Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • BillShark Lands Funding and Advisory Backing from Mark Cuban.
  • Revolut Unveils New Savings Solution, Vaults.

Around the web

  • Openbank, Santander Group’s digital bank, to deploy WealthSuite from Temenos.
  • The Victory Bank chooses ProfitStarsCommercial Lending Center Suite to support commercial loan growth.
  • Identity verification provider Onfido names David Clarke as new CFO.
  • First National Bank of Eagle Lake in Texas partners with Insuritas to launch bank-owned insurance agency.
  • NTT Data announces successful completion of PoC data analysis trial for Bank of England, Join NTT Data at FinovateSpring, May 8-11.
  • CAN Capital hires Tom Davidson as Chief Financial Officer.
  • Entrust Datacard’s IntelliTrust Authentication Solution wins Frost & Sullivan’s 2018 North American Technology Leadership Award.
  • TechCrunch: Twilio’s wireless platform hits general availability.

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.

Coinbase Acquires Earn.com; Adds Balaji Srinivasan as First CTO

Digital asset exchange platform Coinbase has acquired Earn.com, a startup that enables sending and receiving of digital currency payments for targeted microtasks. The deal, valued at $100 million, will put Earn.com CEO and co-founder Balaji Srinivasan at the helm as Coinbase’s first Chief Technical Officer.

Calling Srinivasan “one of the most respected technologists in the crypto space,” and “one of the technology industry’s few true originalists,” Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong wrote on the company blog that “as CTO of Coinbase, Balaji will serve an important role as the technological evangelist for the company.  Balaji will evangelize for both crypto and for Coinbase, educating the world and recruiting crypto-first talent to the company.”

Earn.com, the company Srinivasan co-founded, works by enabling senders to pay users in digital currency for replying to emails and completing tasks. Large-scale commercial email senders and average email users alike benefit from Earn.com’s paid email platform. Commercial senders can use the technology to pay email recipients to respond to surveys and messages recruiting, fundraising, and marketing products and services. Average email users can make money via their Earn.com accounts by replying to these emails, as well as use the prices on incoming email to prioritize and manage inboxes.

Srinivasan was a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz when he became CEO of the bitcoin mining company that would become Earn.com. In 2015, he helped the company pivot to take advantage of the growing feasibility of Bitcoin micropayments by creating a new solution, paid email, that offered a new direction for the company and a clear use case for digital assets in micropayments.

“As of today, Earn,com is a fast-growing, cash-flow positive business with a multimillion dollar revenue run rate,” Srinivasan wrote in an article titled The Turnaround at Medium.com. “I think it’s fair to say that it’s one of the first truly useful blockchain-based applications, where users can earn money in their spare time while senders can pay people to actually reply to their emails and fill out their surveys.”

“We’re going to be doubling down on the Earn business within Coinbase,” Armstrong said. “(They) have built a paid email product that is arguably one of the earliest practical blockchain applications to achieve meaningful traction.”

The Earn.com acquisition and new CTO come amid a busy spring for the cryptocurrency platform. Earlier this month, the company announced the launch of Coinbase Ventures, a new venture fund to support early-stage cryptocurrency and digital asset-based startups, and added Rachael Horwitz as Vice President of Communications. In March, Coinbase unveiled a set of new tools to help cryptocurrency investors and traders remain compliant with tax laws, and introduced its Coinbase Index Fund to give crypto investors exposure to all digital assets listed on its exchange.

Coinbase began the year with another successful talent grab: acquiring the engineering team from Memo.AI. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in San Francisco, Coinbase demonstrated its Instant Exchange solution at FinovateSpring 2014. One of fintech’s more recent unicorns with a valuation of more than $1.6 billion, Coinbase has raised more than $225 million in funding and includes Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi UFJ, and Andreessen Horowitz among its investors.

Ephesoft Unveils Mortgage Document Capture Solution

Now that spring has arrived, families across the country have started the home buying process. However, the average time it takes to close on a house is 50 days, making it a long road to home. Aiming to speed things up, document capture and data analytics company Ephesoft launched Ephesoft Transact for Mortgage this week. This is the California-based company’s first vertical-specific product offering.

The cloud-based platform recognizes and classifies more than 600 mortgage document types. When lenders bundle Ephesoft Transact for Mortgage classification solution with the Ephesoft Transact flagship offering, they can increase mortgage processing speeds. In a statement, Ephesoft said that large organizations will see deployment times reduced by 80%, from several months to just weeks.

Ike Kavas, founder and CEO of Ephesoft, said that the company’s mortgage lendeing and financial services customers will “greatly benefit from the improved speeds provided by the Transact for Mortgage platform.” Kavas added, “We are continuously developing innovative, cost-effective solutions that solve real problems for our customers and with hundreds of different document types to classify, the mortgage processing industry is ideally suited for document capture innovation and automation.”

To get started, mortgage loan processors upload loan documents into a batch, then Ephesoft Transact for Mortgage automatically classifies and separates documents and exports them into the lender’s loan origination system. The system takes appraisal documents, lease agreements, tax returns, bank statements, and other documents necessary in mortgage applications, and deciphers which pages are necessary and which are simply blank pages, cover sheets, invoices, and disclosures. Once documents are classified, the high-value pages are prepared for data extraction and business insights, with the option to apply Ephesoft’s machine learning technology for further analysis.

In the press release, Ephesoft client, Jane Christie, COO of eDocument Solutions, said, “Customers have reported accuracy reports of 90% or higher, loan processing time reduction of 92% and savings of over $100 per loan. The combination of accuracy, consistency and speed for mortgage documents impacts their bottom line and improves customer satisfaction and retention rates.”

At FinovateAsia 2017, Ephesoft demoed how banks can use its cloud services to classify documents, extract their information, and automate business transactions. Last summer, the company earned a $15 million investment from Mercato Partners, its first round of funding since it was founded in 2010. In the fall of 2017, Ephesoft’s developers released version 4.0 of its Transact Mobile SDK.

MoneyHub Integrates with Challenger Banks Starling, Monzo

Financial management platform Moneyhub has integrated with the APIs of U.K. challenger banks Monzo and Starling, providing customers of these banks with “a holistic overview of all their financial assets through Moneyhub’s platform,” reported Tanya Andreasyan of FinTech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

Integration enables Monzo and Starling customers using the Moneyhub app to choose to link up current and savings accounts, credit cards, pensions, loans, mortgages, SIPPs, ISAs, and investments. Moneyhub said its technology features the most data links of any aggregation provider in the U.K.

Monzo and Starling users will have access to Moneyhub’s proprietary categorization engine and personalized Smart Nudges, the fintech says, “empowering them to make well informed monetary decisions across all assets held and fulfill their financial wellbeing potential”.

Moneyhub is authorized by the U.K. regulators as an account information service provider (AISP), under the new PSD2 and open banking rules. It works with banks, investment managers, pension providers, and employee benefit consultants to provide financial management white labeled solutions and APIs for their clients.

The company stated it is poised to work with all the nine CMA banks when they go live, and is currently integrating with the six that are ready for open banking.

Meanwhile, Yolt, a financial management app from ING, said it has reached 250,000 users in less than a year. The “smart thinking money app” was launched in June last year, and enables users to view their accounts and credit cards in one place.

Yolt, too, has integrated with Monzo and Starling, and also with RBS and Lloyds Banking Group via open API.

Frank Jan Risseeuw, CEO of Yolt, said the app reached 100,000 users in the first six months and onboarded another 150,000 in the following three months.

“We couldn’t have achieved this milestone without the feedback and suggestions from our brilliant Yolt community,” he stated. “We endeavor to listen to each and every one of our users as we continue with our aim to be the only money app that you need.

“We want to do all the hard work for our users, so they can get on with enjoying their lives.”

Headquartered in Bristol, U.K., MoneyHub demonstrated its Moneyhub Enterprise SmartAssist solution at FinovateEurope 2017. SmartAssist is a proactive intelligent messaging tool that helps users make better financial decisions. Moneyhub was acquired by South African insurance company, MMI Holdings, in 2014. Last month, the company sent its CTO Dave Tonge to mainland Europe to further the Moneyhub’s PSD2 strategy.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Ephesoft Unveils Mortgage Document Capture Solution.
  • Coinbase Acquires Earn.com; Adds Balaji Srinivasan as First CTO.

Around the web

  • ThreatMetrix introduces its first product integration with LexisNexis since the company was acquired in February.
  • Finastra makes its mortgage lending solutions available via the cloud courtesy of partnership with Microsoft.
  • Ambassador Michael Froman joins Mastercard as vice chairman and president of strategic growth.
  • Moneyhub opens its API to U.K. challenger banks Monzo and Starling.
  • Coinbase acquires Cipher Browser to support its decentralized mobile browser offering.
  • Fortytwo Data appoints Luca Primerano as chief AI officer.
  • Coindesk: Mastercard Eyes Blockchain for Fighting Fake Identities.
  • Infosys to acquire Creative and Consumer Insight Agency, WONGDOODY.

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.

Kabbage Quiet as Rumors Grow Over Potential Orchard Acquisition

Bloomberg and other sources are reporting that small business lender Kabbage will acquire lending platform Orchard. The firm, which boasts the support of former Citigroup and Morgan Stanley bosses Vikram Pandit and John Mack, provides information on the marketplace lending industry to Wall Street companies. No terms have been made available and neither Kabbage nor Orchard Platform Markets have commented on the potential acquisition.

Orchard, which launched in 2013, recently attempted to change its business model to serve as a platform for trading loan securities. The failure of this initiative to gain traction, according to Bloomberg, led to the company’s desire to find a buyer of late. The firm had raised $40 million in funding from investors including Spark Capital and Thrive Capital.

Kabbage and Orchard have a history. The two announced a partnership back in the spring of 2015 that gave institutional investment managers on the Orchard platform the ability to access Kabbage’s consumer loan product, Karrot. The partnership also helped Kabbage add to its consumer lending business thanks to new access to Orchard’s constituency of sophisticated investors.

Kabbage made headlines last year when rumors surfaced that the company was raising money for the specific purpose of acquisitions. At the time, marketplace lender OnDeck was widely believed to be the primary target.

Earlier this month, Kabbage announced a partnership with Ingo Money to accelerate loan payments to small and medium-sized businesses. After finishing 2017 with a new chief operating officer and having reached a new milestone in extending more than $4 billion to more than 130,000 small businesses, Kabbage began 2018 by expanding its line of credit to $250,000 in a bid to serve larger business customers as well as its small business base.

“Giving small businesses the peace of mind and security to focus less on their finances and more on their passions is a key tenet at Kabbage,” the company’s COO Bob Sharpe said when the news was announced. “Increasing our lines of credit to $250,000 significantly enhances our ability to solve financial hurdles for larger and more specialized businesses that may otherwise be unachievable, which we see in the market today.”

Founded in 2009, the Atlanta, Georgia-based fintech has raised $1.6 billion in funding. Kabbage demonstrated its Kabbage Card, part of the company’s broader Kabbage Everywhere product expansion, at FinovateSpring 2015. The Kabbage Card gives business cardholders the ability to take their Kabbage credit line with them wherever they go, immediately deducting transactions amounts from available funds and providing the user with a confirmation by SMS text.

Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Africa

  • Block Commodities, Walla, Dala, and FinComEco partner in new initiative to leverage cryptocurrencies to fund loans to African farmers.
  • Standard Chartered opens fully licensed bank in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Nigerian fintech startups to compete for annual mCash Prize for Innovation in Fintech, sponsored by the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NBSS).

LATAM

  • Santander unveils new blockchain-based international wire transfer service for Brazilian consumers.
  • Digital bank Wanap goes live in Argentina (in Spanish).
  • El Financiero looks at the potential impact of a Mexico-like fintech law on fintech innovation in Costa Rica (in Spanish).

CEE

  • OTP Bank in Hungary partners with ACI Worldwide to power its digital transformation.
  • Sberbank and SAP team up to complete cloud-based digital transformation project.
  • Efigence powers concept, UX, and design for BGŻOptima Bank’s new portal.

Asia

  • Fintech Malaysia lists its 14 Names You Should Know to “highlight some of the movers and shakers within the fintech space in Malaysia.”
  • Ernest & Young executive predicts sharp rise in number of Vietnamese fintechs and “heightened investor interest.”
  • Research agency BMI says infrastructure, growing affluence, and high mobile and broadband use suggest Malaysia could be world leader in Islamic financial technology.

MENA

  • MENA Research Partners estimates the value of the MENA Fintech market at $2 billion, with an annual growth of $125 million over the next four years.
  • Daily News Egypt discussed Egypt’s commitment to digitize its economy with Visa CEO Alfred Kelly.
  • Emirates NBD integrates blockchain technology into cheques to fight fraud and forgery.

Top image designed by Freepik

Stash Teams with Green Dot to Become a Challenger Bank

 

Mobile financial services company Stash first revealed its plans to launch banking services in October of last year, positioning itself as a challenger bank with mobile-centric investment and retirement capabilities. And, as with all U.S.-based challenger banks, Stash will house the funds at a traditional bank. Today, the New York-based company announced it has selected Green Dot and its subsidiary bank, Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC, to keep user’s funds safe.

Through the partnership with Green Dot, Stash will deliver debit cards with no overdraft fees and provide access to a network of free ATMs across the U.S. The app will also share insight into clients’ financial health, with actionable advice on spending, saving, investing, and retirement via Stash Coach. But don’t get too excited– Stash has yet to go live with the banking services and hasn’t hinted at its timeline or anticipated pricing.

In a statement, Brandon Krieg, CEO and cofounder of Stash, said: “Layering Green Dot’s robust Banking as a Service platform with Stash’s full suite of offerings will provide innovative, affordable tools to teach healthy financial habits, relieve financial stress, and help our clients save and invest more money.”

Founded in 1999, Green Dot debuted its own mobile-first banking service, GoBank, at FinovateSpring 2013. The account offers mobile banking, check deposit, and P2P money transfer services.

“Stash is committed to being a true partner and source of support for our clients, and for those who have systematically been left behind,” said Krieg. This sentiment is reflected in Stash’s updated mission which states, “We started Stash to simplify investing, but our true mission runs deeper. Today, your financial products too often fail you. We believe everyone should have access to financial education, technology, and services that help them achieve their life goals.”

Founded in 2015, Stash serves two million customers on its mobile investment platform, which allows users to choose from a selection of over 40 curated ETFs. The company doesn’t collect add-on commissions or trading fees, and charges $1 per month for accounts under $5,000. Users with portfolios over that threshold pay 0.25% per year. Stash’s growth bodes well for future banking developments– the company currently has 40,000 new clients joining each week.

Krieg debuted Stash Retire at FinovateFall 2017. In November of 2017, KPMG and H2 Ventures named the company on its 2017 Fintech 100 list. In February of this year, Stash raised $37.5 million and unveiled custodial investment accounts to allow Stash clients to open new accounts for minors. This is a smart move from a customer acquisition standpoint. Young users exposed to the Stash app early will be more likely to matriculate as customers of Stash’s investment and (eventually) banking services.

PeoplesBank Partners with Gro Solutions to Enhance Mobile and Online Customer Experience

Pennsylvania-based PeoplesBank will rely on the Digital Sales Platform from Gro Solutions to implement its new online banking strategy. The bank sees the fintech’s digital platform as key to helping it provide a streamlined and mobile onboarding experience, reduce application abandonment, and provide a better overall mobile and online experience for customers.

Putting speed and simplicity at the top of the bank’s list, Communications and Digital Marketing Specialist for PeoplesBank Heather Noll said, “We really like the fact that with Gro our clients can open an account online in under five minutes. We want to give our clients the best experience possible, and we’re excited to be able to provide that extra ease of use for them.”  PeoplesBank plans to make the new Gro services available later this year.

Gro Solutions CEO David Eads underscored both factors in his statement on the partnership. “Reaching today’s bank customers requires not only a fast, easier digital process, but also the ability to fine-tune the details of their product offerings and risk profile,” Eads said. “We welcome the opportunity to help PeoplesBank fulfill that need for its customers and look forward to collaborating with the bank to support its digital banking growth initiatives.”

PeoplesBank is a Codorus Valley Company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Codorus Valley Bancorp Inc. the largest independent FI based in York County, Pennsylvania. Serving customers in South Central Pennsylvania and Central Maryland, PeoplesBank has more than $1.7 billion in assets and provides consumer, business, wealth management, and mortgage services.

Gro Solutions demonstrated an extension of its Gro Digital Sales Platform at FinovateFall 2017. More recently, the Atlanta, Georgia-based company, founded in 2015, announced a partnership with Congressional FCU ($900 million in assets) that will bring its Digital Sales Platform to the 47,000-member institution. Also this year, Gro Solutions teamed up with Michigan-area 4Front CU ($488 million in assets) to deploy its Gro Checkout solution. The company began the year with another Gro Checkout deployment, this time with $106 million Surety Bank based in Florida.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • PeoplesBank Partners with Gro Solutions to Enhance Mobile and Online Experience.
  • Stash Teams with Green Dot to Become a Challenger Bank.

Around the web

  • Lending Club announces Bahman Koohestani as Chief Technology Officer.
  • Yahoo partners with PayPal to make Braintree available to online sellers using Yahoo Merchant Solutions and Yahoo Stores platforms.
  • Main Street Softworks adds support for Bluefin’s Decryptx PCI-validated P2PE Decryption-as-a-Service.
  • PYMNTS.com features a conversation with Entersekt Chief Commercial Officer Dewald Nolte.

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.