Riding the Uber Wave: Capital One Rebates 20% for 1 Year

uber_capitalone_phoneLast week, Capital One launched a national marketing promotion with Uber that provides a 20% rebate on rides for one year. And unlike many (most?) card offers, it’s good for both new and existing Capital One customers. However, it applies only to the bank’s Quicksilver cash-back card, so I’m out of luck with my Capital One Venture card.

But they did throw us non-Quicksilver customers a bone yesterday, with an email (see below) offering two free Uber rides (up to $30 each). For me, that’s probably about the same as the 20% rebate, so I was ready to fire up the app and swap out my Bank of America card. But wait, there’s that pesky fine print again. It turns out the free rides are only for new Uber customers. Out of luck again.


Overall, this is a great promotion. The bank gets both new cardholders plus a pile of Capital One cards stored in Uber’s app, a great retention tool (the primary goal?) along with a long-term revenue stream (albeit, not enough to recoup the cost of the 20% rebates, unless Uber is picking up a big chunk of the rebate).

The only thing I don’t like is the disingenuous email to non-Quicksilver customers. Capital One alludes to the fact that the free rides are for new Uber users (see highlighted body copy in screenshot below). But that statement is easy to overlook or misinterpret. It’s only when you get to the tiny type below, which is further hidden in a gray background (see highlighted fine print below), that the “new Uber customer” requirement is explicitly stated.

Why not just come out an say it clearly in the body of the email (or even in the subject line)? Existing Uber customers are going to find anyway when they try to redeem. Just be clear up front and save everyone the hassle! Better yet, don’t send the email to cardholders who are already using Uber (that could have been determined with an email match for me).

Final thought. Why not provide all cardholders an incentive to enter any Capital One card into the Uber app? For rewards cardholders remind them they can pay for their Uber rides with points (eg. Purchase Eraser). Or how about a sweeps? For example, one out of every 100 rides (or 1,000) are free to Capital One cardholders until May 30. That could be funded through interchange alone.


Capital One email to its Venture cardholders (23 April 2015)
Note: Highlighting mine


FinovateSpring 2015 Sneak Peek: Aurora Financial Systems and Mistral Mobile


There are just a few weeks to go before FinovateSpring 2015 in San Jose. And while our Sneak Peek preview series is already six editions deep, we’ve still got a few more presenting companies that we’d love to introduce you to.

Today’s edition of our Sneak Peek Preview features a Finovate newcomer as well as a conference veteran,  Aurora Financial Systems and Mistral Mobile. Both companies will join 70 other innovators on stage March 12 and 13 for two days of the best of fintech in 2015. To get your ticket and save your spot, visit our registration page today.

If you’ve missed an edition of our Sneak Peek Preview series, the links below will help you get up to date. Stay tuned for more previews of our FinovateSpring 2015 presenters this week.

Aurora_NOTE_logoAurora is a program manager and issuing processor focused on delivering real-time, transactional data with its interoperable platform.


  • The NOTE Card. A stylish and effective solution for overspending
  • Powerful, real-time messaging capabilities
  • Connect to multiple leading PFMs

Why it’s great
Aurora is partnering with Fintech leaders such as MX and Finicity to give consumers better choices and better experiences with their financial applications.


Aurora_SStagg_cropScott Stagg, Founder and CEO

Stagg has spent the lat 20 years in the financial services industry, having been the managing member of a $500 million hedge fund before turning his efforts to creating better financial products.



Aurora_CMelendez_cropChris Melendez, Chief Strategy Officer

Melendez spent 10 years at American Express where he helped hundreds of clients maximize the value of their transactional data and is passionate about improving the financial lives of consumers.


MistralMobile_logom-Aegis from Mistral Mobile is the only comprehensive, multi-factor, telco-independent authentication and security solution for mobile applications and OTP replacement.


  • One-stop, integrated solution to protect against a whole array of risks
  • Multi-factor authentication of device and user identity
  • Supports mobile banking, mobile payments, and mobile commerce

Why it’s great
No more trade-offs between high level of security and usability. M-Aegis delivers both.


MistralMobile_LSchulze_cropLudwig Schulze, CEO

Schulze has held executive roles in mobile and enterprise software companies and was a consultant with BCG. Prior to founding Mistral, Schulze was General Manager for Nokia’s Mobile Financial Business.


MistralMobile_PYoo_cropPaul Yoo, Chief Commercial Officer

Yoo has worked at HoganLovells and Cooley LLP and was covering partnerships and commercial relationships as well as IP and regulation at Nokia’s Mobile Financial Services business.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

Around the Web

  • D3 Banking unveils its new mobile app.
  • American Banker takes a look at itBit and its plan to become a trust company in New York State. See itBit at FinovateSpring 2015.
  • PYMNTS.com’s roundup of the “Mobile Wallet Wars” features LoopPay.
  • Everett Blog previews version 3.0 of Encap’s smart authentication solution.
  • Financial-SpreadBetting.com interviews Sarah Brylewski, Managing Director at Ayondo.
  • BioCatch and Mistral Mobile win spots on Red Herring 2015 Top 100 Europe. See Mistral Mobile at FinovateSpring 2015 in San Jose.
  • TradeHero releases version 3.1.0 of its Android app.
  • DRAFT featured at LaunchingNext. See DRAFT’s Finovate debut at FinovateSpring in San Jose next month.
  • NICE Systems partners with Capgemini to deliver a new Robotics Automation Hub.
  • Washington Business Journal interviews Blake Hall, CEO of ID.me.
  • peerTransfer to provide its international tuition payments service at another 56 educational institutions.
  • TechCrunch’s guest column on “industry convergence” in financial services highlights Telenor Banka.

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.

What We Are Talking About at FinovateSpring 2015


As our review of the themes of FinovateSpring 2015 reveals, fintech entrepreneurs are talking about their innovations in dramatic new ways.

These themes remind us how dynamic the concept of “financial technology” has become. From machine learning to “social spending”, the innovators of FinovateSpring 2015 show us how technology can help make financial services a more rewarding, engaging, and friction free world for both businesses and individuals.


Our full list of presenters for FinovateSpring 2015 is below. We can’t wait for the conference to get started on May 12 and 13 in San Jose, California, and are looking forward to seeing you at the show. Tickets are on sale now, so register today and save your spot.

Can’t get enough? Check out our Sneak Peek Preview Series for even more information and background on the innovators of FinovateSpring 2015.

Questions? Visit our FAQ page for answers.

FinovateSpring 2015 is sponsored by The Bancorp, CapitalSource, City National Bank, Envestnet, Financial Technology Partners, Hudson Cook LLP, KPMG, Kyriba, Life.SREDA, and Zions DirectTV.

FinovateSpring 2015 is partners with Aite Group, American Banker’s Association (ABA), Bank Innovators Council, Bankers Hub, BayPay Forum, bob’s guide, Breaking Banks, California Bankers Association, Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Celent, ebankingnews, Filene Research Institute, fin-tech.org, HotWire, Javelin Strategy & Research, Mercator Advisory Group, The Paypers, SME Finance Forum, and Western Independent Bankers.

Alt-Lender EZBOB Deepens Pockets by $46 Million


UK-based alternative lending company EZBOB announced this week that it pulled in $46 million in funding. The full amount of the Series C round was supplied by Oaktree Capital and brings the company’s total funding to $66.5 million.

According to The Telegraph, EZBOB will use the new funds to refinance existing debt and to increase its loan offerings to small businesses.

This is the company’s second large announcement this year. In February, EZBOB purchased Everline, Wonga’s lesser-known small business finance arm. Both EZBOB and Everline are now rolled up underneath an umbrella group, Orange Money.

Combined, the two companies have furnished UK-based SMEs with more than 6,000 loans totaling $83+ million.

Orange Money, which offers an average interest rate of 16%, does not view its services as competitive toward traditional banks. Tomer Guriel, Orange Money CEO states, “We’re complementary to the banks and are there to provide access to capital for business owners that have been rejected by their bank.”

EZBOB demonstrated its online application process at FinovateEurope 2014 in London. Wonga debuted its iPhone app at FinovateFall 2010 in New York.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • SigFig Brings on New Advisory Board Members and $1 Million in Funding.
  • Alt-Lender EZBOB Deepens Pockets by $46 Million.

Around the Web

  • InvestorCentral looks at market simulators and trading with Kapitall.
  • Alaska Air picks FIS as its partner for upcoming strategic payment initiatives including EMV.
  • Delicious Nutritious chooses globalVCard Spend Secure for its business payments.
  • Kiplinger highlights Motif Investing among “brokers that pay you to open an account.”
  • GMC Software Technology to provide GMC Inspire to Mail Handling Services.
  • Personal Capital launches app for the Apple Watch.
  • ReadyForZero interviews Michael Carvin, CEO of SmartAsset. Check out SmartAsset’s new technology at FinovateSpring.
  • Revolut and Sedicii win finalist spots in the Innotribe Startup Challenge.
  • American Banker features Bitcoin exchange itBit. Watch itBit’s live demo at FinovateSpring.
  • TechCrunch: Infosys to acquire Kallidus for $120 million.
  • A look at “billion dollar” British startups at Forbes.com features TransferWise.

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.

FinovateSpring 2015 Sneak Peek: Part 6


FinovateSpring 2015 is right around the corner. And with news this morning that attendance has already topped 1,000, now is a great time to register and save your spot at our annual spring event on May 12 and 13.

A total of 72 companies will be on stage at the City National Civic in San Jose, California, demonstrating the latest in financial technology live in front of our audience of industry professionals, venture capitalists, bankers, media, and more. And along with more than 500 minutes of live demos, we make sure you’ve got plenty of time to meet, greet, and network with presenters, sponsors, and fellow attendees alike.

Today in our Sneak Peek Preview series, we’re featuring another seven companies to help you get to know a little more about the companies that will be presenting next month at FinovateSpring 2015.

Check out the previous installments of our Sneak Peek series below. And stayed tuned for more introductions to our FinovateSpring 2015 presenters next week.

FS15_CreditSesame_logo_reducedCredit Sesame helps millions of consumers access, monitor, and manage their credit, improve their finances and protect their credit and identity for free.


  • Mobile integration combined with the power of voice control and TouchID
  • Manage, monitor, and protect your credit and identity anytime, anywhere
  • White label / turn-key solution

Why it’s great
Credit Sesame makes it easier than ever for mobile users to access, monitor, and manage their credit, improve their finances, and protect their identity on the go.


CreditSesame_ANazari_cropAdrian Nazari, CEO
Nazari is a serial entrepreneur, an acknowledged industry expert, and founder of Credit Sesame, Inc.



CreditSesame_JLevey_cropJesse Levey, Head of Product
Levey is a product innovator and growth expert with over 12 years experience in technology and financial services.




Hip Pocket engages your mobile and website visitors by using social influence and personalized consultation to generate new, qualified mortgage leads.


  • Unique peer group comparisons
  • Real-time integration and personalization savings estimates
  • Results and call-to-action are customized to each user’s situation

Why it’s great
Hip Pocket allows your institution to provide an engaging, intuitive user experience that marries the emotional and logical decision-making processes.


HipPocket_MZmarzly_cropMark Zmarzly, Founder & CEO
Zmarzly is a passionate innovator and thought leader in the financial industry. He has delivered multiple TEDx talks and presented for the ABA, BAI, and JD Power & Associates.


HipPocket_TCramer_cropTodd Cramer, Head of Digital Experience & Design
Cramer is a MBA with more than five years of experience in branding, user expereince and eCommerce for a $5B bank enterprise.


FS15_itBit_logoitBit is a global bitcoin exchange offering institutional and retail investors a powerful platform to buy and sell bitcoin.


  • Trusted, institutional-grade exchange
  • Available around the clock
  • Offers the best security, privacy, and asset protection

Why it’s great
itBit is the most trusted and secure platform for trading bitcoin.


itBit_CCascarilla_cropCharles Cascarilla, CEO and Co-Founder
As a bitcoin early adopter with more than 15 years experience in financial services, Cascarilla has a unique perspective and interest in integrating bitcoin with traditional systems.


itBit_BCho_cropBobby Cho, Director of Institutional Client Group (ICG)
As the head of itBit’s ICG team, Cho provides tailored client relationships trading services to itBit’s global network of institutional clients.


FS15_Kofax_logoAnyone can hit a baseball thrown straight down the middle, but Kofax’s robust mobile new account opening platform can accommodate curveballs, screwballs, and the off-speed pitches in life.


  • Mobile capture of IDs and supporting documents
  • Intelligent decisioning allows complex exception and compliance management
  • Seamless multi-channel customer experience

Why it’s great
Paramount to mobile onboarding is giving customers the right product at the right time with the right risk assessment profile in a completely automated fashion.


Kofax_DHyatt_cropDrew Hyatt, Senior Vice President, Mobile Applications
Hyatt is a leading domain expert in mobile image capture and is responsible for Kofax’s mobile product roadmaps, go-to-market strategies and product positioning.



Kofax_DMorgan_cropDiane Morgan, Senior Business Development Manager
As Senior Mobile Business Development Manager at Kofax, Morgan partners with financial institutions to identify, develop, and execute their mobile capture and imaging strategies.


FS15_Mitek_logoMitek, the leading innovator of mobile imaging for financial transactions and identification, will demonstrate how to optimize mobile for customer acquisition securely.


  • Increase mobile form completion by 30-50%
  • Double number of accounts booked via mobile
  • Meet KYC requirements and complete ID check in mobile channel

Why it’s great
Mobile account opening starts are dramatically increasing – desktop is declining. Mitek’s next innovations will do for account opening what it did for check deposits.


Mitek_MNelson_cropMichael Nelson, Vice President for Business Development
Nelson leads the business development team focused on expanding mobile imaging usage within banking and beyond.



Mitek_SClark_cropSarah Clark, Vice President Product Owner
Clark directs product strategy and the roadmap for our mobile imaging platform and suite of products including Mobile Deposit, our market leading MiSnap SDK and Mobile Identiy product line.


FS15_NAMU_logoWith the growing importance of the user experience and customer intelligence in digital channels, NAMU Systems sets a new standard in mobile banking.


  • Highly visual user experience – connecting money with memories
  • Targeted advertising based on social spending patterns
  • Google-like search in banking

Why it’s great
NAMU helps your customer to have joyful banking experiences with relevant connection to memories and a beautiful user interface backed by NAMU’s patent-pending platform.


NAMU_TKo_cropThomas Ko, Co-Founder, President
Ko is ex-global head of mobile banking at Citibank, who developed the most successful corporate mobile banking solution worldwide.



NAMU_PBudzinski_cropPiotr Budzinski, Co-Founder, CEO
Prior to NAMU, he led strategic technology projects for European banks and U.S. asset managers, including UniCredit and Franklin Templeton.


FS15_Persistent_logoBuddyPay from Persistent Systems is a real time Payment Switching mechanism. The control of Payment is shifted from Buyer to Payer for online/in-store purchases of products and services in real time.


  • The Payment Switching Mechanism can be used while selling/fulfilling literally anything
  • Sell physical goods, insurance, billpay, flight and hotel booking
  • Intuitive mobile app

Why it’s great
You can “sell” products/services to people who don’t have money to “buy” it!


Persistent_AModak_cropAbhiram Modak, Principal Business Analyst & Industry Expert
Modak has multiple years of diverse experience and is an innovator at heart. He can come up with solutions to most complex business problem with his domain knowledge and technology understanding.


Fintech Fundings: 18 Companies Raise a Cool $1 Billion Week Ending April 24

money_treeThe alternative lending sector, especially in China, is soaking up funds at an unprecedented pace. This week alone, more than $750 million went to startup lenders, 80% earmarked to China (Lufax $485 million and Jimubox $84 million), while Funding Circle (London, $150 million), EZBob (London, $45 million), Smava (Germany, $16 million), and Assetz (London, $4.5 million) rounded out the sector’s inflow.

Across the total fintech sector, 18 companies raised $1.03 billion this week. And three new unicorns were officially unveiled: Lufax, Funding Circle, and Oscar, a U.S. health insurance startup.

In addition to EZBob ($45 million), two other Finovate alums brought in new cash this week: eToro which added $12 million to its already-announced $27 million round and SigFig took in another $1 million.

Here are the fintech funding rounds by size between April 18 and April 23:

P2P consumer loans
HQ: Shanghai, China
Latest round: $485 million (at $10 billion valuation)
Total raised: Unknown
Tags: Peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, investing, Ping An Insurance (investor)
Source: Wall Street Journal

Funding Circle
P2P consumer loans
HQ: London, UK
Latest round: $150 million Series E (at $1 billion valuation)
Total raised: $273.2 million
Tags: Crowdfunding, loan marketplace, peer-to-peer, unicorn, P2P, underwriting, investing
Source: Crunchbase

Health insurance
HQ: New York City
Latest round: $145 million Series A (at $1.5 billion valuation)
Total raised: $295 million
Tags: Insurance, analytics, healthcare, medical payments
Source: Crunchbase

P2P small business & consumer loans
HQ: China
Latest round: $84 million Series C
Total raised: $131.2 million
Tags: SMB, peer-to-peer lending, underwriting, investing
Source: FT Partners

P2P small business loans
HQ: London, UK
Latest round: $45 million
Total raised: $66.5 million (which includes $11 million of debt)
Tags: Crowdfunding, marketplace lender, underwriting, SMB, investing, Finovate alum
Source: Crunchbase

Asian financial comparison site
HQ: Hong Kong, China
Latest round: $40 million Series A
Total raised: $46 million
Tags: Financial lead generation, sales, insurance, banking, investing, MoneyHero, MoneyMax, MoneyGuru, Money101, SingSaver, MoneyHalo (brand names)
Source: Crunchbase

High-speed global network for trading and other financial services
HQ: New York City
Latest round: $20.5 million
Total raised: $20.5 million
Tags: Network, connectivity, trading, infrastructure, Goldman Sachs (investor)
Source: Crunchbase

P2P consumer loans
HQ: Berlin, Germany
Latest round: $16 million Series B
Total raised: $29.1 million
Tags: Loan marketplace lender, underwriting, investing
Source: FT Partners

Health insurance services for employers
HQ: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Latest round: $12.5 million Series B
Total raised: $25.6 million
Tags: Enterprise, employee benefits, health insurance
Source: FT Partners

Social trading and investment network
HQ: Limassol, Cyprus
Latest round: $12 million (addition to $27 million round in Nov 2014 of which $10 million is debt)
Total raised: $72.9 million
Tags: Trading, sharing, currency, fx, investment management, investing, CommerzBank (investor), Silicon Valley Bank (creditor), Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Mobile banking platform in Bangladesh
HQ: Bangladesh
Latest round: $7 million Series B
Total raised: $7+ million
Tags: Mobile banking, payments, Hong Kong (investor)
Source: Crunchbase

Assetz Capital
P2P business loans
HQ: London, UK
Latest round: $4.5 million
Total raised: $4.5 million
Tags: Lending, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer, SMB, underwriting, investing
Source: Crunchbase

Mobile point-of-sale technology
HQ: Scottsdale, Arizona
Latest round: $4 million Series
Total raised: $14 million
Tags: Merchants, payments, acquiring, mobile, POS
Source: FT Partners

Financial services development platform
HQ: New York City
Latest round: $3 million Series B
Total raised: $9.6 million
Tags: Dev tools, desktop financial services, investment management, IT
Source: Crunchbase

New Media Insight
Mobile payments (mPaay)
HQ: Phoenix, Arizona
Latest round: $2 million
Total raised: $2 million
Tags: Payments, SMB, acquiring, mobile
Source: FT Partners

HQ: San Francisco, California
Latest round: $1.1 million Seed
Total raised: $1.1 million
Tags: Payments, mobile, micropayments, SMB, digital content
Source: Crunchbase

Group health insurance quotes
HQ: San Francisco, California
Latest round: $1 million Seed
Total raised: $1.8 million
Tags: Insurance, healthcare, SMB, lead gen, Y Combinator
Source: Crunchbase

Online portfolio/investment manager
HQ: San Francisco, California
Latest round: $1 million Series
Total raised: $16 million
Tags: Robo-advisor, ETF, asset allocation, investing, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate


Not a technology company, but a part of the fintech ecosystem (not included in total funding amount)

Fintech software developer recruiter 
HQ: New York City
Latest round: $3.1 million Series A
Total raised: $4.2 million
Tags: Developers, builders, recruiting, headhunter
Source: Crunchbase

SigFig Brings on New Advisory Board Members and $1 Million in Funding


Robo-advisor platform SigFig announced today it added five fresh members to its advisory board. Four of the new board members are investors in Nyca Partners, which furnished the San Francisco-based company with $1 million in new funding.

SigFig founder and CEO Mike Sha stated that he is more excited about the connections that Nyca has to offer than the funding it supplied.

SigFig launched in 2007 as Wikinvest, and has since brought in a total of $30 million in funding.

According to SF Gate, SigFig tracks around $350 billion in assets for its users. The company declined to comment on its total amount of assets under management.

SigFig demonstrated its automated investment platform at FinovateFall 2011.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

Around the Web

  • Financial-Planning provides an in-depth profile of Motif Investing.
  • Rippleshot to join SixThirty accelerator’s Spring 2015 cohort.
  • The Globe and Mail highlights Nymi’s take on wearable security.
  • Bluefin Payment Systems partners with Paydunk to offer an all-in-one mobile security and integrated e-commerce payment solution.
  • ThreatMetrix wins Best Anti-Malware Product and Hot Company in MFA at 2015 Cyber Defense Magazine Awards.
  • Orion Advisor Services partners with Jemstep to bring independent advisors using Orion’s platform the benefits of robo-advisor automation.
  • PayNearMe enables Philadelphia bike share program members to pay their fees using cash.
  • TickSmith adds Book Replay Module to Its TickVault Platform.
  • Barron’s feature on rob-advisors quotes Kevin Pohmer, President of Financial Guard.
  • Global Debt Registry names Kathy Simmermon as EVP of Business Development.
  • Fox Business interviews Lending Tree CEO Doug Lebda.
  • Feature on card controls highlights solutions developed by Malauzai Software. See Malauzai at FinovateSpring 2015 in May.

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.