Finovate Alumni News


  • Flywire Raises $100 Million for Global Expansion.
  • Five Degrees Acquires Icelandic IT Software Company Libra.
  • Yoyo Tops One Million User Milestone.
  • Coinbase Enables European Customers to Buy Virtual Gift Cards with Crypto.

Around the web

  • The Motley Fool interviews Q2 Holdings CEO Matt Flake.
  • AlphaPoint hires Kristin Boggiano as Chief Legal Officer.
  • Entrust Datacard unveils TruCredential 7.5 software that enables tablet and mobile-based capture and issuance of ID cards.
  • America’s Credit Union partners with Insuritas to launch member owned insurance agency.

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.

Flywire Raises $100 Million for Global Expansion

Global payment and receivables company Flywire closed on $100 million in funding to facilitate foreign currency payments. The Series D round brings the company’s total funding to $143 million.

The financing was led by Singapore-based Temasek. Bain Capital Ventures and F-Prime Capital also contributed. While Flywire declined to disclose its new valuation, Forbes noted that the amount is significantly higher than Flywire’s 2015 valuation of $100 million, but falls short of $1 billion.

Flywire, which is headquartered in Boston and has operations in the U.K., China, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and Spain, will use the funds to advance its technology and expand geographically. The company also plans to invest in marketing by cross-selling its existing client base to new cross-border payment solutions for healthcare and business.

Flywire originally launched as peerTransfer in 2011, when the company set out to facilitate international tuition payments at colleges and universities. While this flagship market makes up 80% of Flywire’s revenue, the company has since rebranded and expanded to tackle international payments for healthcare and businesses. Flywire’s platform processes billions of dollars in payments every year in over 120 different local currencies, connecting more than 1,400 businesses and universities with their customers.

At FinovateSpring 2011, the company presented its original tuition payment platform. In June, Flywire partnered with UnionPay International to provide Chinese students and patients with discounted foreign exchange rates on cross-border tuition and healthcare payments. A few weeks earlier, EY named Flywire CEO Mike Massaro a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year.

Five Degrees Acquires Icelandic IT Software Company Libra

Banking technology company Five Degrees is expanding its geographic footprint today with the acquisition of Iceland-based Libra, a core banking technology firm.

The purchase is expected to boost Amsterdam-based Five Degrees’ global footprint and will bring additional expertise in securities and loans to Five Degrees’ clients, ultimately offering a more robust digital transformation experience. The integration of Libra into Five Degrees helps the company offer banks a more efficient, less expensive way to replace their outdated core system.

Martijn Hohmann, CEO of Five Degrees, described Libra as “a very strong player” in Iceland’s financial market. He added that the integration of the two companies will help banks “transfer smoothly to ‘digital’ and to benefit from increased flexibility and reduced costs.”

Libra’s 40 employees will work alongside and collaborate with the Five Degrees workforce. The company’s CEO, Thordur Gislason, said that the acquisition enables the company to support clients with new technology, products and services. “Besides,” he added, “it creates opportunities to utilize our knowledge and experience in a larger market. We believe that our future plans have a great fit with the vision and strategy of Five Degrees.”

Founded in 2009, Five Degrees has raised a total of $11.6 million. At FinovateEurope earlier this year, the company showcased Prospery, its digital wealth management solution. Among Five Degrees’ partners are KPMG, Lexis Nexis, and Microsoft. Earlier this year, the company collaborated with BillPro to launch a cross-border banking service.

Figure Eight Collaborating with Google Cloud on Machine Learning

AI data enrichment platform Figure Eight (formerly known as CrowdFlower) announced a collaboration this week with Google Cloud. Through the partnership, Figure Eight will serve as the data launch partner for Google Cloud AutoML, helping AutoML customers collect and prepare data and experiment with models.

Google Cloud’s AutoML is a set of machine learning tools that help developers leverage Google’s transfer learning and Neural Architecture Search technology to train machine learning models. These tools require developers to have little knowledge of machine learning and therefore allow for fast scalability.

To simplify the process for developers, Figure Eight will offer AutoML-specific templates to simplify the process of uploading training data to AutoML, as well as consultation services and guidance for developers. With these tools and resources, AutoML customers can create training data to train, test, and improve their machine learning models.

Figure Eight already provides training data to other Google teams, such as Jigsaw; the newly formed collaboration with AutoML is an extension of those capabilities. Figure Eight CEO Robin Bordoli said that the collaboration stems from a common mission of democratizing AI. “We’re excited companies can use the Figure Eight platform to create the necessary training data to deploy computer vision machine learning models faster, more effectively and at a larger scale without having to build an internal team of machine learning experts,” said Bordoli.

Founded in 2009 as CrowdFlower, the company rebranded to Figure Eight in April to refocus on AI and machine learning opportunities. At FinovateFall 2014, the company won Best of Show for its demonstration on how its crowdsourced workforce quickly collects, cleans, and labels financial transaction data to help banks curate a better customer experience. Headquartered in California, Figure Eight has raised $58 million from firms including K9 Ventures, Industry Ventures, Trinity Ventures, and Bessemer Venture Partners.

Google Cloud presented a talk titled Journey to Cloud: First Steps, Production and Machine Learning at FinDEVr New York 2017.

Onfido to Secure Drivers for India’s Largest Rideshare Company

Digital identity verification company Onfido partnered with India’s largest shared ride company Zoomcar last week. This marks Onfido’s sixth ridesharing partnership. The London-based company has also teamed up with Drivy, BlaBlaCar, EasyCar, Turo, and most recently, SnappCar.

Zoomcar’s mobile app allows users to rent cars and cycles by the hour, day, week, or month. Onfido will help Zoomcar quickly and securely verify a user’s identity. To rent a car, users take a selfie and a photograph of their ID document using their smartphone.

“Onfido is a fantastic partner to work with,” said Rajesh Bysani, CPO at Zoomcar. “Their mobile-first document and facial verification is helping us to achieve our core mission of convenient car rental, while improving the safety of our platform. It benefits everyone.”

Founded in 2012, Onfido leverages machine learning to offer biometrics-based fraud detection. The company’s Facial Check compares a photo on the user’s ID to their live selfie to ensure the customer is who they claim to be. Additional features include a document check, which ensures the user’s document has not been forged, digitally tampered with, lost, or stolen; as well as an identification record check, which cross-references a user’s details against global databases and credit reference agencies.

Onfido provides identity checks in 195 countries for 1,500 customers across the globe. At FinovateEurope, the company’s CEO and Co-Founder Husayn Kassai demoed how Onfido conducts a facial verification check with video. The company has received more than $30 million in funding from investors including Salesforce Ventures and Idinvest Partners.

Continuity to Provide Compliance Tech for Affinity FCU

Compliance management solutions company Contiuity is making the banking industry more compliant through a new partnership with Affinity Federal Credit Union.

The New Jersey-based credit union, with $3.1 billion AUM, will implement Continuity’s RegAdvisor Pro and RegControls to make its compliance management more efficient. RegAdvisor Pro analyzes and summarizes regulatory changes; monitors the federal register for new issuances; and provides policy review, updates, and board approval using pre-built procedures. RegControls offers pre-built procedures for consumer compliance, BSA/AML, lending operations, deposit operations, and Community Reinvestment Act and Fair Lending compliance.

Affinity selected Continuity because of its “strong presence and reputation in the industry.” The credit union will use the new tools to analyze regulations, implement compliance actions, monitor activity, and create reports. Olivia Leach, compliance officer at Affinity, said, “Continuity’s technology takes the guess work out of compliance by helping us to easily determine how regulations impact us, and then supporting associated implementation and training actions. The platform assigns different tasks to the appropriate employee, boosting accountability and transparency of the overall compliance management process.”

Affinity has onboarded its marketing and PR, loan administration and consumer lending, and mortgage origination divisions to Continuity. “Compliance touches everything, which is why it’s a priority for us to maintain a strong and pervasive culture of compliance. Continuity provides employees with detailed steps for understanding and applying compliance management to their daily functions, making the entire process easier and delivering new levels of transparency,” added Leach.

Headquartered in Connecticut, Continuity’s solutions serve hundreds of financial institutions across the U.S. and its territories. The company debuted at FinovateSpring 2010. In addition to partnerships with Iberia Bank and Apple Bank announced earlier this year, Continuity received a Marcum Tech Top 40 Award in 2017.

CardFlight Teams with BoomTown

Mobile POS and payment technology company CardFlight is expanding its product reach this week after landing a distribution partnership with San Francisco-based Boomtown.

The partnership will enable Boomtown’s U.S.-based merchant acquirer and independent sales organization clients to offer CardFlight’s SwipeSimple payment acceptance solution to merchants. An EMV capable POS system, SwipeSimple is available as both a mobile or countertop register version and comes with back office reporting software to help businesses manage their inventory and operations. The SwipeSimple Register version (pictured right) was launched earlier this spring and offers paper receipt printing, advanced discounting options, and more.

In the press release, Boomtown CEO Alfred “Chip” Kahn IV said that CardFlight is a great partner “because their technology exceeds expectations by combining advanced features, reliability, and simplicity.” Some of those features include leveraging Bluetooth Low Energy to support EMV and contactless payments, offering an app that allows merchants to use their own device for mobile POS, and using a virtual terminal for card not present transactions.

CardFlight CEO and Founder Derek Webster added, “The partnership between Boomtown and CardFlight is natural, because Boomtown is the leader in providing remarkable support to SMBs, while CardFlight’s payment acceptance technology was made with the needs of SMBs in mind.”

Founded in 2013, CardFlight serves 10 of the top 30 merchant acquirers in the U.S., reaching tens of thousands of merchants across all 50 states. The New York-based company debuted its technology at FinovateSpring 2013, showing off the first iteration of its API/SDK. In May, CardFlight announced another distribution partnership with payment technology company Paya. CardFlight has raised a total of $6.6 million.

OnDeck Scores $93 Million in Two Credit Facilities

Online small business lender OnDeck closed a pair of revolving credit facilities this week. The $93 million in asset-backed funds come from Credit Suisse, which contributed $55 million (AUD 75 million) to go to small businesses in Australia, and Crédit Agricole, which contributed $38 million (CAD50 million) for small business loans to Canadians.

“Securing cost-effective facilities that provide committed funding to support the loan growth of our international businesses reflects another step forward in the execution of our financing strategy,” said Ken Brause, Chief Financial Officer at OnDeck. “These two transactions provide additional capacity to support small businesses in Australia and Canada and help them to achieve their goals.”

OnDeck will use the Credit Suisse facility to refinance its loan book at a lower rate and to fund future small business loan originations. OnDeck will service the loans, which it will extend to OnDeck Australia and OnDeck Canada subsidiaries. The funds are expected to promote small business growth in Australia and Canada by burgeoning the amount of working capital available.

Both loans carry an initial weighted average interest rate of 5.6%. The Credit Suisse loan will mature in June 2020 while Crédit Agricole’s matures in June 2021. These credit facilities make a total of four funding events that the New York-based company has received this year, following a $100 million revolving credit facility and a $225 million securitization, both received in April.

Founded in 2007, OnDeck leverages its OnDeck Score that uses advanced analytics to make real-time lending decisions and deliver funds to small businesses in as little as 24 hours. Since launch, the company has deployed $8+ billion to customers in 700 different industries across the United States, Canada, and Australia. OnDeck demoed at FinovateSpring 2012 and gave a presentation at our developers conference, FinDEVr New York 2016.

Equifax Acquires DataX to Promote Financial Inclusion

Consumer insights and credit scoring company Equifax made its 18th acquisition this week. The Georgia-based firm purchased credit reporting agency and alternative data provider DataX.

The move is expected to promote financial inclusion for underbanked consumers by helping lenders expand access to credit. DataX’s alternative data stores complement Equifax’s core credit database, as well as specific services such as The Work Number, Equifax’s centralized repository of payroll data. Equifax will also benefit from DataX’s analytics and identity solutions, as well as credit reporting, ID verification, bank account verification, and custom risk services.

“Giving consumers fair access to credit has always been a key economic driver for upward mobility, and this acquisition will help more consumers gain access to credit and capital,” said Trey Loughran, president of United States Information Solutions at Equifax. “The combination of DataX’s data with Equifax’s unique and robust data assets will add more depth to consumer’s profiles and will help lenders expand borrowing options.”

As a part of the transition, the DataX brand and its 18 employees have been integrated into Equifax’s Banking and Lending Division. Other recent acquisitions in Equifax’s portfolio include ID Watchdog and Veda Advantage.

At FinovateFall 2011, Equifax showcased the benefits of the Equifax Complete features of its mobile app. Last week, the company teamed up with Thinking Capital to launch BillMarket, a solution that helps small businesses in Canada extend payment terms and increase their purchasing power. Earlier this year, Equifax appointed a new CTO, launched NeuroDecision technology for neural network modeling, and unveiled Lock & Alert, a service that helps consumers quickly lock and unlock their Equifax credit report.

Founded in 1899, Equifax is publicly traded on the NYSE under the ticker EFX. The company’s market cap sits at $15.2 billion.

Azimo Adds 10 Countries for Nordic Users

For international remittance platform Azimo, the world just became a bit more flat. That’s because the U.K.-based company recently expanded its services to allow customers to send money to 10 more countries.

Azimo users in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden can now send funds to bank accounts in Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Hungary. Other recently-added countries include the Philippines, Nigeria, China, and Poland.

The Nordic region is a strategic focus for Azimo. The purpose of the company’s recent $20 million in funding round from Rakuten Capital was to fuel Azimo’s growth in Nordic countries as well as in the broader European region. And the demand can be seen in the metrics– the number and volume of transfers from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have increased by more than 150% in the last year.

Founded in 2012, Azimo has raised a total of $66 million. The company debuted its global money transfer platform at FinovateEurope 2013 in London. The platform allows users to send money in the recipients’ local currency directly to their bank account. Last year, the company reported triple-digit growth.