FinovateSpring 2018 Best of Show Winners Announced

The votes have been counted and the winners of our FinovateSpring 2018 Best of Show awards have been named. Congratulations to the five companies whose live demonstrations of their latest technologies wowed our attending crowd in Santa Clara, California this week.

Every Best of Show competition teaches us something about the state of fintech innovation in the world today. How are fintechs helping improve the customer experience in lending? How can financial institutions get a better understanding of their customers needs and preferences? How can we make it safer to bank and shop – to say nothing of simply communicate – safely online without fear of interference (or worse) from cybercriminals?

This year’s FinovateSpring 2018 Best of Show winners were no exception to this rule. The companies highlighted by our Best of Show awards reflect impressive innovations across the broad spectrum of financial technologies.

Conversation.one for its build-once-deploy-anywhere platform for conversational applications that enables FIs to build, deploy, and enhance their Alexa Skills, Google Home Actions, Facebook Messenger bots, and chatbots in one single process, in just a few minutes.

Dynamics, Inc. for its network-approved “connected” payment card with a 65k pixel display, organic recharge, and telecommunications chip to facilitate wireless data downloads and customer notifications.

 

 

Kasasa for its Kasasa Loan that lets borrowers pay ahead to reduce debt and take that extra money back if they need it. Kasasa Loans feature a mobile app that allows borrowers to manage their debt and access take-backs instantly.

Trusona for its Trusona Executive solution that enables frictionless #NoPasswords multi-factor identity authentication at scale, including identity-proofing, step-up authentication using a person’s government-issued ID.

Alpharank for its innovative Customer Graphs that leverage FIs’ anonymous transaction card data to help them understand how products and behaviors spread through customer networks and how to leverage network effects to their advantage.

We hope you have enjoyed the first two days of FinovateSpring. The conversation continues on Thursday and Friday as we launch into deeper dives into many of the themes introduced on the first two days of our spring conference.

From the power of AI and Big Data to the rise of voice technologies as the interface of the future, the second half of FinovateSpring will help provide both context and insight into how many of the most exciting technologies of our time are creating ever more engaging, personalized, and relevant experiences for consumers of financial services. To learn more about the keynotes, panel discussions, and fireside chats we will host on Thursday and Friday, be sure to check out our FinovateSpring 2018 agenda for Days Three and Four for more information.


Notes on methodology:
1. Only audience members NOT associated with demoing companies were eligible to vote. Finovate employees did not vote.
2. Attendees were encouraged to note their favorites during each day. At the end of the last demo, they chose their three favorites.
3. The exact written instructions given to attendees: “Please rate (the companies) on the basis of demo quality and potential impact of the innovation demoed.”
4. The five companies appearing on the highest percentage of submitted ballots were named “Best of Show.”
5. Go here for a list of previous Best of Show winners through 2014. Best of Show winners from our 2015 through 2018 conferences are below:
FinovateEurope 2015
FinovateSpring 2015
FinovateFall 2015
FinovateEurope 2016
FinovateSpring 2016
FinovateFall 2016
FinovateAsia 2016
FinovateEurope 2017
FinovateSpring 2017
FinovateFall 2017
FinovateAsia 2017
FinovateMiddleEast 2018
FinovateEurope 2018

Credit Karma Partners with SpyCloud to Add Dark Web Data Monitoring

Not long ago, a poster at the Credit Karma Credit Advice forum wrote:

I’ve been seeing links to see if my personal data is on the “dark web.” Is this something Credit Karma can do?

Now we know the answer to that question is “yes.”

Credit Karma has expanded its identity theft monitoring offering to include data from the dark web. Courtesy of a partnership with fellow Finovate alum – and Best of Show winner – SpyCloud, Credit Karma will dramatically increase the number of data breaches it is able to review for its 80 million users. Currently searching 4.5 billion public breaches, the new service will boost the total number of data breaches searched to 13 billion.

Vice President of Data Products Anish Acharya explained to TechCrunch that the decision to offer the dark web data breach search service was important for its users, and that a “pervasive” problem like identity theft from data breaches required a “comprehensive” solution. Credit Karma users can access the dark web monitoring service via the app in the ID Monitoring option in the Settings menu. The service can be accessed online via the Resources tab at the company’s website.

Credit Karma’s move comes less than a year after the company introduced its free identity monitoring service. This service provides users with monitoring, notifications, and advice such as how to report fraud, freeze their credit, or change their passwords. It adds to the free credit monitoring and personalized financial recommendations that has been the Credit Karma’s stock in trade since the company provided its first free credit score in 2008.

“Over the last ten years, you’ve come to rely on us as we continue to look for ways to help you save money and stay on top of your financial identity, and we take that trust seriously,” Credit Karma Product Manager Adam Boender wrote on the company’s blog when the new service was announced last fall. “As part of our mission to be your financial assistant, it made a lot of sense for us to build and provide ID monitoring as data breaches have become more prevalent.”

Last month, Credit Karma announced a $500 million secondary investment from Silver Lake that boosted its valuation to $4 billion. Named to the Forbes Fintech 50 in February, Credit Karma began the year partnering with American Express to offer tax refund advances. Credit Karma is one of Finovate’s earliest alums, demonstrating its technology at FinovateStartup 2009. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, California, and was founded in 2007. Kenneth Lin is CEO.

Making its Finovate debut at FinovateFall 2017 – and earning a Best of Show award – SpyCloud protects businesses and their customers from account takeover (ATO) attacks – a form of cyberfraud that is increasingly common due to the widespread reuse of passwords. The company’s solution protects Windows accounts from takeover automatically and leverages its rich dataset to launch new fraud investigations of potentially exposed customer and employee accounts, including those compromised credentials being actively traded on the dark web.

Founded in 2016, Austin, Texas-based SpyCloud has recovered more than 32 billion breached assets and more than 500,000 C-level executive records. The company’s technology recovers six million credentials a day and more than 50 breached databases per week. Read our feature on SpyCloud from last fall, SpyCloud Spots Stolen Credentials with Deep Dives into the Dark Web.

Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Asia

  • Singapore unveils new fintech fast track initiative to speed the patent-application-to-grant process for fintechs.
  • Myanmar’s Myawaddy Bank chooses technology from Infosys Finacle to drive its digital transformation.
  • Sri Lanka’s central bank announces plans to establish a fintech regulatory sandbox.

MENA

  • ADGM proposes regulatory framework for digital assets.
  • Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) inks MoU to foster innovation in financial services; plans collaboration with Accenture’s FinTech Innovation Labs.
  • Saudi SAMA to develop fintech ecosystem in partnership with Deloitte.

Africa

  • Open Banking Nigeria enters strategic partnership with Open Vector to develop API standards.
  • Beta launch of its Bonga social network platform shows East African telecom giant Safaricom moving beyond its M-Pesa mobile money solution.
  • How We Made It In Africa: African Business Insight spotlights funding trends among African fintech and agribusiness.

LATAM

  • Brazil’s Central Bank issues fintech rules including authorization for P2P lending.
  • Ethereum World News looks at the growing availability of Bitcoin ATMs in Argentina.
  • Bankless Times checks in on the progress of – and provides a prognosis for – Peru’s first mobile money wallet, BIM.
  • BBVA’s Propel Venture Partners invests in Brazilian neo-bank, Neon.

CEE

  • Erste Bank Hungary readies for immediate payments and open banking era with ACI Worldwide.
  • The Bank of Russia looks to blockchain technology for as an alternative to its financial message transferal service, SPFS (“Russia’s SWIFT”).
  • EVO Payments to provide payment acceptance services for merchant customers of leading Czech bank, MONETA.

Top image designed by Freepik

 

Roostify Partners with BOK Financial to Improve the Mortgage Lending Process

BOK Financial, a regional financial services company based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has teamed up with digital lending platform Roostify to improve the home buying process for customers and give lenders access to technology that will make it easier to process loans.

“The technology investment complements BOK Financial’s increase in purchase loan production across the company’s eight-state retail footprint as well as the consumer direct channel over the past year,” BOK Financial Mortgage President Glenn Brunker said. “The bank is leveraging Roostify’s dynamic technology to deliver a unique offering to both the employee and customer in the different markets and channels. This will affirm our commitment to the implementation of a streamlined digital experience for our customers.”

Crediting the mortgage lending industry for its willingness to “embrace new technology,” Roostify CEO and co-founder Rajesh Bhat said, “This gives BOK Financial’s loan officers the opportunity to better manage an already complicated task of juggling financial documents and progress notifications between multiple parties. Home buyers benefit from a better experience from application to closing.”

The new platform will enable customers to begin an application, add documentation, and follow their loan’s progress online. Loan applicants will be able to securely upload, send, and receive loan documents, as well as provide access to others involved in the transaction – such as their real estate agent. The solution will allow loan officers to spend less time processing paper documents and making repeated follow-ups with customers and instead give them more time “to get the loan into processing much faster and keep it moving forward more easily” in the words of  John Yancey, a loan officer familiar with Roostify’s technology who was quoted in the partnership announcement.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California and founded in 2014, Roostify demonstrated its platform at FinovateSpring 2016. The company’s digital home lending platform helps banks, independent brokerages, and lenders close loans faster, reduce paperwork, and provide a superior, friction-free mortgage experience. Last month Roostify was honored at the MBA Insights 2018 Tech All-Star Awards for its achievements in mortgagetech. In March, the company added Mark McLaughlin as Senior Vice President for Business Development and in February, the company picked up an investment of $25 million, taking its total capital to $33 million. Roostify began the year announcing an integration with online lending marketplace and fellow Finovate alum, LendingTree.

Update: Student Loan Genius Raises New Funding in Round Led by Vestigo Ventures

Update: 5/17: Student Loan Genius announced today that it has raised $3.5 million in seed funding. The round was led by Vestigo Ventures and featured participation from CMFG Ventures, Prudential Financial, and Rubicon Venture Capital.

“This new funding validates Student Loan Genius’ mission and efforts to enable companies to retain their top talent in an increasingly competitive workforce through unique benefits, like student loan payments, that meet their employee’s needs,” Student Loan Genius CEO Matt Beecher said. The company plans to use the investment to support commercialization of their offering and add technology, sales, and marketing talent to their team.

*

Xconomy is reporting that Austin, Texas-based Student Loan Genius has raised $4.7 million in funding. The news was seconded by Austin Business Journal, which added that 11 investors have participated in the round. Both reports – as well as a third from AmericanInno, are based at least in part on a SEC Form D filing, which suggests that the $4.7 million was part of a larger $5.8 million fundraising initiative. As reported, the new capital more than doubles Student Loan Genius’ total equity funding to more than $7 million.

Student Loan Genius helps young workers retire their student debts faster through a combination of education, debt, analysis, and the assistance of employers. The company helps students search for and identify student loan repayment programs that work best for them (i.e., programs that offer better terms based on higher credit scores, programs that offer discounts for military veterans). Student Loan Genius also enables student loan borrowers to see the difference among repayment options.

The company’s signature feature, demonstrated at FinovateSpring 2016, is Genius Save, which enables employers to attach a student loan benefit to their 401(k) contribution. The goal is to relieve the strain of student loan repayments on the budgets of young workers who are just beginning to save for retirement.

“Like the 401(k), a student loan benefit invests back into employees,” Student Loan Genius’ Content Manager Bobby Hilliard wrote on the company’s blog last month. “While benefits like pet insurance or chef-catered lunches are appealing, a student loan repayment benefit impacts lives immediately. Plus, it’s a great tool for retention.” Hilliard noted that employers offering a student loan contribution to their workers of “even $50 a month” can make a significant impact on their employees’ ability to retire their student debt quicker and begin saving for a home and investing for retirement that much sooner.

Founded in 2013, the company partnered with New York Life last fall, helping the firm launch its student loan repayment program. Last summer, Student Loan Genius joined the inaugural U.S. cohort of BBVA’s program for social entrepreneurs. Prudential Financial, John Hancock, Socratic Ventures, Village Capital, Kapor Capital, and Capital Factory are among the company’s investors.  Twenty-five year fintech and venture capital veteran Matt Beecher was appointed CEO of the company in August 2017.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Trusted Key Raises $3 Million for Passwordless Authentication.
  • Student Loan Genius Picks Up $4.7 Million in New Funding.

Around the web

  • Argentine prepaid services provider Nubi partners with Mambu.
  • Mitek to provide KYC for cryptocurrency broker BTCDirect.
  • Flywire and Billtrust collaborate to improve cross border accounts receivable for Billtrust customers.
  • BioCatch offers its behavioral biometrics solution as an integrated module to the ForgeRock platform.
  • Personal Capital partners with benefits firm Alight Solutions and asset manager AllianceBernstein.
  • OurCrowd is set to hit $1 billion in crowdfunded assets in 2018.

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.

New Investment Helps Power Canadian Expansion for Financial Data Platform Quovo

Quovo will enter the Canadian market thanks in part to an investment from Portag3 Ventures. The new investment takes the data platform provider’s total funding to $20 million.

Quovo CEO and co-founder Lowell Putnam said Canada was a source of “immense growth potential” for the company given the country’s “thriving fintech ecosystem and financial institutions hungry to adopt innovative technologies.” Putnam also highlighted a strategic element in Quovo’s relationship with Portag3 Ventures. “The decision to raise funding from Portag3 was about much more than capital,” he said. “Portag3 is well connected in the Canadian financial services industry and is helping us to hit the ground running as we work to establish ourselves in the market.”

Portag3 Ventures is a Canadian-based venture capital firm sponsored by Power Financial Corporation, IGM Financial Inc., and Great West-Lifeco Inc.

As part of the expansion, Quovo announced plans to partner with Canadian fintechs and incumbent financial services companies. The company’s Director of Quovo in Canada, Brad Joudrie, pointed out that the company had already added to its Canadian institutional coverage, and included Canadian financial account types into its data model. “We’re fully committed to building a sustainable business to support the country’s growing financial services sector,” Joudrie said. “The investment from Portag3 will enable us to build out a regional team, deliver on Canadian consumer requirements, and fuel innovation in Canadian financial services.”

The investment and expansion news comes on the heels of Quovo’s launch of two new data solutions to streamline ACH transactions and payment management. ACH Verification uses instant account verification or Quovo’s Autoverified Microdeposits to authenticate key account and account owner details and ensure frictionless ACH transactions. Payment Management enables monitoring of customer accounts to accurately determine the best time to debit accounts for steady payment flow and lower NSF fees.

“Our movement into payments demonstrates the utility of Quovo’s technology across a breadth of industries, and we’re excited to deliver solutions to some of the major obstacles faced by payment originators,” Putnam said. Both solutions were developed using Quovo’s Income + Expense and Balance Estimator products, introduced last month.

Quovo’s technology offers companies connectivity and insights for millions of consumer financial accounts across more than 14,000 different institutions. Founded in 2010 and headquartered in New York City, Quovo partnered with SoFi to present How Quovo & SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication at our developers conference, FinDEVr New York 2017. The previous year, the company teamed up with Betterment at FinDEVr New York 2016 to demonstrate the integration of Quovo’s account aggregation services with Betterment’s investment platform.

Last month, Quovo introduced a pair of solutions geared to enhancing critical processes in the lending value chain for loan originators and servicers. Back in December, the company launched Quovo PFM, a suite of embeddable personal finance management modules for FIs that complements the fintech’s account aggregation offering.

ACH Alert Unveils Anti Fraud Solutions for Real-Time Payments and ACH Credits

Antifraud specialist and FinovateSpring veteran ACH Alert launched a pair of new services this week designed to enable account holders to safely accept (or reject) incoming real-time payments and incoming ACH credits. The new solutions for payments and ACH credits, PRO-TECH RT and PRO-TECH CR, respectively, work for both large and small financial institutions to provide account holders with more visibility and control over their finances.

“Making sure that financial institutions are comfortable with the risk of receiving real-time payments is crucial to achieve widespread adoption,” ACH Alert CEO Deborah Peace said. “Beyond offering heightened visibility, PRO-TECH RT and PRO-TECH CR ensure that incoming payments are processed according to account holders’ preferences, which is vital for certain industry verticals like mortgage originators, insurance providers, and property management companies.” Peace provided the example of enabling a company to reject incoming payments in the event that cancellation, eviction or foreclosure proceeding are taking place.

ACH Alert’s technology gives top tier FIs and community banks alike the ability to detect fraud and mitigate risks associated with electronic payments. PRO-TECH RT lets account holders set parameters for incoming real-time payments that set specific conditions that will trigger an alert, which is sent to the account holder by text, email, or both. Banks can also set up approved or blocked lists based on payments amount, frequency, sender, or timeframe. PRO-TECH CR provides the same functionality as PRO-TECH RT, only for incoming ACH credits.

In addition to PRO-TECH RT and PRO-TECH CR, ACH Alert offers a variety of anti-fraud solutions as part of its Fraud Prevention HQ product suite. These include PRO-TECH for incoming ACH transactions; Bio-Wire, a voice biometric solution for outgoing wire transfers; C.O.P.S. for outgoing ACH credit transactions, and PRO-CHEX, for checks. As a modular, exception decisioning portal accessible via a single sign-on with most online banking systems, ACH Alert’s Fraud Prevention HQ gives FIs the ability to empower their own customers with the ability to not only police their own accounts, but to turn the process of fraud prevention into a new fee-based revenue opportunity.

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Ooltewah, Tennessee, ACH Alert demonstrated its Fraud Prevention HQ multi-payment channel fraud monitoring systems at FinovateSpring 2017. Winner of the Innovative Solutions Award in Authentication/Fraud/Cybersecurity Solutions from BankNews, and the recipient of the Kevin O’Brien ACH Quality Award, ACH Alert announced in 2016 that it had stopped $615 million in fraudulent transactions in the previous year. Check out our profile of ACH Alert from last fall: ACH Alert’s Fraud Prevention HQ Empowers Account Holders to Stop Suspicious Transactions.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • ACH Alert Unveils Anti-Fraud Solutions for Real-Time Payments and ACH Credits.

Around the web

  • Fenergo appoints new global heads of marketing and sales, Conor Coughlan and Greg Watson, respectively.
  • RACQ Bank of Australia partners with Avoka to enhance account opening and onboarding.
  • CUCollaborate & Montana’s Credit Unions announce partnership to help consumers join CUs without friction. Check out CUCollaborate next week at FinovateSpring.
  • Kabbage appoints James Chou as its chief technology officer.
  • eToro powers The Next Web’s initial crowd offering project.

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.

Quantopian Partners with FactSet to Launch Quantopian Enterprise

Courtesy of a new partnership with FactSet, cloud-based algorithmic trading platform Quantopian is launching a new service, Quantopian Enterprise. The new paid offering gives quantitative finance professionals a flexible data science platform that combines Quantopian’s Python-based research environment with FactSet’s expertise in data aggregation and integration.

“We believe you can be more successful with more markets and more data,” Quantopian CEO and founder John Fawcett wrote on the company blog about the announcement. “By partnering with FactSet, we are doubling down on our commitment to crowdsourcing and making allocations to the community.”

The decision to partner with FactSet also will help Quantopian respond to demand for enterprise sales and support from investment management companies. “We’ve always declined because we didn’t have a global team that could scale sales and support to make a successful SaaS business,” Fawcett wrote. “FactSet has that scale today, and as part of our partnership will also begin selling a new service to their clients: Quantopian Enterprise.”

SVP and Global Head of Content and Technology Solutions for FactSet, Rich Newman pointed out that having both data and tools to take advantage of that data were a necessary combination for today’s financial professionals to maximize the advantages of new technology. “New data sources are growing rapidly, but the tools needed to capitalize on them are not coming to market at the same pace,” Newman said. “Our work with Quantopian will give clients a powerful platform that addresses the need for better quantitative resources. Access to data alone is simply not enough.”

With FactSet, Quantopian will be able to provide quant analysts worldwide with the ability to test their trading and investment ideas, evaluate a wide range of alpha factors, simulate market behavior, and optimize portfolio building. Its comprehensive global coverage will add to Quantopian’s current coverage of U.S. equities since 2002. Quantopian will continue to provide its free service, now known as Quantopian Community, whose users will gain access to the new functionality and data including international market coverage, supply chain relationships, RBICS (Revere Business Industry Classification System), detailed estimates, ownership, and geographic revenue exposure. And while there are some distinctions between the free and paid services, Fawcett pledged to “maintain parity” between the two offerings, calling the Quantopian community the “north star for our product and for our company.”

Quantopian demonstrated its live trading platform at FinovateSpring 2013. The company enables quant traders and analysts to develop and write trading and investment algorithms. Algorithm authors can license their code to Quantopian and get paid based on the algorithm’s performance. Named to CB Insights Fintech 250 list last summer, the company announced in October that its community had grown to more than 160,000 members from more than 190 countries.

Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Quantopian has raised more than $48 million in funding and includes Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Spark Capital among its investors.