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Card-linked offers company, Cardlytics, closed a $70 million Series F round yesterday. The round was led by Discovery Capital, who will appoint a representative to Cardlytics' board.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, with this newest installment, the Atlanta-based company has raised a total of $170 million since it was founded in 2008. Past investors include:

    • Groupe Aeroplan
    • Canaan Partners
    • ITC Holdings
    • Kinetic Ventures
    • Polaris Venture Partners
    • TTV Capital
    • Aimia

The company plans to use the funding to develop products that analyze data in new ways. It will not only help the merchants, who pay Cardlytics to list their offers, but it is also good news for its 400 bank partners.

This includes Bank of America, who uses the company's technology to power its BankAmeriDeals (below). This year, Cardlytics anticipates the banks' cut of payment it receives from merchants will add up to $20 to $25 million.


The company plans to go public within the next 18 months. According to Cardlytics co-founder and President, Lynne Laube:

"We want to be ready to take advantage of the market, and getting ready for an IPO takes work."

Check out Cardlytics' demo from FinovateFall 2013, where it debuted its Gelocation Application.

Finovate Debuts: HedgeCoVest

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

HedgeCoVest's web-based tool enables users to replicate hedge fund investments in their own brokerage accounts. The platform is aimed at existing hedge fund investors, advisors, and retail investors seeking more flexibility.

The stats

    • $900,000 raised
    • 12 employees
    • Product launched in September 2014
    • 35+ hedge fund managers have signed up 
    • 50+ models coming in the next few months

Hedge funds vs. HedgeCoVest
While hedge fund returns can be impressive, investing in them is not always practical. To qualify, investors need to have a net worth of $1 million (excluding primary residence). Additionally, hedge funds have prohibitively high account and strategy minimums.

Investors also face liquidity restrictions, locking them into strategies, and there's little transparency into strategy specifics.

In comparison, HedgeCoVest's minimum is $30,000, and investors can allocate as little as $10,000 to individual strategies. Liquidating investments is easy, just one click. HedgeCoVest charges a flat fee of 2.5%, instead of the often-confusing legal, audit, and trade fees incurred with traditional hedge funds.


How it works
HedgeCoVest enables investors to automatically replicate real hedge fund portfolios in their own brokerage accounts, in real time. It does this using a trading technology called the Replicazor, which automatically mirrors hedge fund investments.

In milliseconds, the Replicazor registers a hedge fund trade and makes the same trade for HedgeCoVest clients.

The overview page (below) is used to search and compare available hedge fund models.


Users select a model for an in-depth view of the strategy. The overview tab breaks down the exact sector allocations, both long and short.


Other tabs include statistics (shown below), real-time fund performance, and an About Us section that profiles the firm and person behind the strategy.


When the user finds a strategy they like, they select Invest Now, enter the amount to allocate, and choose their leverage. The Replicazor buys the securities into the brokerage account and tracks the holdings going forward.

By trading outside of the rigid hedge fund structure and requirements, HedgeCoVest opens hedge fund investing to a wider audience.

Check out HedgeCoVest's debut of the Replicazor at FinovateFall 2014.

Finovate Debuts: EverSafe


The Finovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate alums. At FinovateFall 2014, Howard L. Tischler and Elizabeth Loewy demonstrated EverSafe, technology that helps seniors and their caretakers fight financial elder abuse.


EverSafe's technology is a proactive defense network that helps older Americans defend themselves against financial fraud. The software reviews financial transactions and credit report activity on a daily basis. Alerts are sent in the event of suspicious activity, such as unexpected patterns in spending, deposits, or withdrawals.

The Stats
    • Founded in January 2012
    • Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland
    • Funding raised: $1.5 million
    • Total employees: 7
    • Product launched: Spring 2014 (soft launch)
    • Howard L. Tischler is Founder and CEO
The Story
    • 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day
    • 20% of Americans over 65 are financially exploited 
    • Seniors lose more than $2.9 billion a year to financial exploitation
    • At least $18 trillion at risk (the net worth of Americans 65 and over)
These are the numbers that drive the EverSafe story. Older Americans are particularly vulnerable to criminals who take advantage of new technologies to steal and commit fraud. Whether it is due to declining cognitive facilities, relative ignorance of technology, or both, seniors and their families can face a number of challenges when it comes to making sure financial accounts remain fraud-free.

Howard Tischler, founder and CEO of EverSafe knows these challenges first hand. In helping his mother, who was a victim of what is called "elder financial abuse," he learned about the scope of the problem. He also realized that his background as a technology entrepreneur might go a long way toward helping solve it.

"I saw the devastating effect it had on my mother and my family and resolved to apply technology to help prevent this tragedy from happening to others," Tischler said.
The idea of providing a solution directly to seniors and their caretakers was key for Elizabeth Loewy, who worked as the former chief of the Elder Abuse unit at the Manhattan District Attorney's office, and is now SVP for Industry Relations with EverSafe. She noted that as a prosector, she was only able to try and help after the fact. "Finally we have a service that addresses the problem at the source," she said.

Addressing the Finovate audience, Loewy told attendees that over the 20 years she spent battling this phenomenon, she realized that the victims varied. Some had cognitive difficulties, like dementia, and some were certainly wealthier than others. "But these seniors all had one thing in common," she pointed out. "These seniors had worked hard investing and saving in an effort to ensure that the fruits of their labor would be put away safe and sound for their golden years, protected from exploiters."

Equally painful were the conversations she had with adult children, caregivers, powers of attorney who were devastated that they hadn't detected elder financial abuse that had occurred "under their watch."

In this, the founding of EverSafe represents a coming together of law enforcement and technology in order to not just defend seniors against financial exploitation, but to empower older Americans and those caring for them, as well. "(EverSafe) allows seniors to live independently, which is what seniors want," Tischler said.

The Solution
EverSafe can be thought of as a suspicious activity report (SAR) for consumers. Getting started on the platform is simple and straightforward. Set up an account by linking credit cards, savings, checking, money market, investing accounts and more. EverSafe links to more than 20,000 different types of account. Once the account is registered, the platform downloads the last 90 days worth of activity, and begins daily monitoring.
The technology scans linked accounts, using pattern recognition to ferret out instances of atypical and potentially suspicious behavior. "We're analyzing whether someone is taking their money," Tischler explained. "And notifying them immediately rather than waiting until the end of the month."

When suspicious activity is detected, the platform sends out an alert to the designated contact person. Alerts can be modified and customized, for example to set spending limits or transactions at certain locations and merchants. Similarly, alerts and transactions can be customized and annotated for further reference.
The point is to bring activity to the attention of someone in a position to make a call. Some of the alerts will undoubtedly turn out to be unusual, but benign, transactions. But because most financial fraud "starts small and then escalates," as Loewy explained, "early detection and monitoring is key."

Basic service provides daily monitoring of up to five financial accounts and one credit bureau for $9.99 a month. EverSafe will soon offer a "Full Alert plan" that will provide monitoring of an unlimited number of financial accounts and all major credit bureaus. The Full Alert plan will be $24.99 a month. There is also a "limited time only" $4.99/month "introductory offer" that consists of account monitoring.

The Future
For now the task is obtaining broader adoption of the platform, which includes helping people understand the breadth of the problem and recognize that there is now a technology that is easy to use and dedicated specifically to stopping it. "Financial institutions and credit card companies have definitely gotten better at detecting suspicious activity," Loewy said. "But they can't catch it all."

Asked what's next for EverSafe, Tischler mentions wearables. He sees a compatibility between his platform and wearable technology, especially watches, which may be a better way to deliver alerts to some seniors or caregivers. He hinted at a prototype, although provided no specifics at this point.

And while today's octogenarians may not be big smartphone users, those of tomorrow are likely to be. "Aging (baby) boomers are among the fastest growing users of technology," Tischler said. While it is true that in many instances those actually using EverSafe on a daily basis are the grown children, seniors of the future may be better equipped to take the fight against financial elder abuse into their own hands.

Check out a video of EverSafe's FinovateFall 2014 demo.

Alumni News-- October 30, 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.jpgTemenos announces availability of its new mobile banking app.
  • Mitek reports more than 3,000 FIs have signed up for its mobile deposit solution.
  • BBVA Compass partners with Dwolla to bring real-time payments to bank customers.
  • Personal Capital announces $50 million series D round.
  • xconomy profiles anti-fraud innovator, Trustev.
  • Fiserv launches Popmoney for Disbursements.
  • Insuritas to open and manage turnkey insurance agency for Heritage Community Credit Union.
  • Knox Payments recognized in emerging startup category at Venture Forum RVA event.
  • features how SimplyTapp uses host card emulation (HCE).
  • Lendio partners with The UPS store to help SMBs.
  • Cardlytics pulls in $70 million in Series F round, prepares for IPO.
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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Personal Capital has announced a new investment of $50 million.

The Series D round was led by Corsair Capital, BBVA Ventures, and USAA, with current investors Crosslink, IVP, and Venrock also participating. The investment takes Personal Capital's total funding to $109 million.

Personal Capital CEO Bill Harris said, "This infusion will help accelerate our already-rapid growth - we've seen revenue increases of 10% or more each month for the past seven quarters."
It's one thing to have a banner year in funding for alternative investment services. Between Personal Capital and Wealthfront, the sector is having a banner week. In a statement, Corsair Capital's Jeremy Schein positioned Personal Capital at the "intersection of consumer technology and financial services." It will be interesting to see how the platform continues to distinguish itself on what is an increasingly crowded corner.

Personal Capital differentiates itself with an approach that blends the PFM and online investors advisory approaches in order to provide an "end-to-end" money management system. And unlike the "robo-advisors" it is often grouped with, Personal Capital uses a technology-assisted advisor strategy, in which real-live human financial advisors play a key role in helping clients plot their financial plans.

As Harris explained in a talked-about interview on CNBC from earlier this year: 

"We take the best of traditional wealth management, which is typically only available to people with multiple millions of dollars. We take that sophisticated and customized financial management, and bring it down and make it available to regular people, affluent households in this country."

On the technology side, Personal Capital's online and mobile apps give clients the ability to discover their net worth, track and manage cash flow and budgets, and check up on investments, including 401(k)s. Clients can review finances on their desktop, tablet, or smartphone and, when ready, schedule a consultation with a Personal Capital financial advisor.

Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Redwood City, California, Personal Capital demoed its One Click Investment Proposals at FinovateSpring 2014. See a video of the company's presentation.

Segmint Raises $9 Million in New Funding

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Fresh off a $9 million capital infusion from an unnamed "global FinTech leader", Segmint is looking to leverage its success with financial institutions to move beyond banks into other verticals.

The new funding takes Segmint's total capital to $23 million.

Segmint CEO, President, and Co-Founder, Rob Heiser said in a statement:

"We are consistently innovating our technology to not only help marketers increase their overall ROI, but also to remain the leading solution for brands seeking complete impression to influenced conversion metrics."

The statement also notes that the Segmint will use the funding to help "accelerate enhancements" to current and new products, as well as growing the number of employees, and helping manage increased demand for Segmint's services.

But there's more. According to a conversation between Heiser and VentureBeat, the company will be looking to use the money to "pursue the insurance vertical." Heiser plans to use the same formula that worked to bring banks to his platform to onboard insurance companies and, after them, retailers, as well.
Segmint's technology helps banks better understand and evaluate customer data. The company's platform collects financial data (checking account history, credit cards, loan payments, etc.) and then uses that information to establish a Key Lifestyle Indicator or KLI. These KLIs can then be used by banks to evaluate customer suitability for various financial products, such as a loan refinance. Segmint has strategic partnerships with a number of major fintech innovators such as FIS, Computershare, and Cognizant.

What helps separate Segmint from its rivals is the company's end-to-end platform. This makes it easier for users of the platform to build, execute and measure marketing campaigns while at the same time ensuring that those marketing campaigns remain within compliance and regulatory guidelines.

Founded in 2007 and based in Akron, Ohio, Segmint demoed its One Button SegmintEngage Solution at FinovateFall 2012. See a video of the company's presentation here.

Alumni News-- October 29, 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.jpgSmall Business Computing features Flint Mobile in its short list of small business financial apps.
  • MasterCard announces launch of MasterPass in Taiwan.
  • Segmint raises $9 million in new funding.
  • Vaamo raises $3.2 Million, Launches Out of Private Beta.
  • Coinbase adds multi-signature tech to its Vault for high net worth Bitcoin holders.
  • Vogogo partners with Knox Payments to enable its future US clients to accept payment from any US bank account.
  • Google Cloud Platform announces Beta For Local SSD.
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: Linqto

The Finovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate alums. Today's feature is Linqto, which demonstrated its virtual Personal Banker solution at FinovateFall 2014.


With Linqto's Personal Banker, users can talk face-to-face with their bank teller in real time, from anywhere with an Internet or data connection.

The stats

    • Company founded in 2010
    • Product launched in 2014
    • Clients include Marriott, Intuit, NCR, and other major organizations

The product
Digital banking has transitioned from a "nice-to-have" to a "must-have," but many customers find that an online-only channel lacks the personal connection that comes with the in-branch experience. Personal Banker captures the convenience of remote banking while maintaining the personal, face-to-face relationship aspect of in-branch banking.

With Linqto's system, customers launch a live video chat with a real teller directly on their mobile device. Personal Banker is built to accommodate all devices; even customers without a camera can use SMS to text with a teller.


How it works: Consumer facing

Customers launch the video chat by clicking a button on the web or mobile platform. The one-touch access works like the Mayday button for the Kindle Fire HDX.

To make it as easy as possible, there is no software to upload, no plug-in to install, and no additional user name or password required.

During a video chat, customers can view and discuss their balance and take a picture of a check to deposit it during the session. They also have the option to type in questions and answers during the discussion, in the event they are in a public place.


The Personal Banker solution also has community rooms that act as virtual conference rooms where banks can host seminars on subjects such as retirement and home buying. Customers can interact with the conference host by speaking through their microphone or typing into the chat box.

How it works: Bank-facing

The teller's screen shows a streaming video of the customer, their location information, their account information, and notes, such as their preferred nickname.

The teller also sees the availability and location of other tellers or specialists. Similar to a call-in experience, the teller can transfer the customer to someone such as a loan officer or wealth management specialist.


Since Personal Banker still requires the use of tellers, it enables banks to use idle teller resources, helping some branches remain cost effective. This serves digital customers while keeping tellers in geographical locations where they are needed.


Personal Banker adds an extra layer of security. First, it is difficult to spoof a live video of a face, which enables the teller to verify the customer's identity. Additionally, the video feed is delivered securely, and all proprietary information is sent behind a firewall.

Linqto markets Personal Banker to bank technology providers such as Intuit, who combine the functionality with other solutions and market it to banks. The Personal Banker solution is coded to fit seamlessly within a bank's website, mobile app, and branch software.

Watch Linqto's live demonstration of Personal Banker at FinovateFall 2014.


Are companies like Xignite the key drivers of financial innovation?

Within minutes of his company's keynote at FinDEVr this fall, Xignite founder and CEO, Stephane Dubois had already dropped the names of StockTwits, Personal Capital, and Robin Hood. All headline-grabbing fintech companies that have chosen Xignite to supply the crucial market data that makes their innovations work.

Sharing the stage with software engineer Anand Viswanathan, Dubois used a real stock purchase to take the us from financial social network to PFM/investment advisory to trading platform, connecting the dots of a real fintech ecosystem with Xignite at the center.
From Xignite's perspective what makes them the resource of choice for so many innovative fintech startups is that Xignite understands two key things about innovation in a competitive technology marketplace. First, it doesn't matter how good your product or service is if you can't get it to market before your competitors. Second, don't make developers spend any more time on  the "financial market data piece" as Dubois calls it, than is absolutely necessary.

"Individual developers have an idea, a vision of building something unique," Dubois explained.
"By creating something that developers can look at and say, 'I can code this today' it makes it easier for them to create and innovate," Dubois said.

Ready, Set - Xignite!
It's worth remembering that there was a time when getting access to market data itself was a challenge. "Historically sourcing and integrating market data has been very painful," Dubois said from the stage at FinDEVr this fall. "It's very complex area, its full of quirks and its littered with legacy technologies." He recounted a story of Wealthfront founder Adam Rachleff, who became frustrated with legacy data providers, and decided instead to turn to Xignite for market data. 
"We helped Andy build Wealthfront," Dubois told developers. "And we can help you build your business."

Founded in 2003 and headquartered in San Mateo, California, Xignite's story has been about more than just building a better market data delivery mousetrap.  By 2008, the media had begun to pick up on how, in the words of TechCrunch's Jeff Widman, Xignite was a "case study" in how a wide range of businesses - in this case - could take advantage of cloud-delivered data and free themselves from the costs and technology issues of legacy financial market data providers. 

As Dubois explained in an interview earlier this year, the previous generation of APIs assumed two things: slower networks than we have today, and applications that stored data. "Now the networks are faster and apps ask for data repeatedly rather than storing it," he said.

This is what has allowed for "massive cloud ecosystems" such as Amazon Web Services, which Xignite leverages in order to support its own ecosystem of fintech builders and innovators.
Today Xignite offers a wide array of fintech solutions. Its Market Data Cloud provides real-time, historical, and reference financial data on instruments in all asset classes. Its Market Data Distribution solution is used by exchanges and vendors such as NASDAQ to provide transaction data especially through Xignite's on-demand APIs. Large FIs can take advantage of Xignite's Enterprise Data Distribution solution, which helps organizations clean up data redundancies, as well as provide data through a private, branded API catalog.

Xignite currently processes more than 15 billion API calls a month from more than 45 countries. Its FI partners include BlackRock, Charles Schwab, BNY Mellon, Natixis, and TD Ameritrade, and exchanges like the Nasdaq OMX and the NYSE both use Xignite to sell their data.

The Technology
Xignite calls itself a design company rather than a "market data" company. It's another way of saying that in addition to accurately delivering data quickly, Xignite has to provide that data in ways that are easy for developers to deal with. "Market data is especially complex," Dubois explained. "We demystify it so they can build apps super quickly. We also have everything they need in one place - a one-stop shop - and what they'll need for tomorrow."

Some of what makes Xignite help developers get their projects finished easier and to market faster may seem like minutiae to non-builders. But according to Vishwanathan, its the minutiae that matters. He points to the layout of Xignite's Product Catalog, which offers "tons" of API operators for individual services such as Get GlobalDelayed Quote. This gives developers the maximum ways to get the data they need. The API test forms in Xignite APIs can be customized so that developers can see only the outputs they are interested in, and in-line documentation helps make sure that builders are know both exactly what they are getting and exactly how to integrate it into their projects.
Xignite and the Fintech Gold Rush
Dubois thinks we are living in a "fintech gold rush". And as such its Xignite's job to provide prospectors with the shovels, pans, and dredges. Newly queued up is FactSet, which provides financial information and analytics to more than 50,000 customers via desktop analytics, mobile apps, and data feeds. Xignite announced earlier this month that its customers will have access to FactSet's global fundamental market data via its APIs as early as Q4 of this year.

In making the announcement about FactSet, Dubois referred the challenge of "keep(ing) pace with innovation." It's a telling acknowledgement and heartening to hear for fans of the platform. After all, it was a change in the way that data moved and was used - from slower and locally stored to faster and distributed from the cloud - that helped give Xignite the advantage it has. It is impossible to know the next evolution in data, the form it takes or the way the apps of tomorrow will consume it. But in either event, it will be worth watching to see how Xignite grows and adapts to stay at the forefront of change.

What's not likely to change any time soon, however, are the number of companies discovering providers like Xignite and deciding that cloud-based financial market data delivery is a better alternative.

"Whether you are a startup trying to topple the world order, or working for a large company and trying to hold on to what you've got, what you need is speed," Dubois said. "We have the largest, fastest, most powerful set of RESTful APIs that will help developers get their products to market faster."

A German platform where users save and invest money towards their long term goals has brought on some funding of its own this week.

Vaamo announced yesterday it closed a $3.2 million (€2.5 million) Seed round. The investment was led by Route 66 Ventures, the same firm that furnished U.S.-based D3 Banking with $7 million last week. The remaining funds have come from business angels.

This round comes a year after its angel round of $635,000 (€500,000), which brings vaamo's total funding to $3.8 million (€3 million).


According to vaamo co-founders Thomas Bloch, Yassin Hankir, and Oliver Vins, the funding will be used to hire more talent, specifically for marketing, customer service, and engineering. It will also be used to bolster marketing efforts to improve customer acquisition.

Vaamo is opening to the public today after spending about four months in private beta. It currently has 250 customers saving real money on its goals-based platform. It is limited to German residents only, but vaamo has not excluded the possibility of expanding its usage across borders.

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Nothing says "the future's so bright you gotta wear shades" like earning $100 million in investment capital in less than a year.

Following up on a $35 million dollar round in April, the investment of $64 million just announced by Wealthfront this week puts its total capital at $130 million. With this investment, the company is now worth $700 million, making it one of the more richly valued innovators in the so-called "robo-advisor" space.

New investor Spark Capital Growth led the funding round.
Writing at the Wealthfront blog, Nash is keeping his eye on prize: the $7 trillion in liquid assets Millennials are expected to control within the next half decade. He is also keeping his eye on Charles Schwab, hoping to do for the Millennial generation what Schwab did for baby boomers - only a whole lot faster. "It took Schwab six years to reach its first $1 billion in client assets," Nash writes, "It took Wealthfront less than 2.5 years."

Schwab is likely on Wealthfront's radar for another reason. TechCruch noted that Schwab has announced plans for its own robo-advisor service called "Intelligent Portfolios." With competition in the space already intense, initiatives like this from legacy advisors will make the online investment management space that much more challenging for innovators.

Based in Palo Alto, California, and one of the oldest Finovate alums, Wealthfront demoed as "kaChing" at FinovateStartup 2009.

Alumni News-- October 28, 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.jpgSilanis Technology launches eSignLive for Sharepoint.
  • CRIF announces acquisition of Dun & Bradstreet UAE in Dubai.
  • National Health Service website, NHS Choices, chooses Quill from Narrative Science.
  • Check Point Software announces availability of Check Point Capsule, a mobile solution that offers protection for business data and devices.
  • InComm partners with Groupo BB e Mapfre to enable consumers to purchase insurance from local vending machines and retailers in Brazil.
  • BillGuard now uses geolocation to detect credit card fraud.
  • H&R Block turns to Social Money to promote goal-based savings for Emerald Card customers.
  • Check out a spooky clip from Moven about paranormal spending activity.
  • Southern Bank Selects Malauzai Software for Mobile Banking to Ensure Bill Pay Integration, Provide Customers with PicturePay.
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-- October 27, 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.jpgFeedzai and Encap Security team up to combine behavioral profiling with device credentialing to build better security for banks and merchants.
  • CB Insights lists Nutmeg, TransferWise, The Currency Cloud, and Azimo among the 10 top fintech startups from the UK.
  • The Guardian Money section looks at peer-to-peer lender including Zopa.
  • TWiST (This Week in Startups) interviews FutureAdvisor Co-Founder and CEO Bo Lu.
  • Prosper reaches $2 billion, reaching the second billion dollars in just 6 months.
  • Payment processing solutions provider, Bill2Pay, partners with PayNearMe to digitize cash collections.
  • The Australian Business Review features Matt Symons, SocietyOne co-founder.
  • EVO* Snap launches mPOS Solution Supporting Apple Pay and EMV Globally.
  • MedicalMine and Bluefin Partner for Integrated Patient Payments.
  • Check out our feature on Xignite: Inspiring the Future of Finance with Easy and Speedy APIs
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.

Here's the math: D3 = Data Driven Digital Banking. The funding amount = $7 million.

Today, D3 Banking announced it raised $7 million in venture funding from Route 66 Ventures, a private investment firm focused on emerging financial services companies.

The Nebraska-based company reports that in the next 60 days, existing investors and a subordinate VC will contribute another $3 million, finalizing the round at $10 million.

The $10 million projected in this round, along with previous Angel investments of $6 million, will bring D3's total funding to $16 million.


Since its launch in 2007, D3 Banking (formerly Lodo Software) has built a customer base of 225 institutions that use its digital financial management tools.

D3 expanded beyond financial management tools last year when it launched a comprehensive digital banking solution at FinovateSpring 2013. The first customer to roll out the new solution plans to go live with it in the next 30 days. Additionally, D3 is in talks with a number of other institutions who are interested in deploying the new solution. According to CEO Mark Vipond, now is the perfect time for the company to bring in its first round of Venture funding.

D3 will use the new capital to expand its sales and marketing team, invest in other product innovations, and deploy a SaaS-based solution for FIs that prefer on-premise deployment.

Check out D3 Banking's video from FinovateSpring 2014 where it demonstrated the money movement tools added to the comprehensive solution it introduced last year.

We've only been tracking fundings on a weekly basis for 11 weeks. But I don't think there have been many weeks in history, if any, that the money flowing to the fintech sector was bigger. A total of $314 million in equity investments went to 18 companies (in addition, 4 companies received undisclosed new investments). Even without Mozida's massive $185 million, it was still a huge week. 

There were 10 fundings greater than $7 million including two Finovate alums, Flint Mobile ($9.4 million) and D3 Banking, formerly Lodo Software ($7 million). 

In order of magnitude, the deals from Oct 14 to Oct 20, 2014:

White-labeled mobile payments & ecommerce solutions
Latest round: $185 million
Total raised: $308 million
Tags: Payments, mobile, ecommerce, marketing, shopping, enterprise, New York City
Source: Crunchbase

Digital commerce platform
Latest round: $14.5 million
Total raised: $14.5 million
Tags: Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, ecommerce, San Francisco, California
Source: Crunchbase

Cloud-based mass payment service
Latest round: $13 million
Total raised: $13 million
Tags: Payments, SMB, Agoura Hills, California
Source: Crunchbase

Alt-financing for the construction industry
Latest round: $12.5 million
Total raised: $12.5 million
Tags: SMB, lending, credit, alt-finance, Scottsdale, Arizona
Source: Crunchbase

Platform to power P2P/direct lenders
Latest round: $12 million
Total raised: $17.4 million
Tags: P2P lending, crowdfunding, platform, direct lending, investing, New York City
Source: Crunchbase

Subscription billing management services
Latest round: $12 million 
Total raised: $19.6 million
Tags: Billpay, invoicing, payments, San Francisco, California
Source: Crunchbase

Consumer debt management
Latest round: $12 million
Total raised: $24.8 million
Tags: Debt, lending, PFM, Cost Mesa, California
Source: FT Partners

Mobile and online payments
Latest round: $9.4 million
Total raised: $20.4 million
Tags: mPay, digital payments, Redwood City, California, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Bringing private equity investing to smaller investors
Latest round: $9.3 million
Total raised: $9.3 million
Tags: Alt-finance, SMB, lending, credit, PE, investing, New York City
Source: Crunchbase

D3 Banking (formerly Lodo Software)
Digital banking & personal finance platform 
Latest round: $7 million
Total raised: $12.1 million
Tags: PFM, online, mobile banking, Omaha, Nebraska, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Fraud detection in financial services and ecommerce
Latest round: $4.5 million
Total raised: $4.5 million
Tags: Fraud, security, San Mateo, California
Source: FT Partners

Fraud detection technology for banks and credit unions
Latest round: $3.5 million
Total raised: $3.5 millon
Tags: Fraud, security, Wethersfield, Connecticut
Source: FT Partners

Fundraising and payments platform
Latest round: $3.5 million
Total raised: $3.5 million
Tags: Payments, non-profits, fundraising, Dallas, Texas
Source: Crunchbase

UK-based near-bank
Latest round: $3.2 million
Total raised: $6.4 million
Tags: Alt-banking, PFM, personal finance, UK
Source: Crunchbase

Cloud billing provider
Latest round: $1 million
Total raised: $1 million
Tags: Billpay, payments, SMB, invoicing, Annapolis, Maryland
Source: Crunchbase

Equity management platform
Latest round: $1 million
Total raised: $1 million
Tags: SMB, cap table, stock options, Sandy, Utah
Source: FT Partners

SparkProfit trading simulator
Latest round: $600,000
Total raised: $600,000
Tags: Investing, asset management, trading, data analytics, London, UK, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Japanese cloud invoice management
Latest round: $650,000
Total raised: $1 million
Tags: SMB, accounting, billpay, payments, Japan
Source: Crunchbase

Bitcoin payment gateway
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: $2.1 million
Tags: Cryptocurrenices, ecommerce, Singapore
Source: FT Partners

Real-estate marketplace
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Unkown
Tags: Homebuying, mortgage, New York City
Source: Crunchbase

Ripple platform in London
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Unknown
Tags: Cryptocurrencies, London, UK
Source: Crunchbase

Chinese personal finance site
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Unknown
Tags: PFM, personal finance, investing, Bejing, China
Source: Crunchbase

Finovate Debuts: Thinknum

The Finovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate alums. Today's feature is Thinknum, which demonstrated its collaboration and comparison tools for financial analysis.

Thinknum's web-based software is targeted to financial analysts. The collaboration and cloud-computing tools help build better financial models. It seeks to revolutionize asset valuation and empowers analysts to turn complicated spreadsheets into in-depth analyses.

    • 4,000 analysts on platform
    • $1 million raised
    • Product launched December 2013
The problem
To more accurately value stocks, sophisticated investors create financial models based on metrics such as company sales, website page views, and global events such as spikes in food prices. Often, analysts use simple spreadsheets which can be inefficient in managing complicated data.

Most financial models are shared by email, with different versions saved on various hard drives leading to lost content, mis-used models, and other confusion. Additionally, finding specific data points by sorting through spreadsheets is cumbersome.

Enter Thinknum.

The solution
Thinknum provides analysts with a platform to host their spreadsheet-based models. Users can either upload existing models from Excel or build them directly on the platform. Powerful search capabilities enable users to apply a single model to multiple companies, automatically aggregating company-specific information, such as earnings and revenue.
Additionally, Thinknum serves as a collaboration platform where 4,000 analysts from major banks and hedge funds across the globe can share and tweak each others' models using different assumptions.

What sets Thinknum apart? 

1) Computing power
With an overwhelming amount of data and hundreds of APIs created every day, it is impossible to capture all of the information needed for an accurate model. Even if it were possible, analysts would still lack the computing power needed to crunch the numbers in the model. Thinknum's 50 computing nodes deliver results in seconds, pulling data from thousands of sources.

2) Crowdsourced insights
Similar to Github, Thinknum gives users visibility into the work of other analysts on the platform. This provides insight into how others value certain companies, and can lead to better financial models.

The example below shows how other analysts, listed along the bottom, value Google. The bubbles represent each person's valuation based on their personal financial model. 

From here, analysts can open the model, view its performance, or use the QuickBuilder feature.

With QuickBuilder (below), investors can test their models by simulating the effect of changes in inputs, such as company revenue and cost of goods sold, have on the overall stock price.
Thinknum's capabilities extend beyond the QuickBuilder feature. It also provides graphs detailing data from over 2,000 sources such as home prices, construction spending, and the unemployment rate.

Alumni News-- October 24, 2014

  • Smarty Pig featured in Washington Post column on ways to save on holiday gift shopping.
  • Wealth talks with Motif Investing CEO Hardeep Walia on tech trends in the financial services industry.
  • TransferWise and CurrencyFair are highlighted in Forbes review of ways to save on foreign currency exchange.
  • Bob's Guide profiles cloud-based market data provider, Xignite.
  • Technology Tools for Today interviews Tom Nally, president of TD Ameritrade Institutional.
  • Pymnts interviews EVO Snap* CEO Peter Osberg about Apple Pay.
  • highlights OnDeck, PayPal, & other Finovate alums as small business lending innovators.
  • D3 Banking brings in $7 million, with $3 million more on the way.
  • ABA Banking Journal looks at Karrot, the automated online lending service demoed by Kabbage last month at FinovateFall 2014.
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: iQuantifi


The Finovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate alums. iQuantifi demonstrated the "Cashfinder" and "What if" features of its virtual financial advisor platform at FinovateFall in September.


iQuantifi is a virtual financial advisor platform geared toward millennials and young families. The technology relies on proprietary algorithms to provide comprehensive, personalized financial advice, and a step-by-step guide to allocating resources in order to achieve financial goals.
The Stats:
    • Founded in June 2011
    • Headquarters: Nashville, Tennessee
    • Raised more than $1M in funding
    • Seven employees
    • Tom White is CEO and Founder; Karen White is CPO and Co-Founder
    • Product launched in September 2014
The Story
Tom and Karen White, founders of iQuantifi, don't run from the "robo-advisor" label. They embrace it.

"There is a huge market of underserved (consumers), and the only way to really reach them is through technology," Karen explained. "If you can reach more people, what's wrong with that?"

As far as iQuantifi is concerned, the founders are proud of the fact that they have developed a fully-automated financial planning and investment platform after fifteen years in the financial advisory business. "I can only reach so many people," Tom said. "We can reach millions now."
A major boost in that direction came a few weeks after iQuantifi's FinovateFall debut in late September when the company announced that its platform was available to financial institutions. By opening the technology to banks and credit unions, the company hopes to make inroads with their target market: technology-friendly millennials just beginning their adult financial lives. "If you're 28, making $80,000 a year, and net worth is negative," Tom asks, "plus married and expecting a kid, where do you get financial advice?"

The Solution
Getting started with iQuantifi is straightforward. The first step is providing personal information. Name, family profile, investment experience, annual income and monthly expenses are the primary categories. Then aggregate your accounts (at least one checking account needs to be linked), and you are ready to begin.
The robo-advisory starts with the Timeline. The Timeline begins with the present and extends all the way through your projected retirement date. Above the Timeline are a set of icons that represent a variety of financial goals, all geared toward millennials and their families. For example, in addition to a "Buy House" goal icon, there is also simply "Relocate" and "Rent" goals icons. 

Click on a goal icon and a pop-up allows you to enter information about the goal. With that, the platform goes to work, determining just how feasible reaching your goal is given your current financial profile. If your goal is attainable in the time you've set, the goal icon will appear in your Timeline. If your goal is not attainable, a warning appears telling you "You have a shortage." 
Here is where one of the key features demoed at FinovateFall comes in. Rather than forcing you to change your goals, the iQuantifi platform's "Cashfinder" takes a look at the shortage amount and then goes to your financial profile to see what adjustments can be made to cover the shortage amount. You can take the platform's recommended changes or keep your current levels. 

Even more detailed advice is available by clicking on the green action bar at the bottom below the timeline. Here users of the platform get more specific direction such as "Deposit $458 this month for retirement: Roth account" and "Apply for a Disability Insurance Policy with a $2,437 Monthly Benefit." The investment section even provides the names of mutual funds, index funds, etc., as well as the percentage allocations required for a diversified portfolio based on the user's goals.
IQuantifi provides a Summary feature that lets users get a bird's eye view of any specific financial goal and the progress being made toward reaching it. For example, a Car Summary Screen might show purchase date, total purchase price, percent savings already reached and amount still left to save in pursuit of a new car - all in a colorful, easy to read graphic. The Summary screen also previews the next action to be taken after the current one.

Another compelling feature of iQuantifi is its "What If" feature. This tool allows users to make adjustments to goals and then run scenarios to see how a change in a given goal (a more expensive car, putting off retirement for a few years) affects the overall financial picture, as well as other goals. "iQuantifi lets users update their plan as changes happen in their lives," Tom said, "and automatically shows the impact of those changes in real-time."

The Future
In some ways, the future for iQuantifi is already here. The company has opened up its platform to financial institutions, pointing out that the platform can help banks serve the "record numbers of college graduates (who) are starting their professional life with a tremendous amount of debt." This is all the more so, in Tom's opinion, to the extent that millennials have been among the demographics least interested in traditional, brick and mortar banking.

The fact that iQuantifi has signed on with MX, the fintech innovator formerly known as MoneyDesktop, to provide account aggregation services is another positive for the company going forward. A multiple Best of Show award winner at Finovate, MX was a "natural fit" in the words of iQuantifi CTO Jim Siegienski. Calling MX "best in breed for categorization," Siegienski praised the Utah-based company for the cleanliness of its technology and its ease of use.

As for security, iQuantifi relies on the same 128-bit secure socket layer technology and SHA-256 encryption that banks use when transmitting sensitive financial data. Data is protected on its end with biometric checkpoints, multiple keylock entries, and "constant video surveillance, and the software is "read only" which prevents anyone for accessing your accounts through iQuantifi's system.
iQuantifi currently offers 30 days free use of the service. After that it's $9.95 per month or $89 annually. Multiply that number by the 79 million consumers Tom says make up the "millennial market" and it is easy to see why he and the rest of his team are so excited about the future of iQuantifi.
Thumbnail image for FlintMobileLogo.jpg

With a just-announced $9.4 million in funding led by Verizon Ventures, Flint Mobile now stands with more than $20 million in total capital. Participating in the Series C alongside Verizon Ventures were existing investors Digicel, Storm Ventures, True Ventures, and new investor, Peninsula Ventures.

A specialist in providing point-of-sale solutions for mobile merchants, Flint Mobile has carved out a niche for itself as the hardware-free Square alternative. The company's iOS and Android apps rely on a combination of card scanning and manual entry to enable merchants to accept credit and debit cards without a card reader. The technology can create and send invoices, works with Passbook loyalty coupons, and features QuickBooks Online integration, as well.

Keeping his cards close to the vest, Flint Mobile CEO Greg Goldfarb had more to say about how and why his company had expanded its offering beyond basic mobile payments than why Verizon Ventures choose to invest in his company. With regard to the former, Goldfarb pointed out that the same small, independent merchants who relied on Flint for payments had started to wonder if there were ancillary services - such as invoicing and advance billing - Flint could provide.

The short answer was "yes." The somewhat longer answer is Sell Online, the new service launched by Flint at the beginning of the month. Sell Online allows merchants to add a customizable button to their website (or as a link that can be sent through email or social media) that keeps customers on the page, provides a secure, encrypted checkout, and makes online sales and orders easy to track and manage.
There are no additional costs for merchants using Sell Online. Debit card transactions are 1.95%, with credit card transactions at 2.95%, the same as Flint's regular fees.

With regard to the company's future with Verizon, Goldfarb's refusal to talk much detail about the investment hasn't stopped others from wondering what might lurk beyond the infusion of capital into Flint. For example while VentureBeat's coverage quoted Goldfarb linking the new capital to further product development, Gigaom's coverage of the announcement tantalizingly hinted at the possibility of Verizon offering Flint to its customers "as a simple application download."

Based in Redwood City, California, and founded in April 2011, Flint demoed its technology as part of FinovateSpring 2012 in San Francisco. See video of Flint in action.

Alumni News-- October 23, 2014

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgJingit's Head of Product, Chris Ohlsen, weighs in on loyalty and rewards.
  • Intuit launches developer experience and global app store for QuickBooks Online, including payments API.
  • Anovia Payments partners with CardFlight to offer mobile point of sale solutions to merchants and developers.
  • Richwood Bank hires Insuritas for its insurance agency solution.
  • Bionym forges own path to biometric harmony with the Nymi band.
  • Forte CEO Jeff Thorness comments on why omnichannel  is not just a buzzword.
  • MECU to provide members with digital banking services from Digital Insight.
  • PayPal's Venmo earns a spot on VentureBeat's list of 13 must-own apps for your smartphone.
  • Flint announces Verizon-led $9 million investment round.
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-- October 22, 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.jpgProfitStars introduces new image capture technology with Alogent Interactive Capture.
  • iQuantifi opens its cloud-based virtual advisor platform to financial institutions.
  • Swiss-based PostFinance launches new digital banking platform powered by Backbase.
  • CIO Review names Authentify 1 of the 20 more promising educational tech solution providers.
  • Temenos further expands its US operations.
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. This past September, Six Trees Capital made its Finovate Debut with MaxMyInterest, an innovative cash management solution for high net worth individuals and their families.


From Six Trees Capital, MaxMyInterest is an automated cash management technology that dynamically allocates cash balances between online savings accounts to ensure FDIC insurance coverage while earning superior yields. Financial institutions gain wallet share and increase customer stickiness from high-net-worth clients.
The Stats
  • Founded in July 2013
  • Headquartered in New York City, NY
  • Gary Zimmerman is CEO and Founder
  • Technology launched in April 2014
The Story
Some technology, as the saying goes, is almost indistinguishable from magic. Other technology, is almost indistinguishable from "why in the world didn't I think of that!?"

MaxMyInterest was initially developed as a way to preserve capital rather than a way of helping grow it. Founder and CEO Gary Zimmerman was working as an investment banker recently relocated to Japan when the financial crisis hit in 2008. And to put it mildly, his experience trying to manage and reallocate his cash from the other side of the world in the midst of global financial turmoil was instructive. 

Sure, the FDIC would insure cash deposits up to $100,000 (the limit before October 2008). But as far as the rest of Zimmerman's cash was concerned, it was every dollar for itself.
Zimmerman found himself manually moving hundreds of thousands of dollar around from one newly-opened online bank account to the next for three years. And in the process, he realized he had earned tens of thousands of dollars in interest shuffling his money around. In the beginning, Zimmerman explains, it had "nothing to do with interest rates - just protecting the cash." But his revelation after three years of manual cash management had him thinking: hmmm, if only we could automate this ...

The Solution
So what does MaxMyInterest do and how does it do it? Put simply, MaxMyInterest lets high-net-worth savers, those for whom the FDIC's $250,000 insurance limit is not enough, move their cash holdings dynamically to whichever account provides the highest rate of interest. The money movement is automatic and keeps cash savings accounts under $250,000 so that depositors can make the most of FDIC insurance guarantees. 

Signing up is straightforward. Members link a checking account and at least one savings account in a process that takes less than 15 minutes. Users set up a Target Balance, which tells Max how much money to keep in the checking account. The rest of the cash is allocated into the highest yielding FDIC-insured savings accounts available in a process MaxMyInterest calls "optimizing". Optimization takes place monthly, but the company says that rebalancing with greater frequency is possible.
Members track their balances, the status of the optimization or transfer, and have access to their cash at any time (except during the 2-3 day ACH transfer). MaxMyInterest also has an "Intelligent Funds Transfer" feature that allows members to transfer funds back and forth between checking and savings with a single click. Note that Max ever takes actual custody of the funds of its members. 

The service costs 0.02% of the cash being optimized each quarter, or 0.08% per year. This is competitive with money market management fees which can range as high as 0.16%. Zimmerman said his platform can deliver cash returns of 0.80% net of fees.

Where can you use MaxMyInterest? The technology is compatible with checking accounts at:
    • Bank of America
    • Citibank
    • First Republic Bank
    • JPMorgan/Chase
    • Wells Fargo
MaxMyInterest is also compatible with FDIC-insured online savings accounts at:
    • Ally Bank
    • American Express
    • Barclays
    • Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct)
    • GE Capital
The Technology
Zimmerman admits that initially he wasn't sure that "MaxMyInterest the Concept" could actually be turned into "MaxMyInterest the Product." "There's a lot of difference between having an idea and executing an idea," he said. Then after four months of work proved that the cash management solution could be built, the sprint to see just how fast it could be built was on. And while there were plenty of moving parts, working with banks and navigating their various security protocols proved to be the biggest challenge.

Zimmerman and Director of Engineering Richard Wu turned to a major security firm to help them build out the architecture and do the requisite testing. The goal was to make MaxMyInterest as secure as the banks they worked with. The lack of common standards for interfacing with the banks was one challenge, especially when much of it was automated. "There were a lot of solutions available," said Wu, "but none really worked for us."
Starting from the ground up, they were able to construct a platform with a simple user interface, smooth and prompt execution, and security strong enough to convince major banks like Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo to make the service available. 

The Future
Why do banks like MaxMyInterest? Zimmerman admits that some banks he thought wouldn't like his cash management service actually did. "A lot of banks have a problem with clients holding too much cash," he said. MaxMyInterest also gives banks the opportunity for competitive advantage. Brick-and-mortar banks can be at a disadvantage of as much as 150 basis points compared to online banks, Zimmerman explained. And online banks pass this savings on to their customers in the former of better returns on cash.

With MaxMyInterest, banks can offer higher yielding opportunities to their clients. "The irony," he said, "was that by reducing the stickiness of bank deposits, you increase the stickiness of bank relationships." Zimmerman thinks that early adopters of his technology will have a major advantage over those that hesitate.

For many in fintech, "cash" is simply shorthand for paper bills and coins. But in reality, "cash" is a $12 trillion dollar field of assets sitting idly in banks and money market funds. "The average American is 40% in cash," said Zimmerman, cash that is paying on average between zero and 0.15% annual percentage yield. 

MaxMyInterest helps high net worth savers make the best of a low-interest rate world by automatically moving cash to online banks where yields are greater (averaging between 0.75% and 0.95% APY).  And if Zimmerman and his team are able to grow MaxMyInterest in the current environment, it is easy to imagine a bright future for the company - and its members - as online savings options grow and interest rates (eventually) normalize and begin to move higher.

Finovate Debuts: BioCatch

The Finovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate. alums. Today's feature is BioCatch, which demonstrated its invisible authentication methods at FinovateFall 2014.

By tracking the way users interact with web and mobile banking platforms, BioCatch uses invisible tests to authenticate users and prevent fraud.

The cloud-based solution gets ahead of malicious behavior by intervening before fraudsters enter the system.


    • Recently moved headquarters to Tel Aviv from Lod, Israel
    • Founded April 2011, launched BioCatch in 2013
    • $10 million raised
    • 25 employees
The experience

BioCatch helps banks and ecommerce enterprises catch fraudsters while authenticating the actual users. It uses 400 different parameters, such as how fast the user types and their usage preferences.

BioCatch starts by building a profile of each user to capture their typical behavior during an online banking session. Once complete, BioCatch is able to flag uncharacteristic usage patterns as fraud.

>> Catching the fraudsters

To determine fraudulent activity, BioCatch considers factors such as:

    • Does the user move between fields using a mouse or using the Tab key?
    • Do they click the submit button or use the Enter key?
    • When entering an amount, do they use the keypad or the number pad?
For each online banking session, the bank views a dashboard that shows geographical location, an analysis of each user's session, the session flow, the behavioral patterns of the account, an analysis of the threat, as well as device and network risk scores. 
The authentication analysis scores how the user performs compared to their regular behavior. The information is presented in a dashboard, similar to the one below, which indicates unusual login rythmics and mouse dynamics.
>> Proving the good user

Aside from just detecting and stopping fraud, BioCatch can reduce false positives, as well.

For example, if a New York-based customer is accessing their account while on a trip to Des Moines, the different geographical location may raise some red flags. The out-of-character activity may cause the bank to identify the actual user as a criminal.

The consequence (getting locked out of their account or having to call the bank to authenticate themselves) creates friction in the user experience and can harm the relationship.

What's new?
BioCatch recently launched The Art of Fraud Catalogue showcasing patterns generated by malware. After analyzing user behavior, BioCatch realized that usage patterns created great art. 

The piece below was captured from fraud discovered in North America. It is titled, The Matrix Fraud.


The idea is that fraud patterns are all unique, just like art itself.

Bottom line
BioCatch provides a low-friction way to catch fraud. When users don't have to jump through hoops and are not wrongfully pegged as fraudsters, they have a faster and more pleasant experience.

Check out BioCatch's demo its authentication methodology at FinovateFall 2014.

Finovate Debuts: Settle

The Finovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate. alums. Today's feature is BioCatch, which demonstrated its invisible authentication methods at FinovateFall 2014.

Settle's technology focuses on connecting merchants with their customers. Its built-in ordering system, combined with a loyalty platform and merchant dashboard, are tailored for restaurants and bars.

The stats
    • Founded August 2014
    • $1.8 million in funding
    • 15 employees
    • 50,000 users
    • 500+ merchant partnerships for their loyalty/rewards platform

The experience
To create a better customer experience, Settle provides merchants tools, including:

    • Point-of-sale system
    • Customer-facing pre-order system
    • Loyalty platform
    • Merchant analytic tools

How it works:


Using the Settle app on an iOS or Android device, customers make a payment at business' Settle point-of-sale system.

At checkout, customers review their order and select the Pay button. For service-based merchants, such as a coffee shop, bar, or cafe, the customer also selects the tip amount.

The transaction is paperless, with the receipts emailed.


To gather feedback for the merchant, customers are prompted to rate their experience.

At restaurants and coffee shops, customers can place their order ahead of time and skip the line. The system also manages reservations.
Settle offers a merchant platform that makes entering orders easy. It also helps cashiers personally connect with returning customers. When a Settle user walks in the door, the system prompts the cashier with the customer's name, their usual order, and notes about the person (i.e., always in a hurry).
Aside from the point-of-sale interface, Settle comes with two compelling features:

1) Loyalty
Since the loyalty platform does not require stamps, cards, or checking-in, it is a low-friction way to encourage repeat purchases.

The Settle system incentivizes users to spend more in order to receive a larger discount. In the example below, the user needs to spend a total of 3,000 Ukrainian Hryvnia (around $230) to receive a permanent, ongoing 10% discount.

2) Merchant tools
With Settle's Smart Engine, merchants see recent customer activity and can download a spreadsheet detailing new and returning customers, their purchase frequency, the total amount spent, average check amount, and how much they tip. Merchants can also evaluate their sales over time (see graph below). 

On the employee side, the system shows ratings for each waiter, along with the number of clients handled per check, and how well they are tipped.

The recommendations engine detects anomalies, such as decline in overall sales or average check, and advises how to fix the issue. Additionally, it automatically creates a list of customers who have not returned, and sets up a discount offer to entice them back.

The back-end system also enables merchants to push special deals and messages based on certain parameters, such as average spend and birthday month. Once the offers are sent, merchants can measure their effectiveness by seeing how many opened the message and redeemed the offer.

These examples illustrate the mobile purchasing experience, but Settle can also be used online. For both in-person and online purchases, customers are required to confirm the payment on their mobile device. This built-in two-factor authentication creates a more secure experience.

What's new
The Settle app is currently working in Ukraine, Russia, and other Eastern European countries. It has plans to expand into Europe and is considering the U.S. market. For this expansion, it is seeking a U.S. bank partner.

Settle's newest development is a P2P payment platform. Users can pay other Settle users by simply selecting their name, entering the amount, and the confirming payment. To see this work in action, check out Settle's live demo from FinovateFall 2014.

Alumni News-- October 21, 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.jpgTechCrunch: Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong talks about the future of Bitcoin at Disrupt London.
  • Jumio launches BAM Checkout: a credit card and ID scanning app for mobile merchants.
  • Encap Security integrates Apple Touch ID into its Smarter Authentication platform.
  • Fiserv adds document-to-document comparison functionality to the Comparalytics module of its LoanComplete solution.
  • Firebase joins Google Cloud platform to make it easier to build mobile apps.
  • Tradier appoints former E*TRADE President & COO Jarrett Lilien to its Board.
  • Dubai Financial Market signs memorandum of understanding with Kony to develop a series of "Smart Borse" applications.
  • The Financial Brand: How PayPal's Venmo is winning the battle for social 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.
Thumbnail image for nousHiResLogo.jpg

With an investment of $600,000 (£375,000) financial data startup Nous is now that much closer to its goal of leveraging the insights of the crowd for the benefit of real-world professional investors at banks, hedge funds, and other financial institutions.

Nous CEO Justin Short noted that the investment would provide more than just new capital for a company that was "self-funded, pre-revenue, and pre-launch" when we met them at FinovateEurope 2014 in London. "All of our investors will contribute not just capital, but also their considerable industry experience," Short said. "We now have even stronger connections to the forward thinking hedge-funds that can make the most of our unique data feeds."

The investors for this angel round of funding were not disclosed.
Nous has developed a trading simulator, SparkProfit, that allows thousands of users to predict the price direction of a wide variety of instruments, such as bitcoin, international currencies, stock market indices, and commodities. Top performing predictors on the platform can then compete for weekly cash prizes.

But this is only the beginning. By monitoring the predictions on the platform, Nous is able to offer a sentiment indicator called SparkFeed. SparkFeed works in real-time and according to the Nous provides a better sense of the emotions driving market behavior than that offered by either traditional sentiment algorithms as well as newer "social media" based sentiment measures. Nous calls this "crowd-sourced alpha."
A few metrics on Nous:
  • 84,000 users in 200 countries
  • 250,000 predictions a week
  • More than $61,000 paid in weekly prizes since May 2013
Nous was founded in September 2012 and, after operating in Japan initially, is now headquartered in London. The company hopes to grow its user base to 250,000 over the next six months, and plans to use the funding to add both new markets and social features to its platform.

Alumni News-- October 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 Finovate-F-Logo.jpgNous raises $600k to help drive its SparkProfit stock market prediction platform.
  • Lending Club selects the NYSE for its IPO.
  • Currency Cloud releases Connect API 2.0.
  • InComm partners with CardCash to integrate its online gift card exchange at InComm's retail partners nationwide.
  • Compass Plus completes its TranzAxis integration with Klarna.
  • ID Analytics names Scott Carter Chief Operating Officer.
  • CAN Capital closes its first capital markets asset-backed notes offering.
  • Coinbase now available in 6 additional languages.
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.

Maybe you missed out on the first ever FinDEVr, which was held in San Francisco on September 30 and October 1, or maybe you wish you could go back to watch the presentations again.

Check out all of the presentation videos, fresh off the camera reel.

We have 47 fintech-focused presentations of APIs and back-end tools ready to watch, embed, and download for free. Don't know where to start? Check out one of the award winning presentations from day one:



PayPal & Braintree


Over the next few weeks, we'll be making some final edits to the videos. You can find the videos using the link above or in the video archives section on

Thanks again to all who attended and presented!

You can tell the market is frenzied when fintech companies raise only $101 million this week. That still works out to a $5+ billion annual run rate, which isn't too shabby. Much of the money went into a Series-D to India's Financial Software Systems, a 23-year old fintech veteran. 

In terms of startups, the big winner this week was Finovate alum, Quantopian, a high-tech investing play that debuted at FinovateSpring 2013 (see post for more info). But Technisys ($13 million) and Germany's Orderbird ($10 million) were not far behind. 

In addition, fintech accelerator SixThirty announced its latest investments: $100,000 each to Davo Technologies, MyMoneyButler, PFTIR and New Constructs (see below for details).  

Here are the 17 deals in order of magnitude (10 Oct through 17 Oct): 

Payments technology
Latest round: $57 million
Total raised: Unknown (though the latest round is referred to as "Series D")
Tags: Chennai, India
Source: Crunchbase

Algorithmic trading platform
Latest round: $15 million
Total raised: $23.8 million
Tags: Investing, analytics, hedge fund, trading, Boston, Massachusetts, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Latin American digital banking technology
Latest round: $13 million
Total raised: $14 million
Tags: Mobile, Miami, Florida

Mobile POS
Latest round: $10 million
Total raised: $14 million
Tags: Mobile, point of sale, iPad, Berlin, Germany
Source: Crunchbase

Mexican P2P microfinance
Latest round: $1.7 million
Total raised: $1.8 million
Tags: Credit, lending, microfinance, P2P, Mexico
Source: Crunchbase

Digital currency exchange
Latest round: $1.4 million
Total raised: $1.4 million
Tags: Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, NYC, New York
Source: Crunchbase

Mobile payments
Latest round: $760,000
Total raised: $760,000
Tags: Payments, Netherlands
Source: Crunchbase

Asian financial planning and advice
Latest round: $640,000
Total raised: $640,000
Tags: Wealth management, PFM, personal finance, investment management, Singapore
Source: Crunchbase

Italian collaborative payments company
Latest round: $500,000
Total raised: $500,000
Tags: Payments, mobile, P2P, group payments, Milan, Italy
Source: FT Partners

Automated debt recovery technology
Latest round: $250,000
Totals raised: $5.3 million 
Tags: Credit, collections, debt, lending, San Francisco
Source: Crunchbase

Japanese bitcoin exchange
Latest round: $236,000
Total raised: $236,000
Tags: Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, Japan
Source: Crunchbase

Sales tax remittances and other business payments
Latest round: $100,000
Total raised: $100,000
Tags: SMB, accounts payable, payments, SixThirty, Montclair, New Jersey
Source: Crunchbase

Reduce investment management fees
Latest round: $100,000
Total raised: $100,000
Tags: Investing, fees, SixThirty, Palo Alto, California
Source: Crunchbase

PFTIR (Public Funds Investment Tracking and Reporting)
Investment reporting technology
Latest round: $100,000
Total raised: $100,000
Tags: Analytics, investing, enterprise, SIxThirty, Chesterfield, Missouri
Source: FT Partners

New Constructs
Investment research
Latest round: $100,000
Total raised: $100,000
Tags: Investing, research, equities, SIxThirty, Brentwood, Tennessee
Source: FT Partners

Lending and membership technology
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Unknown
Tags: Aliso Viejo, California
Source: Crunchbase

Crowdfunding platform
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Unknown
Tags: P2P, lending, credit, investing, UK
Source: Crunchbase

Finovate Debuts: NopSec

Finovate Debuts is a blog series to introduce companies who demonstrated for the first time on the Finovate stage. Today's feature is NopSec, which demonstrated its Unified VRM system at FinovateFall 2014.


NopSec is focused on making the digital world a safer place. For banks, this means getting a handle on cyber security. If you're a bank with 60,000 hosts under management, with thousands of security vulnerabilities, you have two major issues. First, you need to identify the vulnerabilities, and second, you need to know how to fix them.

With so much much information to sort through to determine and prioritize what needs to be fixed, this can be time consuming. This is where NopSec comes in. Its SaaS-based Unified VRM provides a solution for IT professionals to manage security threats. Using Big Data, it generates a prioritized list of what security issues need to be addressed, and how to address them.

The stats
    • Founded in 2009
    • Headquartered in New York
    • Works with infrastructure both on premises and in the cloud
The experience

The NopSec Unified VRM system helps bank security experts sort through the massive amount of data about security threats, and suggests actions to protect against the threats. Its holistic approach on security can be broken down into four steps:

    1. Identify threats
    2. Explore details
    3. Discover solutions
    4. Create reports 

Step 1: Identify threats

The first step is to identify specific vulnerabilities. The dashboard below provides an overall picture of security risk and vulnerability that is easily digestible for everyone from the technical security professional to the CIO. It is divided into modules that correspond to different threats-- external and internal.
Step 2: Explore details

Security analysts can drill down further into vulnerabilities by searching and filtering. The case below shows results filtered by "Top Exploited."  Other filters, listed on the left-hand side in the graphic below, include criteria for geographic location, available patches, top trends, etc.

Once experts find the individual threats that interest them, they can view a summary description of each case. The graphs along the top provide an overall view of the risk factor, operating system, and location of each threat that matches the search criteria.
Step 3: Discover solutions

Identifying and understanding the security threats is only part of the equation. The crucial piece is solving the vulnerabilities. To do this, Unified VRM prioritizes the most dangerous and relevant threats by ranking them by importance.

Remediation recommendations are listed next to each vulnerability, along with the number of assets it affects. In the example below, the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol Remote Code Execution Vulnerabilities affect 134 assets, so it is ranked as the number one issue to fix. Dividing the bank's security into manageable pieces helps security professionals know what to focus on.

In addition to simply advising remediation, the platform has a social aspect that allows for team collaboration. Users just select others they would like to involve in the conversation, and everyone has the ability to comment on the solution.

Step 4: Communicate via reports

To communicate issues and progress with everyone from executives to other technical experts, NopSec provides a reporting tool. It offers four options that tailor the information in the report to the appropriate level for different intended audiences:

    • Executive, for a high level status view
    • Technical, for a more detailed view with technical specifications
    • Full, for a complete view
    • Customized, for an overview mixed with details 
Benefit to banks
The largest benefit NopSec brings to banks is the ability to proactively secure their systems. By identifying and prioritizing major security threats that affect hundreds of assets, banks' technical teams can spend more time solving those issues, and less time searching for the issues.

Additionally, the Unified VRM system takes the institution's security a step above what government regulations require, since they are often times too generic and not applicable to every environment.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for QuantopianLogo.jpg

Two big announcements from algorithmic trading and investing platform Quantopian are reminding us that there is more than one way to "robo-invest."

First up is the $15 million the company raised in a Series B round led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Existing investors Khosla Ventures, Spark Capital, and Wicklow Capital also participated. CEO and Founder John Fawcett said that the capital will support further product development and potential expansion.

The investment takes Quantopian's total capital to $23.8 million.
It's hard to upstage a $15 million investment. But Quantopian's second announcement of the week - its decision to launch a hedge fund driven by the investing algorithms of the platform's best and brightest - may prove to be a more important development for the longer-term future of the company.

The Quantopian Managers Program will provide top-performing quant investors with trading capital. Users of the platform have been able to live trade their algorithms since the beginning of the year, and this latest initiative will give Quantopian's most talented developer-investors the opportunity to benefit even further from their work.
Those applying for the program will need a six-month minimum track record on the platform. Quantopian hopes to invest up to $1 million in each of the selected algorithms, with the developers earning a share of the investment returns.

Quantopian was named one of America's Most Promising Companies for 2014 by Forbes, one of five Finovate alums to make this year's list. Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Quantopian demonstrated its Live Trading platform at FinovateSpring 2013 in San Francisco.

Alumni News-- October 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 Finovate-F-Logo.jpgPatch of Land turns to SeedInvest in public fundraising effort for its seed round.
  • Quantopian raises $15 million in Series B round; launches crowdsourced hedge fund.
  • MasterCard teams up with Zwipe to launch credit card with fingerprint-based authentication.
  • Arroweye Solutions increases payment card security against hacking threats.
  • Emida partners with Defense Mobile to distribute its mobile solutions through Emida's network of distributors.
  • BlogTO looks inside the offices of Nymi during an open house.
  • Google Cloud Platform launches simpler billing.
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: eSignLive by Silanis


Finovate Debuts is a blog series to introduce new Finovate alums. Today's feature is Silanis, which demoed eSignLive Use Your Own Device at FinovateFall 2014.

eSignLive Use Your Own Device by Silanis

Silanis is one of the biggest service providers in the banking and lending e-signature market. Banks, credit providers, insurers, and government agencies use the company's electronic signature platform to the tune of more than 600 million documents processed annually. 

The latest innovation from Silanis, eSignLive Use Your Own Device, turns smartphones into signature capture devices without requiring an app download or expensive in-branch hardware. The technology "solves the final barrier" of transactions that demand a full, handwritten signature, according to Silanis, and enables financial institutions to deliver the same kind of customer experience that retailers offer.

The Stats
  • Founded in March 1992
  • Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Tommy Petrogiannis is CEO and Co-Founder
  • 100 employees
  • Processes more than 600 million documents a year
  • Customers include four of the top 10 banks in North America, eight of the top 15 insurers, and the U.S. Army
  • Named Leader in Customer Satisfaction by enterprise review site, G2 Crowd in 2013 and 2014
  • Won IBM Beacon Award for Best Industry Solution for Banking in 2013
  • Launched eSignLive Use Your Own Device in September 2014
The Story
Silanis specializes in providing electronic signature services - and their client list is impressive. The Joint Chiefs of Staff have been using the platform since 1997. GMAC went paperless with its global operations in 2001 courtesy of the e-signature platform from Silanis. And just one of the company's clients, a "top 5 US bank" with more than $300 billion in assets reports processing more than 35,000 e-sign transactions every day since deploying the technology at all 3,000 retail branches in 2011.
This has meant:
  • An 80% reduction in document handling costs (savings in the millions of dollars)
  • A 90% reduction in loan exceptions
  • More than 90,000 hours of bankers' time reallocated toward increasing loan sales
The bank also reported that the Enterprise edition of eSignLive helped them exceed compliance regulations, make back office operations manuals obsolete, and improve the overall banking experience for their customers.

Still, there has been a region of the e-signature world that has eluded Silanis up until recently. For those transactions that require a full, handwritten signature, the options for many institutions have been bleak. Typically, there is little alternative other than to require customers to go to a brick and mortar location, even though the application started online. Proprietary e-signature hardware is expensive, often prohibitively so for smaller community FIs.

The Innovation
Silanis solves both the multi-channel and cost issues by turning the customer's own smartphone into a signature-capture solution. The e-signatures created by this "operating system agnostic" Use Your Own Device approach are legally-enforceable transactions with an audit trail and "signing ceremony" captured, as well. Authentication and delivery to the back end for processing are fully integrated. There is no need to buy expensive e-signature hardware and no apps for consumers to download.
With eSignLive, the Holy Grail of 100% remote account opening is now possible, according to Silanis. It is ironic that the most fundamental of banking services - customer onboarding - has been the most resistant to technology innovation. By focusing on the issue of the handwritten signature requirement, Silanis directly targets one of the main reasons for this particular pain point.

From the user's perspective, opening an account with the technology is straightforward. Signees access the platform from a browser, rather than downloading an app. After completing an electronic disclosures and signatures consent document, the customer fills out the form as she would ordinarily. 

The technology recognizes if the applicant is using a touchscreen device. If not, when it's time to sign, a gold "Sign with your mobile phone" button appears below the signature capture field. Click here and an email or SMS message is sent to the applicant with instructions on how to complete the transaction. The applicant opens the email or SMS on the touchscreen device, clicks on the link provided, and then traces her signature with a finger or stylus in the signature field. Click "Continue" and the applicant's hand-drawn signature is added virtually to the document.

Once the user confirms that everything is accurate, the document is sent to the FI's processing. Applicants can download and print the document for their own records.
For the FI, eSignLive provides cost-savings from fewer errors and reduced document handling, costs of scanning, faxing, couriers, and postage. 

Additionally, the technology also gives FIs a number of valuable customer insights, ranging from where customers complete transactions, where they are dropping out, and how to selectively market different programs to their customer base.

eSignLive's Use Your Own Device is available on the Integrated and Enterprise editions. Both are on-premises deployments rather than solely SaaS, and include additional features such as advanced forms, reports, and dashboards; branding customization; and, in the case of Enterprise, a completely customizable GUI, workflow and advanced authentication.

The Future
What should we look forward to when it comes to Silanis? With the launch of eSignLive in September, new deployments are at the top of the list. And 2014 already has been a good year in this regard: the company launched a new partnership with AgencyPort Software in October, teamed up with loan management software specialist Calyx Software in August, and has been providing e-Signature services for Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) since the beginning of the year.

Even more worth watching may be the company's theory that technologies like this will enable FIs to become truly "virtual banks", 100% divorced from the brick-and-mortar branch. But to the extent that eSignLive Use Your Own Device, makes on boarding new customers an easy and seamless process, the technology may be just as liberating for "non-virtual" FIs as it promises to be for those banks trying to go branchless.

Alumni News-- October 16, 2014

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgFidelity to offer Betterment to 3,000 financial advisers who use its institutional wealth services division.
  • Lending Club named winner of The Economist's annual Innovation Awards in the consumer products category.
  • TechCrunch reports: Sequoia-Backed Behalf Buys Stuff For Small Businesses Looking To Grow.
  • ReadyForZero PLUS Credit now shows credit scoring factors.
  • FT column on technology and banking features PhotoPay.
  • Jumio teams up with to build ID verification process for RibbitRewards marketplace.
  • Motif Investing iOS app adds account access with Apple TouchID.
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-- October 15, 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.jpgPYMNTS: Karen Webster interviews Spreedly CEO Justin Benson.
  • Finovate alums dominate alternative lending section of Bplans' "35 Great Ways to Fund a Small Business."
  • Check out our latest CEO Interview: Mike Iacobucci of Interactions.
  • Betterment launches Betterment Institutional to bring its technology to registered investment advisors.
  • G2 Crowd Gridscape at Dreamforce '14 shows eSignLive by Silanis earning highest customer satisfaction rating.
  • Kony receives Global Information Security Certifications for Enterprise Mobility Solutions.
  • Iceland's Snorrason acquires Handpoint merchant portfolio.
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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For many in attendance at FinovateSpring 2014 in San Jose watching the Interactions demo, the "Aha!" moment came when the virtual agent began speaking flawless Spanish. 

The demo was already impressive, with murmurs of appreciation from the audience as the seamless call and response back and forth between the presenter and the Interactions virtual agent made believers of everyone in the room. 

Mike Iacobucci 2
But the Spanish might have been the breaking point, that moment when technology seemed to do that thing that the great Arthur Clarke insisted it could always do: become indistinguishable from magic.

Magical as the technology may seem, Interactions' virtual agent technology is far from magic. Rather, it is the result of a patent-pending technology that succeeds where other virtual technologies, including Apple's Siri, have struggled. 

Interactions technology has been deployed in industries ranging from retail to hospitality to healthcare, and include Fortune 500 financial services corporations. The company, founded ten years ago, is headquartered in Franklin, Massachusetts, and includes Softbank Capital, North Hill Ventures, Cross Atlantic Capital Partners, Sigma Partners, Prime Ventures, and Updata Partners among its investors. 

We talked with Interactions President and CEO Mike Iacobucci about his company's technology, how it came to be, and the ways it can be put to use to save money, improve efficiencies, and help improve the customer/client experience.

Finovate: Interactions is a two-time Best of Show award winner. What is it about Interactions that draws such a positive response?

Mike Iacobucci: There are two reasons our demo was impactful: first, because it was a live demo and second, because our technology works flawlessly. 

We've all used an automated system in the past, be it an IVR when calling for customer care or Siri on an iPhone. And we know from these experiences that they're far from perfect technologies. Many of us have seen the replays of Microsoft's live speech-recognition failures during keynotes in 2006 and 2012.
The other reason is because our technology appeals so much to the audience as consumers. Not only do we have a cool technology. It also addresses a serious problem that people know all too well - that a five-minute customer-service call can raise our blood pressure more than our teenage children. 

Our technology makes contacting customer service a value-added experience, and that innovation makes our presentation even more exciting.

Finovate: What has Interactions been working on since FinovateSpring in April?

Iacobucci: Interactions is working to expand our product portfolio by bringing enhanced human-like text and speech-based conversations to every channel and device. Our services are rooted in customer care, but we're moving into more revenue-generating areas like marketing and sales. 

We're rapidly expanding into Asia and delivering customer implementations in newer channels like mobile chat and proactive messaging.

Finovate: What makes Interactions' "Adaptive-Understanding (TM) technology" different from other voice-automation technologies?

Iacobucci: Speech recognition averages 75% accuracy with simple, open-ended prompts in the best conditions, which means that it's going to fail for consumers in at least one out of every four attempts. Comparatively, our patented Adaptve-Understanding technology performs with 95+% accuracy on simple to complex open-ended prompts, which really changes the game.

Our technology focuses on how computer and human intelligence can work together to achieve a desired outcome. We always use automated speech recognition to apply business rules. When needed in small doses, we supplement with our Human Assisted Understanding capability to leverage a trained analyst's natural proficiency at noise discrimination and interpretation.

In short, it's automation with a human touch. And we've accomplished this and made it scale for very large multinational enterprises.
Finovate: Are there things that a virtual assistant does better than a live human customer service representative? Do you see this changing as VA technology becomes more sophisticated?

Iacobucci: Absolutely. Customer service representatives are great at handling unique situations, troubleshooting complex issues, sales inquiries, and retention calls. However, there's nothing value-added by having customer service representatives handle data-collection processes. For example, we can fully automate a loan application. It's a lengthy process, but for us, it's just capturing a few dozen fields of data. Nothing we can't handle. And by automating these transactions, the savings are incredible.

When your virtual assistant is handling all of these data-collection transactions successfully, your agents can then spend more time with the call-types best handled by people. And that improves agents' job satisfaction and retention rates. And, it keeps them more engaged.

Additionally, a virtual assistant is much more secure than a live agent, and collecting private information is an area where we excel. Moreover, we're consistent, and this is extremely relevant to the financial services sector. The virtual assistant engages in a consistent manner from conversation to conversation, and if anything needs to be read back word for word, our solutions are a much safer bet than a live agent.
Finovate: Two years ago in an interview with the Boston Business Journal, you hinted at an initial public offering. Is that still under consideration?

Iacobucci: We have no specific plans for a public offering. The company has the characteristics of a company that can be an innovative institution to a large market.

Finovate: What is the climate like in Boston for fintech innovation? How does it compare to that of Silicon Valley?

Iacobucci: In many ways, Boston and Silicon Valley are extremely similar. With an incredible amount of talent pouring in from the top institutions in the country and an entrepreneurial spirit rivaled by few other cities, Boston is an extremely inviting climate for fintech innovation. 

This is only magnified by a strong presence in venture capital as well as progressive banking and financial institutions like Fidelity, State Street, and Putnam Investments. Additionally, there is a highly concentrated and rapidly growing focus on speech recognition, as seen by recent investments in Boston from Amazon. Google, Nuance, and Interactions.

Finovate: What can we expect from Interactions in the coming months?

Iacobucci: We're looking to be a broad provider of services to the market beyond the customer care market. We want to leverage our platform to reach other market segments and other regions in the world where speech technology is otherwise inefficient or incapable.

We've created interactive systems in both speech and text that can foster the types of conversations that were never thought possible with automation, and with our technology, our potential applications are limitless.

Learn more about Interactions. Watch their Best of Show winning live demo from FinovateSpring 2014 here.
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