eToro Launches Cryptocurrency Exchange, Expands to U.S.

Social trading platform eToro is broadening its expertise this month, announcing its entrance into the cryptocurrency exchange market, the launch of a mobile wallet, as well as an expansion into the U.S. market.

The exchange and wallet will be available across the globe, marking the company’s first availability in the U.S. market, where eToro will offer 10 different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, XRP, Dash, Bitcoin Cash, Stellar, Ethereum Classic, NEO, and EOS. There is currently no date set for the launch of the crypto exchange and mobile wallet, but eToro said the features will be “gradually introduced globally over the coming months.”

In a blog post announcing the launch, eToro CEO Yoni Assia said, “U.S. crypto holders have a strong appetite for diversified portfolios.” He added, “we’re committed to offering the best tools and assets to help them manage their investments all in one place.”

eToro has been serving the European region since it was founded in 2007, and this is the company’s first foray into the U.S. market. While the company hasn’t announced the official date for its U.S. launch, it has disclosed that the service will only be available in a select number of U.S. states, including California. The lag time is attributed to regulation– each state has varying cryptocurrency laws and it is unclear if some tokens are considered securities that must be registered with the SEC.

Leading eToro’s U.S. launch is Guy Hirsch, who previously served as director of innovation strategy at Samsung. “We know that there is a strong demand in the U.S. for crypto and we are excited to be able to offer U.S. investors the opportunity to learn about and invest across multiple cryptocurrencies,” said Hirsch.

eToro joins the cryptowallet space as a competitor to successful exchange platform Coinbase, which recently began offering cryptocurrency investment tools (a product eToro launched in 2014) and is now seeking to apply for a federal banking license. In an interview with Fortune, Assia said that the company’s social media features and its copy trading tools grant eToro a competitive advantage in the U.S. market, despite well-established incumbent players such as Coinbase.

Assia, along with the company’s VP of Product, Tal Ben-Simon, demonstrated CopyFunds for Partners at FinovateEurope 2017. Since then, the company has gone on to raise $100 million in Series E funding, which it announced in March, that more than doubled its funding to $162 million. And eToro hinted at more releases to come, saying, “As major as these announcements are, we have even more to offer and our clients can be sure we will have some more exciting announcements for them in the near future.”

Avalara Files for IPO

Tax compliance specialist Avalara hinted at big plans for its 14-year-old company this week. The Seattle-based firm filed to go public, according to an S-1 registration statement filed on May 11.

According to the document, Avalara plans to raise $150 million in common stock proceeds for the IPO. In the S-1 registration statement, the company said its plans for the funds are “to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes” which it expects will include “headcount expansion, continued investment in our sales and marketing efforts, product development, general and administrative matters, and working capital.” Avalara also plans to use a portion of the proceeds to “repay the outstanding balance under our revolving credit facility.”

While the timing of the IPO has not been disclosed, Avalara intends to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker AVLR.

Since it was founded in 2004, Avalara has grown to serve 7,760 core customers and has raised $340 million from investors such as TCV, Battery Ventures, and Sageview Capital. The company has made four acquisitions, including VATlive, VAT Applications, HotSpot Tax, and EZTax.

Avalara presented at our developers conference at FinDEVr San Francisco 2015 on “The Wacky World of Sales Tax,” showing its APIs available for developers. Earlier this month, the company won QAD’s Solution Partner of the Year award.

Finovate Alumni News


Around the web

  • Akamai Technologies teams with Salesforce to launch the Akamai Connector for Salesforce Commerce Cloud, enabling enterprises to provide personalized experiences for shoppers.
  • Summit Equities selects HiddenLevers for inclusion in next-gen technology platform for advisors.

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.

Tavant Teams with Freddie Mac

A new partnership between digital mortgagetech solutions company Tavant and Freddie Mac is aiming to simplify loan data submission.

This week, the two are collaborating on the launch of a one-click submission for Freddie Mac’s automated underwriting system, Loan Product Advisor. The new tool leverages machine learning to enable lenders to submit loan data to both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a single click and quickly receive a list of borrower options.

“We are enabling mortgage lenders to thrive in the digital era. Our partnership with Freddie Mac will increase productivity, improve accuracy in the loan decisioning and underwriting process and reduce the overall origination cycle time. It provides intelligent support throughout the loan lifecycle and reduces the overall cost of loan origination,” said Hassan Rashid, CRO of Tavant.

To kick off the partnership, California-based Tavant will pilot the new tool with four unnamed lenders. The company demoed VELOX, an AI-powered digital lending product that offers an omnichannel, end-to-end experience for mortgages, at FinovateSpring 2017. Founded in 2000, Tavant employs more than 2,500 people who serve customers across North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.

JPMorgan Chase Signs Deal with Cardlytics

After going public earlier this year, Cardlytics has come out with its Q1 financial results, and a major new client. The data-driven marketing company has sealed a deal with JPMorgan Chase.

“We are pleased to announce the signing of an agreement for a national launch with JPMorgan Chase,” said Lynne Laube, COO and co-founder of Cardlytics. “The addition of Chase to the Cardlytics Purchase Intelligence platform will further strengthen our ability to provide powerful, actionable insights for our marketer clients and then act on these insights at scale.”

Cardlytics’ Purchase Intelligence platform is a loyalty program that banks implement with their existing debit or credit cards. Customers receive personalized offers and cash-back savings based on their transactions. This increases average consumer spend, boosts merchant loyalty, and drives more engagement within the bank’s online and mobile banking.

Chase joins a host of other banks and financial services companies already leveraging Purchase Intelligence, including PNC, Regions, SunTrust, Bank of America, Fiserv, FIS, and Digital Insight. David Evans, CFO of Cardlytics, said, “With the announcement that Chase will be coming onto our platform, we are very excited about the longer-term prospects for the business.”

Cardlytics’ primary offering is Cardlytics Direct, a native bank advertising channel that enables marketers to reach consumers through online and mobile banking channels. The service has more than 2,000 bank clients in the U.S. and appeals to bank customers by offering cash back on select purchases. In fact, Cardlytics has paid more than $230 million in consumer rewards to date.

At FinovateFall 2013, Cardlytics demoed its geolocation application, a solution that sends bank customers ads and offers based on their location. Making its public debut on the NASDAQ in February, the company has put forth strong growth for shareholders. In the first quarter of this year, Cardlytics’ total revenue was $32.7 million, an 22% YoY increase, and its direct revenue was $32.1 million, a 31% YoY increase.

Optimove Acquires PowerInbox’s DynamicMail Business

Relationship marketing hub Optimove has taken a step further in helping brands build an emotional relationship with their customers. The New York-based company announced today it acquired DynamicMail from PowerInbox.

DynamicMail specializes in real-time email personalization and dynamic subscriber engagement and is expected to boost Optimove’s growth. Here’s how Optimove described the acquisition in its announcement: “After being built and developed as a brain, the company is now at a position to acquire muscle and give our clients a more holistic solution to their relationship marketing needs.”

The 3,000 brands that use Optimove can now email their subscribers that can be updated in real-time to keep the contents relevant at the time the consumer opens it. Brands can also include dynamic content such as countdown timers, videos, and information, such as weather, that is based on a reader’s current location.

As a part of the transition, eight of DynamicMail’s employees will join Optimove’s team. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Optimove was founded in 2009 with a mission to “empower marketers with the emotional intelligence required to communicate with their customers most effectively at all times, via all available channels.” At FinovateFall 2017, the company’s CEO & Founder, Pini Yakuel, showcased the Science-first Relationship Marketing Hub. That same year, the company’s clients sent more than 3 billion personalized emails to their customers.

OurCrowd Surpasses $1 Billion AUM

Equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd recently reached a major milestone. The Israel-based company has surpassed $1 billion in assets under management.

OurCrowd is currently backing 150 startups across the globe and has previously helped 20 startups successfully exit from funding since its launch in 2013. One of OurCrowd’s most notable investments is Hyperloop, which it backed before Virgin Group invested in the company last year.

OurCrowd founder Jon Medved told The Australian Financial Review during an interview that the company is “a hybrid between equity crowdfunding and venture capital.” Medved added, “With the most valuable companies in the world like Uber staying private for much longer, we’re democratizing early access to them. The minimums on venture capital funds are still $3 million to $5 million, which is out of reach of almost everybody.”

OurCrowd selects 1 to 2 percent of the 3,000 companies that apply for funding, negotiates the terms of the deal, and invites the investor community to invest at the same terms. The company requires a minimum investment of $10,000. This may be one factor that enticed the 25,000 registered investors on its platform, since traditional VC investing is typically out of reach. OurCrowd has vetted 8,500 companies and its clients represent 112 countries.

At FinovateSpring 2016, the company debuted the OurCrowd mobile app. Last October, the company opened an office in Spain and in March launched a location in the U.K. OurCrowd now has offices in seven countries– Israel, the U.S., Canada, Australia, Singapore, Spain, and the U.K. The company has raised $700 million.

Following #Finovate at FinovateSpring

After four days of fintech content at FinovateSpring last week, there was a lot to Tweet about but our audience was up to the task. We’ve captured their thoughts on everything from the demos to the food.

So if you missed out, check out the conversation below.

About the demos

Going for the gong

Talking about the tunes

Food for thought













Lots of love

Discussion days

Thanks to everyone for Tweeting and tagging your thoughts #Finovate! We’ll see you at FinovateFall on September 24 through 26 in New York.

Welcome to Day Four of FinovateSpring

After our first content-packed discussion day at FinovateSpring, we’re ready for round two!

Today’s discussion begins at 9 AM at the Santa Clara Convention Center and you won’t want to be late because we’re kicking things off with a keynote presentation from Adam Cheyer, co-founder and VP of engineering at Siri and Viv Labs. And that’s just the start– there’s plenty more in store. Check out the full agenda on our website or see the highlights below:

8 AM to 9 AM Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:00 Opening Remarks

9:05 to 9:45 Keynote Address: The rise of Natural Language Processing (NLP), smart speakers (Alexa), and a future with far less screen time

  • Adam Cheyer, co-founder and VP of engineering at Siri and Viv Labs

9:45 to 10:05 Fireside Chat: How to innovate on behalf of the customer

  • David Penn – Research Analyst, Finovate
  • Joseph Villamizar – Director, FinTech Partnerships, Scotiabank
  • Patrick Gauthier – Vice President, Amazon Pay

10:05 to 10:35 Refreshments and Networking Break

10:35 to 12:20 Summit Sessions

  • Banking & Payments
  • New Technology
  • SMB Fintech

12:20 to 1:20 Lunch and Networking

1:20 to 3:00 Summit Sessions

  • Banking & Payments
  • New Technology
  • SMB Fintech

Coat check is available until 3 PM today so be sure to take advantage of that if you need it.

A huge thank-you to everyone for coming out and attending, speaking, demoing, blogging, Tweeting, and networking! We could not do this without you! We’ll see you next at FinovateFall, September 24 through 26 in New York.

In the meantime, feel free to follow @Finovate on Twitter and read along on the Finovate blog for fintech news and alumni updates.

Finovate Alumni News

Around the web

  • Entrust Datacard appoints Beth Klehr Chief Human Resources Officer.
  • Emida announces it is actively seeking partnerships with early-stage tech companies whose products and services support the Telecommunications sector.
  • Advice Robo and Neener Analytics selected for BNP Paribas and Plug and Play accelerator program.

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.