Fintech Trending: Germany Grows, Pokemon Goes & PayPal Partners

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Today we unveil our fintech trends column. Compiled by the research team at Finovate, it looks at trending topics of the past week or two.


Trending highest: Pokemon Go

Our inaugural post leads with the Pokemon Go phenomenon which has fintech innovators rethinking their strategies around not just mobile, but the power of gamification, location-based marketing, and the diversity of data, as well.

Sberbank (F16) was clever enough to offer free accident insurance for distraction-prone Pokemon Go players. But the Russian-based bank has bigger plans to engage potential customers via the game, including bonuses for players who catch Pokemon in a Sberbank branch. Sberbank also plans to use lures to help drive traffic to its locations, an initiative already underway at CenterState Bank in Florida. Read our take on the technology, and its potential as a marketing tool for FIs.

It comes as no surprise that fintech’s foremost futurist, Brett King, makes the most far-reaching case in favor of a connection between Pokemon Go and fintech. Calling the game “a glimpse into how very different the world of banking, investing, and financial advice will be in 10 year’s time,” the Moven (F16) CEO and author of Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane tells The Financial Brand’s Jim Marous: “(Pokemon Go) illustrates why banking is no longer a place you go, but something you do – on a phone, in AR and as a person lives their life.”

Other quality Pokemon posts:

  • Lessons Pokemon Go Can Teach the Banking Industry – The Financial Brand
  • Is Pokemon Go the Killer App for Location-Based Marketing – AdvertisingAge
  • Urban gamification: can Pokemon transform our public spaces – The Guardian
  • Pokemon Go Is Inspiring Small Retailers. So Has Augmented Reality Gone Mainstream? – AdWeek
  • Pokemon Go has reinvented the power of data – IT Pro Portal
  • Capture your business spend: no Pokeball needed – TradeShift blog


Other trending topics

Brexit a Boon for German Fintechs?
With the strong fundraising performance of Germany fintech startups in late June and news this week that Peter Thiel took $3.5 million stake in Cologne-based nextmarkets, London’s position as Europe’s fintech capital may be weakening. And Germany seems to be likeliest beneficiary.

  • Brexit spurs London start-ups to investigate Berlin move – Reuters
  • ‘Over a hundred’ London startups have asked to relocate to Berlin since Brexit – International Business Times
  • Berlin bids to replace London as post-Brexit fintech capital – Financial Times

Nasdaq Fintech Index Goes Live
You know Wall Street loves you when they render your likeness in an index. This week, Nasdaq launched its Fintex Index which tracks the performance of 49 fintech companies including 17 Finovate/FinDEVr alums. The index of publicly-traded fintechs excludes banks and is limited to companies that “mainly sell financial services,” are not brick-and-mortar based, and generate revenues from fees rather than interest.

A Week in the Blockchain
While in Florida, a judge ruled that Bitcoin isn’t money, the EU commission made a step fostering the cryptocurrency, proposing the creation of a central database that keeps a record of bitcoin users. With the new measure, the executive arm of the EU aims to prevent the use of the currency to fund terrorists.

Mastercard Accentuates the Digital
Mastercard (F14) enhanced Masterpass, allowing consumers to make in-store payments at 5 million brick & mortar stores. The company rebranded its logo with a lowercase ‘c’ to focus less on a physical card and more on a digital wallet. One week later the company purchased a majority stake in U.K.-based VocaLink for $1.14 billion, giving Mastercard a potentially larger role in the overall U.K. payments universe.

Pump Up the Visa Volume
Visa (F10) and PayPal (F12, FD16) partnered, putting to bed a long-standing conflict. PayPal will encourage users to make Visa their preferred payment method. And more importantly, PayPal will stop steering Visa cardholders to pay via ACH bank transfer, increasing the transaction volume sent to Visa and its card-issuing banks. In turn, Visa is adding PayPal to its Visa Digital Enablement Platform, allowing consumers to use PayPal mobile wallet at the physical POS at major retailers. PayPal has been trying to engage consumers with physical POS payments since 2012, when it first introduced its pay-by-phone-number at Home Depot.

More Fintech Companies Choose Chatbots 
This ongoing trend saw new entrants with Polly Portfolio (F16) launching a chatbot, along with MyKAI and YouInvest. Additionally, text-based savings service Dyme (F15launched the first prototype of its Facebook Messenger Bankbot.

Also keeping our eye on ….

  • Amazon partnered with Wells Fargo to offer a 0.50% discount on student loans for Amazon Prime members
  • Square adds same-day bank deposits for merchants. While relatively pricey, adding 1% of the transaction amount to the processing cost, it’s a simple way to improve cash flow for certain businesses.
  • Cambridge Savings Bank partnered with SigFig (F11) to become one of the first U.S. banks to offer a robo-advisor investment service.

Parentheticals after a company name refer to the year of their most recent Finovate or FinDEVr conference appearance (F = Finovate, FD = FinDEVr), 

Refundo Previews Mobile Tax Filing App Connect

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Coming soon to both Android and iOS, Connect from Refundo will make it easier for taxpayers to file returns with their tax preparers. The new mobile app is designed to help tax professionals reach more customers, as well as reduce wait times for in-office clients.

Refundo_Connect_images“The beauty of this mobile application is that it will be yours,” Refundo Analytics, Growth & Product Hacker Jesse Arroyave wrote on the company blog. “Customize the app with your brand’s color, your logo and a brief description of what you can do for taxpayers.” He added that mobile apps like Connect typically reach more than 10 million downloads during tax season, but cautioned that too many smaller FIs were missing out on the action.

“I’m just tired of small tax offices, who compete and work just as hard as bigger companies, not seeing the bigger picture,” Arroyave said. “Here’s an opportunity to compete and grab a piece of that pie you deserve.”

Launched in 2011 with a focus on helping low- and moderate-income households access quality financial services, Refundo followed its debut at FinovateSpring 2013 with a partnership with Stripe to enable tax preparers to accept credit card payments via the Refundo Dashboard, and a collaboration with fellow Finovate alum LendUp to provide short-term loans to tax payers waiting for refunds. The company, which is headquartered in Elizabeth, New Jersey, won the Innovative Technology Company of the Year award from the New Jersey Tech Council last year. Refundo’s products include the Dashboard tax refund processing platform, a refund anticipation loan (RAL) alternative called NOW, and their audit advisory service, Audit Pros. Roger Chinchilla is CEO.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Refundo Previews Mobile Tax Filing App Connect.

Around the web

  • Entersekt to bring its 2FA technology, Transakt, to Nigeria via partnership with First Authentication Services Ltd (FASL).
  • Inc.com features Stuart Frankel of Narrative Science on the “keys to startup success.”
  • Experian launches anti-fraud platform, CrossCore, in South Africa.
  • True Potential opens up its portfolios to all UK advisers.
  • Corporate Insight features iQuantifi in a look at best practices in goal-setting apps.

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.

France’s Groupe BPCE Acquires Munich-based Fidor Bank

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Digital banking pioneer Fidor Bank has been acquired by Groupe BPCE of France. Terms were not disclosed, and Fidor  Bank founder and CEO Matthias Kröner will remain with the company.

Quoted in the Financial Times, BPCE chairman François Perol said that the acquisition “demonstrates our commitment to innovation, to developing a customer centric approach enabled by digital banking technology, and to be more involved in the digital and mobile banking field.” Kröner, whose bank expanded to the U.K. last fall, added that the acquisition will accelerate Fidor’s international expansion “and drive the development of our innovative digital technology even further.”

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Pictured: Fidor Bank Chief Innovation Officer Patrick Gruban during his presentation at FinDEVr 2016 New York.

Munich-based Fidor Bank was founded in 2009, and has 350,000 members and 120,000 customers in Germany and the U.K. The bank garnered a reputation for leadership in digital banking, partnering with Currency Cloud last fall to support SEPA Direct Debit functionality, and being the first bank to deploy the Ripple protocol for cross-border transfers in 2014, as well as making inroads into social media, P2P lending, and crowdfunding. The bank participated in FinDEVr 2016 New York this spring where Chief Innovation Officer Patrick Gruban presented “How to Start Your Digital bank – Mobile Apps and APIs Included.”

Earlier this month in Wired magazine, Fidor was profiled as “the fintech bank run by its customers.” The bank announced new offices in Dubai last month and in May, Fidor reported that its technology would be used to help launch the new O2 mobile bank account. The bank was inaugurated into The FinTech50 for 2016 in April.

Savedroid Launches Intelligent Savings App

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Straight outta beta, savedroid’s intelligent savings app is now available for free at Google Play.

“Saving has been a super boring and complicated subject,” savedroid founder and CEO Dr Yassin Hankir said. “Many prefer to go to the dentist than to speak with a financial advisor. We change that. With savedroid, saving is finally integrated into the daily lives of users and fully-automated.”

savedroid_app_1Savedroid enables users to set behavior-based rules called “smooves” that help steer a small amount of money toward savings for various goals. For example, set aside $1 for every cup of coffee you buy at your favorite cafe, or $5 every time you spend more than an hour on social media. The savings strategy works as well for short-term goals like a vacation a few months from now or longer-term goals like saving for college. Hankir added: “We make saving exciting, convenient and rewarding, and thus particularly suitable for the target group of millennials.”

The savedroid app comes with a virtual MasterCard courtesy of a partnership with Wirecard, which also processes payments for users by way of an e-money account. “In Wirecard, we have found a reliable and experienced partner for this process, who fulfills all the relevant technical and banking standards,” Hankir said.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, savedroid made its Finovate debut at FinovateSpring 2016. The company raised $1 million in seed funding last month in a round led by the Investment and Development Bank Rheinland-Pfalaz (ISB) and featuring the participation of several angel investors.

FinovateFall Sneak Peek: Personetics

Personetics_homepage_July2016

FF2016-Logo-wdate-largeA look at the companies demoing live to 1,500+ fintech professionals on September 8 & 9. Register today.

Using AI-powered predictive analytics, Personetics Anywhere enables financial institutions to deliver timely responses, insight, and advice over popular messaging and personal assistance platforms.

Features

  • AI-powered, self-learning, and packed with financial knowledge
  • Highly secure and easily controlled by your financial institution
  • Works across all messaging platforms

Why it’s great
Personetics Anywhere allows financial institutions to quickly deploy a chatbot solution that can respond to customer requests and deliver smart, timely insight and advice in a conversational medium.

Personetics_DavidSosna3Presenters

David Sosna, Co-founder and CEO
Sosna is a 20-year fintech veteran. Personetics is his third startup following BI leader Gilon and Actimize, a leading provider of financial analytics acquired by NICE systems.
LinkedIn

 

FinovateFall Sneak Peek: Tango Card

TangoCard_homepage_July2016

FF2016-Logo-wdate-largeA look at the companies demoing live to 1,500+ fintech professionals on September 8 & 9. Register today.

Tango Card’s RaaS API automates e-gift cards, digital prepaid rewards, and donations to power engagement programs and simplify payment disbursal.

Features

  • Integrate a digital reward catalog/program into your app/platform
  • Drive engagement with instant reward delivery
  • Tango Card team will provide expert support on all rewards

Why it’s great
If you use rewards to drive engagement, Tango Card will make the process simpler for you and more impactful for all reward recipients.

TangoCard_DavidLeedsPresenter

David Leeds, CEO
Leeds has great experience starting, scaling, and managing large enterprise businesses. He was co-founder and SVP at FiberTower. He has built a culture of expertise and customer service at Tango Card.
LinkedIn

FinovateFall Sneak Peek: Backbase

Backbase_homepage_July2016

FF2016-Logo-wdate-largeA look at the companies demoing live to 1,500+ fintech professionals on September 8 & 9. Register today.

Backbase is on a mission to empower financial institutions to accelerate their digital transformation and effectively compete in a digital-first world.

Features

  • The best practice for fast, simple, seamless, omni-channel onboarding using the latest modern mobile technology for simplified Know Your Customer and seamless data-gathering technologies.

Why it’s great
Backbase reveals a true omni-channel onboarding process across mobile, desktop, and tablet.

Backbase_JoukPleiterPresenters

Jouk Pleiter, CEO & Co-founder
Pleiter is CEO and Co-founder of Backbase. Before Backbase, Pleiter was president and co-founder of Tridion, one of the world’s leading WCM software vendors.
LinkedIn

Tim Rutten, Pre-Sales Engineer
Rutten is Pre-Sales Engineer at Backbase, a software company founded in 2003 that delivers omni-channel banking solutions for financial institutions across the world.
LinkedIn

FinovateFall Sneak Peek: SpeechPro

SpeechPro_homepage)July2016

FF2016-Logo-wdate-largeA look at the companies demoing live to 1,500+ fintech professionals on September 8 & 9. Register today.

SpeechPro and Acuant announce Welcome Onboarding, a new customer signup solution that combines document scanning and biometrics in a single session for whole touchpoint lifecycle management.

Features

  • Document scanning extracts customer data, shortens session
  • Liveness detection and tampering detection provide security
  • Multi-channel biometric enrollment provides full lifecycle 2FA

Why it’s great
One app simplifies new customer onboarding and provides password-free, biometric-secured access for multiple channels, including mobile devices, the web, IVRs, and contact center agent conversations.

SpeechPro_PhilShinnPresenters

Phil Shinn, CTO
Shinn has a Ph.d in Linguistics from Brown, five patents, and served on the board of directors of the Applied Voice Input Output Society and the Association of Voice Interaction Designers.
LinkedIn

Kantox Marks $100 Million Processed Since Launching API in Beta

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Currency exchange announcing that it has processed $100 million.

According to the company’s press release, thousands of transactions have been processed through the API in the 6 months since its beta launch. Philippe Gelis, CEO and co-founder of Kantox told Finextra, “The huge uptake in our API during the beta launch indicates that Kantox is delivering genuine added value by offering finance departments headache-free automation of currency management and execution of customised FX rate hedging strategies.”

This week the company released the API to 2,000 enterprise customers. It can be integrated with their in-house systems in just a few days. After the integration, clients can access Kantox’s services including:

  • Spot trades
  • Forwards
  • Market orders
  • International payments
  • Dynamic Hedging  
  • Payments Hub

The company’s API helps businesses manage frequent FX exposure by connecting directly to their ERP or treasury management system to control all of their FX transactions.

API

Since it was founded in 2011, Kantox’s 2,000 clients have traded $3+ billion in 103 countries and 34 currencies. At FinovateEurope 2013 Kantox CEO Philippe Gelis debuted Peer FX, a platform that enables companies to directly exchange currencies with one another. The London-based company has raised just over $21 million from 9 investors.

For more developer content, check out FinDEVr Silicon Valley this October 18 & 19 in Santa Clara.