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The new year finally blasted off this week with nearly $400 million in new money headed to the hot sector ($194 million equity, $200 million debt). The majority of the cash ($322 million or 82%) went to Finovate alums including KreditTech ($200 million), Coinbase ($75 million including money from two retail banks, USAA and BBVA), Motif Investing ($40 million from China), True Link ($3.4 million), and Kofax ($1.9 million). In addition, one Finovate alum, prepaid card white-label specialist Akimbo was acquired by Payment Data Systems.

This brings total funding for the month to more than $630 million ($430 million equity, $200 million debt), a healthy $10 billion annual run rate (see recaps from 1st week2nd week of January). 

The deals from Jan 17-23 in order of size: 
Alternative banking & lending products 
Latest round: $200 million (debt)
Total raised: $263 million (includes $215 mil debt)
Tags: Mobile, lending, underwriting, online banking, Hamburg, Germany, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Cryptocurrency wallet and exchange
Latest round: $75 million
Total raised: $106.7 million
Tags: Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, Investors: USAA, BBVA, NYSE, San Francisco, California, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Giftcard marketplace for buying and selling
Latest round: $56 million
Total raised: $82.2 million
Tags: Prepaid, gift card, merchant, POS, fee income, Chicago, Illinois
Source: Crunchbase

Automated investment advice for consumers
Latest round: $40 million
Total raised: $126 million
Tags: Consumer, investing, robo-advisor, wealth management, ETFs, Renren (investor), San Mateo, California, Finovate Best of Show alum
Source: Finovate

Mobile-first payments platform
Latest round: $9.1 million
Total raised: $14.1 million
Tags: Payments, apps, mobile, SMB, London, UK
Source: FT Partners

Italian payment network
Latest round: $6.4 million
Total raised: $6.4 million
Tags: Mobile payments, micropayments, P2P, peer-to-peer, Milan, Italy
Source: Crunchbase

Prepaid card with advanced controls for seniors
Latest round: $3.4 million
Total raised: $3.4 million
Tags: Prepaid card, credit, debit, controls, security, seniors, YC, California
Source: Finovate

Document and image capture technology
Latest round: $1.9 million
Total raised: $11.5 million (public KOFX)
Tags: Remote capture, enterprise, mobile, Irvine, California
Source: Crunchbase

Social trading network
Latest round: $1.0 million
Total raised: $1.0 million
Tags: Investing, consumer, social networks, Mountain View, California
Source: Crunchbase

Securities market technology
Latest round: $800,000
Total raised: $800,000
Tags: Trading, investment management, enterprise, Bangkok, Thailand
Source: Crunchbase

Secure mobile payments with your signature
Latest round: $700,000
Total raised: $700,000
Tags: Security, mobile payments, Antwerp, Belgium
Source: Crunchbase

Online and mobile payments
Latest round: $500,000
Total funding: $9.0 million
Tags: Payments, mobile, Palo Alto, California
Source: FT Partners

Canadian provider of blockchain-powered smart contracts
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Unknown
Tags: Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, legal, identity, security, Vancouver, Canada
Source: FT Partners


White-label prepaid card solutions
Price: $3 million
Buyer: Payment Data Systems
Tags: Prepaid card, gift card, debit, San Antonio, Texas, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate


Now that the dust has settled on fintech's biggest startup IPO ever, FT Partners has put together an extensive profile of Lending Club. Lending Club's IPO last year was one of the major events that helped put fintech in the headlines of not just technology news, but business news, as well. And FT Partners' report so far serves as the definitive document on just how the alternative lender did it and gives clues to what comes next.

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The data-rich, 60-page document focuses mostly on Lending Club, though small business lender, OnDeck, is also covered. The review of Lending Club before, during, and after its public offering includes industry reaction as well as summaries of analyst coverage.
Key milestones in the rise of Lending Club are shown graphically, from its launch in 2007, through the company's first $25 million institutional investment five years later. An industry timeline shows Lending Club's place in the evolution of the alternative lending market (interestingly contrasted with a graph of the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield).

The report discusses Lending Club's competitive strengths, opportunities for growth, and includes seven pages of loan statistics and another nine pages of financial analysis focusing on revenue and revenue comparisons.
Perhaps my favorite part is the 16-page section "Selected Alternative Lending Transactions." Looking at the variety of financing, M&A, and other transactions in both the consumer and small business markets provides a robust sense of the history and diversity of the alternative lending space.

The full report is available here.

Financial Technology Partners is an investment banking firm dedicated to the financial technology sector. The company was founded by Steve McLaughlin and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
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At a purchase price of $3 million dollars, Akimbo Financial has agreed to be acquired by payments solutions provider, Payment Data Systems.

"We believe joining the Payment Data Systems family will help further our goal of reinventing the prepaid card," Akimbo co-founder and CEO Houston Frost said. "We look forward to growing our program at FiCentive and making the Akimbo card product an industry leader and trendsetter."

Payment Data Systems plans to integrate Akimbo's prepaid card technology with the backend prepaid card processing platform of its subsidiary, FiCentive. The resulting technology, per Frost, will provide consumers with "new features and functionality", better customer service, and lower costs.

Added Louis Hoch, FiCentive president and CEO, "Not only will FiCentive have access to new and significant prepaid card front-end technology including mobile applications, but will also be acquiring significant human capital with deep prepaid card industry knowledge.

(above: Akimbo Financial co-founder and CEO Houston Frost at FinovateFall 2013)

Akimbo Financial specializes in white-label, prepaid card programs for banks and credit unions. The company's technology supports social payments and prepaid card management, making it easy for consumer to share money by email or over social networks, and to automate the management of their cards and accounts. The Akimbo Visa Prepaid Card, the company's signature solution, can be used with a mobile app (both iOS and Android) to take advantage of the budgeting, money sharing, and card management features on the go.

Founded in 2010 and headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, Akimbo Financial demonstrated its prepaid P2P payments solution at FinovateFall 2013.

Germany-based Kreditech said, "hallo" to a $200 million line of credit yesterday. Victory Park Capital supplied the debt.

The company has served 2 million customers in 9 countries since launching in 2012. It will use this debt to "address the growing demand for loans of longer durations at fair prices."


Kreditech CFO, Rene Griemens says, "Setting the stage for our upcoming Series C financing round, the credit facility will reaccelerate our growth well beyond the 500 percent per year mark." According to TechCrunch, the impending Series C round will bring Kreditech to a $750 million pre-money valuation before its anticipated IPO in two to three years.

Kreditech uses its big data credit-scoring technology to better serve the world's un and underbanked population, which accounts for four billion people. Earlier this month it acquired Kontomierz for its KYC technology and ability to get unique data in real-time.

Check out its live demo from FinovateSpring 2014.

Alumni News-- January 23, 2015

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgInternet Retailer looks at the relationship between product reviews and revenue courtesy of a new report from Baazarvoice.
  • Xero highlighted as "our best purchase of 2014" by Business Betties.
  • MakeMoneyYourWay profiles EZBOB and its new business loan promotion, the New Year's Revolution.
  • Zee News' Money Guru interviews Abhishek Dwivedi, vice president operations at
  • Liverpool Echo features Toshl Finance in its list of must-have apps for busy moms.
  • Investopedia's guide to choosing roboadvisors spotlights nine Finovate alums: Betterment, FutureAdvisor, JemstepLearnVest, Motif Investing, Personal Capital, SigFig, TradeKing, and Wealthfront.
  • Benzinga Fintech Awards publishes its video interview with Gary Zimmerman, CEO of MaxMyInterest.
  • American Banker covers OnDeck's small business loan marketplace for institutional investors.
  • Pymnts interviews René Lacerte, CEO and Founder of about how to simplify B2B payments.
  • Mifos welcomes new partners: SkooliLabs and iSystems
  • Google Cloud Platform releases beta of Google Container Registry for secure hosting, sharing, and management of private container repositories.
  • BlueVine Grabs $18.5 Million to Increase Small-Business Lending.
  • Encap Security CEO Thomas Bostrom Jorgensen asks if biometrics provide a "false sense of security" in a column for Bob's Guide.
  • Akimbo Financial acquired by Payment Data Systems.
  • Kreditech Secures $200 Million Line of Credit.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

FinovateEurope 2015 Sneak Peek: Part 4

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Will you be joining us live for FinovateEurope 2015? Following the action via the Finovate Live Blog and Twitter feed (@Finovate)? 

However you plan on participating in the first Finovate conference of the year, our Sneak Peek series helps you get to know the presenting companies before they hit the stage next month.

We've already highlighted 18 out of the more than 70 companies demonstrating their latest technologies. If you missed them, you can get up to speed with Parts 1, 2 and 3 of our Sneak Peek series below.

Today we bring you another set of six presenters: Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, CPB Software AG, Ixaris, JSC Delta Bank, QCR, and Topicus Finance.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank have a long, 156-year history of innovation. Our latest innovation is redy, a mobile commerce platform.

  • A mobile commerce platform that connects shoppers, businesses, and the community for a common cause
  • Fast and secure mobile payments
  • Easy, fast, and secure donations
Why it's great
redy is a fast and secure mobile commerce platform that improves the shopping experience and connects shoppers, businesses, and communities for a common cause.

Robert Musgrove, Executive Community Engagement
Musgrove played a pivotal role in the expansion of Community Bank. He is always on the lookout for ways to give back to his community.

Rick vanEmmerik, Mobility Manager
vanEmmerik has been with Bendigo and Adelaide Group for 7 years. He has been part of the redy team since its inception.

CPB Software AG offers profound expertise, creativity, flexibility, and high quality financial software solutions including premium ASP and BPO services.

  • PROFOS is the app for bankers
  • Manage your clients anytime and anywhere
  • The best way to support your advisors and clients
Why it's great
PROFOS - The Bank is where Clients are!

Peter Thomayer, CEO
Thomayer is founding member and since 2000 CEO of CPB Software. Areas of responsibility: strategy, human resources, marketing, and sales. Held different leading positions in some banks before.

Barbara Aigner, Consultant
Aigner is founder and CEO of emotion banking, a consultant company for banks and founder of victor, the main analysis and championship for banks in the German-speaking area.

Markus Nekham, Consultant

Ixaris is a fintech company specializing in the delivery of next generation card programs.

  • Extend your card programs offering with apps from our App Store
  • Reduce burden on your IT through an on-the-cloud platform
  • Reduce card program management overheads with self-service tools
Why it's great
Card programs tailored to your customer needs by your own customers

Patrick Abela, Product Director
Abela has 15 years experience specializing in leveraging technology to deliver innovative and competitive payment products and solutions.

Reno Scerri, Pre-sales and Solutioning Manager
Scerri has over 10 years' experience in technology products, with special focus on design and delivery of solutions for the payments industry.

JSC Data Bank is a Ukranian innovative universal bank that provides a wide range of products and services for all types of clients.

  • Transfer money via Facebook
  • Transfer money using only the recipient's mobile phone number
  • Service is available without registration for everyone
Why it's great
Pay2You is a service that makes your communication channels available for transferring money.

Stanislav Ostrovsky, Head of R&D Department

QCR has developed RiskAware, an innovative credit risk assessment technology which can add major value to existing risk management practices at financial institutions.

  • Drastically improved corporate default predicting power
  • Deeper credit risk analysis and more accurate quantification of credit risk
  • Faster credit risk management, quicker SLA times
Why it's great
Through faster and more accurate credit risk management, RiskAware can save millions of USD a year in credit losses for financial institutions.

Tamas Varkonyi, Founder and CEO
Varkonyi's professional career in credit risk management spans 12 years. Before founding QCR, he managed a credit portfolio at CIT Group and underwrote loans at Barclays.

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Sandor Kocso, CTO
Kocso is a seasoned technologist with 10 years of experience developing financial software applications at Morgan Stanley and Leonteq Securities, Switzerland.

Topicus Finance is a flexible, process-oriented business lending platform with self-service capabilities.

With FORCE Business Lending:
  • Enable automatic loan origination
  • Achieve seamless fulfillment for all parties
  • Facilitate everything from orientation to a fully-repaid debt
Why it's great
"Customer centric" is no longer a hollow phrase. FORCE Business Lending enables your employees to fully focus on (the business of) your customer.

Michiel Schipper, Managing Director

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Jamie Burink, Head of Business Lending

FinovateEurope 2015 will be held February 10 and 11 in London. Pick up your tickets today and join us for the first Finovate conference of the year.

Being a small business short on funds is never a good thing. However, with more startups tackling short-term funding headaches for small businesses, there are now more options available.

For example, BlueVine Capital raised $18.5 million in a series B round today, bringing its total funding to $24 million. The announcement comes a day after its competitor, Taulia, pulled in $15 million.

The funding was co-led by 83North (formerly Greylock Partners) and Lightspeed Ventures. Silicon Valley Bank, Correlation Ventures and private investors also contributed.

The Palo Alto-based company will use the funding to expand into new verticals and add software integration. It also plans to double its employee base this year.


In March of 2014, BlueVine beta-launched its cloud-based platform that helps small businesses smooth out their cash flow by freeing up funds stuck in unpaid invoices. Businesses can receive credit lines from $5,000 to $50,000.

Since launch, BlueVine has processed thousands of invoices and provided several million dollars to small businesses in the U.S.

Check out BlueVine's debut at FinovateFall 2014 in New York.


Invoice management company, Taulia, raised $40 million over the last six months, and brought in even more cash yesterday. The new, $15 million installment, which has been added to its previously-closed Series D round, comes from Zouk Capital.

Since launching in 2009, the San Francisco-based company acquired BillFLO in 2011 and has raised a total of $91 million. It operates primarily in North America and Europe and the new funds will be used to fuel international expansion.


The growing funding mirrors the company's rising success. Over the past year, Taulia has doubled the number of employees to 200. Additionally, its network of suppliers has grown by 186%.

At the start of 2015, Tauila brought Rik Thorbecke on board as CFO. In the remainder of the year, the company plans to bolster R&D efforts and expand its enhanced financing options for buyers.

Taulia demonstrated its Early Invoicing Platform at FinovateSpring 2012.

Alumni News-- January 22, 2015

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgKreditech secures $200 million credit line from Victory Park Capital.
  • GMC Software and Silanis Technology partner to integrate eSignLive with Inspire.
  • Internet Retailer features Trustev CEO Pat Phelan in discussion on consumer fraud.
  • TradeKing unveils Risk Assist to protect clients against steep market declines.
  • Braintree completes initial integration with Coinbase; opens up private beta access.
  • Financial Post business section features Digital Retail Apps in its look at digital payments in 2015.
  • Realty Mogul adds new Senior VP of Mortgage Operations, Kendra King.
  • Temenos forges strategic alliance with EFT processor, Elan Financial Services.
  • Check out our latest FinovateEurope 2015 Sneak Peek, Part 4 featuring Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, CPB Software AG, Ixaris, JSC Delta Bank, QCR, and Topicus Financial.
  • Planwise launches Connect, leveraging affordability tools to help real estate agents engage potential buyers.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Recently highlighted by The Wall Street Journal as a top online tool for retirees, True Link has raised $3.4 million dollars in a round led by an atypical fintech investor: Cambia Health Solutions.

Also participating in the round were Collaborative Fund, Generator Ventures, and Kapor Capital.


The investment is the first significant infusion of capital for the True Link. Founded in February 2013 and based in San Francisco, the company debuted its True Link Prepaid cards at FinovateSpring 2014. CEO Kai Stinchcombe introduced the technology as a way to help prevent elder Americans from financial exploitation, fraud, and abuse, while still ensuring seniors can have an active financial life.

As reported in Techcrunch, Stinchcombe finds Cambia's relative lack of Silicon Valley cred to be a feature rather than a bug. He credits Cambia's "strong thesis around aging" as a major synergy compared to other potential investors whose focus may be more youth-culture oriented.

(Above: True Link CEO Kai Stinchcombe at FinovateSpring 2014)

The company plans to use the capital to look into protecting other consumer assets such as credit scores.

True Link's technology consists of a prepaid debit card with a variety of safeguards. The cards can be set up to block transactions at certain stores or certain categories of items or even certain types of transactions (i.e., no online transactions). It can also be used to establish spending limits, and to send alerts whenever a transaction threatens to breach them.

The service is $10 a month. Cards can be funded from a bank account or direct deposit, and True Link says the process takes less than five minutes to set up.

Yesterday, LendingRobot received $3 million in funding for its platform that helps individuals invest like pros on P2P lending sites, Prosper and Lending Club. Europe-based Runa Capital led the Series A round.

The new funding, plus the undisclosed amount received in a Seed round last April, brings LendingRobot's total raised to somewhere north of $3 million.

The Washington state-based company plans to use the funds to add new features, enhance its prediction models, and accelerate growth.


LendingRobot uses an algorithm to invest users' available balance in their Prosper and Lending Club accounts to get them the best return.

How is this different from Prosper's QuickInvest or Lending Club's Automated Investing?

Think of it as Bid Sniper software for eBay-meets P2P Lending. Popular loans are funded seconds after they are posted on Prosper or Lending Club, usually by institutional investors or hedge funds with automated loan investing technology. By the time the average individual makes their investments, often times the best loans have already been snatched up.

Additionally, it offers its 1,000+ users more than 40 filtering criteria to insure their cash is being invested how they want.


LendingRobot has no up-front fees, and manages users' first $10,000 for free, after which it takes 0.45% per year.

LendingRobot was recently named a finalist in SWIFT Innotribe's Startup Challenge.

We featured LendingRobot in our Behind the Scenes feature in May of 2014. Check out LendingRobot's live debut at FinovateSpring 2014.

Alumni News-- January 21, 2015

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgYour Personal Financial Mentor profiles EZBOB.
  • BrightScope releases AdviceMatch, a free online service to help consumer choose financial advisors.
  • OnDeck Marketplace emerges from pilot program. Platform helps institutional investors buy small business loans.
  • Venture Burn takes a look at Azimo and the West African remittance market.
  • Kreditech named Germany's leading digital innovator of the year by Focus Magazine.
  • Arroweye Solutions CEO Render Dahiya urges issuers on EMV adoption.
  • Check out FinovateEurope 2015 Sneak Peek: Part 3.
  • Coinbase Raises $75 Million from BBVA, USAA, NYSE, & Others.
  • Millennial-focused BankMobile app is powered by Malauzai Software and uses Mitek to power mobile customer on-boarding.
  • Roostify describes its experience with Yodlee's FinDat Disruptor program.
  • PayPal to use InComm to support PayPal's digital gifts services in Canada.
  • Yale Undergraduate selects Wall Street Survivor to help students understand investing and personal finance. 
  • Baltimore looks at how TIO Networks powers Baltimore's online bill pay system.
  • Tradeshift wins Circular Economy Digital Disruptor Award held at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
  • CustomerXPs and EY, a tax advisory firm, partner to help companies deal with fraud.
  • iBillionaire updates mobile app & releases new High Dividend Index.
  • Payment Data Systems to acquire Akimbo for $3 million.
  • Be sure to check out FinovateEurope Sneak Peek #2 featuring AlphaPoint, Avoka, Encap Security, investUP, Nostrum Group, and StreetShares.
  • True Link Raises $3 Million in Round Led by Cambia Health Solutions.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.


We'll be in London three weeks from today, where drinks will be served, networking will be in full force, and we'll be wrapping up the first day of FinovateEurope 2015 (get your ticket here).


To help you prepare for the onslaught of 70+ live demos full of new technology, some of the presenters provided us a summary of what to expect from them on stage. This week, we're featuring CoinJarEVRYFOBISSStrandsTrunomi, and VATBox:

Don't miss previous posts:


CoinJar is a digital finance platform that gives customers a way to manage and spend both traditional and digital currencies when and how they want.


    • Store bitcoin without volatility 
    • End-to-end solutions to make bitcoin adoption easy 
    • Buy bitcoin reliably with a simple interface

Why it's greatCoinJarPresenters.jpg
CoinJar provides end-to-end solutions to unlock Bitcoin's potential.


Asher Tan, CEO and Co-Founder
Economic Analyst. Researcher. Bitcoiner.

Ryan Zhou, COO and Co-Founder
Rubyist. Student at University of Melbourne. Bitcoiner.


EVRY is the Nordics' leading financial service provider and is presenting Spendific, a concept designed to make personal finance simple.


    • Automatically generates personalized budget based on previous spending
    • Gives users feedback on their finances in real-time
    • Motivates users to reach their goals

Why it's great
In Spendific there are no complicated graphs or charts to tell you whether you're on track with your finances. Just one number. No worries.



Anne Moa, Product developer
Moa has previously worked as a youth economist in a large Norwegian bank, with responsibility for the bank's main channel of communication towards young people.


Magne Meldal, Business developer
Combining two decades of technology and marketing experience with an open mind, Meldal is passionate about bringing better financial services to consumers.


FOBISS is a first modern tool enabling retail banks to manage their entire cash supply chains with one button click.


    • Automates optimization and decision-making
    • Based on Artificial Intelligence technologies
    • Can be flexibly adapted to existing processes

Why it's great
The industry's first and only cash management system empowered by Artificial Intelligence and driving best decisions on time.



Mindaugas Leonavicius, Managing Director
Leonavicius has more than 10 years of experience in management consulting. Led multiple businesses through start-up phases from establishment to breakeven.


Andrius Ojeras, Global Sales Director
Ojeras is an IT Sales professional with more than 10 years of experience within multinational IT organizations.


Strands designs and creates next-generation digital banking experiences to help individuals and SMEs manage their finances.


    • Help SMEs analyze and forecast future financial needs
    • Empower SMEs to deliver targeted marketing campaigns on mobile devices
    • Help banks address the digital banking needs of business owners

Why it's great
With Strands Loop, financial institutions can create a more seamless and personal banking experience and build better relationships with their SME clients



Dario Lombardi, General Manager, Strands Finance
Lombardi leads the Finance BU. He joined Strands in 2011 as Business Development Director and has been responsible for managing sales in EMEA. Prior to Strands, he worked for Bloomberg LP


Cesar Jimenez Richardson, Director, Business Development
Richardson joined Strands in 2014 and is managing Strands Finance in the Americas. Previously he founded and managed tech startup companies in travel and education tech arena and worked for Bloomberg LP


Trunomi offers an innovative technology platform that streamlines Know Your Customer and mobile verification using a revolutionary consent-based data sharing platform.


    • TruMobile securely connects customers with banks.
    • Monetises and personalises your customer's data experience.
    • Streamlines verification KYC using a revolutionary consent-based data sharing platform.

Why it's great
A customer-focused mobile solution that eliminates their most significant pain-points; making their account opening and data management experience simple, secure and easy.



Stuart Lacey, Founder & CEO
Lacey is an innovator, team-builder and thought leader. Sometimes mistaken for the Energizer Bunny - he is relentless in his drive to find better ways to learn, build, nurture and share great ideas.


Chia Brewin, Customer Development Executive
Brewin is a multi-tasking, Trunomian super-star. She attended University in the UK, helped run campaigns for major political parties then earned a black belt in the "Art of Customer Development".


VATBox is the first, cloud-based automated solution for Foreign/Domestic VAT recovery, providing data-driven visibility and insights while maximizing VAT returns.


    • Eliminate human-error and resources with automated VAT technology
    • Gain complete visibility, compliance and control of VAT spend
    • Benefit from VAT recovery optimization, maximizing refunds

Why its great
VATBox's Automated VAT recovery solution enables customers to have one global process that tracks and manages VAT spend with ease, and to maximize VAT refunds.



Isaac Saft, Co-Founder & CEO

    • 2012 - 2013 - President and Global Business Development, KCS Ltd
    • 2004 - 2012 - Founder and Chief Executive Officer, KCS Ltd
    • 1994 - 2003 - Commanding Officer, Israel Defense Forces

FinovateEurope will be held February 10 & 11 in London. Pick up your ticket today to save your seat at the hottest fintech event of the year.

Questions? Check out our FAQ for some answers.


Amid recent murmurs of cryptocurrency's projected outlook for 2015, bitcoin wallet Coinbase just received some credibility from some major financial institutions.

The San Francisco-based company pulled in $75 million in a round led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ). BBVA VenturesUSAA Bank, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and Crypto Currency Partners also contributed, along with existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, and Ribbit Capital.

From a fintech standpoint, the most notable investors are BBVA and USAA. Both have historically been known for being on the cutting edge of fintech. In an interview yesterday with CoinDesk, BBVA Ventures executive director Jay Reinemann stated:

"This is unfortunately not an announcement that we're opening up the bank to do that, it's moreso a precursor. We need to better understand the industry and understand how merchants and consumers are interacting with bitcoin."

According to TechCrunch, this is the largest round yet a bitcoin-related company has raised. The new installment adds up to more than double its last three rounds combined, and brings its total funding to almost $107 million.


What's a bitcoin-focused company to do with all of those dollars? The Coinbase team will use the money to work on its mobile channel, increase its international availability from the current 19 countries to 30 countries, and build out its API.

To see the Coinbase wallet in action, check out its live demo from FinovateSpring 2014 where it demoed Instant Exchange.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for motiflogo.jpgIn one of the more interesting investments in recent months, Chinese social network, Renren has led a $40 million funding round for investment platform, Motif Investing.

The funding takes Motif's total capital to more than $120 million.

Renren founder and CEO Joseph Chen said that Motif was the kind of "disruptive technology" that can "transform markets." He sees the platform as serving both retail and institutional investors in the United States and around the world.

But perhaps it was Carl Stern who put it best. The former Vice Chairman of the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs and former Chairman and CEO at The Boston Consulting Group, said "Motif Investing is experiencing success because it provides a differentiated model to advisors and retail investors that make smart investing simple at minimal cost."

The investment from Renren is part of the company's campaign to invest approximately $500 million in fintech startups. According to the Wall Street Journal blog's reporting, Renren is looking to diversify its revenue away from an emphasis on advertising. The blog quotes Chen saying, "making money purely through mobile advertising in China is too difficult." 

(Above: Motif Investing co-founder and CEO, Hardeep Walia at FinovateSpring 2014)

Motif says that Renren's support could help the company eventually expand into China. For now, the company is looking to move into both the U.K. and Hong Kong in 2015.

Motif's technology lets investors and traders build their own exchange-traded funds. The platform leverages the creativity of its investment community to develop investment products that are often more unique and topical than those traditionally available. 

Founded in 2010 and headquartered in San Mateo, California, Motif Investing is a multiple Best of Show award winning alum, earning honors for demonstrations of its technology at both FinovateFall 2013 and FinovateSpring 2014.

Alumni News-- January 20, 2015

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgACI Worldwide partners with ATM provider LD Systems.
  • Nutmeg hires former Google financial search ad specialist, Scott Eblen, as Chief Product Officer.
  • Azimo customers can now send money to another eight West African countries.
  • The American Bankers Association endorses PFM and BFM platforms from Geezeo.
  • New app from no-fee, no-branch BankMobile is powered by Malauzai Software.
  • Wall Street Journal's top tools for retirement planning features BillGuard, blooom, HelloWallet, MaxMyInterest, Mint, True Link Financial, and Yodlee.
  • Check out our latest CEO interview: Global Debt Registry CEO Mark Parsells Brings Transparency to Debt Ownership. 
  • Top Image Systems and SQN Banking Systems deploy signature verification project at Singapore bank.
  • TechVibes highlights Trulioo founder, Stephen Ufford.
  • Integrity now offers CardFlight mPOS to its merchant customers.
  • Credit Karma now has more than 35 million members, accounting for 16% of US population with an open credit profile at a major bureau.
  • Continuity named one of Connecticut's 2015 Best Places to Work.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.
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FinovateFall 2014 alumGlobal Debt Registry operates in what may be the final frontier of finance: charged-off consumer debt. When consumers get into financial trouble, they find themselves not just battling debt, but struggling to deal with often aggressive - and sometimes unscrupulous - debt collectors.

GlobalDebtRegistry_homepage1.jpgFounded in 2009 and headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, Global Debt Registry has developed technology and processes that help both individuals and financial institutions track the chain of title for charged-off consumer debts. This is key in making sure that debts are accurately connected with both debtors and debt owners, bringing transparency and efficiency to an arguably under-regulated space.

"Global Debt Registry believes there is a better way to manage charged off accounts," said Global Debt Registry CEO Mark Parsells in response to emailed questions. "We enable large enterprises to securely store and grant access to data and documents on charged off accounts to facilitate better collection outcomes, whether place with collection agencies or sold."

Read the rest of our conversation with Mark Parsells below.

Finovate: Global Debt Registry's primary market is charged off debt. How big is this market and what are its growth prospects going forward?

Mark Parsells: There is over 100 billion dollars of charged off debt created every year. That number isn't tapering, but steadily growing.

Historically, the market was dominated by credit card debt, which remains a major issue. But now medical debt and student loans are presenting new issues for the industry and consumers. As highlighted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in late December, there are over 43 million Americans that have delinquent medical debt on their credit reports. This lack of understanding and transparency will continue to create issues when attempting to manage debt for the debt owner, collectors, and for consumers. 

The market is ripe for digital transformation and we have a tried and tested solution to address these issues.

Finovate: The New York Times published a fascinating expose on what they called "the dark, lucrative world of consumer debt collection."  What do you think is the key takeaway from that story?

Parsells: Jake Halpern, the author of Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld, highlighted many of the issues that result from the lack of digital governance. The open sharing offline of consumer data has inevitably led to abuses. One major highlight for us was the fact the author suggested a central repository of debt information, or a global debt registry, is necessary to bring the debt collection space out of the shadows.

Finovate: What do financial institutions do right now to establish debt ownership? How difficult is the process.

Parsells: Currently there is a fragile, inefficient model known as the "daisy chain" process. Debt information is passed around to debt buyers, agencies and legal collectors, which is insecure, inefficient and frequently without real hard information in support of the claim.

As debt information is passed around, the integrity of the information is lost. Debt collectors and agencies don't have access to the right information, as original contracts and account statements rarely flow during this change in debt ownership.

When contacted by a debt collector, consumers will typically first attempt to contact the original creditor. But those lines of service are usually cut off, as now the debt owner is a separate entity, with no records to offer clarity to individuals. As a very underinvested area for banks, there is no centrally common digital infrastructure across the industry to support the management of charged off accounts and tracking of debt ownership and placement, leading to an inefficient and high-risk process for financial institutions.

Finovate: Who in the financial services industry is most in need of the kind of services Global Debt Registry provides? Who do you target?

Parsells: Global Debt Registry addresses the needs of large creditors, debt buyers, and collection agencies that support and service the $3.4 trillion consumer debt market in the United States, including credit cards, auto loans, home equity, student loans, and consumer finance/retail loans.

We provide data integrity services for the nation's top banks and debt owners to track and communicate information about debt. Our solution helps large and small creditors looking for a better way to manage debt and ensure fair treatment of consumers.

Global Debt Registry also provides transparency and resources to risk and compliance officers, as they seek to manage the overall risk factors of the mounting debt space. Compliance officers like the solution, but so do those business leaders responsible for the P&L and customer experience.

Finovate: How difficult to navigate are regulatory and compliance issues in this industry? Do regulations make it harder to get the transparency people want?

Parsells: Debt collection rules were mainly drafted 30 years ago, prior to much technology and the invention of the debt market. Historically, this industry has been very under-regulated, and only during the last year or two has there been an increase in attention around these issues. 

The formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has created a clear focus on creating more transparency for consumers, ensuring strong data integrity and regulations that more clearly set guidelines for fraud and inefficient debt tracking. The FTC and OCC have also added direction, along with State Attorneys General such as New York, taking actions against debt buyers for consumer abuses. Our digital solution addresses these regulatory concerns.

Finovate: What is the technological challenge of making all this data and information accessible? What was the most difficult component?

Parsells: The main challenges are human rather than technical. Secure cloud based technology enables large volumes of data to be stored, analyzed, shared, and managed more efficiently than ever. The challenges fall across the whole industry, requiring collaboration and leadership across banks, the debt buying and collection industry. Some parties support the absence of transparency and governance that manual processes facilitate. Convincing a siloed, paper based ecosystem to adopt technology requires patience.

(Global Debt Registry on stage at FinovateFall 2014, left to right: Todd Veale, Chief Marketing and Product Officer; Charles Moore, Chief Commercial Officer)

Finovate: What is the range of services that Global Debt Registry provides to FIs?

Parsells: Global Debt Registry believes there is a better way to manage charged off accounts. Consumer debt is one of the last remaining financial asset classes not to systematically electronically record transactions, leading to inefficiencies, risk, consumer confusion, and increasingly regulatory attention. 

We enable large enterprises to securely store and grant access to data and documents on charged off accounts to facilitate better collection outcomes, whether placed with collection agencies or sold.  Extending the customer lifecycle to embrace charged off customers will become an increasingly important area for FIs over the next few years as a result of both regulation and brand impact. We solve this problem for them with Debt Lookup, our free debt validation application.

Finovate: What's next for Global Debt Registry? What new initiatives are in the pipeline?

Parsells: We are planning to launch new Global Debt Registry services this year to continue enhancing how the organizations we work with track and manage debt. We are also planning on adding new asset classes, support and services that will anticipate increasingly complex regulatory standards. The OCC now requires banks to coordinate debt sales and placements across asset classes, representing integration and coordination complexities we are helping with. The line between debt sales and placement with collection agencies will continue to blur, hence the need to support both. We are very excited about the stage of evolution in the market and the growing appetite for digital evolution and governance.

Watch Global Debt Registry's FinovateFall 2014 demonstration here.

Alumni News-- January 19, 2015

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgWordline extends partnership with Kalixa.
  • Misys signs deal with fixed income data and cash flow model specialist, Intex.
  • defiSolutions unveils ESSENTIAL LOS automated application processing solution.
  • Benzinga looks at how LikeFolio helps investors spot trends in stocks.
  • Engineering and Technology Magazine features biometric authenticators EyeVerify, Bionym, and BioCatch.
  • Wipit Named Winner in Ninth Annual Paybefore Awards.
  • Banking Tech features how RBS subsidiary, Ulster Bank, is holding a hackathon with Open Bank Project.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.
As expected, capital flow heated up as the new year truly got underway this week. Globally, 15 fintech companies attracted $157 million in new capital (see note below). More than half the total ($84 million) went to Finovate alums App Annie ($55 million), PeerTransfer ($22 million) and Global Debt Registry ($7 million). 

There was also an important exit in the space, with Capital One buying up yet another promising personal finance startup, Level, the creator of mobile PFM LevelMoney

Note: App Annie would not be considered "fintech" by most definitions. But the fact that it targets financial services, among other verticals, and has appeared at Finovate, qualifies it for our tracking. Excluding App Annie, the fintech sector pulled in $102 million this week. 

Fundings (Jan 9 to 16, 2015 in order of size)

Business intelligence for mobile applications 
Latest round: $55 million
Total raised: $94 million
Tags: Mobile, apps, San Francisco, California, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Microfinance for Chinese college students to buy goods
Latest round: $40 million
Total raised: $40 million
Tags: Ecommerce, lending, loans, student segment, Rayleigh, China
Source: TechInAsia

Remittance processing for international student tuition
Latest round: $22 million
Total raised: $42.3 million
Tags: Payments, funds transfer, student market, remittance processing, Boston, Massachusetts, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Revenue optimization systems for financial institutions
Latest round: $15 million
Total raised: $18.9 million
Tags: Business intelligence, metrics, Tel Aviv, Israel
Source: Crunchbase

Personal lending marketplace
Latest round: $7.7 million
Total raised: $7.7 million
Tags: Person-to-person loans, P2P, credit, investing, marketplace, Trade Me (investor), Aukland, New Zealand
Source: FT Partners

Clearinghouse for charged-off consumer debt obligations 
Latest round: $7 million
Total raised: $7 million
Tags: Debt, collections, lending, Wilmington, Delaware, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Amazon web services for the blockchain
Latest round: $3.1 million
Total raised: $3.1 million
Tags: Bitcoin, cloud services, cryptocurrency, blockchain, San Mateo, California
Source: Crunchbase

Indonesian giftcard startup
Latest round: $2 million
Total raised: $2 million
Tags: prepaid cards, debit, gift card, Indonesia
Source: Crunchbase

Payment and marketing services
Latest round: $2 million
Total raised: $2 million
Tags: Payments, marketing, SMB, Bucharest, Romania
Source: FT Partners

Unbiased financial advise as an employee benefit
Latest round: $1.5 million
Total raised: $1.5 million
Tags: Personal finance management, PFM, advise, employee benefits, Charleston, South Carolina
Source: Crunchbase

Investor services platform
Latest round: $1.1 million
Total raised: $1.1 million
Tags: Hedge fund, mutual fund, compliance, back-office, enterprise, New York City
Source: Crunchbase

mSignia bitcoin wallet
Latest round: $500,000
Total raised: $500,000
Tags: Cyrptocurrency, bitcoin, wallet, security, San Diego, California
Source: FT Partners

Parallel computing for financial calculations
Latest round: $400,000
Total raised: $400,000
Tags: Investing, trading, infrastructure, Boston, Massachusetts
Source: Crunchbase

Payment processor for the clinical trials industry
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: $1.5+ million
Tags: Health care, payments, acquirer, merchant, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Source: FT Partners

Payment security technology
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Unknown
Tags: Security, payments, Allen, Texas
Source: FT Partners



LevelMoney mobile personal financial management 
Acquirer: Capital One
Terms: Undisclosed
Funds raised: $5 million
Tags: PFM, money management, mobile app, personal finance
Source: The Verge

Health record and financial solutions for smaller health care provider
Acquirer: Athenahealth
Terms: Undisclosed 
Funds raised: Unknown
Tags: Healthcare, payments, 
Source: Fortune


When you combine Lending Club's entry into small business lending last March with its investment from Google in May of 2013, add in a successful IPO last December, what do you get?

A partnership with Google Partners.

Lending Club announced yesterday it is piloting a program that will enable Google to invest its own capital in its network of 10,000 partners by purchasing their loans. This differs from Google's other investment arms, Google Capital and Google Ventures, as the partner investment program will offer capital without taking equity.


The partner network consists of resellers, consultants, and system integrators that help Google distribute its applications and services. To be eligible for funding, Google partners must be based in the U.S. and meet certain requirements. Qualifying partners can get loans of up to $600,000 for a two-year term.

This six figure amount is double the $300,000 cap that Lending Club typically places on qualified small business borrowers. Also, while the interest rate for SMBs borrowing through Lending Club starts at a fixed 5.9%, those who take out loans through Google Partners will pay only interest the first year, and pay back the loan on an amortized schedule in year two.


This isn't Lending Club's first time working with third parties. For a little over a year now, Lending Club has extended two-fold partnerships to banks and credit unions to 1) purchase loans from Lending Club to diversify their asset portfolios and 2) offer personal loans to their banking customers. It is also working with private equity companies.

Lending Club demonstrated at the first Finovate in 2007.

Gremln Hires Paul Rauner as New COO

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The new year continues to bring C-level changes to the leadership of Finovate alums large and small. Today we learn that Gremln has hired former SirenGPS founder, Paul Rauner to be its new Chief Operating Officer.


Rauner said in a statement: "I am excited to leverage my experience to accelerate Gremln's effforts to provide secure, compliant social media to our clients."

Previous to founding SirenGPS, Rauner was Insurance Agency General Counsel for The NASDAQ Stock Market and Assistant Legal Director for Aon Risk Services. His responsibilities for Gremln will include forging strategic partnerships to help the company enter new markets. 

Founded in 2009 and based in St. Louis, Missouri, Gremln raised $500,000 back in November. The company's total funding is $2 million. Last year, Gremln was endorsed by the New York Bankers Association, and also participated in the SixThirty Accelerator Program.

Gremln was last on the Finovate stage as part of FinovateFall 2014 in New York.

Alumni News-- January 16, 2015

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgLinedata Capitalstream to offer e-SignLive by Silanis.
  • 13 Finovate alums win 2015 Paybefore Awards.
  • Payment Services Provider Anderson Zaks teams up with card-linked offers specialist, Birdback.
  • MarketWatch's Your Digital Self column looks at Jingit.
  • Baseline magazine features a recent study by Arxan Technologies on the state of mobile app security.
  • The Mifos Initiative joins Microcredit Summit Campaign to integrate social performance management and poverty measurement tools into its free and open source cloud-based core banking system.
  • The Super early bird deadline for FinovateSpring 2015 ends tonight! Pick up your tickets now to save big time.
  • Monetise partners with MoneyPass to offer mobile money services to MoneyPass customers.
  • Lending Club Pilots Program to Provide Low Interest Financing to Google Partners.
  • In 2014, secondary transactions surged to a record $1.4 billion on SecondMarket.
  • Spend Matters debunks myths about Taulia. Check out Taulia at FinovateEurope next month.
  • Infosys announces $250 Million USD 'Innovate in India Fund' to support Indian start-ups.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

FinovateEurope 2015 Sneak Peek: Part 2

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It's hard to believe, but it's true: we're less than one month away from the first Finovate show of the year.

FinovateEurope 2015 is returning to Old Billingsgate Market Hall in London for what promises to be our biggest event in Europe yet. We hope you will be able to join us as 70 companies from across Europe and around the world demonstrate some of the latest in financial technology.  

To that end, here's the second part of our Sneak Peek series to give you a taste of what some of this year's innovators will be showing on stage in February. (Part One available here.)

AlphaPoint_hires_logo_box.jpgAlphaPoint's Digital Currency Exchange Platform allows institutions to establish their own internal digital currency exchanges.

    • 24-hour run-time capabilities
    • Military-grade security practices
    • New order types, improved scalability, and an even faster processing speed
Why it's great
AlphaPoint's secure, scalable, and customizable exchange platform is easing the adoption of digital currencies across the globe.

Vadim Telyatnikov, CEO
Prior to AlphaPoint, Telyatnikov was the Senior VP at OpenX Lift (Ranked #7 in Forbes' America's Most Promising Companies of 2013 list)

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Joe Ventura, CTO
Ventura has over 15 years of software architecture experience specializing in secure, scalable, and high performance financial systems for companies such as Deutsche Bank, UBS, and Merrill Lynch.

Avoka enables your omni-channel digital banking business with frictionless account openings.

    • Fast time to market - deploy digital applications in weeks
    • True Omni-Channel solutions - responsive design on any device
    • Improve conversion with reporting and analytics - make changes and publish
Why it's great
Create an engaging digital loan application from any device in 3 minutes or less.

Derek Corcoran, Chief Experience Officer
Corcoran has over 20 years experience in financial services globally, delivering frictionless customer experiences for digital sales and service transactions.

Kevin Mortimer, Technical Director

Encap Security will demonstrate how financial institutions can use Touch ID and Encap's authentication platform to provide access to and authenticate high-value financial services transactions.

    • Easily integrate Apple Touch ID into financial services applications
    • Utilise smart device capabilities to improve authentication
    • Enable proportional security to drive adoption and use
Why it's great
Authentication works best when a number of factors are used - and the factors used are contextually appropriate to the risk of the activity taking place.

Thomas Bostrøm Jørgensen, CEO 
Jorgensen has over 10 years experience in the mobile financial services, identity management, and mobile application security sectors.

John Burman, Sales Director, Europe

investUP is the crowdfunding supermarket, allowing you to lend & invest across all your favorite P2P, debt, and equity sites.

    • Discover more deals - use more sites and find more great deals
    • Saving you time - invest on all your favorite sites through UP
    • Keep track - have just one account and one portfolio with UP
Why it's great
Only with UP can you enjoy one account and one portfolio, yet still lend and invest across all your favorite crowdfunding sites.

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James Tuckett, CEO and Founder
Tuckett is a full-time crowdfunding evangelical from an aerospace engineering and accountancy background. Founded UP in 2012.

Nostrum Group is pioneering digital lending - providing customers with the ability to service their own accounts where and when they want.

    • Digital
    • Automated
    • Mobile
Why it's great
Loan technology that re-imagines what a customer wants from banks and how they can interact with financial products.

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Richard Carter, CEO
Carter leads the organization and is responsible for setting the company. He is passionate about customer experience, innovation, and technology - inside and outside financial services.

StreetShares connects businesses with retail and institutional investors who compete to lend to businesses. Business lending meets social affinities.

    • Blends social and affinity group loyalty with traditional bank underwriting
    • Small businesses pitch their loan request at no cost or obligation
    • Investors compete through online auction technology
Why it's great
StreetShares borrowers get funded at competitive rates while investors get the returns they're looking for. Everyone wins.

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Mark Rockefeller, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder
Rockefeller's goal is to breathe new life into the American dream for a new generation of small business owners.

Tickets for FinovateEurope 2015 are on sale now. Visit our registration page today and save your seat at the show.

Global Debt Registry has secured $7 million in Series A financing. The company plans to use the new capital to help drive sales growth and expand operations. The latter includes both increased marketing as well as a move into new asset classes in the consumer debt market.

The individual investors were not immediately disclosed.

Global Debt Registry serves as a clearinghouse for the debt market, providing definitive and independent information on debt ownership. The company's technology provides an account level "chain of title," bringing standardization, transparency, and digitization to the market. 

The company also provides a consumer solution, Debt Lookup. Consumers can use this resource to see who actually owns their debt, useful to make sure that collection agents looking for debt repayments, for example, are legitimate. Consumer Reports, in its look at the technology called Debt Lookup "promising" as a way to deal particularly with "zombie debt" that consumers often believe has already been paid off.

Recently profiled in American Banker, Global Debt Registry is - in part - fintech's response to the world described by Jake Halpern in his book, Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld. Bad Paper describes just how perilous the unregulated consumer debt market is, and how unscrupulous characters can take advantage of unsuspecting debtors. This has led Halpern to say that a debt registry is a "very common sense idea" and that "it's kind of mind-boggling in some ways that it hasn't been implemented already."

The team from Global Debt Registry agrees. Quoted in American Banker, Global Debt Registry CEO Mark Parsells expects the dollar volume of charge-offs and the number of people contacted by third-party bill collectors both to grow significantly over the next decade. "Particularly with the growing balance after insurance in medical debt," he said.

Founded in 2009 and based in Wilmington, Delaware, Global Debt Registry made its Finovate debut at FinovateFall 2014 in New York. Stay tuned for our CEO interview with Global Debt Registry's Mark Parsells coming next week.

Alumni News-- January 15, 2015

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgFiserv launches its mobile card management app, CardValet.
  • Monitise teams up with the MoneyPass Network to offer Mobile Money services and card control functionality.
  • Misys adds DTCC connectivity to its Regulatory Reporting Service.
  • Partnership between MasterCard and Movistar brings mobile money service to Peru.
  • Benzinga columnist profiles Market Prophit in his look at Apple, Facebook, and JP Morgan.
  • Yodlee now powering 80 financial solutions for smbs.
  • PlanetBiometrics profiles Neil Costigan, BehavioSec CEO.
  • D3 Banking reveals 2015 plans to release digital offering for bank's SMB customers & launch SaaS-based offering.
  • Kony receives the highest scores in 3 out of 4 use cases in New Gartner Report: Critical Capabilities for Mobile Application Development Platforms.
  • TIO Networks partners with City of Baltimore to launch mobile phone bill payments for residents.
  • James Dotter, Utah Business' 2013 CFO of the Year, joins MX as CFO.
  • FreeAgent offers £5k tax bill prize to ease Self Assessment woes.
  • Algomi reports strong growth, plans to triple U.S. staff.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

btn3_ov.pngWith the presenter roster set for FinovateEurope, we've begun our global search for the financial technology innovations that will be showcased at FinovateSpring in Silicon Valley on May 12 & 13.  

Last year, FinovateSpring welcomed a record crowd of 1,300 executives who witnessed 70+ new fintech innovations debut via our signature demo-only format.

This year, based on the early interest, we expect the event to grow significantly and to showcase even more great innovations than last year.

If your company is interested in debuting your latest and greatest at the premier event for fintech innovation, please email us at for more details.

If you're interested in attending FinovateSpring to watch the future of fintech unfold live on stage, tickets are on sale for the event at the affordable super early-bird price through this Friday only.

We'll see you in Silicon Valley in May (or London in a few weeks)!

FinovateSpring 2015 is sponsored by: The Bancorp, CapitalSource, Envestnet, Financial Technology Partners, Hudson Cook LLP and Life.SREDA.

FinovateSpring 2015 is partners with: Aite, Bank Innovators Council, BankersHub, Bobsguide, BreakingBanks, California Bankers Association, Canada, Celent,, Filene Research Institute, Hotwire PR, Javelin Strategy, Mercator Advisory Group and Western Independent Bankers.


With a growth rate of 500% per year and a vision to serve 4 billion underbanked individuals across the globe, Kreditech has a lot on its plate.

Fortunately, the Hamburg-based company announced today it acquired Kontomierz for a "seven digit amount plus Kreditech shares." The actual amount is undisclosed.

Kontomierz is an attractive purchase. Its KYC technology,KontoX offers an API to banks that gives read-only access to customer accounts. Additionally, it has net revenues around 1 million Euros, three digit annual growth, and counts Alior Bank and Idea Bank as clients. Sebastian Diemer, Kreditech founder and CEO explains further:

"With its technology Kontomierz enables us to get unique data in real-time. Our subsidiary companies will hence provide an even better banking service to a bigger target group, the unbanked and the underbanked individuals. A perfect marriage, indeed."

The 16 Warsaw-based Kontomierz employees will now work as a group within the Kreditech organization.


Kreditech launched in 2012, and since then has served two million customers across nine countries. The following inforgraphic displays the company's impressive growth:


Kreditech demonstrated its Kredito24, K24, and Zaimo products at FinovateSpring 2014. You can check out the demo video here.

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The mobile card management game just got a big new player.

Fiserv launched CardValet, a turnkey mobile app that gives cardholders significant awareness of and control over how and when their cards are used. 

And for financial institutions, Fiserv said the app will improve customer engagement and help reduce fraud losses. 

The app is available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, and lets cardholders turn their cards on and off, set spending limits, and monitor and receive alerts on transactions by category.

Jayne Berthelsen, SVP of market and product development, Credit & Debit Solutions for Fiserv talked about the in-house piloting program for the technology that helps guide development.

"Especially in light of the recent high-profile security breaches," Berthelsen said, "our associates told us that they felt much more confident that if unauthorized transactions occurred on their card, they could detect the activity and turn their card off immediately in order to prevent fraudulent transactions."

The company said it plans to bring CardValet's card managing functionality to its solutions in other, digital and mobile, channels.

Founded in 1984 and based in Brookfield, Wisconsin, Fiserv last demoed at FinovateFall 2014. The company will present its latest technology at FinovateEurope 2015 in London next month. Find out more about the upcoming conference here.

Alumni News-- January 14, 2015

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgPayPal Here to provide Windows support, previews EMV card reader.
  • App Annie raises $55 million in Series D round.
  • Andy Swan of LikeFolio quoted in Yahoo! Finance's look at Amazon and Walmart.
  • Crowdfund Insider profiles Patch of Land.
  • Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) partners with Silanis to offer e-SignLive to its members.
  • WePay CEO Bill Clerico writes about the relationship between Bitcoin, ApplePay, and mobile payments in 2015.
  • Check out FinovateEurope 2015 Sneak Peek: Part 1.
  • Xero opens Payroll solution to SMBs in California, Florida, and Texas. Plans to be in all 50 states by end of 2015.
  • ShopKeep Pocket app launches with real-time reporting features.
  • Kreditech Acquires Kontomierz for "Seven Digit Amount".
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

2014 was an exciting year for fintech, and we estimate 2015 to be even bigger, with the ongoing battle for mobile wallet share, growth of alternative lending, and burgeoning VC funding.

At FinovateEurope, our first conference of 2015, we're hosting more than 70 companies who will showcase their products centered on the newest trends, and some we've never seen before. 

For Finovate's fifth time in London, we're returning to the Old Billingsgate Market Hall on February 10 & 11. Register now and be the first to see the newest fintech of 2015.


In the weeks leading up to FinovateEurope, we're giving you a taste of what will be on stage in our Sneak Peek series. Below are the first six companies in this installment.

ebankIT is an omnichannel banking software company that provides innovative solutions with centralized management, allowing banks to communicate faster, easier and more efficiently with their customers.


    • Seamless access to financial products and services
    • Allows banks to extend its customers' network
    • For any device and wearable technology
Why it's great
Omnichannel & Social banking provides a consistent experience across channels to provide customers with seamless access to financial products and services.


João Pinto, Board of Directors
Pinto is an administrator with nearly 20 years of solid experience in the financial sector, actively participating in the design and implementation of innovative Omnichannel Solutions.

Paulo Oliveira, Omnichannel Speacialist
Oliveira is a Project Manager, Omnichannel Specialist and Software Architect in ebankIT. He has been developing solutions in the financial sector for more than 15 years.


Jumio's Netverify turns your customer's computer/smartphone into an ID scanning terminal that captures customer data and verifies customer ID documents, increasing online account opening rates.


    • Reduces abandonment during digital account opening 
    • Creates fast & intuitive experiences for digital account opening 
    • Helps meet KYC & AML compliance requirements

Why it's great
Jumio's Netverify has been developed to meet the challenge of verifying identity in a connected-device environment, decreasing online account opening abandonment by up to 40%.



David Pope, European Marketing Director
Pope is a tech marketing specialist, having helped brands like 192business, Experian & Jumio balance the need for customer convenience with KYC compliance requirements.

John McIntosh, Sales Engineer EMEAJumioPresenter2.jpg
McIntosh is the EMEA Sales Engineer for Jumio and is responsible for all information about the Jumio Product and Technical Information.

SOFORT AG, based in Germany, offers Europe-wide,
SOFORTLogo.jpginnovative services for the secure purchase of goods and digital products on the internet.

SOFORT Banking Paycode is an efficient method for purchasing on an account, whether online or offline. The online link contains all relevant transfer information.

Why it's great
SOFORT Banking Paycode - the faster, smarter and easier way to pay bills online


Christian Mangold, Managing Director Sales
At SOFORT, Mangold is in charge of the German market and the sales strategy. He has been on the SOFORT Management Board since late 2012.


TradeRiver Finance is a non-bank online funding solution which finances trade, both cross-border and in the U.K.


    • Online tool and finance for trade buyers
    • Pay global suppliers in cash and in local currency
    • Finance and execute local and cross-border transactions online  

Why it's great
The TradeRiver platform provides a business funding and transaction execution solution which changes completely the nature and operation of cross-border trade finance.



Toby Lanyon, Chief Operating Officer


Max Fossett, Commercial Development

provides real-time, reference financial data via cloud-based APIs to fintech innovators Wealthfront, Betterment, Personal Capital, Motif Investing, Robinhood, Stocktwits, Yodlee & more.


    • New API offers trusted FactSet fundamental data, including company financials & estimates
    • Covers more than 75,000 publicly listed global companies
    • Easy integration into apps & websites

Why it's great
The leading fintech innovators use Xignite market data APIs



Stephane Dubois, CEO & Founder
Dubois is a fintech revolutionary in the process of disrupting the financial services industry. He founded Xignite to pioneer market data in the cloud.


Yoyo is a mobile platform that seamlessly blends payments, loyalty, and discovery - done right.


    • Combines payment, loyalty and discovery
    • Yoyo 'magic' button on the till - we integrate into the epos software
    • Ability to link card to mobile and to give and receive social gifts

Why it's great
Pay fast, get rewarded.



Michael Rolph, Co-founder and CCO
Rolph is ex Barclaycard, First Data and PayPal. He was formerly a Director at Anthemis Group and is currently a Mentor at Seedcamp and advisor to Azimo.

Check back later this week, when we'll explore six more presenting companies. To learn about all of the presenting companies, check out our presenter page.

Space is limited; get your FinovateEurope ticket now to reserve your seat.

FinovateAsia 2013 alum App Annie has raised $55 million in Series D funding, taking the company's total capital to $94 million.

The round was led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), and featured participation from current investors, Greycroft Partners, IDG Capital Partners, and Sequoia Capital. App Annie plans to use the capital for product development, international expansion, and to "fund potential M&A activity." Note that App Annie acquired Distimo last year.

In addition to the funding, App Annie will gain a new board member, Eric Liaw, General Partner at IVP. Talking about the company, Liaw said in a statement: "Before App Annie, the app ecosystem was largely flying blind. App Annie provides actionable insight into this explosive sector of technology and, as a result, they are the ubiquitous standard for the app industry."

Added App Annie co-founder and CEO Bertrand Schmitt, "App Annie now integrates app sales, search, advertising, demographics, and usage data into one unified, standardized platform. Any company that wants to remain relevant is now an app publisher, and we're confident they will all need App Annie to move their mobile business forward."

Schmitt has a point. For many, when the question is app analytics and market data, the answer is App Annie. Since 2010, the company has become the one-stop-shop for business owners, technologists, and analysts looking to understand trends in the app market. To this end, a handful of metrics helps give a sense of the company's presence in the industry:

    • More than 90% of the top 100 app publishers use App Annie's technology
    • More than 675,000 apps use App Annie Analytics to track downloads
    • More than 79 billion downloads tracked, representing more than $24 billion in gross app store revenue to date
    • More than 75% year-over-year growth in user base to more than 350,000
App Annie's product suite has three main offerings: Store Stats, Analytics, and Intelligence. Store Stats focuses on the app stores, tracking and recording the hour-to-hour performance of apps across categories and regardless of country. The Analytics platform helps app publishers collect and visualize important metrics such as downloads, revenue, rankings, reviews, and event tracking. The Intelligence component provides overall app market data. This can be used for everything from planning an entry into a new market, to studying the app performance of competitors, to analyzing app trends in popularity and revenue.

This leads to App Annie's next product release: the launch of Usage Intelligence. Usage intelligence is a tool for enterprise users that provides mobile access to "active user and engagement trends" for thousands of apps around the world.

Usage Intelligence provides metrics on active users (MAU, WAU, DAU), time spent, usage frequency, and retention. Said Schmitt, "Usage data is of paramount importance to mobile app publishers and investors, particularly when you are talking about analyzing apps that monetize outside the store".

In this way, Usage Intelligence is best viewed as an extension of the capabilities of App Annie's Intelligence solution. The technology is currently in beta, with access limited to a few customers. The full release is scheduled for the second quarter of 2015.

PeerTransfer, a company that makes it easier for international students to pay their tuition bills, should now have an easier time paying its own bills, thanks to a new installment of funding. 

Today, the Boston-based company brought in a $22 million Series D round led by Bain Capital. Previous investors Spark Capital, Devonshire Investors, Accel Partners, and QED Investors also contributed.

The new installment, which almost doubles its previous total, brings peerTransfer's total raised to $43 million. It plans to use the new capital to expand coverage and penetration at schools in Australia, Asia, Canada, the U.K., and U.S. and advance its payment platform.

Matt Harris, Managing Director at Bain Capital, will join peerTransfer's board.


PeerTransfer enables students from 200+ countries and territories to pay their tuition and room & board using bank transfers and credit and debit cards on its payment platform. It is partnered with 600 schools across 10 countries.

Since launching in 2009, the company has processed over $1 billion in international payments and is adding 50 new clients per quarter. During the first half of the 2014/15 academic year, it doubled year-on-year revenue and reached profitability. Alex Finkelstein, General Partner at Spark Capital states that peerTransfer is poised for even faster growth and expansion.

As for the rest of the academic year, CEO Mike Massaro states that the company is on track to deliver $1 billion in cross-border payments processed for the full year. 

PeerTransfer recently won the 2014 BostInno's 50 on Fire Award. It demonstrated its international payment solution at FinovateSpring 2011.

Alumni News-- January 13, 2015

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgNavy Federal Credit Union partners with Cachet Financial Solutions to offer Cachet's Select Mobile Money with the its new GO Prepaid Card.
  • Azimo customers can now send money to the Philippines.
  • Pacific Marine Credit Union hires Insuritas to open and manage turnkey insurance solution.
  • Bezinga profiles "cloud-based virtual advisor" iQuantifi.
  • Deutsche Kreditbank AG and Blackhawk Network's Retailo introduce digital gift cards to online banking programs.
  • ID Analytics Secures Patent for Identity Manipulation Detection System.
  • Taulia hires new CFO: Rik Thorbecke, former Meltwater Group CFO.
  • Xero introduces expense claim functionality, Receipts, for iOS (Android still in development).
  • TechCrunch: Google Cloud Platform Opens Its Cloud Monitoring Service To All Developers On Its Platform.
  • Let's Talk Payments reviews multiple Finovate & FinDEVr alums' payment APIs.
  • Forte's Checkout Campaign earns Silver for the Best in Biz Marketing Campaign of the Year.
  • AnalytixInsight launches new mobile smart TV content licensing partnership.
  • PeerTransfer Secures $22 Million in a Round Led by Bain Capital.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

The name AdviceGames might lead you to believe the company is all fun and games. On the contrary, the Amsterdam-based company is deeply rooted in science. In fact, the platform is termed Advice-Games-As-A-Serious-Service (AGAASS). Yes, serious.

AdviceGames provides a solution to help banks, insurers, and independent financial advisors to be a virtual "guardian angel" of their customers' finances. We explored the platform in our Behind the Scenes feature in 2014.


CEO Diederick van Thiel is in the process of earning his PhD in behavioral finance at the University van Tilburg. Van Thiel brought his expertise to the mortgage advice tool, EyeOpen (see FinovateEurope 2013 demo), which he sold to Aegon in 2013. 

In late 2013 he, along with COO Rosali Steenkamer, developed AdviceGames.

We recently asked van Thiel a few questions on AdviceGames' Virtual Financial Guardian and gamification:

What inspired you to launch AdviceGames?

van Thiel:
AdviceGames is a Netherlands-based firm founded in 2013 with a focus on gamification of financial services to help financial services firms activate consumers. At our core is the first artificial financial intelligence platform, combining data, scientific research, and social, location, and transaction data. This will enable financial services firms to create profiles, understand interests and behaviors, and smartly personalize their customer services.

The big idea of AdviceGames is the result of a PhD study I performed in digital behavioral psychology. Consumers actually don't like their personal finances. Not in a traditional way, but also not in the digitized PFM or financial planning way. Globally, activity rates of these kinds of tools are shamefully low. In the scientific experiments with universities in Europe, USA and Asia, I discovered the power of data-driven gamification, machine learning and applied gaming in activating consumers. After successfully testing them, the models derived from the study were digitized in our robo-advice platform. The platform is powering AdviceGames' applied financial games and gamified apps.


(AdviceGames homepage, January 9, 2015)

Can you talk about the science behind the Virtual Guardian Angel (VGA)?

van Thiel:
It's like an oil spot. It grows, and grows, and grows...

Most of the customer centric tooling in financial services is based on the OESO model of sustainable financial behavior. It says that consumer centric financial services organisations support their customers in (1) financial control, (2) making ends meet, (3) financial planning, (4) choosing appropriate products and (5) understanding financial products. The thing is; all these things are about education, not about stimulating sustainable behavior itself. That's where our research starts. 

Professor Fred van Raaij and I led international behavioral psychology research on sustainable consumer activation through machine learning. In this research we discovered the power of applying data-driven games or gamification. We set up experiments across the world, made behavioral models and digitized them in the VGA robo-advice platform. We also developed the world's largest database on cross-cultural financial activation to support our customers with actionable intelligence on it. Last summer we presented our latest research at the prestigious Society of Advancements in Behavioral Economics in Lake Tahoe. Also for 2015 we have invites to present new research in the USA, Asia and Europe. We are also working on a book on this matter, which will be published by one of the leading American Publishers.

Company stats
  • Founded: 2013 
  • Headquarters: Hilversum, The Netherlands, with offices in London and San Francisco
  • Employees: 15 (40% of the staff are in R&D)
  • Number of clients: 7
  • Number of end users: ~3.5 million

How does the Virtual Financial Guardian Angel work for people with complicated financial situations?

van Thiel:
The Virtual Guardian Angel, our robo-advice platform, can have many different appearances. I'll give you an example! 

The next triple A-Applied Game AdviceGames that we'll launch (and demo at the upcoming FinovatEurope) is on lowering credit risk. We developed and automated a predictive targeting model on a bank customers' probability to default. The target customers show behavior which will bring them in default within 6 months. We developed an Applied Risk Game to (1) make these people aware of their situation, (2) train them in skills like cash & wealth management, (3) and reward real life behavior. The game players change their behavior predictively and also show a more sustainable attitude towards their personal finances. All VGA appearances are powered by the Advice-Games-As-A-Serious-Service Platform. 


(Screenshot of sample user login page)

How do you see the use of gamification in financial services evolving in 2015?

van Thiel: 
Globally, people game for 3 billion hours a week. High school students game 10,000 hours between the moment they enter high school and the moment they leave it. Gamification of financial services will grow fast for the upcoming years! 

The global gaming industry presently is about $81 billion U.S. dollars and will rocket to $102 billion in 2017. It's bigger than the global music industry and slightly smaller than the global movie industry. The market for applied games is about 15% of the global games market. It's relatively small, it's very inefficient but is growing 8.1% per year. We are in what you can call a game bubble. Gamification, of course, is something different than applied gaming, but potentially just as promising. New scalable business models will grow fast to global market dominance. 

We are one of the first movers in this matter. We integrate the best of entertainment games models with applied games models. Based on the power of data-driven games and gamification, consumers will experience a more symbiotic relationship with their bank, IFA or insurance company. It drives consumer engagement and sustainable consumer activation big time.

AdviceGames was recently recognized with a Dutch Fintech 50 Award. Over the next year and a half, it will release a machine-learning module along with smart mobile games, and will demo the new technology at FinovateEurope this February in London. It plans to enter the U.S. market in Q3 2016. 

PayPal Expands Repayment Options

Thumbnail image for PayPalLogo.jpg

PayPal announced this week that its PayPal Credit solution will now offer term and interest rate flexibility. Formerly known as "Bill Me Later," the rebranded service is part of PayPal's focus on its credit products.

Writing in PayPal Forward, VP/GM for Merchant & Retail Solutions, PayPal North America, Steve Alloca said that PayPal Credit was geared toward helping merchants increase "average order value" or AOV. One of the features of the new PayPal Credit, for example, allows consumers to divide large purchases into smaller ones. This makes it easier for shoppers to use PayPal for expenses typically paid for with credit cards, and can contribute toward larger purchases via PayPal.

But the main selling point of PayPal Credit is the term and interest rate flexibility. Wrote Alloca, "retailers can customize PayPal Credit to offer a monthly payment option and decide on the number of months and interest rate that works best for their customers."

PayPal also announced new Business Consulting services to help SMBs learn best practices in fields such as increasing conversation rates and reducing card abandonment. TechCrunch's reporting notes that these services have been available to larger PayPal merchants before the announcement. Pricing for the services has yet to be announced.

VentureBeat's coverage of the news highlights PayPal's growing role in payment processing and merchant services, and suggests that the kind of expansion into consumer credit PayPal has begun "could be scary for banks."

PayPal Credit is a line of credit from Comenty Capital Bank, and can be used wherever PayPal is accepted, as well as on eBay purchases. Approval are completed in seconds after application and, once approved, customers will have a credit line of at least $250, and the APR for standard purchases and cash advances is 19.99%. There is no annual fee.

PayPal made its announcements at the National Retail Federation conference. A Finovate alum since 2011, PayPal was most recently a co-sponsor of the inaugural FinDEVr San Francisco 2014 conference last fall.

iSignthis Raises $3 Million


Less than a month away from its Finovate debut, online transaction authenticator iSignthis has announced raising more than $3 million.

iSignthis specializes in verifying online transactions for financial institutions ranging from banks to insurance groups to online betting companies. The company's Merchant Protect solution authentications credit and debut card transactions regardless of originating card scheme and issuing bank combination. iSignthis' technology is based on an Evidence of Identity (EOI) process that is remote, automatic, and scalable. It can also be used by institutions needing to remotely authenticate individuals for AML.KYC requirements.

Headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, iSignthis has been developing solutions for online payment security and identity authentication since 2011. The company's technology is patented in the U.S., Europe, South Africa, and Australia, and pending in China, Hong Kong, Canada, Brazil, and India. John Karantzis is CEO.

Join iSignthis in London in February for FinovateEurope 2015. Pick up your tickets today.
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