Finovate Alumni News

Around the web

  • Estonia’s e-Residency program partners with Holvi to launch borderless digital banking for its borderless digital nation.
  • Prosper Closes $495 Million Securitization Transaction.
  • EFL is a finalist in the WSJ’s Financial Inclusion Challenge.

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.

Inside BBVA’s Open API Marketplace

Earlier this week, BBVA launched its API Market, making eight of its APIs commercially available. The launch comes after the Spanish bank worked for more than a year with developers and businesses to determine the optimal delivery for the APIs.

This not only enables app developers to integrate BBVA customer data into their applications, it also complies with pending PSD2 compliance in the U.K. The early adaption to the upcoming open banking requirement makes BBVA well-positioned to compete in the changing regulatory climate. Shamir Karkal, head of Open APIs at BBVA said, “This is the perfect moment to do this, because there is a whole revolution happening in the financial and the technology space. What the Open Platform does is support that innovation. And, by supporting it, we make that ecosystem move much faster. So, in the end, we enable this whole revolution to happen.” Karkal added, “Sometimes you have to be the change you want to see in the world.”

The new APIs allow third parties to use customer data sets (with the customer’s permission) in eight categories, each of which can be broken down into geographical regions:

At FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016, Karkal launched BBVA’s initial four APIs; accounts, payments, customers, and cards, to the audience of developers. In the presentation, the company’s Diego Blanco, Head of PaaS & Open APIs Platform CTO demonstrated the payments ACH API, showing how the white-labeled API can be used to originate customers and accounts. Check out the full, 15-minute presentation:

The APIs will be piloted by invitation-only with BBVA clients in Spain and the U.S. The bank plans to roll it out with clients in Turkey, Mexico, Latin America and other regions in the future. Interested in seeing more fintech APIs? Tickets for FinDEVr London are on sale now. Hurry! Prices go up May 27.

FinDEVr Preview: TestDevLab

FinDEVr Previews highlight companies presenting new developer tools, platforms, and integrations at FinDEVr London 2017, 12  & 13 June. Visit our registration page and save your spot today. Hurry– ticket prices increase at midnight tomorrow!

TestDevLab will demonstrate a totally automated platform for Mobile Automation Security Toolset. The tool can easily identify weak parts of your business-oriented mobile application which may indicate plain text data transfers, weak data storage mechanisms, source code protection and more.
Why it’s a must-see
When project deadlines add extra pressure on the development process and application features are continuously being added, growing the scope of the application, it is difficult and time-consuming to identify and test all the important areas within the application. MASST removes the overhead of serious security assessments and provides results within minutes.

Check out more previews of upcoming FinDEVr London 2017 presentations. Visit our registration page to save your spot. Remember, ticket prices go up at midnight tomorrow so register soon!

FinDEVr Preview: NuCypher

FinDEVr Previews highlight companies presenting new developer tools, platforms, and integrations at FinDEVr London 2017, 12  & 13 June. Visit our registration page and save your spot today. Hurry– ticket prices increase at midnight tomorrow!

NuCypher is a security and encryption platform for big data. Its state-of-the-art protection follows data wherever it goes. Flexible, powerful, and secure – it’s body armor for big data.

Why it’s a must-see

With the advent of big data and cloud technologies, security engineers need to consider an entirely new set of challenges. By embedding access policies directly into encryption, NuCypher’s data-centric encryption follows data wherever it goes: across platforms (Hadoop, Kafka, Spark) and between on-premises and cloud environments.


Check out more previews of upcoming FinDEVr London 2017 presentations. Visit our registration page to save your spot. Remember, ticket prices go up at midnight tomorrow so register soon!

Kony and Diebold Nixdorf Enter into Strategic Partnership

Mobile app developer, Kony, has partnered with Diebold Nixdorf to provide a white-label, mobile application suite. Under the agreement, Diebold Nixdorf has branded Kony’s mobile application suite DN Mobile. The solution will offer a unified, cross-platform experience that is personalized to each user. The partnership, which aims to “address key mobility trends around consumer loyalty and digital experiences,” will:

  • Move to the next generation of mobile applications quickly by offering banks turn-key mobile app options
  • Engage the API economy by offering an open services-oriented application platform
  • Avoid silos by enabling connected commerce across self-service, POS, branch and digital channels

In the press release Alan Kerr, senior vice president, software, Diebold Nixdorf said that the partnership offers Diebold Nixdorf an “extended reach into mobile applications.” Kerr added that the move will “blend channels together in innovative, new ways and propel [its] vision of connected commerce into the marketplace.”

Diebold Nixdorf will acquire a minority equity stake in Kony and will obtain a seat on the company’s board. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2007, Kony enables banks to design, develop, and visualize device-agnostic applications deployed across multiple channels. At FinovateFall 2011, the company debuted a commercial banking app. Last month, Kony launched AppVantage to help organizations quickly develop customizable mobile apps from pre-packaged components.

Diebold Nixdorf appeared on the Finovate stage alongside Zenmonics at FinovateFall 2014 to showcase an in-lobby terminal. In late 2016, the company launched a contactless, self-checkout concept and earlier this year merged with German ATM maker Wincor Nixdorf.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Xero Partners with Expensify for In-House Expense Management.
  • Kony and Diebold Nixdorf Enter into Strategic Partnership.
  • banqUP Previews its Bank-as-a-Platform Solution for European SMEs
  • Inside BBVA’s Open API Marketplace.

On FinDEVr.com

Around the web

  • PYMNTS.com features The CardLinx Association’s success.
  • Xero expands online-invoice payment options in Xero for Australia.
  • Zopa introduces flexible Innovative Finance ISA.
  • NelsonHall’s ‘Digital Transformation Services NEAT’ report lists NIIT Technologies as an ‘Innovator’.
  • Worldpay tests payments in virtual reality
  • Misys to power corporate banking, treasury and capital management (TCM) and trade finance operations for Amsterdam Trade Bank.

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.

CUneXus’ cplXpress to Power One-Click Loans for MeridianLink

CUneXus, a company that offers banks application-free consumer lending products, announced a partnership this week with enterprise business solutions company MeridianLink. As a part of the partnership, CUneXus’ cplXpress will power one-click loan applications for MeridianLink’s loan origination system, LoansPQ. 

Lenders using LoansPQ can now proactively push pre-approved loan offers to their client’s device. Because the offers are automated and based on advanced data analytics, the loan offers are instantly actionable and therefore eliminate the need for a traditional loan application. The partnership offers users a perpetual loan approval with a one-click user experience that offers instant access to the funds where and when they need it, for example, at a car dealership.

In a press release, Dave Buerger, co-founder and CEO of CUneXus said that the new solution gives banks more leverage “to compete in an increasingly on-demand economy.” He added, “This gives consumers total transparency and the 1-click convenience they expect, while eliminating the hassle and delay of an online application form or branch visit.” The release also notes that New England-based DCU, California’s Golden 1 Credit Union, New York’s Cap Com Federal Credit Union, Alabama’s Redstone Federal Credit Union, and Arizona Federal Credit Union have all implemented LoansPQ powered by cplXpress. As a result of the implementation, DCU has reported that the solution boosted its loan volumes 110% in 90 days.

At FinovateSpring 2016, CUneXus debuted AutoXpress, a solution that enables pre-approved customers to shop car inventories at local dealerships from within their bank or credit union’s mobile app– all at pre-negotiated prices. The shopping experience, which is made possible through a partnership with Edmonds.com, enables users to shop for and submit a purchase request for vehicles remotely, without price haggling or going through a loan application process.

Earlier this year, CEO Dave Buerger was featured in an interview with CUBroadcast, where he explained the click-to-accept lending platform. Last fall, the Santa Rosa-based company closed a $5 million Series A round of funding, bringing its total amount raised to $7 million.

BehavioSec Partners with Kount

In a move announced yesterday, two fintech security players, BehavioSec and Kount have teamed up. As a part of the partnership, BehavioSec has integrated its behavioral biometrics technology into Kount’s CNP fraud management platform.

Regarding the partnership, Neil Costigan, BehavioSec CEO said, “By teaming up with Kount, we can now provide the e-commerce community with this unique behavioral technology, and work together to create a better and more secure experience for consumers across the world.”

BehavioSec’s technology leverages machine learning to verify a user’s identity by how they interact with their device. At FinovateFall 2015, the company’s COO, Olov Renberg debuted BehavioSec On Demand. The solution is a transaction-based behavioral biometrics service in the cloud aimed to help organizations control who accesses that service without compromising the integrity of companies and individuals.

The partnership between Idaho-based Kount and BehavioSec comes after BehavioSec’s expansion to the U.S. in April. Earlier this spring, BehavioSec was highlighted in Planet Compliance’s new RegTech Top 100 Power list. In late 2016, the company was one of 12 founding FINkit members. BehavioSec presented Behavioral Biometrics as a Service at our developer’s conference, FinDEVr San Francisco 2015. Our next developer’s conference, FinDEVr London is coming up on 12 & 13 June. Check out the event and register today to save your spot.

Neener Analytics is Biometrics for Personality

As social media analytics company Neener Analytics says on its website, “we may not be superheroes… but we’re pretty darn close.” As proof, the company is backed by an advisory board, whose members have Ph.Ds in fields such as game theory, behavioral economics, and decision science.

Furthermore, the company itself has received its share of accolades. CIO Review Magazine named Neener Analytics among Top 20 Most Promising Data Analytics Companies 2017, CIO.com honored the company in Top 20 Fintechs to Watch in 2017, MergerMarket U.K. listed it as a Top 4 U.S. Fintech To Follow in 2017, and Neener Analytics won Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2017 last month in San Jose.

In the company’s award-winning demo, Neener Analytics CEO Jeff LoCastro showed off what the company is doing to earn such accolades. “We’re here to unveil today at Finovate social media decisioning analytics that actually works,” LoCastro said. He went on to explain that Neener Analytics goes further than just “measuring likes and friends,” what he described as the “you-are-who-your-friends-are” approach that is unfounded because “we’re not who our friends are.”

Instead, Neener Analytics looks at each user’s individual social media presence and leverages social biometrics to determine their risk. LoCastro pointed out during his demo that the question is not can the user pay the bank back, but rather will they pay them back. It is this perspective that distinguishes Neener Analytics from others that use social media data for underwriting.

Company facts

  • Headquartered in San Jose, CA
  • Typically reduces lender defaults by 25% to 33%
  • Can accurately predict or project a consumer’s FICO score range almost 80% of the time

Above: Neener Analytics’ Jeff LoCastro (CEO & Founder) and Marc Tomlinson (CTO & Co-Founder) demo at FinovateSpring 2017

We spoke with Jeff LoCastro after his demo at FinovateSpring this year. The following is the written interview.

Finovate: What problem does Neener Analytics solve?

Jeff LoCastro: Well, current credit and financial risk assessment systems using historical, transactional, and relational data simply don’t provide individually actionable projective insight.

Think of us as the Biometrics of Personality. We’ve developed a regulatory compliant social media analytics technology for lenders, insurance companies, and other risk-centric businesses. This technology enables them to better decision and understand specific individual risk outcomes of thin-file, no-file and credit challenged consumers using our patent-pending personality and behavior analytics technology. We decision individual human characteristics, not transactions, history, or relationships.

We’ve also redefined the idea of the social login. No longer is it simply a way to prepopulate applications or registrations. That’s old stuff. We’ve turned it into a portable financial persona.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

LoCastro: Lenders, insurance companies, or any consumer-facing business trying to understand the risk of the engagement. Our sweet spot right now are those really trying to understand the thin-file, no-file, and credit challenged consumers out there… about 56% of American consumers. And internationally, it can be as high as 90%.

Finovate: How does Neener Analytics solve the problem better?

LoCastro: Again, think of us as the biometrics of personality. What if you could sit each customer down with a psychologist and ask them, “are you REALLY going to pay us back?” or “Why should we trust you?” And have everything that customer says predict, with almost 80% accuracy, whether they will default on their loan, transact or revolve, predict/project a risk-correlated FICO score, or tell you if they are likely telling the truth. With one click and a 20-minute implementation, we’ve automated that psychologist.

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of your solution.

LoCastro: Sure. We recently completed a comprehensive, nine-month long validation for a U.S.-based high-volume consumer products lender doing about 30,000+ applications per month. Their market leans generally toward thin-file and no file individuals, but does also include those we would classify as simply “credit challenged.” They wanted to see 1) if we could improve on their current underwriting models to better predict default, 2) How many turn-downs we would predict default or succeed compared to their current approaches. We also used this validation as an opportunity (although not a use case for them) to predict collection reinstatement and charge-off.

We reduced their defaults by 33% and demonstrated a revenue increase of 22%. In our collections validation, we demonstrated that we could predict (post default) who would likely be reinstatable with a 79% accuracy.

Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

LoCastro: I was a part of the initial executive team of the inventor of the online social network, Classmates.com, and was extracting insights from social media long before it became a thing. I can’t for certain say that I invented it, but I sure did pioneer the cost-per-action model. It worked for us (and our customers) because I could prove insight, and that insight created clicks. While the rest of the market was bragging about “investor” revenue, we were out there actually making money and being, at the time, one of the fastest growing web properties in the world.

Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from Neener Analytics that we can look forward to over the next few months?

LoCastro: There’s a couple that we are not quite ready to announce, but we are grinding out 16-hour days developing new ways to deliver insight. We are, in particular, honing our ability to predict ‘veracity,’ that is, whether they are likely telling the truth or not. Our initial testing has been out-of-this-world promising.

Finovate: Where do you see Neener Analytics a year or two from now?

LoCastro: Let me answer this way: I see the future of social media itself being almost “avatars of self.” Now this is me saying this, not Facebook or whatever. People are pouring themselves into their media and it seems to me to be the next logical step. And with the coming of functional AI, I can see social media being defined as a “conversation” with that user, their AI avatar of sorts, instead of being defined as a page or “profile”. We are definitely poised for that. But that’s perhaps longer than two years.

So the next couple years, I see us with double-digit in-roads into the four major lending verticals and having cracked the insurance markets. Ambitious, yes. Do-able, absolutely. With the right partners and strategic relationships… very doable. I’ve made sure we think big and that’s never going to change.

Check out the live demo from Neener Analytics at FinovateSpring 2017 with Jeff LoCastro (CEO & Founder) and Marc Tomlinson (CTO & Co-Founder):

AlphaPoint Launches Solution for Initial Coin Offerings

With the price of Bitcoin rising past $2,000 this morning and India in the midst of a currency unrest, people are starting to pay attention to digital currencies. All of this makes for perfect timing for digital currency exchange platform AlphaPoint to lintroduce a solution enabling clients to launch, manage, trade, and maintain Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

Founded in 2013, AlphaPoint powers digital asset networks and maintains the AlphaPoint Distributed Ledger Platform (ADLP), the platform on which the asset issuance and custody solution is based. The ADLP, which interoperates with more than 20 ledger technologies, enables users to host crowdfunding events, such as ICOs. The ICOs issue newly created digital assets on the exchange, which is hosted on AlphaPoint’s infrastructure.

“This is an exciting time for technology to drastically change the way companies gain access to capital,” said Joe Ventura, Founder and CEO of AlphaPoint. “ICOs create a new source of funding to accelerate innovation, and we are proud to be building the technology platform to support those initiatives.”

Along with today’s announcement, AlphaPoint reported that it joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, which tripled in size today with a slough of 85 others joining the initial batch of 30 members that piloted the alliance. The company also joined the Hyperledger consortium, an open source collaborative effort to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies.

At FinovateEurope 2015 Ventura, along with AlphaPoint’s VP of Sales, Scott Bambacigno, debuted version two of its digital currency exchange platform. Earlier this year, the company completed a successful blockchain trial with Scotiabank, which tested its internal system with a range of use cases for AlphaPoint’s Distributed Ledger Platform.