CurrencyCloud Taps Former Misys Executive Ed Addario as New CTO

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Ed Addario, the new Chief Technology Officer for CurrencyCloud, brings an impressive track record as a fintech executive to the company. Addario comes to CurrencyCloud after serving as Global Head of Architecture and Integration at Misys. And previous to his tenure at Misys, Addario was SVP Technology at Monitise. At CurrencyCloud, Addario will manage a 45-member team dedicated to developing the company’s APIs that help third parties automate and enhance their payment processes.

In a statement, Addario praised CurrencyCloud’s technology for being “built by developers for developers” and referred to the company part of the “next generation” that will “realize the true potential of the digital economy.” CurrencyCloud CEO Mike CurrencyCloud_EdAddarioLaven called Addario a “perfect fit” for the task of helping create solutions that will enable companies to take advantage of “new and emerging business models” without being limited by legacy technology. “Ed will play a key role in developing the tools that we provide,” Laven said, “to allow our customers to build the best solution for their business needs.”

Addario has a B.Sc. in Computer Science, with coursework in Applied Statistics and Machine Intelligence, and a M.Sc. in Manufacturing and Quality Engineering. He is also a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in London, U.K., CurrencyCloud demonstrated its payment engine last year at FinovateEurope 2016. The company also presented at our developer’s conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley in 2015, discussing how Currency Cloud rebuilt its market-leading API. Named to Fintech Forward’s “20 Companies to Watch” last fall, CurrencyCloud forged a partnership with Arkea Banking Services in August, and appointed a new CFO, Fiona Tee, last spring. CurrencyCloud has raised $35 million in funding – including an $18 million Series C in June 2015. Sapphire Ventures, Notion Capital, and Atlas Venture are among the company’s investors.

Dwolla Raises Capital, Relaunches Access API

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Writing at the Dwolla blog, company founder and CEO Ben Milne expressed how important the goal of “building the ideal API to move money” was to him and his company. Calling this “part of our DNA,” Milne wrote that the new opportunities Dwolla’s technology has created have “come with growth and the need to finance it.”

And finance it Dwolla has. The company picked up $6.85 million in new funding in a round led by Union Square Ventures and Foundry Group. Milne wrote that the investment will be used to expand Dwolla’s sales and account management operations in Des Moines, Iowa. The round featured participation from Detroit Venture Partners, Firebrand Ventures, High Alpha, Ludlow Ventures, and Next Level Ventures, and brings Dwolla’s total capital to just over $39 million. Firebrand Ventures founder John Fein was quoted in the Kansas City Star crediting Dwolla for rekindling his interest in supporting fledgling technology companies.

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Pictured: Dwolla Director of Communications and Policy Affairs Jordan Lampe demonstrating FiSync at FinovateSpring 2015.

Milne also announced his company’s API Suite, Access API, will now contain all of Dwolla’s white label solutions. “Nothing changes for current customers,” he noted, “but additional features will be rolled into the Access API to make building software that connects to the banking infrastructure easier.” These features, according to TechCrunch, include same-day transfer and a new dashboard for managing transactions. Fortune.com notes that Access API “has attracted more than 100 customers in its first year.”

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, Dwolla demonstrated its FiSync technology at FinovateSpring 2015. The company partnered with open source subscription billing and payments platform, Kill Bill, last October and, in August, introduced a new dashboard and administrative interface for its white-label partners. Dwolla added more FIs to its instant account-verification flow back in May.

NatWest, RBS to Offer Clients Business Banking Solutions from FreeAgent

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This week marks two big wins for online accounting system provider FreeAgent. NatWest has agreed to provide FreeAgent’s SaaS business banking solution to its small business clients this year. FreeAgent also signed an agreement with The Royal Bank of Scotland that will put its cloud-based accounting solution in the hands of RBS’s small business customers.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have been chosen from over 30 vendors to help and support Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest’s business customers,” FreeAgent CEO Ed Molyneux wrote on the company blog. “By moving onto the FreeAgent platform, we hope life will become easier for these small businesses (who in many cases have to do their accounting themselves) by allowing them to concentrate on running their businesses.”

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Pictured: Ed Molyneux, founder and CEO of FreeAgent, demonstrating his company’s SaaS accounting solution at FinovateEurope 2013 in London.

As part of the partnership, FreeAgent’s technology will be connected to the business bank accounts of RBS and NatWest customers. The company’s platform – already used by 50,000 businesses – helps small businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers manage invoices, expenses, taxes, projects, and more. In December, FreeAgent launched a variety of new features for its mobile app, FreeAgent Mobile, including a tax timeline and notifications, a profit & loss screen, and a cashflow screen. FreeAgent Mobile is available on both iOS and Android platforms.

Founded in 2007 and based in Edinburgh, U.K., FreeAgent demonstrated its platform at FinovateEurope 2013. The company raised more than $10 million in funding from investors including IRIS Software Group, SaaS Capital, and Seedrs, before going public last November. FreeAgent trades on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol “FREE” and has a market capitalization of $54 million (£44 million). The company’s technology was listed in Creative Boom’s roundup of “must-have apps for freelancers” last year.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • NatWest, RBS to Offer Clients Business Banking Solutions from FreeAgent.
  • Card-Linked Offers Consolidates: Edo Interactive Acquired by Augeo.
  • Dwolla Raises Capital, Relaunches Access API.

Around the web

  • Persia International Bank chooses core banking technology from Temenos.
  • Kensho Technologies CEO Daniel Nadler weighs in on cybersecurity in the Age of Trump.
  • Rabobank to deploy UP Immediate Payments from ACI Worldwide.
  • Asset manager Schroders picks Capriza to help drive digital transformation.
  • Stuart Frankel of Narrative Science writes about bots and advanced natural language generation technology in Harvard Business Review.
  • De Surinaamsche Bank expands relationship with Fiserv to deepen core banking

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: ICAR

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FE2017-V2-wdateA look at the companies demoing live at FinovateEurope on the 7 and 8 of February 2017 in London. Pick up your tickets today and save your spot.

With more than 20 million ID validations per year, ICAR is based on fully-automatic technology which validates customer identity and incorporates the necessary features to be the best, easiest-to-use tool.

Features

  • Omni-channel and immediate: ICAR makes sure that it is a real user at the time of onboarding
  • Liveness test and biometric technology to prevent ID fraud
  • Big Data analysis for a Digital Me check.

Why it’s great
ICAR’s online automatic solution processes and authenticates the customer ID in less than 20 seconds. ICAR not only verifies the identity document, but builds the Digital Identity Profile, also.

ICAR_XavierCodoPresenters

Xavier Codó, CEO
Codó has more than 15 years of experience in the information technology and software sectors. Today, he leads the ICAR team with the vision of offering market solutions of high technology value.
LinkedIn

 

ICAR_MarionaCampmanyMariona Campmany, CMO
Campmany has extensive experience in the digital transformation of markets across multiple domains including corporate and commercial strategy, customer-orientation and product development.
LinkedIn

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: bankUP

bankUP_homepage_January2017

FE2017-V2-wdateA look at the companies demoing live at FinovateEurope on the 7 and 8 of February 2017 in London. Pick up your tickets today and save your spot.

bankUP is a digital-first, fintech bank focused on SMEs. It provides a one-stop shop combination of core banking products (business account, Mastercard) and integrated fintech services.

Features

  • Banking services tailored to specific industries
  • Automation around predictive financing in combination with accounting and real time access to credit services
  • Fintech SME services in one dashboard

Why it’s great
bankUP is a digital SME fintech hub built on top of banking services.

Presenters

  • Krzysztof Pulkiewicz, Director
  • Dimitri Leemans, Partner
  • Łukasz Chmielewski, CTO

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: Infolio

Infolio_homepage_January2017

FE2017-V2-wdateA look at the companies demoing live at FinovateEurope on the 7 and 8 of February 2017 in London. Pick up your tickets today and save your spot.

Infolio is a digital workplace platform enabling secure collaboration for teams working on key deals, customers, and projects by linking information from many sources into one great digital experience.

Features

  • Allows team collaboration within shared workspaces
  • Integrates access to structured and unstructured information from various sources
  • Offers enterprise-grade security and customization

Why it’s great
Infolio was named 2016 Gartner “Cool Vendor” in Digital Workplace, and was awarded “Top Digital Workplace Solution” in the 2016 Citi Smarter Worklife Challenge.

Infolio_DavidArberyPresenters

David Arbery, Director – Sales and Consulting
Having worked for some of the world’s leading strategy consultancy firms, such as A.T. Kearney, Arbery is committed to helping leaders drive their digital strategies and implement meaningful change.
LinkedIn

 

 

Infolio_DonCarliDon Carli, Director – Customer and Market Insights
Carli has been senior advisor and trusted provider of strategic planning, business intelligence, and mission-critical research for executives of Fortune 1000 companies for over 20 years.
LinkedIn

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: Pushfor

Pushfor_homepage_January2017

FE2017-V2-wdateA look at the companies demoing live at FinovateEurope on the 7 and 8 of February 2017 in London. Pick up your tickets today and save your spot.

Pushfor is a secure content sharing and instant messaging platform that converts and projects content in high fidelity to any device.

Features

  • Content is pushed but never sent
  • Pull back content at any time
  • Track the entire content journey and all interactions with full audit trail
  • Engage in real-time via message, voice, and video

Why it’s great
Pushfor pushes content rather than sending it. Unlike any other content distribution approach, content is never sent to the device. That’s why Pushfor is different and that’s why “smart people push”.

Pushfor_JohnSafaPresenters

John Safa, Founder and CTO
Safa is a seasoned executive in architecting solutions for desktop, cloud, and mobile platforms. He has a highly entrepreneurial skill-set with 30+ granted patents.
LinkedIn

Crispin Luxton, VP Business Development

Finovate Debuts: Helping Banks Turn Data into Insights with Liferay DXP

 

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There are few challenges greater for FI than turning massive amounts of customer data into valuable insights on how to serve those customers better. “Everybody today seems to be focused on customer experience, and giving your customers whatever they want. But what is it that you are you getting from your customers?” Liferay Sr. Customer Experience Manager Henry Nakamura asked from the Finovate stage in September. “I bet you’re pretty overwhelmed by the amount of data that you have, and possibly pretty underwhelmed by the results. Where’s the payoff?”

Liferay helps banks create meaningful digital experiences for their customers. The company’s Digital Experience Platform (DXP) enables FIs to leverage the data and their existing systems to bring the right products and services to the right customers, as well as uncover new potential revenue and sales opportunities. Additionally, Liferay DXP ensures that the FI is able to deliver a consistent, digital experience from the PC to mobile “right through the front door of a brick and mortar location,” Nakamura said.

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Pictured: Henry Nakamura, Sr. Customer Experience Manager, demonstrating the Liferay Digital Experience Platform at FinovateFall 2016.

At their Finovate debut this fall, Nakamura and Keval Mehta, Account Manager for Global Services, demonstrated the latest edition of the Liferay DXP platform. Among the features the two men presented was the platform’s audience targeting engine. This customizable feature enables advisors to set up rules to push relevant financial information and actionable planning advice to the client’s dashboard based on the their budgeting, saving, and investing behavior. Nakamura and Mehta also demonstrated a geolocation feature that enables financial service professionals to know the identity – and financial profile – of a customer as soon as they enter the branch.

Company facts

  • Founded in 2004
  • Headquartered in Diamond Bar, California
  • Has 20 offices in 17 countries; 150 partners worldwide; 150,000 open source community members
  • Bryan Cheung is CEO

liferay_henrynakamuraWe caught up with Henry Nakamura (pictured) the morning before FinovateFall and followed up with him later with a few questions by email. His responses and our questions are below.

Finovate: What problem does Liferay solve?

Henry Nakamura: Liferay’s Digital Experience Platform allows financial institutions to unlock valuable customer information and then take advantage of new insights to create more engaging customer experiences across channels and devices. In many cases, banks already possess a wealth of customer data that could be used to assemble more complete profiles of users to accurately engage with them as individuals. But too often that crucial data is scattered to the winds – or, in the case of many banks, siloed in disparate departments and systems within the institution.

This siloing creates an inability to properly understand customer data that would otherwise lead to actionable insights if only the information were collected and harnessed in one accessible location. On that same point, siloing prevents easy access to customer data when a bank – and/or its customers – has a need of it. Liferay’s platform is built to solve these pervasive problems in the financial services industry.

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Pictured: Liferay DXP – Customer view – Financial Dashboard

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Nakamura: Businesses using Liferay (across all industries) are those seeking to drastically improve customer experiences through forward-looking digital transformation strategies. This is, of course, a particularly big deal among financial institutions. Technological change within industry organizations – and perhaps particularly when it comes to customer engagement technology – has historically been slow. But we’re now seeing significant growth in financial services organizations implementing Liferay’s solutions, from credit unions to regional banks to multinational banks. The need to address omnichannel continuity between a bank’s online, mobile, and in-brand experiences is becoming increasingly critical as a cohesive, engaging experience becomes the expectation of customers. Liferay’s customer trends certainly exemplify this industry-wide imperative.

Finovate: How does your technology solve the problem better?

Nakamura: Liferay offers banks the most complete set of organically developed features available on the market within a single, omnichannel, digital experience platform. Every aspect of our toolset is designed from the ground up to work together as a singular solution. Other vendor offerings tend to be Frankenstein-esque pieces of software made out of disjointed solutions that were acquired and then stitched together as best they could. In contrast, all features included in Liferay DXP have been purpose-built to function well alongside each other – and they do.

We provide a platform that, among other things, ties together customer information and experience across interactions. It’s also worth noting that Liferay DXP is highly (and easily) customizable, and works with existing technology investments and a bank’s legacy systems to build exactly what’s needed.

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Pictured: Liferay DXP – Single Customer View – Teller View

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of Liferay’s technology.

Nakamura: U.S. Bank’s use of Liferay is a really interesting example of how Liferay DXP can resolve longstanding issues that have arisen from (all-too-common) disparate and conflicting internal systems. We’re proud that Liferay’s platform enabled this huge financial institution to offer a singular, consistent and effective user experience to its customers.

U.S. Bank’s Securities Services clientele had historically been required to log into multiple accounts across different sites (and complete manual processes) in order to access the data they needed. These multiple logins and non-uniform user experiences within applications made completing day-to-day activities much more difficult than they ought to have been. As a result (and as you might expect), customers avoided logging into these applications and were hesitant to adopt these tools – while demanding better ones that could streamline online interactions. With Liferay, U.S Bank developed Pivot, a single sign-on portal solution allowing all banking customers to interact based on their particular needs. User feedback has been very positive and adoption has increased.

Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

Nakamura: We draw confidence from our experience and history of product and customer successes. Liferay has a uniquely rich heritage as a portal solution, having now been recognized as a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for seven years in a row. As an integration platform, we genuinely understand how businesses benefit when information and applications are seamlessly pulled together to create a single, unified user experience. We’re up for helping businesses solve that challenge every day.


Henry Nakamura (Sr. Customer Experience Manager) and Keval Mehta (Account Manager, Global Services) demonstrating Liferay DXP at FinovateFall 2016.

Société Générale to Launch Personetics-Powered Chatbot

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Looking for a fintech to build a chatbot for your bank? Tucked inside a recent survey by Personetics was this note from the Head of Innovation Lab at BRD Groupe Société Générale, Horia Velicu. The survey measured attitudes among decision-makers at more than 200 financial institutions toward chatbot technology.

Our goal is to create an experience in line with how customers want to interact with businesses in the digital age. If I can order a ride or buy food on Facebook Messenger, I should also be able to manage my money in the same conversational and real-time environment.

And lo and behold, both Finextra and American Banker have cited Société Générale as one of the major FIs exploring chatbot technology and turning to Personetics to do it. SocGen plans to introduce their chatbot through its Romanian banking unit later this year. And while the initial deployment will be limited to responding to investor queries about equity funds, success here will lead to other uses of the chatbot, such as retail deposit accounts and billpay, as well as rolling out the technology in other areas.

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Pictured (left to right): Solution Architect Sudharshan Krishnan and CEO/co-founder David Sosna demonstrating Personetics Anywhere at FinovateFall 2016.

“The true test for conversational commerce is in the ability to solve real problems and guide customers through meaningful and sometimes complex commercial and financial activities,” Personetics co-founder and CEO David Sosna said. His company’s survey revealed that more than three quarters of those who responded said they believed chatbot technology would be “a viable commercial solution now or within the next 1 to 2 years.” Additionally, a majority of respondents believe a “substantial share” of customer interactions will be managed by chatbots within the next 3 to 5 years.

Personetics specializes in helping banks create personalized digital experiences for their customers. Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, Personetics demonstrated its Personetics Anywhere chatbot at FinovateFall 2016. The company launched its Chatbot Bootcamp last fall, and earned a spot in the FinTech Forward 20 “Companies to Watch” roster. We featured Personetics in our look at Finovate alums “representing fintech innovation in Israel” last summer, and profiled the company in our Finovate Debut series. In addition to Anywhere, Personetics offers a next-generation, natural language powered, digital self-service product, Personetics Assist, and a customer relationship solution called Personetics Engage that leverages predictive analytics to enable banks to help customers reach financial goals.