Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • TransUnion to Acquire Callcredit for $1.4 Billion.
  • Mortgagetech Company Mr. Cooper Appoints Tony Ebers as COO. Come check out Mr. Cooper’s live demo at FinovateSpring next month.

Around the web

  • Fiserv announces partnership with Mexican credit union cooperative, Siscoop.
  • Customers Bank ($10 billion in assets) chooses core banking platform from FIS.
  • La Voz de Galicia profiles Spanish mobile banking startup, Fintonic (in Spanish).
  • Ovum names OutSystems a Market Leader in for Enterprise Mobile Application Development platforms.
  • TransUnion to acquire Callcredit in deal valued at £1 billion ($1.4 billion).
  • Ovum names Kony a leader in mobile app development platforms.
  • Cardlytics Chief Legal Officer named Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Corporate Counsel of the Year.
  • Uniken CEO recognized as a top 100 Most Innovative Business Leader.

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.

YUKKA Lab Launches Market Sentiment Analysis Solution, News & Trend Lab

FinovateAsia 2017 Best of Show winner YUKKA Lab has unveiled its News & Trend Lab which gives investors and traders an organized and efficient way to view and manage financial news in real-time. The News & Trend Lab aggregates search and filter options in a single location, pulling relevant and personalized data from the real-time stream of more than 200,000 articles a day from more than 20,000 global news and information sources.

More interestingly, the Lab turns market sentiment into compelling visualizations within an intuitive, cockpit-like UI that makes it easy to absorb complex data on companies, market behavior, and other financial factors.

YUKKA Lab Chief Business Development Officer and Co-Founder Oliver Berchtold demonstrating YUKKA Lab’s Newsflow Analyzer at FinovateEurope 2018.

“The YUKKA Trend Lab uses these sentiment scores and proprietary arithmetical financial models that have been back-tested since 2005 to generate an early warning system for trends and trend reversals in stock markets,” YUKKA Lab’s Head of Marketing and Communication Ulrike Haferstroh added in the product announcement at the company’s blog.

There are two components of YUKKA News & Trend Lab. The News Lab presents market events, stakeholders and interrelationships, and sentiment data. The Trend Lab builds trends indicators and trading signals based on financial modeling of sentiment data.

News & Trend Lab also features News Boards of aggregated newsflow, and market sentiment information; News Networks to better view relationships between events, trends, and companies; a variety of search and filter options; and an early warning system to help investors and traders spot emergent themes and shifts in existing trends in the markets. YUKKA Lab is charging €299 ($369) a month for News Lab, €439 per month ($542) for Trend Lab, and €549 ($678) for both News & Trend Lab. Extended packages and API solutions are also available.

Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, YUKKA Lab demonstrated its Newsflow Analyzer at FinovateEurope 2018 earlier this year, and features a client list that includes Consors Bank, UBS, and Belvoir Capital AG. YUKKA Lab is a leader in the field of augmented language intelligence and context-based text analysis, and leverages these technologies to determine the positive, negative, or neutral sentiments within textual data such as financial news. The result is a rational, emotion-free recommendation engine for investors and traders.

FinovateSpring: Open Banking and Digital Acquisition, Smart Speakers and Big Tech Banks

Don’t tell me your values. Show me your budget. So goes the old saw that reminds us that there’s a strong correlation between what we say is important and how we actually spend our time.

Our discussion days agenda for FinovateSpring is no exception to this rule. On Days Three and Four, when we turn from the live fintech demos to the deep dives and panel discussions, we’ll tackle a handful of topics that reflect some of the most critical trends facing the fintech industry. These trends may very well serve as the lens through which fintech innovation in 2018 is viewed.

Open Banking, APIs & Regulation: Shifting Sands of the U.S. Banking Industry

Coming on the heels of FinovateEurope, where open banking, PSD2 regulations, and GDPR in the Eurozone are driving both innovation and VC investment preferences, the U.S. financial community must remain on the offensive when it comes to adopting the trends toward providing more third party access and offering consumers more control over their data.

The kind of government-led open banking initiatives sweeping Europe are unlikely in the U.S., both due to the structure of the American banking system and a political climate more inclined to reduce regulations than enact them – especially in terms of the financial markets. But should the success of open banking spur increased interest in similar legislation in the States, observers like Keri Gohman, President of the Americas for Xero, suggests that innovation would be best served if banks and fintechs led the way.

While it undoubtedly opens up opportunities for banks and other financial institutions to provide better digitally enhanced services to businesses and consumers, U.S. banks will be in a better position if they partner to create standardization before the government steps in. By doing so, and by using secure APIs, they can ensure the needs of small business owners and consumers are met safely and securely.

Gohman puts data and tools like APIs at the center of fintech innovation. With more banks taking advantage of APIs to make customer data securely available to third parties, goes the argument, FIs in the U.S. can begin providing many of the benefits of open banking – and the protections of GDPR – in a more nuanced, customer-centric way than a legislator or regulator could.

Digital Acquisition and Servicing Models: New Tools and Technologies for Remote Clients

How does the rush to digital transformation affect digital acquisition and servicing models? Are there lessons to be learned from the successes of the financial mega-brands? What are the new tools and technologies they use to sell to and service client accounts remotely? From cobrowsing solutions to partnerships that enable identity verification to speed client onboarding, companies are leveraging machine learning and AI to help them get the right information to and from the right clients in real-time.

Avoka, a multiple-time Finovate Best of Show winner and specialist with solutions that help financial services firms transform their account opening and onboarding functionality, cited four challenges banks face when trying to boost digital customer acquisitions: (1) build omnichannel engagement, (2) demonstrate brand and value proposition, (3) meet regulatory and compliance requirements, and (4) go to market within weeks or months rather than years. For this multiple-time Finovate Best of Show winner, the solution is a dedicated platform. In the same way “banks already have a dedicated platform to market their services … Now they need one designed to capture the online account opening transaction.”

 Natural Language Processing, Smart Speakers, and a Future with Far Less Screen Time

Leveraging technologies such as NLP and smart speaker solutions like Alexa has enabled financial institutions to offer both new services and remove friction from old ones. How far can financial services take a screen-less user experience when it comes to banking?

It seems like every other day a new bank is announcing that it is leveraging Alexa to add to the user experience of its customers. Envestnet, demonstrating its technology recently at FinovateEurope, showed how a digital personal assistant, enabled with machine learning, AI, and advanced NLP could serve a professional financial advisor, scheduling and rescheduling appointments, providing timely reminders of important upcoming events, anticipating potential conflicts and suggesting alternative options. The rise of speech as a primary interface with technology makes sense in a world in which the smartphone is the primary technological accessory.

How are financial institutions and financial service providers making the most of this customer experience? How does the rise of speech as an interface in the West compare with the technology’s use in the East and elsewhere? And does the growth of natural language processing, and speech-directed computing pave the way for wider adoption of augmented reality technologies in financial services?

Will E-commerce Giants Become the New Banking Competitors?

As Finovate founder Jim Bruene pointed out recently, e-commerce giants like Amazon.com are already “in the banking business.” Bruene listed the number of services – from mobile payments and, gift, debit, and store cards to lending, currency conversion, and corporate credit lines – and concluded “the prime concern for banks is whether Amazon can move payment volume from bank-issued credit cards, where the industry enjoys healthy profit margins, to debit/ACH with narrow-to-non-existent margins.”

But banks and credit unions remain on edge. An Infosys Finacle study reported that nearly half of all FIs surveyed view technology companies like Amazon to be a significant threat. Writing in the Financial Brand, Jeffry Pilcher noted that analysts believe that the bigger challenge to traditional banks isn’t the fintechs, it’s big tech. And the nature of the challenge is more nuanced. Pilcher quotes Forrester analyst Alyson Clarke who observed:

The threat is not about Amazon taking market share, it’s that they become the customer interface, and the banks become the ‘ingredient brand.’ When you lose that connection with your end customer, you’re simply a no-name product manufacturer. And when you no longer have brand, the only things you have left to compete on are price and features.”

For more about our Discussion Days at FinovateSpring 2018, check out the agenda.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • YUKKA Lab Launches Market Sentiment Analysis Solution, News & Trend Lab.

Around the web

  • Transferwise gains direct access to Bank of England’s interbank payment systems.
  • nCino teams up with VASCO to integrate eSignLive’s e-signature technology into its Bank Operating System.
  • DarcMatter to integrate the NEM blockchain into its platform.
  • Payfone partners with EnStream to expand its Digital Identity Authentication Network to Canada.
  • Customers can pay for shoes online at Payless.com with PayNearMe.
  • Malaysia’s largest credit reporting agency partners with LenddoEFL.
  • YUKKA Lab launches new market sentiment analysis Tools.

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.

Tink Launches Developer Platform

Swedish fintech Tink introduced its API developer platform today. With Tink’s API, developers will be able to take advantage of the company’s Account Aggregation and Categorization solutions to design and launch products for end users. The offering from the two-time Best of Show winner provides unanimous access to financial data from 300 FIs – all from a single API. By managing authentication and the customer-bank interaction, Tink’s platform frees developers to focus on the creative work of building and deploying new solutions for customers.

“Businesses can now come to us and implement something new in just a day, instead of having to wait for banks to open their APIs in two years time,” Tink CTO Fredrik Hedberg said. “By democratizing access to financial data, Tink is tearing down the barriers to innovation, and becoming the missing link that has stopped these ideas from becoming reality.”

The developer platform initially will support Nordic banks, with a broader European roll-out anticipated “soon.” The technology is already being used by firms like SBAB, which is leveraging the API to launch a “mortgage challenger” solution to help would-be homebuyers get the best deal on financing a new home.

Tink CTO Fredrik Hedberg and CEO Daniel Kjellen.

Tink’s API will also help developers maximize the opportunity of PSD2, new Europe-wide regulations that will enable third-parties to access consumer financial data upon consent in order to deliver innovative, new products to consumers. And while PSD2 regulations will not be in full effect for another year and a half, companies like Tink have been preparing themselves for this kind of relationship between FIs and third party developers since inception.

“At Tink we have been trailblazing PSD2 since 2012,” Hedberg said. “The ability to aggregate data is what has enabled Tink to grow into the business it is today. We know from experience that there are countless developers out there with brilliant ideas – but innovation has been held back by the lack of access to financial data.”

The company noted in its announcement that because it aggregates more than PSD2 payments data, its platform can be effective for developers in a variety of sectors who want to leverage financial data to better enhance their customer-facing products.

Founded in 2012, and based in Stockholm, Tink demonstrated its account aggregation technology at FinovateEurope 2017, winning Best of Show for a second time. Last month, Tink announced a partnership with BNP Paribas Fortis that will integrate its account aggregation, PFM, and payment initiation technology into the Belgian bank’s mobile app. The company was named to CB Insights’ Fintech 250 list last June. In October, Tink picked up $16.5 million in funding which took the company’s total capital raised to more than $30 million, and set the stage for further expansion into the European market. Tink also announced a trio of new bank customers: Nordea, Nordnet, and fellow Finovate alum, Klarna.

Daniel Kjellén, Tink co-founder and CEO, participated in our FinovateEurope 2018 debate: Who Will Seize the Day & Really Profit from the Open Banking Revolution? at FinovateEurope 2018.

Blend, Roostify Earn Honors at MBA Insights 2018 Tech All-Star Awards

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s annual Insights 2018 Tech-All Stars have been named and this year a pair of Finovate alums  – Blend and Roostify – are among those recognized for their achievements in mortgagetech.

“Technology is driving remarkable innovations and efficiencies in real estate finance,” MBA Vice Chairman Brian Stoffers said. “MBA is pleased to recognize the men and women making significant technological contributions to the mortgage industry.”

Also earning recognition from the MBA at its Technology Solutions Conference & Expo earlier this week were Land Gorilla, Docutech, Notarize, and ReverseVision. The six winners were chosen from a nomination pool of 40 mortgage tech companies, the largest number of nominations since the awards were founded in 2002.

“Our Technology All-Stars are designing tools that disrupt the industry, but also make us smarter,” Stoffers added. “They are the ones providing us both faster and safer mortgage business tools to advance our industry. We call the Tech-All Stars the unsung heroes of the industry because much of what they do takes place behind the scenes – but we could not survive or move forward without them.”

The All-Stars honors were a first for both Finovate alums. Earlier this year, Roostify made fintech headlines when it announced picking up a $25 million investment. The Series B round featured participation from new investors Cota Capital, Point72 Ventures, and Santander Innoventures, as well as existing investors JP Morgan Chase, Colchis Capital, and a subsidiary of USAA, and boosted Roostify’s total capital to $33 million. The company said the funds would be used to expand its presence in the enterprise, pursue product enhancements, and seek opportunities in new markets.

Roostify demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2016, showing how its SaaS solution enables lenders to offer a consumer-focused, mobile-friendly experience for borrowers from application to close. The company began the year with news that it was integrating with online loan marketplace and fellow Finovate alum Lending Tree, and has since added Adnan Habib as Vice President of Engineering and Mark McLaughlin as Vice President for Business Development.

Roostify was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California. Rajesh Bhat is CEO and co-founder.

Newly named to Forbes Fintech 50 list, mortgagetech innovator Blend was founded in 2012 and is based in San Francisco. The company, which demonstrated its Data-Driven Mortgage solution at FinovateSpring 2016, leverages intuitive design and data-powered intelligence to help lenders originate loans more efficiently and improve customer engagement. By making it easier for home buyers to provide lenders with the right, accurate information and streamlining the follow-up process for lenders, Blend’s platform enables application decisioning within days rather than weeks.

Last fall, GoBankingRates featured Blend in its look at 10 Startups to Watch in 2018 roster, and Forbes profiled the company in a feature titled “Blend Wants to Bring the $2 Trillion Mortgage Market to the Modern Era.” Blend has raised more than $160 million in funding, and has an estimated valuation of $500 million. Nima Ghamsari is CEO and co-founder.

Revolut Unveils New Savings Solution, Vaults

Digital banking alternative Revolut is the latest fintech to help you turn your spare change into savings gold (or cash, or Bitcoin) …

Revolut has introduced a new tool, Vaults, that enables users to set aside the spare change they get from daily transactions. “Every time you make a card transaction with Revolut, we’ll round up your purchase to the nearest whole number and place your space change into your Vault,” Revolut Chief Blogging Officer Rob Braileanu wrote this morning. “Picture the scene – you buy your morning coffee for £2.70, we round it up to £3.00 and automatically place £0.30 into your Savings Vault.”

Spare funds set aside in Vaults can be withdrawn at any time, and users can adjust the savings setting to have more or less spare change directed to their Vaults. Users of Vaults can save spare change in any of the 25 supported currencies, as well as cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ether. In addition to turning spare change into savings, the app can be used to set up recurring payments that are set aside in your Vault or make one-off payments.

“We’ve had thousands of people in our community asking for this feature, so we wanted to give something back and ask for their help in naming it,” Revolut CEO Nikolay Storonsky said. “We believe that Vaults will enable us to help many more people start saving and investing towards their future.”

Setting up the Vault on the Revolut app is straightforward. After making sure you have the latest version of the app installed, select “Vaults” under the “More” tab. Name your Vault and choose the currency and the savings goal. To round up transactions, choose the “Spare change” option. Funds set aside in the Vault are kept separately from the user’s main Revolut card account. Users should understand that funds received by Revolut in digital asset transactions are not protected under the U.K. Electronic Money Regulations 2011 nor the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Revolut demonstrated its app at FinovateEurope 2015. Founded in 2013 and headquartered in London, U.K., Revolut has more than 1.5 million customers across Europe, has processed more than 70 million transactions to date – totalling more than $10 billion in volume – and saved customers $160 million in fees.

Just last month Revolut announced that it was updating its business accounts to support more currencies. The new update will also enable users to set permissions for multiple log ins and to integrate Revolut’s technology with in-house systems and third party solutions via Open API. In March, Revolut introduced disposable virtual cards to help fight online card fraud, and launched its Euro direct debit service.

With plans to enter the North American market later this year, Revolut has raised more than $86 million in funding. The company includes Index Ventures, TriplePoint Capital, Balderton Capital, and Mastercard Start Path among its investors.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • BillShark Lands Funding and Advisory Backing from Mark Cuban.
  • Revolut Unveils New Savings Solution, Vaults.

Around the web

  • Openbank, Santander Group’s digital bank, to deploy WealthSuite from Temenos.
  • The Victory Bank chooses ProfitStarsCommercial Lending Center Suite to support commercial loan growth.
  • Identity verification provider Onfido names David Clarke as new CFO.
  • First National Bank of Eagle Lake in Texas partners with Insuritas to launch bank-owned insurance agency.
  • NTT Data announces successful completion of PoC data analysis trial for Bank of England, Join NTT Data at FinovateSpring, May 8-11.
  • CAN Capital hires Tom Davidson as Chief Financial Officer.
  • Entrust Datacard’s IntelliTrust Authentication Solution wins Frost & Sullivan’s 2018 North American Technology Leadership Award.
  • TechCrunch: Twilio’s wireless platform hits general availability.

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.

Coinbase Acquires Earn.com; Adds Balaji Srinivasan as First CTO

Digital asset exchange platform Coinbase has acquired Earn.com, a startup that enables sending and receiving of digital currency payments for targeted microtasks. The deal, valued at $100 million, will put Earn.com CEO and co-founder Balaji Srinivasan at the helm as Coinbase’s first Chief Technical Officer.

Calling Srinivasan “one of the most respected technologists in the crypto space,” and “one of the technology industry’s few true originalists,” Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong wrote on the company blog that “as CTO of Coinbase, Balaji will serve an important role as the technological evangelist for the company.  Balaji will evangelize for both crypto and for Coinbase, educating the world and recruiting crypto-first talent to the company.”

Earn.com, the company Srinivasan co-founded, works by enabling senders to pay users in digital currency for replying to emails and completing tasks. Large-scale commercial email senders and average email users alike benefit from Earn.com’s paid email platform. Commercial senders can use the technology to pay email recipients to respond to surveys and messages recruiting, fundraising, and marketing products and services. Average email users can make money via their Earn.com accounts by replying to these emails, as well as use the prices on incoming email to prioritize and manage inboxes.

Srinivasan was a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz when he became CEO of the bitcoin mining company that would become Earn.com. In 2015, he helped the company pivot to take advantage of the growing feasibility of Bitcoin micropayments by creating a new solution, paid email, that offered a new direction for the company and a clear use case for digital assets in micropayments.

“As of today, Earn,com is a fast-growing, cash-flow positive business with a multimillion dollar revenue run rate,” Srinivasan wrote in an article titled The Turnaround at Medium.com. “I think it’s fair to say that it’s one of the first truly useful blockchain-based applications, where users can earn money in their spare time while senders can pay people to actually reply to their emails and fill out their surveys.”

“We’re going to be doubling down on the Earn business within Coinbase,” Armstrong said. “(They) have built a paid email product that is arguably one of the earliest practical blockchain applications to achieve meaningful traction.”

The Earn.com acquisition and new CTO come amid a busy spring for the cryptocurrency platform. Earlier this month, the company announced the launch of Coinbase Ventures, a new venture fund to support early-stage cryptocurrency and digital asset-based startups, and added Rachael Horwitz as Vice President of Communications. In March, Coinbase unveiled a set of new tools to help cryptocurrency investors and traders remain compliant with tax laws, and introduced its Coinbase Index Fund to give crypto investors exposure to all digital assets listed on its exchange.

Coinbase began the year with another successful talent grab: acquiring the engineering team from Memo.AI. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in San Francisco, Coinbase demonstrated its Instant Exchange solution at FinovateSpring 2014. One of fintech’s more recent unicorns with a valuation of more than $1.6 billion, Coinbase has raised more than $225 million in funding and includes Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi UFJ, and Andreessen Horowitz among its investors.

MoneyHub Integrates with Challenger Banks Starling, Monzo

Financial management platform Moneyhub has integrated with the APIs of U.K. challenger banks Monzo and Starling, providing customers of these banks with “a holistic overview of all their financial assets through Moneyhub’s platform,” reported Tanya Andreasyan of FinTech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

Integration enables Monzo and Starling customers using the Moneyhub app to choose to link up current and savings accounts, credit cards, pensions, loans, mortgages, SIPPs, ISAs, and investments. Moneyhub said its technology features the most data links of any aggregation provider in the U.K.

Monzo and Starling users will have access to Moneyhub’s proprietary categorization engine and personalized Smart Nudges, the fintech says, “empowering them to make well informed monetary decisions across all assets held and fulfill their financial wellbeing potential”.

Moneyhub is authorized by the U.K. regulators as an account information service provider (AISP), under the new PSD2 and open banking rules. It works with banks, investment managers, pension providers, and employee benefit consultants to provide financial management white labeled solutions and APIs for their clients.

The company stated it is poised to work with all the nine CMA banks when they go live, and is currently integrating with the six that are ready for open banking.

Meanwhile, Yolt, a financial management app from ING, said it has reached 250,000 users in less than a year. The “smart thinking money app” was launched in June last year, and enables users to view their accounts and credit cards in one place.

Yolt, too, has integrated with Monzo and Starling, and also with RBS and Lloyds Banking Group via open API.

Frank Jan Risseeuw, CEO of Yolt, said the app reached 100,000 users in the first six months and onboarded another 150,000 in the following three months.

“We couldn’t have achieved this milestone without the feedback and suggestions from our brilliant Yolt community,” he stated. “We endeavor to listen to each and every one of our users as we continue with our aim to be the only money app that you need.

“We want to do all the hard work for our users, so they can get on with enjoying their lives.”

Headquartered in Bristol, U.K., MoneyHub demonstrated its Moneyhub Enterprise SmartAssist solution at FinovateEurope 2017. SmartAssist is a proactive intelligent messaging tool that helps users make better financial decisions. Moneyhub was acquired by South African insurance company, MMI Holdings, in 2014. Last month, the company sent its CTO Dave Tonge to mainland Europe to further the Moneyhub’s PSD2 strategy.