TransUnion to Acquire Callcredit for $1.4 Billion

Credit reporting agency and risk information provider TransUnion announced this week it agreed to acquire Callcredit, the second-largest consumer credit bureau in the U.K. The deal is expected to close in the second or third quarter of this year for $1 billion.

With today’s acquisition, TransUnion aims to boost its international presence. The U.S.-based company already does business in 33 countries and offers consumer products in India, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Canada. TransUnion also markets regional-specific products, as well as a global suite of solutions, including:

  • CreditVision, which leverages credit performance trends, behaviors, and analytics to help banks gain a better understanding of consumers and make more informed lending decisions.
  • IDVision, a suite of solutions that offers a more accurate picture of consumer identities to help mitigate and manage risk during the consumer verification and authentication process.
  • DecisionEdge, a suite of decisioning solutions that help businesses turn data into actionable decisions.
  • Prama, which TransUnion showcased at FinovateFall 2016, is a suite of analytics tools that help lenders gain market intelligence and act on insights to drive growth and build a risk policy.

Jim Peck, TransUnion’s president and CEO, noted that the companies have “strong synergies” across their business models and solutions and that they both “share a commitment to using information to benefit consumers and global economies.” He added, “Callcredit is an outstanding acquisition for TransUnion, and together, we’ll be a powerful force to deliver value to shareholders, customers, and consumers across all the markets we serve.”

David Neenan, president of TransUnion’s International business commented on the company’s international strategy, highlighting Callcredit’s role as a major player in the world’s second-largest credit market. “And, with the growing trend of multi-bureau usage in the U.K., we believe this is the right time to introduce TransUnion into the market,” Neenan said.

Callcredit was founded in 2000 and was acquired by private equity firm GTCR in 2014. The company has 1,200 employees and offices across the U.K. as well as in Lithuania, Japan, Dubai, and Denmark.

TransUnion was founded in 1968 and has corporate headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. The company has regional headquarters in Hong Kong, Mumbai, Toronto, Johannesburg, Colombia, and Brazil. Last December, Fiserv leveraged TransUnion’s CreditVision to create better risk models for its Automotive Loan Origination System.

Mortgagetech Company Mr. Cooper Appoints Tony Ebers as COO

Mortgagetech company Mr. Cooper, which last year rebranded from Nationstar Mortgage, announced the appointment of a new Chief Operating Officer.

Previously EVP of originations, Tony Ebers will fill the newly-created role of Mr. Cooper’s COO. Ebers, who has been with Mr. Cooper since 2015, has 25 years of experience in the mortgage industry and has held positions at ServiceLink, OneWest Bank, and IndyMac Bank.

In his new position, Ebers will be responsible for servicing, originations, and operations at Xome, the settlement services and real estate business branch of Mr. Cooper.

Jay Bray, Nationstar’s chairman and CEO, referred to Ebers as “seasoned” and “trusted,” adding, “He is uniquely qualified to drive strategic prioritization and accountability within Nationstar, with a laser-focus on operational excellence.”

Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Dallas, Mr. Cooper is slated to demo at FinovateSpring next month in Santa Clara. Check out a sneak peek of the company’s upcoming demo and, to be among the first to watch the company’s live demo, be sure to register today to save your seat.

Sella Open Fintech Platform to Acquire Vipera for $34 Million

Mobile financial services company Vipera has agreed to be acquired by Italy-based Sella Open Fintech Platform (SOFP), the fintech arm of Gruppo Banca Sella, a family-owned banking and financial services group.

Talk of the acquisition first began on March 22. This week, SOFP’s board of directors and Vipera Directors Luciano Martucci and Martin Perrin have agreed upon a cash offer. The offer price of $0.11 per share values Vipera at just over $34 million, a premium of 20%. Commenting on the offer, which is subject to approvals, Vipera Director and Chairman Luciano Martucci said, “Gruppo Banca Sella has been a valued customer of Vipera for some time and a shareholder since July 2017. I am pleased that our increasingly close relationship has led to our shareholders being offered a fair price and to Vipera’s businesses being able to develop as part of the SOFP Group.”

Vipera was founded in 2015 and went public in 2010. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker VIP. Headquartered in London, Vipera has 125 employees and three million registered users. Last July, Vipera acquired SoftTelecom for $1.5 million.

The company offers a range of personal and corporate banking systems, along with customer engagement analytics and marketing tools. At FinovateEurope 2016, Vipera demonstrated MOTIF, a system that offers mobile banking, mobile payments, and mobile card control. The access to consumer data offers banks actionable insights that generate location and context-based mobile offers. The personalized offers are sent to the user’s phone at an appropriate time to enhance the shopping experience and build user engagement with their bank.

Most recently, Vipera teamed up with Mastercard at FinovateEurope 2018 to debut SME-pay, a mobile payment solution tailored for small and medium sized businesses. During the demo, Vipera Chief Commercial Officer Simon Pearce, along with Mastercard’s VP of Small Business Products Dick Paul, demoed how SME-pay allows business owners to decide when, where, and how employees can use their business payment cards.

Qapital’s Latest $30 Million to Fuel New Roboadvisory Tools

Almost one year after closing a $12 million round of funding, personal finance and mobile banking app Qapital has landed another $30 million, bringing its total funding to $47.3 million.

The investment comes from Swedbank Robur, Norron, SEB Stiftelsen, Athanase, and Northzone. The Stockholm, Sweden-based company will use the funds to build out new roboadvisory capabilities in the form of Qapital Invest, which it plans to launch later this year.

Qapital’s roboadvisory tools will target millennials with a set-it-and-forget-it algorithmic approach that diversifies users’ portfolios based on timing and risk. Users will be able to invest leveraging the company’s customizable savings rules. Notably, Qapital isn’t positioning the investment tool as a way to save for retirement, but rather as another tool to help users speed up savings for mid-term goals, such as a vacation. The company will charge $1 per month for the first $5,000 managed, and 0.25% per year for balances exceeding that amount. This rate is competitive with both Wealthfront and Betterment, which charge a 0.25% annual advisory fee.

Qapital differentiates itself in the PFM space with its If This, Then That (IFTT) savings tool that leverages behavioral economics to get users to save when certain actions are triggered. For example, users can have Qapital set a small amount of money aside each time they visit the gym, every time it rains, or each time Trump tweets. These customizable rules are set up to help users reward themselves for good behavior, deter bad habits, and some are just intended to be ridiculous. Overall, Qapital’s tools have helped users save $500 million.

Qapital CEO and founder George Friedman debuted the app at FinovateSpring 2014 and the company launched in the U.S. in 2015. Qapital now counts 420,000 users of its creative savings tools, a Visa debit card, echecks, and a design-forward banking app. The company doesn’t charge any fees for the above features, and all accounts are FDIC-insured.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Blend, Roostify Earn Honors at MBA Insights 2018 Tech All-Star Awards.
  • Qapital’s Latest $30 Million to Fuel New Roboadvisory Tools.

Around the web

  • FICO boosts financial crime protection with new suite of solutions.
  • Ping Identity achieves ISO 27001 Certification.
  • Luxoft teams with Softbank Robotics America to bring its humanoid robot Pepper to life.
  • MicroStrategy releases 3 new gateways to Microsoft Azure.
  • Woleet, a blockchain-based timestamp and signature app, is now available on Ledger Nano S.
  • Grubhub partners with PayPal’s Venmo on bill-splitting feature.
  • Avoka sees positive trends for North American banks in its 2018 State of Digital Sales in Banking Report.

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.

BillShark Lands Funding and Advisory Backing from Mark Cuban

Bill reduction service BillShark received some serious street cred this week. The Massachusetts-based company announced that it has joined forces with another shark– Mark Cuban of Shark Tank fame– who is now advising and backing the company. The financial terms of the agreement were undisclosed, adding to the company’s previous $1.6 million raised.

Under Cuban’s advisory, Billshark and its API will be more visible. Cuban will offer increased brand recognition in places where consumers typically pay their bills.

“We were fortunate to meet Mark and he loved our practical service as well as the potential for our platform,” said Steve McKean, CEO of Billshark. “Monthly subscription bills creep-up over time, seemingly without reason, and Americans overpay for these services by about $50 billion per year. Mark provides unmatched expertise in partnerships, product development and marketing.”

Founded in 2015, BillShark aims to help consumers lower their monthly bills, including TV, wireless, internet, and home security. To ensure they are not overpaying for these services, consumers and businesses upload a photo of an existing bill to the BillShark app, then the BillShark team goes to work negotiating with the biller for a lower rate.

The company’s success is evidenced in the numbers. BillShark frequently saves consumers 25% or more, adding up to hundreds of dollars in savings per year. So far, the company has saved users more than $10 million; the average customer saves about $300 per bill per year. BillShark’s goal is to save users more than $2.7 billion by 2025. “Companies that save their customers both time and money always catch my attention,” said Cuban. “Billshark eliminates the stress of negotiating or cancelling a bill, so its customers can focus on more productive and long-term goals.”

Saving money for users is how BillShark makes its money. The company only charges consumers when it lowers the cost on a bill– this incentivizes the BillShark to maintain a “shark-like” motivation to negotiate a lower rate on a bill. If they can’t get a lower rate on a bill, they don’t charge the user.

BillShark also announced the One Bill, One Child program this week. The program aims to offer middle school students a better financial education to give them the tools they need to successfully manage their finances as adults. For every bill submitted to BillShark, the company pays for a child to receive an hour of financial education from Ramsey Solutions. Billshark’s goal is to educate one million children by 2025.

At FinovateFall 2017, McKean and COO Brian Keaney showcased the bill reduction service. The company started 2018 by partnering with Narmi, which integrated Billshark’s API into its digital banking platform.

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Zuma Technologies

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 11, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. Register today and save your spot.

Zuma Technologies’ Zuma Liquidity Solutions (ZLS) is an automated multi-industry lending platform that provides a competitive marketplace for borrowers & lenders to transact based on their preferences.


  • Smart – proprietary credit decision system that improves over time
  • Automated – auto-invest rules to match your risk preferences
  • Connected – borrowers can connect to their accounting software

Why it’s great
Zuma emerged to address the large and underserved lending markets which are limited by high costs, lack of automation, and deficiency of financial data.


Francisco Liquido, VP Business Strategy
Liquido is an enthusiastic business development executive with a passion for building great teams, products, and partnerships. He has C-suite leadership experience and direct P&L responsibility.

Vika Arkhipova, Marketing/Sales Executive
Arkhipova is an enthusiastic and ambitious digital media professional working in marketing, product management, and sales. She is truly a goal-oriented person, consistently accomplishing and exceeding objectives.

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Stratyfy

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 11, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. Register today and save your spot.
Stratyfy is where AI meets IQ, empowering industry experts with a solution that combines the best of both worlds – human knowledge and AI.
  • Combine the accuracy of AI with the usability of a rule engine
  • Scale and adapt easily and automatically
  • Leverage cutting edge AI without coding or data scientists
Why it’s great
Stratyfy is not selling off-the-shelf models to replace humans. We empower experts and allow them to combine their IQ with AI to achieve safe growth.
Michael Cherkassky, CEO, Co-founder
Cherkassky is the CEO of Stratyfy, where he continues to do what he does best – delivering lasting customer impact through both enterprise-grade products and exceptional service.
Laura Kornhauser, President & COO
Kornhauser spent 12 years in JPMorgan’s Investment Bank, in corporate lending and derivatives. She was focused on helping institutional customers build and deploy risk management strategies.

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Swych

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 11, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. Register today and save your spot.

Swych breaks cross-border barriers with a blockchain-based global gifting architecture that changes how people shop, gift, and pay for purchases in a global, mobile marketplace.


  • First blockchain-based global gifting network with 1,000s of retailers and millions of product SKUs
  • Instant, secure, scalable
  • Unparalled transaction speeds costing only pennies per 1,000 transactions

Why it’s great
Swych powers not only individual gifting, but digital wallets and corporate incentives programs so recipients can “swych” to favorite brands available in their regions/currencies.


Deepak Jain, Founder & CEO
With a passion for launching/transforming early-stage startups and bringing innovative technologies to market, Jain holds 55+ granted patents with 50 more payment/security technologies patents pending.

Harpreet Chawla, VP Digital Products & Innovation
A strategic leader, Chawla delivers innovative digital commerce/payment solutions that engage, captivate, and delight consumers and maximize demand and conversion rates for enterprises.

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Flybits

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on May 8 through 11, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. Register today and save your spot.

Flybits offers an end-to-end intelligent recommendation platform that enhances enterprises’ digital personalization strategy.


  • Fast time-to-market – go from ideation to production within 90 days
  • Data unification – seamlessly normalize public and proprietary data
  • Privacy first – data tokenization to protect consumer privacy

Why it’s great
Flybits offers an end-to-end solution that hides the complexity of data intelligence, enabling enterprises to harness endless sources of public and proprietary data.


Dr. Hossein Rahnama, Founder and CEO
Rahnama is a recognized figure in ubiquitous computing. His research explores AI, mobile human-computer interaction, and contextual services. He is currently a visiting scholar at the MIT Media Lab.

Justin Lam, Software Engineer, Product
Lam has been a software engineer at Flybits since its inception in 2013. He has a passion for DevUX and has led the development of both web and mobile projects, including Flybits’ JavaScript SDK.