AutoGravity Earns Multi-Million Euro Investment from Daimler

Autogravity_homepage_February2017

AutoGravity, one of FinovateFall’s Best of Show winners, picked up a major, “double-digit million euro investment” from Daimler Financial Services. The funding adds to the $50 million AutoGravity has raised since its founding in the fall of 2015, and comes as the company’s nationwide rollout reaches 46 states in the U.S.

Bodo Uebber, member of Daimler AG’s board of management, said the investment in AutoGravity was a “strategic step” in opening digital sales channels in leasing and financing. “We believe AutoGravity and its technology have the potential to revolutionize the sector for online financing while, at the same time, offering a digital platform for other financial services providers and automotive manufacturers,” Uebber said. Daimler Financial Services board chairman Klaus Entenmann called AutoGravity “a new star rising in the digital world.”

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Pictured: AutoGravity CMO Serge Vartanov demonstrating the company’s auto financing solution at FinovateFall 2016.

Quoted in AutoFinanceNews, AutoGravity Chief Marketing Officer Serge Vartanov added that the investment from Daimler was a major show of confidence in the company’s platform and potential for growth. “That Daimler has recognized the technology and sees the potential in transforming that shopping and financing experience for the consumer,” Vartanov said, “I think is a really good validation of what we’ve been building.” He added that because AutoGravity is lender-agnostic, Daimler’s investment in the technology will benefit not just its loan originations at its own Mercedez-Benz Financial Services, but will help auto lending more broadly, as well.

AutoGravity’s mobile app gives prospective new and used car buyers and leasers the ability to search for vehicles, complete credit applications, and get up to four personalized financing offers. With more than 150,000 downloads, the free app is available in iOS and Android. Read more about AutoGravity in our profile from earlier this year.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Irvine, California, AutoGravity won Best of Show at its Finovate debut last September at FinovateFall 2016. In November, the company announced that its technology would power the digital auto sales and finance app from Fletcher Jones Motorcars. AutoGravity’s app was listed by Forbes in September as one of the “best new personal finance apps and sites.” Andy Hinrichs is CEO.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • AutoGravity Earns Multi-Million Euro Investment from Daimler.
  • Roostify to Power Self-Serve Mortgage Platform for Chase Bank.

On FinDEVr.com

  • Payoneer Launches Cross-Border, Mass Payment APIs

Around the web

  • Northern California’s Kaiperm Diablo FCU to deploy core banking technology from NYMBUS.
  • Shopkeep integrates its POS technology with First Data’s Clover platform in extension of current partnership.
  • Arxan launches Arxan Application Protection for JavaScript to protect JavaScript-based applications.
  • CuBroadcast interviews CUneXus CEO Dave Buerger.

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.

Finovate Debuts: AutoGravity Unveils the Future of Auto Financing

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A Best of Show winner from FinovateFall 2016 – and a veteran of our FinDEVr developers conference, as well – Irvine, California-based AutoGravity specializes in leveraging smartphone technology to make it easier to buy a car.

Why? In part because that’s where the money is. AutoGravity CMO Serge Vartanov explained from the Finovate stage that 85% of new cars are purchased with a loan or lease, “and there’s over 1 trillion dollars in auto loan originations outstanding in the U.S. alone.” Saying that the auto financing industry is where the travel industry was 10 years ago and where the taxi industry was five years ago, Vartanov explained how AutoGravity developed a smartphone-based solution that streamlines every step of the car buying process – from model selection to securing financing. “We empower consumers to take control of the process and know their financing options before they go to the dealership,” AutoGravity CTO Martin Prescher added.

Company facts

  • Founded in 2015
  • Headquartered in Irvine, California
  • Has 50 employees
  • Raised $50 million in seed funding
  • Andy Hinrichs is CEO

At FinovateFall, AutoGravity’s Vartanov and CTO Martin Prescher showed how their technology helps close both the consumer experience and technology gaps. Prospective car buyers can use AutoGravity to search for vehicles by make and model, simultaneously comparing available loan and lease financing options. Consumers can estimate their prospective monthly payments with a calculator that allows them to change downpayment amounts, term lengths, APR, and more. The AutoGravity app shows buyers the location of dealerships – locally and nationwide – that have the preferred vehicle as available.

The AutoGravity technology even allows consumers to fill out the financing application using their smartphone by scanning their drivers license and connecting to LinkedIn (for employment information). AutoGravity includes an optional e-contracting solution that financed buyers can use to scan the VIN, negotiate a final buying price, submit both to the lender, and get a signable e-contract that enables the customer, in the words of Vartanov (and game show hosts everywhere), “drive away in a brand new car!”

“We bring to the table a unique blend of beautiful design, cool and cutting edge technology, and strong business partnerships with our lenders,” Prescher said. “They’ve put us in a unique position to reinvent car financing as it is done today.”

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Pictured: AutoGravity CMO Serge Vartanov demonstrating his company’s technology at FinovateFall 2016.

We talked with AutoGravity CMO Serge Vartanov during rehearsals at FinovateFall and then followed up with a few questions autogravity_sergevartanov_newby email. Below are our questions and his responses.

Finovate: What problem does AutoGravity solve?

Serge Vartanov: AutoGravity empowers car shoppers to browse cars, connect with local dealers, apply for financing, and see up to four auto financing offers – all from the comfort of their smartphones. AutoGravity partners with the world’s leading lenders to make it easy for our users to see up to four personalized car loan or lease offers in minutes, anytime, and anywhere they want. With AutoGravity, approved customers can walk into the dealership with offers in hand and drive off the lot confident they received a fair deal.

autogravity_art2Finovate: Who are your primary customers?
Vartanov: AutoGravity serves a growing and influential segment of digitally savvy car shoppers who want to save time and take control with personalized car financing options in hand before they go to the dealership. Our platform offers convenience, transparency, and choice to empower our users with a seamless digital car shopping and financing experience.
Finovate: How does your AutoGravity solve the problem better?
Vartanov: AutoGravity is the first and only platform that equips customers with access to indirect auto financing offers before they go to the dealership. With AutoGravity, car shoppers can select the rate and lender that’s right for them, so they can drive off the dealership lot with the peace of mind of knowing they got a fair deal. Our first-of-its-kind native platform are powered by cutting-edge design and technology.
Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of your solution.
Vartanov: In addition to our AutoGravity branded iOS, Android and web apps, AutoGravity is proud to have partnered with the Fletcher Jones Auto Group to offer Fletcher Jones Drive (FJ Drive) for Android and iOS. With FJ Drive, luxury car shoppers can browse the nation’s largest selection of Mercedes-Benz vehicles and see their financing offers before visiting their favorite Fletcher Jones store to close the deal and drive off the lot.
autogravity_art3Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?
Vartanov: AutoGravity was founded by an international team of automotive industry veterans and digital natives. Our executive team has over half a century of automotive finance experience and has a unique understanding of the challenges and pain points experienced by car shoppers, dealers and lenders. We are one team with one dream – to reinvent the way people buy and finance their cars.
Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from AutoGravity that we can look forward to over the next few months?
Vartanov: AutoGravity is powered by agile product development methodology and our product, design, and engineering teams are constantly working on new features to enhance our user experience and better serve a broader segment of customers. Download AutoGravity and sign up for our e-mail list to be the first to find out about new features!
Finovate: Where do you see your company a year or two from now?
Vartanov: AutoGravity makes it easy for car shoppers to find the car of their dreams and see their car financing options in minutes, anytime, and anywhere they want. Over the coming years, we will continue to enhance our platforms, launch new platforms, and extend our reach to empower all car shoppers.

AutoGravity CMO Serge Vartanov and CTO Martin Prescher demonstrating AutoGravity at FinovateFall 2016.

FinDEVr APIntelligence

FDNY17_EventLogo_v1(wdate)FinDEVr Silicon Valley was a success! Tickets for upcoming FinDEVr London and FinDEVr New York are at their lowest prices now. Register today for London or New York to save your spot!

On FinDEVr.com

  • Calling All Development Teams – Last Chance to Speak at FinDEVr NY.

The latest from FinDEVr Silicon Valley presenters

  • Finovate Debuts: AutoGravity Unveils the Future of Auto Financing.
  • Hyperwallet announces new office in London.
  • PwC and Supply Chain Finance Community launch SCF Barometer to better understand the development of supply chain finance industries.

Alumni updates

  • Bluefin Payment Systems wins patents for a pair of decryption-as-a-service technology.
  • Finance Disrupted interviews Xignite CEO and founder, Stephane Dubois.
  • Pakistan’s Samba Bank to deploy new core banking technology from Temenos.
  • ACI Worldwide to provide fraud protection for Kuwait’s Shared Electronic Banking Services Company (KNET).
  • Mitek partners with the American Cancer Society, supporting mobile fundraising with its mobile deposit and MiSnap technology.

Stay current on daily news from the fintech developer community! Follow FinDEVr on Twitter.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Finovate Debuts: AutoGravity Unveils the Future of Auto Financing

Around the web

  • Q2 Holdings launches new targeting and messaging platform, Q2 SMART.
  • Hyperwallet announces new office in London.
  • Bluefin Payment Systems wins patents for a pair of decryption-as-a-service technology.
  • Axis Bank reports plan to be the first Indian bank to use Ripple technology for cross-border payments.
  • Garrett Planning Network partners with RightCapital to offer advisors access to financial planning software.
  • nCino ends 2016 with 130+ financial institutions in its portfolio. Come see them at FinovateEurope next month.
  • NIIT Technologies deploys BankingEasy, its Core Banking Solution on Microsoft’s Azure platform.
  • Larky shows strong growth into 2017.

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.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “Andreessen Horowitz Leads $25 Million Investment in Quantopian
  • “Finovate Debuts: GoodData Helps Banks Put Their Data to Work”
  • “Nutmeg Spices Things Up with New $37 Million Investment”

Around the web

  • FinDEVr alum Smart Token Chain completes first smart token transfer via Ripple network.
  • From apps to APIs: Dwolla rebrands as platform.
  • PwC unveils Vulcan Digital Asset Services, a suite of digital currency solutions including digital wallets and international payment processing.
  • Entersekt to power mobile app security for FirstBank.
  • CoverHound partners with Metromile to offer more coverage options for auto and property insurance.
  • WealthForge exceeds $250M in transactions completed on platform.
  • Kabbage hires chief technology officer and chief data officer.
  • AutoGravity to power digital car sales and finance app for Fletcher Jones Motorcars.
  • Visa Developer Challenge winner Corezoid earns recognition at Money 20/20 Hackathon.

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.

Fintech Trending: Bots Break Out, AI Gets Personal, and Blockchain Buys the Farm

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Is it fair to judge a fintech conference based on the way it reflects, anticipates, and even uncovers what’s most important in the field? We think so, and were once again impressed by the way FinovateFall this month helped spread the story of fintech in the second half of 2016.

After all, we read about new technologies every day. But once the wow factor subsides, the question remains: Does it really work? Is anybody, any bank, any business in the real world actually putting this great looking, great sounding technology—these bots, this blockchain—to the test?

The good news is that the good news is true: new technologies like chatbots not only work, but were demonstrated live on stage by companies like Personetics (F16); Fiserv (F16); Kore (F16); and FinovateFall 2o16 Best of Show winner, Backbase (F16). We can even include companies like Clinc (F16) in this category of innovations that make it easier for people to communicate with technology. Clinc, which also won Best of Show honors at FinovateFall, developed and demonstrated an artificial intelligence-based natural language, using an intelligent assistant that earned rave reviews from both attendees and the media.

  • “Backbase promises 60-second customer on-boarding with new solution”—Banking Technology
  • “Bots Are Everywhere, But Are They Ready for Banking?”—Bank Innovation

What about the blockchain, you ask? Earlier this year at FinovateSpring, our attendees awarded a Best of Show trophy to BanQu (F16), a company that uses blockchain technology to help refugee and displaced persons re-establish community ties through identification and financial inclusion. This month at FinovateFall, we met Full Profile (F16), an Australian company leveraging the blockchain to support real-time settlement, financing, and provenance-tracking of agricultural commodities.

  • “Blockchain technology extends to agricultural contracts”—The Australian

But FinovateFall was about more than the most headline-grabbing technologies. As our Best of Show voting revealed, the appeal of technology to solve more everyday problems—be it buying a car or a gift card—remains strong as well.

“You’ve Got A Car!” and a Digital Revolution in Regifting

This certainly seems to be what Finovate attendees had in mind when it came to Finovate newcomer and Best of Show winner AutoGravity (F16). Founded last fall, the Irvine, California-based startup leverages the smartphone to make every aspect of the car-buying experience easier, from initial selection of a vehicle all the way through the financing process. As with a growing number of fintech solutions, AutoGravity combines several innovations we’ve seen individually in fintech demonstrations over the years—document scanning; the integration of social media with credit application; geolocation—to produce a solution that seeks to disrupt traditional auto financing as we know it.

Swych (F16), the mobile gifting platform that also won Best of Show, is another example of technology making magic out of the otherwise mundane. The company facilitates the purchase, sending, redemption, and exchange of gift cards using digital technology that puts the smartphone at the center of the process. Based out of Plano, Texas, Swych’s technology brings the gift card industry into the 21st century, potentially helping breathe new life into what is typically thought of as the “gift of last resort.”

  • “Mobile tech for automobile lending, gift card redeeming snag top prize at Finovate”—Bizjournals
  • Brief: FinovateFall 2016 Best of Show—CrowdfundInsider

Security: short and sweet

It is no exaggeration to say that Trusona (F16), a two-year-old security specialist out of Scottsdale, Arizona, provided one of the most well-received demos of the year. And a large part of what made it so successful (and such a must-watch) was the way the demo itself embodied the dream of a simple security solution that works the same way every single time.

By quickly and effortlessly authenticating and logging in repeatedly in the course of six minutes, Trusona CEO and founder Ori Eisen did what every person who has ever wracked their brain for their most recent password, or struggled to enter a captcha code on a mobile phone, wants out of a security solution: Make it fast, make it easy, make it work the same way every single time. With plenty of competition in the security space from innovators on stage and off, it is no surprise that Trusona, with its #nopassword campaign and did-I-mention-it’s-free offering, stood out from the pack.

  • “Trusona Wins ‘Best of Show’ at FinovateFall 2016—MarketWired

Everybody loves a (six-time) winner

No discussion of FinovateFall would be complete without a tip o’ the hat to MX (F16). The company took home its sixth Best of Show trophy, impressing audiences with its PowerSwitch technology that allows an FI to quickly establish a new card of reference for consumers across a variety of platforms such as Netflix, Uber, Hulu, and Amazon.com. This gives financial institutions a powerful tool in attracting new customers and in providing new options to existing customers. It also gives FIs potential access to what MX CEO Ryan Caldwell called “a mountain of interchange”—more than $200 billion in 2015 according to MX—that banks and credit unions can’t afford to miss.

  • “MX Achieves Innovation Milestone, Becomes First Company to Win Finovate Best of Show Six Times”—MX Blog

For more coverage on FinovateFall, check out our press roundup and our FinovateFall on Twitter post.

In other news

A hybrid debit/credit card

San Francisco-based startup Zero raised $2.5 million this week. While the investment sum is not particularly notable, what the company is doing certainly is.

Zero offers a Visa credit card that works in conjunction with a mobile app, but it’s not just another alt/neo/challenger bank. The differentiating factor is that Zero deducts money from the user’s account in real time just like a debit card, so there is no monthly bill. Unlike a debit card, however, transactions process on credit card rails so cardholders receive from 1% to 3% cash-back on purchases. It also touts no fees and pays higher interest on deposits (though they don’t yet specify how much) than traditional savings accounts.

The credit card is made out of solid metal and the app offers great looking PFM tools that forecast users’ balances into the future. Clearly, the startup has millennial users in its sights and claims to have the potential to increase a credit score, since there’s no way to default on payments.

The company makes money on merchant processing instead of charging fees to users. It also saves money on advertising by using a pyramid-scheme referral approach (which worked on me as I shamelessly promoted them on Facebook yesterday).

With recent talk of credit cards falling out of favor with millennials because of their hesitancy toward debt, Zero offers an option that provides the best of both worlds—the cash-back and credit-building opportunities that come with credit cards, and the real-time transactional capability of debit cards.

Another just-launched startup doing something similar is New York-based Debitize. However, Debitize does not issue a new credit card but instead aggregates customers’ existing credit-card transactions and initiates a real-time transfer from their checking account to cover the charges. Keep an eye on this space; we think we’ll see FIs picking up on this idea in the next couple of years (presuming regulators allow the practice).

New ACH regulation

The first phase of same-day ACH-transfer regulation lands today. And while the final phase will not hit until March 2018, all bank and credit union accounts must now accept same-day transfers.

To help banks move forward with the new rule, Dwolla (F11) launched a white-label API for same-day ACH. The API, which is in a pilot program, currently supports credits only. Dwolla will roll it out with more partners in Q4 of this year.

The Clearing House, the organization behind the ACH modernization, has partnered with IBM’s (F16) Power8 to serve as the hosting program for same-day ACH. U.K.-based Vocalink (purchased by Mastercard in July 2016) is set to deliver the platform, which will roll out to banks in the U.S. within the next year.

See What You Missed at FinovateFall: Demo Videos Now Available

29175062613_79b8fac89a_kAbove: MX jumps for joy to celebrate the company’s Best of Show win.

I should start this post by admitting that I missed FinovateFall this year. My wedding was the weekend after the show and there was no way to swing both. While I think I chose wisely, I certainly felt FinovateFall FOMO after reading Twitter highlights and press coverage.

If you, like me, missed out, we have the next best thing to being there. All of the 70 demos from FinovateFall are now available for free in our video archives and event photos are posted on Flickr. Also, there’s still time to catch more fintech this fall at our developer’s conference, FinDEVr (October 18 & 19) and our first event in Hong Kong, FinovateAsia (November 8).

The best place to start is by watching the six demos that won Best of Show:

AutoGravity

Backbase

Clinc

MX

Swych

Trusona

Thanks again to all the presenting companies who braved the Finovate stage and to all who attended. We’ll see you next year!

FinDEVr Preview: AutoGravity

FinDEVrSV16-withdateFinDEVr Previews highlight companies presenting new developer tools, platforms, and integrations at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016, October 18 & 19. Early-bird savings end Friday, so pick up your ticket to save your spot today.

AutoGravity will present its implementation of a modern, distributed Spring Cloud micro-services architecture that powers several elegant consumer front ends (web, iOS, Android). AutoGravity’s powerful and flexible backend integrates various data sources and partners within a proprietary data-secure framework.

autogravity_homepage_september2016

Why it’s a must-see

AutoGravity took current software-design trends and applied them to bridge the worlds of legacy-rich banking systems with state-of-the-art, beautiful mobile applications. AutoGravity’s proprietary, data-security framework by far exceeds current security standards for the industry.


Check out more of today’s FinDEVr previews:

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Finicity Unveils New ACH Account Verification API

Around the web

  • OutsideIQ and Pegasystems team up to help FIs meet KYC requirements.
  • Misys launches Platform-as-a-Service strategy by opening its FusionFabric platform to third parties.
  • Credit Karma reaches 60 million users; to begin offering mortgages.
  • ACI Worldwide to offer cloud-based payment-connectivity to SWIFT.

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.