Feature Friday: Free Financial Consults for BankMobile VIPs

bankmobile_watchYou can’t imagine how many times I’ve gone to Google looking for results to “bank + VIP” and similar searches. The bifurcation of digital banking into a free standard service and a fee-based gold version has been one of my longest-standing, and so far, lousiest predictions (for example, my 2006 rant). So I was pretty intrigued when I saw the email pitch from BankMobile’s PR folks about its new VIP offering (press release).

The digital-bank division of Pennsylvania-based Customers Bank (powered by Finovate alum, Malauzai), which has grabbed 3,000 accounts in its first four months, added two perks to anyone who drops $1,500 or more into their checking account each month:

  1. ATM rebates: Unlimited reimbursement for use of any of 400,000 U.S. ATMs
  2. Free Financial Coach: Unlimited consults with a financial advisor.

The ATM rebate is pretty standard and makes sense for a digital-only player. But the unlimited free financial coaching is a unique feature I’ve not seen before.

On the surface, it’s an awesome benefit. Who doesn’t want the ability to check in with “a person with a wealth of knowledge and tools to help you reach your financial goals”? But, it’s going to take some effort to convince BankMobile’s young customer base to trust these advisors. Hopefully, the bank will get those folks blogging, tweeting, facebooking, instagramming and just generally answering customer questions in public to build credibility.

Final thoughts: I think BankMobile is on to something here: recognizing loyal direct-deposit users with additional benefits. But I also think the bank should add a monthly or annual fee for the VIP option. Like many card programs, the fee can (should?) be waived the first year (or more). The fee would give the account more credibility, more perceived value and eventually measurable revenue that can be plowed back into more value-adds.

DRAFT, Fidor US, Roostify to Present Solutions at Yodlee Ynext Incubator


Out of the eight fintech startups slated to demonstrate their technologies at Yodlee’s Ynext Incubator Demo Day next week, three are Finovate alums.

DRAFT, Fidor US, and Roostify will join five other fintech colleagues at the Ynext Demo Day event on May 27th at the JCC in Palo Alto, California. As part of their participation in the program, each company had free access to Yodlee Interactive’s API interfaces for a year, as well as six months worth of mentoring, support, and guidance in areas like capital-raising and product development.

DRAFT made its Finovate debut earlier this month at FinovateSpring 2015 in San Jose. The company’s mobile investment analysis technology is targeted toward mass affluent millennials, and leverages crowdsourced data to help them make better financial and investment decisions.

Roostify demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2014. The company’s solution helps lenders process loans faster while reducing risk and “demystifying” the home mortgage process for buyers.

Fidor US is a branch of the innovative, tech-savvy German bank, Fidor Bank, and represents the company’s strategy to bring its “branchless banking platform” to the United States. Fidor Bank demoed at FinovateEurope 2011 in London.

Yodlee is a long-time Finovate and FinDEVr alum, and multiple Best of Show award winner. The company’s last appearance on stage was at FinovateSpring 2015.

Also participating in Demo Day are Accredify, Evolved Bookkeping, OCX, Telito, and VOATZ.

$680 Million Raised by 29 Alums in Q1 2015

cartoonmoneystackThe biggest surprise in our look at first quarter funding is that the $677 million that 29 Finovate alums took in was more than 20% of the $3.2 billion invested in the entire worldwide fintech sector.

The $677 million raised was $85 million (+14%) above the same quarter a year ago, and more than triple the first quarter of 2013.

Q1 2015 was also $133 million above the $544 million mark set in the fourth quarter of 2014.

It will be worth watching to see if this record-setting first quarter for Finovate alum fundraising will be a sign of more great things to come for capital-raising in 2015.

Top 10 Overall Investments 

  1. Xero: $111 million in February
  2. Coinbase: $75 million in January
  3. Betterment: $60 million in February
  4. TransferWise: $58 million in January
  5. App Annie: $55 million in January
  6. Ayasdi: $55 million in March
  7. Motif Investing: $40 million in January
  8. Ripple Labs: $30 million in January
  9. Bill.com: $50 million in February
  10. Pindrop Security: $35 in February

Previous Quarterly Comparisons

  • Q1 2015: More than $676 million raised by 29 alums
  • Q4 2014: More than $544 million raised by 25 alums
  • Q1 2014: More than $600 million raised by 8 alums
  • Q1 2013: More than $155 million raised by 14 alums

January: More than $275 million raised by 14 alums

February: More than $264 million raised by 8 alums

March: More than $136 million raised by 7 alums

If you are an alum that raised money in the first quarter of 2015, and do not see your company listed, please drop us a note at research@finovate.com. We would love to share the good news! Funding received prior to becoming an alum not included.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com:

  • DRAFT, Fidor US, Roostify to Present Solutions at Yodlee Ynext Incubator.
  • $680 Million Raised by 29 Alums in Q1 2015

Around the web:

  • BizJournals lists BancVue as one of Austin’s Best Places to Work in 2015.
  • American Banker interviews James Varga, CEO of miiCard, on sharting identity information.
  • Motif adds new trading alerts.
  • P2Binvestor selected as new network company by Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network Colorado (BENCO).
  • MaineBiz takes a look at CashStar and its new offices in downtown Portland.
  • Mountain America rolls out its new biometrics login technology courtesy of EyeVerify.
  • Fuze Networks acquires LiveMinutes’ online workspace platform.
  • Jwaalla celebrates signing its 100th credit union clint, Palisades FCU.
  • Business Insider looks at how Klarna and its one-click payment technology could help save the newspaper business.
  • Reid Hislop tapped as new Chief Marketing Officer at Avoka.
  • Inc. Magazine features ID.me CEO Blake Hall in column on veteran entrepreneurs.
  • Equities.com talks crowdfunding and real estate with Patch of Land CEO, Jason Fritton.
  • Financial News interviews Ripple CEO, Chris Larsen on the future of the financial infrastructure.
  • SocietyOne has originated more than $30 million on its platform since launching in 2011.
  • Prosper announces record first quarter, with $595 million in loans through the platform, up 200% from Q1 2014.
  • WattzOn to help Montana residents save on energy expenses via the Bozeman Energy Smackdown.
  • Larky selected by the Kentucky Bankers Association to provide mobile local rewards program for member banks.

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.

Aaaand, Action! FinovateSpring 2015 Videos Now Available


FinovateTheatreIf you live in the U.S., you may be looking forward to spending your long Memorial Day weekend catching up on Finovate demo videos in your backyard theatre.

No? Well, even if you don’t have a backyard theatre, this weekend is the perfect time to watch some live demo videos from FinovateSpring 2015, which was held in San Jose, CA last week.

As of today, all 71 demo videos have been freshly-added to the Finovate archives. If you weren’t able to attend last week’s event in San Jose,  it’s a good time to see what you missed.

For a solid start, we’ve linked the videos of our seven Best of Show winners:

Alpha Payments Cloud
















Money Amigo
















NAMU Systems
























Thanks again to all the companies that set foot on the Finovate stage, sat in the audience, and sauntered around the networking hall. We couldn’t do this without all of you and we’re looking forward to FinovateSpring 2016!

Edo Interactive Completes $20 Million Series E Round; Names Badran CEO


In a round led by Baird Capital, VantagePoint Capital Partners, and Nashville, Tennessee-area investors, edo Interactive has raised $20 million in new funding. The Series E round takes the company’s total capital to more than $93 million.

In addition to the funding, edo Interactive announced a new President and CEO. Souheil Badran will take the helm from Ed Braswell, who founded the company in 2007 and will remain with edo Interactive as Executive Vice Chairman.

The new funding will be used to speed up development of edo Interactive’ s technology and products, expand sales and marketing, and explore business development and strategic partnerships, such as with Visa Europe, announced last October.

Badran previously worked as Senior Vice President and General Manager for World Payments and SMB Commerce for Digital River. He also served as SVP and General Manager at First Data Corporation, VP and GM at VeriSign, and Director of Commercial Banking at Digital Insight. Brawl pointed to this experience in welcoming Badran to the company he founded. ” Souheil has successfully developed global payment solutions and built businesses in the payments and commerce space,” Braswell said. “This expertise, combined with a proven track record of increasing revenues and profits makes him an ideal match for edo.”

edo Interactive specializes in helping merchants provide personalized offers that are readily available via credit, debit, or mobile device. The company’s card-linked offers platform gives merchants insight into customer behavior that helps make future offers and rewards ever more in-line with shopping habits. Edo has more than 200 banks enrolled on its platform, with a total cardholder reach of more than 200 million customers. The company’s more than 500 merchant partners include Whole Foods Market, Crate & Barrel, and The Body Shop.

edo Interactive last appeared on the Finovate stage as part of FinovateSpring 2012 in San Francisco. The company demonstrated its GeoCommerce Offers technology that enables a purchase at one merchant to trigger an offer or reward at another nearby merchant in real-time.

Fintech Fundings: 25 Companies Raise $450 Million Week Ending May 22

This money_treeweek, 25 companies raised $447 million ($362 million equity, $85 million debt). That’s the highest weekly number of companies funded since we began tracking last August. It was a broad mix of sub-sectors, from crypto (Ripple) to alt-lending (Argon, eProdigy, Bitbond), payments (Wepay, Face++), fraud protection (Feedzai), personal finance tools (Credit Sesame, Planwise) and more.

The nearly half-billion this week brings the May total to $1.6 billion. And so far this year, more than $7 billion has been invested in the fintech sector. You can see the weekly reports here.

It was also a record week for Finovate alumni fundings with 9 companies raising $161 million (look further down the page for full details):

  • WePay $40 million
  • Actiance $28 million
  • Ripple $28 million
  • EDO Interactive $20 million
  • Feedzai $17.5 million
  • Credit Sesame $16 million
  • PayItSimple $10 million (line of credit)
  • Planwise $750,000
  • Bitbond $670,000

eProdigy Finance
Tools and programs for alt-lending to businesses
HQ: New York City
Latest round: $100 million Private Equity
Total raised: $100 million
Tags: Lending, credit, underwriting, SMB
Source: Crunchbase

Argon Credit
Online consumer alt-credit
HQ: Chicago, Illionois
Latest round: $75 million debt
Total raised: $85.1 million ($5.1 million equity, $80 million debt)
Tags: Credit, underwriting, consumer, P2P, peer-to-peer, marketplace lending, personal loans
Source: Crunchbase

Payment services for online marketplaces
HQ: Palo Alto, California
Latest round: $40 million Series D
Total raised: $74.2 million
Tags: Payments, platforms, SMB, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Enterprise communications platform
HQ: Redwood City, California
Latest round: $28 million
Total raised: $43.6 million
Tags: Analytics, enterprise, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Ripple Labs
Open source payment network
HQ: San Francisco, California
Latest round: $28 million
Total raised: $37 million
Tags: Cryptocurrency, virtual currency, currency exchange, Open Coin, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Payments via facial recognition
HQ: Bejing, China
Latest round: $25 million
Total raised: $47 million
Tags: Mobile payments, security, biometrics, Alibaba (customer)
Source: NFC World

EDO Interactive
Card-linked rewards & offers
HQ: Nashville, Tennessee
Latest round: $20 million
Total raised: $93.5 million
Tags: Merchant-funded rewards, debit cards, credit cards, advertising, Finovate alum
Source: FT Partners

Fraud protection solutions for the enterprise
HQ: San Mateo, California
Latest round: $17.5 million Series B
Total raised: $22 million
Tags: Security, fraud protection, big data, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Credit Sesame
Credit reports & debt management
HQ: Mountain View, California
Latest round: $16 million Series D
Total raised: $35.4 million
Tags: Credit, credit scores, debt management, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Stride Health
Health insurance selection 
HQ: San Francisco, California
Latest round: $13 million Series A
Total raised: $15.4 million
Tags: Insurance. lead gen, cost comparison, marketplace
Source: Crunchbase

Payroll & benefits platform
HQ: New York City
Latest round: $13 million
Total raised: $20 million
Tags: Payments, SMB, enterprise, HR, payroll
Source: FT Partners

Financing at the point-of-sale
HQ: Herzliya, Israel
Latest round: $10 million Debt
Total raised:$10+ million
Tags: Credit, underwriting, POS, merchants, SMB, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Financial data for consumers
HQ: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Latest round: $8 million Series A
Total raised: $8 million
Tags: Investing, analytics, data
Source: Crunchbase

Online network for private equity community
HQ: New York City
Latest round: $7.3 million
Total raised: $7.3 million
Tags: Investing, social network, private equity, institutional investors
Source: Crunchbase

Investment analytics
HQ: Chicago, Illinois
Latest round: $6 million
Total raised: $14.7 million
Tags: Investing, data analytics, charting
Source: Crunchbase

Giftcard and retail voucher marketplace
HQ: Tel Aviv, Israel
Latest round: $3 million Series A
Total raised: $3 million
Tags: Prepaid cards, gift cards
Source: Crunchbase

Virtual currency
HQ: Bentley, Australia
Latest round: $2.8 million
Total raised: $2.8 million
Tags: Bitcoin, cryptocurrency
Source: Crunchbase

Funding Options
Financing search & matching service for businesses
HQ: London, UK
Latest round: $1.9 million ($6.5 million valuation)
Total raised: $1.9 million
Tags: lending, lead gen, SMB
Source: FT Partners

Home buying tools
HQ: San Francisco, California
Latest round: $750,000
Total raised: $1.6 million
Tags: Mortgage, real estate, debt management, refi, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Bitcoin-denominated P2P lending
HQ: Berlin, Germany
Latest round: $670,000
Total raised: $900,000
Tags: P2p, peer-to-peer lending, underwriting, Bitcoin, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Online financial and FX trading
HQ: Copenhagen, Denmark
Latest round: $300,000
Total raised: Unknown
Tags: Trading, investing, FX, currency trading
Source: FT Partners

Public Fund Investing Tracking & Reporting (PFITR, LLC)
Public fund accounting & analytics
HQ: St. Louis, Missouri
Latest round: $50,000
Total raised: $800,000
Tags: Accounting, investing
Source: Crunchbase

Microfinance solutions provider
HQ: Zagreb, Croatia
Latest round: Undisclosed Seed
Total raised: Unknown
Tags: P2P, underbanked, financial inclusion
Source: FT Partners

Pro Securities LLC (no website)
Alt-stock exchange
Old Bridge, New Jersey
Latest round: Undisclosed sale of 25% of company to Overstock
Total raised: Unknown
Tags: Investing, trading, Overstock (investor)
Source: FT Partners

Tilt (formerly CrowdTilt)
Money collection & management for groups
HQ: San Francisco, California
Latest round: Undisclosed at $400 million valuation
Total raised: $37+ million
Tags: Crowdfunding, social money management, P2P, peer-to-peer
Source: FT Partners

FreeAgent to Crowdfund $1.6 Million Funding Round


FreeAgent, a cloud accounting provider with a mission to democratize accounting for UK-based microbusinesses and freelancers, today announced its plan to crowdfund its next funding round. The company has listed its $1.6 million (£1 million) goal with crowdfunding platform, Seedrs, and is offering 3.21% equity in exchange.


The news broke this morning in London, and 82 investors have already contributed 36% of FreeAgent’s goal amount (as of 7:19 PM GMT). The company has 60 days left to raise the remaining funds.

If investors contribute the remaining 64% (approximately $1 million) in 60 days, FreeAgent will use the funds to accelerate product development and acquire more micro-business and freelance customers. The company raised $5 million in debt financing in April and is currently valued at $47 million (£30 million).

The Edinburgh-based company opted to crowdsource the funding instead of use a traditional venture capital round in order to enable its 40,000 customers to invest and potentially attract more small business owners and accountants. Investors can take a stake in FreeAgent from as little as $16 (£10) per share.

FreeAgent CEO and co-founder, Ed Molyneux, states: “… who better to help us achieve our vision of ‘Democratising Accounting’ than our customers? We chose crowdfunding because we want to make it straightforward for them – as well as other small business owners – to invest in FreeAgent.”

FreeAgent debuted its financial health insights at FinovateEurope 2013 in London.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • FreeAgent to crowdfund $1.6 million funding round.
  • edo Interactive Completes $20 Million Series E Round; Names Badran CEO, President

Around the web:

  • Halliburton Federal CU to use Insuritas to launch insurance agency.
  • Receivables Exchange appoints James W. Toffey as new CEO.
  • PayPal, Xero, Intuit, HelloWallet, & TD Ameritrade win 2015 Webby Awards.
  • TransferWise launches updated Android app with one-tap payments for more than 360 currency routes.
  • SumUp releases SumUp Terminal Payment SDKs for iOS and Android.
  • AMP Credit Technologies appoints Chief Technology Officer.
  • Dwolla launches ability to schedule recurring payments for a specific day, recurring schedules, and cancellation criteria.
  • NICE Systems sells its cyber and intelligence division to Elbit Systems of $158 million.
  • Photos from FinovateSpring 2015 last week are now available on the Finovate Flickr feed.
  • OptionNET Taps Tradier for Rollout of Trading Directly from Their Platform.
  • Kabbage partners with Sage Payment Solutions to create small business loan offering.
  • PayPal’s OneTouch checkout service now supports all merchants using BigCommerce, even when consumers don’t have the PayPal app installed.

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.

FinovateEurope Dawns 9-10 February 2016


We’re not even half way through the year, but it’s already time to grab your calendar and turn to 2016.

The sixth annual FinovateEurope will again be held at Old Billingsgate Market Hall in London on 9 & 10 of February. Register here to save your spot.

Last year, 72 companies conducted live demos of their newest technology in front of a record crowd of almost 1,300. With interest and funding of European fintech at an all-time high, we expect to see even more innovation in 2016. To get an idea of what you’ll see, check out the demo videos from FinovateEurope 2015.


For a limited time, we’re offering a £995 pre-sale price so the best time to pick up your tickets is now. This is our lowest offer, discounted £400 off the list price. Since tickets are fully refundable until the end of 2015, there’s no risk in securing your ticket now.

Questions about the event? Check out the FAQ section of the event website or contact europe@finovate.com.

See you in London next year!

FinovateEurope 2015 is sponsored by The Bancorp, FT Partners, iBe, KPMG, and Life.Sreda.

FinovateEurope 2015 partners include Bank Innovators Council, BankersHub, bobsguide, Breaking Banks, Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Celent, Datamonitor Financial, Financial Services Club, Fintech Finance, Harrington Starr, Hotwire, Mapa Research, Mercator Advisory Group, and The Trading Mesh.