Larky Deepens Partnership with Core Processing Solutions Provider Sharetec

Core processing solutions provider Sharetec announced today that it is expanding its relationship with mobile engagement and loyalty program specialist Larky. Sharetec plans to use Larky’s technology with credit unions that use Sharetec’s core system to increase engagement through better membership perks, and boost revenues with more effective cross-selling strategies.

“With our location-based platform, members receive mobile notifications when they are near a specific location where there is a special offer or the credit union wants to promote a specific product or service,” Larky CEO Gregg Hammerman said. “This encourages local purchasing at the most convenient time for the member while increasing cross-selling opportunities for the credit union.”

Larky’s relationship builds on the collaboration the two companies announced last April. The company’s merchant-funded loyalty platform gives CU members instant savings and discounts at local retailers while simultaneously extending the CU’s brand. Larky provides a CU-branded iOS and Android mobile app and sends smartphone alerts to users when they are physically close to a merchant where a qualifying reward is available. Customers save as much as $1,000 in qualifying discounts, and institutions can earn additional interchange revenue from more frequent use of their credit or debit cards.

GBS Credit Union VP Dan Miller said, “The challenge to reach members is significantly lessened with the Larky platform as this tool engages and alerts members to relevant cost-saving information.” Miller added that by making it easier for credit unions to market their financial products and services to members – especially mobile-oriented members – also “strengthen(s) the credit union’s cross-selling success.”

Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Larky demonstrated its new Android app, as well as new white-label mobile and web solution at FinovateFall 2014. Larky’s platform has been deployed most recently with First Alliance CU in Rochester, Minnesota, and with United Teletech Financial FCU in Tinton Fall, New Jersey. In December, Larky’s Hammerman and VISA’s Head of Community and Regional Accounts Doug Leighton sat for an interview with Filene to discuss credit unions and digitization.

With $2.4 million in funding, Larky includes North Coast Technology Investors, Michigan Angel Fund, Ann Arbor SPARK, and the First Step Fund among its investors. The company was founded in 2012.

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.

  • NCR overhauls self-service network for Oman’s BankDhofar.
  • U.A.E.-based Noor Bank launches redesigned credit and debit cards inspired by modern art and Islamic heritage, as well as a new rewards program.
  • First Abu Dhabi Bank gets green light to begin “arranging and advising activities” in the Saudi Arabian securities market.

Thought Leadership – Growth, Wealth, Modernization Drive Fintech Innovation in the MENA region.

  • Is there a future for cryptocurrencies in Turkey? The country’s Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek weighs in.
  • Al Rajhi Bank Jordan signs cooperation agreement with Middle East Payment Services
  • Emirates NBD adds Evans Munyuki as Chief Digital Officer and Miguel Rio Tinto as Chief Information Officer to help drive digital transformation.

Thought Leadership – Top Barriers to Fintech Growth in the Middle East – What will it take to bring the benefits of fintech innovation to the people of MENA? Randstad takes a look at some of the key factors, from regulations to technical talent.

  • Forbes Middle East publishes its roster of the top 20 fintech startups in the Middle East.
  • U.A.E tops Arab markets when it comes to Islamic fintech.
  • Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) wins Best Overall Bank in Customer Experience in the U.A.E. at 2017 Retail Banking Customer Experience Benchmarking Index awards for the 7th consecutive year.

20 Finovate Alums Earn Spots on One World Identity’s Top 100 Influencers List

When you think about it, what’s cooler than being named to a Who’s Who list in the world of digital identities?

One World Identity, an independent identity research and strategy company that specializes in cybersecurity, digital commerce, and risk management, published its roster of the Top 100 Influencers in Identity this week. This year, 20 Finovate alums made the cut. The individual influencers – as well as the companies they work for- are listed below.

As with last year’s roster, this year’s list was compiled by taking nominations submitted via Twitter, LinkedIn, and at oneworldidentity.com. The staff and advisory council for One World Identity whittled down the initial list of more than 1,000 nominees to a final 100.

One World Identity began as a project from a group of Google employees back in 2015. The company was officially launched the following year as a way to help spur innovation and collaboration in the field of digital identities. Travis Jarae is founder and CEO.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Cardlytics Becomes the First Fintech to Go Public in 2018.

Around the web

  • The Banker’s Tech Talk interviews FinanceIT CEO Michael Garrity.
  • Tinkoff Bank launches development hub.
  • Icon Solutions announces strategic GDPR partnership with Digital Control Room.
  • Larky expands partnership with Sharetec.
  • Zebpay adds support for Ripple’s XRP.
  • Pindrop helping PSCU block $1 million in fraud in one month.

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.

NCR Overhauls Self Service Network for Oman’s BankDhofar; Expands ATM Access in India

Two headlines from NCR Corporation reflect the breadth of the company’s work with financial institutions and underbanked populations around the world.

First up is news that NCR has been selected by leading Oman bank, BankDhofar, to overhaul its current self-service banking network. The bank will also deploy NCR’s SelfServ 80 Series ATMs, upgrading BankDhofar’s current line-up of older NCR ATMs.

“BankDhofar is well known for being innovative and constantly striving to be ‘the best bank for its customers by making banking easy and always available,” AGM and Chief Information Officer, Dr. Tariq Taha said. Taha said the ATM upgrade will enable the bank to purse new growth opportunities as well as provide a “next-generation customer experience.”

The new ATMs have a widescreen display that enables multi-touch function and comes equipped with a cash dispenser that provides up to a 60-note bunch (approximately OMR 3,000) per transaction. Customers will also be able to deposit up to 4,000 notes and 400 checks. “We are proud to be the first in the country to offer this revolutionary technology that delivers intuitive and striking interfaces to access banking transactions and services on-the-go,” Taha said.

NCR also announced a special deployment of its ATMs in remote areas of India in an effort to better reach the underbanked. The company said the deployment of the small-footprint, SelfServ Select Edition Cash and SE Recycle ATMs will enable FIs to provide cash more readily to an economy that is more than 19% unbanked and conducts more than 50% of its retail transactions in cash.

“Financial inclusion is emerging as a new paradigm of economic growth that plays a major role in driving away poverty from the country by reaching and serving the underserved,” VP and GM for NCR Financial Services, Jose Resendiz said. “The new ATMs will allow financial institutions to modernize their ATM network, improve customer experience and extend their reach to serve areas where cash demand is strong.”

NCR’s global presence has been manifest in recent months. In January, the company’s technology was used to help Union Bank of the Philippines launch a prototype branch with an interactive teller. Back in the U.S., the same interactive teller technology was deployed at Tucson FCU in December. Winner of four GOOD DESIGN awards, NCR teamed up with Samsung to launch an all-in-one POS commerce station, NCR Silver Quantum in November and, in October, the company introduced its cloud-based NCR Mobile Payment solution.

Headquartered in Duluth, Georgia, NCR demonstrated a fully-immersive, virtual reality ATM experience featuring real-time remote collaboration at FinovateSpring 2017. The company trades on the NYSE under the ticker “NCR” and has a market capitalization of $4 billion. Bill Nuti is Chairman, President, and CEO.

Finovate Alums Larsen, Armstrong, Garlinghouse Among Crypto’s Richest

Mirror, mirror, on the wall … Who has reeled in the biggest cryptocurrency haul of them all?

Forbes has published its first – and hopefully not last – list of the richest “secretive freaks, geeks, and visionaries” in the world of cryptocurrencies. And on a list that features widely-known tech luminaries like Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (“the Winklevoss Twins”), and Tim Draper, Forbes’ roster of cryptocurrency’s richest also features a handful of Finovate alums including Chris Larsen and Brad Garlinghouse (founder and current CEO of Ripple, respectively), as well as Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase.

Not just that, but by Forbes’ estimation, Chris Larsen is the richest person in cryptocurrency, with an estimated crypto net worth between $7.5 billion and $8 billion. Armstrong comes in at between $900 million and $1 billion in crypto net worth, with Garlinghouse’s crypto net worth estimated between $400 million to $500 million.

Introducing their new roster, Forbes noted that they based their rankings using the “estimated holdings of cryptocurrencies, post-tax profits from trading crypto-assets and stakes in crypto-related businesses” as of January 19, 2018. Additionally, in order to qualify for the list, cryptocurrency investors needed to have holdings valued at at least $350 million.

The publication acknowledges that there may be richer crypto investors out there who were inadvertently overlooked. Additionally, Forbes concedes that its estimated valuations of cryptocurrency investments may be “wide of the mark.” But the editors suggest that the list remains valuable for the same reason its list of the Forbes 400 richest Americans first published in 1982 was of value: by “(making) the world a better place by shining a light on the invisible rich.”

See the full list. In addition to the names and estimated cryptocurrency wealth figures, the Forbes feature shared some additional interesting data on the Kings (and they are all men, by the way) of Crypto. They found, for example, that the average age of cryptocurrency’s richest was 15 years younger than the average age of their Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans (42 years old versus 67). The article also noted the average price change in 2017 of the most common cryptocurrencies (more than 14,000% for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP). The piece also included an interesting comparison of daily price volatility of various assets, with gold at the low end of 0.7%, shares of Apple stock at 1.37%, and XRP topping the list at 16.75%. Whee!

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • TSYS Tech Backs J.P. Morgan’s Commercial Virtual Card Issuance.
  • Finovate Alums Larsen, Garlinghouse, Armstrong Among Crypto’s Richest.
  • NCR Overhauls Self Service Network for Oman’s Bank Dhofar; Expands ATM Access in India.

Around the web

  • Revolut partners with Visa to issue prepaid cards to new customers.
  • Call Centre Helper interviews Mike Iacobucci, Interactions CEO.
  • SMArtX (formerly HedgeCoVest) expands Direct Indexing Platform.
  • doxo surpasses 3 million users and 45,000 payable billers.
  • Army Aviation Center FCU ($1.2 billion in assets) launches member owned full service insurance agency courtesy of Insuritas.

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.

IdentityMind Global Introduces Anti-Fraud Solution for ICOs

Trusted digital identities specialist IdentityMind Global is doing its part to make the world better and safer for cryptocurrency and ICO market participants. The company unveiled its KYC Plug-in for ICOs today, a turnkey SaaS product that enables firms to conduct KYC and AML checks on those seeking to invest in ICOs.

“As ICOs become more prevalent, and as money continues to flow into ICOs, regulators globally are starting to take notice,” IdentityMind Global CMO Jose Caldera said. “The regulatory risk, in conjunction with the risk of enabling fraudsters, financing of terrorism, and money launderers should motivate organizations performing ICOs to properly identity the participants in the ICO process. IdentityMind is at the forefront of delivering an easy compliance solution to companies conducting an ICO.”

Left to right: CTO Kieran Sherlock and CMO Jose Caldera during their presentation “Entity Link API” during FinDEVr London 2017.

The plug-in includes a variety of features to ensure companies are able to perform KYC and AML checks. These consist of a web-ready software client to guide the ICO participant through the KYC process, a pre-configured risk-based KYC ruleset based on local regulations, reports for examiners and auditors, a due diligence platform, and the ability to validate the risk of bitcoins used to participate in the ICO.

“By working with IdentityMind, we are assuring that all participants go through KYC and AML processes before partaking in our $500 million Dragon ICO,” founder and CEO of Dragon Corporation, Chris Ahmad said. “This is perhaps the largest ICO to date and by working with IdentityMind we’re able to verify participants on a global basis in a quick and efficient manner.”

IdentityMind Global presented its Entity Link API at FinDEVr London 2017. A component of the company’s RegTech API, Entity Link API provides the analysis and machine intelligence that determines whether the person on the other end of the transaction is a real entity, is authorized to use the data it is presenting, or posses a risk to the corporate brand in some way.

Named to the Global RegTech 100 last fall, IdentityMind Global announced an expansion of its partnership with fellow Finovate/FinDEVr alum Mitek in late January, adding biometric facial comparison technology to its compliance and fraud prevention platform. The company began the year winning a new patent for technology that improves screening for sanctioned individuals making cryptocurrency transactions.

IdentityMind Global has raised more than $10 million in funding, and includes Lakewood & Company, MoneyTime Ventures, and Overstock.com among its investors. Founded in 2013 by Garrett Gafke (President, CEO), IdentityMind Global is headquartered in Palo Alto, California.

Coupa Software Teams Up with Tuition.io

Tuition.io is on a roll. Less than a week after the company announced a partnership with Estee Lauder to help its employees better manage student loan debt, the Los Angeles, California-based fintech has teamed up with business spend management platform Coupa Software to do the same for its workers.

“Coupa has a long history of championing a people-centered corporate culture, and this is another way to continue their mission of offering best-in-class employee benefits,” Tuition.io CEO Scott Thompson said. “With the student debt crisis continuing to escalate, it is not a matter of if, but when companies will do their share to find solutions. We are excited to work with Coupa as they lead the way.”

The partnership will enable Coupa cmployees who enroll in the program get monthly disbursements to help them pay down the principal in their outstanding student loans. Parents who take out Parent PLUS loans to help fund their children’s higher education can also take advantage of the benefit. All full-time Coupa workers in the U.S. are eligible to participate in the new program.

Pointing to the high number of Americans with student loan debt – estimated at more than 44 million Americans, Coupa VP of People Ray Martinelli praised Tuition.io’s ability to provide “a benefit that helps our employees overcome this burden and start building toward their future sooner rather than later.” Martinelli added that the partnership means that not just employees will get help managing their debt, but also their extended families. “It reinforces our commitment to our employees’ success,” he said.

Trading on the NASDAQ under the ticker “COUP”, Coupa Software’s cloud-based business spend management platform links hundreds of organizations and institutions with millions of suppliers around the world. The company has a market capitalization of $2 billion, and more than 450 customers in more than 40 countries.

Tuition.io demonstrated its platform at FinovateFall 2012. In December, the company announced that it would power a student loan debt reduction benefit for MidWestOne Financial Group’s Educational Assistance Program. Earlier in 2017, the City of Memphis announced that it would use Tuition.io to support student loan debt reduction program for its workers.

In terms of funding, Tuition.io most recently announced a $7 million investment last September led by Wildcat Venture Partners and featuring participation from current investors Mohr Davidow Ventures and MassMutual Ventures. The funding took the company’s total capital to more than $115 million.

Banco Santander to Leverage Ripple Tech to Offer Same Day Mobile International Payments

Banco Santander announced that the mobile app it plans to launch in the first quarter of this year will feature instant payments powered by technology from Ripple. The new service will enable customers to make same-day, cross-border payments.  P2P payments, a digital wallet, and PFM functionality will also be part of the app

Using its own internal staff, the Spanish bank has piloted the technology for the past 18 months. The testing involved Apple Pay transactions between £10 and £10,000 and relied on Touch ID to ensure secure logins. Santander said it believes it will be “one of the first global banks to roll out distributed ledger technology based payments for individuals” and expects to initially launch the app in four countries simultaneously (believed to be Spain, Brazil, the U.K., and Poland, see below).

News of the new solution was sleuthed in part by analysts participating in Banco Santander’s 2017 earnings presentation which featured the below slide previewing the firm’s plans for same day mobile international payments in “3 clicks & 40 seconds.”

“The need for finance has evolved from providing a Pound in your pocket or card in your purse, where you pay at a till, to being seamlessly integrated into a new, always on, connected lifestyle,” said a representative of Banco Santander in Coinspeaker last week. “At Santander we work hard to ensure our banking is simple, personal and fair and believe new Blockchain technology will play a transformational role in the way we achieve our goals and better serve our customers, adding value by creating more choice and convenience.”

This news comes just a few months after Santander U.K. announced that it will partner with American Express to use Ripple’s technology for cross-border, B2B payments. Interviewed earlier this year, Head of Technology Innovation at Santander UK, Ed Metzger, praised Ripple’s advantages over SWIFT. “We chose Ripple because of its speed, transparency, and certainty … these three characteristics provide relief to the pain points of international payments.”

Making its Finovate debut as OpenCoin at FinovateSpring 2013, Ripple is based in San Francisco, California and was founded in 2012 by Chris Larsen. Last month, the company launched a trial with MoneyGram that will include leveraging XRP for remittances and the potential integration of Ripple’s xVia, an API that facilitates sending payments across multiple networks using a standard interface.

Ripple introduced its Infrastructure Innovation Initiative in December, an effort to help central banks, regulators, and market infrastructures test and pilot blockchain-based solutions. In October, the company launched a new accelerator program and incentives to encourage banks to become more involved in blockchain technology.

With more than $93 million in funding, Ripple includes Santander Innoventures, SBI Investment, Core Innovation Capital, and IDG Capital Partners among its investors. Brad Garlinghouse was appointed CEO of the company in the fall of 2016.