Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Baker Hill Brings its Cloud-Based Loan Origination Solution to First Bank.

Around the web

  • Online banking innovator Dollar Bank to upgrade its digital offerings with technology from Fiserv.
  • Brazil’s Nubank reaches milestone of 1.5 million digital account openings in six months.
  • Aire, Onfido, Trunomi, TransferWise, YoYo Wallet and Revolut earn finalist spots in TechCrunch Europas Awards.
  • Emailage announces expansion across APAC and plans to double the size of its Phoenix, Arizona office.

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.

AlphaPoint Raises $15 Million in Series A Led by Galaxy Digital Ventures

AlphaPoint, a New York-based fintech that leverages distributed ledger technology to enable financial institutions to digitize, trade, and manage any asset, is celebrating its fifth anniversary with news that it has raised $15 million in new funding. The Series A round was led by Galaxy Digital Ventures, and brings the company’s total capital to $16.6 million. AlphaPoint says it will use the funds to double the size of its team by year’s end.

“We are delighted to have Galaxy Digital Ventures as a strategic investor who shares our vision to unlock the value of illiquid assets for a wider audience of investors and traders,” AlphaPoint CEO Salil Donde said. “This investment allows us to continue our focus on our customers’ success.”

Galaxy Digital Ventures managing director Greg Wasserman credited AlphaPoint for having the combination of talent and technology in order to take advantage what he called a “tremendous” demand for the digitization of illiquid assets. AlphaPoint estimates the total value of the illiquid asset market – including gold and real estate – at more than $11 trillion and sees its technology as a way to provide badly needly liquidity. “Consumers are demanding increased access, transparency, and trust,” said Wasserman, who will join AlphaPoint’s board of directors as part of the strategic investment. “Businesses are seeking increased liquidity with reduced fraud, risk, and cost.”

Founded in 2013, AlphaPoint demonstrated its AlphaPoint Distributed Ledger Platform (ADLP) at FinovateFall 2017. The general-purpose blockchain platform streamlines the deployment of distributed financial applications, and enables financial institutions to participate in digital asset issuance, confidential smart contracts, and automated workflows. Running in live production since 2013, the solution has facilitated  transactions totaling more than $100 billion to date for platform customers. The company’s partners include Intel – with whom AlphaPoint teamed up last fall – Microsoft, and RedHat. The CME Group, London Block Exchange, and BTCC are a few of AlphaPoint’s more than 30 global clients.

Earlier this year, AlphaPoint announced completion of a blockchain trial with Scotiabank that explored a variety of use cases for the company’s ADLP. In April, AlphaPoint teamed up with CME Group and The Royal Mint to support the Royal Mint Gold initiative, a trading platform for digital gold. And last month, AlphaPoint introduced its Regulated Asset Backed Token (RABT), a new framework designed to support the launch of blockchain tokens supported by regulated assets. The goal is to leverage blockchain technology to add liquidity to the real estate market.

Donde took over the CEO spot at the company last fall – at the same time AlphaPoint unveiled plans for a new public blockchain network. He arrived at AlphaPoint after serving as EVP of Global Information Services at Nasdaq.

Nextmarkets Picks Up $6.9 Million in New Funding

Courtesy of a just-completed Series A round, Cologne-based nextmarkets has raised $6.96 million (€6 million) in capital. The round featured participation from existing investors FinLab, Peter Thiel and Falk Strascheg, as well as new investors Axel Springer Media for Equity GmbH, Cryptology Asset Group PLC, and British hedge fund manager Alan Howard.

The Series A takes the company’s total equity to nearly $14 million. Howard commended the firm for its “impressive technology” which he said will add to the company’s future innovations to make a “lasting impact on the retail investment space.”

The funding news is only one headline nextmarkets has made this week. The company also launched its real-money offer, which enables customers to open real money accounts and participate in equity markets on the nextmarkets platform. The company plans to add crypto market options soon. Nextmarkets also announced that its subsidiary, nextmarkets Trading Limited, has obtained a Category 3 Investment Service License in Malta.

“With obtaining the license and going live we have taken a major milestone in our success story,” nextmarkets co-founder and CEO Manuel Heyden said. “From now on we will focus on dynamic growth in Europe and soon globally with our highly scalable, transactional business model.”

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Cologne, Germany, nextmarkets demonstrated its technology at FinovateEurope 2015. A specialist in the field of curated investing, nextmarkets enables individual investors and traders to benefit from the expertise of 14 investment professionals who provide real-time trading insights via the web or smartphone on more than 1,000 markets, including equities, indices, foreign exchange, and commodities.

And with both ETF and crypto currency markets to be added soon, nextmarkets will make it even easier for traders and investors to remain vigilant for market opportunities – especially in sectors with which they are less familiar. “As an active investor, I always wonder who has the time to analyze the wide range of stocks and cryptos,” nextmarkets co-founder and CTO Dominic Heyden said. “Now I have my own investment professionals in my pocket and will be backed by them on the markets. If one of my coaches makes a profit in his bitcoin analysis, I do it on my account.”

The Heyden brothers have a history in social investing, having co-founded ayondo in 2008. Ayondo participated in FinovateEurope 2013, where the brothers – along with CMO Alexander Surminski – demonstrated the third edition of its social trading platform.

Best of Show Winner Finn AI Partners with Visa Canada to Boost Chatbot Capabilities

Visa Canada and Finn AI have teamed up to offer new capabilities in conversational banking chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI), powered by the Visa Developer Platform, reports Antony Peyton of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

The Vancouver-based fintech firm will use Visa Developer Platform APIs to enhance its conversational AI technology to “provide a more personalised experience” for banks to interact with their customers.

Jake Tyler, CEO at Finn AI, said: “This will help banks meet consumers’ needs on their terms, allowing them to set travel notifications, flag fraudulent transactions, manage subscriptions and more – as easily as chatting to their friends – 24/7 in the channels of their choice.”

For example, users could ask “Where is the closest ATM?” or “Please cancel my card” using Finn AI technology and the APIs.

A customer could chat with a virtual assistant and follow a process to ensure their cards are optimised while they are travelling.

Or they could turn on travel notifications before departing, retrieving foreign exchange rates while at the airport, and locating the nearest ATM at their destination.

A customer can also disable a misplaced card to ensure protection against fraudulent transactions through a “simple, natural conversation”.

Other Finn AI partnerships include ATB Financial, Bank of Montreal (BMO), Banpro Grupo Promerica in Nicaragua, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Finn AI made its Finovate debut at FinovateAsia 2016, winning Best of Show. The company returned to the Finovate stage the following fall for FinovateFall 2017, once again taking home top honors for a demonstration of its virtual banking assistant.

Finn AI has raised $3 million in funding and includes Yaletown Partners, Flying Fish Partners and angel investor John Livingston among its investors.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • AlphaPoint Raises $15 Million in a Series A Led by Galaxy Digital Ventures.
  • Nextmarkets Picks Up $6.9 Million in New Funding.

Around the web

  • NetSuite names Expensify Innovation Partner of the Year.
  • Passport hires its first Chief Corporate Development Officer.
  • Signicat to offer Freja eID for customer onboarding thanks to partnership with IT security firm, Verisec
  • Equifax appoints former IBM Watson and Cloud Platform CTO Bryson Koehler as its new Chief Technology Officer.

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.

Ondot Introduces Digital Card Services Platform

Winner of Best of Show awards at FinovateSpring and FinovateMiddleEast, Ondot Systems has launched its digital card services platform. The new offering provides card issuers with full digital card life-cycle management – from initial invitation through secure payments – in a single platform.

“In a digital-first world where payments are becoming invisible and consumers expect instant gratification, card issuers must attract, acquire, and empower consumers with personalized digital experience,” Sung-Wook Han, CTO for Ondot, explained. “Ondot provides a comprehensive set of services around the ‘digitized card,’ integrating into existing mobile apps, card management systems, and authorization platforms.”

Ondot CEO Vaduvur Bharghavan demonstrating the Ondot Digital Card Mobile App at FinovateSpring 2018.

Ondot’s latest solution takes advantage of social networking and bot technology to enhance the customer acquisition, application, and KYC processes. Approved cardholders get instant digital card issuance with dynamic security codes (CVV2) to support secure e-commerce, and the ability to make in-app push provisions to digital wallets. Ondot also brings to bear its innovations in card control technology, enabling cardholders to control how and when their cards can be used. Cardholders can also set spending limits, location parameters, and allow or block transactions with specific merchants.

Ondot’s latest offering can be integrated into current mobile banking apps via APIs/SDKs, or accessed as a white label mobile app with customized branding. The platform supports credit, debit, and prepaid cards, including Visa, Mastercard and private label cards.

Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, and having offices in Bangalore, India, Ondot Systems made its Finovate debut in 2014. At the event, the company won Best of Show for a live demonstration of its Mobile Card Services solution. More recently, Ondot participated in our inaugural FinovateMiddleEast conference in February, demoing its Digital Card Mobile App. The company followed its Best of Show winning demonstration with news that it was bringing Mobile Card Services to customers in Asia.

Last month, Ondot celebrated a major milestone by having 3,000 financial institutions offer mobile card controls powered by its technology. Founded in 2011, the company has raised $28 million in funding. Vaduvur Bharghavan is CEO.

Dorsum Unveils My Wealth Mobile App

Budapest, Hungary-based Dorsum launched a new wealth management mobile app this week. The investment software provider’s new My Wealth mobile app helps customers better understand and review their portfolio holdings, as well as make new investments with just a few taps. The app leverages gamification and an education marketplace toolkit to ensure that customers remain well-informed about basic investment concepts and principles. My Wealth also features a self-learning chatbot as well as the ability to request a human financial advisor to take over the conversation, giving users the benefits of both AI and human advisory.

Imre Rokob, Director of Business Development at Dorsum noted that innovations like the My Wealth app are driven largely by a combination of a shift in investing preferences and the arrival of non-financial participants in the investment arena. “Present-day investors want to manage their portfolios on the go while staying in control in an efficient and intuitive way,” Rokob explained. “I’m very proud that our continuous effort to revolutionize our B2B software offerings has resulted in a digital innovation offering a unique wealth management mobile application with the right balance between intelligent automation and a human approach.”

My Wealth not only helps bridge the gap between AI and human financial advice. The technology also helps investors bridge the gap between their actual and optimal investment portfolios. When this occurs, the app provides customers with a list of potential investments the user could make that would help bring the actual portfolio more in line with the optimal portfolio. Users can receive personalized notifications and news on the app, as well as set up a meeting for a call or chat with an advisor. The solution works for both iOS and Android, and can be readily integrated into any wealth management platform or system. While designed for customers, financial advisors can use the app to keep in touch with clients and to send personalized notes and advice, as well.

“Our exceptional solution merges with the traditional advisory and the digital advisory process into a hybrid model,” Dorsum CEO Robert Ko said. “Our software meets the digital expectations of the younger generations, ready to fight with robo disruptors and boost performance of personal financial advisors.”

Dorsum demonstrated its Botboarding platform at the inaugural FinovateMiddleEast 2018 conference earlier this year. The technology, which won the company a Best of Show award last year at FinovateEurope 2017, creates customer onboarding chatbots that combine natural language communication with traditional data collection and user profiling.

In addition to its Botboarding platform, Dorsum offers a client acquisition tool that supports client engagement with vivid presentations and a portfolio calculator that provides instant financial planning simulations, as well as its wealth management platform. With subsidiaries in Romania and Bulgaria, Dorsum includes Raiffeisen Bank International, Erste Bank, and Generali among its clients.

Risk Ident to Help Universum Protect Retailers from Fraud

Anti-fraud solutions provider Risk Ident has teamed up with Universum this week to strengthen risk evaluation capabilities for Universum’s clients.

As part of the agreement Universum will leverage Risk Ident’s FRIDA, a self-learning anti-fraud technology. FRIDA automatically analyzes individual transactions to establish relationships between transactions and quickly identify fraudulent connections. Retailers’ fraud managers receive an overview of flagged transactions, marking potential fraudulent activities, within seconds.

Universum will also deploy Risk Ident’s DEVICE IDENT, device fingerprinting technology that analyzes consumers’ devices and identifies fraudulent correlations with their use in real time. Retailers integrate DEVICE IDENT into the checkout page on their website and can quickly take action when the system notifies them of potential fraudulent activity.

“We are really looking forward to future cooperation. Above all, our retailers will benefit from this partnership: Risk Ident is the market leader in the fraud prevention sector, and will help improve the Universum Group’s risk evaluation,” said Ralf Linden, managing director of sales & marketing of the Universum Group.

Risk Ident was founded in 2012 by Roberto Valerio, who demoed EVE, the company’s evaluation engine, at FinovateEurope 2016. EVE is a standalone software application that offers machine learning-powered risk management technology that detects connections between transactions and previously unidentified fraud scenarios. Risk Ident is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany and Boston, Massachusetts. Earlier this year, the company was recognized as the Best Financial Transaction Security Company at the 2018 FinTech Breakthrough Awards.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Risk Ident to Help Universum Protect Retailers from Fraud.
  • Dorsum Unveils My Wealth Mobile App.
  • Ondot Introduces Digital Card Services Platform.

Around the web

  • NuData Security named a “Top 100 in Tech” by Business in Vancouver.
  • ThetaRay wins ATMIA’s Next Generation ATM Security Award.
  • Tuition.io to power student loan repayment benefits for Hulu employees.
  • Standard Chartered Bank announces intentions to apply for the virtual banking license.
  • Conversation.one is Amazon Alexa-Certified for Financial Institutions.
  • Flywire and UnionPay Partner to Take the Cost Out of Cross-Border Payments from China.
  • Yoyo introduces quarterly tracker to monitor customer activity in closed catering environments.
  • U.K.-based Business Leader magazine features Wealthify and YellowDog among its 32 South West Tech Businesses That Are Shaping the Future spotlight.
  • Unblu opens offices in London.

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.

rplan Acquired for $20 Million

Client engagement technology provider rplan revealed a plan of its own this week. The U.K.-based company has been acquired by InvestCloud for $20 million.

rplan offers API-based technology to help investment firms, especially heavily regulated companies in international markets, support their clients. The company counts four of the top eight institutional asset managers in the U.K. as clients and will now be available to InvestCloud’s client base of more than 700 firms, including some of the largest financial institutions in North America.

John Wise, chairman and CEO of InvestCloud, said that institutional asset management is an “important and growing segment for InvestCloud.” Wise also noted he will leverage rplan to grow InvestCloud’s direct-to-consumer and digital product channels. “They truly complement the InvestCloud Digital Platform and will bolster our successes in this space,” Wise added. rplan Director Andy Creak said that combining InvestCloud’s financial resources with the rplan solution and industry knowledge will help the company “dominate” the direct-to-consumer market across the globe.

rplan was founded in 2011. At FinovateEurope 2013, Creak, along with CPO Nick Curry, demoed the rplan portfolio builder, which helps users create an investment portfolio based on key criteria such as goals and risk. Since then, the company has launched an online course providing education on the fundamentals of investing and introduced a simple, transparent pricing structure.