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The Finovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate alums. Today's feature is iBillionaire, which demonstrated its iBillionaire Index at FinovateFall 2014.


iBillionaire's free mobile app gives investors insight into how the world's top-performing billionaires, such as Warren Buffet, Carl Icahn, and George Soros, invest.

The clean user interface makes it easy to gather information on the billionaires' trades and investments. Additionally, the iBillionaire Index, an exchange-traded fund (ETF), is an option for those looking for an alternative to the S&P 500.


    • Index ETF has $35+ million in AUM
    • Founded April 2013
    • 150,000 mobile users


How it works
iBillionaire identifies the top 10 performing billionaire investors and translates their public SEC trade filings onto a clean user interface, identifying their top performing stocks.

The Index is a compilation of 30 company stocks where billionaire investors have allocated the most assets. When back-tested 5 years, the iBillionaire Index returns were almost double those of the S&P 500 (see right).

iBillionaire selects the billionaires to follow based on their:

    • Net Worth: must be at least $1 billion
    • Source of Wealth: must be rooted in financial markets or investments industries
    • Portfolio Size: must be worth at least $1 billion
    • Portfolio Concentration: must contain at least 10 different positions
    • Turnover: must have a turnover ratio of less than 50%
    • Track Record: must have at least a 3-year track record
Mobile features
The user base, which consists of 80% retail investors and 20% financial advisors, accesses the information online and through the mobile app. While the web interface and mobile app have many of the same tools, the app provides on-the-go updates and alerts, such as:

1) News
Browse the billionaires' assets under management, performance, and trading activity, as well as timely news related to their investments.


1) Portfolio comparison
Users upload their own portfolio, and see how it performs against the high profile investors' portfolios

2) Price alerts
Optional push notifications inform users of trading activity from their preferred investors


What's next

iBillionaire has partnered with Direxion Investments, a top ETF sponsor in the U.S., and is looking to partner with financial institutions and brokers to grow internationally.

Additionally, it is redesigning the mobile app and is working on tools to help users build their own investment strategies, as well.

The New York-based company showcased at FinovateFall 2014. Check out the live demo video here.

Alumni News-- November 26, 2014

  • 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.jpgSpend Matters features P2Binvestor and its crowdfunding approach to providing credit to small businesses.
  • POTs and PANs looks at biometric authentication innovators, EyeVerify, BehavioSec, and BioCatch.
  • Best Advice explores EZBOB's strategy to attract SMEs to online lending.
  • Bank of Internet USA to deploy IntelliResponse virtual agent technology.
  • First Annapolis' The Navigator Newsletter interviews Sebastian Siemiakowski, CEO of Klarna.
  • Fastacash, Heckyl Technologies, Kabbage, Linkable Networks, and Nomis Solutions named to Red Herring Top 100 Global.
  • Investor Intel mentions Patch of Land and Realty Mogul in column on helping baby boomers participate in real estate crowdfunding.
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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In the world of promising young startups, there are far worse things than having Goldman Sachs as your largest investor.

Just last week we announced that NBCUniversal News Group had forged a strategic partnership with Kensho, the global analytics and intelligence systems specialist. This week we learn that Goldman Sachs has taken the lead in a $15 million investment in the company and is now Kensho's largest investor.

According to a source cited in Forbes discussion of the news, the investment puts Kensho's valuation "in the 9-figure range." Combined with the company's previous funding, Kensho's total capital raised stands at more than $25 million.

Tony Pasquariello, Co-Head of North American Equity Derivatives Sales in the Securities Division for Goldman Sachs said, "our unique partnership with Kensho is an extension of our overall strategy of using and investing in new technology which allows us to deliver insights to our clients."

Kensho leverages massively parallel statistical computing on unstructured data to provide financial analysts with real-time responses to complex questions. It's partnership with NBCUniversal will include deploying a Kensho Stats Box for use by journalists at the financial news network, CNBC. And rumors and opinions are already swirling about how the notoriously savvy Goldman Sachs may use the technology.

Writing for Business Insider, Mike Bird suggested that Kensho "should have analysts quaking in their boots" for fear of losing their jobs to the Siri-like intelligent virtual assistant. Over at The Financial Times, Tracy Alloway and Arash Massoudi cited analysts who said that the move is largely a cost-cutting one - which may or may not calm the nerves of Bird's quaking analysts. 

The Financial Times also reported that Goldman Sachs played at least a small role in convincing the company to change the name of its signature implementation of the technology from "Warren" to "Kensho", the same name as the company. Recall that "Warren" was the name of the platform when it was demoed at FinovateEurope 2014 back in February.

Zack's Equity Research added that Goldman will use the analytics platform "throughout its business as well as to some of its major clients" and noted that Goldman has been active in the technology space, including an investment in Finovate alum, Motif Investing. "We believe Goldman is set to benefit from its tech investments," Zacks said, "which seem to offer decent returns to the company."

Alumni News-- November 25, 2014

  • 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.jpgFenergo wins Outstanding Achievement in International Growth award from Irish Software Association.
  • Global Debt Registry launches Debt Lookup, a free online service for consumers.
  • Eastern University chooses ACI Worldwide to power its payment plan and tuition payments.
  • Monitise, FreeAgent, True Potential, and Nostrum Group earn spots in Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50.
  • PayStand takes eChecks to the next level.
  • Finovate Debuts: PayItSimple's Financing Tool Gives Customers Extra Time to Pay for Goods, Interest-Free
  • Pymnts considers Mitek's growth and future plans.
  • ProfitStars launches behavior-driven marketing capabilities with Kernel.
  • Western Heritage Credit Union hires Insuritas to install their insurance agency for the CU's 10,000 members.
  • Actiance announces enhanced voice recording for Microsoft Lync 2013.
  • Billhighway takes "Triple Crown" in Workplace Culture Awards with #6 rank on Crain's Cool Places to Work List.
  • Temenos positioned as a leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for International Retail Core Banking.
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 Finovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate alums. Today's feature is PayItSimple, which demonstrated its point of sale financing solution at FinovateFall 2014.


With PayItSimple, customers use their existing credit card to divide an expensive purchase into multiple, smaller payments over time.

PayItSimple automatically bills the charges to the customer's credit card each month. Unlike most financing products, PayItSimple is interest-free and the customer does not need to wait to receive the product, as with layaway.

The PayItSimple option at checkout shows consumers the maximum number of installments allowed. In the case below, the customer pays $120 per month for 10 months instead of $1,200 up front.


    • 12 employees
    • $4.3 million in funding
    • Founded August 2013
Secret sauce

Merchants do not take on any risk associated with allowing customers to pay over time. The initial authorization from the customer's credit card company guarantees the full amount.

PayItSimple's technology automatically processes the customer's payments over time. It also handles the authorization.

Consumer use
PayItSimple is fast, with no need to apply or fill out paperwork. Users simply choose their payment schedule and then purchase just like a regular credit card transaction (see below).


Benefits for end customers:

    • Provides the ability to buy expensive items when they may not have cash up front
    • Makes purchases interest free
    • Does not come with layaway delays
    • Can pay by credit card to collect card rewards
    • Does not require a credit check, making the process as fast as a regular transaction

Merchant use

By listing products with a more digestible price (see below), goods are more appealing and the small installments are affordable for more customers.

Merchant benefits:

    • Higher conversion rates
    • No additional risk
    • Average ticket price increases
    • Higher customer satisfaction
    • Full payment received at time of purchase
    • No need to change payment gateway

Merchants can either embed PayItSimple's code into their website or use its API for a seamless checkout experience.

The fine print
While the customer pays no fees or interest, there is a small fee to merchants.

Also, not all credit card holders are eligible to use PayItSimple, but the approval rate is over 95%.

PayItSimple is also available for mobile interfaces and for brick-and-mortar stores. Its official U.S. launch was at FinovateFall 2014.

blooomLogo_FF2014.jpgFinovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate alums. This fall, blooom introduced its "new way to 401(k)" which provides online investment management for owners of 401(k)s and other employer-sponsored, defined contribution pension plans.

Blooom is a revolutionary way to benefit 401(k) investors by outsourcing the management of their 401(k) accounts regardless of where they are held.

The Stats
    • Founded in February 2013
    • Headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas
    • Raised $250,000 from founders
    • 35 clients
    • Chris Costello and Randy AufDerHeide are co-founders
    • Won Best of Show FinovateFall 2014
The Story
The funny thing about 401(k) plans is that many who have these employer-sponsored retirement plans never asked for them. "Many investment companies cater to DIY (Do it Yourself) types," Chris Costello, co-founder and CEO of blooom explained ahead of his recent Finovate demo. "We market to the 'Don't Want to Do it Myself' Crowd."

According to blooom, more than 50 million people have employer-sponsored retirement plans such as 401(k)s. And blooom is convinced that most plans are managed poorly - if at all. From poor asset allocation to underfunded accounts, too many 401(k) plans are little more than tax-deferred savings accounts rather than investment vehicles to support retirement.

It is bloom's goal to fix as many 401(k)s as possible, which means more than just advising people on how to invest their money. Blooom's technology actually invests on behalf the client.  It considered that a "massive differentiator" from the competition. "We're the dietician that cooks the meals, as well," Costello explained.

The Technology
The blooom platform is designed be easy to use. The team scoffs at investment services that rely on lots of pie charts and colorful graphs to impress investors. But that hasn't kept blooom from putting together an eye-pleasing interface: the branded, potted daisy and a variety of pop-up plates that display text information ranging from portfolio composition details (i.e., percentage weightings) to brief explanations on why an aspect of a portfolio might not be appropriate for a given client (i.e., too many bonds for a younger investor).

Getting started with blooom is a straightforward. First, provide your name, birthdate, and retirement date. Then link your 401(k) account. After that, the platform extracts data from your account, analyzes your 401(k), and makes allocation recommendations. Clients have some flexibility with the suggestions and can take a more aggressive or conservative approach.

The final step is the portfolio-building process, in which a human blooom advisor builds the client a new portfolio based on the recommended allocations. New client portfolios are adjusted in about 30 days, and as long as the investor remains a client, the advisor will automatically rebalance the portfolio every 90 days going forward (if rebalancing is necessary). For accounts under $20,000, blooom charges $1 a month. For all accounts above $20,000 the fee for the service is $15/month.

"If (the customer) chooses," Costello said, "(they) don't even have to look at their 401(k) for the next 20 years. Blooom will monitor the account. Rebalance it every 90 days for them And adjust the stock to bond allocation as they draw nearer to retirement."

In many ways, "the basics" are bloom's secret sauce. In serving a market of reluctant investors, much of what blooom's technology does is help investors avoid common mistakes. These include errors like overweighting a single stock (especially an employer's stock) or niche fund such as technology or energy. Blooom also steers investors towards index funds, which have traditionally outperformed actively managed funds over the long term.

The Future
Blooom has an active B2B marketing effort. The company is looking to partner with credit unions and benefits exchanges. Blooom has already partnered with ConnectedBenefits, an online benefits exchange, in a deal that will put Blooom in front of an exchange membership of more than 100,000. The company also sees a major opportunity with human resources specialists, 401(k) advisors, and professional service organizations - all of which play a role in helping employees deal with their employee sponsored retirement plans. 

Looking ahead, a mobile app is on blooom's agenda, and they hope to have one ready to by early 2015. That said, given the nature of the platform, there isn't a lot of fussing over their 401(k)s for clients to do.

"People are confused. they are intimidated, and they are overwhelmed," Costello said from the Finovate stage in September. "Blooom has figured out a way to provide simple, scalable advice to fix millions of 401(k)s and keep them fixed."
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With FinovateEurope 2015 just around in the corner, it was nice to begin the week with news that a quartet of alums have been named to the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 for 2014.

The Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 ranks the 50 fastest growing technology companies over the last five years based on revenue growth. David Halstead, Deloitte partner leading the Tech Fast 50, noted that software companies were "showing particular strength" this year, with the largest number of entries coming from this group.

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Technology and financial services provider enabling mobile banking and payments
HQ: London
Founded: 2003
Growth rate: 2,639%

"With so many fast-growing technology companies emerging over the last few years, to be ranked among the top 15 in the UK for four years running is a tremendous achievement. This can be credited to our fantastic team based in the UK and beyond . . . who are creating, launching, and maintaining market-leading services for our clients around the world every day." 
Lee Cameron, Chief Commercial Officer and Deputy CEO

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Small business cloud accounting systems provider
HQ: Edinburgh
Founded: 2007
Growth rate: 1,274%

"Being recognized in the Deloitte Fast 50 list is a great accolade in itself, but being listed for two years in a row is a tremendous achievement. It's a real testament to the hard work of our team, our continued growth as a company and the rising number of passionate and loyal customers who are using FreeAgent to manage their small business finances."
Ed Molyneux, CEO and C0-Founder

Financial services company providing technology and business solutions
HQ: Newcastle upon Tyne
Founded: March 2007
Growth rate: 837%

"The UK is facing a savings crisis where people are not saving the amount they need for a comfortable retirement. At True Potential we believe in making saving and investing simple and more accessible using cutting edge technology, so this recognition is particularly rewarding." 
David Harrison, Managing Partner

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Developers of automated loan management technology
HQ: Harrogate
Founded: August 2001
Growth rate: 812%

"Making the Technology Fast 50 for the second consecutive year is a significant accomplishment for us and another proud milestone in our journey. This year we were named in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 for the first time, and we've also just heard that, once again, we've been accepted for FinovateEurope 2015 which is a premier platform for FinTech businesses like ours." 
Richard Carter, Chief Executive

Speaking of FinovateEurope 2015, join Nostrum Group and 70 other fintech innovators for our upcoming conference in London on February 10 and 11. Click here to get your tickets and take advantage of special early bird pricing.

And for more information on the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50, click here for an extensive info graphic that provides growth comparisons between the 2013 and 2014 winners, sector and regional breakdowns, and more.  

Alumni News-- November 24, 2014

  • 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.jpgGoldman Sachs announces investment in Kensho, becomes platform's largest strategic investor.
  • Acculynk launches strategic partnership with PayPlum, announces acquisition of company's intellectual property.
  • The Economist cites Comarch in its review of Polish companies succeeding internationally.
  • Leaf CEO Sarah McCrary talks mobile payments in panel discussion on Foodable WebTV.
  • features Azimo in column on online money transfer companies.
  • examines PayPal's place in the mobile payments wave.
  • Forbes looks at how PayNearMe helps the underbanked.
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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A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. And apparently, the New York Stock Exchange thinks the same thing when it comes to gamification and compliance training.

This week we learned that the NYSE has acquired True Office for an undisclosed sum. True Office, which demoed its technology as part of FinovateEurope 2013, specializes in using gamification to help companies and institutions provide regulatory compliance training to their employees.

"I think we're all guilty of actually gaming the system, having the training on a second screen and flicking through it as fast as an iTunes agreement," True Office founder and CEO Adam Sodowich said from the stage at the 2013 conference. "And companies are spending vast amounts of time and treasure in this area with little or no return on their investment."

True Office puts a human face on regulatory and compliance issues, using simulations and scenarios to challenge understanding on issues ranging from money laundering and bribery to KYC and authentication. The interface is designed to make the experience interesting and engaging for workers, while giving administrators quantifiable ROI through real-time testing, assessment, and risk analytics.

Tellingly, True Office was accompanied in its FinovateEurope 2013 presentation by Thomson Reuters, a heavyweight in the financial services industry and fellow Finovate alum. Given True Office's relationship with Thomson Reuters - the technology demoed was the True Office | Thomson Reuters Anti Money Laundering desktop and mobile app - it becomes easier to see how and why the NYSE's interest in the company would have been piqued.

The goal is to add True Office to the mix of products and services currently offered by NYSE Governance Services. Scott Hill, CFO of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the NYSE, referred to the acquisition in an earnings call earlier this month as a way to "enhance our role as thought leaders in the Governance Risk Compliance setting."

True Office was founded in January 2010, and is headquartered in New York. 

Finovate Debuts: BlueVine

The Finovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate alums. Today's feature is BlueVine, which demonstrated its credit line for small businesses at FinovateFall 2014.


BlueVine provides small businesses (SMBs), who often have uneven cashflow, with financing to manage operations. By automatically connecting with the SMB's accounting software, BlueVine furnishes cash for business' unpaid invoices in as quickly as a day.


    • 17 employees
    • $5.5 million in funding
    • Founded July 2013

Top 3 benefits

1) Fast funding
To minimize manual input, BlueVine connects to the small business' accounting software to access unpaid invoices.

The screenshot below shows the user dashboard, which lists all invoices available for instant financing, indicated by the Get paid now button on the right.


The first time the SMB requests funds, they indicate where to send the money, which can arrive as quickly as 24 hours. Subsequent funding requests take only minutes.

2) Simple and transparent
BlueVine's payment calculator is an example of its simplicity. It requires only two inputs, the amount of the invoice and the due date.

It also shows the advance payment, which equals 85% of the invoice, and is the maximum amount they can receive upfront, alongside the rebate, the amount the SMB receives once the invoice is paid.


BlueVine has no set up or subscription dues, and is transparent about its fees. The Funded section of the dashboard details the cash advance, repayment history, and total fees.


3) 100% online; no paperwork
The BlueVine application process requires two forms, one for business details (see below) and another with personal information.

BlueVineBusinessform.jpgSMBs upload additional information, such as bank statements, online.

BlueVine demonstrated at FinovateFall 2014, check out the video here.


A few weeks ago we reported how international money transfer innovator, TransferWise was taking to the streets of London on the eve of Halloween to protest hidden fees in the money transfer industry.

Today, we're back to report that the fight is still on.

On Thursday, TransferWise launched the next stage in its offensive to bring greater transparency to bank and brokerage fees. The company hosted an event at Westminster, unveiled an online petition calling for the end of hidden fees, and earned a statement of support from Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Cabinet Minister for Digital Government:

"After the Libor and forex scandals, public confidence in foreign exchange transactions is at an all time low. So I welcome TransferWise's campaign for greater transparency. I want UK holiday makers to get the best deal possible - and know what they are being charged."

TransferWise issued a three-point manifesto calling on banks and brokers to:
    • Provide a clear breakdown of the costs associated with every transaction
    • Publish the difference between the exchange rate offered by the provider and the true, mid-market rate
    • Put an end to the use of misleading terms such as "free" and "0% commission" where hidden charges are applied.
Co-Founder of TransferWise Taavet Hinrikus said, "In fact, hidden fees are so pervasive in the industry, we sometimes struggle to convince potential customers that 'free' or '0% commission' services aren't free at all."

"Our polling shows that 58% of Brits would consider shopping around for their financial services if they could compare prices more easily," he added.

Based in London and founded in 2010, TransferWise was last on the Finovate stage for the London conference in 2013. See a video of the company's demonstration from FinovateEurope here.

Alumni News-- November 21, 2014

  • migrates client base of 1,000+ freelancers and contractors to the FreeAgent platform.
  • Uber helping drivers manage and pay back their student loans by partnering with
  • Actiance recognized in Gartner 2014 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving.
  • Bloomberg: CAN Capital to weigh IPO with up to $2 billion value.
  • Intuit's Quickbooks and Xero coming to Square App Marketplace.
  • PayStand sets flat fees for e-check payment option.
  • Virtual Piggy, provider of Oink, launches the Oink Discover prepaid card for teens.
  • Fiserv links its Popmoney P2P payment solution to charitable giving.
  • Yodlee wins top honors at Citi Mobile Challenge Latam 2014.
  • Bazaarvoice announces plans to relocated to new corporate HQ in North Austin.
  • Kashoo announces enhancements to its web app, including more P&L options and increased security.
  • VoiceTrust launches strategic partnership with German biometric cloud security company, BioID AG.
  • The Washington Post features Bionym's Nymiband.
  • Accenture mentions Thinknum as an innovation that is helping to change the banking industry.
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.

Finovate Debuts: SelfScore


The Finovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate alums. SelfScore demonstrated its consumer analytics service designed to supplement FICO scores with its "scoring as a service" approach.

SelfScore is a consumer analytics service that uses a proprietary algorithm to combine online profiles, phone and sensor data, psychometric questions, and 360-degree feedback from one's network to provide insights. The resulting SelfScore can be used in a variety of consumer and business contexts, such as credit scoring, to yield a broader picture of a potential applicant, consumer, or business partner.

The Stats
    • Founded in January 2013
    • Headquartered in Palo Alto, California
    • Kalpesh Kapadia is CEO and Co-Founder
    • 10 employees
    • Partnerships include: AT&T, Fenway Summer, GradGuard, International Student Insurance
The Story
Consider the case of international students who come to the United States for graduate school. Many of these students were the smartest and hardest workers from their home countries and, further, have been vetted in many ways en route to being admitted to American universities and securing visas. International graduate students disproportionately pursue degrees in science, technology, and business fields that tend to yield high starting salaries.

But despite all these indicators of future success, international students who are new to the U.S. experience many difficulties and have a hard time finding fair deals on the services that are essential to life in modern America: things like credit cards, affordable health insurance, and smartphone contracts.
And while international graduate students are only a small portion of the underbanked in America, SelfScore's research suggests that college students from the US face many of the same challenges. They have many predictors of financial success, but they face the same chicken and egg problem - you need credit to get credit.

"We believe that with new advances in social web and smartphones, it is now possible to attain a complete, timely, and accurate picture of consumer behavior that benefits both consumers and businesses," said SelfScore CEO and Co-Founder Kalpesh Kapadia. In the long term, Kapadia thinks that tools such as SelfScore can be used to augment FICO and other traditional scoring methods. As more and more institutions begin to see what their current scoring strategies are missing, the demand for dynamic, comprehensive scores that incorporate social data could grow.

The Solution
To get a free SelfScore, users answer 24 questions at The questions range from the financial ("Does your credit card limit affect your spending habits?") to general attitudes about life ("Do you believe that most people are more or less trustworthy?") to the more personal ("What do you do when you are stressed?"). 

After you've answered the questions, SelfScore reveals your score and presents a set of offers you qualify for. My SelfScore of 457 merited an offer for a credit card and another to save $500 on a smartphone. 

Each offer is designed to be relevant to the needs of the current target demographic for foreign graduate students. SelfScore also provides a peer ranking as well, in which I learned that my financial score of 73 is above the average of 50, but my 250 Facebook friends is below the average of 340.

"In a sense, we are giving the user a comprehensive measure of their life and various dimensions of their life, and relative strengths," Kapadia said.  He notes that some attributes may be more valuable than others, and suggests this reflects the great flexibility of the platform. 

The Future
SelfScore is working to establish mutually beneficial partnerships.The company is especially interested in meeting with lenders, insurers, and companies in the post-paid billing space that might be interested in "supplementing" their current financial metrics. "We want to serve tomorrow's prime customers today," Kapadia said.

Another objective is to expand their portfolio of  offers. The company currently features an AT&T subsidized smartphone offer and a credit card program, and affordable health insurance will be added soon. 
"There are 75 million underbanked customers in the U.S. right now," Kapadia explained. "A third or 25 million of which would otherwise be categorized as 'good apples' who are generally being ignored because of a lack of credit history. At SelfScore, it is our mission to serve this deserving but underserved population."

Watch a video of SelfScore's live demo from FinovateFall 2014

Yesterday, as we began looking forward to FinovateEurope, we heard news from a 2014 alum, Advanced Merchant Payments (AMP).

AMP, a company that provides banks with alternative lending options for small-and-medium (SMB) businesses, pulled in a fresh $5 million this week. The funding, a first for the Hong Kong-based company, comes from SBT Venture Capital.

AMP operates in Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines, and has recently expanded into the UK, participating in London's Level39 fintech accelerator. It plans to use the funding to further internationalize and scale the business.


Founded in 2009, AMP helps financial institutions offer financing to small business customers by managing some or all stages of the loan process, including:

    • Qualification
    • Verification
    • Credit scoring
    • Approval
    • Disbursement
    • Daily repayment
    • Risk monitoring

AMP debuted its small business lending solution for banks at FinovateEurope 2014.

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With no blockbuster fundings ($25 mil+), the weekly total of $82 million was the fourth-lowest since we began tracking August 1. However, the overall number of companies was 16, making it a busy week. 

And we were glad to see one Finovate alum, Advance Merchant Payments ($5 mil) on the list. In addition, there was a future Finovate alum, Buttercoin. The hot cryptocurrency startup will be demoing at FinovateEurope in February. 

Here are the deals in order of size from Nov. 15 to Nov 21

Value exchange technology
Latest round: $21 million
Total raised: $21 million
Tags: Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, blockchain, payments, Montreal, Canada
Source: Crunchbase

Merchant advances in the digital media industry
Latest round: $15 million
Total raised: $50 million
Tags: Lending, merchant, credit, underwriting, Beverly Hills, California
Source: Crunchbase

Zibby, integrated lease-to-own financing for online purchases
Latest round: $10 million (includes some debt)
Total raised: $10 million (includes some debt)
Tags: Lending, ecommerce, shopping, credit, New York City
Source: FT Partners

Digital currency technology
Latest round: $7.2 million
Total raised: $7.2 million
Tags: Bitcoin, payments, cryptocurrency, remittances, San Francisco, California
Source: Crunchbase

Home search platform
Latest round: $6.0 million
Total raised: $7.1 million
Tags: Real estate, home buying, mortgage, Mountain View, California
Source: Crunchbase
Powers small unsecured SMB loans at banks
Latest round: $5.0 million
Total raised: $5.0 million
Tags: Lending, Alt-lending, SMB, underwriting, installment loans, Hong Kong, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Working capital financing through accounts payable financing
Latest round: $4.7 million
Total raised: $4.7 million
Tags: Financing, billing, credit, accounts payables, London, UK
Source: Crunchbase

Commercial loan and lease information provider
Latest round: $4.4 million
Total raised: $10 million
Tags: Commerial lending, underwriting, data, real estate, New York City
Source: Crunchbase

French online and mobile payments processor
Latest round: $4.1 million
Total raised: $6.8 million
Tags: Payments, mobile, digital, merchants, acquiring, SMB, Paris, France
Source: FT Partners

Automated hedge fund investing
Latest round: $2.0 million
Total raised: $2.0 million
Tags: Investing, hedge funds, San Francisco, California
Source: Crunchbase

White pages directory for Bitcoin
Latest round: $1.5 million
Total raised: $1.6 million
Tags: Cryptocurrency, bitcoin, identity, New York City
Source: Crunchbase

Automated investment research
Latest round: $1.5 million
Total raised: $1.5 million
Tags: Investing, information, Palo Alto, California
Source: Crunchbase

New Zealand equity crowdfunding platform
Latest round: $100,000
Total raised: $100,000
Tags: Crowdfunding, SMB, P2P, lending, credit, investing, Wellington, New Zealand
Source: Crunchbase

Open-source digital trading engine
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: $1.3+ million
Tags: Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, payments, YC, Palo Alto, California, Finovate alum (see at FinovateEurope 2015)
Source: FT Partners

Pricing and profitability analytics for financial institutions
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Unknown
Tags: Analytics, big data, pricing, management, Australia
Source: Fortune

Spanish Bitcoin company focusing on P2P transfers
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Undisclosed
Tags: Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, payments, remittances, Bankinter (investor), Spain
Source: FT Partners

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Global analytics and intelligence systems specialist Kensho has entered into a strategic partnership with NBCUniversal News Group. As part of the arrangement, Kensho has formed a "multi-faceted content and product agreement" with financial news network, CNBC.

Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Touting the agreement as a first-ever in the business, NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Pat Fili-Krushel suggested that while the company was committed to "innovation from within", the opportunity to work with Kensho would provide "unique analysis" to its viewers. SVP and General Manager for CBNC Digital, Kevin Krim, added "our transformative collaboration with Kensho enables us to empower our audience to make sense and money from any event, whether expected or unexpected."

Talking about the partnership, Kensho CEO Daniel Nadler put his company's technology in the broader historical context of efforts to provide financial information to investors. Citing CNBC's role in helping bring televised stock tickers to investors back in the 1990s, Nadler credited the company for "advancing the movement toward more transparent markets." What Kensho will add, he explained, was "the power of statistics to gain context and make better, faster, more-informed decisions." 

The specific components of the partnership include the debut of Kensho Stats Box, a technology that will be made available to CNBC's journalists and anchors. The Stats Box, launching November 20, will provide research and analytics insights geared toward actionable, market-moving events. In return, CNBC will give Kensho access to its breaking news and financial market coverage, which will be integrated into the Kensho Professional Platform for FIs.

Kensho combines "massively-parallel" statistical computing with innovations in unstructured data engineering to provide financial professionals with a unique analytics platform for guiding investments. By providing real-time solutions to complex, natural language, financial questions posed to it, Kensho aims to bring both greater transparency and deeper insight to the relationships between geopolitics, the natural and business worlds, and the markets.

Founded in 2013 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Kensho demoed an implementation of the technology called Warren at FinovateEurope 2014 in London. In January, Kensho raised $10 million in seed funding.

Alumni News-- November 20, 2014

  • 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.jpgPrivatbank customers can now use MoneyGram to send and receive funds courtesy of new partnership.
  • Financial Times Technology section looks at UK fintech startups TransferWise and Azimo.
  • CurrencyTransfer recognized by Secret Tel Aviv as Olim Business of the Week.
  • USA Today column on millennials and saving featured Tom White, CEO of iQuantifi.
  • TransferWise helps lead fight for foreign exchange fee transparency.
  • iBillionaire's Index has increased 16.5% since launching in November of last year
  • Swipely now managing $4+ billion in annual sales, doubles sales under management in 6 months,  and provides businesses with insights on 20+ million customers.
  • Numerous Finovate and FinDEVr alums make AWI's list of top 50 fintech innovators.
  • Advanced Merchant Payments brings in $5 Million in First Funding Round.
  • Kony helps Farmatodo increase customer loyalty and deliver new services via mobile apps.
  • Coinbase teams with Rewardspay to create workaround to make purchases on Facebook and iTunes with Bitcoin.
  • TSYS offers merchants and partners an omni payments solution with more ways to accept payments.
  • $493 million in P2P loans originated on Prosper in Q3 2014.
  • Credit Sesame wins 2014 U.S. Mobile and App Design Awards in Financial and Information Tools category.
  • BancVue wins four MarCom Gold awards.
  • Kensho launches strategic partnership with NBCUniversal.
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.

In eleven weeks, more than 70 companies will step onto the FinovateEurope stage at Old Billingsgate Market Hall in London to demo the freshest solutions in fintech.

Come join us on February 10 and 11. Right now, you can save £200 on a ticket with Very Early Bird pricing.


This has been our most competitive show outside the U.S. so far. The tall stacks of quality demo applications made it difficult to decide who should showcase their newest technology at FinovateEurope.

Without further ado, here are the presenting companies for FinovateEurope 2015:

AdviceGames develops gamified tooling based on data models, specialized in motivational risk games.

Aire is an alternative credit score to help people without any past credit history.

Akamai provides cloud services for delivering, optimising and securing online content and business applications.

AlphaPoint powers the top global digital currency exchanges with its white-label technology platform.

Avoka delivers SaaS-based customer experience management, enhancing multi-channel digital transactions around financial products and services.

Backbase is launching Backbase Journey Manager, giving banks insight and power to optimize omni-channel customer journeys.

Barzahlen - Cash Payment Solutions replaces traditional banking branches through offering consumers to cash-in / cash-out at 3,400 POS or 15,000 cashiers nationwide.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank is Australia's most customer-connected bank.

BizEquity is the ultimate lead generator for banks and 
financial advisors serving small business owners.

C24 is a "smart" digital money platform for managing your bills, transfers and wishes.

CashSentinel enables secure, large payments with mobile phones, all in real time.

CPB Software's expertise, creativity and flexibility are the bases to solutions for its partner banks.

CREALOGIX offers digital banking with added value for the customer and the bank.

Delta Bank is a fast developing Ukrainian bank with a focus on universal payment services.

ebankIT is a software banking company, specialized in multichannel innovation - mobile banking, internet banking on wearable tech, among others.

Encap Security is the only internet scale, device-based, banking-grade authentication platform provider in the world.

eRipple redefines mentorship. We change the fabric of corporates by helping talent and experts connect.

EVRY's Spendific is the personal trainer for your finances. Know your money. Spend Freely.

Financial Media Solutions brings financial content and analysis to life, in a mobile world.

Fiserv continues to lead the way in digital banking and electronic payment innovations.

Five Degrees invigorates banks with Matrix; banking out-of-the-box and in the Cloud.

FOBISS develops Artificial Intelligence-powered technologies that drive smarter business decisions within the retail banking industry.

IDmission offers the modern enterprise an identity-initiated means of engaging with their customers and partners.

Intelligent Environments provides secure mobile and online solutions for financial service providers.

investUP is the future of crowdfunding, ensuring that investors never miss out on debt and equity deals.

InvoiceSharing enables improved invoice processing and cash flow by sharing free electronic invoices.

iSignthis keeps your identity secured, your payments made safe.

Ixaris Systems provides the components and tools needed to build complex payment solutions rapidly and cost-effectively.

Luminous solves problems for banks, its aim is to drive transformation and innovation in banking.

mBank & i3D mBank is the third Polish retail banking group with over 4.5M customers - consistently deemed as a financial sector innovator.

Meniga is the European market leader of white-label PFM and next-generation online banking solutions.

Mobino enables mobile payments for 5 billion people, from any phone, no credit card required.

MoneyHub empowers users to make better financial decisions and plan more effectively for their future.

mydesq provides solutions for wealth managers. It powers your success.

Nostrum Group's technology makes lending cheaper, faster and safer.

Novabase Business Solutions strives to make people's lives simpler and happier through technology and a co-creative design approach. enables users to securely and quickly transfer or share money with their friends on social networks, such as Facebook.

PhotoPay is the easiest way to pay bills and enter payment data on mobile devices.

Pirean is a leading software and services provider for people-focused Identity and Access Management solutions.

Quantitative Credit Research delivers next generation technology for smarter credit risk management.

Quisk enables banks to offer cash-less transactions for anyone with a mobile phone number.

Revolut is your personal money cloud.

SAS Games develops TiViTz College $avings Game-a-thon - a fully-automated, activity-based, fundraising tool for financial savings vehicles.

Sedicii delivers strong authentication for mobile and web enabled services without ever exposing your password.

Smart e-Money's LockByMobile is the world's first mobile-based anti-fraud security solution for prepaid, debit, ATM and credit card accounts.

SOFORT Banking is the leading non-bank Online Banking ePayment system in Europe and works instantly.

Strands is a global provider of personalization and recommendation solutions that empower banks to offer a superior customer experience. is a social-lending marketplace where retail and institutional investors compete to fund loans to U.S. small businesses.

Taulia transforms supply chains, enabling organisations to create a healthy relationship between suppliers and buyers.

Telenor Banka powered by Asseco will present an innovative financial product offering, driven by telco-bank synergy, powered by Asseco SEE digital banking technology.

Temenos is the market leading provider of banking software systems to financial institutions across the globe.

Topicus provides premier innovative, cloud-based banking software, under the guiding principle: we challenge, you win.

TradeRiver Finance is a secure, non-bank, online solution which finances and executes global trade transactions. 

TransferTo enables value remittance across borders.

Trunomi's innovative B2ME technology transforms the Know Your Customer market using secure online identity management.

VIPERA is a market leading enabler of mobile financial solutions and customer engagement.

Wipro is leading IT, Consulting and Business Process Services company that delivers solutions to enable its clients do business better.

WS Integration solves complex data processing issues in the post-trade execution.

Xignite provides real-time and reference financial market data to fuel FinTech innovation.

Xsolla is re-inventing e-commerce.

Yoyo is the first app that seamlessly blends payments, loyalty, and discovery - done right.

We'll announce several stealth companies as we get closer to the event. And be sure to stay tuned for our Sneak Peek series to get to know each company in advance of the show.

Join us in London! Get your ticket to FinovateEurope before November 21 for Very Early Bird savings.

FinovateEurope 2015 is sponsored by: Life.SREDA and more to be announced.

FinovateEurope 2015 is partners with: Bank Innovators Council, BankersHub, bobsguide, Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Datamonitor Financial, The Trading Mesh (formerly HFT Review) and more to be announced. 

Thumbnail image for JemstepLogo2.jpgWhen the going gets good for online investment advisory innovators, the good online investment advisory innovators go pro.

Jemstep announced the launch of Jemstep Advisor Pro this week at the T3 Enterprise Conference. The technology is a plug-and-play platform that helps financial advisors better onboard, engage, and serve their clients.

Kevin Cimring, Jemstep CEO, cited his company's relationships with financial advisors as playing a key role in the development of Advisor Pro. "As a result of that process," he said, "I am excited to announce that our advisor platform has evolved into a comprehensive solution for advisors looking to efficiently scale their businesses."
The platform lets advisors offer prospective clients free analysis of their current investment portfolio and see how that portfolio compares to those recommended by Jemstep's algorithms. Again, the goal is to give advisors the tools for growth. "These features are designed to increase conversion of prospects into long-term clients," Cimring explained.

Jemstep also announced that the company had been approved as a partner on TD Ameritrade's account management and trading platform, Veo.

According to Jemstep vice president of product, Mark Richards, more than 10,000 investors have linked accounts on Jemstep, representing $3 billion in assets. "People will do this," he said.

Founded in 2008, Jemstep is headquartered in Los Altos, California. The company has raised $15 million in funding, with the most recent round in October 2013 bringing in $4.5 million. At the company's last Finovate appearance in the Spring of 2013, Jemstep demoed its Portfolio Manager solution. See video of the presentation here.

Alumni News-- November 19, 2014

  • 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.jpgeFLOW Crowdbridge from Top Image Systems voted one of the three best ECM Solutions for 2014.
  • Technocular interviews WePay founder and CEO, Bill Clerico.
  • Allied Payment Network launches its new small business payments solution, BizPay.
  • Kapitall and Motif Investing both referenced in Investment News column on data visualization.
  • Kahuna Payment Solutions chooses e-SignLive by Silanis, bringing e-signatures into its lending platform for retailers.
  • Syd Youth partners with CSI globalVcard to promote Spend Secure.
  • Banking 20/20 interviews EyeVerify EVP of Global Sales & Marketing, Chris Barnett.
  • Silicon Republic features Fenergo software developer, Marcio Duarte.
  • Business Insider reviews FutureAdvisor.
  • Credit Sesame wins IMA Outstanding Achievement Award in Financial Services.
  • FinovateEurope 2015 Presenting Companies Revealed. Get Your Ticket this Week for Very Early Bird Pricing!.
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.

Finovate Debuts: WorkFusion


The Finovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate alums. At FinovateFall 2014, WorkFusion launched its active learning automation solution.


WorkFusion combines machine learning with crowdsourcing to automate data handling. The company's technology is used by leading financial data vendors and financial services firms for a wide variety of applications including compliance, corporate actions, customer onboarding, loans, and private equity. WorkFusion is a product of CrowdComputing Systems.

The Stats
    • Founded in June 2010
    • Headquartered in New York, NY
    • Raised $23 million in total funding
    • Builds and refreshes data products for seven out of the top 10 financial data providers
    • Has 68 employees
    • Max Yankelevich is CEO and Co-Founder
    • Launched WorkFusion's Active-Learning Automation in September 2014
The Story
WorkFusion began as part of a research project at MIT. The original goal was to combine crowdsourcing and machine learning to detect fraud in online transactions. But as the research progressed, they realized that there was a much bigger opportunity in applying the same combination of automation, crowdsourcing, and "employee experts" to meet broader challenges of enterprise data work.

"We solve a problem around massive data collection and maintenance for financial institutions," explained WorkFusion CEO Max Yankelevich from the Finovate stage in September. "And we do it for 50% less cost and on a much larger scale."
The initial edition of WorkFusion launched in 2012 and put the company's thesis to work automating the process of procuring, training and quality-controlling online workers handling "core enterprise knowledge processes" such as reporting corporate actions and tax accounting information. The solution worked, being both more accurate and less costly compared to a traditional, in-house workforce.

"Giddy disbelief" is how WorkFusion characterized the initial response to their proof of concept, a reaction that encouraged them to scale the project.

The second stage in development was to build algorithms to replicate patterns that were identified as workers completed tasks. One example is pulling stock dividend payout information from a variety of data sources. The first iteration of the platform helped a company marshal human resources from Elance, Amazon Mechanical Turk, and oDesk. The second version uses an algorithm watching for patterns in a given data extraction task, learning which patterns could be automated, and then automating those patterns in the algorithm.

"Each worker is not just getting work done," Adam Devine, VP Product Marketing said in a Finovate briefing. "They are training our software on how to automate that work."

WorkFusion refers to this as the "virtual loop." Human workers perform data-intensive tasks. Algorithms learn how to do the tasks. Human workers are then are available to retrain the algorithms when there are significant changes to the data. This "loop" helps overcome one of the major challenges of automation: adapting to changes in data sets, formats, or flow. 

In another example shared with attendees at FinovateFall last September, a WorkForce customer was able to automate the work that had burdened six FTEs. The cost?  Just $54. More importantly, the automation reduced the turnaround time involved from 5 minutes per task to less than 5 seconds.

The technology is workforce-agnostic. That means that the human data analysts involved can be traditional, in-house employees, an outsourced workforce or a crowdsourced one. And the company's technology makes it the only platform that provides "learning automation" as a service (LAaaS anyone?). There are a platforms that help companies source and/or manage  "distributed workforces", but WorkFusion's "virtuous loop" keeps human intelligence as a key part of the process, helping set it apart. 

The Future
WorkFusion is robust enough to require IT teams to deploy and configure. But the technology is designed to be used by business people rather than technical staff. Typically, clients tend to be larger enterprises. But the solution is "totally scalable", they say. In one case, a customer is using the technology to start a data science group by himself.

The company's work has traction: seven out of the top 10 financial information providers currently use it. This spring, WorkFusion announced both a partnership with uSamp integrating 12 million mobile workers, and a successful, $15 million Series B round led by Mohr Davidow Ventures. 

And the company's work is being noticed. American Banker listed CrowdComputing Systems, provider of WorkFusion, among its top 10 fintech companies to watch. Barclays ranked WorkFusion in the top 5 of the 36 seven companies invited to participate in its Open Innovation Challenge, and in October, WorkFusion was featured in an article at Inside Market Data touting the platform's automation recommendation feature

Discussing his participation in the spring investment in WorkFusion, former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer said earlier this year that the company "very well could be a billion-dollar plus IPO company." Rather than just being the kind of company that develops a technology and then sells it only to become "a small cog" in some other company's engine, WorkFusion in Glocer's opinion is a peek into the future of work: "Ultimately, it will optimize the tasks being done by human beings all around the world," Glocer said.

WorkFusion concurs. Going forward, the company plans to expand the size of its business process template library to make it even easier for businesses to find the processes they need without having to create them. The goal is to allow large businesses to elevate the application of human intelligence to higher order work, and automate the work that human's shouldn't be doing. And to deliver all this via one-click custom automation.

WorkFusion is the kind of technology that does a great job of showing us what lies right at the edge of the horizon, an example of just how symbiotic the nexus of human intelligence and machine learning can be. And for all the fears of "robot overlords" and AIs run amok, building on that symbiosis seems like the better bet compared to betting against.

Alumni News-- November 18, 2014

  • 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.jpgCoinbase to introduce bitcoin tip button to enable micropayment acceptance online.
  • Venmo users can now log in using both bank ID and Touch ID.
  • TechWeek Europe takes a look at Arxan Technologies' State of Mobile App Security report.
  • Malaysian Digest features Azimo in a discussion on the revolution in the money transfer industry.
  • Dough Roller interviews iQuantifi CEO and Co-Founder, Tom White.
  • Business News Daily quotes Igor Gonta, CEO of Market Prophit on the importance of having a social media strategy.
  • PostFinance AG's Monexio selects Mobino platform to help develop its own digital payment solutions.
  • SK Planet wins first prize at KPRA Awards 2014 for its filter program, Flitter.
  • Hiscox launches new digital insurance platform powered by Backbase CXP.
  • PayPal challenges Apple Pay with an app for the Pebble smartwatch.
  • The European Commission approves Tradeshift data format for government purchasing.
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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Alternative small business lender OnDeck has announced plans to raise $150 million in an initial public offering.

According to analysis from The Wall Street Journal, the IPO could value OnDeck at $1.5 billion. The Journal also suggested that the $150 million number for the IPO was likely a "placeholder amount" that will probably change. 

While the company understandably has few words to share about its impending IPO, OnDeck CEO Noah Breslow has said a number of interesting things about the future of his company and the small business community it serves. Asked about the future of the alternative lending industry over the next 10-20 years in an interview with NPR this summer, Breslow replied: "I think it loses the designation of alternative."

"I think just like today I buy a plane ticket online with Maybe 20 years ago I would have talked to a travel agent. You know - we are going through that entire cycle. We're probably in year five of a 20-year journey in terms of lending."

OnDeck reported more than $107 million in revenue in the first three quarters of 2014, and a net loss of $14.4 million. The revenue figure represents a year-over-year gain of 2.5x.

Here are a few key metrics to keep in mind:
  • OnDeck will trade on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol, ONDK
  • Lead underwriter is JP Morgan Stanley
  • Originated more than $1.7 billion in loans to 25,000 small businesses
  • Raised more than $170 million in venture capital funding, and more than $300 million in debt financing
  • Collected more than 4 million customer payments
  • Previous investors include:
    • RRE Ventures
    • Institutional Venture Partners
    • Village Ventures
    • SAP Ventures
    • First Round Capital
    • Google Ventures
    • Tiger Global
Also underwriting the IPO were Deutsche Bank Securities, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Pierce, Fenner & Smith.

OnDeck's IPO news comes just a few months after the IPO filing of peer-to-peer lender, Lending Club (another Finovate alum). This reflects both a continued strong investment pace in fintech innovators in general, as well as a particular passion for alternative lenders. OnDeck earned the investment dollars of a number of major fintech-savvy venture capitalist firms and individuals such as PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and former American Express CEO, James Robinson.

What are people saying about the IPO? At places hardcore investment websites like Seeking Alpha, the questions are all about the sustainability of growth and the potential for profitability in the near-term. Over at Inc., Jeremy Quittner sees challenges and advantages for OnDeck as opposite sides of the same coin, considering the company's "balance sheet lender" business model as a "risk" and its capacity for generating significant income from interest a "reward."

OnDeck recently presented at FinDEVr San Francisco 2014, introducing its frictionless, extensible, and powerful API. The company announced its plan to partner with Worldpay in August, and reported in June that it's small business lending platform had a $3.4 billion, 22,000 job impact on the economy. In March, OnDeck raised $77 million in a round led by Tiger Capital. The New York-based company was founded in 2007 and was last on the Finovate stage for the spring 2012 show in San Francisco.

Alumni News-- November 17, 2014

  • 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.jpgBoku announces a pair of C-level appointments: Ingo Lippert as CBO, Christian Hinrichs as CFO.
  • Zopa partners with AltFi Data; plans to open loan book to the public in Q1 in 2015.
  • The Sunday Times profiles TransferWise founders Kristo Kaarmann and Taavet Hinrikus.
  • Bolstr surpasses $200,000 in 2014 investor payouts
  • Expensify featured in Slate. Check out the video.
  • Billhighway's 523% Four-Year Growth earns it the #193 Spot on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 List.
  • ChicagoInno features Arroweye Solutions and Rippleshot for their listings on the FinTech Forward Rankings.
  • Check out Finovate Debuts: Minetta Brook's Knewsapp.
  • MetaIntelli and Arxan Technologies partner to help developers mitigate mobile security and privacy risks.
  • Venmo gets Touch ID security, tagging, and direct linking to bank accounts.
  • MyBankTracker examines how 1U is using Hoyos' facial recognition security technology.
  • InComm launches New eCommerce Site for B2B Bulk Gift Cards.
  • Bluefin joins the New York Bankers Association.
  • Google Compute Engine now features intelligent horizontal Autoscaling.
  • Wharton Fintech blog features Knox Payments.
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 Finovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate alums. Today's feature is Minetta Brook, which demonstrated Knewsapp at FinovateFall 2014.


Minetta Brook aims for Knewsapp to change the way investors stay informed of news relating to stocks in their portfolio. The web-based news discovery application surfaces topics before they become trending news, giving researchers a tool superior to Google.

The stats

    • $2.4 million in funding
    • 10 employees
    • 100+ firms in beta
    • 100,000+ news sources searched

Traditionally, when seeking information that may effect a stock in their portfolio, investors search Google, Yahoo or other investment info sources. But typical search engines measure the importance of an article based on popularity.This method elevates content that could be days old, and buries stories investors actually need to read.

For traders, risk management professionals, and research analysts that need real-time news, search engines are not the best tools for content discovery. Knewsapp's content-based model finds the information investors need to make important trading decisions.

Aside from simply serving up news, Knewsapp also helps investors know what news may effect their investments. It uses a proprietary scoring method to suggest content they should read to be informed, based on their portfolio.

Knewsapp launched on Bloomberg in May. Here's what the full integration looks like:


>>Top tickers

Knewsapp continuously scans Twitter and more than 100,000 sources of news and blogs for unusual activity. The result is a list of stocks with the most relevant and fastest developing news, based on their score and velocity.


Ticker and/or topic combination search
With this function, users search a ticker symbol by itself or in combination with key word(s). The result shows headlines of relevant news stories, sources, scores and similar topics.


Additionally, a filter capability enables users to see news in specific markets or sectors.

Portfolio monitoring
With hundreds of stocks in a portfolio, it can be difficult to know which terms to search. Knewsapp simplifies this by displaying the score, along with the rate the news is developing, for each stock in a portfolio.

When users filter by the score or velocity, they see which stocks are receiving above average coverage in the news or on Twitter. The right-hand panel displays news stories corresponding to stocks in their portfolio.


Story DNA
The Story DNA section word cloud displays a quick view of topics and themes within a selected news story.


Minetta Brook debuted the public web version of Knewsapp at FinovateFall 2014.


What do wonders of the world, deadly sins, the Harry Potter series, and Financeit's funding have in common? They all come in sets of seven (at least for now).

Financeit's seventh round of funding comes from BEST Funds, which is adding an undisclosed amount to the $21.4 million Financeit has raised since its 2007 launch.

Previous rounds include $13 million in November 2013, along with $8.4 million in angel funding received in five rounds from 2007 to 2012.


The new installment comes a few months after the Toronto-based company launched its point of sale financing solution in the United States. This is no small feat, given the hurdles of complying with U.S. regulations. Financeit plans to use the funds to expand growth in the new market.

Check out the live demo of Financeit's U.S. launch, along with its partnership with FIS, at FinovateFall 2014.


Host Card Emulation (HCE) solutions company, SimplyTapp, is making it easier for banks to place their own tap to pay functionality in customers' hands.

To further this mission, two investors, Blue Sky Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners, recently contributed $6 million in Series B funding to the Austin-based startup.


Other funding rounds include a $1.4 million Series A round last November and a $200,000 seed round in February of 2013. Its total funding now tallies just over $7.5 million.

Check out SimplyTapp's video from FinDEVr San Francisco 2014, where it explains HCE.

Alumni News-- November 14, 2014

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgIntelliResponse acquired by [24]7 for its customer service suite.
  • Another +1 For Host Card Emulation: SimplyTapp Garners $6 Million.
  • Financeit Brings in Fresh Funding After U.S. Launch.
  • Payfone selected as "Best Revenue Creator/Enhancer" for Mobile Network Operators in the 2014 Fierce Innovation: Telecom Edition Awards.
  • InComm & PayPal collaborate to offer digital gift cards.
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.
For the most part, Fintech investors took a small breather this week. Other than the VCs sending a cool tenth-of-a-billion-dollars off to POS provider Revel Systems, the rest of the sector pulled in about $50 million. 

Two of the 10 newly funded are Finovate alums: 
  1. Austin, TX-based SimplyTapp attracted $6 million to expand its NFC mobile payment technology. 
  2. FinanceIT secured an undisclosed investment from Toronto neighbor BEST Funds. 

The deals from Nov 8 to Nov 13 in order of size:

Point-of-sale systems
Latest round: $100 million (of which $25 million is a credit line)
Total raised: $114 million 
Tags: POS, acquiring, SMB, San Francisco, California
Source: Crunchbase

Gift card marketplace
Latest round: $18.1 million
Total raised: $21.7 million 
Tags: Giftcards, loyalty, payments, Chicago, Illinois
Source: Crunchbase

Payment services for merchants
Latest round: $8.2 million
Total raised: $8.2 million 
Tags: Credit/debit cards, acquiring, SMB, merchants, loyalty, Sunnyvale, California
Source: Crunchbase

French marketplace for short-term capital financing
Latest round: $7.5 million
Total raised: $7.6 millon 
Tags: Lending, receivables, working capital, SMB, Paris, France
Source: Crunchbase

Digital payment processor
Latest round: $6 million
Total raised: $7.6 million 
Tags: Credit/debit cards, acquiring, POS, SMB, NFC, Austin, Texas, Finovate alum
Source: FT Partners

Franchise financing marketplace
Latest round: $3.8 million
Total raised: $7.5 million 
Tags: Credit, lending, underwriting, SMB, loans, investing, P2P, crowdfunding, 
Source: Crunchbase

Digital payment processor
Latest round: $600,000
Total raised: $820,000 
Tags: Credit/debit cards, acquiring, SMB, Kuopio, Finland
Source: Crunchbase

Customer financing at the retailer's point of sale
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total funding: $21 million (not including latest round)
Tags: POS, lending, SMB, merchants, Toronto, Canada
Source: FT Partners

Payment solution for U.S. merchants to accept Chinese UnionPay cards
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Unknown
Tags: Credit cards, debit cards, acquiring, payment processing, Palo Alto, California
Source: Crunchbase

Indian digital payments layer
Latest round: Undisclosed (Series A)
Total funding: $500,000 (prior to latest funding)
Tags: Payments, social media, merchants, acquiring, Mumbai, India
Source: Crunchbase

Alumni News-- November 13, 2014

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgKili acquires NFC microSD pioneer DeviceFidelity.
  • American Banker lists Currency Cloud, BioCatch, Linqto, VerifyValid, and Rippleshot as top 10 tech companies to watch.
  • Fintech in the fall: themes and company updates from CAN Capital, Encap Security, Fuze Network, Guardian Analytics, Larky, Ripple, and Xpenditure.
  • American Banker examines 2015 plans for FIS, Fiserv and Diebold.
  • Forbes looks at the success of RoboAdvisors: Betterment, Wealthfront, Personal Capital, and SigFig.
  • Forbes examines Kantox's P2P FX trading technology.
  • TSYS partners with FICO to deliver a marketing product for card issuers called TSYS Targeted Messaging.
  • Digital Insight enters reseller agreement with Guardian Analytics to deliver anomaly detection services to financial institutions.
  • Trulioo wins 2014 Canadian Technology Companies to watch award from Deloitte.
  • Huffington Post interviews Andrea Gellert, SVP Marketing at OnDeck.
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.

Fall is in full swing and there has been plenty of news to keep the fintech world busy.

I spent last week at Money20/20 where the themes centered around Apple Pay, Bitcoin, and Millennials. In between listening to industry experts on these and other topics, I sat down to chat with seven Finovate alums. Here are a few notable updates:


CAN Capital (fka Capital Access Network) has supplied just over $4 billion in funding to more than 55,000 small businesses. It continues to expand, reporting double-digit growth from last year.

CAN's financing works well for small businesses who cannot obtain funding through traditional bank loans. Its 60%+ approval rate is made possible by the robust tech and big data analytic capabilities that enhance market insight. This ultimately broadens CAN's access to prospective clients and enables it to provide customers with a lower priced loan.


In June, it launched the beta version of CAN Connect, a set of 4 APIs. One of these APIs is called CAN Instant Quote (IQ). It pulls data from software that a small business uses frequently, such as scheduling or accounting software, to pre-approve them for instant financing.

In November, CAN announced a partnership with Yodlee to extend funding through its small business offering. This will enable Yodlee's financial institution clients to offer customers access to funding via CAN's Instant Quote API. The service will be available by Q1 of 2015.

While fixed term loans are still CAN's core product, it is currently looking into offering flexible payment terms in 2015.

See CAN Capital's demo from FinovateFall 2013 where it debuted Mobile Funder.


Encap Security offers Smarter Authentication, a seamless way for banks to authenticate users across multiple channels, without disrupting the user experience.

Several weeks ago, Encap partnered with Feedzai to leverage its analytic engine that authenticates users. When the customer's identity is in question, they are sent challenges to authenticate themselves, rather than being shut out of the system entirely.

Other partnerships are in the works, but all are confidential at this point.

Additionally, Encap has recently integrated Apple's Touch ID to replace users' PINs. While Encap's Smarter Authentication will still be the underlying technology, Touch ID will help authenticate the user at each point of interaction.


The company plans to incorporate other biometrics in the future.

Watch Encap demo Smarter Authentication at FinovateSpring 2014.


As we tweeted last week, Fuze was recently acquired by Ingo Money, a company that specializes in mobile check cashing services for underbanked consumers. Ingo enables customers to instantly deposit checks onto a prepaid card, bank account, or mobile wallet.

The acquisition will combine Ingo's mobile check cashing with Fuze's swipe-to-pay and swipe-to-load features to give users more control over their money. Ingo will also leverage Fuze's existing network of more than one billion cards, which includes:

    • 50 million prepaid cards
    • 459 million debit cards
    • 576 million credit cards
    • 531 million private label cards
    • 137 million other types

Ingo is also working on solutions to help users avoid late fees by enabling them to send funds to a location of their choice, such as their landlord. Additionally, it plans to expand the number of retail locations where customers load cash and move money from card to card.


The terms of the acquisition, which is set to be finalized by the end of this year, were undisclosed.

Fuze Network last demonstrated at FinovateFall 2011 where it debuted Swipe2Pay.


With a swell in data breaches this year, security has become a hot topic with the half-billion personal identities stolen in the last 8 months.

The increasing number of new solutions and capabilities banks now offer has opened up fresh opportunities for fraudsters to compromise users' identities. To combat this, Guardian Analytics has added capabilities that gather user reputation data, such as their IP address.

Guardian Analytics is working with more than 300 financial institutions and has expanded its partnerships outside of banks. In the last year and a half, it has partnered with two non-bank institutions, Fiserv and Digital Insight.


In the future, the California-based company plans to expand its analytics-based security solutions, since rules-based security is failing under the ever-expanding number of requirements needed to protect institutions.

Guardian Analytics debuted FraudXCHANGE at FinovateFall 2012.


Larky, a company that provides card-linked discounts and offers on a mobile platform, signed six new financial institution clients across Alabama, Michigan, and New York in October.

Each new client is using a white-labeled version of Larky's platform coupled with a package of local offers and rewards. The offers not only save users money, but also drive traffic to local business, and increase card usage.


Check out Larky's demo from FinovateFall 2014.


Open source payments protocol, Ripple,announced a partnership with Yantra, which specializes in electronic payment systems. Specifically, Ripple will use Yantra's risk management capabilities.

The Ripple network increases the speed and velocity of transactions, which add to its risk. To mitigate the liability, it leverages Yantra's technology to create context and conditionality to its money movement processes.


Yantra will augment the data collected about transactions and is adding new tools, such as custom search fields, to better analyze the data, and all within seconds.

Ripple debuted at FinovateSpring 2013.


When we last spoke with Xpenditure at the beginning of this year, the company had $2.2 million in Angel funding and 15 employees. By the end of 2014, it will have raised $3.5 million in total funding and expects to have 25 employees.

It is also expanding its operations. It recently opened offices in São Paulo and New York City. In fact, the U.S. is its fastest growing market and accounts for 30% of its customers.


In late October, it launched a partnership with MasterCard and its expense management system will be available as a part of MasterCard's Business Owner ToolBox in Canada.

Check out Xpenditure's demo from FinovateEurope 2014.

Alumni News-- November 12, 2014

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgGuardian Analytics introduces FraudMAP ACH-RDFI to identify suspicious transactions.
  • Zumigo named finalist in Mobile Excellence Awards for Best Mobile Retail/Commerce Solution.
  • Pando Daily: BillGuard was the first to notify many affected consumers of the USPS security breach.
  • Yodlee Interactive introduces selected companies to participate in its incubator program.
  • AsiaOne Business features PlayMoolah co-founder, Lee Min Xuan.
  • ReadyForZero launches ReadyForZero Insights, a new dashboard to help users understand their debt.
  • MetaIntelli and Arxan Technologies partner to provide developers a way to mitigate security and privacy risks in mobile apps.
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.

Just days after its competitor, Cardlytics, announced a major funding round, Linkable Networks landed a fresh $8 million round.

The new installment is Linkable Networks' seventh funding round, bringing its total to $28.7 million.

    • October 2014: $8 million
    • August 2013: $3.6 million
    • December 2012: $4.1 million
    • September 2012: $3.2 million
    • October 2011: Undisclosed
    • March 2011: $8.3 million
    • October 2010: $1.5 million

The Boston-based company's investors include Kepha Partners, Common Angels Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, and Citi Ventures.

Linkable Networks focuses on enhancing customer loyalty for retailers while providing financial institutions with a reward program linked to bank cards.

The company was founded as Clovr Media in 2011 and has since changed its name. It debuted MyLinkables MasterCard solution at FinovateFall 2012.

Alumni News-- November 11, 2014

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgLinkable Networks Raises $8 Million for Card Linked Offers Platform.
  • Coinbase integrates with Openfolio to create transparency in who is investing in Bitcoin.
  • Cachet Financial Solutions Launches Enhanced Select Business Solution.
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.

Alumni News-- November 10, 2014

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgNHS Choices selects Narrative Science to Assist with Delivery of Healthcare Information.
  • Visa using Kofax TotalAgility to deploy enhanced data and invoice management in Asia Pacific.
  • PostFinance integrates Strands PFM in their new digital banking platform.
  • BNN interviews Bionym CEO on how its Nymi band could work for payments.
  • The Australian Business Review considers how SocietyOne is contributing to the P2P lending boom.
  • features's growth.
  • Hoyos Labs launches iOS & Android password manager that uses the user's face to log into websites.
  • BillGuard and Experian Data Breach Resolution partner to offer an advanced ID protection suite.
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 blistering $1 billion-per-month funding pace continued into early November, with more than $236 million raised globally across 19 fintech companies. Five Finovate alums recorded multi-million rounds including Trustly ($30 million), MX ($8.3 million), Kofax ($2.8 million), InvoiceASAP ($700,000) and Gremln ($500,000).

The deals by size recorded on Nov. 1 through Nov. 8, 2014:

Mobile payments & commerce
Latest round: $80 million
Total raised: $177 million
Tags: Payments, ecommerce, mobile, shopping, POS, point of sale, London, UK
Source: Crunchbase 

Global payments gateway
Latest round: $50 million
Total raised: $165 million
Tags: Payments, processor, Waltham, Mass 
Source: Crunchbase

Direct online/mobile bank payments
Latest round: $30 million
Total raised: $30 million
Tags: Payments, billpay, ecommerce, Stockholm, Sweden, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate 

Indian digital wallet
Latest round: $30 million
Total raised: $30.3 million
Tags: Mobile, payments, ecommerce, Gurgaon, India
Source: Crunchbase 

MX (formerly MoneyDesktop)
Online & mobile banking platform
Latest round: $8.3 million
Total raised: $20 million
Tags: Digital banking, PFM, Utah, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate 

Payroll & HR platform
Latest round: $8 million
Total raised: $21.8 million
Tags: Payroll, human resources management, tax reporting, New York City

Banking & rewards app for millennials
Latest round: $8 million
Total raised: $8 million
Tags: Cards, rewards, debit, prepaid, San Francisco, California
Source: FT Partners 

Small business credit reporting
Latest round: $6.5 million
Total raised: $6.5 million
Tags: SMB, credit, underwriting, South Jordan, Utah
Source: Crunchbase 

Card-linked rewards program
Latest round: $4.7 million
Total raised: $6 million
Tags: Rewards, debit cards, credit cards, offers, loyalty, San Francisco, California
Source: FT Partners

Document & image capture solutions
Latest round: $2.8 million
Total raised: $8.8 million
Tags: Docs, remote capture, mobile, mobile account opening, Irvine, California, Finovate alum
Source: Crunchbase

Tax & insurance tools for independent contractors
Latest round: $2.5 million
Total raised: $2.6 million
Tags: Invoicing, SMB, invoicing, tax
Source: Crunchbase

Cash-back & rewards platform for merchants
Latest round: $2.4 million
Total raised: $2.4 million
Tags: POS, point-of-sale, loyalty, rewards, ecommerce, London, UK
Source: FT Partners

ACH at the point-of-sale
Latest round: $2 million
Total raised: $2 million
Tags: Payments, merchants, mobile, SMB, acquiring, ACH, 
Source: Crunchbase

Cloud-based invoicing & payments
Latest round: $700,000
Total raised: $1+ million
Tags: Invoicing, SMB, accounting, receivables, San Francisco, California, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate 

Social media compliance and monitoring
Latest round: $500,000
Total raised: $2 million
Tags: Social media, compliance, marketing, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Alternative payment provider in Philippines
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Unkown
Tags: Payments, Philippines
Source: Crunchbase

French online marketplace for business loans
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Unknown
Tags: Lending, SMB, P2P, crowdfunding, investing, Paris, France
Source: FT Partners

Chinese P2P lending platform
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Undisclosed
Tags: Marketplace lending, person-to-person loans, crowdfunding, investing, credit, Whenzhou, China
Source: Crunchbase

Real estate transaction platform
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Unknown
Tags: Home buying, real estate, mortgage, Austin, Texas
Source: Crunchbase
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