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.

banqUP Previews its Bank-as-a-Platform Solution for European SMEs

Note: Demoing as bankUP at FinovateEurope, the company has since rebranded as banqUp.

There may or may not be a special place in heaven for those entrepreneurs and developers burning the midnight oil in a quest to build a better banking solution for small businesses. But there will always be a spot on the Finovate stage. This year at FinovateEurope, Antwerp, Belgium-based banqUP tossed its hat into the ring with a preview of its small business banking platform.

Calling itself a bank for people who live on their smartphones, banqUP is a digital neo-bank for small business that offers a business current account, credit and debit cards, and a hub of integrated financial solutions in a single, unified platform.  As Dimitri Leemans, a partner at Hedera Consulting explained during an introduction to the company’s demo, banqUP is designed to be the kind of bank young entrepreneurs in Europe have been longing for, one that prioritizes personalization, customer insight, and openness.


Pictured (left to right): banqUP’s Lukasz Chmielewski (CTO), Dimitri Leemans (Partner, Hedera Consulting), and Krzysztof Pulkiewicz (CEO) demonstrating the banqUP small business banking platform at FinovateEurope 2017.

banqUP CEO Krzysztof Pulkiewicz and CTO Lukasz Chmieleswki launched into the demo, showing how the platform provided dashboards with configurable widgets to help business owners track cash flow, budgets, contacts, payables, transactions, and other critical information. banqUP’s smart tagging feature scans transactions and groups them into budgets to keep expenses organized. Create a hashtag for a given expense category, select it, and all of the widgets on the various dashboards will update with information relevant to that category. “This is just the beginning of our smart business bank,” Pulkiewicz said. The platform also enables ready integration for outside parties such as external accounting software or even a real live human accountant, who can be set up on the platform’s accounting dashboard on banqUP and review the details of all transactions, including the original documents, and even leave notes right on the document image.

With its technology still in beta, banqUP is eagerly anticipating its official launch in the coming months. “We are still finalizing the development of our solution to provide our future users with the best possible digital banking solution,” Pulikiewicz said, adding “We have come a long way in a short time already and we are tremendously motivated to go even faster and keep ourselves continuously (focused) toward customer success.”

Company facts

  • Headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium
  • Founded in 2016
  • Partnered with German solarisBank AG
  • Launched as a PSD2-ready smart bank in Q1 2017

bankUP_KrzysztofPulkiewicz_newWe met with the banqUP team at FinovateEurope 2017 and followed up with a few additional questions by e-mail. Here are the responses from CEO Krzysztof Pulkiewicz.

What problem does your small business banking platform solve?

Krzysztof Pulkiewicz: banqUP is a digital fintech bank for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). We are offering core banking products including business current account and MasterCard, combined with a hub of integrated fintech services and functionalities that over a web and mobile business platform. We use mobile and web together with smart data analytics to solve the day-to-day problems of SMEs. By using banqUP, entrepreneurs can control all the aspects of their business via just one platform. Some of our features include personalized dashboards, the organization of your incoming and outgoing payments by simply tagging them (and yes, we have automated this as much as possible for you), the possibility to connect your account with all your team members including your accountant to delegate financial tasks easily … These are just a few of banqUP’s innovative features.

The SME segment is significantly underserved by the banks and as a team of entrepreneurs we aim to change this situation. We offer a tailor-made, unique digital banking experience for SMEs, providing a one-stop shop combination of core banking products and integrated fintech services. Business owners of SMEs are focused on driving their businesses and expect more from banks than just selling traditional banking products and processing transactions. It is all about partnering, insights, relevance, predictions, and integrating more into the business itself.


banqUP’s dashboard consists of configurable modules for managing everything from budgets and transactions to contacts and accounts.

Finovate: How does your technology solve the problem better?

Pulkiewicz: We provide the standard banking services seamlessly integrated with fintech services and business apps of the users’ choice. We do not believe in a “one fits all” approach. Based on your business type, industry and stage in the SME life cycle, we build a personalized user experience with features that are most relevant for your business. At the core of the personalized experience, we have advanced data analytics, and we learn from your historical data how we can help you now and in the future. In addition, we use machine learning and data tagging in order to organize your budgets, provide cashflow estimations, and setup the proactive business notifications you expect from the smart banking solution.

banqUP is open. We give you a free choice to work with your favorite accounting software (you can connect to it with a few clicks) or to work with your accountant. banqUP helps you to collaborate better and fully digitalizes this process (starting from uploads, OCR to online document sharing and one-click payments).


A look at banqUP’s RevenueIQ dashboard, which features a set of widgets that provide ongoing insight into the company’s revenue stream.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Pulkiewicz: banqUP has a double commercial model:

1. A direct, go-to-market model where banqUP focuses on “millennipreneurs” – a young generation of business owners and freelancers. Millennials experience life, work, and business through technology and they expect seamless interactions between their bank and the different tools for running the day-to-day activities of their business. We are determined to meet the needs of young entrepreneurs and bring them the tools they desire the most. But, of course, all digitally-minded and savvy business owners will see the digital added value of banqUP and form the target client group for banqUP.

2. An indirect, go-to-market model where banqUP offers its platform. This option redesigns business banking from the ground up by leveraging BaaS (Bank as a platform) to deliver SME banking services in the EU and to banks across Europe. Our platform is an enabler for banks; we are working to customize digital banking to a selected group of customers and provide them with fully personalized and relevant services. We are PSD2 ready!

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

Pulkiewicz: We are extremely proud of our own banking brand – banqUP and SME banking service – and we will start offering to small and medium businesses in the EU this year. This is a great example how our platform allowed us to enter the market and build a competitive value proposition in a very short marketing time and in an extremely agile way.


banqUp’s Cashflow planner provides a visualization of past cash flow to give business owners a sense of what future cash flow may look like.

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

Pulkiewicz: We are a group of entrepreneurs on a mission to solve the day-to-day problems of SMEs and we started banqUP to design the bank we, and many other business owners, desperately need. We know and acknowledge that every small business is different and operates in different contexts so we want to create better banks, which can be customized to the needs of specific industries, business models, and personal needs of entrepreneurs.

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

Pulkiewicz: Our main goal for the upcoming months is to finally officially launch our banking service. We are still finalizing the development of our solution to provide our future users with the best possible digital banking experience. We will attend some international conferences in order to present our idea to experts from the banking and fintech industry. We have come a long way in a short time already, and we are tremendously motivated to go even faster and keep ourselves continuously sharp towards customer success.

Finovate: Where do you see your company a year or two from now?

Pulkiewicz: There are many important steps on our planned roadmap where we want to launch banqUP and make it available on the market throughout Europe. We will quickly extend our operations and service availability to EU countries as well as connect with new, global and local partners that offer financial services that truly add value for business owners and entrepreneurs.

Lukasz Chmielewski (CTO), Dimitri Leemans (Partner), and Krzysztof Pulkiewicz (CEO) demonstrating the banqUP small business banking platform at FinovateEurope 2017.

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 Scanner Toolset. The tool can easily identify weak parts of your business-oriented 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!

Xero Partners with Expensify for In-House Expense Management

Xero’s decision to use Expensify’s software for in-house receipt and expense management is the latest product of the strategic partnership the two fintechs announced last year. Expensify’s solution will provide SmartScan OCR receipt scanning, next-day reimbursement, and company card reconciliation to Xero employees at all 21 of the company’s offices worldwide.

“From one product-driven technology company to another, we’re committed to improving an already world-class user experience and process,” Expensify Director of Sales and Success Jason Mills said. Xero’s Chief Accounting Officer Kirsty Godfrey-Billy added that the partnership “will create efficiencies within our own business, allowing us to continue to focus on delivering beautiful cloud-based accounting software around the globe.”

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in San Francisco, Expensify demonstrated Expensify Invoices at FinovateSpring 2013. More recently, Expensify made its FinDEVr debut at FinDEVr 2016 Silicon Valley where CEO and founder David Barrett presented Bedrock – Expensify’s Open-Sourced Infrastructure Secret Weapon. Barrett credited the open-source technology for enabling Expensify to become the “fastest growing ERP software in the world.”

In May, Expensify launched its ScanSnap Integration in the U.K. and in April, the company teamed up with TravelPerk to make business travel easier for busy professionals. Completing a $17 million Series C in 2015, Expensify has raised more than $27 million in total funding, and includes Barracuda Networks, OpenView, and Redpoint among its investors., the business wing of global leading accounting body, AICPA, has named Expensify its preferred partner for receipt and expense management.

Xero demonstrated its Business Identification technology at FinovateSpring 2011 and, like Expensify, the company is also a veteran of our FinDEVr developer conferences. Xero Head of U.S. Partnerships David Pollock presented Building an API-driven Ecosystem for Small Business at FinDEVr 2014 Silicon Valley, discussing the company’s open API, developer partner program, and how it grew its marketplace to more than 300 integrated apps.

Xero partnered with Capital One earlier this month, enabling small businesses to connect their Capital One financial data with their Xero cloud accounting software. The company also announced that it was working with Equifax to provide SMEs access to credit risk evaluation tools typically used by big businesses and lenders. Awarded Best Overall Fintech Platform by the Fintech Breakthrough Awards, the Wellington, New Zealand-based company was founded in 2006, and went public in 2007, trading on the New Zealand stock exchange under the ticker XRO. Xero picked up more than $26 million in new funding in April, courtesy of Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), bringing its total, post-equity funding to more than $381 million. Rod Drury is CEO.

Apply Now to Present at FinovateAsia 2017!

With the welcome appearance of sunshine in Seattle (finally), we’re now well into spring and excitement for FinovateAsia 2017 is building. Now is the time to apply: the very early-bird deadline for presenter applications to demo is Friday, June 23.

The event will take place at the JW Marriott Hong Kong on November 7 & 8, and it will feature our signature seven-minute demo format. Presenters who are selected won’t just receive time up on stage — they’ll also have the opportunity to connect directly with senior-level financial executives, venture capitalists, other entrepreneurs, and influential press, analysts, and bloggers.

For our inaugural Hong Kong event last year, competition was high with more companies applying than the demo slots we had available. And with attendance numbers growing alongside the demand for a coveted demo spot, now is the time to join your competitors on stage and gain the attention of new clients, investors, and potential partners.

If you’d like to learn more, please email us at and we’ll send you a presenter packet outlining the selection criteria, presenter package, demo costs, deadlines, and a link to the online application (applying is completely free and 100% confidential, so there’s nothing to lose!). Plus, if you apply by Friday, June 23, and are selected to demo, you’ll benefit from the very early-bird savings in your final demo cost. Hope to see you apply!

FinovateAsia 2017 is sponsored by: CeleritiFintechInvest Hong Kong, and more to be announced.

FinovateAsia 2017 is partners with: Aite Group, BankersHub, Banking Technology, Breaking Banks, Celent, FemTech, Financial IT, Fintech FinanceHolland FintechIBS IntelligenceMercator Advisory Group, Ovum, The Paypers, Plug and Play, and SME Finance Forum.

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


  • 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.


Around the web

  • 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, 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.