Money 20/20 Report from PR Pros: Fintechs, Partnerships, and Networking Win Big!

By: Sarah Ikalowych

Leave it to Elvis Presley to perfectly sum up how the KCD PR team feels following a whirlwind four days in the Neon Capital of the World for our favorite event of the year, Money 20/20:

“Bright light city gonna set my soul
Gonna set my soul on fire…

…How I wish that there were more
Than the twenty-four hours in the day
Even if there were forty more
I wouldn’t sleep a minute away”

Can you imagine going to Vegas and NOT feeling ready to leave at the end of a trip? We didn’t think it was possible either, but here we are. Our team left feeling extremely fulfilled, yet still knowing that we could have seen more booths, done more networking, caught more panels, and generally… done more. This is truly a testament to just how much this conference has to offer attendees, and the importance of planning and prioritizing time while there. While we couldn’t see it all, we still came home with plenty of business cards, new ideas, and fresh insights from the show.

Bright Lights, Big Names

The panels were relentless showstoppers at the event and featured huge names from an arena that you don’t usually associate with financial technology: sports superstars. Monday was the marathon day that kicked off (served?) with a panel featuring tennis icon Serena Williams talking about both her VC fund Serena Ventures and her clothing brand. These tied in to discuss changes in the general tech and financial space, specifically how our worlds on and offline are becoming blended together due to the influence of social media on everyday lives, as well as how crypto integration will soon play into everyday retail shopping habits.

The stages saw more legends later that day, with a double play including Allyson Felix, the most decorated female track and field Olympian to date, and Derek Jeter, baseball Hall of Fame inductee known affectionately as The Captain. They spoke beside one another to discuss leading through adversity, and how their experiences as professional athletes led them to their careers post-play. These conversations were particularly interesting and affirming for the industry, showing that even those who seem to have it all want to go all-in on fintech.

While Crypto is Away, the Fintechs Will Play

 This year’s show featured a stark difference in the types of companies represented compared to last year, as there was a glaring lack of defi and Web 3 representation. While this could be due to the explosion of crypto events that took place this year, it definitely did not do much to hide the fact that the crypto markets are currently a mess. On the bright side, this gave fintechs of all types a chance to shine. There was a massive list of announcements that companies planned to go live during the event, creating a ton of buzz and even allowing them to be included in similar conversations with competitors.

Speaking of competitors, with a lot of similar players in close quarters, many companies had to get creative with their booths, side events, and general approaches to the conference. There was plenty of popcorn, espresso, and even adult beverages to attract attendees to booths on the expo floor, and the booths themselves were both intricate and monstrous, likely needing professional architects to develop. We managed to get into the expo area during buildout day and were nearly run over by a forklift. You’ve got to keep your head on a swivel in Vegas!

Drawing a Full House in Hard Times

Even in the flash, bustle, and showboating of both Vegas and the conference, there was no denying that we are currently facing a recession and companies are doing their best to avoid financial adversity. That is manifesting in interesting ways, with many companies making the best of the situation by finding partners to solidify and strengthen their products, platforms, and networks. More than 35 of the official show announcements were sharing news of new partnerships, and many more companies came to the show specifically looking for new links to add to their chain. The best opportunities can present themselves in times of adversity, and we are really looking forward to seeing how these fintechs evolve to fit the needs and times of these new unions. Chapel O’ Love, anyone?

There’s No Business Like (In-Person) Show Business

Our personal favorite part of any conference is getting to work and spend time with everyone there in person. As PR professionals, we know that media members get bombarded with hundreds of emails a day, and getting to make that personal connection with the people we are pitching to makes a huge difference in relationship building and providing a personal aspect to something that can seem transactional.

This also goes for getting to work with our incredible clients, and this show in particular gave us the chance to do that with more clients at once than any other event we attend throughout the year. As a remote agency with clients across the globe, we usually only get to connect with clients from behind a screen, and we don’t always get consistent time with, or even get to interact with, all team members. We especially love getting to watch our spokespeople work their magic with media live, and we can give real-time praise and feedback, and be supportive in ways that can only translate to physical presence. And of course, the same goes for our own team! We operate as a coast-to-coast agency, and every time we get to work together in person we get to build each other to be better, and ultimately get stronger both as a unit and as individuals. Viva Las Vegas, Viva Money 20/20, and Viva KCD PR!

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