Finovate Alumni News


Around the web

  • Dutch fintech Five Degrees purchases core banking IT systems provider, Libra.
  • QuickBridge to participate in Lendio’s turndown lending program.
  • PasswordPing announces new Chief Executive Officer, Michael Greene. See PasswordPing at FinovateFall next month.
  • Identity-as-a-service specialist Onfido forges partnership with Claim Technology.
  • Alphacomm Solutions to deploy ACI Worldwide’s UP eCommerce Payments technology.
  • CurrencyFair acquires Hong Kong-based Convoy Payments.
  • interviews Entersekt SVP of engineering, Richard Bailey.
  • Bluefin and payment service provider Anderson Zaks partner to provide Bluefin’s PCI-validated Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) security solution to merchants and retailers.

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.

Feedzai Brings Automated Machine Learning to the Fraud Fight

Feedzai is deploying its AutoML machine learning technology to automate many of the most tedious and time-consuming processes for fraud-fighting data scientists. AutoML enables these professionals to create fraud prevention solutions 50x faster than they could using traditional data science workflows. This also gives data scientists more time to work on emergent and more complex fraud challenges.

“We’ve proven that Feedzai AutoML can get virtually the same results in a few hours, that would normally take a team of data scientists weeks to achieve,” co-founder and Chief Science Officer Pedro Bizarro said. “This is a ground-breaking advancement for Feedzai, but even more so, it’s something that will provide a substantial competitive advantage to our customers.”

Feedzai co-founder and CEO Nuno Sebastiaõ credited those customers as the inspiration behind Feedzai’s latest innovations. These include OpenML, a solution launched this spring that enabled data scientists to integrate open source third party tools to the Feedzai Risk engine.

“Our customers spoke, and we listened,” Sebastiaõ said. “AutoML and OpenML are the two latest examples of Feedzai’s dedication to bringing the market the best possible fraud prevention solutions. In the months to come, you can expect to see more and more of these kinds of innovations.”

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in San Mateo, California, Feedzai demonstrated its platform at FinovateEurope 2014. Last month, the company announced that it was partnering with Credorax to help the merchant acquisition specialist better protect its merchants against fraud. The company began the year with its first appearance on the Forbes Fintech 50 of top privately-owned fintechs.

Feedzai has raised more than $52 million in funding. The company’s investors include Data Collective, Sapphire Ventures, Citi Ventures, and Oak HC/FT.

DriveWealth and Bambu Join Forces on Roboadvisory Tool

Two wealthtech companies from opposite sides of the globe have built upon their partnership this week. New Jersey-based DriveWealth and Singapore-based Bambu have collaborated on the launch of a white-label, roboadvisory platform for U.S. wealth managers.

While the two have worked together for the past three years on products for overseas markets, this is their first joint offering in the U.S. Robert Cortright, DriveWealth CEO, described the new platform as “a streamlined product for wealth managers seeking to offer a unique, easy-to-use investing platform directly to their retail customers.”

The solution is the result of an integration between DriveWealth’s suite of wealth management APIs, which facilitate everything from customer onboarding to U.S. stock market ordering and reporting; and Bambu’s roboadvisory software, which automates financial planning, saving, and investing for end consumers. More simply, the new offering pairs DriveWealth’s fractional share technology with Bambu’s front-end user interface.

The new platform has three major components:

  • An advisor dashboard that provides an overview of client activities and alerts, and tracks invested capital and cash balances.
  • A CIO dashboard with portfolio-building capabilities that assist in simulating, creating, and rebalancing portfolios.
  • A client application that allows them to adjust investment goals, access investments, and perform investment analyses.

Ned Phillips, CEO of Bambu said, “We are confident that this end-to-end service for financial institutions in the U.S. will be a game changer in simplifying investing.”

Founded in 2012, DriveWealth’s clients include MoneyLion, a lending and wealth management app, and INVSTR, a U.K.-based stock trading application. At FinovateAsia 2016, the company released a new API to enable partners to offer a roboadvisory product suite and a self-directed equity investing platform. Earlier this year, DriveWealth closed a $21 million investment, bringing its total funding to $30 million.

At FinovateAsia 2017, Bambu won Best of Show for its demo of People Like Me, a tool that leverages machine learning to help users define their financial goals. Last month, the company raised $3 million in funding and earlier this year it expanded into London.

PayStand Announces Integration with Xero

Business financial management just got a lot easier for small businesses. B2B payments platform Paystand is teaming up with Xero to enable the cloud accounting firm’s customers to accept bank and card payments directly in sales orders and invoices. This will give Xero users a seamless, automated way to capture payments and reconcile them directly into their accounting systems. Paystand’s Xero plug-in, now available at the Xero Marketplace, will accelerate time to cash and help save SMEs money.

“Our goal is to transform commercial finance by automating the enterprise cash life cycle,” Paystand CEO Jeremy Almond said. He called the partnership “another step closer toward a frictionless payments infrastructure.” Paystand’s Xero plug-in provides support for ACH and Smart ACH/eCheck bank payments, as well as both debit and credit card payments – the only one of Xero’s plug-ins to do so.

The integration enables customers to make digital payments within the invoice which, once cleared, are reconciled in real-time. Payment information is tokenized and encrypted. And because the data is “saved without being visible”, the solution provides both security and seamless future transactions for the customer.

Blockchain-based B2B payments innovator PayStand participated in our developers conference FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2014. CEO Almond led a presentation titled Comparing the Strengths and Weaknesses of Different Payment Types, which looked at the relative advantages and disadvantages of card networks, eChecks/ACH, and digital currencies as payment options.

Last month, Paystand reported that it would participate in the fintech accelerator, Commerce.Innovated. In June, the company announced that it was expanding to Canada. Named one of The Silicon Review’s 50 Smartest Companies for 2017 at the beginning of the year, Paystand has raised more than $8 million in funding. The company includes BlueRun Ventures and LEAP Global Partners among its investors. Paystand was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Scotts Valley, California.

Cloud accounting platform provider Xero also participated in our Silicon Valley developers conference in 2014. The company’s Head of U.S. Partnerships, David Pollack, presented Building an API-Driven Ecosystem for Small Business, and led a workshop and discussion on how Xero has grown its marketplace to more than 300 integrated applications. The company previously demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2011.

Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Xero made headlines earlier this month with its acquisition of paperless accounting firm, Hubdoc, and the news that it would partner with U.K.-based GoCardless. In July, Xero announced a strategic alliance with fellow Finovate alum Gusto, an innovator in payroll, benefits, and HR management technology. A publicly traded company on the Australian Stock Exchange under the ticker “XRO”, Xero has a market capitalization of $3.7 billion (AUD$5 billion). Rod Drury is CEO.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Feedzai Brings Automated Machine Learning to the Fraud Fight.
  • DriveWealth and Bambu Join Forces on Roboadvisory Tool.

Around the web

  • Your Legacy Federal Credit Union to deploy core account processing technology from Fiserv.
  • CYBG (Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank) partners with The ID Co. to integrate DirectID into CYBG’s B mobile banking app.
  • Coinbase unveils crypto plugin to make it easier for e-commerce merchants to accept cryptocurrency payments.
  • Bloomberg: Quantopian makes $50 million allocation to one of its quants.
  • OurCrowd named Most Active Venture Investor in Israel by PitchBook.
  • Jack Henry & Associates and Mastercard deliver Priceless Surprises campaign to 1.8 million cardholders.

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.

Blend Launches Insurance Agency

Mortgagetech company Blend is venturing into insurance. The San Francisco-based company launched Blend Insurance Agency, an extension of its digital mortgage platform that offers borrowers a range of options for homeowners insurance.

Homeowners insurance is required to be in place before the borrower closes on their home, and since Blend already has data about the home, borrower, and loan on file, the company is in a unique position to offer a streamlined application process. Blend said that offering insurance felt like a “natural extension” of its mission to bring transparency into the home buying process.

“We see our new insurance agency as an exciting step forward to further remove friction from the home buying process and improve customer satisfaction. We believe it will be better for our lenders, their borrowers, and the insurance providers we work with and will help to make the process of buying a home a little less daunting,” said Greg Isaacs, an insurtech expert Blend hired earlier this year to launch Blend Insurance Agency.

To support this new offering, Blend is building an office in Los Angeles that will be staffed with insurance professionals able to help borrowers find a product that fits their needs. At launch, the company has partnered with six U.S. insurance providers, including MetLife, Stillwater Insurance, and Swyfft, with plans to add more. The insurance option is presented to the borrower early on in the home buying process to offer them plenty of time to shop and to give loan processors time to verify insurance before closing the loan. Having more time on the front-end of the process helps the loan close faster.

Blend demoed its data-driven mortgage at FinovateSpring 2016. Earlier this year, Blend teamed up with Ellie Mae to leverage Ellie Mae’s electronic disclosure delivery. And in June, the company introduced Blend Vision, an advanced OCR solution with built-in quality control. Blend’s most recent round of funding brought its total capital to more than $160 million. Nima Ghamsari is CEO and co-founder.

TransUnion Teams Up with EXL for CECL Compliance


Credit reporting agency and risk solutions provider TransUnion is taking steps to help lenders to comply with the new Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) accounting rule. The company is partnering with operations management and analytics company EXL to facilitate the change.

The partnership will allow TransUnion to create a CECL Credit Loss Calculator to help lenders forecast losses under CECL, since the new guidelines change the methodology used to calculate loan loss allowances. The tool combines EXL’s analytics capabilities with TransUnion’s de-personalized credit data to create a platform that complies with all CECL reporting guidelines, which alter how banks calculate loan loss.

“Many players in the industry are describing CECL as the biggest change to bank accounting standards in years,” said Jason Laky, SVP and consumer lending business leader at TransUnion. “While large banks have more resources at their disposal to adapt, we believe the majority of small to mid-sized lenders will not have the ability or capacity to comply internally and may face challenges as they prepare for the rollout of this new rule.”

Using the Credit Loss Calculator, lenders can leverage their own portfolio data or automatically import data reported by TransUnion. The tool allows lenders to adjust for macroeconomic scenarios, apply overlays, and adjust the models for different credit products, including mortgages, auto loans, and revolving credit.

Founded in 1968, TransUnion is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois with office locations in Hong Kong, Mumbai, Toronto, Johannesburg, Colombia, and Brazil. At FinovateFall 2016, TransUnion showcased Prama, a suite of analytics tools that helps lenders gain market intelligence and acts on insights to drive growth and build a risk policy. Last month, the company acquired device intelligence firm iovation. TransUnion is a public company with a market capitalization of $13.4 billion, trading on the NYSE under the ticker “TRU.”

RightCapital Adds Student Loan Functionality to its Advisory Platform

Back to school season is getting started a little early at RightCapital. The company, which demonstrated its financial planning platform for advisors at FinovateFall 2016, announced this week that its platform will now enable advisors to see the impact of different student loan repayment strategies on their client’s finances. This is designed to both provide clients with a more holistic view of their finances, as well as to help them choose the most appropriate way to retire the debt.

The solution helps advisors and clients to work together to determine the best way to repay student loans by leveraging insights into the client’s income, loan timing, and options for loan consolidation. Repayment options ranging from IBR, PAYE, REPAY, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness are among those included.

“With more than 44 million Americans owing close to $1.5 trillion dollars in Student Loan debt, those dealing with Student Loan repayment is currently an underserved market,” RightCapital CEO and co-founder Shuang Chen said. “Our new capabilities will help fill the void in the planning space, allowing advisors to easily assist their clients with their debt issues.”

RightCapital provides financial advisors with an integrated financial and tax planning solution including tax projections and tax-efficient distribution strategies. The technology features tools for social security optimization, sequencing of return risk, stress testing, budgeting, managing cash flows, insurance, and more. With interactive and intuitive modules, the RightCapital platform helps advisors more deeply engage with their clients, providing actionable financial plans that are easy to understand.

“We are extremely excited to be a disrupter in the financial planning industry,” Chen said. “Our goal is to help financial advisors do more planning in less time with our innovative features, which means we will continue to develop technology that meets the evolving needs of our advisors while looking for new ways to improve the financial planning process.”

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in New York City, RightCapital has raised $2.6 million in funding, and includes Camellia Venture Capital among  its investors. MorningStar featured RightCapital in its list of the Best Advisor Technology Tools for 2018. The company had a successful and busy 2017, forging partnerships with Shareholders Service Group in December, Envestnet Tamarac in November, Trust Company of America in July, and Interactive Brokers in March.

Wonga Raises $13 Million in New Funding


Accel Partners and Balderton Capital have pitched in to help U.K.-based payday lender Wonga with a cash infusion of nearly $13 million (£10 million). The capital will be used to help Wonga satisfy what the company’s spokesperson called a “marked increase” in compensation claims for legacy loans from claims management companies.

“Wonga continues to make progress against the transformation plan set out for the business,” a spokesperson for the company said in a statement to Sky News. However, a rise in the number of claims on old loans, those taken out before the current management team took over in 2014, encouraged the company to seek additional financing.

“As a result,” the Wonga spokesperson explained, “the team has raised £10m of new capital from existing shareholders, who remain fully supportive of management’s plans for the business.”

Before the new capital, Wonga had an estimated valuation of $30 million (£23 million). In 2014, Wonga wrote off £220 million in debt for 330,000 customers as part of a review of its lending practices and the implementation of new affordability checks. The company has since attempted to diversify its business to include more flexible loan solutions such as its three- and six-month Flexi Loans. Rates remain high for Wonga products, with published representative rates north of 1,286% APR. Last year, Wonga also launched its Cash Smart personal finance education portal, which provides free information on debt and borrowing, savings, and budgeting.

To help shore up its balance sheet, Wonga has sold assets like its Everline business to small business lender Ezbob. Last year, the company sold Billpay, the German online payment provider it acquired in 2013, to Klarna for $75 million.

Founded in 2006, Wonga demonstrated its iPhone app at FinovateFall 2010. Tara Kneafsey is CEO.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Wonga Raises $13 Million in New Funding.
  • TransUnion Teams Up with EXL for CECL Compliance.
  • RightCapital Adds Student Loan Functionality to its Platform.

Around the web

  • PasswordPing wins Startup of the Year at 13th Annual 2018 IT World Awards. See PasswordPing at FinovateFall in New York next month.
  • Zopa to finance loans for CommuterClub season tickets, courtesy of a new partnership.
  • Xero announces integration with GoCardless.
  • profiles payroll, benefits, and HR platform, Gusto.
  • MicroStrategy appoints Marge Breya as Chief Marketing 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.