Unison Leverages Institutional Investors to Help Home Buyers Bridge Affordability Gap

Is the most innovative insight in mortgagetech doing away with the idea of the mortgage in the first place? After listening to Unison the answer might surprise you.

“Homeowners have traditionally financed their homes with various forms of debt,” Jim Riccitelli, Co-CEO of the mortgagetech innovator, Unison, explained. “With debt, the homeowner pays interest and makes monthly payments. A Home Ownership Investment is home financing based on partnership, and it completely changes the game. It is not debt.”

Unison has developed a new financial services category – home ownership investing – which, in addition to providing new opportunities for investors, helps potential homebuyers manage and overcome the traditional challenges to financing a home purchase. The company’s Home Ownership Investments provide cash financing to homeowners for up to 30 years. And instead of a monthly payments or interest charges, Unison’s investors earn returns based on the change in value when the homeowner sells the property. Hence the partnership. “If the home value rises, the homeowner and the investor both profit,” Riccitelli said. “If the home value falls, both lose.”

Pictured (left to right): Co-CEO Jim Riccitelli and Director of Engineering Neal Behrend demonstrating Unison HomeBuyer and Unison HomeOwner at FinovateSpring 2017.

He adds that combining traditional financing with home ownership investing can be a powerful resource for homebuyers, especially those struggling to save enough for a downpayment in any one of America’s soaring housing markets. “A home ownership investment can double a buyer’s downpayment cash, which can eliminate the need for costly mortgage insurance, significantly lower the monthly mortgage payment, and enable the buyer to comfortably afford the home they really want,” Riccitelli said.

Home ownership investments can also help existing homeowners retire debt without incurring additional debt via consolidation loans and similar debt-incurring tactics. This product, the Unison HomeOwner Program, can also fund the launch of a new business, cover the costs of home remodeling, or pay for educational expenses for the kids. “All without adding to their monthly payment burden,” he explained.

For investors, Unison provides a long-term investment opportunity in residential real estate, the largest asset class in the U.S. Riccitelli points out that residential real estate is especially attractive to institutional investors who have long-term time horizons and a preference for inflation-hedging or inflation-beating investments. “For the first time ever, Unison’s HomeBuyer and HomeOwner programs have made residential real estate an investable asset class for institutional investors who represent the largest pool of investment capital in the world,” he said.

Company facts

  • Founded in 2004
  • Headquartered in San Francisco, California
  • Won Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2017 for its Unison HomeBuyer, Unison HomeOwner programs

We met with Co-CEO Jim Riccitelli (pictured) and Director of Corporate Communications Michael Micheletti at FinovateSpring and followed up with a few questions by e-mail. Below are the responses.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Riccitelli: On the consumer side, we help first-time buyers, millennials, trade up and trade down buyers, across all price points, in most of the major metropolitan areas in the country. We help them in the following ways:

  • We make it much easier for the buyer to income-qualify for the mortgage loan needed to purchase the desired home.
  • We enable the buyer to purchase the desired home with a lower monthly payment (typically 15-20% lower).
  • We can increase the buyer’s purchasing power by up to 100%, allowing them to choose the home they really want versus settling.
  • We can enable the buyer to retain cash after closing for important life needs such as college tuition, home remodeling, starting a business, investing for retirement or just as a cash cushion for a rainy day.
  • We allow the buyer to show a stronger offer (with a larger down payment), making them much more competitive in tight housing markets.

We also help existing homeowners unlock a portion of their home equity without borrowing, and without monthly payments or interest. They can use the cash for any purpose, including paying off debt, college tuition, home remodeling, starting a business, investing for retirement, or paying medical bills.

On the investor side, our customers are institutional investors, such as pension funds and university endowments, who have a natural need for long-term price exposure to residential real estate, the largest asset class in the United States. This asset class is particularly attractive to these investors who have a long investment horizon and an investment objective of hedging or outperforming inflation. For the first time ever, Unison’s HomeBuyer and HomeOwner programs have made residential real estate, the world’s largest asset class, an investable asset class for institutional investors, who represent the largest pool of investment capital in the world.

Finovate: How does your solution solve the problem better?

Riccitelli: Due to the game-changing nature of our innovation, we don’t just solve a problem better, we solve it in the first place; it was not previously solvable without our innovation.

On the consumer side, we provide very-long-term lump-sum home financing that enables more families to purchase homes and helps existing homeowners finance life needs, all without added debt and without monthly payments.

On the investor side, we make the largest asset class in the world, residential real estate, an investable asset class for the largest investors in the world, pension funds and university endowments, who have an investment objective of hedging or outperforming inflation and have a natural need for the exposure.

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

Riccitelli: We have so many happy homeowner success stories that it’s difficult for us to name a favorite. But here’s a recent one as an example.

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

Riccitelli: Our team has a deep background in investment management, real estate, home finance, operations, and funding and building startup businesses, and that certainly gives us confidence. But we knew how difficult and lengthy the process would be to build something so revolutionary; that results in dramatic changes in a highly regulated industry where change is so hard to promote. So more than anything, our spirit of entrepreneurism and our sense of commitment and perseverance gives us the confidence we need.

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

Riccitelli: We have several new programs coming, including programs for rental properties and homeowners with lower credit. We also have some very exciting things in the works that we will introduce to the world in 2018, including another revolutionary home purchase finance program and a program designed for retiree homeowners. Stay tuned!

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

Riccitelli: We’ll continue to lead this large and exciting consumer finance category. We’ll have many thousands of happy customers and be well on our way to making Home Ownership Investment a mainstream financing tool. We’ll expand our geographic footprint. We’ll also be introducing a few more innovative alternatives to debt that give consumers additional flexibility and control.


Unison Co-CEO Jim Riccitelli and Director of Engineering Neal Behrend demonstrating Unison HomeBuyer and Unison HomeOwner at FinovateSpring 2017.

ACH Alert’s Fraud Prevention HQ Empowers Account Holders to Stop Suspicious Transactions

ACH Alert provides enterprise-grade, SaaS-based advanced fraud prevention solutions to financial institutions and fintechs. At FinovateSpring earlier this year, ACH Alert President David Peace and CEO Deborah Peace demonstrated Fraud Prevention HQ, which turns the challenge of fraud prevention into a revenue-making opportunity. ACH Alert’s fraud monitoring platform provides real-time, actionable, out-of-band alerts based on voice biometrics, and the rule sets are fully-customizable. The platform gives users a dashboard to view transactions flagged by the system before the transactions take place. But what is particularly Fraud Prevention HQ, as CEO Peace explained, is the way it empowers customers and clients. “This is the only platform available in the market that allows account holders to interact to stop suspicious ACH, wires, and check activity in real-time without financial institution intervention,” she said.

This is why, when it comes to cost savings of fraud prevention, Peace gives the credit to the customer. “In 2016, our system monitored $80 billion worth of transactions for the 70 financial institutions that we work with today,” she said. “And the account holders, not the financial institutions, were able to return $625 million.”

Pictured (left to right): ACH Alert’s David Peace (President) and Deborah Peace (CEO) demonstrating Fraud Prevention HQ at FinovateSpring 2017.

For the company’s live demo, the Peaces walked the audience through log-in on the client portal, which is integrated into the financial institution’s system and can be accessed online or mobile. They showed the Fraud Prevention HQ’s dashboard where basic information on wires, check, and ACH transaction activity is located, before focusing on the latter to show, for example, how easily a customer can respond to an alert by managing an individual ACH transaction entry. The ability to do this quickly and accurately is important for corporate clients, the team emphasized, because – unlike consumers – companies only have one day to detect and return a suspicious transaction. “We had one customer of a financial institution that returned a single item for $77 million one day,” Peace said. “So that saved them a significant amount of money.”

Fraud Prevention HQ: Dashboard View.

Features of Fraud Prevention HQ include debit blocks and filters for retail customers as well as corporate clients, electronic dispute forms that can be digitally signed, and automated exception settlement handling. Importantly, Fraud Prevention HQ’s dispute resolution process sends alerts before money actually changes hands. This way, in the event of a return, the customer doesn’t have to wait several days for the funds to come back to the account. The goal, as she explained, was to take financial institutions out of the backroom fraud monitoring and instead put those responsibilities “in the hands of paying customers.”

Company facts

  • Founded in 2008
  • Headquartered in Ooltewah, Tennessee
  • Won Innovative Solutions Award for Authentication/Fraud/Cybersecurity from BankNews

We spoke with Debbie Peace during the networking session at FinovateSpring 2017 in San Jose, and followed up with a few questions by email. Below are her responses.

Finovate: What problem does your technology solve?

Debbie Peace: It prevents unauthorized checks, ACH, and wire transfers from withdrawing funds from an account holder’s account. It moves costly fraud monitoring out of the backroom of financial institutions and into the hands of paying customers. It completely automates the return and dispute resolution process for the account holder and financial institution.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Peace: Banks and credit unions of all sizes across the U.S.

Fraud Prevention HQ’s Transaction History Current Status screen enables users to see and manage account activity.

Finovate: How does your solution solve the problem better?

Peace: It automates the verification process by alerting the account holder and giving them the ability to accept or reject suspect transactions.  Most financial institutions are monitoring for suspicious activity but when a suspect transaction is identified, they have to make a judgement call, process it or call the account holder. That slows down transaction processing time, it’s costly and it is not a good customer experience. Our solution allows a financial institution and account holder to agree upon customized rules related to their account, relevant, actionable alerts are sent to the account so fraud is stopped by the account holder, before funds are withdrawn from their account – without financial institution intervention.

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

Peace: My background consists of business management, credit underwriting and risk monitoring, software development for payment systems, and extensive sales and marketing experience.    

Adding companies to the Approved List from Fraud Prevention HQ’s Transaction History page.

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

Peace: We will be rolling out a cross channel payment services application, underwriting and monitoring system called S.C.O.R.E.  

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

Peace: I see our customer engagement, fraud prevention solutions being the standard for fraud prevention for financial institutions and their clients, widening our base of financial institution clients nationwide.


 ACH Alert’s Deborah Peace (CEO) and David Peace (President) demonstrating Fraud Prevention HQ at FinovateSpring 2017.

Newchip Helps New Investors Own a Piece of the Startup Economy

“There are 200 million new investors in the United States as of May of last year,” Newchip co-founder and CTO Travis Brodeen reminded the FinovateSpring audience at this year’s conference in San Jose. “They want to change the world. And we want to help them do it,”

Brodeen was speaking of Title III of the JOBS Act, which enables startups to pursue equity crowdfunding with non-accredited investors, bringing a new community of investors to the equity crowdfunding revolution. And while startups and small busnesses have been quick to adopt equity crowdfunding as a new way to raise capital (Brodeen pointed out earlier in the demo that many of these investments are often oversubscribed), encouraging millennial investors to get in the equity crowdfunding game – even with Title III – can be a challenge.

For Newchip, the key to a millennial investor’s heart – and their investable capital – is through their priorities and values. Just as Peter Lynch encouraged investors a generation ago to invest in the companies that built the products they saw and used every day, Newchip gives millennial investors the ability to align their values as millennials with their goals as investors.

Pictured: Newchip CTO and co-founder Travis Brodeen demonstrating Newchip’s DealMatch learning algorithm and new lending model at FinovateSpring 2017.

In Newchip’s debut Finovate appearance at FinovateSpring in San Jose earlier this year, Brodeen and Director of Operations Linda Phan demonstrated how the Newchip app enabled investors to fund the kind of companies and projects that reflected their interests, preferences, and values. Currently in beta, with an anticipated launch over the summer of 2017, Newchip’s solution uses machine learning to take advantage of trends toward social and more personalized investing that Millennials have embraced. “Millennials are voting with their dollars in things that they believe in, things that change the world,” Brodeen explained. “None of the applications out there are targeting this audience. They are all targeting the accredited investor.”

After the user enters some basic information such as net worth and preferred industries for investment, Newchip begins monitoring and learning how the user interacts with the different opportunities available on the app. The solution, which uses a Tinder-like swipe interface, notes which deals are liked, skipped over, as well as which deals are shared with friends and how widely. The investment opportunities themselves are arranged in sortable categories like investment type, industry type and rating, and most funded. Users can invest in their preferred deals through Newchip’s partner platforms or via its budgeted investment plans. Portfolios can be tracked and managed through the app, as well, and Newchip’s Crowdscore feature enables investors to rate deals based on criteria such as risk, ROI, business plan and social impact.

Platforms like Newchip are a boon for startups, creating what Brodeen called “hyper market validation.” He describes the phenomenon as “the idea that a company can list itself and determine right away (if) they have the marketing message to engage with that target market.” In this, the goal is not just to create more opportunities for millennial investors, but also to build better small businesses. “A well-funded, well-capitalized company with a great idea is very likely to succeed in this round,” Brodeen said. “They are going to execute on their plan, it’s certified by FINRA or the SEC and now we have a higher class of startups we’re dealing with.”

Company Facts

  • Founded in 2016
  • Headquartered in Austin, Texas
  • Raised $300,000 in funding
  • Re-invests 10% of profits to fund entrepreneurs in developing countries
  • Has thousands of early signups and 10k+ email list
  • Ryan Rafols is founder and CEO

We talked with the Newchip team at FinovateSpring 2017 in San Jose, and followed up with a few questions for co-founder and CTO Travis Brodeen by e-mail. Here are his responses.

Finovate: What problem does your technology solve?

Travis Brodeen: Newchip has developed a marketplace that connects crowdfunding startups with new investors.  We’re often referred to as the Kayak of investing.  The equity crowdfunding market is an emerging market and growing rapidly and due to the nature of the industry we’re seeing the platforms (or dealmakers) popping up all over the country.  The biggest challenge as an investor is sorting through all the platforms to locate the startup that’s right for you.  Newchip makes that easy.  When you create an account, we import your social profile and combine it with our machine learning algorithm.  Our system then displays every deal available to you sorted by what you’re most likely to be interested in as an individual.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Brodeen: We’ve strategically focused on the millennial demographic, who are new to investing but highly interested in helping support companies that make the world a better place.

Finovate: How does Newchip solve the problem better?

Brodeen: We’re combining the power of crowdfunding with the passion of the millennial generation, which is a historically underserved market with a pent-up demand to work together to change the world.  Our SmartMatch algorithm makes it extremely easy to find interesting companies to invest in, matched directly to your personal preferences.  Also we’re the only company in the U.S. with a custom-developed mobile app to interact with these opportunities.  We make investing fun, exciting, and social.

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

Brodeen: I’ve been directly involved in solving the millennial challenge for over five years, years before many companies even heard of the term.  Combined with a 20-year career in large-scale startup companies and also working with over 100 Fortune 500 companies over my career, I have a very unique set of experiences that all combined well into exactly what Newchip is becoming.

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

Brodeen: We’ve exclusively launched on the iOS platform but will be quickly expanding to Android and then desktop.  We’ll also be creating in-person investing events and connecting the application with real time experiences with companies who are raising capital.

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

Brodeen: We’re working to become a secondary market for private equity and a social impact community where new investors can join forces to support the companies they believe in.


Travis Brodeen (CTO and Co-Founder) and Linda Phan (Director of Operations) demonstrating the Newchip app at FinovateSpring 2017.

SuperMoney Brings a Kayak-Like UX to the Online Borrowing Process

What is SuperMoney? CEO Miron Lulic urges you to think of the “serendipity” of real-time offers provided on platforms like airline fare aggregator Kayak, and imagine the same user experience in financial services. “SuperMoney guides our users to loan offers that are in their best interest,” Lulic said at the beginning of the company’s FinovateSpring demo earlier this year.

And “best interest” is key. As the company’s Managing Partner Harry Langenberg pointed out, SuperMoney is taking the same approach to loan comparison that “won Google the search engine wars.” He explained, “rather than ranking results based on payout, Google’s algorithms presented results based on relevance. Similarly, we believe that by representing the best fiduciary interests of our borrowers, that SuperMoney will become the number one site that consumers trust when searching for a personal loan.”

Pictured: SuperMoney Managing Partner Harry Langenberg demonstrating the Supermoney loan offer comparison tool at FinovateSpring 2017.

Langenberg demonstrated how prospective borrowers enter some basic personal information (type of loan desired, the loan amount, credit score estimate, education level, employment status, home type and location, military status if any) at the SuperMoney website. “All of this data that we are collecting is matched against a database of attributes that we have for every one of our lenders,” Langenberg said. “That way we’re able to filter out any of the results that don’t necessarily match to their underwriting interests.”

Lenders on the platform do a “soft pull” so as not to impact the borrower’s credit score and in moments the borrower is presented with a set of prequalified and/or preapproved loan offers. “Users can easily compare their APRs, loan amounts, payments, even their total repayment costs, origination fees, and other details for the loan,” Lulic said. The platform enables borrowers to search from among the offers using a wide variety of criteria – such as payment-for-payment affordability – and each loan offer also features user reviews which Lulic said “provides a qualitative dimension that users can consider in their loan search.”

SuperMoney also hosts a wealth of personal financial information on topics ranging from auto insurance and business credit cards to tax planning and wealth management. The website features more than 11,000 expert and consumer advice columns and reviews. Expansion into other verticals beyond personal loans is also in the plans for the company. “We will soon be launching our auto loan offer engine, followed by our mortgage offer engine, and eventually our insurance offer engines,” Langenberg said. For now, the company is partnering with lenders to help them better serve customers they are not able to work with (“turn-downs”) by sending them to SuperMoney.

Company facts

  • Founded in 2013
  • Headquartered in Santa Ana, California
  • Published more than 2,000 expert reviews and more than 9,000 consumer reviews
  • Generated more than one million clicks for its partners

We caught up with the SuperMoney team briefly at FinovateSpring during rehearsals and followed up with a few questions for company CEO Miron Lulic. Here are his responses.

Finovate: What problem does your technology solve? 

Miron Lulic: Within the personal loan industry alone, there are literally hundreds of lenders to choose from and all of them are different.  You can go from lender to lender to lender, filling out applications to try and find your best option, but that’s a ton of effort. Lending aggregators popped up to solve this problem by ‘matching’ borrowers with lenders. But the dirty little secret behind most loan aggregation websites is that they run on a ping tree model.

Ping trees chuck borrowers down a lead delivery waterfall that attempts to sell the lead to the highest bidder. If the highest bidding buyer rejects the lead, the system attempts to sell to the next buyer with the borrower ultimately being sold to whoever will pay the most for that lead. This ping tree model works quite well for the aggregating site, as it’s rigged to produce the highest payouts. But as you could probably surmise, the “matches” produced by ping trees seldom connect consumers with the loans that are most financially beneficial to the borrowers themselves.

Finovate: How does your solution solve the problem better? 

Lulic: When consumers shop for an airline ticket they expect real offers in real-time.  Well, we’ve brought that great Kayak-like comparison shopping experience to financial services. Our Loan Offer Engine transparently allows consumers to submit a single, soft-pull loan application to all the leading online lenders and returns real loan offers back. SuperMoney users can transparently discover the best option based on their needs and that serve their best interest.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers? 

Lulic: SuperMoney is a two-sided marketplace platform with consumers looking for financial services on one end and financial service providers on the other. On the financial services side, we have a wide array of financial verticals represented in our publicly accessible reviews website. Within the personal loan offer engine, we are currently partnered with leading marketplace lenders, direct lenders, and banks. We aim to extend the platform to integrate credit unions and other players in the ecosystem not currently represented. 

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

Lulic: Our founding team is the same founding team that launched Optima Tax Relief in 2011 and grew it from nothing to the #3 Fastest Growing Company In America according to Inc. Magazine’s 2015 ranking. We also co-founded another Finovate alum named LoanNow which is a direct lending business. Our experience there opened our eyes up to many of the challenges consumers and businesses face related to financial services online. 

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

Lulic: We are soon launching the same great loan offer engine experience in the auto lending vertical and aiming to follow that up soon after with a mortgage version. Our goal is to extend the framework we developed into all lending-related verticals initially, and then to other financial services where consumers can benefit from apples-to-apples comparisons and transparency. 

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

Lulic: Our goal is simple. To build the brand consumers think of first whenever they need a financial service. We aim to get there within two years. 


Miron Lulic (CEO) and Harry Langenberg (Managing Partner) demonstrating the Supermoney Loan Comparison Tool at FinovateSpring 2017.

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