Finovate Debuts: W.UP Offers a Library of Customer Insight Tools for Cross-Selling

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W.UP (pronounced whup) provides digital banking software to offer a “happy banking experience” to customers who expect fast and simple online and mobile banking. At FinovateEurope in London last month, the company launched Sales.UP In the demo, W.UP’s Tamás Braun, Head of International Sales and Business Development, explained how, with Sales.UP, banks, “don’t need to deal with the challenge of defining complex behavioral insights in [their] data.”

Sales.UP is a library of customizable, pre-packaged customer insights, along with a built-in marketing automation tool, which empowers marketers to build their own marketing campaign. The insights are derived from customer data and designed to help banks cross-sell and up-sell products using relevant, tailored messaging. Braun continued, “some insights will forecast life events such as expecting a baby or moving house. Other insights are about digital behavior, like connecting your online customers with call center agents when assistance is required.”

Company facts:

  • Headquartered in Budapest, Hungary
  • 100+ employees
  • 4 offices across Europe
W.UP’s Tamás Braun (Head of International Sales & Bus. Dev.) and Balázs Zotter (Head of Product Line)

Tamás_BraunAfter FinovateEurope, we interviewed Tamás Braun (pictured), Head of International Sales and Business Development at W.UP.

Finovate: What problem does W.UP solve?

Braun: Banking customers today are used to always-on, real-time sales and services, which are personal, predictive, and contextual. This trend is mainly driven by other industries and companies such as Google/Amazon. Banks are lagging behind in the area of predicting customers’ financial needs and making actionable recommendations that are integrated seamlessly into an end-to-end everyday experience. W.UP’s new SALES.UP product, which has been launched at FinovateEurope 2017, is a digital sales and engagement tool which uses pre-defined customer insights to enable banks to understand behavioural patterns of customers and to use these insights to predict opportunities for relevant and timely interactions.

Insight StoreSales.UP’s Customer Insights Library

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Braun: Banks and other financial institutions who would like to improve their digital sales capability without expensive and lengthy big data projects.

Finovate: How does W.UP solve the problem better?

Braun: Many financial institutions use a marketing automation system that lacks focus on customer insights, making it difficult or impossible to provide real-time, personal and relevant messages to their clients. W.UP’s solution comes with its own Data Universe with all the necessary, real-time data gathered from internal and external (3rd party) sources. The SALES.UP Insight Store provides pre-defined customer insight templates that enable banks without a deep understanding of data modeling and predictive data analytics to use actionable insights within their marketing campaigns. The solution is designed specifically for financial institutions, using behavioral analytics and providing out-of-the-box, configurable insights for marketing campaigns.

Above: Customer insight tool for frequent travelers

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

Braun: SALES.UP has recently been launched and there is currently one early adopter bank in Hungary who will be announced publicly following the first phase of the implementation.

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

Braun: W.UP was established in 2014 by private individuals who worked in digital banking for the past 15 years. We have worked with many financial institutions throughout our careers and believe that still too many of them fail to understand customer behavior and provide relevant, timely, predictive and context-aware service to their customers. We help bridge the gap between what banks can do and what customers wish they could.

TreeviewAbove: Marketers can build their own campaigns with W.UP’s automation tool

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

Braun: There are several other financial institutions currently evaluating SALES.UP so we are expecting a number of implementation projects in the following months. We are also keeping our MOBILE.UP product in the loop, a pre-built mobile banking product, which is also a development framework, shrinking the implementation process down to only three months. With the upcoming PSD2 directive there is a lot of interest from clients to help them move towards open banking.

Finovate: Where do you see W.UP a year or two from now?

Braun: We aim to become a leader in digital sales and mobile banking software development in the financial industry to brighten up the world of traditional banking with happy digital banking experiences.

Check out the video of W.UP’s Tamás Braun (Head of International Sales & Bus. Dev.) and Balázs Zotter (Head of Product Line) at FinovateEurope 2017:

Finovate Debuts: Signicat Delivers On Demand Digital ID Verification


Signicat provides a cloud- and web-based identity verification service to more than 200 institutions mostly in the Nordics. The company’s platform leverages live video and identity document verification, as well as authentication by bank account and the GOV.UK Verify system, to enable digital signing, speed customer on-boarding, and remove friction from the online experience for financial services consumers.

“At Signicat our business is providing digital identity on demand in the cloud,” company Business Development Director Robert Kotlarz explained from the Finovate stage in February. “The concept is that you can call a web service to validate the identity of the individual,” he said. “(And) by identifying your digital customer, you can actually provide them with the products and services they want very immediately.” In addition to improving the experience for the consumer, the company’s solutions also help FIs and fintechs grow while remaining compliant with privacy and data protection regulations.


Pictured (left to right): Business Development Director Robert Kotlarz and Product Expert Kåre Indrøy demonstrating Signicat Assure and Signicat Sign at FinovateEurope 2013.

Signicat’s innovations are driven in part by what the company called “the battle to on-board.” A survey of 2,000 financial service professionals commissioned by Signicat revealed online application abandonment rates of 40%, with “length of process” and “too much personal information required” among major hurdles. As such, clients have used Signicat’s solutions, which also include Signicat Preserve for document archiving and Signicat Connect to enable safe and secure access to business applications, for everything from accelerating the credit card application process (EnterCard/Barclays) to helping launch new banks (Bank Norwegian).  “We work with over 200 financial institutions,” Kotlarz said, “calling into our cloud 100 million transactions every year.”

During their FinovateEurope demonstration, Kotlarz and Product Expert Kåre Indrøy presented two of the company’s products: Signicat Assure and Signicat Sign. Signicat Assure is a verification technology that uses a combination of government-issued identification such as ID cards or passports, digitally-verified documents such as utility bills, social media, and other resources to establish identity. Signicat Sign is the company’s digital signature technology which helps ensure the integrity, origin, and non-repudiation of digital documents. Kotlarz and Indrøy walked the audience through a new customer loan application scenario using bank account verification, a minimum of personal information, and esignature technology, noting that the customer would also be able to access their account via a mobile app secured with a biometric footprint. “A frictionless process for on-boarding new customers,” Kotlarz said, “by using identity at the heart to know who your new customer is.”

Company Facts

  • Headquartered in Trondheim, Norway
  • Founded in January 2007
  • Maintains 62 employees in eight different offices in seven countries
  • Anticipates 2016 revenues of 10 million euros
  • Serves 252 customers on its cloud solution (IDaaS)
  • Won the Norwegian Fintech Achievement Award in 2017
  • Gunnar Nordseth is CEO

Signicat_RobertKotlarzWe met with Robert Kotlarz (pictured) and Kåre Indrøy during FinovateEurope and followed up with a few questions by email. Below are our questions and their responses.

Finovate: What problem does your technology solve?

Robert Kotlarz: Signicat is the first and largest Identity Assurance Provider in the world providing regulated markets with the technology to create mutual trust between organizations and their publics. Our products are divided in 4 parts:

  • Signicat Assure: To help ensure that the user is who he or she claims to be during an onboarding process. The user typically claims the identity, and then provides evidence for the claim.
  • Signicat Connect: To verify existing user’s identity during an authentication process. Used when user wants to access services, and has to prove identity.
  • Signicat Sign: To digitally sign contracts or other legal documents, or seal similar documents.
  • Signicat Preserve: To ensure long term validity of signed documents.

02.List of methods

Pictured: Signicat provides multiple, configurable identity verification options including live video and identity paper verification.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Kotlarz: Our primary customers are in the banking, financial, and insurance areas.

Finovate: How does your technology solve the problem better?

Kotlarz: With Signicat, service providers can build and leverage existing customer credentials to connect users, devices, and even “things” across channels, services, and markets, transforming identity into an asset rather than an obstacle. By ditching manual, paper-based processes and replacing them with digital identity assurance, customer onboarding is accelerated and access to services is made simple and secure. Service providers can rapidly grow market share, easily acquire new customers, and ensure compliance with financial, privacy, and data protection regulations, including AML and KYC.

Signicat delivers an online electronic signing service that is fast and easy to use. It allows users to sign multiple documents, upload own documents, and write personal information which gets integrated in the signed documents. For organizations, this means saving time and money by automating previously manual processes and increasing self-service capabilities. Signicat has the technology to connect the market, the expertise to scale the systems, and the experience to build the trust.


Pictured: Bank account verification is one of a number of verification options for customers.

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

Kotlarz: In 2009, Bank Norwegian set a new standard when they introduced the concept “Switch banks in 90 seconds.” Using eID, customers could easily switch banks without the time-consuming processes involving meetings, phone calls, and application forms. As the first bank in Norway, and among the first in the Nordic region, Bank Norwegian set the standard for self-service banking.

Customers of the bank were introduced to a concept that was simple, straightforward, and practical. Bank Norwegian has also benefited from the solution, because they don’t have to spend unnecessary time and resources on phone calls and form processing. This is a good solution for the bank’s customers, who have previously had to deal with complicated processes to switch banks. Now, the customers simply fill out an application form online and submit it by identifying themselves and signing using BankID.

By using eID as a key function in Signicat’s product base, the bank has been able to streamline the structure and organization of the company, both in terms of cost-effectiveness and workability.

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

Kotlarz: Signicat already has a history of 10 years connecting banks and financial institutions into services required to securely onboard, identify clients, and sign and preserve documents. The solution is already available all over Scandinavia, where Signicat is a market leader in the area.


Picture: Signicat’s technology enables a variety of ways to provide esignatures.

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

Kotlarz: Preparing the solution for the British market, connecting several ID verification methods into the solution. For example, address lookup, ID paper verification, bank account verification, and video assurance.

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

Kotlarz: Since its beginning in 2007, Signicat has established itself as a market leader in the Nordic region. The company has been a pioneer in establishing cloud-based Identity-as-a-Service as a real alternative to on-premise installations. The most demanding customers in the bank and finance sector have now accepted that cloud-based Identity-as-a-Service and Identity-Assurance-as-a-Service is just as secure and with a much lower cost of use than on-premise installations.

Since 2015, Signicat has been extending the coverage of its services to European markets outside of the Nordic region. There is a window of opportunity that is opened by the combined forces of banks looking for more cost-effective and user-friendly means of onboarding and authenticating users, and the new European legislation in the areas of payment (PSD2), privacy (GDPR) and electronic trust (eIDAS).

Signicat aims to use this opportunity and its head-start from the Nordic market to become the preferred provider of identity services to regulated industries in Europe.

Robert Kotlarz (Business Development Director) and Kåre Indrøy (Product Expert) demonstrating Signicat Assure and Signicat Sign at FinovateEurope 2017.

Finovate Debuts: ICAR Builds a Digital Identify Profile for Client ID Verification

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Based in Barcelona, Spain, ICAR launched in 2002 as a spin-off of the Computer Vision Center at the University of Barcelona. Since then, the company has matured; it now offers five solutions across mobile, web, and desktop to help large financial institutions combat onboarding fraud.

At FinovateEurope last month, the company showed off its mobile onboarding solution, ID_Mobile, that leverages biometric technology combined with the social network and geolocation of the user. These additional factors verify that the user matches their identity document and builds their digital identity profile in the background.

At FinovateEurope last month, The company’s CEO Xavier Codó began his demo saying, “We provide a fully automatic solution which validates identity, but also helps you build your customer digital identity profile.” Codó continued, “We focus on three main market needs: user experience, fraud prevention and how to connect digital identity to physical identity.”

Company facts

  • 30 employees
  • Over 20 million online ID validations every year
  • Turnover increase of 20% every year
  • Blog with 5,000 readers per month


Above: Xavier Codó (CEO) and Mariona Campmany (CMO) debut ICAR’s ID_Mobile at FinovateEurope 2017 in London

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 9.53.11 AMWe chatted with ICAR’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mariona Campmany (pictured), at FinovateEurope last month about the history of the company and its path to launching ID_Mobile. We followed up with the below interview questions via email.

Finovate: What problem does ICAR solve?

Campmany: ICAR offers online and e-business solutions for the correct customer identification in order to prevent identity fraud and reduce operating costs, while providing a good user experience. We aim to bring the new generation of identity verification systems to the market, introducing a cloud system to automatically verify the authenticity of identity documents and customer identity in less than 20 seconds.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Campmany: ICAR has been positioning in the market as the leading company in identity validation. Our entrance into the financial and telecommunication sectors allowed us to land top clients such as BBVA, GSMA, CaixaBank, and Telefonica.

Finovate: How does ICAR solve the problem better?

Campmany: Our solution takes a vital technological lead in prevention of identity fraud, ending the bottleneck of limited numbers of desktop scanning devices, avoiding negative customer experiences waiting for ID validation and opening new models of on-the-spot customer capture. We found that other processes depend on a manual double-check, and one “click away” is not possible. Our solution is based on our own fully-automatic technology which validates customer identity and incorporates the necessary features to be the best, easiest-to-use, online ID-verification tool.


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

Campmany: We offer a solution for customer onboarding validation that also helps build the digital identity profile of the user. We make sure that it is a real user at the time of onboarding by validating the identity document, doing a biometric comparison of the photo in ID against the customer’s selfie, doing a liveness test (biometric), analyzing the geolocalization and mobile security, and checking dynamic information like the customer’s email, phone number, and social networks.

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

Campmany: Services for validating customer identity have been available for several years; we have carried out several projects. Among them include working with IKEA to introduce a mobile solution for agents at the kitchen section so the customers can finance the purchase at the time they choose the product, saving time waiting at the financing stand, and integrating with Nationale Nederlanden to read and authenticate the ID document from a tablet or mobile into an application that undertakes the whole process of selling insurance.

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

Campmany: We will keep focus in three main market needs:

  • User experience, because we never get a second chance to make a good first impression, and if it is not easy to use, they’ll go somewhere else.
  • Fraud prevention, critical for the bank.
  • And the third one was a question we asked ourselves: “How do we connect the digital identity to the physical identity?”

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

Campmany: It’s not a secret that we live in a digital world. And with this reality comes the increasingly complex task of matching a person’s digital identity to their physical world. Moreover, nowadays, every agreement, every process, every new product or service acquisition has a digital record that must be identified and validated.

Offering an omnichannel identity verification platform is critical for the users and the entities. We want to improve the customer user experience and at the same time work with entities in order to offer a secure process, and increase customer acquisition. Digital identities are a fundamental requirement of our new world. But it is not a simple process; we need innovation to make it happen. We are part of this innovation.

Xavier Codó (CEO) and Mariona Campmany (CMO) debuting ICAR’s IDMobile at FinovateEurope 2017 in London:


Finovate Debuts: Gradatim’s MFInsure Offers Turn-Key Insurance

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Gradatim’s MFInsure is an out-of-the-box insurance solution that makes it easy to set up, deploy, and manage insurance products. To further enhance the offering, the company leverages AI to predict life events, identify up-sell opportunities, and provide tailored recommendations for clients.

In his FinovateAsia 2016 demo, the company’s CEO and founder, Prakash Viswanathan showed how the system quickly launches an omni-channel insurance product without the need for IT support. Viswanathan concluded the demo by offering social proof when he said, “We have earned the right to be here because in the last 18 months, this system has on-boarded a whopping 50+ million policies across commercial lines of business, retail lines of business, and small ticket insurance products.”

Company facts

  • $ 2.5 million in funding
  • 40 employees
  • Monthly revenue: $100,000 and monthly revenue growth: 3%


Prakash Viswanathan (CEO & Founder) and Siva Kumar (Head of Technology) demo Gradatim MFInsure OnDemand Insurance System at FinovateAsia 2016 in Hong Kong

We chatted with Prakash Viswanathan, Gradatim CEO and founder, to get a closer look at the insurtech solution, Gradatim MFInsure OnDemand Insurance, he launched at FinovateAsia last year.

Picture 001Finovate: What problem does Gradatim solve?

Viswanathan: Insurance company CXO’s are facing the challenge of delivering new age digital products to consumers. CXO’s also face the challenge of product innovation required to meet the aspirational needs of business consumers and growing middle income consumers.

Gradatim helps insurance company CXO’s focus on optimization of customer service, helps business teams with product and service innovation and improve internal processing efficiencies – specially in this digital age and with emerging products aligned to the growing middle income consumers.

Small to mid-size insurance carriers have many of the same business goals as their larger industry peers—market growth, accelerated speed to market for new products and the ability to tailor services to their consumer’s needs—but not the same budget allocations or access to resources. That means when it comes to choosing and implementing a policy administration system, cost is a big driver. Achieving the balance between affordability and breadth of functionality is often not possible for small to mid-size insurance carriers.

Gradatim implements cloud based, flexible standard systems for the core processes of life and non-life insurance. Gradatim’s on-demand insurance system, Gradatim MFInsure, is a new age policy administration system that helps insurance companies solve these problems.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Viswanathan:: Gradatim primarily works with insurance companies, brokerage firms, insurance intermediaries and fintech companies.

Finovate: How does Gradatim solve the problem better?

Viswanathan: Gradatim MFInsure is an integrated, end-to-end system that supports all primary processes: from quotation to policy issuance; claims to settlement. It is a complete policy administration system.

Gradatim MFInsure is highly configurable and thus provides the benefit of configuration over coding. Products, processes and channels can be setup by configuration without having to code.

Gradatim MFInsure helps build a engagement model with consumers in the digital age. Not just digital products, but also traditional products across life, P&C, and health. The open, unified digital framework makes it possible to deliver products and services, and create a multi-dimensional customer experience across all devices and channels. They enable the insurance companies to develop and deliver services for use by both insurance staff and customers, via any device or channel.

Gradatim MFInsure helps reduce time-to-market up to 300%. The solution also helps achieve cost savings in underwriting and administer policies by up to 50%. This makes it feasible to launch new products across new markets and achieve faster break-even.

Gradatim MFInsure benefits from the use of cloud services. Cloud-based deployment reduces administrative costs associated with managing a dedicated data center. It is also available on transaction pricing model – an innovative approach to reduce capital investment.

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Above: Gradatim’s on-demand administration system portal

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

Viswanathan: If I may, I would like to provide two implementation examples:

1- Customer: Asia’s Second Largest General Insurer:

  • Opportunity: Providing a shopping cart to identified and categorized groups – Providing Multiple Insurance Products to the identified group.
  • How it started: Public Accountants in India are members of The Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAI). There are 0.5 Million Public Accountants who are members of the Institute. The Insurer wanted to leverage the relationship with the Institute and provide multiple Insurance products to the Public Accountants. A total of 7 Products were identified and it was decided to create an online portal that can be accessed by the Public Accountants. Once the Public Accountant is validated as a member of the Institute, he / she can benefit from the special discount and special plans and coverages being extended to them by the Insurer.
  • Implementation: All Seven Products setup in Gradatim MFInsure with defined rules for Underwriting. “Online” Channel was configured. Payment Gateway integrated to enable Public Accountants to “BUY” Policy Online.
  • Timeline to implement: The complete setup was completed in 6 weeks.
  • Current Status: More than 3,40,000 health Policies, 72,000 Motor Policies, 2000 Professional Indemnity Policies and 800 Office Protection Policies are Live in the System.
  • Benefits to Insurer: Business Users can maintain the system without need to involve IT. Changes to Coverages, Pricing, Process, Underwriting Rules etc. can be managed by business users.

MFInsure is currently live with this customer across 12 such Groups delivering more than US $30 million in premium per year. The Insurer has created a separate web portal branch to expand this model and manage such relationships in the future.
2- Customer: fast-growing life insurer

  • Opportunity: launch new life insurance products, including term, endowment and annuity products.
  • Channel: post of sale (POS) defined as POS sales persons, individual agents, intermediaries and direct consumer.
  • How it started: approval for products by insurance regulator.
  • Implementation: Gradatim MFInsure for life insurance system was deployed by the insurer to write, underwrite, manage the POS products and issue electronic certificates as a stand-alone policy system. Provision to register and setup agents with a well-defined approval process. It gives the ability to manage agent business, process new business opportunities generated by agents, process payment from agents account and issue policies to customers directly. The system also was enabled to be operated on field using any standard smartphone.
  • Timeline to implement: The complete setup was completed in 12 weeks.
  • Benefits to Insurer: Rapid deployment and be the first to market the POS products. It required an arrangement with Telco to distribute products through the Telco’s agents. It was set up independent from legacy core but having the functionality to update business information and regulatory reporting from legacy core.


Above: template for quick insurance policy creation

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

Viswanathan: I have an entrepreneurial background, having started and scaled multiple businesses in the past and a team that is more than ready to walk-the-talk. “The proof is in the pudding” and it is no wonder that we have been able to help insurers create new markets, build new products and deploy them faster than anyone else can. Over 52 million insurance policies are currently live and active in Gradatim MFInsure.

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

Viswanathan: We are excited about the algorithmic engine that has the ability to understand what consumers are interested in — it has more than 13 top-level interest clusters and 450+ detailed clusters!

The algorithmic engine also drives sales to an insurer: imagine if an insurance company can reach out to a consumer when he or she is about to create a travel plan that best suits their upcoming travel.

The introduction of algorithmic engine would be a game-changer for Gradatim and for our insurance customers.

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

Viswanathan: We believe Gradatim is poised to be a category leader – in the on-demand, cloud-based policy systems, managing tens of millions of insurance policies – for a cost far lesser than what insurers currently spend and addressing emerging market needs of consumers who can be categorized as the aspirational class.

Prakash Viswanathan (CEO & Founder) and Siva Kumar (Head of Technology) demo Gradatim MFInsure OnDemand Insurance System at FinovateAsia 2016 in Hong Kong


Finovate Debuts: InSpirAVE’s Internet of Savings™ Helps You Save for What Matters


When it comes to saving for big purchase goals, most of us can use all the help we can get. With The Internet of Savings™ platform from InSpirAVE, consumers can not only accrue the benefit of savings from retail and financial institutions all in one place, but equally leverage the wisdom (and discretionary cash) of friends and family to make smart spending goals, design a personalized savings plan to help raise the money to meet those goals faster, and then track progress as the savings grow and those longed-for big-ticket purchases draw near – with InSpirAVE’s program relentlessly at work until the purchase arrives right at their doorstep.

“Much beyond ‘layaway on steroids’, InSpirAVE helps you multiply your savings so that those big purchase goals that you thought were out of reach are now all of a sudden in reach without getting into the debt trap,” InSpirAVE founder and CEO Om Kundu explained from the Finovate stage during his company’s demo last fall. “Much beyond financial health, InSpirAVE helps you achieve whatever big goal you set your mind to,” he said.


Pictured: InSpirAVE founder and CEO Om Kundu demonstrating the Internet of Savings™ at FinovateFall 2016.

At FinovateFall, Om Kundu and InSpirAVE CTO Mark Krofchik demonstrated how the Internet of Savings™ works. Consumers starting on the platform search for items (“aspirations”) they are interested in purchasing from bicycles to consumer electronics, jewelry, and more courtesy of InSpirAVE’s API-integration with leading retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon, and eBay. The consumer finds items of interest, adds them to their wishlist and then solicits advice on the potential purchase from friends or family using email, text, or social networks directly from the InSpirAVE platform. “So rather than an impulsive purchase, we are creating a shared experience where friends and family can get engaged to create a thoughtful purchase decision,” Kundu said. “And with friends and family more engaged they are more likely to support the user further downstream.”

And “downstream” is where much of the innovation in InSpirAVE lies. After choosing the item, the consumer picks a savings completion date, decides an initial deposit amount, sets up recurring contributions aided by InSpirAve’s AI capabilities, and the personalized payment plan is complete. And through merchant offers, the use of a savings account during the fundraising process, and successful completion of “personal savings challenges”, consumers are able to save a lot more faster on the price of their purchases. Consumers can use secure email and messaging to then invite friends and family – especially those who participated in the decision-making process – to help support the actual purchase of the item they recommended.

Kundu notes that InSpirAVE’s technology has been particularly cited for knocking down siloes that get in the way of saving and responsible purchases, and for engineering a simple way for people to “save for what matters.” InSpirAVE was selected as one of the top eight emerging technology ventures at SXSW in 2016, during inaugural year the festival accelerator established Fintech & Payments as a distinct category. The company was separately recognized by American Banker and BAI as among the world’s Top FinTech Forward companies.

Company facts

  • Founded in 2014
  • Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and New York City
  • Developed proprietary technology backed with published patents in several markets globally

InSpirAVE_OmKunduWe caught up with InSpirAVE founder and CEO Om Kundu at Finovate last fall, and followed up with a few questions by email. His responses are below.

Finovate: What problem does InSpirAVE solve?

Om Kundu: In contrast to the impulse to “buy, buy, buy” as our InSpirAVE focus-group users have told us they’re bombarded with (the average household with credit card debt has balances totaling $16K according to the Fed), there isn’t enough impetus to save for what matters with 69% of Americans having less than $1,000 in savings: In fact there isn’t a vehicle to save for anything specific with the exception of retirement or schooling: Persistently low interest rates has also left financial institutions with diminished incentives for consumers to save.

InSpirAVE empowers fulfillment of big purchase goals without debt by helping Users make thoughtful purchase decisions and create a personalized savings plan to fulfill them: The magic of our Internet-of-Savings™ platform helps you save faster through the support of friends and family, as well as partnering merchants and financial institutions: InSpirAVE does so by creating a new underlying set of economic incentives that have proven to be materially significant for partnering banks and merchants to encourage their customers to save.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Kundu: That nearly half of the country is living paycheck–to-paycheck and yet a third of purchases are regretted speaks to the initial consumer segments InSpirAVE is serving: Digital buyers who want to make their next big purchases responsibly, without debt.

We are also tapping into findings from our own proprietary InSpirAVE research that we have candidly been astonished by ourselves. Digitally-savvy consumers whose demonstrated behaviors on the InSpirAVE platform have borne out time and again how much of a premium they assign to advice from trusted friends/family to make their next big purchase equally affordable and memorable (rather than just another transaction).

Our Internet-of-Savings™ platform provides intelligent tools empowering such users with the discipline to make responsible financial decisions — it starts with thoughtfully selecting what matters, and does not stop until that purchase-goal is saved-for and fulfilled. Merchants and financial institutions partnering with InSpirAVE are equally benefiting from our socially responsible model and realizing materially enhanced revenues through greater engagement and expansion of their customer base.


Finovate: How does InSpirAVE solve the problem better?

Kundu: The magic of the InSpirAVE platform is empowering users with advice from their network of friends and family — big purchase decisions are more well-informed by those who care about you the most.

By harnessing behavioral finance principles and goals that matter, rather than saving for saving’s sake, InSpirAVE’s design, AI, and content-creation tools have made it extraordinarily simple to foster a well-wishing community who egg the user on to ensure the goal is fulfilled, even if it may have been out-of-reach otherwise.

Users are saving faster through The Internet-of-Savings™ platform by drawing from multiple sources — savings from merchants and banks, as well as contribution of friends and family — whose benefits have turned out to be an order-of-magnitude higher than what solely relying on savings from just one source would…for users as well as partnering merchants and banks.

Partnering merchants are realizing the benefits of enhanced purchasing power, highly predictive and signals of spending intent, and material reduction in volume of merchandise returns, as are financial institutions from enhanced savings-levels and “on us” transaction volume. Enduring loyalty is being forged in ways that is translating tertiary customers into lasting primary relationships, including those with consumers that would have otherwise fallen outside a retail and financial institution’s traditional definition of addressable market.

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

Kundu: Users on — either directly or through partnering institutions — are discovering their next big purchase goal through access to one of the largest merchandise selections, through our integration with some of the most well-recognized merchants. Case-in-point of how the InSpirAVE platform is also empowering users to make intelligent purchase decisions. Beyond comments left by random strangers on a website, InSpirAVE is helping them get the informed opinion of friends, family, and experts they know and trust.

InSpirAVE is giving users the benefits of interest income for the funds they already have as well as the merchant’s best offer. The AI embedded within our platform is generating a personalized plan to get the user from where they are to where they need to be, by setting aside funds on an ongoing basis. Taken together, users are ending up saving a lot more, faster with InSpirAVE. Fulfillment of the goal is also being significantly accelerated with friends and family taking advantage of the capability InSpirAVE provides to make p2p monetary contributions. Once the goal is reached, users are choosing to have the merchandise show-up right at their doorstep or at their preferred retail location.


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

Kundu: The InSpirAVE vision has crystallized from decades in operating track-record its team has had connecting the dots across retail, financial services and technology sectors, both in scaling new ventures from scratch (in fintech and ‘big data’, predating the entry of such buzzwords into the lexicon of shiny objects) and in direct accountability for P&L of consumer portfolios for over 10+ million users and $40+ billion in balances.

Our team has demonstrated ability in forging new ways to deliver superior returns for both investors and clients over and over again, even as they have remained unrelenting in delighting end-users.

On a personal note, I humor myself into thinking that my life experiences as an immigrant and an entrepreneur has taught me some lessons that have become impossible to forget on the importance of setting goals for the long haul, and ensuring the promise of a vibrant future is democratized for access by all. Perhaps even more sobering is the sheer amount of necessary grit, grace, and support I have seen being pitched in for such goals to be collectively shared in ways that ultimately improve lives for all involved.

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

Kundu: We are currently in private beta gearing up for full release. As excited as everyone has been with InSpirAVE being named Top FinTech Company To Watch by American Banker and BAI, and our recognition as a presenting company at South by Southwest, and EFMA among others, personally it’s been even more fulfilling to see how surprisingly popular InSpirAVE has proven to be with thousands who have signed-up in anticipation: If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to sign-up in our current waiting list. Our advice to those wishing to get-in on the action sooner with priority access is to share that you’ve signed-up through social media channels: it’s likely that quite a few of your friends and family are already there.

Many in our current private beta have also told us how much they like realizing their savings all in one place via our platform. Expect to see more, with a wider range of users realizing the magic of our platform, both stateside and in select markets globally.

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

Kundu: Our InSpirAVE roadmap is on-track harnessing the full potential of our P2P savings marketplace with AI facilitating increasingly greater capabilities for users in discovering their aspired goals as well as in creating content to engage their well-wishing community. Value tangibly unlocked from social equity is opening up new vistas to realize goals well beyond the traditional confines of cash or credit users may, or, may not have had access to.

Looking ahead we see the assignment of purpose — by saving for a goal — unlocking massive efficiencies in transforming idle cash into powerful signals of spending intent: Further avenues are opening up in how both retail consumers as well as enterprises — particularly across travel, education, automotive, and residential real estate sectors — are realizing the magic of InSpirAVE.

InSpirAVE’s Om Kundu (CEO, Founder, Chairman) and Mark Krofchik (Chief Technology Officer) demonstrating the Internet of Savings at FinovateFall 2016.

Finovate Debuts: Helping Banks Turn Data into Insights with Liferay DXP



There are few challenges greater for FIs than turning massive amounts of customer data into valuable insights on how to serve those customers better. “Everybody today seems to be focused on customer experience, and giving your customers whatever they want. But what is it that you are you getting from your customers?” Liferay Sr. Customer Experience Manager Henry Nakamura asked from the Finovate stage in September. “I bet you’re pretty overwhelmed by the amount of data that you have, and possibly pretty underwhelmed by the results. Where’s the payoff?”

Liferay helps banks create meaningful digital experiences for their customers. The company’s Digital Experience Platform (DXP) enables FIs to leverage the data and their existing systems to bring the right products and services to the right customers, as well as uncover new potential revenue and sales opportunities. Additionally, Liferay DXP ensures that the FI is able to deliver a consistent, digital experience from the PC to mobile “right through the front door of a brick and mortar location,” Nakamura said.


Pictured: Henry Nakamura, Sr. Customer Experience Manager, demonstrating the Liferay Digital Experience Platform at FinovateFall 2016.

At their Finovate debut this fall, Nakamura and Keval Mehta, Account Manager for Global Services, demonstrated the latest edition of the Liferay DXP platform. Among the features the two men presented was the platform’s audience targeting engine. This customizable feature enables advisors to set up rules to push relevant financial information and actionable planning advice to the client’s dashboard based on the their budgeting, saving, and investing behavior. Nakamura and Mehta also demonstrated a geolocation feature that enables financial service professionals to know the identity – and financial profile – of a customer as soon as they enter the branch.

Company facts

  • Founded in 2004
  • Headquartered in Diamond Bar, California
  • Has 20 offices in 17 countries; 150 partners worldwide; 150,000 open source community members
  • Bryan Cheung is CEO

liferay_henrynakamuraWe caught up with Henry Nakamura (pictured) the morning before FinovateFall and followed up with him later with a few questions by email. His responses and our questions are below.

Finovate: What problem does Liferay solve?

Henry Nakamura: Liferay’s Digital Experience Platform allows financial institutions to unlock valuable customer information and then take advantage of new insights to create more engaging customer experiences across channels and devices. In many cases, banks already possess a wealth of customer data that could be used to assemble more complete profiles of users to accurately engage with them as individuals. But too often that crucial data is scattered to the winds – or, in the case of many banks, siloed in disparate departments and systems within the institution.

This siloing creates an inability to properly understand customer data that would otherwise lead to actionable insights if only the information were collected and harnessed in one accessible location. On that same point, siloing prevents easy access to customer data when a bank – and/or its customers – has a need of it. Liferay’s platform is built to solve these pervasive problems in the financial services industry.


Pictured: Liferay DXP – Customer view – Financial Dashboard

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Nakamura: Businesses using Liferay (across all industries) are those seeking to drastically improve customer experiences through forward-looking digital transformation strategies. This is, of course, a particularly big deal among financial institutions. Technological change within industry organizations – and perhaps particularly when it comes to customer engagement technology – has historically been slow. But we’re now seeing significant growth in financial services organizations implementing Liferay’s solutions, from credit unions to regional banks to multinational banks. The need to address omnichannel continuity between a bank’s online, mobile, and in-brand experiences is becoming increasingly critical as a cohesive, engaging experience becomes the expectation of customers. Liferay’s customer trends certainly exemplify this industry-wide imperative.

Finovate: How does your technology solve the problem better?

Nakamura: Liferay offers banks the most complete set of organically developed features available on the market within a single, omnichannel, digital experience platform. Every aspect of our toolset is designed from the ground up to work together as a singular solution. Other vendor offerings tend to be Frankenstein-esque pieces of software made out of disjointed solutions that were acquired and then stitched together as best they could. In contrast, all features included in Liferay DXP have been purpose-built to function well alongside each other – and they do.

We provide a platform that, among other things, ties together customer information and experience across interactions. It’s also worth noting that Liferay DXP is highly (and easily) customizable, and works with existing technology investments and a bank’s legacy systems to build exactly what’s needed.


Pictured: Liferay DXP – Single Customer View – Teller View

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of Liferay’s technology.

Nakamura: U.S. Bank’s use of Liferay is a really interesting example of how Liferay DXP can resolve longstanding issues that have arisen from (all-too-common) disparate and conflicting internal systems. We’re proud that Liferay’s platform enabled this huge financial institution to offer a singular, consistent and effective user experience to its customers.

U.S. Bank’s Securities Services clientele had historically been required to log into multiple accounts across different sites (and complete manual processes) in order to access the data they needed. These multiple logins and non-uniform user experiences within applications made completing day-to-day activities much more difficult than they ought to have been. As a result (and as you might expect), customers avoided logging into these applications and were hesitant to adopt these tools – while demanding better ones that could streamline online interactions. With Liferay, U.S Bank developed Pivot, a single sign-on portal solution allowing all banking customers to interact based on their particular needs. User feedback has been very positive and adoption has increased.

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

Nakamura: We draw confidence from our experience and history of product and customer successes. Liferay has a uniquely rich heritage as a portal solution, having now been recognized as a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for seven years in a row. As an integration platform, we genuinely understand how businesses benefit when information and applications are seamlessly pulled together to create a single, unified user experience. We’re up for helping businesses solve that challenge every day.

Henry Nakamura (Sr. Customer Experience Manager) and Keval Mehta (Account Manager, Global Services) demonstrating Liferay DXP at FinovateFall 2016.

Finovate Debuts: Moonraft Innovation Labs


Not a stranger to banks’ needs, Moonraft Innovation Labs spent six years in partnership with financial institutions across the globe to help them deliver an enhanced customer experience. During this time the company realized how banks struggle to keep up with the pace of customer expectations in innovation.

To begin his demo at FinovateFall 2016 in New York, Aveejeet Palit, Chief Strategy Officer explained that when banks launch a new innovation, it is often “dead on arrival” because customer expectations have already evolved. The result, Palit explains, is that the bank is always trying to catch up, needing to continually invest in the long design and development cycle.

This discovery led to the launch of Catamera, a platform that aims to help banks speed their pace of innovation to keep up with ever-evolving customer expectations. Palit described Catamera as, “a library of web components which can help you quickly put together an experience you would like… and also help you innovate and evolve at the pace your customers want.” Catamera makes it easy for banks to design and create a user experience with drag-and-drop features. Furthermore, it requires no special IT skills. The widgets library offers pre-built tools, such as PFM and a retirement planner, that connect to the banks’ back end APIs.

29615982962_243a5fdfba_kAveejeet Palit (Chief Strategy Officer) and Sreekumar Paramu (CEO & Co-Founder, Americas) demo Moonraft Innovation Labs’ Catamera at FinovateFall 2016

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-46-16-amAfter the conference we caught up with Sreekumar Paramu (who goes by Sree), the company’s CEO & co-founder, Americas to discuss Catamera in more detail.

Finovate: What problem does Moonraft Innovation Labs solve?

Sree: Banks across the globe are struggling to keep pace with the speed of evolution of customer demands. Long design and development cycles mean that by the time banks are ready with a particular offering, the customer has moved on to something else. Catamera aims to address this problem by enabling banks to create amazing user experiences in a very short time, by leveraging our well designed, integration ready web components

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Sree: Our primary customers are small to mid sized banks & credit unions who cannot afford long design and development cycles, yet need to deliver great digital experiences to their customers. However all banks irrespective of big or small would benefit from the use of Catamera

Finovate: How does Moonraft Innovation Labs solve the problem better?

Sree: Most experience platforms are tightly coupled to heavy technology systems that increase the complexity of dealing with it. Catamera is completely decoupled from the bank’s backend technology systems, thereby drastically enhancing the speed of launch and delivery. On top of that, our comprehensive web component library and easy to use builder platform makes designing experiences very simple and intuitive.

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

Sree: As an organization, Moonraft Innovation Labs has worked with more than 20 large banks globally in designing their digital banking experiences. This vast experience has exposed us to the challenges faced by banks as mentioned earlier. Our product Catamera has been born out of the insights from all these challenges in working with global banks. Also the current trend of moving towards API/Micro-service driven solutions, will make Catamera a very useful tool for innovation, for the entire banking sector.

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

Sree: We are in the final stages of partnership with leading core banking, e-banking technology providers to partner and go to market. We are also in advanced stages of talks with multiple credit unions and small banks in the US for live deployments of the product.

Finovate: Where do you see Moonraft Innovation Labs a year or two from now?

Sree: We see Catamera leading the way for customer experience innovations for banks all over the world. Key trends that are supporting us are the API/Micro-services movement, and the urge for banks to decouple experience innovation from their core systems. In the process, we are confident of owning a significant market share, especially in the small banks and credit unions.

Aveejeet Palit (Chief Strategy Officer) and Sreekumar Paramu (CEO & Co-Founder, Americas) demo Moonraft Innovation Labs’ Catamera at FinovateFall 2016

Finovate Debuts: AutoGravity Unveils the Future of Auto Financing


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

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

Company facts

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

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

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

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


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

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

Finovate: What problem does AutoGravity solve?

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

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

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

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


4_juvoshop_homeThe name Juvo is Latin for help, aid, or delight. San Francisco’s Juvo lives up to that name by empowering consumers with a single identity with which to access financial services across the globe—a slick trick in relationship building that endears mobile operators to their clients as well.

In his demo at FinovateFall 2016, Juvo CEO and founder Steve Polsky explained the problem Juvo seeks to solve, saying, “Between 500 million and three quarters of a billion people around the globe have a phone, but not enough balance to even use it… the majority of them are unbanked or underbanked, they live in cash-based economies, they have no way to establish a financial identity, and no way to participate in the basic financial services that we all take for granted.”

Juvo’s real-time Identity Scoring technology chips away at this problem by combining data science with gamification to match mobile users with their identity. By extending microloans to users, Juvo incentivizes financially underserved consumers to build credit and access financial services. The company’s Identity Stack offers mobile network operators an API to derive customer analytics and insights to encourage customer engagement.

Company facts

  • $14 million in Series A funding
  • Active in 4 continents and 23 countries
  • Reaches 350+ million mobile users
  • Conducting 100 million purchase transactions per year
29175216083_3ccda4d692_kFrom left: Steve Polsky, CEO, founder, and Jason Robinson, VP product, demo at FinovateFall 2016

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-2-19-37-pmWe interviewed Steve Polsky, CEO and founder of Juvo, to get more information about the company and its plans for the future.

Finovate: What problem does Juvo solve?

Steve Polsky: Juvo was founded with an overarching vision: to establish financial identities for the billions of people worldwide who are creditworthy, yet financially excluded. In partnership with mobile network operators, Juvo’s proprietary Identity Scoring technology uses data science, sophisticated credit algorithms, machine learning and game mechanics to create an identity-based relationship with anonymous prepaid users, opening up access to otherwise unattainable mobile financial services.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Polsky: Juvo works with large mobile network operators around the world—such as Millicom; and Cable & Wireless Communications Limited—and we partner with financial service providers. We are currently in 10% of countries around the world, active in 23 markets on four continents, and have a reach of more than 100 million users.

1_juvolend_homeJuvo’s gamified balance screen

Finovate: How does Juvo solve the problem better?

Polsky: Juvo merges financial identity, credit scoring and mobile financial services in a single platform—the Juvo Identity Stack—to create an entirely new category: Mobile Financial Intelligence. Other companies may offer elements of what Juvo does, but none are proven to help mobile operators meet challenging KPIs around engagement, churn, ARPU and boosting financial inclusion.

For global carriers the benefits are immediate: more personalized, engaged relationships with customers; easier and more cost-efficient scalability as carriers undergo digital transformation; and immediate ROI—on average, a 10% to 15% increase in ARPU and as much as 50% reduction in churn. For financial service companies, Juvo opens up a user base of 5.7 billion prepaid subscribers worldwide, and for subscribers, Juvo provides an easy and transparent pathway toward financial inclusion.

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

Polsky: I’m not sure I have a favorite, as each of our mobile operator-partners is doing exciting things with Juvo and seeing amazing results with their subscriber base. One particularly fun implementation has been with Cable & Wireless Communications Limited in Latin America, because of the very vocal reaction from their subscribers. There are thousands of positive mentions and reviews of the Juvo-powered app by Flow Lend users, and it is wonderful to hear from end users about how valuable the service is to them.

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

Polsky: The idea for Juvo came from a variety of personal experiences, particularly working with telcos over the years in developing countries. I saw firsthand untapped populations across the globe who are creditworthy, yet never given an opportunity to obtain even the most basic financial services many of us in the Western world take for granted. As a serial entrepreneur, I wanted to build another company with the right team and culture that could create something of value to have a real and lasting impact both for business and society.

The Juvo team is comprised of leading experts in their field who share a passion for creating and delivering a valuable solution to the world. We have extensive experience with mobile operators and a deep understanding of the power of data, particularly as it helps define and explain consumer internet behavior. The convergence of cloud services with big data, combined with a ubiquitous rise in smartphone adoption, gave us the pathway we needed to bring the Juvo vision to life.

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

Polsky: We are excited to announce additional mobile operator launches around the world, share news of expansion into new regions of the world, including Europe and Southeast Asia, and continue to impact the lives of people in developing markets.

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

Polsky: We hope to see Juvo continue its expansion with mobile operators into new regions around the world, as well as further engage with financial service companies to offer high-value product and services beyond basic credit. It’s an exciting time for financial services, as technology has paved the way to open many avenues for expanding opportunities to new populations, and we hope to be at the forefront of this emerging fintech revolution.

CEO Steve Polsky, Juvo founder and Jason Robinson, VP, product showcase Juvo at FinovateFall 2016 in New York

Finovate Debuts: Sindeo Revamps the Mortgage Application Process


Home financing startup Sindeo offers customers access to a marketplace of over 1,000 loan programs to help them find the best mortgage. Its platform streamlines the mortgage application process and offers borrowers guidance from Mortgage Advisors.

Kicking off the company’s demo at FinovateFall 2016, Sindeo’s co-founder Ori Zohar described a home purchase as “the largest financial decision that most people are going to make in their lives” and added that getting a mortgage is a “difficult and confusing process.” Explaining his company’s proposed solution, Zohar said, “Sindeo is creating a streamlined online mortgage experience. We can get you a loan with any of the lenders in our growing marketplace which currently has over 45 lenders and over 1,000 loan products. We have technology integrated all the way from quotes to close.”

On the Finovate stage, the Sindeo team launched QuickStart, a CFPB compliant mortgage pre-qualification tool that helps borrowers find a home loan, complete the application and underwriting process, and generate a pre-qualification letter, all in less than 10 minutes.

Company facts

  • 100+ employees
  • Originating loans in eleven states
  • $20+ million in funding to-date
  • 60+ NPS
  • Saved customers $17 million
29100750683_4d371ff788_kAimeelene Gaspar (SVP, Product) and Ori Zohar (Co-Founder) demo Sindeo at FinovateFall 2016 in New York

We interviewed Ori Zohar (pictured right), Sindeo’s co-founder, to get a deeper look into Sindeo’s background and future plans.screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-10-31-08-am

Finovate: What problem does Sindeo solve?

Ori Zohar: Getting a mortgage today is a stressful, confusing, low-tech process. It’s rife with unnecessary delays and unexpected costs. It’s the biggest financial decision most people make in their lifetimes, yet there isn’t a good partner to guide customers in a high tech, friendly way.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Zohar: Homeowners and future homeowners.

Finovate: How does Sindeo solve the problem better?

Zohar: We’ve created a mortgage marketplace where customers can shop one thousand loan products, apply in minutes by filling out just one application, and close with speed and transparency. Sindeo not only saves our customers time, but also tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-11-28-20-am(above) A screenshot from Sindeo’s loan marketplace


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

Zohar: After a couple of years of some really hard work, it’s fantastic to see us delivering on our vision – especially with the technology. From the start, Sindeo has been about rebuilding the home financing experience from the ground up by providing customers with access to a broad marketplace of loan programs, expert and unbiased guidance from Mortgage Advisors that are compensated based on customer satisfaction, and innovative technology that streamlines the entire mortgage process.

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

Zohar: I’m a serial entrepreneur, having started my first business when I was 15. After graduating from college, I began working with global ad agencies on solving complex problems for clients in the luxury clothing, automotive, and financial services industries. Eventually, I started looking for my next entrepreneurial opportunity. After I met Nick Stamos, my co-founder, we knew we found a huge opportunity to create a new path to bring home financing into the modern era.

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

Zohar: Sindeo is an end-to-end solution, and SindeoOne is just the beginning! We’re going to continue to add features to SindeoOne like verification of assets, income and employment directly into the application. We’re also streamlining and automating our back-end processes, so that our mortgage advisors can spend more time helping our customers.

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

Zohar: I expect that not only will Sindeo be available to consumers in every state, but we will have introduced a fully digital mortgage that will allow consumers to find the right loan at the right price and close as quickly as possible.

Watch Sindeo’s demo from FinovateFall 2016 in New York with Aimeelene Gaspar (SVP, Product) and Ori Zohar (Co-Founder)