Newchip Lands $2 Million in Seed Funding

For its first round of funding, investment marketplace Newchip has closed on a $2 million Seed round this week. Participating in the round are JadeValue Fintech, Yeoman’s Capital, Spunik ATX, Youbi Capital, and Polymath.

“We’re very excited about the funding partnerships we’ve accomplished and the value those investors bring to the company. We started Newchip with a dream to open up access to investments for both entrepreneurs and investors and now, with the closing of our seed funding round, we can achieve what we set out to do,” said Ryan Rafols, founder and CEO of Newchip.

Founded in 2016, Newchip’s marketplace allows users to invest in opportunities they care about for as little as $100. The low minimum investment, combined with Newchip’s varying investment marketplace, allow investors to curate a diversified portfolio. Some of the investment types include small business, pre-IPO companies, high growth startups, blockchain, and real estate.

Since launch, the Austin-based company has built its user base to 50,000 individuals. This success is thanks in part to Newchip’s popularity in the Apple app store, where the app recently reached the top 100 list for finance. The app is currently ranked #1 for startup investing, and is in the top 10 for fundraising and stock market investing.

Newchip debuted its investment app at FinovateSpring 2017. In April, the company began offering security token-based offerings and blockchain powered companies in its marketplace.

Veridium Earns $150,000 Grant

Biometric authentication software company Veridium (formerly Hoyos Labs) was recently awarded a $150,000 grant from Digital Financial Services Lab. The grant is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Veridium earned the funds by completing the first DFS Lab Biometrics Challenge, which required groups to develop software-based technologies that can capture and verify fingerprints using only an Android smartphone. The $150,000 winnings are to be used to create a mobile app that makes it easy to enroll and match users in developing countries against government databases in order to ensure they receive proper government aid and money.

Lori Cohen, CMO of Veridium, said, “Our goal is to help design a new banking model, using our biometric authentication technology to bring the unbanked into the financial services system. Additionally, over time, [we aim to] improve their circumstances, making it possible to open a bank account, apply for credit, and achieve a level of financial stability.”

This isn’t Veridium’s first grant. The company earned a grant in 2017 in which it piloted a new digital banking model using biometric authentication in a partnership with Wala. The pilot aimed to bring accessible, zero-fee banking to residents of sub-Saharan Africa.

“Winning the grant from DFS Lab has enabled us to be one step closer to our goal of disrupting the current banking model, which currently excludes billions of people around the world just because they lack identity documents,” added Cohen.

At FinovateEurope 2017, Veridium showcased 4 Fingers TouchlessID, multi-finger touchless biometric authentication that works on smartphones with a camera. This method of biometric authentication can be leveraged to onboard and authenticate consumers, since the quality of the fingerprint photos is equivalent to those captured on traditional flatbed scanners. Earlier this year, the company deployed its VeridiumID platform with Nordea, the largest bank in the Nordic region. Headquartered in London and Boston, Veridium was founded in 2015. James Stickland is CEO.

P2Binvestor Earns $17+ Million in Funding

Peer-to-peer crowdlending platform P2Binvestor (P2Bi) received more than $17 million in combined debt and equity funding this week. The debt investment come from more than 20 participants, all sourced from the P2Bi marketplace that consists of banks, private investors, and institutional investors. The equity funds come from Angel investors.

The Colorado-based startup has not disclosed the breakdown of debt vs. equity but we estimate around $13.4 million of the total is debt and about $3.6 million is equity. This is based on P2Bi’s report that today’s investment is its fourth round of equity funding, bringing its total equity raised to $13 million. While the company did not comment on its total funding, Crunchbase estimates P2Bi’s combined debt and equity at $33.76 million.

P2Bi will use the funds to power its new bank partnership program. Launched last year, the bank partnership program offers access to working capital to small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) who don’t qualify for traditional financing. It not only allows banks to invest in local businesses, but also helps them tap into a new asset class. Under the partnership, banks will front 50% of the capital with a senior secured position. P2Bi’s base of private investors will provide the remaining half of the capital and businesses will receive the funds with a blended interest rate of 8% to 12%. New Resource Bank, which began piloting the bank partnership program last October, has already closed seven loans worth over $16 million.

“Over the course of the past few months, P2Bi has focused on building a new partnership model with community banks that is proving to be very successful,” said Krista Morgan, CEO and cofounder of P2Binvestor. “Growing businesses love the idea that we can graduate them to cheaper financing without the hassle of switching, and banks love that they can be the first lender to a growing business building a valuable, long-term relationship. This raise enables us to onboard new banks into the program.”

Founded in 2012, P2Bi debuted at FinovateSpring 2013 and showcased its borrower application and loan management platform at FinovateFall 2014. Earlier this spring, MonJa featured Morgan in an interview and last fall the company made Credit Donkey’s list of Best Finance Technology.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • PayPal Acquires Simility for $120 Million.
  • Finovate Favorites: A Baker’s Dozen of Best of Show Winners.
  • Touché, OCBC Bank Bring Fingerprint Authentication to In-Person Commerce.
  • P2Binvestor Earns $17+ Million in Funding.
  • Veridium Earns $150,000 Grant.
  • Newchip Lands $2 Million in Seed Funding.

Around the web

  • Experian secures FCA accreditation to supply Open Banking and PSD2 services.
  • Finn AI is the latest fintech to join Temenos Marketplace.
  • CFSI names financial health leaders: Envestnet | Yodlee, Finicity, Handle Financial, Lendstreet, Lend Up, Lending Club, Moven, and Simple.

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.

NTT Data Appoints Bob Pryor as CEO

Tokyo-based consulting and software development firm NTT Data appointed a new CEO this week. The company selected Bob Pryor to take the place of John McCain.

McCain served as CEO since 2010 and was named the company’s new Executive Chairman in April. He will serve on the Board of Directors for NTT Data Corporation.

Pryor, who has been with the company since 2016, steps into the role of CEO after serving most recently as COO. Regarding Pryor’s performance, McCain said, “As COO, Bob played an essential role in setting this strong foundation, including the successful integration of the former Dell Services, and he will do a great job as CEO leading this company and our clients into the future.”

In his new position, Pryor will oversee business operations and is tasked with driving growth. He will also serve on the NTT DATA Services Board of Directors. “We will continue to operate with a client-first approach to advance our clients’ digital agendas, while focusing on operating efficiently and delivering the solutions that drive sustained growth,” Pryor said in the press release.

Founded in 1988, NTT Data has 110,000+ employees across Japan, the Americas, EMEA, APAC, and China. Earlier this month, the company acquired DevOps firms MagenTys to complement its existing digital transformation capabilities. At FinovateSpring earlier this year, NTT Data demoed Tready, a social community investment platform.

Luxoft Acquires Smashing Ideas

Software development company Luxoft announced this week it acquired a Seattle-based innovation agency called Smashing Ideas. The Switzerland-based company acquired Smashing Ideas from book publisher Penguin Random House, which purchased the company in 2011, for an undisclosed amount. Today’s deal marks Luxoft’s 10th acquisition.

Luxoft made the purchase to bolster its digital research, strategy, and design capabilities and is expected to support Luxoft’s Digital Transformation arm, Luxoft Digital. It will also expand Smashing Ideas’ range of services and offer it the infrastructure needed to serve a more global client base. “This allows us to bring products to market faster,” added Smashing Ideas CEO Brian Burke. “Luxoft’s deep technical expertise in blockchain, IoT, and machine learning amplifies the enterprise scale we can provide. Together, we look forward to being a true innovation partner to our clients’ organizations.”

“Our commitment to helping revolutionize the technology offerings of our clients is more evident than ever with our acquisition of Smashing Ideas,” said Dmitry Loschinin, CEO and President of Luxoft. “Luxoft prides itself on being a value-added provider that is focused on technical strategy and implementation. This move further extends our capabilities into design and business strategy, allowing us to provide even more value to our strategic client partners.”

Luxoft is a publicly-traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:LXFT) with a current market cap of $1.2 billion. At FinovateFall 2014, the company debuted Horizon, a data visualization framework for banking executives. Founded in 2000, Luxoft has more than 12,900 employees in 21 countries. Earlier this spring, the company partnered with Softbank Robotics America to build the software to enable individuals and companies to engage with Softbank’s robot, Pepper. Last fall, Luxoft acquired wealth management consultancy UNAFORTIS.

Hyperwallet Sells to PayPal for $400 Million

Eighteen years after its launch, merchant payout platform Hyperwallet is receiving a payout of its own, to the tune of $400 million. The California-based company sold to payments pioneer PayPal this week, marking PayPal’s fifth acquisition in the past two years and its 16th total.

Hyperwallet helps businesses with mass payouts for earnings, commissions, and royalties payments and is best known for supporting payments in the gig economy. Some of the company’s more notable clients include HomeAway, Tilr, and Scentsy. In a blog post, Hyperwallet CEO Brent Warrington said, “Combining forces with PayPal will not just enhance our payout solutions but enable us to provide an integrated suite of payment capabilities to ecommerce platforms and marketplaces almost anywhere in the world.”

PayPal already has a solid foothold in the mass payout market, serving players such as Uber, Airbnb, and eBay. However, the company notes the acquisition will help it provide PayPal and Braintree merchants with “a comprehensive payments solution, including Hyperwallet’s localized, multi-currency payment distribution capabilities in more than 200 markets with numerous disbursement options, including prepaid card, bank account, debit card, cash pickup, check, and PayPal.”

The deal is expected to close in Q4 of this year. After the acquisition is finalized, the Hyperwallet team will report to Braintree General Manager Juan Benitez.

Hyperwallet most recently presented at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016, where Bill Crowley, Chief Product Officer, and Blair Olynyk, Software Architect, gave a presentation titled, Pay the Planet: Implementing Frictionless Global Payout Distribution. Earlier this spring, Hyperwallet teamed up with Lyric Financial to bring advance royalty payments to artists. Last December, the company opened its first Asia Pacific office in Australia and soon after began offering disbursements from Amazon’s Australia marketplace.

Risk Ident to Help Universum Protect Retailers from Fraud

Anti-fraud solutions provider Risk Ident has teamed up with Universum this week to strengthen risk evaluation capabilities for Universum’s clients.

As part of the agreement Universum will leverage Risk Ident’s FRIDA, a self-learning anti-fraud technology. FRIDA automatically analyzes individual transactions to establish relationships between transactions and quickly identify fraudulent connections. Retailers’ fraud managers receive an overview of flagged transactions, marking potential fraudulent activities, within seconds.

Universum will also deploy Risk Ident’s DEVICE IDENT, device fingerprinting technology that analyzes consumers’ devices and identifies fraudulent correlations with their use in real time. Retailers integrate DEVICE IDENT into the checkout page on their website and can quickly take action when the system notifies them of potential fraudulent activity.

“We are really looking forward to future cooperation. Above all, our retailers will benefit from this partnership: Risk Ident is the market leader in the fraud prevention sector, and will help improve the Universum Group’s risk evaluation,” said Ralf Linden, managing director of sales & marketing of the Universum Group.

Risk Ident was founded in 2012 by Roberto Valerio, who demoed EVE, the company’s evaluation engine, at FinovateEurope 2016. EVE is a standalone software application that offers machine learning-powered risk management technology that detects connections between transactions and previously unidentified fraud scenarios. Risk Ident is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany and Boston, Massachusetts. Earlier this year, the company was recognized as the Best Financial Transaction Security Company at the 2018 FinTech Breakthrough Awards.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Risk Ident to Help Universum Protect Retailers from Fraud.
  • Dorsum Unveils My Wealth Mobile App.
  • Ondot Introduces Digital Card Services Platform.

Around the web

  • NuData Security named a “Top 100 in Tech” by Business in Vancouver.
  • ThetaRay wins ATMIA’s Next Generation ATM Security Award.
  • Tuition.io to power student loan repayment benefits for Hulu employees.
  • Standard Chartered Bank announces intentions to apply for the virtual banking license.
  • Conversation.one is Amazon Alexa-Certified for Financial Institutions.
  • Flywire and UnionPay Partner to Take the Cost Out of Cross-Border Payments from China.
  • Yoyo introduces quarterly tracker to monitor customer activity in closed catering environments.
  • U.K.-based Business Leader magazine features Wealthify and YellowDog among its 32 South West Tech Businesses That Are Shaping the Future spotlight.
  • Unblu opens offices in London.

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.

rplan Acquired for $20 Million

Client engagement technology provider rplan revealed a plan of its own this week. The U.K.-based company has been acquired by InvestCloud for $20 million.

rplan offers API-based technology to help investment firms, especially heavily regulated companies in international markets, support their clients. The company counts four of the top eight institutional asset managers in the U.K. as clients and will now be available to InvestCloud’s client base of more than 700 firms, including some of the largest financial institutions in North America.

John Wise, chairman and CEO of InvestCloud, said that institutional asset management is an “important and growing segment for InvestCloud.” Wise also noted he will leverage rplan to grow InvestCloud’s direct-to-consumer and digital product channels. “They truly complement the InvestCloud Digital Platform and will bolster our successes in this space,” Wise added. rplan Director Andy Creak said that combining InvestCloud’s financial resources with the rplan solution and industry knowledge will help the company “dominate” the direct-to-consumer market across the globe.

rplan was founded in 2011. At FinovateEurope 2013, Creak, along with CPO Nick Curry, demoed the rplan portfolio builder, which helps users create an investment portfolio based on key criteria such as goals and risk. Since then, the company has launched an online course providing education on the fundamentals of investing and introduced a simple, transparent pricing structure.