The Faves of FinovateAsia: A Brief History of Best of Show Winners

With FinovateAsia less than one week away, it’s worth noting that the history of our Asian conference is a short, but illustrative one. Consider this: of the twelve companies awarded Best of Show from our three FinovateAsia conferences in 2012, 2013, and 2016, more than half are multiple-time Best of Show winners, having impressed audiences in London, Silicon Valley, and New York City, as well as Singapore and Hong Kong. And three of the companies have also been the targets of major acquisitions: IND Group by MisysEyeVerify by Ant Financial, and Yodlee by Envestnet.

So, other than winning multiple Best of Show awards and being acquired by major players in finance and technology, what have the Best of Show winners of FinovateAsia from last year been up to in the time since? See for yourself below.

FinovateAsia 2016Best of Show

Alpha Payments Cloud (demo)

The biggest news for Alpha Payments Cloud since winning Best of Show at FinovateAsia 2016 is likely the company’s comprehensive rebranding as Alpha Fintech in September. The move was designed to affirm the company’s status as “fintech’s first end-to-end middleware,” using a single API and UI to connect merchants and vendor suppliers across “the entire payments, risk, and commerce spectrum.”

Oliver Rajic, Alpha Fintech CEO added “Now with Alpha, (acquirers and gateways) can evolve to enable the right vendor combination for each unique requirement … thereby extending and enhancing their core solution subset.” Alpha Fintech has already made its first agreement under the new rebrand, teaming up with Payture, a major payment gateway in the CIS region. “Among the early adopters of the Alpha Fintech /Payture integration are businesses in Russia’s e-travel consumer market, which the company says is one of the largest segments of Russia’s e-commerce market.

Dynamics (demo)

Multiple-time Best of Show winner Dynamics announced a partnership with LG Electronics earlier this year. The agreement would put Dynamic’s Wireless Magnetic Communication (WMC) technology in LG Pay. The integration will enable LG mobile phones to transmit traditional magnetic stripe information wirelessly to traditional magnetic stripe readers.

“Dynamics has been building wireless magnetic communication solutions for nearly a decade and is widely considered the founder of the programmable magnetic stripe industry,” Dynamics CEO Jeff Mullen said. “Dynamics’ best-in-breed technology will help LG Pay reach hundreds of millions of new payment environments.”

EyeVerify (demo)

Acquired by Ant Financial Services Group just months before making its Best of Show-winning demonstration at FinovateAsia 2016, EyeVerify has hardly rested on its laurels. This summer, for example, the company partnered with fellow Finovate alum Daon, adding Eyeprint ID to Daon’s IdentityX platform. But the biggest headlines from this multiple Best of Show winning company have to do with their rebrand as ZOLOZ back in August.

“When I announced almost a year ago that Ant Financial acquired EyeVerify, I said we want to do more,” company founder and CEO Toby Rush wrote at the company blog. “Today we publicly commit to providing a hosted identity platform that helps people manage their digital lives.” Rush described an initiative to bring identity services to the underserved and underbanked consumers of Asia, with plans to ultimately bring hosted identity solutions to markets in North America and Europe.

Finn.ai (demo)

With two Best of Show awards in two Finovate appearances, intelligent banking assistant developer Finn.ai must be doing something right. Finn.ai earned a spot in Payment Canada’s pitch competition, Dragon’s Den, and was recognized over the summer by Capegemini’s global InnovatorsRace and at the VivaTech conference in Paris, France. Finn. ai also announced a few days ago that ATB Financial would use Finn.ai’s technology to offer its 700,000 customers the first, fully-featured, AI-powered virtual banking assistant on Facebook Messenger.

But in addition to making friends and influencing people, Finn.ai is raising capital, as well. The company raked in $3 million in new funding in October, and plans to use the financing to help add technical talent to its team, as well as support the company’s expansion in the U.S. and around the world. Banking industry veteran, Carrie Russell, who will join Finn.ai as Strategic Executive Adviser, noted the importance in helping banks “move beyond transactional banking to build deeper, more personal relationships with customers.” Russell added “I believe Finn.ai is the right partner to do this, acting as a proactive virtual assistant to help customers understand, plan and take action to improve their financial lives.”

The rest of our FinovateAsia Best of Show winners are listed below:

FinovateAsia 2013Best of Show

FinovateAsia 2012Best of Show

Two-Time Best of Show Winner Finn.ai Raises $3 Million in New Funding

In a round led by Yaletown Partners, Flying Fish Partners, and former CEO and Chairman of Absolute Software John Livingston, virtual banking assistant developer Finn.ai has raised $3 million in funding. The company will use the funding to add to its team – especially data scientists, engineers, and banking industry experts – as well as to support Finn.ai’s expansion in the U.S., and around the world.

“Finn.ai is built from the ground up specifically to help banks and credit unions transform the way they engage with customers,” Co-Founder and CEO Jake Tyler said. “(This) makes banking simpler, more accessible, more human, and ultimately (helps) to build trust and engagement between banks and their customers.

The funding for Finn.ai, which also featured the participation of an “experienced angel syndicate … of senior technology and banking executives,” coincides with news of the company’s partnership with ATB Financial. In this deal, announced earlier this week, Finn.ai’s technology will enable ATB Financial to provide the first, fully-featured, AI-powered virtual banking assistant on Facebook Messenger to its 700,000 customers.

In addition to the funding, Finn.ai announced that banking veteran Carrie Russell will join the company as Strategic Executive Adviser. Russell was formerly Chief Marketing Officer at D+H (now Finastra) and served as SVP for Retail Banking Products at TD Bank. Citing a need for banks to “move beyond transactional banking to build deeper, more personal relationships with customers,” Russell said, “I believe Finn.ai is the right partner to do this, acting as a proactive virtual assistant to help customers understand, plan, and take action to improve their financial lives.”

Finn.ai won Best of Show in its FinovateAsia debut last year in Hong Kong, and took home top honors again when the company demoed its virtual banking assistant last month at FinovateFall. Finn.ai has earned recognition from both Capegemini’s global InnovatorsRace and the VivaTech conference in Paris. The company was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Swych Introduces Themed, Multi-Currency, Digital Gifting Options.
  • Persado Unveils Persado One, Lands $30 Million Credit Facility from Silicon Valley Bank.
  • Personetics Leverages AI to Help Chip Away at Student Loan Crisis.
  • Two-Time Best of Show Winner Finn.ai Raises $3 Million in New Funding.

Around the web

  • Actiance launches Safe Landing Program to ensure continuous compliance for stranded CA data protection customers.
  • PayNearMe helps NYC residents and visitors pay parking tickets with cash.
  • Mitek partners with handwriting-based biometric authentication service Asignio to deliver IDaaS solution.
  • Revolut announces plans to expand to Singapore.
  • Zafin launches digital origination platform and partner ecosystem, Zafin Origin.
  • Klarna expands partnership with Arcadia, adding new payment solutions.
  • Yoyo Wallet reaches processing milestone of more than 1.75 million transactions per month.

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.

Finn.ai Powers Facebook Messenger’s First, Fully-Featured, AI-Powered Virtual Banking Assistant

Courtesy of a new partnership with Finovate multiple Best of Show winner Finn.ai, the 700,000 banking customers of ATB Financial now have access to virtual banking assistance via their Facebook Messenger app. “AI is completely reinventing the consumer banking experience,” Finn.ai CEO Jake Tyler said. “With the Finn.ai platform, you get more than immediate, secure banking access, you get smart, personalized financial insights to help you achieve your specific financial goals.”

Calling the partnership “one more way we’re delivering on our commitment to really make banking work for people,” ATB Chief Transformation Officer Wellington Holbrook expressed excitement at the idea of bringing “conversational commerce” to its retail banking customers. “The more you interact with the assistant the smarter it gets,” Holbrook said. “This empowers us to continually improve service and delivery to our customers with a level of security consistent across our digital offerings.”

Finn.ai CEO Jake Tyler demonstrating the Finn Virtual Banking Assistant at FinovateFall 2017.

The largest “home-grown” financial institution in Alberta, Canada, ATB Financial has been testing AI and chatbot technology with early adopters since February with the goal of leveraging the popular Facebook Messenger app to provide banking services. The firm credited Finn.ai for being able to help an “agile, mid-sized FI” like ATB Financial quickly move the project from proof-of-concept status to “rapid full-market deployment.” Holbrook noted that ATB, with more than $48 million in assets and more than 5,000 team members, hopes to expand use of the technology to other platforms, including smart devices like televisions.

More than just a Q&A chatbot, ATB’s Finn.ai-powered virtual assistant enables secure billpay, viewing of account balances, money transfer between accounts – including cross-currency money movement. The virtual assistant also provides spending insights, access to live customer support, and Mastercard statement alerts.

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Finn.ai demonstrated its Virtual Banking Assistant at FinovateFall 2017, winning Best of Show. Earlier this year, Finn.ai earned a spot in Payment Canada’s pitch competition, Dragon’s Den. The company has also been recognized this summer by Capegemini’s global InnovatorsRace and at the VivaTech conference in Paris. We featured Finn.ai in our look at artificial intelligence and fintech, A Fintech Filter for Artificial Intelligence in 2017 back in January.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Ledger Partners with Intel to Boost Blockchain App Security.
  • BioCatch to Power Behavioral Biometrics for Samsung SDS America.
  • Clinc Teams with Enacomm to Bring AI Chatbots to Small Banks and Credit Unions.
  • Finn.ai Powers Facebook Messenger’s First, Fully-Featured, AI-Powered, Virtual Banking Assistant.

Around the web

  • PayPal launches PayPal for Marketplaces
  • Forbes: Banks Wanted To Sink Kantox— Now They’re Vying For Its Technology
  • Zumigo’s  Zumigo Assure now prevents payment fraud even when card numbers are compromised.
  • SecureKey collaborates with Intel to enable consumers to access its blockchain-based digital identity technology via traditional web browsers.
  • Finicity launches online platform that allows lenders to order, manage and monitor digital verification reports.
  • DAVO’s Sales Tax App, now available in the Square App Marketplace.
  • D3 Banking partners with P2P payments network, Zelle.
  • Behavioral biometric technology from BioCatch to be integrated into Samsung’s Nexsign platform.
  • Top Image Systems introduces its eFLOW AP solution for SAP.
  • Zafin offers its miRevenue platform as a cloud-based SaaS solution.
  • Scalable Capital provides BlackRock employees with streamlined access to its investment management services.

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.

FinovateFall 2017 Best of Show Winners Announced

Join us in a hearty congratulations for the seven companies that earned not just the admiration of our FinovateFall 2017 attendees, but their votes for Best of Show, as well.

With more than 70 companies demonstrating their technologies live on stage over the course of two days, some diversity in theme and topic is to be expected. What is especially interesting about our Best of Show winners this time around is that, while numbering only seven, these innovators still reflect a wide variety of approaches toward solving some of the most vexing challenges in our financial lives. These are the technologies that we increasingly turn to for help when it comes to saving and investing for the future, working better and more efficiently with our banks and credit unions, and safeguarding our property, our financial transactions, and even our identities against fraudsters, hackers, and other malevolent actors.

So hats off to the Best of Show winners of FinovateFall 2017. From Finovate veterans that have been honored by our attendees with Best of Show trophies in the past to newcomers who made huge, positive impressions in their Finovate debuts this week, these are the companies that help define our industry and show us the direction of fintech innovation to come.

Envestnet | Yodlee for its Financial Health Check that leverages account and transaction-level data to measure and score overall financial health across multiple dimensions including spending, savings, borrowing, and planning.

 

Finn.ai for its Virtual Banking Assistant, powered by artificial intelligence and available via channels ranging from Facebook Messenger to Amazon Alexa, which makes everyday banking simple and easy for customers.

 

Jiffee for its tap & pay mobile technology that turns any device into a payment terminal, enabling consumers to pay anywhere and everywhere without relying on plastic credit and debit cards.

 

Sensibill for its +Pulse solution that helps spot revenue opportunities from on- and off-card purchase data, providing a targeted prospect list for personalized, in-app campaigns.

 

SpyCloud for its monitoring and alert service that helps organizations better understand their employee and customer digital footprints by giving them visibility into their exposed credentials actively being traded in the underground.

 

Sustainably for its social good platform for consumers and businesses that turns the spare change from shopping into micro-donations to philanthropic causes.

 

Voleo for its social trading app that makes it easy for people to invest together, saving time and money, while simultaneously leveraging the collective wisdom of networked investors to pursue market-beating returns.

We want to thank all of the companies that demonstrated their technologies live on stage this year for FinovateFall 2017. From AI, the blockchain, and chatbot technology to mortgagetech, payments, and voice-enabled banking, the breadth of solutions and services shown over the past two days of our conference bodes well for the future of fintech. And be sure to join us Wednesday morning at 9:15 a.m. as we host our first-ever roundtable discussion featuring representatives from each of our Best of Show winning companies.


Notes on methodology:
1. Only audience members NOT associated with demoing companies were eligible to vote. Finovate employees did not vote.
2. Attendees were encouraged to note their favorites during each day. At the end of the last demo, they chose their three favorites.
3. The exact written instructions given to attendees: “Please rate (the companies) on the basis of demo quality and potential impact of the innovation demoed.”
4. The seven companies appearing on the highest percentage of submitted ballots were named “Best of Show.”
5. Go here for a list of previous Best of Show winners through 2014. Best of Show winners from our 2015 and 2016 conferences are below:
FinovateEurope 2015
FinovateSpring 2015
FinovateFall 2015
FinovateEurope 2016
FinovateSpring 2016
FinovateFall 2016
FinovateAsia 2016
FinovateEurope 2017
FinovateSpring 2017

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Expensify Reaches Five Million Users Worldwide, Doubles Customer Base.
  • Cloud Lending Solutions Unveils New Enhancements to CL Lease.

Around the web

  • CREALOGIX recognized by Wealth and Finance International as “leading digital financial advisory.”
  • FIS and Equifax partner to offer new identity verification solution, OnlyID.
  • Let’s Talk Payments interviews Finn.ai CEO, Jake Tyler.
  • Jumio teams up with Branddocs TrustCloud to bring its identity verification business to Spain and Latin America.
  • Avoka partnership helps Bankwest win top honors for omni-channel service, digital platform at Australian Business Banking Awards 2017.
  • Fiserv introduces its Instant Issue Advantage wireless tablet solution to support instant, in-branch card issuance.

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

  • Market Earlybird Helps Market Professionals Identify Trading Opportunities First.
  • Additiv Lands $25.5 Million Investment
  • Algomi Acquires AllianceBernstein’s ALFA’s Fixed Income Liquidity and Analytics Tool

Around the web

  • Kony partners with KMC controls to bridge mobile apps and IoT
  • Clover now enables Android Pay’s Smart Tap
  • TickSmith releases a Python API for the new generation of financial data scientists
  • ID.me wins Trailblazer Award at 1st Annual K(NO)W Nodes Awards Show
  • Finextra: Google and PayPal partner for mobile shopping by fingerprint
  • ProfitStars introduces Automated Website Governance Solution
  • FinovateAsia Best of Show winner Finn.ai earns spot in Payments Canada’s pitch competition, Dragon’s Den.
  • OutSystems adds Tom Schodort and Bill Macaitis to its board of directors.

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.

A Fintech Filter for Artificial Intelligence in 2017

In what The New York Times is calling The Great AI Awakening and Forbes has dubbed The Year of AI, 2017 is shaping up to be obsessively focused on artificial intelligence, a field that has been around for awhile (remember playing checkers against a computer?) but has finally matured to the point of usefulness.

Because the technology has finally reached its tipping point, AI, and its close relative machine learning, have taken a variety of industries by storm, bringing self-driving Ubers to the streets of San Francisco (and then carting them away); robotic vacuum cleaners to dirty household floors; and natural language processing to chat bots and IVR communications. With AI already embedded into these industries, it’s easy to find examples of how the technology is shaping fintech.

Below are eight areas of fintech into which AI has made inroads. Each area is ranked and rated (out of 5 stars) based on how it is currently influenced by AI and based on AI’s potential to add value.

Robo advisory

  • Fintech example: Robo advisors are built on AI technology, which is used to augment portfolio management and rebalancing decisions typically made by a (sometimes biased) human. To see tens of dozens of these examples, check out our post on B2C wealth tech.
  • Current AI application: 4 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

AI is already a standard tool in robo advisory. Because the very nature of robo advisors is to replace humans, the potential application of AI in this space is huge, especially when enhanced with machine learning and held accountable using blockchain.

Advisory tools

  • Fintech example: Similar to B2C robo advisory platforms that leverage AI to automatically manage and rebalance users’ portfolios, advisors can automate their clients’ portfolios to minimize human error while still offering a personal touch. Kensho (FEU14) introduced Warren to helps advisors perform quantitative analyses on market data. ForwardLane (FS16) uses AI powered by IBM Watson to offer financial advisors access to quantitative modeling and highly personalized investment advice generally only available to ultra high net worth individuals.
  • Current AI application: 4 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

Just as AI is already standard in direct-to-consumer robo advisory, so is it with advisory tools, since many were built on the premise of AI.

Fraud detection

  • Fintech example: Multiple card issuers use AI to detect unusual spending activity. Feedzai (FEU14) uses AI combined with machine learning to analyze sets of big data created during a user’s online sessions to mitigate fraud associated with online account opening, payments, and ecommerce.
  • Current AI application: 4 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

AI is already heavily leveraged for use in fraud detection. Combining it with the blockchain, which can provide an un-editable ledger of events, paired with AI’s ability to analyze large data sets in real time makes it even more powerful.

Underwriting

  • Fintech example: AI can help underwriters create a uniform metric that accurately identifies risk across borrowers. Aire.io (FEU15) leverages the power of AI to create and assign credit scores to thin credit file individuals.
  • Current AI application: 4 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

The lending industry has already transformed its underwriting practices from relying on large databases to now using AI to analyze large amounts of scattered, unstructured data. Because AI can analyze these data sets in real time, there’s great potential for both borrowers and lenders to benefit.

Regulatory compliance

  • Fintech example: Banks can use AI to quickly scan legal and regulatory text for compliance issues, and do so at scale. IpSoft’s Amelia is a customer service bot that helps banks maintain compliance in conversations with customers.
  • Current AI application: 3
  • Potential AI application: 5

Relying on AI to scan for compliance issues instead of a team of employees helps avoid human error and allows financial institutions to quickly analyze multiple documents and practices. Because it removes human biases and error, AI has great potential in regulatory compliance.

Marketing

  • Fintech example: Marketers can better up-sell or cross-sell banking and finance products by using AI to identify and anticipate client needs. SBDA Group (FEU 16) helps banks leverage their data using algorithms and machine learning to create targeted marketing campaigns for individual customers.
  • Current AI application: 3 stars
  • Potential AI application: 4 stars

Fintech companies have been using AI to draw conclusions from bank data for a few years now, but marketing is an area in which human input still adds a lot of value.

Customer service

  • Fintech example: Firms can leverage AI to identify which clients are at most risk of leaving a bank or advisor. FinovateAsia 2016 Best of Show-winner, Finn.ai (FA16), offers a white-labeled chat bot that integrates into existing messaging platforms such as Line, Facebook Messenger, Alexa, and even the bank’s web chat interface.
  • Current AI application: 2 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

Banks have been hesitant to adopt chat bots and other AI-based customer service products because the technologies are not quite smart enough. Finn.ai overcomes this challenge by offering a Talk to a Human button at the bottom of the chat interface. This technique, combined with the implementation of machine learning and advanced natural language recognition, makes this space prime for growth in 2017.

Reporting tools

  • Fintech example: Advancements in natural language, along with AI’s ability to analyze large data sets, have made it possible for banks to rely on software to automatically create and distribute reports. Narrative Science (FF13), for example, automates the creation of anti-money laundering reports and allows the bank to adjust for the tone of the writing.
  • Current AI application: 2
  • Potential AI application: 4

We’ve seen AI used to generate reports, both in written and video form, in the wealth management and compliance sectors. However, there is still room for natural language reporting to extend to other forms (such as inside of a chat interface) as well as to other sectors of fintech.


In addition to these eight areas of fintech, there is a miscellaneous category that comprises technology such as ColletAI, which automates debt collection. Check out CollectAI, Comarch, and MoneyHub, along with other AI-based fintech at FinovateEurope next month.

While AI is widespread in many areas of fintech, it is still far from others, such as tax and estate planning, which require complex inputs and decision making. However, bolstering AI in these difficult areas using machine learning, the blockchain, and human intervention offers some potential for growth in 2017.

Since AI is pervasive throughout many sectors of fintech, it may not be too early for your company to begin searching for a Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Finovate Debuts: Juvo’s Identity Scoring Builds Credit for the Underserved.

Around the web

  • Techfoliance features Dyme, Personetics, and Finn.ai.
  • Cryptocoins news examines LendingRobot’s new automated hedge fund.
  • The CardLinx Association unveils Microsoft-developed, open source, card-linking software available to public.
  • Capital One forges strategic partnership with Bill.com and Gusto to develop financial management tools for SMEs.

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.