A Full Day of Fintech Practice

With dozens of companies slated to take the Finovate stage over the next two days, we’re placing the final touches each of the 7-minute demos. FinovateSpring begins tomorrow (still time to register) and we’re excited to watch these perfected demos at the San Jose Convention Center among a crowd of C-level banking executives, startup founders, VC’s, media, analysts, and press. Check out the word cloud below for a glance of who to expect.FS17 Titles (1)

If all of this last-minute prep is making you wonder about the details of this week’s show, wonder no more:

The event will be held at the San Jose Convention Center, (Google Maps) at 150 West San Carlos Street, San Jose, CA 95113.

Check out our full list of presenters and read our Sneak Peek blog series for more information about what each company will demo on stage.

Registration opens at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 26. A continental breakfast and coffee will be served until the first demo session begins at 8:45 a.m. Check out the full agenda on the FinovateSpring home page.

After the final demo session on Thursday, we’re hosting five panelists who will discuss the demos and their role in the larger fintech scene. The panel will be moderated by Ranjit Palkar, Partner at Capco. Panelists include:

  • Marc Chalifoux, TD Bank VP, Fintech Intelligence & Innovation
  • Lawrence Tang, Head of Investment Promotion InvestHK
  • Oded Shoshany, CEO of Celeriti FinTech
  • Valentina Isakina, Managing Director of JobsOhio
  • Illya Shell, VP New Product Development and Innovation at MasterCard

Mobile app
Download the Finovate mobile app from the app store. Use the app to access the agenda and attendee list, learn about presenters, schedule meetings and more. If you use the same email address in the app that you used to register for
FinovateSpring, it should recognize you immediately. If you have any issues, please email spring@finovate.com or see a Finovate staff member at registration.

For additional help, please check out the FAQ section on our website or email info@finovate.com. We’ll see you tomorrow!

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Geezeo to power digital financial management for Liberty Bank.

Around the web

  • ProfitStars unveils its CECL DataStore and Validation solution to help FIs meet upcoming compliance deadline.
  • New enhancements to nCino’s Bank Operating System make it easier to serve small business borrowers.
  • iSignthis deploys its Paydentity service to UK-based forex broker, XM.co.uk.

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.

Digitization, Data, and Automation: A Look at Tech Trends Driving MortgageTech

Designed by Freepik

Digitization and innovations in workflow automation and data integration are among the biggest trends driving much of mortgagetech. Whether you are a process facilitator, making the purchase experience easier on the homebuyer, or a loan servicer looking to better target your lending efforts, the efficiencies and insights provided by these technological trends are transforming this growing space within fintech.

In some ways, these are the same trends that are sweeping through not just technology but industry, as well. It’s true that workers and consumers in the 21st century have developed a love/hate relationship with an increasingly digitized, automated, and data-dependent world. But at least with regard to mortgagetech, these innovations are likely to prove more boon than bust, relieving much of the friction and many of the headaches and inefficiencies that plague all sides of the real estate transaction.

Writing at The Home Story, Timothy Ahern quoted the quarterly Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey produced by Fannie’s Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) Group in which those surveyed put “a need for digitization and automation” at the top of their list of technological innovations they would like to see in their industry. “Survey results suggested that mortgage lenders have a strong interest in a fully digitalized mortgage process,” Ahern added.

With this in mind, we looked at trends in digitization, automation, and data integration in mortgagetech through the lens of a pair of FinDEVr alums: a Bay Area startup founded five years ago called Blend (FDSV16) on one hand, and a loan origination specialist that has been in the mortgage business since 1997, Ellie Mae (FDNY17), on the other.

Blend and the Art of Adding Intelligence to Mortgage Applications

For mortgage application process facilitators, digitization has been perhaps the single most significant technological innovation. And while reams of paper are often still involved in the average real estate transaction, digitization has created massive efficiencies in the process. Describing the current mortgage experience as one that is “paper-driven,” involving “endless back and forth,” lacking in “transparency”, and overly manual, Blend co-founder and CTO Eugene Marinelli discussed last fall at FinDEVr Silicon Valley how his company “makes the process a lot more automated, and a lot more efficient.”


Pictured: Blend’s Eugene Marinelli, CTO & Co-Founder, during his presentation “The Data-Driven Mortgage by Blend” at FinDEVr 2016 Silicon Valley.

Blend, for example, engages borrowers with straightforward, “very digestable” workflows to provide basic information about assets, income, and other data that will enable the platform to complete the loan application for the borrower. Borrowers can directly connect their accounts to the platform instead of having to login to their separate bank accounts and export the information into the application. The solution also leverages optical character recognition (OCR) technology to read and extract data from uploaded documents such as W-2s and pay stubs.

Under the hood, managing workflows with less friction is similarly a matter of managing data. Blend, for example, houses application data, property data, and borrower data centrally in its data model. The goal is to “add intelligence to the application,” according to Software Engineering Lead Nivi Jayasekar. “How do we only ask the borrowers the questions they really need to be answering and how do we source that information up to them appropriately at her right moment?” she asked. The solution for Blend is “centralized rules,” which ensure that an independent contractor, for example, gets an application with different queries and has different disclosure needs compared to a salaried worker. This process also supports compliance needs by routing the borrower responses to create an audit trail as well as the centralized rules engine.

The tools of digitization, automation, and data integration are ideal for the challenge of mortgages, which Blend describes as “data-rich and insight-poor.” With automatic data extraction and the ability to leverage this data to develop business rules that create more personalized experiences and reduce costs, companies like Blend are helping make one of life’s most important decisions – buying a home – less complicated and more transparent.

“This is by nature very complex,” Jayasekar said. “Some of it doesn’t need to be and we do a good job of reducing that redundancy through the borrower experience and connectivity.”

Automation, Open APIs and Ellie Mae’s Innovation in Loan Servicing

Automating the mortgage process, as Ahern noted above, is a major goal for those firms that are directly involved in loan servicing. Ellie Mae, which made its FinDEVr debut this spring, produces the software that processes nearly a quarter of all mortgage applications in the U.S. The company’s innovations in mortgage process automation and its new focus on open APIs have positioned Ellie Mae as a firm to watch among mortgagetech’s loan servicers.

In February, Ellie Mae unveiled the latest version of its mortgage management solution, Encompass, which automates the loan origination process. The all-in-one package facilitates CRM, point of sale, processing, underwriting, closing and funding, as well as post-closing and shipping. The platform helps ensure compliance and loan quality with features like automatic loan review and channel-specific workflows. Electronic document management includes automated auditing and intelligent document recognition. Reporting and analytic tools help lending professionals take advantage of the critical data flowing through the system to make real-time performance insights.

But during its FinDEVr New York presentation in March, Ellie Mae’s VP of Platform Engineering Jeff Collins emphasized the platform’s embrace of Open APIs. “We’ve grown really well. We’ve solved a lot of problems,” Collins said of Ellie Mae, adding, “but now its time to look for innovation and excitement and new opportunities from partners outside our own walls.” Collins showed how the platform’s developer portal features a “Try It” mode that allows developers to experiment with deploying sample loan objects into any of the various loan fields in a sandbox type environment without having to write the code first.


Pictured: Ellie Mae VP, Platform Engineering Jeff Collins during his presentation, “Ellie Mae Encompass Developer Connect,” at FinDEVr 2017 New York.

In addition to other features, like Pipeline that enables query APIs for loans that match specific criteria, the platform also supports webhooks, which are user-defined HTTP callbacks. Collins demonstrated the example of a how Encompass could send notification of a newly created loan product as a webhook that would enable Ellie Mae’s lender customers to integrate it into their data warehouse or into other services in their business. “Because at the end of the day,” Collins explained, “we are the system that makes the object that makes money for the lender. But that integrates into a whole bunch of other workflows including things like loan servicing, because when that loan is ready to go they may want to start asking for payments from the customer.”

To underscore Ellie Mae’s commitment to open APIs, Collins demonstrated an Alexa-based Encompass Loan Officer Connect voice app for lenders, querying the technology for the status of various loans, including upcoming rate lock expirations, as well as directing the app to “run product and pricing” on specific loans in order to find a better rate. “Anybody can plug into this platform and become part of the ecosystem,” Collins said, “The goal being that by working together … we can make borrowers’ lives easier, to lower the pain for them, to get more people into houses.”

This concludes our series on proptech and mortgagetech in fintech. In case you missed them, check out our review of proptech’s role in fintech and a closer look at real estate investment technology. For more proptech, come to FinovateSpring where we’ll showcase a variety of proptech, mortgagetech, and other fintech at the San Jose Convention Center.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Digitization, Data, and Automation: A Look at Tech Trends Driving MorgageTech.
  • The Way to San Jose: FinovateSpring 2017 Begins This Week.

Around the Web

  • Roostify taps former Appfluent Technology CEO Frank Gelbart as new Chief Revenue Officer.
  • Fraud prevention innovator Featurespace partners with UK digital family banking solution, goHenry.

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.


The Way to San Jose: FinovateSpring 2017 Begins This Week!


Pictured: SaleMove CEO and Co-founder Daniel Michaeli during his Best of Show winning demonstration at FinovateSpring 2016.

Fintech’s favorite rite of spring is back! FinovateSpring returns to San Jose Wednesday and Thursday for two days of live demos of the latest innovations in financial technology. This year, we’ll be taking the stage in the newly renovated ballroom of the San Jose Convention Center, 10 minutes drive from San Jose Airport, less than 45 minutes from San Francisco, and a nice spring stroll away from some of downtown San Jose’s most interesting shops and restaurants.

The companies that will be demonstrating their newest solutions and services live on stage this week reflect many of the biggest trends in technology today. From machine learning and artificial intelligence to the API revolution and the way analytics tools to help us draw actionable, meaningful insights from data, the variety and sophistication of the technologies being deployed in the fintech space continues to grow.


If these are the themes and trends that drive your daily work, then come join us this week at FinovateSpring for a peek into tomorrow’s fintech today. Tickets are still available, so visit our registration page and save your spot.

Here’s what you need to know to be ready for FinovateSpring this year:

Registration starts at 8am, with the first demo beginning at 8:45am. Be sure to arrive early enough to enjoy complimentary coffee and a continental breakfast.

There will be four demo sessions on Wednesday the 26th and another three demo sessions on Thursday the 27th. This year, in a first for Finovate, we will feature a discussion panel following the final demo on Thursday afternoon. The hour-long panel conversation will take a deep dive into the technologies presented over two days of live demonstrations, putting the innovations in the broader context of current trends in fintech.

And, as always, we’ll wrap up the conference with our Best of Show awards presentation during the end of day networking session on Thursday. Check out our FinovateSpring agenda for more detail.

We’re looking forward to our return to sunny San Jose and hope you’ll be there to join us. Learn more about our presenting companies by checking out our FinovateSpring Sneak Peek series. And if you’ve got questions about the conference, check out our FinovateSpring 2017 FAQ page or send us an email at spring@finovate.com. See you at the show!

Feature Friday: Discover’s Interactive Checking Account Comparison

discover checking comparison

Discover’s responsive page dedicated to selling its Cashback Checking is a thing of beauty from top to bottom (though we have some suggestions on a few of the finer points of the UX). We especially like the interactive comparison to the competition. Discovers starts by comparing its fees to Chase, Citi, and BofA. But the card giant makes it easy to compare against four other major brands (US Bank, Wells, Capital One and Fifth Third). Simply click on the + sign in the empty fifth column on the right and choose one of the brands from the popup (see below).

The table works on smaller screens including smartphones. But you can only compare to one other bank at a time. Users select the competitor with from a drop-down box.

Bottom line: If you clearly offer better price/value, then by all means flaunt it. While Discover makes a great case here for its Cashback Checking, it could be even better with more benefits listed (e.g., mobile deposit for one) and a tool to calculate financial savings and rewards. But overall, excellent work!

Author: Jim Bruene is Founder & Senior Advisor to Finovate as well as
Principal of BUX Advisors, a financial services UX consultancy. 

Coinbase Launches Open Source Ethereum Wallet to Promote Financial Inclusion

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 3.45.00 PM

Bitcoin and Ethereum wallet company Coinbase has been doing some spring cleaning lately. Earlier this week, the company launched a developer preview of its new tool, Token.

Coinbase describes Token as a combination of a private, secure messaging app, a mobile browser for Ethereum apps, and an Ethereum wallet. The system was created to work like a global, open protocol version of China’s WeChat, India’s PayTM, and Kenya’s mPESA— all apps that drive large volumes of digital payments.

Because the app is made for small value payments, Coinbase opted to build Token for Ethereum, which has lower transaction fees than Bitcoin. In order to let users know who they can trust when it comes to money transfers, Token created a reputation system that allows users to build their trust profile each time they transact with others.


The impetus behind the new launch is to promote financial inclusion across the globe. In the blog post announcing Token, Coinbase wrote, “We believe that everyone in the world should have access to financial services, and with smartphones becoming ubiquitous, digital currency can make that happen.” The company has long term goals to “provide financial services to the 2 billion people in the developing world who have a cell phone, but don’t have access to a bank account; make it dramatically easier for people to build and use Ethereum applications; and shift digital currency from being just a speculative investment to being a payment network for useful goods and services.”

Founded in 2012, Coinbase serves as a digital currency wallet and offers tools to help merchants accept digital currencies at physical and digital points-of-sale. At FinovateSpring 2014, the company debuted Instant Exchange, a tool to help merchants avoid currency volatility when accepting digital currencies. Last month, Coinbase was granted approval to extend ether trades in New York and began offering margin trading to allow users to trade up to 3X leveraged orders on Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin order books.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Coinbase Launches Open Source Ethereum Wallet to Promote Financial Inclusion.

Around the web

  • Expensify partners with TravelPerk to make business travel easier.
  • Bento for Business welcomes Lou Friedmann as Chief Revenue Officer.
  • Featurespace’s ARIC platform to power fraud prevention for GoHenry.
  • BBVA and Ripple complete blockchain cross-border money transfer pilot.
  •  Larky to power location-based perks platform for Sharetec’s CU clients.
  • Icon Solutions enhances Instant Payments Framework (IPF) to connect to The Clearing House for US Real-Time Payments.
  • Walletron helps Transactis grow its electronic billing and payments service, BillerIQ.
  • NICE Actimize unveils new, cloud-based, fraud analytics optimization technology, ActimizeWatch.
  • Global financial services firm chooses Mobile Verify and Mobile Fill from Mitek.
  • IBS Sales League recognizes Temenos as “number one best-selling digital and channels solution” worldwide.
  • Algomi teams up with OpenFin to deploy software updates faster.

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.

Mastercard’s Biometric Payment Card: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

cardgifPayments giant Mastercard announced today it is undergoing trials for a new payment card. A first in the industry, the company has embedded a fingerprint scanner inside a Chip and PIN payment card– think of it as Apple Pay for your bank card. Once users insert their card into a chip reader, they set their finger on the embedded sensor, and the card sends the authentication to the bank, which approves the payment.

The good

  • Scanning their fingerprint eliminates the need for a user to enter (and remember) their PIN
  • Bystanders can’t steal your fingerprint as easily as they can peek at your PIN
  • The card defaults to a PIN or signature in the event the user’s finger is too sweaty or greasy to read
  • Users can add up to two fingerprints
  • Merchants can use their existing EMV card readers; no software upgrades are required

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 2.08.33 PM

The bad

  • Mobile biometric readers have proven to be spoofable
  • The fingerprint scanner will not work on magstripe-only readers
  • The card does not currently support contactless payment functionality popular in Europe

The ugly

  • In order to use the fingerprint sensor on the card consumers have to register their fingerprint by visiting a brick-and-mortar bank branch or enrollment center.
  • There is no information on what the card will cost, but it’s not going to be cheap. Whether the financial institution chooses to pay for the new card or if they decide to charge consumers for it (more likely), someone will need to foot the bill.

This new concept card has undergone trials in South Africa and will be tested in Europe and Asia Pacific in the next few months. A full rollout is expected later this year. Absa Bank, a subsidiary of Barclays Africa, was the pilot behind the South Africa trials. There’s no word yet on which bank partnerships Mastercard has in place for the full rollout.

This is not the company’s first foray into biometrics. In October 2016 Mastercard launched Selfie Pay, an app that enables users to authenticate by taking a photo of their face. Mastercard last demoed at FinovateFall 2014 and showed off its Developer Zone at FinDEVr San Francisco 2014.

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Tyro


FS2017-Logo(rev)V1A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on April 26 & 27 in San Jose. Pick up your tickets today and save your spot.

Tyro integrates payments, banking, and lending into one simple and transparent product as the only fintech in Australia with an unrestricted banking license.


  • Ultra convenience through seamless integration of accounting, banking, and payments
  • Accelerate business growth with Smart Growth Funding
  • Only Australian fintech with an unrestricted banking license

Why it’s great
Fully-integrated and seamless solution that brings together payments, deposits, and lending into one mobile solution.


Christopher Logan, Head of Software Engineering – Lending, Mobile, Web, and Data



Tyro_CaitrionaKelly_2Caitriona Kelly, Delivery Lead