NetGuardians Teams Up with Masaref Business & Systems Consulting

The new partnership between NetGuardians and Masaref Business & Systems Consulting (Masaref-BSC) will bring the Swiss fintech’s anti-fraud solutions to even more FIs in the Middle East, according to Director and Board member Oliver Trancart. “Fraud is a growing concern worldwide and the Middle East is no exception,” Trancart said. “So we think NetGuardians’ expertise can really make a positive impact.”

NetGuardians Middle East Business Development Manager Abdallah Djedid credited Masaref’s knowledge and experience in both Temenos’ technology and Islamic core banking systems, calling the firm “an obvious choice for a local partner.” Masaref is a major Temenos T24 implementation partner, and was awarded Best Core Banking Implementer in Egypt in 2015 by Global Banking and Finance. The firm, based in Cairo, Egypt with offices in Riyadh and Beirut, was founded in 2014 after the merger of Masaref Consulting and Business & Systems Consultancy.

Expressing his confidence in the partnership, Masaref Chariman Dr. Mohamed Goneid said, “More banks and financial institutions using T24 will finally have the peace of mind of top fraud protection. Together with NetGuardians, we will help financial institutions in the Middle East to cater for their most challenging requirements.”

NetGuardians’ technology automates compliance and enables financial institutions to more effectively combat fraud. The company’s platform leverages Big Data, dynamic profiling, pattern-based intelligence, and predictive analytics to analyze not just transaction level activity, but real-time behaviors across the entire bank system. This is key, NetGuardians believes, because out of the $67 billion in estimated banking fraud costs every year, 70% of that fraud is internal and remains undetected. During the company’s 2016 FinovateAsia demonstration of FraudGuardian, NetGuardians Digital Marketing Manager Mine Fornerod showed how the solution is able to correlate user behavior to identify even complex fraudulent behavior in real-time with 100% accuracy.

Founded in 2007, NetGuardians is headquartered in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland and has offices in Singapore, Kenya, and Poland. The company began 2017 with news that Nigeria’s Keystone Bank would deploy its real-time fraud protection platform. More recently, NetGuardians raised more than $8 million in Series C funding, taking its total capital to more than $14 million. The company was named a Gartner Cool Vendor in 2015 and was added to Planet Compliance’s RegTech 100 earlier this year. Joel Winteregg is CEO and co-founder.

Interested in fintech in the MENA region? Visit our FinovateMiddleEast page to find out more about our upcoming fintech conference in Dubai.

Multiple-Time Best of Show Winner Avoka Raises $12 Million in New Funding

Digital customer acquisition technology innovator Avoka has raised $12 million (16 million AUD) in equity funding in a round managed by Moelis Australia. Investors included both existing and professional backers, and the company says the funds will be used to support growth plans already underway in Australia, North America, and Europe. “Our planned pace of growth continues across all three of our target geographies,” Avoka founder and CEO Phil Copeland said, “and this financing allows us to maintain an aggressive expansion in our technology, sales, partner and customer success organizations.”

Avoka added in a statement that the company plans also to “focus on investment and hiring to support current and projected customers.” This includes a plan to boost staff numbers by 50% by the end of the current fiscal year. This week’s funding, which echoes a similar investment from last summer, takes Avoka’s total capital to more than $24 million.

Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Avoka most recently demonstrated its technology at FinovateEurope 2017. Hali Khan, Director of Business Development, showed how Transact Insights, a new module of Avoka’s Transact 5 platform, gives businesses the insights and analytics necessary to ensure optimization of the account opening experience. With regard to digital account opening, for example, Transact Insights reveals areas of abandonment, frequent error, as well as where users are spending the most time in order to help business analysts make specific changes and improvements.

Avoka provides solutions for a variety of industries within financial services, including retail, business, and commercial banking, wealth management, superannuation, and insurance. The company, a multiple Finovate Best of Show award-winner, includes five of the top 10 banks in Australia, four of Europe’s 10 leading banks, and eight of the top 50 banks in the United States among its customers.

In August, Avoka announced record growth for a second year in a row and in June, the company introduced its CX Design for Banking offering to help FIs decrease application abandonment and boost conversion rates. Last month, Deloitte recognized Avoka’s 1.76x revenue growth over the past three years, adding the firm to its Technology Fast 50 roster.

Finovate Alumni News


  • NetGuardians Teams Up with Masaref Business & Systems Consulting.
  • Hyperwallet Now Supports Payouts from Amazon’s Australia Marketplace.
  • Multiple-Time Best of Show Winner Avoka Raises $12 Million in New Funding.

Around the web

  • Fiserv signs agreements with Illinois Educators CU in Illinois and Members Financial FCU in Texas.
  • ABN Amro leverages Matrix from Five Degrees to launch its wealth management solution, Prospery.
  • Overbond appoints George Harrington as new Head of U.S. Business Development.
  • FIS connects Fifth Third Bank customers to The Clearing Houses’ Real-Time Payments system.
  • Kinetica appoints Paul Appleby as CEO.
  • Experian Receives Top Workplace Honor for Fifth Consecutive Year.
  • Privakey locks down patent for ‘a password-free future.’

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.

Fintech News from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

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As Finovate prepares for its first conference in the Middle East, here’s a round up of recent fintech news and need-to-knows from the MENA region. Learn more about how to join us in Dubai in February for FinovateMiddleEast.

  • Fidor opens regional headquarters in Dubai Silicon Oasis.
  • Saudi Stock Exchange selects Nasdaq in post-trade technology infrastructure overhaul.
  • Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) signs fintech innovation cooperation agreement with Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

MENA Fintech Fact Fintech investments in the MENA region in 2017 amounted to more than $24 million, a gain of more than 13% over the previous year. According to BCG, the MENA region has experienced the “most explosive growth” in recent years in terms global fintech funding compared to other areas.

  • Al-Thiqa Islamic Bank in Iraq goes live with new core banking technology from ICS Banks.
  • Axis Bank leverages Ripple to provide cross-border payments between Singapore and UAE.
  • Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) signs MOU with national health insurance company, Daman, to colloborate on insurtech solutions.

Thought Leadership Is MENA ready for FinTech? – Thomson Reuters blog post looks at how a balance between regulation and innovation could pave the way for greater financial inclusion for the region’s 86 percent of adults in the region without bank accounts.

  • ADGM named “Financial Center of the Year (MENA) for second year in a row by Global Investor/ISF.
  • Dubai International financial Center (DIFC) establishes $100 million fund for investments in early-stage, growth fintech startups.
  • Bahrain Economic Development Board partners with FinTech Consortium to launch “the largest dedicated fintech hub in the Middle East and Africa,” Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB).
  • Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) signs collaboration agreements with regulators in Hong Kong.

FI.SPAN Partners with Beanworks to Build B2B Payments Hub

Financial services management platform FI.SPAN inked a new partnership this week with Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based Beanworks to build a “world-class business-to-business payments hub.” The new BeanPay platform will give Beanworks’ business customers many of the same vendor payment capabilities that banks have. FI.SPAN will provide pre-integrated third party fintech solutions into the hub, and will manage payment processing via “strategically curated API connections.”

FI.SPAN CEO and founder Lisa Shields praised the combination of Beanworks’ accounts payable automation UX and a “very modern portfolio of payment services.” She said, “Beanworks believes in our vision of sharing modern business services within the corporate customer’s primary business applications.”

Calling manual reconciliation and file transfer “no longer acceptable,” Beanworks CEO Catherine Dahl said, “Our mission is to make the life of the treasurer easier.” Beanworks is cloud-based AP software – integrated with most common accounting platforms such as Intuit Quickbooks, Microsoft Dynamics, and Xero  that automates invoice data entry and invoice-to-purchase matching. Beanworks is also the AP automation provider of choice for Sage accounting and business management solutions. “FI.SPAN’s solution enables us to immediately and profitably extend our AP workflow through to world class payment capabilities,” Dahl said.

Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, FI.SPAN demonstrated its platform at FinovateFall 2017. The company’s technology enables banks and other FIs to deploy new business banking services and products, leveraging RESTful API endpoints to give FIs the ability to decide specifically which and how different products and services are available over different channels. FI.SPAN also provides pre-built connectivity to leading ERP platforms, empowering banks to use ERP as a channel for corporate customers. Read our profile of FI.SPAN from this fall.

nanopay Launches B2B Payment Platform for International Commerce

Canada-based payments platform nanopay unveiled its new B2B payments solution for international trading this week. The new platform, which is scheduled to be available to users in February and is currently in private beta, will initially support cross-border payments between the U.S. and Canada. nanopay expects to extend the service to India and China in the second quarter of 2018.

CEO and founder of nanopay Laurence Cooke pointed to the difficulty in paying and getting paid by international trading partners – as well as a lack of visibility – as the challenge the new platform solves. “Business relationships are founded on trust and the nanopay platform eliminates payment risk as an impediment to working together,” he said. “With UPS-like tracking you always know the status of your payment request.”

CEO and founder Laurence Cooke demonstrating nanopay Cross Border / B2B Portal at FinovateFall 2017.

“nanopay’s vision for simple and secure global B2B payments made it an easy choice to implement its platform,” s2H Business Information Systems CEO Sam Andary said. Crediting nanopay’s technology for helping his firm separate itself from its competition, he added, “Our customers will benefit from knowing where their money is at all times and trusting that it’ll be delivered securely – capabilities that customers are growing to expect in this digital age.”

nanopay’s B2B platform supports account-to-account payments, providing full visibility and payment context. This includes ISO 20022 metadata to provide for straight-through processing (STP), and avoids the need for transferring sensitive banking information back and forth. Payment originators will have full visibility of foreign exchange costs when invoices are paid in a different currency, and the platform will be accessible both via API as well as online as a web app.

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, nanopay demonstrated its nanopay Cross Border/B2B Portal at FinovateFall 2017. Last month, the company partnered with Interac e-Transfer, providing Canadians with another real-time payment option. Also this fall, nanopay announced a pair of C-level hires, adding new Chief Revenue Officer Nilesh Dusane and a new Chief Risk Officer Amir Sunderji. With more than $10 million in total funding, nanopay includes APAGM, Rohatton, Jarnac Capital Management, and Goldman Sachs among its investors.

AutoGravity Introduces Sheng Wang as New Chief Technology Officer

AutoGravity has appointed Sheng Wang as Chief Technology Officer. The move is a promotion for Wang, who was AutoGravity’s first Director of Product and helped launch the AutoGravity platform in addition to branded platforms for Volkswagen Credit and Kia Motors Finance.

“It has been rewarding to see how AutoGravity has already changed the car financing process and I can’t wait to continue the journey to provide the best digital car buying experience to all consumers,” Wang (pictured) said in a statement. As CTO, she will be tasked with applying her more than 15 years of experience leading product development teams at eBay, Microsoft, the Walt Disney Company, and most recently, AutoGravity, to help further develop the company’s auto shopping platform.

Calling her “a true master of her trade” and a “trusted leader with the utmost command of product and engineering,” AutoGravity CEO and founder Andy Hinrichs credited Wang for the company’s “speed and success in setting the pace of digital retailing in the automotive industry.” In addition to her experience in the technology industry, Wang has a Bachelor of Science from Taiwan University and a Master of Science in Computer Engineering from Santa Clara University.

AutoGravity leverages the power and convenience of mobile devices to make shopping for and financing new and used cars easier than ever. The company partners with banks and financial service companies – as well as car dealerships – to give prospective car buyers and leasers a seamless consumer journey from initial vehicle selection and application for credit through financing and delivery.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Irvine, California, AutoGravity demonstrated its platform at FinovateFall 2016, winning Best of Show. Named to the Fintech 100 for 2017’s Emerging Stars, the company surpassed the one million user milestone last month, and in October announced a partnership with Global Lending Services to make financing offers via the AutoGravity platform. Other agreements forged in 2017 include the partnership with Hyundai Capital America launched in September and an agreement with Westlake Financial Services in March.

Finovate Alumni News


  • AutoGravity Introduces Sheng Wang as New Chief Technology Officer.
  • nanopay Launches B2B Platform for International Commerce.

Around the web

  • Fiserv announces agreements with five credit unions to deploy its core account processing platform, DNA.
  • PNC goes live on real-time payments network via Finastra’s payment services hub.
  • Fifth Third Bank picks FIS to provide real-time payments for customers.
  • The San Diego Union-Tribune recognizes Jack Henry & Associates as a Top Workplace
  • RightCapital ends its second year reporting $20billion total assets linked to platform.
  • Wired names Meniga one of five Reykjavik startups to watch.
  • NYMBUS completes SOC 2 Type 1 Certification.
  • Avoka named in Deloitte Technology Fast 50 and joins CRN Fast50.

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.

Prevoty Raises $13 Million in Series B

Real-time app security platform Prevoty announced an investment of $13 million today. The Series B round was led by Trident Capital Cybersecurity, and featured participation from existing investors such as USVP.

“This new round of funding from Trident Capital Cybersecurity and USVP will not only help us meet the exponential growth in demand for our autonomous application security solutions, but will also support continued investment in innovation,” Prevoty CEO and co-founder Julien Bellanger said in a statement.

Calling application security “often the weakest link in a security program,” Trident Capital Cybersecurity Managing Director Sean Cunningham praised the way Prevoty gives developers the ability to deploy apps with more security, less risk, and minimal implementation impact. “Customers and prospects are validating that Prevoty’s unique approach to application security succeeds at embedding security into DevOps,” Cunningham said.

By providing visibility into the security weaknesses, he added, Prevoty “allow(s) teams to remediate underlying issues in real-time production, and accelerating application time to market.” As part of the investment, Cunningham will join Prevoty’s Board of Directors.

Prevoty CTO and co-founder Kunal Anand during his presentation “Using Runtime Visibility to Align Application Security with DevOps” at FinDEVr New York 2017.

Prevoty’s technology monitors app activity at runtime and detects attacks in production applications. The platform provides instant mitigation, including against the OWASP Top 10 Most Critical Web App Security Risks, as well as content, database, and command injections. Prevoty then issues alerts to log files and any configured SIEMs if the payload is believed to be malicious. The technology also enables seamless integration with DevOps, ensuring that app integration and app deployment is accompanied by real-time visibility and threat mitigation.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, California and founded in 2013, Prevoty is an alumni of our developer’s conference, FinDEVr. This spring, the company’s CTO and co-founder Kunal Anand presented Using Runtime Visibility to Align Application Security with DevOps at FinDEVr New York, where he explained how solutions like Runtime Application Self-Protection (RASP) are improving app security. Anand’s presentation won the company a Crowd Favorite award from the FinDEVr New York audience.

In November Prevoty took top honors at the SINET 16 Innovation Competition for its app security technology. And in October, the company was named Best in Data Security by Credit Donkey. A 2018 TAG Cyber Distinguished Vendor and Gold Winner of the 2017 Golden Bridge Awards for Best Application Security, Prevoty has raised a total of more than $25 million in funding. The company’s customers include Aaron’s, SpencerStuart, and Michigan State University.

CRMNEXT to Enhance Customer Journeys for $4.4 Billion First Bank

With $4.4 billion in assets, North Carolina-based First Bank is the first community bank in the U.S. to choose CRMNEXT to “transform its branches” and empower bank associates with technology that enables superior customer service across channels. A full-service community bank, founded in 1935, First Bank has 95 bank branches in North and South Carolina, and more than 300,000 customers.

“We believe that when customers have big financial questions, they want to talk to someone rather than chat over the phone with a support associate or send messages through an app,” First Bank EVP Cathy Dudley said. “To better serve those customers who want that consultative support, the branch experience has to change and improve as well. This is the heart of what a community bank does: serve the customer quickly and on a personal level.”

left to right: CEO Joe Salesky and VP for Sales Consulting Ed Ponte demonstrating the CRMNEXT platform at FinovateFall 2016.

“A great customer experience is about eliminating the artificial barriers between human and digital channels, and enabling world class, personalized interactions – both online and at the branch,” CRMNEXT CEO Joe Salesky explained. He pointed out that better customer experiences have often been sacrificed on the altar of ”uncovering operational efficiencies” or “digitizing interactions.” Instead, Salesky said, banks like First Bank are leveraging tools like CRMNEXT to set “new expectations for how financial institutions must engage with customers to be innovative and profiable.”

This was especially important to First Bank, which was specifically looking for solutions that would enhance, rather than replace, human interaction and conversation. CRMNEXT simplifies and automates processes that typically required upwards of 15 minutes to complete. This includes everything from new customer onboarding to replacing lost or stolen cards.

CRMNEXT also makes it easy for associates to provide truly omni-channel customer service, for example, spotting an incomplete application for an auto loan during an assisted interaction for another service. This enables associates to provide more assistance more effectively and gives banks the opportunity to gain leads and increase revenues.

“With 80% of customer interactions on digital, assisted interaction on phone and in person are a shrinking opportunity to wow your customers,” Salesky said during his Finovate demo last fall. “That’s why our customers are using CRMNEXT today on 70 percent of their desktops.”

Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Sausalito, California. CRMNEXT demonstrated its customer engagement platform at FinovateFall 2016. The company’s technology lowers the average length of customer transactions by 90 percent, increases employee productivity by 60 percent, and contributes to bottom line revenue by as much as 40 percent. With the world’s biggest banking CRM implementation in the world, CRMNEXT’s platform supports more than a million financial associates and a billion customers.