Finovate Alumni News


  • Check out today’s FinDEVr Feature — FairCom.

Around the web

  • Zopa awarded Superbrand status for the first time.
  • Benzinga features M1 Finance CEO Brian Barnes.
  • Kasasa names Guy Daubenspeck Chief Information Security Officer.
  • The Co-operative Group to leverage ACI Worldwide for cloud-based mobile wallet.

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.

Pindrop Receives Investment from Cisco’s John Chambers

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 8.54.03 AM

Phone-based fraud prevention company Pindrop Security received a major endorsement yesterday. The Atlanta-based company announced this week that it has received an investment from John Chambers, Executive Chairman at Cisco. The exact amount is undisclosed, but Chambers stated, “for me it’s sizable.” This marks the company’s fifth round of funding and brings its total raised to more than $123 million.

Also of note, Chambers, along with Andreessen Horowitz General Partner, Martin Casado, have joined Pindrop’s board of directors. Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, has also joined as a board observer. Vijay Balasubramaniyan, CEO and co-founder of Pindrop, described how he plans to leverage the expertise of each new board member:

“John is going to help scale Pindrop to new heights, Marc is helping with our audacious vision, and Martin knows how to create and dominate a market. These three entrepreneurs have all created global ecosystems and will help accelerate our growth and expansion in the voice security and authentication market.”

Pindrop reported these 2016 milestones:

  • Customer base doubled, revenues increased more than 100% year-over-year
  • Clients include eight of the top 10 U.S. banks and two of the top five insurance carriers.
  • Calls protected by Pindrop increased 500% year-over-year.
  • More than 100 employees were added, bringing Pindrop’s total workforce to 255 employees

Founded in 2011, Pindrop debuted its Phoneprinting technology at FinovateFall 2012 in New York. The technology detects 80% of fraudulent calls into call centers and protects “hundreds of millions” of calls annually. In October of 2016, Pindrop announced a partnership with Lloyds Bank, the company’s first customer in Europe.

Why PropTech and MortgageTech Are the Future of Fintech

If this is the first time you’ve heard the term proptech, it won’t be the last. Proptech (also known as real estate tech or REtech) and its subset mortgagetech have been around since 2014. Here’s why 2017 is poised to place proptech among the ranks of wealthtech, insurtech, regtech.

This year has already been favorable to mortgagetech and proptech companies. SoFi, for example, is about to close a massive, $500 million round, its competitor LendingHome topped $1 billion in mortgage loan originations last year, and RealtyShares has seen over $300 million raised on its platform. According to CB Insights, since 2012 the real estate technology sector has closed 817 deals worth $6.4 billion. Of that amount, $2.6 billion closed in 2016 alone, which represents a 40% increase from that sector’s funding in 2015.

In the U.S., there are a handful of reasons 2017 will be favorable to real estate. Interest rates are projected to rise for the second time, millennials are starting to buy their first homes, and investors are looking to diversify out of the volatile stock market. On top of all of this, regulations are slated to loosen under the Trump administration, and changing in regulation brings opportunities for innovation.


The broader category of proptech can be broken down into four basic segments.

1- Mortgagetech
These are mostly B2B companies specifically focused on facilitating part of all of the mortgage application process. They do not lend or service the loan.

2- Digital mortgage lending companies
These online lenders facilitate the mortgage application process and service the loan.

3- Real estate investment tech
Companies in this category are focused on the investment aspect of commercial and residential real estate.

4- Pure property plays
These don’t have a fintech angle but play a role in the broader proptech industry. Since this category is out of scope for this blog, this list only encompasses a fraction of companies in this category. Check out CB Insights’ coverage of commercial real estate technology for more.

What’s ahead in 2017

  • Expect to see more mortgagetech-bank partnerships along the lines of Roostify’s recent deal with JP Morgan Chase. As banks try to gain a competitive edge for market share, more established banks will need to leverage mortgagetech offerings.
  • We’ll see more niche alt-lending solutions such as SoFi that facilitate the application process and save borrowers on closing costs.
  • Expect to see more players offering real estate investment technology, coupled with some consolidation in real estate crowdfunding companies.
  • Outside of fintech, we’ll see more platforms aimed at cutting out the middle person, the realtor; and more business models such as Knock and GoldenKey that make the selling process easier.

You don’t have to take my word for it

We posed the question, How do you see proptech/ mortgagetech growing in 2017? to these Finovate alums working in the space. Here’s how they responded:

BhatRajesh Bhat, CEO and cofounder of Roostify:

“We expect to see further widescale adoption of digital mortgage solutions – to the point where one should expect it to be table stakes in 2018. We should also expect to see more players emerge in the space as investors see larger market adoption and validation.”


Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 9.52.53 AMLinda Schicktanz, Chief Advisor of CK Mack*:

“If there is one area ripe for fintech innovation, it’s real estate investing. Why put 30% down just to gain massive management headaches when you can now invest in rental cashflow online with very similar returns? Fintech and Real Estate are like peanut butter and jelly, they just go together!”

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 8.30.31 AMNima Ghamsari, cofounder and CEO at Blend:

“There is going to be an explosion in the use of data driving the mortgage process in 2017. Both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have announced their data initiatives toward the end of 2016, and lenders are starting to push consumer financial data aggregation into the core components of their customer experiences. This ties in nicely to the industry-wide push forward to a more digital, end-to-end process that started in 2016.”

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 4.07.54 PMJilliene Helman, CEO at RealtyMogul

“The impact of digital technology on the real estate industry and mortgage technology is still in its infancy, but I see both less experienced and more sophisticated investors, alike, moving toward a process that takes place entirely online. With over $250 million of capital invested and 100,000 registered investors on the platform, is a testament to this change. The more that technology can offer real estate borrowers and lenders transparency, as well as the efficiency of process and convenience, the faster both sides will adapt.”

*Full disclosure: I’m related to Linda Schicktanz. Yup– she’s my mom.

VATBox Brings in $20 Million

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 11.31.53 AM

Automated VAT recovery solution VATBox landed $20 million in funding today. The round was led by Target Global Fund. Existing investor Viola Private Capital, as well as other private investors, also participated.

Combined with the company’s first round, this brings VATBox’s total funding to $50 million since it was founded in 2012. Today’s round will accelerate the company’s international expansion and facilitate product development. VATBox’s SaaS offering is an automated, global VAT recovery service for businesses. Shmuel Chafets, Target Global partner, highlighted VATBox’s potential when he said, “We believe that within a few years VATBox’s services will become an integral part of the financial infrastructure for every international company.”

At FinovateEurope 2015, the company launched VATBox2, an automated version that leverages qualified and validated data to deliver full visibility and compliance. The company’s clients include Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, Eli Lilly, Dell, and 3M. In May of last year, VATBox was listed among the top promising startups in Israel and one month earlier was selected as a finalist for Red Herring’s Top 100 Europe award.

February seems to be making up for the recent slump in fintech funding. This is the seventh alum funding we’ve seen this month— the 5th this week alone (and it’s only Wednesday!). Including today’s rounds, ten alums have closed on more than $100 million in funding so far this year.

FinDEVr APIntelligence

FDNY17-Logo-RevTickets for upcoming FinDEVr London and FinDEVr New York are at their lowest prices now. Register for FinDEVr New York now and save!


  • Payoneer Launches Cross-Border, Mass Payment APIs.

Alumni updates

  • FinDEVr veteran Hyperwallet adds former SecureNet Payments EVP, Mark Engels, as Chief Revenue Officer.
  • Best of Show winner AutoGravity forges new partnership with Westlake Financial Services to expand financing options for car shoppers.
  • The Paypers interviews Nicole Mantow, General Manager of EVO Payments, parent company of FinDEVr veteran, EVO Snap.
  • PayPal Acquires TIO Networks in $230 Million Deal.
  • Thomson Reuters Labs’ latest data science lab opens in Singapore.
  • Bluefin Payment Systems powers payment processing solution for ticketing and ecommerce platform, AudienceView.
  • Mitek to provide AML and KYC compliance technology for European blockchain firm, Nocks.
  • AutoGravity Earns Multi-Million Euro Investment from Daimler.
  • Northern California’s Kaiperm Diablo FCU to deploy core banking technology from NYMBUS.
  • Arxan launches Arxan Application Protection for JavaScript to protect JavaScript-based applications.

Stay current on daily news from the fintech developer community! Follow FinDEVr on Twitter.

Alexa, Tell Me About D3 Banking’s New Voice Banking Skill

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 9.53.51 AM

Data driven digital banking services company D3 Banking launched a voice banking skill, an Amazon Alexa-specific app, to enable end users to communicate with their bank or credit union.

Using the intelligent, voice banking solution, members can check account balances, move money, listen to messages, and set financial goals. D3 Banking collects and analyzes consumer interactions and uses AI to personalize Alexa’s responses with marketing and specific calls to action. Javelin Strategy & Research found that voice banking is not just for tech-savvy consumers. In fact, the firm reported “more than half of all mobile bankers express interest in using voice commands” and that it is “not just for millennials; a majority of seniors reported that they would find it faster than navigating multiple menus in a mobile banking app.”

The Alexa voice banking fits in with the rest of D3 Banking’s offerings, which include an open and flexible API-driven infrastructure. The company intends to add voice recognition for fraud prevention and customer service calling capability. Additionally, D3 Banking has plans in place to expand the services to other virtual assistants, such as Google Home.

Founded in 1997, D3 Banking debuted its small business banking capabilities at FinovateFall 2015. In June of last year, the Nebraska-based company landed $10 million from West Partners, which brought its total funding to $27 million. Mark Vipond is CEO.

Bitbond Closes on $1.2 Million in Funding

Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 11.35.59 AM

If peer-to-peer lending isn’t hip enough to pique your interest, how does bitcoin lending sound? That’s exactly what Germany-based Bitbond is doing that earned them $1.2 million in investor funding today. This boosted the online SME lender’s total funding to $2.3 million.

The round was led by mobilike founder Şekip Can Gökalp. Other contributors include Fyber founders Janis Zech and Andreas Bodczek as well as Kreditech co-founder & CEO Alexander Graubner-Müller. Founder & CEO of Bitbond Radoslav Albrecht said, “We are happy to have such experienced investors supporting us on this exciting journey.” According to Albrecht, the funds will help Bitbond to “make lending and borrowing globally accessible” by furthering product development and growing its user base in underserved markets. Currently, the company has 76,000 registered users from 120 countries.

Since launching in 2013, Bitbond has extended 1,600+ loans worth $1.2 million. The company matches investors with SME borrowers from across the globe by leveraging the blockchain for cross-border payment processing. In October of 2016, Bitbond received a regulatory license from German regulator BaFin, making it one of the first regulated blockchain-based financial services providers.

Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 2.07.08 PM

Bitbond’s Radko Albrecht (CEO & Founder) and Jarek Nowotka (CTO) on stage at FinovateFall 2016 in New York

At FinovateFall in September, the company launched automated, universal scoring for SME lending. As Albrecht said in his demo, “The main challenge about creating an international platform is credit scoring, because data is different from one country to another.” The new offering solves this with its scalable, automated scoring mechanism that offers applicants an instant loan decision.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Check out this week’s FinDEVr APIntelligence.
  • Alexa, Tell Me About D3 Banking’s New Voice Banking Skill.
  • Finie Gets Funding: AI Innovator Clinc Closes $6 Million Series A.


Around the web

  • Zopa named Best Personal Loan Provider and Best Alternative Finance Provider at British Bank Awards
  • 7-Eleven names InComm Vendor of the Year.
  • ProfitStars introduces Gladiator Incident Alert for complex risk monitoring and management.
  • D3 Banking unveils Amazon Alexa-based intelligent banking service.
  • FinDEVr veteran Hyperwallet adds former SecureNet Payments EVP, Mark Engels, as Chief Revenue Officer.
  • Fiserv recognized among “world’s most admired companies” for fourth year in a row.
  • Best of Show winner AutoGravity forges new partnership with Westlake Financial Services to expand financing options for car shoppers.
  • Feedzai and Merchant Risk Council (MRC) team up to leverage AI and machine learning to fight fraud.
  • Klarna adds to payment options for omni-channel commerce technology innovator, Radial.
  • The Paypers interviews Nicole Mantow, General Manager of EVO Payments, parent company of FinDEVr veteran, EVO Snap.
  • Savedroid adds money-saving, AI-based algorithm to its personal finance app.

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.

Qumram’s Regtech Offering Lands $1.49 Million

Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 2.49.07 PM

Here’s more proof that regtech is coming of age– Switzerland-based Qumram closed on $1.5 million in funding today. This brings the company’s total funding to $6.2 million.

Today’s funds come from Madrid-based Mundi Ventures, a technology-focused VC firm that also operates in Barcelona, London, and Seattle. In addition to the funding, Mundi will provide due diligence support and will offer Qumram access to corporate executives, new markets, and new customers via the Mundi Club, a global network of 500+ Spanish business leaders.

Regarding the purpose of the new round, Qumram CEO Patrick Barnert said, “These funds are continuously applied to international expansion, with strong focus on the financial services markets of Europe, the U.K., and U.S.A. Qumram has already gained great traction in the US. Our first client win was Russell Investments, and other financial institutions followed soon after.”

Founded in 2011, Qumram offers banks technology that lets them record and replay all digital activity and interactions with clients. The movie-like playback gives banks an auditable record for compliance purposes. In addition to facilitating compliance, Qumram offers internal and external fraud detection, as well as actionable insights that inform banks how to improve the user experience. At FinovateFall 2016, the company showcased its regulatory compliance tool that facilitates client communication. In September of last year, Qumram debuted a social media recording solution that is compliant with WhatsApp and in August won Swisscom Startup Challenge 2016.

FinovateEurope 2017 in the Press


Last week was quite a rush– seeing all of the new fintech ideas on stage at FinovateEurope and meeting the teams behind the innovations really has us excited about the future of fintech. The 71 companies from across the globe that took the stage to demo their newest technology gave the press, media, and analysts plenty to talk about (and the audience a lot to tweet about).

Hotwire_FelicityHudsonFelicity Hudson (pictured), Head of Hotwire PR’s FinTech practice contributed a piece about FinovateEurope this year:

“Great, Exciting, Fab, Impressive, Cool, Smart, Fab, Delight, Proud – are just some of the most popular words to appear in the 4,620 tweets around this year’s event in London. After ‘great’ and ‘#fintech’, the next most talked topic was PSD2, reflecting the amount of debate this upcoming regulation is stirring up. The general consensus from this audience is that this major legislative shift represents an opportunity, rather than a threat for banks.”

Hudson continued with an analysis of the event based on Twitter:

“Digging deeper into hashtag usage, and we see blockchain, IoT, biometrics, and regtech all appear in the top 10 most common topics. These have been talking points within the industry for a little while, though applications are now beginning to move out of the ‘lab’ and into the real-world – a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. While the regulatory environment for financial services is often viewed as a barrier to creativity, agility and innovation, you only have to look at PSD2 to see an example of legislation as a powerful enabler.

The blushing emoji smiley face seemed to capture the emotion for most – with 80 posts featuring this little grin. Oh, and then the piggy bank and snout (30 each) – with lots of love for @WorldlineGlobal and the talking piggybank, particularly from the Meniga team.”

In addition to Hudson’s contribution, here’s a list of press coverage that has rolled in so far. We’ll be updating this post in the coming weeks as additional pieces are published.

American Banker
Moven expands into Europe with U.K. launch
by Bryan Yurcan

Assurance & Banque 2.0
En 2017, ne dites plus “entrée en relation”, mais “onboarding”
by Adrien Pigeot
Bankacılıkta Yüzyılın Güvenlik Uygulaması “Gözünüzü Açın”
9 lutego 2017 r. – to powinieneś wiedzieć dziś rano

Banking Hub
by Dr. Sarah Brockhoff

Banking Technology

Bank Innovation
7 Startups From Finovate Europe That Got Our Attention
by Diana Asatryan

Fintech innovation with a posh accent – interviews from Finovate Europe
by John Best
VASCO demonstrates selfie-based authentication solution at FinovateEurope
by Stephen Mayhew


City A.M.
When fintechs and banks go speed dating
by Lynsey Barber

ITSector demonstra app na Finovate London

Daily Sabah Tech
Turkish banks take off with fintech ventures
by Timur Sirt
Five crazy start-up ideas in FinTech now
by Paul Clarke

Financial IT

Financial Post
As one of few senior women in technology, Janice Diner pays it forward
by Suzanne Wintrob
Yapı Kredi, Göz Id Uygulamasını Finovate Europe’da Anlattı

Find Biometrics
Worldcore Adds BioID Facial Recognition to Platform

Fintech Finance

The Fintech Times
The FINOVATE Europe showcased the best financial innovations
by Kate Shcheglova


FS Tech
FinovateEurope 2017 – winners announced
by Chris Lemmon

Önce CEO’yu gözünden tanıdı

Fintech – hrozba, nebo příležitost pro banky?
by Marek Miler and Adéla Skoupá

IT Reseller
Crealogix gewinnt Award mit VR-Banking-Anwendung

LinkedIn Pulse
Fintechs are coming of age – my review of Finovate London 2017
by Michael Hilbert

Mapa Finance

Memento blog
Memento – Best of Show at Finovate

modeFinance blog
modeFinance on stage at the Finovate European conference
Polska firma pojechała do Londynu podbić serca światowych finansów. To już kolejny raz. Teraz bank ma być jak Facebook
by Agata Kołodziej

El Mundo
Tras Siri y Alexa, tu nuevo ‘chatbot’ será financiero
by Nerea Castro
Das sind die Gewinner der Finovate-Europe-Awards
by David Kiler

Nostrum Group blog
Finovate Europe 2017

OCTO blog
Finovate Europe 2017 : our first impressions
by Adrien Pigeot, Svetlana Baranov, Samuel Brunard

Moven Unveils ‘Easy’ Financial App at FinovateEurope

Private Banker
Collaboration Over Disruption the Key Theme for WealthTech at FinovateEurope 2017 (subscription content)
by John Schaffer

Puls Biznesu
Comarch wprowadził Myrę na salony
by Mariusz Gawrychowski

Retail Banker
FinovateEurope 2017: Three Ways Fintech Could Replace You
by Patrick Brusnahan

RFi Group
The latest and greatest at Finovate Europe

Fintechy na fali cyfrowej transformacji banków
by Robert Stanikowski and Łukasz Rey

Social Geek
STARTUPS La app para el control financiero ‘Moven’ acaba de realizar su lanzamiento en Reino Unido
by Stiven Cartagena

Trustly blog
Finovate 2017: Trustly demos its newest payment innovation

Zainwestujesz nawet za kierownicą. Nowa polska aplikacja

FinovateEurope 2017: have fintech startups matured?
by Billy Bambrough

Yahoo Finance
Worldcore Payment Institution Teams Up With BioID and Presents Face Recognition Authentication at FinovateEurope 2017

Thanks to everyone who attended, contributed, and braved the Finovate stage. Have a press piece from FinovateEurope you’d like us to add to this piece? Please email the link to and we’ll include it.

We’ll see you at next year’s event!