banqUP Previews its Bank-as-a-Platform Solution for European SMEs

Note: Demoing as bankUP at FinovateEurope, the company has since rebranded as banqUp.

There may or may not be a special place in heaven for those entrepreneurs and developers burning the midnight oil in a quest to build a better banking solution for small businesses. But there will always be a spot on the Finovate stage. This year at FinovateEurope, Antwerp, Belgium-based banqUP tossed its hat into the ring with a preview of its small business banking platform.

Calling itself a bank for people who live on their smartphones, banqUP is a digital neo-bank for small business that offers a business current account, credit and debit cards, and a hub of integrated financial solutions in a single, unified platform.  As Dimitri Leemans, a partner at Hedera Consulting explained during an introduction to the company’s demo, banqUP is designed to be the kind of bank young entrepreneurs in Europe have been longing for, one that prioritizes personalization, customer insight, and openness.

bankUP_stage_FEU2017

Pictured (left to right): banqUP’s Lukasz Chmielewski (CTO), Dimitri Leemans (Partner, Hedera Consulting), and Krzysztof Pulkiewicz (CEO) demonstrating the banqUP small business banking platform at FinovateEurope 2017.

banqUP CEO Krzysztof Pulkiewicz and CTO Lukasz Chmieleswki launched into the demo, showing how the platform provided dashboards with configurable widgets to help business owners track cash flow, budgets, contacts, payables, transactions, and other critical information. banqUP’s smart tagging feature scans transactions and groups them into budgets to keep expenses organized. Create a hashtag for a given expense category, select it, and all of the widgets on the various dashboards will update with information relevant to that category. “This is just the beginning of our smart business bank,” Pulkiewicz said. The platform also enables ready integration for outside parties such as external accounting software or even a real live human accountant, who can be set up on the platform’s accounting dashboard on banqUP and review the details of all transactions, including the original documents, and even leave notes right on the document image.

With its technology still in beta, banqUP is eagerly anticipating its official launch in the coming months. “We are still finalizing the development of our solution to provide our future users with the best possible digital banking solution,” Pulikiewicz said, adding “We have come a long way in a short time already and we are tremendously motivated to go even faster and keep ourselves continuously (focused) toward customer success.”

Company facts

  • Headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium
  • Founded in 2016
  • Partnered with German solarisBank AG
  • Launched as a PSD2-ready smart bank in Q1 2017

bankUP_KrzysztofPulkiewicz_newWe met with the banqUP team at FinovateEurope 2017 and followed up with a few additional questions by e-mail. Here are the responses from CEO Krzysztof Pulkiewicz.

What problem does your small business banking platform solve?

Krzysztof Pulkiewicz: banqUP is a digital fintech bank for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). We are offering core banking products including business current account and MasterCard, combined with a hub of integrated fintech services and functionalities that over a web and mobile business platform. We use mobile and web together with smart data analytics to solve the day-to-day problems of SMEs. By using banqUP, entrepreneurs can control all the aspects of their business via just one platform. Some of our features include personalized dashboards, the organization of your incoming and outgoing payments by simply tagging them (and yes, we have automated this as much as possible for you), the possibility to connect your account with all your team members including your accountant to delegate financial tasks easily … These are just a few of banqUP’s innovative features.

The SME segment is significantly underserved by the banks and as a team of entrepreneurs we aim to change this situation. We offer a tailor-made, unique digital banking experience for SMEs, providing a one-stop shop combination of core banking products and integrated fintech services. Business owners of SMEs are focused on driving their businesses and expect more from banks than just selling traditional banking products and processing transactions. It is all about partnering, insights, relevance, predictions, and integrating more into the business itself.

Dashboard

banqUP’s dashboard consists of configurable modules for managing everything from budgets and transactions to contacts and accounts.

Finovate: How does your technology solve the problem better?

Pulkiewicz: We provide the standard banking services seamlessly integrated with fintech services and business apps of the users’ choice. We do not believe in a “one fits all” approach. Based on your business type, industry and stage in the SME life cycle, we build a personalized user experience with features that are most relevant for your business. At the core of the personalized experience, we have advanced data analytics, and we learn from your historical data how we can help you now and in the future. In addition, we use machine learning and data tagging in order to organize your budgets, provide cashflow estimations, and setup the proactive business notifications you expect from the smart banking solution.

banqUP is open. We give you a free choice to work with your favorite accounting software (you can connect to it with a few clicks) or to work with your accountant. banqUP helps you to collaborate better and fully digitalizes this process (starting from uploads, OCR to online document sharing and one-click payments).

RevenueIQ

A look at banqUP’s RevenueIQ dashboard, which features a set of widgets that provide ongoing insight into the company’s revenue stream.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Pulkiewicz: banqUP has a double commercial model:

1. A direct, go-to-market model where banqUP focuses on “millennipreneurs” – a young generation of business owners and freelancers. Millennials experience life, work, and business through technology and they expect seamless interactions between their bank and the different tools for running the day-to-day activities of their business. We are determined to meet the needs of young entrepreneurs and bring them the tools they desire the most. But, of course, all digitally-minded and savvy business owners will see the digital added value of banqUP and form the target client group for banqUP.

2. An indirect, go-to-market model where banqUP offers its platform. This option redesigns business banking from the ground up by leveraging BaaS (Bank as a platform) to deliver SME banking services in the EU and to banks across Europe. Our platform is an enabler for banks; we are working to customize digital banking to a selected group of customers and provide them with fully personalized and relevant services. We are PSD2 ready!

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of your technology.

Pulkiewicz: We are extremely proud of our own banking brand – banqUP and SME banking service – and we will start offering to small and medium businesses in the EU this year. This is a great example how our platform allowed us to enter the market and build a competitive value proposition in a very short marketing time and in an extremely agile way.

cashflow

banqUp’s Cashflow planner provides a visualization of past cash flow to give business owners a sense of what future cash flow may look like.

Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

Pulkiewicz: We are a group of entrepreneurs on a mission to solve the day-to-day problems of SMEs and we started banqUP to design the bank we, and many other business owners, desperately need. We know and acknowledge that every small business is different and operates in different contexts so we want to create better banks, which can be customized to the needs of specific industries, business models, and personal needs of entrepreneurs.

Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from banqUP that we can look forward to over the next few months?

Pulkiewicz: Our main goal for the upcoming months is to finally officially launch our banking service. We are still finalizing the development of our solution to provide our future users with the best possible digital banking experience. We will attend some international conferences in order to present our idea to experts from the banking and fintech industry. We have come a long way in a short time already, and we are tremendously motivated to go even faster and keep ourselves continuously sharp towards customer success.

Finovate: Where do you see your company a year or two from now?

Pulkiewicz: There are many important steps on our planned roadmap where we want to launch banqUP and make it available on the market throughout Europe. We will quickly extend our operations and service availability to EU countries as well as connect with new, global and local partners that offer financial services that truly add value for business owners and entrepreneurs.


Lukasz Chmielewski (CTO), Dimitri Leemans (Partner), and Krzysztof Pulkiewicz (CEO) demonstrating the banqUP small business banking platform at FinovateEurope 2017.

Caxton Leverages the Blockchain to Provide Faster, Safer, API-Free Connectivity

Just when you thought it was safe to enlist yourself in the API revolution, along comes Caxton with what founder and CEO Rupert Lee-Browne described as “the next generation of connectivity using the blockchain.”

“We believe the future of the API is dead,” Lee-Browne said, kicking off Caxton’s live demo at FinovateEurope 2017 in London earlier this year. Calling blockchain, “faster, more secure, and cheaper than API connectivity,” Lee-Browne explained how Caxton had used APIs to connect with its partner companies for years, but ultimately sought a better solution. “Any CTO will tell you: APIs frankly have really quite significant limitations, particularly when it comes down to implementation,” Lee-Browne said. “So our vision is to be the choice of millions who wish to send or spend overseas – either using our brand or other people’s – and blockchain connectivity is the way we’re going to be doing that.”

Pictured: Caxton CEO and founder Rupert Lee-Browne demonstrating the Firebird Payment Engine at FinovateEurope 2017.

Lee-Browne introduced Caxton’s new payment platform, Firebird, and explained how his team built a private blockchain overlay to Firebird and is using that blockchain to connect with third party services. For the company’s live on-stage demo, Caxton presented a partner-developed, Firebird-connected payment app and showed the behind-the-blockchain look at a hypothetical transaction between a motorcycle buyer and a seller.

Caxton CTO Russell Stather emphasized both the security inherent in Caxton’s blockchain-based approach to connectivity and the high degree of control achieved. “(With blockchain) every transaction is digitally signed by all parties involved using a private key stored on each device,” Stather said. “Blockchain itself is immutable,” he continued, “that means it is impossible to change any transactions after the fact.” And there are other benefits to the API-free route, according to Stather: “Having no API means everything is under your control. It’s on your infrastructure, so it’s your specifications,” he said.

From e-commerce merchants looking to multi-currency prices delivered and settled instantly and securely, to app developers with payment apps looking for regulated partners, Caxton is at heart a cross-border payments company looking to leverage its own success with the blockchain into better opportunities for its partners. “It is here today,” Lee-Browne said. “It’s not theory. It’s practice.”

Company Facts

  • Headquartered in London, U.K.
  • Founded in 2003
  • Processed more than 7 million transactions in 2016
  • Serves more than 400,000 customers with annual turnover of more than €1 billion
  • Named a 2016 Customer Service Awards Prepaid Currency Card Trusted Provider

We met with Caxton CEO and founder Rupert Lee-Browne and his team at FinovateEurope to learn more about the company’s technology. We followed up with a few questions by e-mail. Below are his responses.

Finovate: What problem does your technology solve and how does it solve the problem better?

Rupert Lee-Browne: APIs often create problems: security risks and require a lot of maintenance. Blockchain is a revolutionary new technology that makes it safer and easier to send money than ever before. Our blockchain technology removes this risk while making it cheaper and faster for companies to process payments. It also provides a quick and easy white label payments solution for businesses looking for a fully regulated multicurrency banking platform.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Lee-Browne: Businesses looking for a fully-regulated, white label payments provider.

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of your technology.

Lee-Browne: We’ve partnered with a motorcycle app called Motopay. They have developed an app for buying and selling vehicles securely. They aren’t regulated with the FCA, so they need a backend provider for client take-on, AML, anti-fraud, payment in, transaction processing, and pay out. We’re able to do all of this using our new blockchain technology.

Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

Lee-Browne: Caxton is a payment and cards company founded 15 years ago with £25k, a phone, and an advert on Google. We now serve hundreds of thousands of customers and have a projected turnover of over £1bn.  We’ve also been profitable since day one.

We have a penchant for innovation – we were the first company to offer genuine straight through online currency payments back in 2006. Then we created a proper market for prepaid currency cards. And now we are using blockchain technology to offer real fast, safe and lower cost.

Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from Caxton that we can look forward to over the next few months?

Lee-Browne: We have a long list of exciting enhancements to our core banking platform planned. Sadly you’ll have to wait and see on those, though.

Finovate: Where do you see Caxton a year or two from now?

Lee-Browne: We are hoping to rapidly scale our blockchain offering to businesses across the U.K., and potentially further afield. 


Caxton CEO and founder Rupert Lee-Browne and CTO Russell Stather demonstrating the Firebird Payment Engine at FinovateEurope 2017 in London.

Neener Analytics is Biometrics for Personality

As social media analytics company Neener Analytics says on its website, “we may not be superheroes… but we’re pretty darn close.” As proof, the company is backed by an advisory board, whose members have Ph.Ds in fields such as game theory, behavioral economics, and decision science.

Furthermore, the company itself has received its share of accolades. CIO Review Magazine named Neener Analytics among Top 20 Most Promising Data Analytics Companies 2017, CIO.com honored the company in Top 20 Fintechs to Watch in 2017, MergerMarket U.K. listed it as a Top 4 U.S. Fintech To Follow in 2017, and Neener Analytics won Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2017 last month in San Jose.

In the company’s award-winning demo, Neener Analytics CEO Jeff LoCastro showed off what the company is doing to earn such accolades. “We’re here to unveil today at Finovate social media decisioning analytics that actually works,” LoCastro said. He went on to explain that Neener Analytics goes further than just “measuring likes and friends,” what he described as the “you-are-who-your-friends-are” approach that is unfounded because “we’re not who our friends are.”

Instead, Neener Analytics looks at each user’s individual social media presence and leverages social biometrics to determine their risk. LoCastro pointed out during his demo that the question is not can the user pay the bank back, but rather will they pay them back. It is this perspective that distinguishes Neener Analytics from others that use social media data for underwriting.

Company facts

  • Headquartered in San Jose, CA
  • Typically reduces lender defaults by 25% to 33%
  • Can accurately predict or project a consumer’s FICO score range almost 80% of the time

Above: Neener Analytics’ Jeff LoCastro (CEO & Founder) and Marc Tomlinson (CTO & Co-Founder) demo at FinovateSpring 2017

We spoke with Jeff LoCastro after his demo at FinovateSpring this year. The following is the written interview.

Finovate: What problem does Neener Analytics solve?

Jeff LoCastro: Well, current credit and financial risk assessment systems using historical, transactional, and relational data simply don’t provide individually actionable projective insight.

Think of us as the Biometrics of Personality. We’ve developed a regulatory compliant social media analytics technology for lenders, insurance companies, and other risk-centric businesses. This technology enables them to better decision and understand specific individual risk outcomes of thin-file, no-file and credit challenged consumers using our patent-pending personality and behavior analytics technology. We decision individual human characteristics, not transactions, history, or relationships.

We’ve also redefined the idea of the social login. No longer is it simply a way to prepopulate applications or registrations. That’s old stuff. We’ve turned it into a portable financial persona.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

LoCastro: Lenders, insurance companies, or any consumer-facing business trying to understand the risk of the engagement. Our sweet spot right now are those really trying to understand the thin-file, no-file, and credit challenged consumers out there… about 56% of American consumers. And internationally, it can be as high as 90%.

Finovate: How does Neener Analytics solve the problem better?

LoCastro: Again, think of us as the biometrics of personality. What if you could sit each customer down with a psychologist and ask them, “are you REALLY going to pay us back?” or “Why should we trust you?” And have everything that customer says predict, with almost 80% accuracy, whether they will default on their loan, transact or revolve, predict/project a risk-correlated FICO score, or tell you if they are likely telling the truth. With one click and a 20-minute implementation, we’ve automated that psychologist.

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of your solution.

LoCastro: Sure. We recently completed a comprehensive, nine-month long validation for a U.S.-based high-volume consumer products lender doing about 30,000+ applications per month. Their market leans generally toward thin-file and no file individuals, but does also include those we would classify as simply “credit challenged.” They wanted to see 1) if we could improve on their current underwriting models to better predict default, 2) How many turn-downs we would predict default or succeed compared to their current approaches. We also used this validation as an opportunity (although not a use case for them) to predict collection reinstatement and charge-off.

We reduced their defaults by 33% and demonstrated a revenue increase of 22%. In our collections validation, we demonstrated that we could predict (post default) who would likely be reinstatable with a 79% accuracy.

Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

LoCastro: I was a part of the initial executive team of the inventor of the online social network, Classmates.com, and was extracting insights from social media long before it became a thing. I can’t for certain say that I invented it, but I sure did pioneer the cost-per-action model. It worked for us (and our customers) because I could prove insight, and that insight created clicks. While the rest of the market was bragging about “investor” revenue, we were out there actually making money and being, at the time, one of the fastest growing web properties in the world.

Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from Neener Analytics that we can look forward to over the next few months?

LoCastro: There’s a couple that we are not quite ready to announce, but we are grinding out 16-hour days developing new ways to deliver insight. We are, in particular, honing our ability to predict ‘veracity,’ that is, whether they are likely telling the truth or not. Our initial testing has been out-of-this-world promising.

Finovate: Where do you see Neener Analytics a year or two from now?

LoCastro: Let me answer this way: I see the future of social media itself being almost “avatars of self.” Now this is me saying this, not Facebook or whatever. People are pouring themselves into their media and it seems to me to be the next logical step. And with the coming of functional AI, I can see social media being defined as a “conversation” with that user, their AI avatar of sorts, instead of being defined as a page or “profile”. We are definitely poised for that. But that’s perhaps longer than two years.

So the next couple years, I see us with double-digit in-roads into the four major lending verticals and having cracked the insurance markets. Ambitious, yes. Do-able, absolutely. With the right partners and strategic relationships… very doable. I’ve made sure we think big and that’s never going to change.

Check out the live demo from Neener Analytics at FinovateSpring 2017 with Jeff LoCastro (CEO & Founder) and Marc Tomlinson (CTO & Co-Founder):

Market Earlybird Helps Market Professionals Identify Trading Opportunities First

 

With a lighthearted observation about the current President of the United States, Market Earlybird founder and CEO Danny Watkins acknowledged the power of social media like Twitter to broadcast ideas and gauge the sentiment of the crowd. But for many financial professionals, taking full advantage of Twitter presents a wealth of challenges in terms of regulations and compliance.

And that’s where Market Earlybird comes in. Market Earlybird is a cloud-based, Twitter platform designed specifically to handle the compliance issues faced by financial professionals like traders, researchers, and brokers. While recreating the Twitter experience on the platform, Market Earlybird is read-only, has no direct messaging functionality, and is fully recorded to meet compliance requirements. The platform is easy to integrate, requiring neither installation or firewall changes.

Pictured: Market Earlybird CEO Danny Watkins demonstrating the company’s technology at FinovateEurope 2017.

This leaves financial professionals free to take advantage of the analytics on the Market Earlybird platform to get faster and deeper insight into potentially market-moving events. This includes SmartTracks, which enable users to scan a set of preferred stocks, currencies, or news for financial relevance. The platform focuses on the qualitative, considering the Tweeter’s reputation and degree of engagement across the platform (retweets, likes, etc.) to determine which tweets are most likely to “go viral” and potentially have the most impact. The result is a Twitter experience that is designed to provide the most relevant tweets to the financial professional.

“We stop everybody (from) shouting at once. We really make sure you are able to get to the value of  Twitter,” Watkins said.” “We enable you to organize your follows, organize your priority feeds, get notifications. And we start to do that really clever stuff of not only seeing tweets as a flat structure,” he said, “but seeing tweets for the actual value they provide.”

Company facts

  • Headquartered in London, England
  • Founded in February 2012
  • Raised £250,000 in funding
  • Serves a dozen banks including two Top 10 global banks

We sat down with Market Earlybird CEO Danny Watkins during FinovateEurope and followed up with the company’s Chief Evangelist, Stuart Hunt (pictured) with a few questions by email. His responses are below.

Finovate: What problem does your EarlyBird solve?

Stuart Hunt: EarlyBird solves the problem of Twitter access in regulated financial environments. Twitter is now part of the very fabric of how political and financial news moves today, which makes it an essential tool for traders and analysts who need to see that news as it breaks. However, the challenges and risks of Twitter being used for market abuse, through its secret person-to-person channels, can be huge, and therefore it is often blocked from trading and research desks. EarlyBird solves this problem by providing a read-only Twitter service that is safe and optimized for financial professionals.

Finovate: How does your technology solve the problem better?

Hunt: EarlyBird blocks all outbound tweeting and messaging, and all tweets received by its users are recorded for compliance to review. All activity, such as who you follow and what you’re tracking, is also invisible to anyone outside your organization. But EarlyBird does much more than that. It’s a layered product, with increasingly rich capabilities to sift, filter, sort and analyze tweets. EarlyBird’s AI curated company searches, SmartTracks, cast a wider net than regular Twitter searches and return Tweets with real market relevance. It’s Twitter, but optimized for financial professionals.

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of EarlyBird.

Hunt: We’re always delighted when we hear from traders, analysts and compliance teams about how EarlyBird is solving the problems it was designed for. Most recently, we had a lot of positive feedback about our $TRUMP SmartTrack, which we created ahead of his inauguration to enable users to easily track financially relevant tweets and news on Twitter regarding Trump. Trump has thrown a curve ball into financial markets with his fired-from-the-hip tweets, so it was pleasing to know we were helping our customers manage the uncertainty.

Finovate: What is your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

Hunt: EarlyBird was created by our CEO, Danny Watkins, a chartered IT professional and former senior technologist at a multi-national investment bank. Danny’s extensive experience in the industry led to him recognizing the need for an FCA-compliant, read-only Twitter feed. The software was built independently of the bank, supplied under license and piloted on multiple trade floors for several years before its full commercial launch in 2015. Because EarlyBird was tested so rigorously before launch, we knew there was a strong need for the service.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Hunt: Our primary customers are investment banks and hedge funds. They are highly protective of their use of the service and we aren’t able to give names or specific details of how they use it. What we can say is that they are getting information using a combination of direct follows and our artificial intelligence curated feeds, which are giving them market insights that others are missing.

Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from your company that we can look forward to over the next few months?

Hunt: At the moment we’re putting the finishing touches to a new tweet translation feature for the platform. We’ve been working on this for the upcoming Europe elections so readers not only see the most relevant tweets, but can instantly see the content in their own language. We’re also going to be launching a brand new EarlyBird mobile app very soon as well.

Finovate: Where do you see Market EarlyBird a year or two from now?

Hunt: FinovateEurope was our first major conference after receiving funding from an Angel Investor at the end of last year. Since the event we’ve had many people approach us interested in EarlyBird, and off the back of those discussions have issued a number of new pilots which is really encouraging. In the coming two years, we hope to grow our user base, find new ways to enhance the software, and make EarlyBird the go-to platform for those looking to manage the risks and opportunities of Twitter in regulated finance firms.


CEO Danny Watkins demonstrating EarlyBird at FinovateEurope 2017.

nCino Helps FIs Benefit from Cloud Banking

nCino_homepage_April2017b

What makes the nCino Bank Operating System the cloud banking solution of choice for a growing number of financial institutions (including “more than 130 FIs of all asset classes and from multiple countries” in the words of nCino CMO Jonathan Rowe)?

As Rowe said during nCino’s live demonstration at FinovateEurope 2017 earlier this year, “with nCino your customers get a transparent, digitally-optimized process, quick access to capital, and a true valued long-term relationship with your financial institution.” And for financial institutions themselves, he added, nCino brings increased loan growth “while lowering costs and increasing productivity and maintaining the highest levels of safety and soundness.”

Pictured (left to right): Jonathan Rowe (Chief Marketing Officer), Trisha Price (EVP, Product Development & Engineering), and  Nathan Snell (Chief Innovation Officer) demonstrating the nCino Bank Operating System at FinovateEurope 2017.

nCino used the example of a bank loan to demonstrate some of the features of the nCino Bank Operating System. Along with Product Development & Engineering EVP Trisha Price and Chief Innovation Officer Nathan Snell, the nCino team showed how a customer could apply for a small business loan using their smartphone, and get an instant real-time decision from the technology’s automated decisioning engine. The demo also showed how the platform provided workarounds like an automated counter offer when an applicant requested a loan amount that was too large. The technology also enables the customer to capture and upload images of documents like financial statements to help customers make the case for a larger loan.

On the bank’s side, the nCino team showed how the platform’s auto decision engine processed online loan applications and can be configured to match the FI’s own credit policies.  And by leveraging both the OCR and AI built into the nCino platform, bank professionals are able to quickly do deeper dives into applicant financials to find opportunities for funding that might have otherwise gone unfunded or cost the borrower more. “This is how banking and technology should work, and does work with nCino,” Rowe said, reminding the audience that nCino’s technology supports not just commercial banking, but also treasury management, and retail and consumer banking, as well.

Since nCino’s Finovate debut in February, the company has announced new enhancements to its platform that make it easier to serve small business borrowers. Named to Planet Compliance’s RegTech Top 100 Power List this spring, nCino partnered with North State Bank in April and teamed up with Valley National Bank in March to power commercial loan operations at both institutions.

Company Facts

  • Founded in 2012
  • Headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina
  • Raised more than $79 million in capital
  • Works with more than 130 clients
  • Maintains more than 275 employees

We met with the nCino team in London to talk about the company’s debut at FinovateEurope. We followed up with a few questions by e-mail for Nathan Snell, nCino’s Chief Innovation Officer. His responses are below.

Finovate: What problem does your technology solve?

Nathan Snell: nCino is the worldwide leader in cloud banking. Its Bank Operating System, built on the Salesforce platform, enables financial institutions to deliver the speed and digital experience that customers expect, backed by the quality and transparency that bankers need.

nCino’s Bank Operating System acts as a financial institution’s single source of truth, eliminating the need for multiple, disparate software systems by combining customer relationship management (CRM), loan origination, workflow, enterprise content management, business processing and instant reporting all in one secure, cloud-based environment. Sitting alongside the bank’s core, nCino’s Bank Operating System drives increased profitability, productivity gains, regulatory compliance and operating transparency across all business channels and organizational levels. The platform facilitates a seamless and secure interaction between bank employees, customers and other third parties, providing bankers with an efficient and configurable way to digitally operate their institution.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Snell: nCino’s client portfolio consists of more than 130 financial institutions in North America and Europe. Our customers span all asset classes – from $150 million in assets to over $200 billion – and include community and regional banks, credit unions, challenger banks and large enterprise institutions. Because of the flexible and scalable nature of our platform, the Bank Operating System is customizable for any size organization.

Pictured: The nCino Bank Operating System environments displayed on a laptop, a tablet, and a smartphone.

Finovate: How does your technology solve the problem better?

Snell: The nCino Bank Operating System is a comprehensive, end-to-end, cloud-based solution that offers a single platform across all lines of business (commercial, small business, retail), distinguishing us in a market category of our own. nCino was built from day one as an integrated solution on Salesforce’s Force.com platform, the world’s leading cloud computing platform.  Because of how we’ve built the nCino Bank Operating System, it’s also one of the first times a financial institution has a platform that can respond, in a configurable way, to their business needs as quickly as they come up as opposed to being constrained by their platform. While there are other companies that may offer point solutions or software systems that provide certain aspects of our technology, none combine our full spectrum of features and functionality into one cohesive offering.

Designed by bankers who understand the nuances of the marketplace, nCino revolutionizes the way financial institutions operate, helping them regain their competitive advantage and beat alternative lenders at their own game, while simultaneously satisfying customers’ demand for superior service in the digital era.

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation.

Snell: It’s hard to pick a favorite implementation as they are all important; however, one that stands out is our successful implementation last year at SunTrust, a $205 billion-asset institution and a top 10 bank in the U.S. The implementation at SunTrust was a truly collaborative effort consisting of a multi-layered, multifunctional program team that included not only nCino, but also a system integration team from Accenture, and a large operational and technology team from SunTrust.

In less than 18 months, the nCino Bank Operating System was deployed to thousands of SunTrust teammates across sales, risk and lending operations. When asked about the process, Pam Kilday, head of operations for SunTrust, said, “This has been one of the finest implementations that we have had at SunTrust. We are now being looked at as a model of best practices to implement something of this range at SunTrust.”

Pictured: The automated decision engine of the nCino Bank Operating System.

Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

Snell: Because nCino was designed specifically by bankers who understand both the challenges and opportunities in the marketplace, nCino is uniquely qualified to deliver a solution that best addresses a financial institution’s needs. In today’s environment, bankers are expected to do more with less, manage regulation, ensure data security, digitally engage with customers to foster stronger relationships, and deliver increased profit to shareholders. And, as customer demands and expectations rapidly evolve and non-traditional third parties enter the scene, the financial services industry is more competitive than ever before. nCino’s Bank Operating System enables a financial institution to improve efficiency, productivity and compliance across numerous departments and business lines, all while creating a more transparent and digitally engaging experience for customers.

Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from nCino that we can look forward to over the next few months?

Snell: This year, we’ll continue to expand the scope of the Bank Operating System. In 2016 alone, we added new functionality such as deposit account opening and automated decisioning that extended the platform to other areas of the bank – and that’s just the beginning. With additional functionality across small business lending and retail already in the pipeline, nCino continues to develop technology to help financial institutions save costs and increase productivity while simultaneously protecting their market share against emerging marketplace lenders.

There’s really so much opportunity in the financial services space today, that even beyond the next few months, we have quite a few exciting things planned that we believe will continue to help shape the landscape of banking.

Finovate: Where do you see nCino a year or two from now?

Snell: Over the past five years, we’ve experienced significant growth in our customer portfolio, technology roadmap and employee base – and we expect that growth to continue into the next year and beyond. We look forward to expanding our international presence in the U.K. and Europe, adding fresh talent to our workforce and introducing new and exciting functionality to our Bank Operating System as it touches additional areas of the financial institution.


Trisha Price (EVP, Product Development & Engineering), Nathan Snell (Chief Innovation Office), and Jonathan Rowe (Chief Marketing Officer) demonstrating the nCino Bank Operating System at FinovateEurope 2017.

Swaper’s P2P Marketplace Guarantees Returns

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Latvia-based Swaper seeks to make P2P investing as simple as possible. The company offers European investors access to unsecured consumer debt in Poland and Georgia, and has plans to expand its reach across the globe. What’s unique about Swaper is that every loan comes with a buyback guarantee. That means that even if a borrower fails to pay back a loan on time, the investor still receives their principal plus interest on the loan.

Founded in 2016, the company’s CEO, Iveta Brūvele, and COO, Elīna Rasmane, debuted the Swaper mobile app at FinovateEurope 2017. The Portfolio Invest feature of the app lets users invest in a single click. And because they can access their investments from their smartphone, users can control their portfolio anywhere and anytime.

Company facts

  • Originated 6,430 loans worth €1.3 million and saw investments from 161 active investors in November of 2016
  • Offers buyback guarantee
  • Boasts interest rates of 12% to 14%

(above) Iveta Brūvele (CEO) and Elīna Rasmane (COO) debut Swaper on the FinovateEurope stage in London

We interviewed Swaper CEO Iveta Brūvele (pictured) after FinovateEurope for a quick look at Swaper and its future plans.

CEO_Iveta_Bruvele

Finovate: What problem does Swaper solve?

Brūvele: The main difference from other investment opportunities is the high income that we offer our investors. The second is the BuyBack guarantee that is available for all loans on our platform. These two Swaper values are constant, and our aim is to keep them constant so investors can be sure that rules are not going to change, and they will receive the interest rate and the BuyBack guarantee that was promised.

The Swaper mobile app solves availability and easy usability problems too– we are the first of our closest P2P marketplace competitors who have launched a mobile app, and 80% of our customers use it.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Brūvele: Investing on Swaper now is available to private individuals and companies from the European economic area. Our largest markets for now are Germany, Latvia, Spain, Austria, and Great Britain. And we also have plans to widen our customer base to other countries outside the EEA.

Finovate: How does Swaper solve the problem better?

Brūvele: Swaper was launched with the idea to build better financial products and to offer many different financial products. For now our company offers loans and investing options, but we are not going to stop at this. In the near future we are going to present new products. One of our most important advantages is our extensive experience in the financial services area– everyone on our team has gathered huge experience working in a financial sector.

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of your solution.

Brūvele: I would say that it is our mobile app. Actually, the application itself is a step forward– according to the number of users we see, it was exactly what investors needed.
And the coolest feature in the app is definitely the slider that allows users to invest in a single click. Because all the loans offered for investments have the same interest rate and BuyBack guarantee, it doesn’t matter which loans the user invests in. That’s where the idea of the slider was born– after investors choose the amount and term, in just one click it’s done!

Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

Brūvele: It is our team. Our team is very experienced in the fintech field, so we had no doubt we could build awesome financial products. Many of us have worked in different banks across the Europe as well as in the financial services area. The idea of knowing that we can do better is what unites us. And we really want to do better. Our main goal is to make financial services more understandable, available and suitable for the rhythm and technologies of modern life.

Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from Swaper that we can look forward to over the next few months?

Brūvele: We are going to launch two to three new loan products that will be offered as investments on Swaper. After a few months we will also offer our customers new financial products besides lending and investing options. Furthermore we are already working on new features for the Swaper mobile app.

Finovate: Where do you see Swaper a year or two from now?

Brūvele: Of course we have huge ambitions. And we are going to accomplish them, because our advantage is our experience in the financial area and we launch products and services much faster than our competitors do. We want to keep that rapidity and flexibility. We are going to be an international company that offers a wide range of available and contemporary financial services all around the world.


Iveta Brūvele (CEO) and Elīna Rasmane (COO) debut Swaper on the FinovateEurope stage in London

Finovate Debuts: Dorsum Puts the AI in DAISY, its Onboarding ChatBot

You can’t spell the name Daisy without AI, which is good because it’s the premise behind Dorsum’s new banking chatbot, the Dorsum Artificial Intelligence SYstem.

The Hungary-based company debuted its bank Botboarding platform at FinovateEuorpe earlier this year and took home a Best of Show win. The bot uses AI to interact with users in a friendly, human-like way. The bot’s personalized and targeted questions help with client onboarding. The system also offers a backend dashboard that offers real-time analytics about usage and allows banks to alter how the chatbot presents products and services.

Company facts

  • 20+ years of experience in financial software development
  • 250+ employees
  • 70+ financial institutions use its solutions
  • Serves more than 8000+ individual users
  • Has clients in 8+ countries
  • Has 4 offices in CEE

Above: Imre Rokob (Business Development Director), Reanta Stein (Business Development Director), and Peter Sallai (Head of Mobile Development) on stage at FinovateEurope 2017 in London

We interviewed Róbert Kő (pictured), Dorsum CEO, for a bit more insight into Dorsum and Daisy, it’s Botboarding chatbot.

Finovate: What problem does Dorsum solve?

Róbert Kő: Based on Dorsum’s latest research and many discussions with existing and future clients, currently the greatest challenge is customer acquisition. The Botboarding platform is our answer to this challenge; allowing financial companies to build onboarding chatbots which incorporate a human-like way of communication with traditional customer data gathering and user profiling to help banks acquire new customers in a fast and frictionless way.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Kő: Dorsum would like to help financial organizations which serve clients from mass affluent and high net worth  individuals. Therefore, our primary customers are wealth management companies and banks that offer premium or private banking services. Naturally we can help many other financial organizations map their individual needs and provide exclusive contracts with customized offers.

Finovate: How does Dorsum solve the problem better?

Kő: People are fed up with filling endless and boring forms– besides, they like chatting. Facebook Messenger, which has 1.2 billion daily active users, opened up its platform for developers in April 2016 to build outstanding solutions – chatbots – in order to serve people who wish to communicate with businesses. Dorsum’s solution enables financial services providers to utilize the inherent potential in customer acquisition by using a chatbot instead of a form or other customer profiling solutions. With Dorsum’s Botboarding, financial services providers can reach higher conversion rates and can reduce churn ratios.

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of your solution.

Kő: Our chatbot is currently in delivery phase for two retail banks. Despite the legal and IT security barriers it is currently under configuration. Both of the banks wanted the chatbot to generate leads for their best performing mortgage products. These leads are distributed for the ‘users’ every day in a detailed Excel spreadsheet which contains the essence of the communication with the chatbot. The development itself of the functions took only two weeks to cover the business process of the banks. All of the above we have started negotiations with one large Dubai-based company but this stage the details are strictly confidential.

Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

Kő: Dorsum, which has recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, has a remarkable track record in offering outstanding software to capital market players. Over the last 20 years the company has grown from a few employees into an organization with a staff of 250, including an experienced project team for delivering integrated investment IT solutions. Today more than 70 financial institutions use our solutions, serving more than 8,000 individual users. We support our clients by offering them unique cooperation throughout the lifecycle of the products, managing expectations in terms of functionality, time and budget. Dorsum has two subsidiaries in order to emphasize its presence in the CEE region and to respond faster to local needs. Dorsum entered the Western European and Middle East markets recently by attending financial events (e.g. FinovateEurope 2017 – presenter; MEFTECH – exhibitor) and conducting initial negotiations with a number of financial institutions.

Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from Dorsum that we can look forward to over the next few months?

Kő: Our solution is now available on Facebook Messenger. In the near future we are planning to extend our developments to other platforms in order to ensure our clients reach the widest customer range.

Finovate: Where do you see Dorsum a year or two from now?

Kő: I should like to make Dorsum the best in the region in our professional field, or for instance one of the three best wealth management software solutions in Europe. It appears that the stars are aligned in our favor at the moment as two months before the Finovate victory we won a regional tender from the Raiffeisen group extending to 5 countries, for the wealth management products mentioned above. I believe that these two “BOOMS” one after the other signify a very good debut on the European Union market. An earlier dream of ours has become realized: Dorsum is capable of developing a renewable product (chatbot solution), and furthermore, another of our prize-winning solutions was given a new impetus last year. Of course, we are not standing still… In the coming years we will be there at Finovate and other fintech world events – with the standard expected from us.

 Check out the FinovateEurope 2017 live demo with Imre Rokob (Business Development Director), Reanta Stein (Business Development Director), and Peter Sallai (Head of Mobile Development):

Finovate Debuts: unblu Delivers an In-Person Customer Experience Online

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Collaboration suite provider unblu understands the value of in-person interactions in banking and the need to deliver a robust experience via digital channels. More importantly, however, the company has figured out how to balance the two by offering the personal touch of an in-person experience through mobile and online channels.

At FinovateEurope 2017, unblu CMO Jens Rabe began the demo saying, “Your customers are already interacting with your online channels everyday. The question is– are you actually taking advantage of those opportunities… driving sales and customer loyalty?” The company’s mobile collaboration solution offers banks an additional channel for live customer consults, using their existing mobile banking apps as the foundation for the interaction.

Company facts:

  • Privately funded
  • 25+ employees
  • Over 80 banks currently using software
  • Headquartered in Sarnen, Switzerland
  • Founded in 2012

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(above) unblu CMO Jens Rabe and CEO Luc Haldimann at FinovateEurope 2017 in London

We spoke with Luc Haldimann (pictured), unblu CEO after the show and followed up with an interview.

Finovate: What problem does unblu solve?

Haldimann: unblu facilitates an in-person experience, online.
Digital transformation is probably the toughest job in banking today. Banks are not just in the financial business anymore, they’re in the business of enhancing consumer lifestyles and the competition is tough. Fintech newcomers are agile and can respond quickly to changed expectations and deliver cutting-edge digital services to empower customers.

In order to differentiate from competition and retain customer loyalty, banks need to support and advise customers through digital channels, in real time and in person. Effectively this means swapping the place of interaction from a high-street branch to a digital branch. We enable our clients to do precisely this, without having to redesign their digital channels or infrastructures.

Above: unblu’s administrative screen shows queue of client requests

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Haldimann: Over the last few years, we have become specialists for live engagement in the financial sector. Our primary customers are banks who we sell to directly and via leading integrators. These banks are distributed worldwide and include UBS, Intesa SanPaolo, PostFinance, Comdirect, Fineco, Bank Millennium, Societé General and Komerční Banka for example. And of course our partners are invaluable to us. We have fantastic relationships with our many strategic partners, which most notably include over 30% of the technology vendors listed in the leaders’ quadrant of Gartner’s magic quadrant for global retail core banking. Our partners have made and continue to make our offering easily accessible to a myriad of customers around the globe.

Finovate: How does unblu solve the problem better?

Haldimann: Put simply we listen carefully to our customers and adapt our solution to fit their requirements. Our focus on banking and its specific challenges enables us to evolve with the industry and adapt to changing needs. This has led to an intricate understanding of the industry’s security, regulatory and technological environment. unblu is uniquely designed to allow banks to rollout a live engagement solution which respects all these constraints.

Of course there are other vendors offering live engagement solutions. Due to our experience we often find
ourselves one step ahead and able to quickly adapt and present a solution regardless of the anomalies relating
to the finance industry. We understand customer centricity in combination with secure environments as the key value proposition in our market segment.

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of your solution.

Haldimann: My favourite projects are the ones where we’ve succeeded in working closely together with clients to leverage the maximum impact of unblu. It’s incredibly exciting and fulfilling to collaborate with banks who understand the capabilities of unblu and how to utilise it to make an impact within the market. 50% of swiss cantonal banks are already working together with us and share our vision and enthusiasm enough to actually change the way they do business and start building their customer journeys in ways which will allow them to digitally address clients.

These types of clients are savvy and demanding and push us to develop the suite even further in order to
accommodate their needs. Working with customers and helping find solutions that make them happy is what
drives the collaborative spirit at unblu.

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Above: unblu offers co-browsing for an interactive user session

Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

Haldimann: Before founding unblu I worked a lot with banks to develop a screen based advisory tool for use in high street branches. This experience taught me a great deal about the in person, face to face advisory processes within banks. Previously to unblu I also helped SAP and HP creating online configurators and developed a fascination for the limits of self service tools. Combining the two ideas seemed very compelling. The true value of the proposition has become apparent since the crisis within the financial sector. The necessary change in mindset and the digitization movement are driving forces in our success story.

Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from unblu that we can look forward to over the next few months?

Haldimann: Truly compelling customer service must be intuitive, emotionally rich and also available when needed. We are about to launch our SDK package that will allow unblu to work seamlessly within native mobile phone apps. This  means unblu’s collaboration suite will be extended to mobile devices, which is a huge opportunity for financial institutions to create win-win scenarios with their valued customers.
You can also expect to see us expanding both geographically and into new markets throughout the year. We’ve
recently increased our sales coverage in response to demand from global enterprises seeking a solution as
mature as unblu’s, which they haven’t been able to find within their own market. Additionally, we’re beginning to broaden our solid customer base within the fin serv sector itself and have acquired a number of insurance clients including AOK, SwissLife and AON.

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Above: unblu’s interactive chat session

Finovate: Where do you see unblu a year or two from now?

Haldimann: unblu began as a specialized co-browsing solution. In line with market demands we have built out a complete online engagement suite specifically aimed at the financial sector. We are proud of the level of expertise we have achieved and we will continue to develop and maintain our position as market leader for live engagement in the finance sector. There is already a new market segment in the making to enable banks to build effective virtual branches and unblu will be a huge part of that moving forward.


unblu CMO Jens Rabe and CEO Luc Haldimann at FinovateEurope 2017 in London

Finovate Debuts: Configo Empowers FIs to Build Customized Customer Journeys

Configo_homepage_March2017

At FinovateEurope earlier this year, Tel Aviv, Israel-based Configo demonstrated its contribution to the cause of greater customer engagement in financial services. The technology, Configo Live Mobile Experience Platform, enables banking marketing professionals and product specialists to design customer experiences that are, in the words of Configo co-founder and CEO Yosi Dahan, “personalized and contextual.”

Dahan warned that nonbanks have done a better job than most banks when it comes to meeting customer expectations of being more innovative and “human-centric.” He said that by leveraging Configo’s ability to bring targeted content to targeted audiences in real time, banks and other traditional financial institutions have the opportunity to regain that lost ground.

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Pictured (left to right): Configo co-founders Natan Abramov (CTO) and Yosi Dahan (CEO) demonstrating Configo Live Mobile Experience at FinovateEurope 2017.

For the live demonstration Configo CTO Natan Abramov showed how the Configo platform scanned the screens of the banking app, and enabled the user to make changes that would appear simultaneously in the app when saved. In addition to being able to make cosmetic changes to text, color, and other features, the platform also supports pushing custom content to user-defined segments such as low-income, families, etc. Virtually any data point, from account balance to age to geolocation to app usage – can be used to define a segment for receiving certain app customizations, targeted messages, or special offers.

Configo also provides for in-app campaigns to send promotional messages to customers. Users can upload their own design or use one of Configo’s templates, then simply add text, images, and a call to action. Schedule the ad to pop-up at any one of a number of cues: a specific time or when a button on an app is pushed, and the campaign is ready to go. Configo’s platform provides for A/B testing, and works with iOS, Android, native, and hybrid systems.

app UI editor

Once the app’s screens are scanned into the Configo platform, individual content items can be tagged for management later.

“By providing contextual offers and content in real time, you are actively optimizing your customer interaction, driving better engagement and increasing mobile sales,” Dahan said. Emphasizing the ease of adopting the technology (“up and running with virtually no integration and without messing around with code in just a couple of days”), he said his company’s platform ensures that FIs gain “total control of your customer’s journey in your mobile application.”

Company Facts

  • Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Founded in 2015
  • Running more than 10 pilots with banks and credit card companies in Europe

We met with Dahan (pictured) and Abramov, co-founders of Configo, at FinovateEurope in London and followed up with a Configo_Yosi_Dahanfew questions for Dahan by e-mail. Here are his responses.

Finovate: What problem does your technology solve?

Yosi Dahan: Product and marketing managers require rapid iterations, prototyping, and optimizations of their mobile banking product to increase conversion and engagement. Working agile has its benefits, but the release and update cycles are still measured in weeks as most of the tasks go through the R&D teams.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Dahan: Financial institutions.

Finovate: How does your solution solve the problem better?

Dahan: Product and marketing leaders get access to a variety of tools in our platform to simply create new customer experiences, optimizing the customer’s journey and interaction. Configo integrates with any existing mobile app using an SDK and provides a dashboard for management. Segmenting users, running A/B test experiments, launching campaigns, and personalizing the app’s user interface, can be achieved without a single line of code. Configo has managed to cut the time-to-market of app changes and business tasks by over 15%.

in-app campaign stats

The Configo platform supports in-app campaigns and provides total control over how the ads look and appear to the user.

Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

Dahan: The team behind Configo has more than nine years of experience of developing mobile apps. Prior to starting Configo, we conducted research involving more than 50 financial institutions around the world in order to understand how their app release cycles look like and how we can reduce the time-to-market to meet customer expectations. Configo has managed to cut the time-to-market of app changes and business tasks by over 15%.

segmentation

Customers can be segmented based on any datapoint – age, account balance, app usage – on the Configo platform.

Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from Configo that we can look forward to over the next few months?

Dahan: We’ll be introducing new tools for both marketing and product managers to help them better understand their customers’ journey as well as increase engagement, decrease churn rate, and provide exceptional user experience. We are also working on creating a solution for the online (web) channel.

Finovate: Where do you see Configo a year or two from now?

Dahan: Our goal is to help financial institutions around the world shape their mobile channel. We are planning on delivering a custom experience to 50 million mobile banking users by 2019.


Configo’s Yosi Dahan (CEO & Co-Founder) and Natan Abramov (CTO & Co-Founder) demonstrating Configo Live Mobile Experience at FinovateEurope 2017.

Finovate Debuts: collectAI Brings Omnichannel Engagement to Debt Collection

 

collectAI_homepage_April2017You won’t hear us refer to collectAI’s innovative approach to outstanding payments as “Debt Tech.” But the Hamburg, Germany-based fintech startup does have a different idea of what matters most when it comes to accounts receivables management, the art of dunning, and debt collection.

During the company’s Finovate debut at FinovateEurope in February, CEO Mirko Krauel pointed out that while other A/R specialists focused solely on boosting collection rates (“which, of course, are very important,” he noted), default rates are only part of the picture. “It’s also about securing a potentially good customer relationship. It’s also about having low cost,” Krauel said, adding “We at collectAI want a perfect balance between those three goals.”

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Pictured: collectAI CEO Mirko Krauel demonstrating collectAI Claims Management at FinovateEurope 2017.

The fact that Krauel refers to the debtor as “the consumer” is a tip-off to the way the company believes is the best way to resolve outstanding payments more efficiently. The collectAI platform leverages artificial intelligence, for example, not only to determine the best communication channel to use to reach the debtor, but also to figure out the best time and the best tone to take. This is part of the platform’s “baseline strategy” creation which is followed by content engineering to add what collectAI managing director Michael Backes explained as “the behavioral economics, the psychology to help the debtor resolve the issue more quickly.”

After demonstrating a number of examples of personalized messages from collectAI including text and email, Krauel highlighted a handful of ways he believed collectAI would “reinvent the topic of debt collection and A/R management.”

First of all, we are not doing just debt collection. We do it very early in the process, we do the invoicing and also the dunning part. Number two, we are supporting a large variety of channels, digital and analog. Number three, we have the landing pages and payment pages to increase the payment conversion rate. Number four, we are a fintech startup. Of course, we have an API. And last, but not least, we have the AI and the AI is very important to really optimize every aspect of our product.

Following the company’s Finovate debut, collectAI was featured in Euro Finance Tech and in Digitale Leute, and discussed the “magic of AI” in the context of accounts receivable at the Retail Banking Forum in Vienna. This week, the company bested 47 rivals to win first place at the EXEC Conference pitch contest in Berlin, Germany.

Company facts

  • Founded in 2016
  • Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany
  • Maintains 30 employees

CollectAI_SteveEmeczWe met with collectAI Chief Commercial Officer Steve Emecz at FinovateEurope and followed up with a few questions by e-mail. Here are his responses.

Finovate: What problem does your technology solve?

Steve Emecz: collectAI helps customers digitize and optimize their receivables. We digitize with new ways to communicate like email, SMS, and messaging apps. We optimize using integrated digital payments – all supported by an artificial intelligence platform that automates and enhances the processes to make the receivables process much more efficient. collectAI provides everything from traditional mass invoicing to personalized and optimized service – i.e. getting your money faster, at lower operations cost and reducing service issues.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Emecz: Any organization that sends bills to their clients (consumers or business) can benefit from enhancing the receivables process. Our main clients are those with lots of bills like utilities, banks, lending companies, e-commerce retail and digital clients, and insurance companies. It’s a white label service so the person receiving the bill simply sees the process improving from their supplier.

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Pictured: collectAI’s Virtual Agent algorithms determine the channel, time of day, and other factors to enable greater personalization when building effective messages to debtors.

Finovate: How does your solution solve the problem better?

Emecz: Our platform helps select the best way to communicate to the client by channel (e.g. email, SMS, etc), time and content of message. We then enrich this with fast and efficient digital payment methods to settle the bills quickly and, if there is an issue, we provide a structured dispute resolution process to optimize client feedback. Finally, this is all supported by an artificial intelligence (AI) platform that learns from the behavior of the client and optimizes everything on its own.

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of your technology.

Emecz: We have a large payments client who has multiple retail brands within their portfolio where their invoices and reminders were all sent by post. For them, we have made three big impacts. First, adding in email and SMS reminders replacing some of the letters has reduced costs in their dunning process. Second, some of the amounts have been paid earlier. Third, we introduced a structured feedback process. Until now, all disputes came in via email or their call centre (and sometimes social media) at random in response to letters. We helped them free up valuable time and effort.

collectAI_stage_FE2017

Pictured (left to right): collectAI’s Michael Backes (MD) and Mirko Krauel (CEO) demonstrating the Health Card feature of the outstanding payments portfolio.

Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

Emecz: We have a rather unique setup. Our lead investor the Otto Group (turnover €12 billion) has over 100 businesses in the group with a long history of receivables, combined with an agile fintech company builder (Liquid Labs) with experience in artificial intelligence (AI). This means in our first year, alongside building a market-leading AI platform specifically for receivables, we have gained first-hand experience of the processes we are enhancing, with both internal and external customers.

Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from collectAI that we can look forward to over the next few months?

Emecz: Although we will continue to add things you can see, like more payment methods or communication channels, the real magic will be in the things you don’t notice: AI, self-learning landing pages, more backend services, and simpler integration.

Finovate: Where do you see your company a year or two from now?

Emecz: We plan to be the leading provider of receivables digitization and optimization services in Europe, expanding through partners into several new territories.


collectAI CEO Mirko Krauel and Managing Director Michael Backes demonstrating collectAI Claims Management platform at FinovateEurope 2017.