Backbase Partners with SGBL to Support Digital Transformation

Days away from Finovate’s first conference in the Middle East, we learn that one of our most popular alums (as judged by Best of Show awards) is supporting digitization and modernization for one of the leading banks in Lebanon and the Levant: Backbase has partnered with Société Générale de Banque au Liban (SGBL) to help the banking group replace their legacy technology with Backbase’s omni-channel digital banking platform.

“We are delighted to have been chosen by SGBL and to play a role in the transformation of their digital banking landscape,” Backbase CEO Jouk Pleiter said. “This expansive, customer-focused transformation brings SGBL into the same playing field as the fintechs, or even beyond.” Highlighting the ability of the platform to serve both its retail and corporate clients, Antoun Sehnaoui, Chairman and CEO of SGBL said the partnership would help the firm maintain its commitment to providing its customers with financial technology that is innovative and secure “to help keep them moving forward with confidence.”

The new platform from Backbase features easy-to-use environments, real time transactions, an enhanced user experience, faster time to market, increased security with multi-factor authentication, online client origination, and 24/7 banking services across branches and channels. The technology has already begun its rollout in Lebanon, with internet and mobile banking features going live in December. A broader regional rollout to Jordan, Cyprus, and the UAE is planned.

SGBL’s decision to deploy Backbase’s technology is timely. The company released version 6 of its digital banking platform late last year, bringing customers what VP of Product Management Jelmer de Jong referred to as “an API architecture ready for the Open Banking and PSD2 future.” The Amsterdam, Netherlands-based company and multiple-time Best of Show winner went live with French, mobile-only bank Orange Bank last fall, and was named Growth Partner of the Year by Capgemini. Most recently demonstrating its technology at FinovateEurope 2017 last February, Backbase was founded in 2003.

FinovateMiddleEast Day Two: Voices from MENA

By adding keynote addresses and panel discussions to the signature, 7-minute Finovate demo format, attendees to our conferences benefit not only from seeing live technology demonstrations firsthand. They also get exposure to some of fintech’s most insightful thought leaders, including CEOs, serial entrepreneurs, bankers, and investors. Here, we’re giving you a look at some of the women and men who will be speaking on Day Two of FinovateMiddle East.

Note that some of our speakers on Day Two are also speaking on Day One and have been introduced as part of our Day One feature. These include Ruth Wandhofer and Moussa Beidas who will close Day Two with a revisit of our Day One Theme: What did the bank gain? What did the fintech gain? What do investors think?

For more information about what’s happening on the second day of our conference, including our demos for the day, accelerator showcase, and lunchtime roundtables, check out our Day Two agenda.

Keynotes & Addresses

Paul Schulte, Founder and Editor and International Fintech Guru, Schulte Research

Schulte is founder and editor of Schulte Research, established in 2011 for researching financial institutions and related technology. He has had a career in equity research which spans 27 years as a chief strategist for major institutions including Lehman, Barclays and Nomura. Schulte will speak on “The future of financial services: AI and the use of blockchain globally.”

Bryan Stirewait, Managing Director, Supervision, DFSA

Stirewalt joined the DFSA in 2008 and has served as a Managing Director since 2010. His responsibilities include prudential and conduct-oriented oversight of financial service providers and overseeing the DFSA’s role with Registered Auditors and CRAs. Stirewalt also directs the DFSA’s efforts to fight methods of illicit finance within his primary areas of responsibilities, as well as with DNFBPs. At FinovateMiddleEast, he will provide an update on fintech regulation.

Bernard Matthewman, Regional Director, MEA, Motive Labs

A highly experienced CEO in Africa, Matthewman has built and sold significant fintech businesses over the past 20 years, including the well-known Paynet Group. PesaPoint formed part of Paynet in East Africa, which recently won the Gold Award for innovation at the ATMIA 50 year celebrations for the global first of performing cardless mobile transactions on ATMs. Matthewman will provide a keynote, as well as participate in our fintech unicorn interview.

Ambareen Musa, CEO, Souqalmal

Musa will participate in a fintech interview.

Discussions, Panels, and Roundtables

Emre Karter, Managing Director, Head of Treasury & Trade Solutions, MENAPT, Citi

Karter is responsible for Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solution businesses in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, and is based out of Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In this role, Emre is responsible for driving Citi’s market-leading TTS business.

Karter will participate in the panel discussion: Myth versus reality – banks’ perspectives

Aleski Grym, Head Digitalisation, Bank of Finland

Grym is Head of Digitalisation at the Bank of Finland. He manages the digital programme of the bank as well as various projects related to the digital transformation of the financial industry, covering topics such as fintech, distributed ledger technologies, digital currencies, payment technologies, cyber security, and data analytics.

Grym will participate in the panel discussion: Myth versus reality – banks’ perspectives

Andrew Reid, Head of Digital Market Management and Governance, Deutsche Bank

Reid is Head of Digital Market Management and Governance for the Global Transaction Banking Division (GTB) of Deutsche Bank, based in London. He was appointed to this role in June 2017. Prior to this, he was responsible for the European Corporate Cash Management division of Deutsche Bank’s Global Transaction Bank.

Reid will participate in the panel discussion: Myth versus reality – banks’ perspectives

Lex Sokolin, Global Director, Fintech Strategy, Autonomous Research

Sokolin is a futurist and entrepreneur focused on the next generation of financial services. He directs Fintech Strategy at Autonomous Research, a global research firm for the financial sector, helping clients understand and leverage innovation. Covered themes include roboadvice, neobanks and banks-as-a-platform, blockchain and the cryptoeconomy, artificial intelligence, chatbots, insurtech and regtech.

Sokolin will participate in the panel discussion: Myth versus reality – banks’ perspectives

Ossama Hassanein, CEO, Rising Tide

Hassanein will participate in the panel discussion: Myth versus reality – banks’ perspectives

Sara Grinstead, Chief Innovation Officer, RAKBank

Grinstead leads the Bank’s approach to product and service design, ensuring that solutions are customer-centric and leveraging new business models and technologies. This includes developing new capabilities within RAKBANK, establishing partnerships with fintechs, and working with the broader UAE eco-system to support the fintech agenda in the region.

Grinstead will participate in the panel discussion on financial inclusion in MENA.

Steve Naude, Head, Middle East & Africa, TransferWise

Naude heads the Banking team for the Middle East and Africa at TransferWise, the international money transfer platform. Here he works with banks, partners and regulators to build partnerships and expand the TransferWise experience into the region.

Naude will participate in the panel discussion on financial inclusion in MENA

Mohamed El Sabban, Digital Innovation Head, Digital Banking & GTS, Commercial International Bank, Egypt

El Sabban has 23 years of wide intensive cross-functional experience in managing, developing and implementing large-scale strategic business transformation programs in the region. He is also passionate about blending business strategies, human-centric design, disruptive technologies, and business models to develop digital solutions and drive a culture of continuous innovation.

El Sabban will participate in the panel discussion on financial inclusion in MENA.

Craig Moore, CEO, Beehive

As founder and CEO, Moore is responsible for overseeing the overall strategic direction and managing the day-to-day operations of Beehive. Before founding Beehive, he was a founder and COO of Butterfly Software, a data analytics and migration software company acquired by IBM in September 2012.

Moore will participate in the panel discussion on financial inclusion in MENA.

Devie Mohan, CEO, Burnmark

Mohan is a fintech industry advisor and analyst based in London. She is the co-founder and CEO of Burnmark, a fintech research company. She is a panel member on the ING group Think Forward initiative on better financial decision making. She writes extensively on innovation, disruption and digitalisation and is a columnist with several publications.

Mohan will participate in the panel discussion on financial inclusion in MENA.

Yvonne Gale, CEO, NEL Fund Managers

CEO of NEL Fund Managers, a specialist impact investment firm providing tailored funding to small and medium-sized businesses in the North East of England, Gale is also a director of NI Growth Loan Fund General Partner, overseeing the operation of similar funds in Northern Ireland by Whiterock Capital Partners LLP.

Gale will participate in the panel discussion on financial inclusion in MENA.

Tariq Sanad, CFO, Fetchr

Sanad will participate in our unicorn interview.

FinovateMiddleEast Sneak Peek: 0smosis

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateMiddleEast on 26 and 27 of February in Dubai, U.A.E. Pick up your tickets today and save your spot.

0smosis is a Belgian-based company that builds, validates and launches fintech startups. At FinovateMiddleEast, the company will present a new augmented way of interacting with your clients.


  • Available 24/7 to your clients when they want it, where they want it
  • Creates an augmented customer experience compared to today
  • Automated so it revises your back office processes

Why it’s great
0smosis will present the default expectation of your clients in 2025. Be ready to engage.


Geert Van Kerckhoven, Founder and Product Manager for Helder
Van Kerckhoven co-founded 0smosis in 2017 as the next-gen financial services catalyst. Today, he handles the global strategy of the company as well as the development of the different ventures.


Len Adriaenssens, Founder and Venture Partner
Adriaenssens co-founded 0smosis in 2017 as the next-gen financial services catalyst. Today, he handles customer strategy, branding, and market development. Moreoever, he’s the product owner of “Helder.”



Finovate Alumni News


  • Backbase Partners with SGBL to Support Digital Transformation.
  • Munnypot to Power Jyske Bank’s Robo Advisor Tools. Come see Munnypot’s demo of its newest technology at FinovateMiddleEast next week.
  • Temenos Agrees to $1.96 Billion Takeover of Fidessa Group.

Around the web

  • Entrust Datacard receives the Blue Shield Technology Innovation Award for Security and Anti-Counterfeiting Technology.
  • ACI Worldwide recognized as fraud innovation firm of the year by Finance Monthly.
  • Ping Identity wins gold in the Identity Management category by the Cybersecurity Excellence Awards.
  • NICE Actimize introduces its next generation Suspicious Activity Monitoring solution.

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.

Kony to Power Digital Initiative for Partners FCU

Enterprise app company Kony announced it has teamed up with Partners Federal Credit Union to accelerate the credit union’s new digital banking services.

Specifically, Kony will fuel Partners FCU’s Digital 2x initiative which focuses on accelerating the delivery of new digital banking services and enhancing the digital user experience. Partners FCU, which is the credit union for employees of the Walt Disney Company, hopes that its Digital 2x initiative will offer its 150,000 members a seamless, universal experience across all of its digital services.

The aim of Kony’s involvement in the initiative is two-fold. Partners FCU is planning for it “to deliver new digital banking services and capabilities” while at the same time “fostering an agile work environment to empower teams to quickly adapt to change.”

To chronicle the success of the partnership, the California-based credit union is creating a five-part documentary series highlighting key milestones in the credit union’s digital evolution. Check out the series overview video below:

In describing why his firm selected Kony, Partners FCU President and CEO John Janclaes said, “We wanted to work with the industry’s best digital master, so we selected Kony to be our trusted partner to help us on this digital journey. Our objective is to ensure we deliver innovative banking services seamlessly across both our digital and physical channels, and not only meet but exceed the expectations of our cast members today and in the future.”

Founded in 2007, Kony is a cloud-based application solutions company that seeks to help financial institutions of all sizes quickly bring their app ideas to market. The company specializes in omni-channel banking applications that offer an excellent user experience.

Kony’s CTO, Bill Bodin and Product Marketing Manager, Antonio Sanchez, recently showcased its Digital Banking Platform at FinovateFall 2017. In August of 2017, the company unveiled the Kony AppPlatform V8 that aims to help professional developers meet demand for apps and help organizations simplify the app development and deployment processes. And in October of last year, the company launched a new digital banking solution that leverages Daon’s biometric tools. Kony is headquartered in Austin, Texas and has raised more than $115 million.

Entersekt Joins ForgeRock Trust Network as Principal Technology Partner

Mobile-first authentication and e-commerce enablement specialist Entersekt announced today that it has joined the ForgeRock Trust Network as a principal technology partner. ForgeRock provides identity and access management solutions to financial services, retail, healthcare, and communications companies as well as to educational institutions and governments including Belgium, Canada, New Zealand, and Norway.

“Entersekt will bring our customers powerful, proven authentication options that will add great vale to the exciting digital transformation projects they are embarking on with ForgeRock,” Ben Goodman, VP of global strategy and innovation for ForgeRock said. Entersekt’s advanced mobile app security, authentication, and digital signing solutions integrate seamlessly into ForgeRock’s identity and access management platform, giving customers an easy way to secure individuals, connected devices, and services.

“As Entersekt did with push-based authentication, so has ForgeRock reimagined identity and access management, rearchitecting it from the ground up,” Entersekt CCO Dewald Nolte said. “Besides our game-changing complementary technologies, it’s that pioneering approach that I believe will benefit mutual customers the most. It promises to spur further innovation and help deliver to end users the best mobile experiences available anywhere.”

Entersekt’s solutions can be applied to a variety of challenges including mobile app security, strong authentication, payments enabling, digital signing, biometric enablement and regulatory compliance. The company’s flagship products are Transakt, which provides one-touch, multi-factor authentication for digital banking and payments, Interakt, which enables push USSD, out-of-band communication for feature phones, and Connekt, which provides secure and seamless e-commerce enablement. Entersekt secures 150 million digital transactions every month in 45 countries, protecting tens of millions of end users.

Entersekt participated in our developer’s conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2014, with a presentation titled Securing Mobile Applications Through Transport Layer Diversity. Headquartered in Stellenbosch, NA, South Africa and founded in 2008, the company includes RMI and Endeavor Catalyst among its investors. Schalk Nolte is CEO.

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: Pushfor

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateEurope on the 6 through 9 of March 2018 in London. Pick up your tickets today and save your spot.

Pushfor provides a secure layer of control across all devices and data stores, allowing you to protect and share digitized content, internally and externally, via any channel with absolute confidence.


  • Push content using a unique URL link via any other communication channel
  • Control and track who, how, when, and where content is viewed
  • Provides real-time usage analytics for valuable insight

Why it’s great
Pushed content never leaves its source location so is never actually sent – Push, don’t send.


John Safa, Founder and CTO
Safa is an entrepreneur and seasoned executive in architecting solutions for mobile, desktop, and cloud platforms.

Crispin Luxton, VP, Client Solutions
Luxton has a strong track record with 18+ years of consultancy and business development experience in the software sector focused on B2B, enterprise, and end-user computing.

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: Partner HUB

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateEurope on the 6 through 9 of March 2018 in London. Pick up your tickets today and save your spot.

Partner HUB’s Charlie-India platform offers a white label platform for electronic invoice presentment and payment for banks, payment service providers, and fintechs.


  • White label product retaining the bank’s primary customer contact
  • Modular implementation starting with an off-the-shelf product
  • Interoperability with invoicing systems for data processing

Why it’s great
Charlie-India helps banks to get primary access to business level transaction data by setting up invoice related services needed to provide more efficient trade finance and payment services.


Katalin Kauzli, Business Development Director, Co-founder
Kauzli has significant business development, corporate finance, and start-up experience. Since 2013 she has been involved in the fundraising and business development of several innovative start-ups.

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: ApPello

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateEurope on the 6 through 9 of March 2018 in London. Pick up your tickets today and save your spot.

ApPello is a lending industry fintech vendor providing banking solutions. It covers the whole loan process, including loan origination, credit scoring, collaterals, monitoring and collection.


  • Makes it quick to customize any main part of a business application
  • Is flexible and easy to fine tune for customer needs
  • Offers omni-channel capabilities

Why it’s great
The ApPello Loan Factory, with the help of its flexible platform, allows the quick implementation of new products and rules and also the fulfillment of clients’ business needs.


János Hoós, Chief Consulting Officer

Agnes Magyar, Business Analyst

Bernadett Nagy, Head of Pre-Sales

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: SecuredTouch

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateEurope on the 6 through 9 of March 2018 in London. Pick up your tickets today and save your spot.

SecuredTouch is the leader in behavioral biometrics, delivering continuous authentication technologies to strengthen security and reduce fraud while improving the customer’s digital experience.


  • Enhance the user experience by reducing friction
  • Increase conversions by reducing false positive transaction denials
  • Receive immediate ROI with early detection of fraud attempts

Why it’s great
The reality is that 98% of human traffic is legitimate and 2% is not. It’s time we stop treating our clients as if it’s the other way around.


Mark Freeman, Head Of Business Development
Freeman served 9 years in an IDF elite intelligence unit before moving into the start up world. He is in charge of business development and strategic alliances at SecuredTouch.

Ran Wasserman, VP of R&D
With more than 10 years of experience in cyber-security, Wasserman is an expert in advanced identity fraud and theft. As VP of R&D, he is leading the delivery of cutting edge behavioral biometrics based solutions.