this evolving field.
Jovana: Fintech is all about change. It involves moving a previously closed-off industry into the online world. I find it remarkably similar to the wave of changes the PMS industry underwent during its transition to the cloud. Our goal at Mews is to challenge the stagnation of "traditional" banks and enhance the guest experience. We knew attending Money 20/20 would help us recognize significant industry movements and identify what’s essential for the future of travel. And my personal goal was to connect with industry professionals, explore potential solutions and gain inspiration, all while learning something new.
Our impression of Amsterdam 2023
Medina: It was my first time attending Money2020, and I found it impressive, albeit a bit overwhelming. I always think about the logistics behind organizing such an event, and I must say the Dutch are generally good at this. With the sheer number of companies in attendance, the user-friendly Money20/20 App was really helpful for preparing in advance. It allowed me to see who was there and even schedule meetings. However, while it’s easy to make a plan, following through with it during a fast-paced event isn’t always possible.
Jovana: The event was fascinating, held at an impressive location, and featured many companies that could expand Mews' capabilities. I’d been passionate about attending the conference for many years, so it was amazing to finally experience it in person! The event caters to anyone, whether you’re a merchant or acquirer, as it hosts a wide range of companies and topics. However, it can be quite overwhelming, and the biggest challenge lies in not just planning but also sticking to the plan.
Expectations vs reality
Medina: Given that we were representing merchants, we were in an advantageous position to engage in targeted ‘shopping’. This involved exploring payment providers, services, and facilitator partners who could support us in executing our vision or inspire us to go beyond our current capabilities.
From my perspective, the event delivered on its promise of being a great marketplace to learn about the latest developments in payments, financial services and cyber security. It provided a platform to meet peers and potential collaborators with whom we could form meaningful partnerships.
Jovana: We were excited about the opportunity to collect contacts and meet some partners we had been communicating with for months. As Medina mentioned, it felt like we went on a productive ‘shopping’ spree, and indeed, our bags were filled with valuable connections!
Mews covers various aspects of the ‘money’ ecosystem, and we were eager to engage with different facets of the business. I had hoped to have more time to attend the sessions organized on different stages, but the reality was that it was challenging to do everything at once. We prioritized what was most important and made the most of the time we had.
Why every fintech PM should attend
Medina: Firstly, attending the conference allows you to discover who else is out there and get to know the biggest names in the payments industry. It provides an excellent networking opportunity, where you can reconnect with familiar faces, learn about the current status of their organizations, and understand what they excel at. You also get to meet countless new people from companies you may not have known about before, which adds to your knowledge base.
The conference offers tons of valuable content, including engaging talks and last-minute announcements on hot topics in the payments world. For example, we heard firsthand when Rabobank announced their acquisition of IN3, providing us with the opportunity to ask questions and arrange follow-up meetings as needed. It was also fascinating to learn why the CEO of Airwallex admires Stripe (their competitor), and gain insights into his take on the future of the industry, ultimately inspiring and influencing our decisions.
The event is a hub for payments companies to unveil product launches or venture into new markets. Witnessing such announcements live and learning about the process behind them is truly valuable. And if you're in the business of building a new payments platform or offering financial services like Mews, it's an ideal place to explore and ‘shop’.
One of the things we love most is the opportunity to meet fellow businesses that work with similar partners or those we could collaborate with in the future. The chance to share opinions, feedback, and experiences with them is invaluable and helps us conduct additional research before making crucial decisions. The collaborative atmosphere at the conference fosters growth and mutual success.
Jovana: Being at the forefront of the industry, the blend of innovation, regulation, announcements, and experiences at the conference enables incredible networking and proves to be a time-saving endeavour (although it may not seem that way at first). Throughout the event, we had 5-8 different meetings a day, ensuring we were spot-on with our requirements and eliminating bad fits, which both optimized time and benefited everyone involved.
Being part of the latest product launches, delving into Spotify's payment strategy, and connecting with professionals from the realms of travel, lending, and various verticals, provided us with a holistic view of the industry. Often, the biggest inspiration emerges not within our immediate vertical but from diverse sectors. And that’s what the conference enables – the interconnection of fintech insights across different industries.
Top three takeaways
- Be prepared: Although planning meetings and reviewing the attendee list is recommended, we didn't have time for that luxury. But we still managed to approach everyone without prior appointments by initiating on-the-spot conversations: ‘Hey, what do you do? We do this. What do you think? Is there an opportunity?’ It turned out well and led to valuable discussions. But keep in mind there might be some repetition, so be prepared and choose wisely.
- Document, follow up, and take notes: With so many companies and similar offerings, it's easy to forget who does what. Before you reach day three of the conference, it's crucial to document your interactions, follow up with potential partners, and take detailed notes for future reference.
- Three days is a lot: The first day is usually the most effective for engaging with companies and topics of interest. The second day is ideal for follow-ups. Be prepared for the third day to be shorter, as many companies tend to leave early, and attendees may feel tired or hungover from previous events...
Also, make sure to attend the networking events after the conference. They provide a less formal environment to meet people and engage in freer discussions about the industry.
- Be open: During the conference, we had the opportunity to meet some incredible companies that were not even in our industry but faced similar challenges. Interacting with them allowed us to exchange ideas and pick up interesting insights, e.g. from Spotify, and it was eye-opening to realize that others out there were going through similar processes.
- Plan: While we didn't have a structured plan, having one would have given us more time to sit and reflect on the valuable information we gathered. In the future, I suggest splitting tasks with a colleague so you can cover more ground and share the best parts of the conference with each other.
- Network after the conference: As Medina pointed out, the real networking begins after the conference. It's the best way to connect with the brightest minds in the industry and build meaningful relationships.
The companies that made an impact
And finally, here's a list of the amazing companies we interacted and followed up with after Money20/20 Amsterdam 2023:
- Banking Circle
To wrap it up, Money20/20 Amsterdam 2023 was a whirlwind of knowledge, inspiration, and connections that left a lasting impact on us. The conference is an indispensable experience for any fintech PM who wants to contribute to shaping the future of payments technology.
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