Catching Up with the Innovators of FinovateSpring

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With our first conference of the year wrapped up in London, we’re gearing up to bring the show stateside in May for FinovateSpring 2015.

Last year, we had an all-star cast on stage. Just look at what they have been up to in the last nine months.

  • Raised more than $350 million 
  • Partnered with more than a dozen major financial services and technology companies including:
    • MoneyGram
    • Visa
    • Digital Insight
    • Ellie Mae
    • AT&T
    • Google
    • Blackstone Technology
    • Overstock.com
    • Meniga
    • Feedzai
Accelerator/incubator programs:
    • Wells Fargo Accelerator
    • SWIFT Innotribe Startup Challenge
Awards, honors, and recognitions:
    • KPMB’s Fintech Innovators for 2014
    • CNBC’s Disruptor 50
    • FSTech Awards
    • Forbes 30 Under 30 (up and coming CEOs)
    • Confirmit Ace Award
    • Future of Money Summit Startup Showcase Award
    • Bob’s Guide Fintech Startups to Watch in 2015
    • Star Performer Award from Speech Technology
    • Fast Company Top 10 Most Innovative in Finance
    • Dallas Business Journal 40 Under 40 (up and coming CEOs)
    • Mobile Innovations Awards
    • Mobile Excellence Award
    • Fintech 50
    • Paybefore Awards
Acquisitions:
    • IntelliResponse acquired by [24]7
    • LoopPay acquired by Samsung
Here’s a closer look at the highlights:
    • Won Best of Show at FinovateEurope 2015
    • Won Award at FinDEVr San Francisco 2014
    • Raised $2 million
    • Raised $75 million
    • Earned spot on KPMG’s 50 Best Fintech Innovators report
    • Named to CNBC’s Disruptor 50
    • Partnered with Time.com
    • Partnered with Meniga
    • Named “One to Watch” in KPMB’s Fintech Innovators for 2014
    • Won at Future of Money & Technology Summit Startup Showcase
    • Partnered with ProfitStars, Blackstone Technology, and SHAZAM Network
    • Raised $7 million
    • Named to Dallas Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 (CEO)
    • Won 2014 Confirmit ACE Award
    • Raised $5.4 million
    • Partnered with Feedzai
    • Won Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2014
    • Raised $6 million
    • Participated in Wells Fargo Accelerator
    • Partnered with Overstock.com
    • Partnered with several small and medium sized community banks and credit unions
    • Acquired by [24]7
    • Won Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2014
    • Closed strategic deal to acquire AT&T Watson speech recognition and natural language platform
    • Won Best of Show at FinovateEurope 2015
    • Partnered with IDology, The Rock Trading Ltd
    • Won Most Innovative App for Payments at Mobile Innovations Awards
    • Named to FinTech 50
    • Raised $200 million in debt financing
    • Named Germany’s leading digital innovator of the year by Focus Magazine
    • Earned spot in KPMG’s 50 Best Fintech Innovators Report
    • Raised $40 million
    • Raised $3 million
    • Earned finalist spot at SWIFT Innotribe Startup Challenge
    • Partnered with MoneyGram
    • Raised $50 million credit debt facility
    • Raised undisclosed sum from Visa
    • Raised undisclosed sum from Synchrony Financial
    • Acquired by Samsung
    • Won Best of Show at FinovateFall 2014
    • Won Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2014
    • Raised $75 million
    • Named to KPMB’s Fintech Innovators for 2014
    • Named to CNBC’s Disruptor 50
    • Won Best of Show at FinovateFall 2014
    • Earned 2014 Star Performer award from Speech Technology magazine
    • Earned #1 spot in Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative in Finance
    • Raised $18 million
    • Raised $50 million
    • Named to KPMG’s Fintech Innovators for 2014
    • Named to CNBC’s Disruptor 50
    • Partnered with MoneyGram
    • Raised $1.3 million
    • Raised $54.7 million
    • Featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 Rising Stars of Enterprise Technology (CEO)
    • Named Most Disruptive Financial Sector Technology Finalist in FSTech Awards
    • Partnered with Ellie Mae
    • Raised $900,000
    • Won Best of Show at FinovateFall 2014
    • Named “One to Watch” in KPMG’s Fintech Innovators for 2014
    • Raised $3.4 million
    • Partnered with Google Wallet
    • Named to Bob’s Guide: “Fintech Startups to Watch in 2015”
    • Named winner in Ninth Annual Paybefore Awards
    • Raised $6 million
    • Named finalist in Mobile Excellence Awards for Best Mobile Retail/Commerce Solution
    • Earned spot in Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator

Behind the Scenes with Digital Retail Apps and Verde International

And so, because all good things must come to an end, we’ve reached the final installment of our Behind the Scenes series. It has been a pleasure highlighting the companies that became new Finovate alums after being accepted to demo at FinovateSpring 2014.

We’ve taken a good look at 23 Finovate newcomers in the week since our spring conference in San Jose. If you’re looking to get caught up, here’s a list that will connect you with all the previous installments in the series.

So now that you’re ready to go, come with us and meet two more newcomers to the Finovate family: mobile shopping innovator, Digital Retail Apps, and alternative credit decisioning specialist, Verde International.

What they do
From the perspective of Digital Retail Apps, it doesn’t matter how efficient your payment device is if you are still waiting in line with everybody else.
Instead, Digital Retail Apps has launched Self-Pay. Self-Pay is a technology that allows consumers to pay for items in store with their mobile devices, and have those purchases confirmed by mobile device-equipped sales personnel rather than waiting in line.
The goal, in the words of company founder and CEO Wendy MacKinnon Keith, is to have consumers spending more time shopping and buying, and less time standing and waiting.
Digital_Retail_Apps_Self-Pay_homepage
Digital Retail Apps launched Self-Pay last December at a beauty salon in Edmonton, Canada. During an anniversary event in the store the following spring, Self-Pay represented 8% of in-store transactions, with 78% of the Self-Pay shoppers opening accounts that day. From the company’s perspective, this is evidence that consumers will readily download and use a mobile app alternative to waiting in line.
The stats
  • Founded in March 2012
  • Launched SelfPay in May 2014
  • Has $500,000 in self-funded capital
  • Less than 10 employees
The experience
“We’ve finally integrated shopping and paying in one seamless flow,” says Wendy during a conversation at FinovateSpring 2014. And seamless is an apt description for the Self-Pay experience. Shoppers in a store where Self-Pay is available simply scan the QR codes of the items they want to purchase with the camera on their mobile device. The Self-Pay mobile app keeps the product data in a cart, just as shopper would encounter while doing online e-commerce.
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When the shopper is ready to check out, rather than head over to the register and hope the line isn’t too long, all she needs to do is bring her mobile device to a salesperson who is also carrying a Self-Pay enabled mobile device. The salesperson can then confirm the sale, and the shopper is quickly on her way. 
What’s interesting – and what was in evidence at the Lux Beauty Salon Self-Pay launch noted above – is that the time spent not waiting in line is often instead spent doing more shopping. Wendy found that the receipts for Self-Pay transactions were 17% higher than non Self-Pay transactions during Lux’s anniversary day event, and doubts that is a coincidence. “Lines change behavior,” she says.
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Self-Pay leverages Beacon technology in a number of ways, from welcoming shoppers when they enter stores where Self-Pay is available, to reminders to “come back soon” the next time the shopper is in the area. It is easy to imagine this technology being leveraged further, with highly-targeted offers, for example.
Self-Pay_2
Over the balance of the year, Digital Retail Apps hopes to pilot with much larger retailers. Self-Pay is fully-integrated with Beanstream, LightSpeed, Shopify, and Vend POS software, helping pave the way for wide adoption. A pilot with a major retailer by 2015 is among the company’s goals.
In the meanwhile, Digital Retail Apps remains focused on solving the needs of end users, reducing friction as much as possible. Technology should help consumers focus on what Wendy calls “the delight of the shopping experience” as opposed to the payment experience, where she sees most of the innovation focusing. “We are not payers, we are shoppers,” she says.

What they do
Are borrowers more than just credit risks to be managed? Or are borrowers fully financial and economic entities that are often more than the sum of their credit scores?
It may sound crazy in this post-financial crisis era, but Verde International is making a strong case for the latter.
In the words of Verde International’ s Chief Operating Officer Jason Daniels, Verde International’s goal is to help financial institutions capture the $140 billion in net income of dollars “left on the table” due to the inability of FI’s to properly serve retail and business customers deemed poor credit risks. Unveiling their loan decisioning technology, Aurora, at FinovateSpring, the company is showing how big data and big analytics can help lenders catch many potential borrowers who are otherwise falling through the cracks.
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My conversation with Verde International CEO Pat Reily was a fascinating excursion into the world of lending at the margin. “As we move beyond the very best credit customers,” he explained. “Denial rates go up in part because models are poor.”
“Looking at out of the mainstream customers with mainstream tools,” he said, is a sure path to what he calls “alienated customers.” It also offers us a new way of looking at a lending market, the subprime market, in a way that is also very much out of fashion in recent years.
“Subprime isn’t bad,” Pat said. “There may not be enough information or a life event. These factors go unseen.”
The stats
  • Founded in June 2006
  • Product launched in April 2014
  • Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia
The experience
Verde Aurora looks to both improve loan terms and to help FIs meet the unmet demand Jason and Pat spoke of. The technology starts by predicting payment behavior and uses these predictions as a basis to set up pro forms for each set of loan terms.
Each possible loan term option is given optimal terms that satisfy both the customer and investor return expectations. Verde International calls this part of the process “getting to the best guess” and explains how it differs from the “fast” but “crude” traditional approach that focuses almost exclusively on “rates on scorecards.”
Instead, Verde International relies on advanced, market-specific modeling, as well as customer experience, to predict not only repayment behavior (including default risk), but repayment timing and magnitude, also. This nuanced attention to behavior helps the company understand the complex relationship between behavior and pricing. “This is a simultaneous problem requiring a simultaneous, convergent solution,” said Jason.
Verde-Finovate-1
Aurora lets clients test their financial assumptions around their policy thresholds. Everything from fees and costs, collateral and cost of capital can be seen alongside real world loan application scenarios. These initial loan terms are compared with optimized terms calculated by Verde Aurora to provide clients with a base from which to make further adjustments.
In the examples provided, the adjustment for the given loan included a term adjustment that extended the life of the loan. The idea in this instance was that a loan with a potential charge-off later in its life was more valuable than a loan that had the potential for an earlier charge-off date.
Verde-Finovate-2
The goal is to create a win-win for all stakeholders involved: competitive pricing for borrowers, a fair return for shareholder risk, and terms that meet the letter and spirit of fair lending. Above is a screenshot showing a comparison of cash flows for the optimized solution versus collateral value in the sample loan.
And below is a screenshot of Verde Aurora’s loan origination system (although the platform plays well with most common loan origination systems). Aurora provides a final evaluation of the loan terms as requested, an evaluation that even includes a counteroffer in the event that it can improve on the terms initially offered.
Verde-Finovate-3
Looking forward, Pat seems a number of opportunities for Verde International and Aurora, real estate and the mortgage area is one, particularly as it relates to the economics of the secondary market. He said the company is also looking into the possibility of integrating a mobile web app for loan origination with top fraud and ID verification resources. “If you’re going to lend well in a non-traditional environment, you need to meet (people) where they are,” Pat said, adding that features as straightforward as push alerts and similar reminders could also become a part of the platform by early 2015. The goal, he said, “is to increase the quality of the engagement.”
But in many ways it is the underlying insight that not only guides the technology, but the mission of the company as well. “If you take away nothing else,” said Jason from the Finovate stage, ” it’s that underwriting loans is not just a credit risk decision.”
In conversation late on Wednesday as the conference attendees were making their way downstairs for the Best of Show announcements, Pat echoes those sentiments: “I’m passionate about giving people a rung on the ladder.  For example, the nature of the job matters. Consider a farm worker. What kind of cash flow can we expect from this borrower? Making the payment easy to digest is critical.”

Behind the Scenes with Endeavour and Insuritas

In our next FinovateSpring Behind the Scenes we’re featuring Endeavour, which showcased a mobile account opening solution, MobileAO, and Insuritas, which brought a bank-hosted insurance marketplace, SmartCART, to the stage.

Here’s a reference of the previous installments:


What they do
Endeavour specializes in helping companies go mobile. Their solutions span a wide array of verticals– from healthcare, to retail, to insurance, to entertainment, and beyond. At FinovateSpring 2014, they debuted their mobile account opening solution, MobileAO for medium to large banks that have complex credit decision rules.
To help banks achieve their goal of becoming more mobile, Endeavour is working with Zoot to connect to banks’ core systems and with Jumio to integrate their form-filling technology, FastFill
MobileAO can either be integrated within the bank’s existing mobile app using Endeavour’s API or banks can launch it as a standalone, whitelabled app.
Stats
    • Founded in 2008
    • 300+ employees
    • Locations in 4 countries
The experience
The MobileAO solution gives customers the ability to apply for new accounts when and where they want to, directly from their mobile device. 
Endeavour’s integration with Jumio’s FastFill eliminates the need for data entry. When users snap a picture of their drivers license on their mobile device it uses optical character recognition (OCR) to pull relevant data and automatically fill in the fields on the application. This saves time, reduces errors and mitigates form abandonment.
EndeavourFastFill
Once the customer agrees to the terms and e-signs the form, MobileAO can instantly approve (or reject) customers for the account selected. 
If approved, the system immediately issues them a credit card number, which they can use to purchase items online or load into their Google Wallet.
EndeavourFinishedapp
The web portal puts the bank in control of the look and feel of the app by allowing them to make edits on the fly, without a specialized IT department. It also enables them to tweak credit offers and products without deploying a new app in the app store.
The screenshot below shows the administrative experience, which enables the institution to tailor the app’s look and feel and choose a theme. It also lets them customize the fields that will be included in the application and decide what the acceptance screen includes.
EndeavourSS3
While the user interface of MobileAO is aesthetically pleasing, the back end is robust enough to handle complex credit decisioning while meeting regulatory requirements. This is key since it enables instant credit approval. 

InsuritasLogo


What they do
Insuritas’ SmartCART technology creates a transparent and frictionless environment where consumers can shop for, compare, and buy insurance, directly from their banks’ website.

Banks can offer customers an insurance marketplace hosted in a place they already trust– the bank’s website. When customers purchase insurance through the bank’s site, the bank receives insurance commissions, which serves as a unique way to generate fee income.

Stats

    • Launched SmartCART April 2014
    • Raised $10 million Series A funding
    • Has more than 70 financial institution partners
    • 76% of product sales revenue renews year-over-year

The experience
Insuritas aims to bring the Amazon.com checkout experience to insurance purchasing. Users can visit the insurance portal within the bank’s website to compare and purchase different types of insurance products, such as:

    • Auto
    • Home
    • Life
    • Business
    • Property
The screenshot below displays the different products that the Bancorp South offers in its Insurance Aisle:
InsuritasSS1

Users can add multiple insurance products to their shopping cart (located at the bottom right) before checking out, and are also given the option to continue shopping (bottom left). In the instance below, the customer has selected four different types of insurance products. Note that this experience is still hosted inside the online banking environment. 
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After purchasing the insurance products, the user can manage their accounts and view documents from a single location within their online banking platform.
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Using Insuritas’ SmartCART, banks can increase their clients’ trust, create brand and website stickiness, and even create a source of non-cyclical, annuitized income generated from policy renewal fees.


We’ll have more Behind the Scenes later this week.

Behind the Scenes with Digital Insight, Loop, and Qapital

We hope you are enjoying our Behind the Scenes series.

Every Finovate conference brings a new cohort of startups and entrepreneurs into the Finovate family. Behind the Scenes helps you get to know these innovators, and the new products and services they are providing, that much better.

Catch up with previous installments of our Behind the Scenes series below.
In our latest installment, we introduce you to mobile banking technology innovator, Digital Insight; mobile wallet specialist Loop; and Swedish PFM developer, Qapital.

What they do
Digital Insight leverages mobile and online channels to help banks and financial institutions intensify customer engagement, and diversify revenues through location-based cross-selling.
The company’s Promotion Suite for mobile, demoed at FinovateSpring, gives banks the ability to provide contextual, highly-relevant products and services to their customers when their customers are most likely to want and use them. 
The solution uses geo-location technology and the ubiquity of mobile phones to give consumers what they want when and how they want it. “Imagine if you were able to be there for your customers at their time of need, exactly when they needed you,” said Digital Insight Director of Product Management Karishma Anand from the Finovate stage. “That’s possible.”
The Stats
  • More than 11 million online banking customers
  • More than 4 million mobile banking end users
  • Acquired by NCR in January 2014
The experience
Helping banks become a greater part of the world of e-commerce is a major theme for FIs looking for new ways to grow revenues. And while there are many potential services banks could provide their customers, facilitating commerce and e-commerce via financing may be among the lowest hanging fruit on the proverbial tree.
Digital_Insight_homepage_new
Digital Insight provides the example of a consumer shopping for a new car. With a banking app that includes Digital Insight’s location-based cross-selling solution, this shopper could receive a notification alerting her to an auto loan from her bank as soon as she pulls into the parking lot of the auto dealership.
Digital_Insight_BtS_2
Clicking on the message opens up the notification. In the case of an auto loan, the alert could feature information about the car, the loan rates available, and even a calculator to help the customer determine the affordability of the loan.
If the customer were not interested in the message from her bank – or not interested at the moment – the app provides an easy way to either stop further notifications or to have the bank remind her later via phone, email or text.
Digital_Insight_BtS_3
Where the app gets especially interesting is the way it allows customers to contact their bank to move the process forward, either by email, phone, or even features such as video chat. Banks also have the ability to integrate their own loan processing technology with the app.
What’s next from Digital Insight? With the tumult of acquisitions now behind it (two in less than a year), the company is focused on product development. Promotion Suite for mobile is on track for limited availability by the end of the year, with video integration likely in 2015.
What’s important, expressed Karishma, is that the company has not slowed down as it has moved from independence, through its growth as part of Intuit, and now as a member of NCR. In fact, she sees the latest acquisition as an opportunity for the company’s technology to reach an even greater number of consumers.
“The financial sector probably doesn’t even know about the entirety of NCR,” she says. “They touch consumers in more ways than people realize.” So, too, may Digital Insight.

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What they do
Loop has developed a smart mobile wallet system that can be used at virtually all POS terminals. The company’s technology does this without the merchant having to make any changes to existing POS hardware and infrastructure.
The stats
  • Founded in August 2013
  • Headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts
  • Raised more than $10 million in funding
The experience
In Loop CEO Will Graylin’s colorful description, Loop represents the “first mobile wallet bullet train that has existing rails that can reach the vast majority of stations today.”
Why is this important? First, speed. Mobile wallet technology has to be faster and more efficient than pulling a credit or debit card from a physical purse or wallet. Second, in order to be
adopted quickly and widely, there needs to be as little adjustment as possible – for both consumer and merchant.
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Having seen Loop in action during a briefing months ago, I can attest to the speed with which a common transaction – purchasing a couple of lattes at a local coffee shop- was completed. I was with Damien Balsan, VP for Business Development and Strategy, who was demoing the technology, and he already had the mobile app loaded with a set of credit and debit cards. Basically any card with a mag stripe that you’d carry in your wallet, he had loaded into his Loop app. 
If anything, there was a modest “Wow” factor on the part of the barista (and a few other employees who happened to pass by). And while that was truly a positive verdict in many ways, it might not have been appreciated had there been a queue behind us.
Loop_BtS_loadingcards
Being able to rely on existing hardware is a huge deal for potential adoption. On the merchant side, there is literally no change. With the exception of the kind of card readers typical at gas station pumps, readers that require the actual insertion of the physical card, more than 90% of the existing POS terminals that take credit and debit cards will have no problem taking payments via Loop.
On the consumer side, in addition to the mobile app, users can use a fob (below) to swipe card information into the Loop app. The interesting thing about the fob is that it not only stores the users’ card information, but also can be used to make mobile payments independent of the mobile phone in venues like bars and restaurants. 
Users can also opt for a carrying charge case for their smartphone that will serve the same function as the fob when it comes to both entering card information into the app as well as actually making mobile payments at the POS.
Loop_fob
The technology behind Loop is fascinating in and of itself. While the rest of the world wrangles over NFC, Loop has leveraged its expertise in magnetic secure transmission technology to produce a way to convince the mag stripe readers of POS systems that they are interacting with the mag stripe of a credit or debit card. The magnetic field created by a simple loop of wire embedded in the Loop fob or charge case is both short-term and short-range (users hold their phone approximately four inches from the card reader), lending to both the speed and security of the transaction.
Loop believes that its technology solves a number of mobile wallet problems at the same time, from ease of use, to the centrality of the smartphone, to the lack of any hardware changes on the merchant end. Will put the challenge this way:
“In order for 1% of lead users to be happy enough to change their habits, and not rely on plastic cards or their leather wallet, they must have a critical mass of merchants that accept that payment form, which we believe is 80%. Until you get to that critical mass, you can’t even get lead users.”

Going forward the company already has its Loop fob on the market, and the charge case is expected to be available soon. Will says that Loop is working with some of the largest mobile device manufacturers to potentially embed the loop technology into mobile devices. This would be a move that would in some ways change the way Loop has introduced its business to the public. But the upside could be getting the technology in the hands of far more consumers far faster, and its hard to see an argument against that.


What they do
Is what keeps many people from spending smarter and saving better simply a matter of how boring and unfulfilling the budgeting process is? Qapital’s insight is to combine the less pleasant aspects of spending analysis (none dare call it budgeting) with the far more pleasant goal-setting and planning. 
By connecting the two, Qapital’s technology helps consumers not only make better choices when it comes to spending, but turns those times when consumers do spend into opportunities to help move them closer to their goals.
The stats
  • Founded in September 2012
  • Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden
  • Technology live in Swedish market; closed beta in U.S.
  • Estimated product launch in November 2014
The experience
Qapital is designed to make it easy for consumers to answer three of the most common personal finance questions: How am I spending my money? How much money can I spend? How can I manage my finances to help me achieve goals?
Qapital_homepage_0
Answering the first question was the easy part, in many ways. But as the team continued to develop and test the technology, it became clear that the other two questions were just as important when it comes to helping people effectively managing personal finances in the post-budget era. The company’s testing process (more on this below) encouraged them innovate further, adding and fine-tuning both the savings and goal-managing features of the app.
The result is an app that not only puts the key, must-have, PFM elements – budgeting, account aggregation and so on – alongside more unique features like Smart Saving and Safe Balance. But also the app connects all of these features on a behavioral level (“connecting virtues and vices” as they put it), making saving that much easier for people who have trouble with the admittedly abstract problem of trading off “the now” for “the later.”
Qapital_BtS_1
Qapital’s Smart Saving approach allows consumers to see their spending in the context of larger goals, like
saving for a vacation in a year’s time. But more than that, the technology actually helps consumers make progress both toward limiting potentially budget-busting (or, at least, goal-diminishing) spending decisions.
And as Qapital CEO noted from the stage at FinovateSpring during his company’s demo, those using the app can move real money from real connected, FDIC-insured accounts. This means, for example, that every time a purchase of one type is made (such as in the example of Starbucks above), a specified amount is transferred to the pre-arranged goal account (the trip to Africa in the above example).
Qapital_BtS_2
Users can see the goal section of the app, which indicates the deadline by which the goal is to be reached, the estimated duration, and even a motivational photograph to help the user stay on the path to smarter and more fulfilling spending and saving.
Qapital calls this “rule-based savings”. And depending on the user’s disposition, the rules can be set up as rewards (“save a $1 in my vacation account every time I go to the gym”) or punishments (“set aside $5 in my new motorcycle account every time I eat a cupcake”) or both.
Qapital_BtS_3
Qapital’s app also includes a “safe to spend” feature called “Safe Balance”, something that is a must-have for any PFM today.  In fact, it is technologies like these that are helping people move away from the old-fashioned notion of budgeting toward a real-time understanding (and projection) of cash flow. 
Qapital_BtS_4
As I mentioned, the beta process has been critical to the technology’s development according to the Qapital team with whom I spoke at FinovateSpring in San Jose. A year’s worth of testing showed that the savings component was critical, turning the app from a run-of-the-mill expense tracking PFM tool to a higher-frequency use resource that actually helps users accomplish real financial goals.
Partnerships with companies like Social Money and Plaid are helping Qapital brings its PFM technology to the U.S. – likely before the end of the year. Qapital is live in its home country of Sweden since December 2013, and is currently in closed beta in the United States.

FinovateSpring: Behind the Scenes with Pellucid Analytics, Red Giant, and Zumigo

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Nearly half the companies at FinovateSpring this year were making their Finovate debuts. And our Behind the Scenes series is designed specifically to help you get to know these Finovate newbies better.

If you missed any one of our earlier episodes, check out our handy Behind the Scenes directory to the series below.

Today we take a closer look at another trio of Finovate newcomers: pitchbook specialist Pellucid Analytics, Red Giant with its lockable debit card, and mobile-authentication-meets-mobile-payments innovator, Zumigo.

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Pellucid Analytics

What they do
In short, Pellucid Analytics “fixes pitchbooks.”
Here’s why that’s a big deal. Pitchbooks are a key part of the investment banking business. They can essentially make the difference, expressed in data, as to whether a company is worthy of new investment, continued investment, or no investment at all.
The problem is that putting pitchbooks together is a very labor-intensive, time-consuming task. So much so that Pellucid Analystics CEO and co-founder Adrian Crockett says the junior investment bankers who build them often consider it among the least appealing aspects of their job.
Pellucid Analytics makes this process easier for all involved. The company’s iPad and browser-based technology takes the half of pitchbook formation that is relatively standard in the business, and automates much of it. Pellucid provides pre-rendered content, pre-designed charts, all pre-populated with the necessary corporate data. In addition to helping save time, this approach reduces the error rate as well.
The stats
  • Company founded in November 2011
  • Technology launched in April 2014
  • 39 team members
  • Pre-rendered content populates 40% of the typical pitchbook
The experience
“Review, select, tweak, tell” is the way co-founder and Chief Scientist Jamie Ballingall describes the process of building pitchbooks using Pellucid. The technology leverages a sizable variety of templates and drag and drop technology to make the initial composition process faster and easier. 
Pellucid_homepage
Start in the library where the charts are kept. The way that data is presented in these charts can be customized so that investment bankers are looking at and presenting the data they way they believe it is best presented. Drag the charts down to the content drawer in order to select the charts to be used in the pitchbook.
Actually building the pitchbook is simply a matter of dragging the charts from the drawer back into the main field (the “Deck”) in the preferred order. Here again charts can be reconfigured, giving the pitchbook builder some flexibility in terms of design, such as multiple-exhibit layouts, or the ability to respond faster to requests for changes.
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Above: Zoomed out library, with the content drawer open and an exhibit in the process of being dragged into the drawer. 
And because pitchbooks themselves are sales instruments (“the physical representations of the ideas” financial institutions sell), how they look is paramount. To this end, in addition to being repopulated with up-to-date market data and information, Pellucid’s pitchbooks are custom formatted to match corporate brands. “It means I can use them immediately,” Jamie explains, “They’re ready to go.”
The small amounts of time-saving, the 20 minutes here, the 15 minutes, there, are where Pellucid shines. Rather than re-inventing pitchbooks, Pellucid simply takes advantage of the fact that many bankers are still operating on technology that is in some instances more than 20 years old. This allows bankers the ability to focus on the stories, the “tell” in Pellucid’s model, behind the opportunities they are trying to provide to their clients and customers.
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Above: Slide editor, with the drawer open and an exhibit being dragged into a placeholder.
 
For Adrian, the argument in favor of Pellucid’s solution is as simple as math. Major investment banks spend half a billion dollars every year on pitchbook production. And as Pellucid learned when doing research on pitchbook development, the average 42-page pitchbook with an average price tag of $40,000 actually took more than 135 pages during the ideation process. Given this,  the opportunity became clear.
“Pellucid can automate 40% of the process, saving bankers hundreds of millions of dollars a year,” said Adrian.
With their Finovate debut and platform launch behind them, Pellucid Analytics is focused currently on the investment banking community. But the company sees itself looking at other verticals, such as high net worth individuals, as early as 2015.

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Red Giant

What they do
The virtue of Red Giant’s solution is in its simplicity: the company’s technology allows consumers to “lock” their debit card when it is not being used (i.e., most of the time). The card can be unlocked using Red Giant’s mobile app, and consumers can take and shop with their card anywhere regular credit and debit cards are accepted.
Asked about the customer experience, Red Giant CEO Robert Sears talks about how quickly the technology draws a crowd at the point of sale. “People have a visceral reaction,” he says. The task at hand now, he adds, is “to get the technology out to as many people as possible as fast as possible.”
The stats
  • Company founded in June 2008
  • Technology launched in April 2014
The experience
Red Giant’s solution consists of a MasterCard debit card and a mobile app that gives the cardholder the ability to completely control the payment card. Not only that, but consumers can use the app to see their account balance, compare spending versus savings targets, and read on-screen receipts.
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As Red Giant CEO Robert Sears explains, a locked card will be declined at the point of sale. When a consumer wants to unlock her card, all she has to do is touch the lock icon, which overlays the Red Giant logo. Once unlocked, the app shows the account balance and free-to-spend calculations for the month.
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Unlocking the card, says Robert, “puts a SecureZone around you.” As soon as the consumer leaves this zone, the card automatically locks.
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The app also provides an on-screen receipt for each purchase or transaction. Consumers can manage receipts by taking notes, categorizing them within a budget, as well as a few other management functions.
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For online purchases, the app can serve as a digital card. The digital card, Robert emphasizes, is a separate card: separate number, separate source of funds, etc. from your physical card. One advantage here is that if the consumer’s physical card is stolen, there is no need to change the card on file at the consumer’s online merchants where the completely separate digital card was used.
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Currently Red Giant’s app is iOS-ready and works with a MasterCard debit card. An Android app is considered among the company’s next steps – potentially as early as the second half of 2014 – as is the idea of bringing in additional cards that can be used with the app. 
Additional features could also be a part of Red Giant’s near-term future. Robert talks about providing tools to enhance day-to-day financial decision-making in the app, as well as budgeting assistance. Red Giant is available right now only by invitation, and those interested in drawing your own crowd around the old POS the next time you’re out shopping, are encouraged to give the technology a try.


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Zumigo

What they do
Nowhere is the challenge of blending convenience and security more prominent than at the nexus of retail commerce and mobile payments.
While consumers often claim to want ever more secure transactions, merchants know that additional anti-fraud measures can cost them customers who find new or added security to be nuisance enough to abandon the site.
Zumigo’s Assure technology seeks to take on both the issues of convenience and security in the same solution. The company’s mobile-identity technology now both enables secure transactions for all mobile phone activities, as well as making commerce shopping that much more efficient for consumers.
The stats
  • Company founded in December 2009
  • Technology launched in April 2014
The experience
How does Zumigo’s Assure work? In the words of CEO and founder Chirag Bakshi, Assure almost turns an e-commerce website into an Amazon Prime-like operation, moving consumers quickly, efficiently, and securely through the shopping process.
Zumigo_homepage
Below is a screenshot of the Express Checkout screen for a commerce site enabled with Zumigo’s Assure. Consumers shop as they would on any mobile device and, when they’re ready to pay, access the Express Checkout. 
Here, after entering the last four digits of the credit card and the CVV, the technology identifies the owner of the mobile device and gives the user the option of having the form completed based on that information. 
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While the information can still be entered manually, the autofill option for the consumer is faster and designed to reduce both error, fraud and, potentially, customer abandonment. 
Zumigo accomplishes this ID authentication through relationships with mobile carriers that allow their technology to dynamically identify the mobile device.
And speaking of relationships, it is the one with Equifax that has enabled Zumigo to make their most recent step: combining mobile identification with payment information. This further reduces the need for manual data-entry on the mobile device. No prior account or relationship with the merchant is necessary, nor does the technology need to access other apps or features like address books to retrieve data. Instead, Zumigo’s technology pulls it from the network itself. “Only your phone knows your data,” explains Chirag.
Below is an example of what Zumigo looks like from the point of view of the merchant. The consumer data that populates the form comes from a server-side analysis that Zumigo sends to the merchant. As the screenshot shows, the verification process includes matching names and addresses, as well as geolocation information.
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At root, Zumigo’s Assure approaches the issue of secure mobile payments and identification in a tripartite fashion: locating the consumer as being in the correct place to make the transaction; identifying the legitimacy of the device being used; and, last, authenticating the owner of the device.
“Even if the SIM card is swapped or the phone is stolen the account is still secure because of this triangulation,” said Chirag.  

Stay tuned for our next Behind the Scenes feature next week.

Finovate Alumni News– May 20, 2014

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgMyBankTracker looks at PayPal’s new design.
  • Linkable Networks unveils multiple omni channel SKU-level card-linked offer solutions to support all retailer types and sizes.
  • European Bitcoin exchange Safello to integrate Jumio’s identity document verification technology.
  • Thomson Reuters announces enhancements, upgrades to Accelus Risk Manager.
  • FinovateSpring 2014: Lights! Camera! Demo Videos! See all 67 presentations from our San Jose conference.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

FinovateSpring 2014: Lights! Camera! Demo Videos!

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The demo videos from FinovateSpring 2014 are now available in our Video Archive. Check them out here.

Here’s your chance to relive FinovateSpring 2014 in its new home in what was a very sunny San Jose. Every single video from the two-day event is here, arranged alphabetically from Artivest to Zumigo

You’ll see and hear every presenter, every screen capture, every device display (from mobile payment fobs to smart watches and Google Glass), and every innovation that our 67 presenting companies had to share.
And if you’ll be checking out our presenters for the first time, then sit back and enjoy our unique, demo-only format in action.
This is also a great opportunity to see (or see again) just what it took to win the hearts and minds of our audience of more than 1,200 fintech professionals who voted for Best of Show. As a reminder, our FinovateSpring 2014 Best of Show winners are below. Click on the company logo to see the award-winning demo.
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Finovate Alumni News– May 14, 2014

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgTIO Networks partners with New Jersey’s Public Service Electric and Gas Company to set up bill payment kiosks.
  • Pindrop Security and AGNITiO partner to protect call centers as they adapt to an increasingly mobile customer base.
  • Bolstr explains the basics of crowdfunding on NBC Chicago.
  • Loop Wallet app now available on Android.
  • Maps Credit Union chooses ACI Worldwide’s online banking platform.
  • Javelin Strategy takes a look at bill pay alternatives to Manilla, including Finovera.
  • BodeTree brings in $2 million in Series A round.
  • SavedPlus, LikeFolio, Wallaby, FutureAdvisor, Simple and Wealthfront earn spots on CNN Money’s list of the 15 best financial websites and apps.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

FinovateSpring 2014: Behind the Scenes with WePay, Rippleshot and TextPower

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In today’s report, we’ll get to know three more companies that made their Finovate debuts at FinovateSpring 2014 in San Jose.

So far, our Behind the Scenes series has introduced CUneXus, ID.me, and Venovate in our first installment. Here, we’ll meet API-developer WePay, network security innovator, Rippleshot; and SMS-based omni-factor authenticator TextPower.


What they do
“We are an API company focused on platform businesses: crowd funding sites, donation platforms, marketplaces …” this is how John Canfield, WePay Vice President of Risk, describes the company. Unveiling their Veda Risk engine at FinovateSpring, WePay demonstrated how it has leveraged its basic expertise in payments to provide a flexible way to create new accounts and process payments.
WePay’s origins as a payments company give it a unique insight into the needs of the clients it serves as an API innovator. John says the opportunity to focus on user experience and turning Big Data into Big Analytics makes sense in a world in which the payments industry is increasingly commoditized. “So why not innovate on the risk side, on compliance?” he says.
Stats
  • Processes transactions for more than 250,000 merchants; 400 platform partners 
  • Recorded 51% quarter-over-quarter growth from Q4 2013 to Q1 2014
  • Averaging 35% monthly growth in crowdfunding-specific processing
  • Powers eight out of the top 15 crowdfunding platforms
The experience
Wepay provided the example of a merchant who uses another Finovate alum, invoiceASAP, to bill clients. The challenge is to make it as easy as possible for the client to pay – and as quick and seamless as possible for the merchant to get paid.
WePay_homepage_BtS
With a single click, this merchant can apply to have WePay serve as her payment processor, allowing the merchant to accept, for example, a credit card payment rather than waiting for a check in the mail.
In most instances, credit card processors require merchants to fill out extended, complicated forms as part of the on-boarding process. WePay asks nothing more than the same basic credit card information typically provided in any transaction: card number, name, expiration date, CVV. But the result is a single-click process and response, rather than a days-long ordeal.
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WePay’s approach results in a 95% acceptance rate for merchants. And credit for this goes to the company’s proprietary risk engine, Veda.
Veda pulls data from a variety of places: social media, other partners, and third party data sources to gain much more information about the transaction faster and easier than other processors. Veda also collects data on the payer and the merchant, including social media data (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc.), and delivers scores on both the merchant’s “quality” and the merchant’s “identity.”
“This is a very important online credential,” John says, “just like a passport or a driver’s license is an important credential for the physical world.”
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What can we look forward to from WePay in the months to come? Customization in the form of better tailoring the risk experience, the user experience, so as to be the “ideal risk partner for our customers” is one goal. The company also plans to continue innovating on the risk engine itself, especially by incorporating new relevant risk data with the goal of providing a solution that fits the crowdfunding or marketplace platform perfectly. “It’s not a generic package,” says John. “everyone has something different.”

What they do
Rippleshot specializes in detecting fraud and data breaches using a different focus: the merchant payment network itself. Many security solutions, says the company, are vertical and siloed. Rippleshot’s technology in contrast uses a Microsoft search engine-like technology to detect data breaches and examine patterns of behavior before merchants and credit card issuers are even aware a problem exists. While some anti-fraud measures focus on customers, their cards, their mobile devices, Rippleshot “profiles merchants.”
Add to this the fact that the technology is cloud-based, requiring no installation or exchange of personally identifiable information, and delivers the kind of analytics that, for example, help financial institutions re-issue cards smarter and faster to compromised accounts.
Stats
  • Detects breaches long before they become known to public
  • Monitors more than 16 million online and offline POS terminals and payment gateways
  • Cloud-based solution requires no installation within company’s IT environment and no PII (personally identifiable information) exchanged
The experience
Here is a standard scenario in the world according to Rippleshot: customers visit a compromised merchant. The fraudster who may be stealing mag stripe data at the point-of-sale, then sells the stolen card information, which will be used for fraudulent transactions far and wide.
Critically, compromised cards all will share a history of transacting with the compromised merchant. And when Rippleshot discovers a merchant with a broader than av
erage history of encountering compromised cards, there is a good chance that this merchant is the source of the breach or fraud.
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Rippleshot’s technology combines Big Data, machine learning, and cutting-edge statistics to scan through hundreds of millions of card transactions to spot this kind of common history. With this method, Rippleshot says it is able to narrow down the source of the breach or fraud not just to the specific store, but the specific POS terminal, as well. Exactly when the breach occurred is also valuable security intel that Rippleshot’s analytics provides.
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Above: Rippleshot dashboard
Another plus of Rippleshot’s approach to security is the way it helps card issuers deal with the challenge of reissuing cards when fraud occurs. The standard strategy is to create and distribute a sizable number of cards to compromised and noncompromised accounts alike in an attempt to almost smother the problem.
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Above: Breach and fraud spend map
Rippleshot seeks to provide a smarter way of reissuing cards. Of the three main categories of cardholder – those with compromised cards and those with cards about to expire in any event – most issuers can handle internally with their own systems. Rippleshot shines in the third instance – those cards that have not yet been compromised but remain vulnerable. Here the company provides real-time, time of transaction, decline rules until issuers can provide a new card. These rules range from geography to store type to transaction type.
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Above: Rippleshot Chain List
What’s next for Rippleshot? Currently able to provide merchants with card fraud alerts, the company is looking into ways to give merchants the ability to get alerts on data breaches, as well. The goal is to become increasingly proactive, something that rarely happens at the merchant level. 
“Our solution is a combination of ADT + insurance,” Rippleshot CEO Canh Tran and COO Lucas Ward say, pointing to a team made up of experts in the field of analytics, UI, and fraud detection. “Many of our guys have more than 10 years experience in fighting fraud.” And from their perspective fraud and data breaches will always be more a matter of if than when.

What they do
Could the path to superior online authentication be paved with something as simple as SMS?
Or perhaps more accurately, SMS-run backwards. The genius of TextPower’s solution lies in the way it has leveraged a fundamental understanding of how text messaging actually works on mobile devices into one of the most unique methods for ID verification in the market.
The trick, as explained below, is that the effectiveness of SMS as a authentication method depends entirely on which direction the authentication request is coming from. As CEO Scott Goldman explains, each mobile device has a built-in unique code, developed by the manufacturer. This code is used by telecommunications companies to make sure that a single mobile device is not being used for multiple accounts.
This same unique mobile device identifier, says Goldman, can tell an authenticating website or VPN whether the device seeking access is the correct one. Even if I as a fraudster have your correct credentials, if I don’t have your device also, then I don’t get access.
Stats
  • 2012 Tech America Orange County High-Tech Awards Finalist
  • Info Security Products Guide 2012 Global Excellence Awards winner
  • 2011 Government Security News Homeland Security Award winner
  • TextPower founded 2009; TextKey founded 2013
  • $525,000 in funding; 7 employees
The experience
The experience of using TextKey is in most respects similar to what users of other SMS or text-based authentication experience. By relying on behavior as common as sending a text message, TextPower believes their authentication solution is that much more likely to be adopted and readily embraced by the average person already accustomed to communicating by text messaging.
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TextKey works like this: a person who has legitimate access to a TextKey-enabled website will enter their username and password. The website will then display a unique, one-time code. The person seeking access must text that code to a specific number, using the mobile device that had been pre-designated.
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If the correct code is sent from the correct mobile device, then access is granted. If either is incorrect – an inaccurate code or a device that is not the designated device – then access is not granted.
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At this point, other additional authentication protocols can be brought into play, ranging from challenge questions to intervention by a human agent.
Scott credits h
is company’s background as a text messaging company for the ability to see security differently. He and his team may have an inside track on understanding how the actual mechanics of text messaging work – and could be made to work. But they are also passionate about the point that it is not enough for security to be “easy” – it has to be no different from everyday activities. Scott says, “in the battle between security and convenience, convenience always wins.” 
To get a sense of TextPower’s future with TextKey, consider the potential implementations of the technology. With a pedigree of mission critical deployments including everything from utility companies to the criminal justice system (read: wearable probation monitoring technology), the company is confident it will be able to develop similar relationships with the smaller banks and credit unions that are looking for affordable security solutions.
“We can protect anything with an ID and a password,” says Scott, referring to TextKey as “Fortune 100-level security that can be set up in just a few hours. And as to the question of scale? Bring it. “We could receive millions of messages a day and it wouldn’t strain the system at all. Volume is no object.”

Be sure to say tuned for our next Behind the Scenes feature with more new Finovate alums from FinovateSpring!

FinovateSpring: Behind the Scenes with CUneXus, ID.me, and Venovate

We’ve had a blast following up on the news buzz created by the 68 companies we saw demo at FinovateSpring 2014 last week in San Jose. Now we get to report on a few more details of companies that demoing at Finovate for the first time. 

Today, we’re taking a closer look at:

We’ll have further coverage in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!


What they do
CUneXus’ Perpetual Loan Approval product gives financial institutions a way to show borrowers a constant view their borrowing power across multiple loan products. It pre-approves the customer instead of simply providing a prediction of what the loan payment and terms may be, if the loan is accepted.
This constant pre-approval can create stickiness by keeping the lending institution in the top of the consumer’s mind when they are ready to make a decision about a loan or credit card. And, since the approval automatically changes with the consumers’ financial standing, it is a more efficient way to customize loan promotions.

Stats

    • FI client size ranges from $400 million to $2 billion
    • Launched in December 2013
The experience
The web and mobile screenshots below show the variety of offers the end consumer sees. The platform shows everything from credit cards to auto loans, to personal loans. Since the platform is dynamic, it will change the offers depending on the consumers’ financial situation. 
For example, if the consumer accepts the offer on the car loan, the platform will automatically rescind the offer on the RV or motorcycle loan.
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CUneXus also uses geolocation to target the end user when it matters– at the point of their decision. For example, after a user has been standing at a car lot for longer than 5 minutes, FIs using CUneXus can send them a push notification reminding them of the loan offer for which they are pre-qualified.

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Since the system pre-approves users, activating the offer is easy:
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After selecting the type of loan and amount, users need only to enter their phone number and when they would like to talk to an agent. To speed the process, they have the option to take a picture of a recent pay stub as proof of income.
Beyond creating more borrower transparency, CUneXus makes loan distribution more efficient for the lending institution. The automation of the loan offer, combined with carefully timed push notifications, can drive more revenue from online and mobile banking.

What they do
ID.me works a bit like PayPal for affiliate groups such as students or veterans. Its network proves that the user is affiliated with the group so that merchants can target these specific groups with discounts and rewards, without the hassle of making them prove their identity.
At FinovateSpring, ID.me showed how its identity verification can be used at the physical point of sale, as well as online.
Stats
    • Financing: $16M
    • Federal Grants: $2.8M
    • Employees: 29
    • Revenues (Run Rate): $4M
    • Registered Users: 475,000
The experience
The user selects their affiliate group and adds the required information to verify their affiliation. In the screenshot of the web interface below, Blake has already verified his affiliation as an army veteran. ID.me also gives him the option to verify himself as a student or first responder to receive additional merchant benefits. 
Once he is verified, he is prompted to link a credit card with his account.
 
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After the user is verified as a member of the affiliate group and has linked their card, they can receive rewards at the physical point of sale, as well as online.
The screenshot below shows the iPad interface of a brick and mortar merchant’s POS system. After swiping the credit card that he previously linked to ID.me, the user (Blake) automatically received the merchant’s discount for veterans.
Since this merchant has card-linked rewards enabled, the transaction was seamless. Blake did not need to know that the merchant offered special discounts for veterans and the merchant did not need to ask Blake for proof that he is a veteran.
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Below is a snapshot of some of the more than 70 merchants that ID.me is partnering with. CEO Blake Hall advised me to keep an eye out this summer, when ID.me will release news of a slough of new big-name merchants.
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What they do
The Venovate (venture + innovate) platform seeks to make the investing process more transparent, accessible, and efficient. It has a two-pronged approach:
1) For investors 
It curates alternative investment opportunities and serves as a broker so accredited investors can directly invest in them. Venovate carefully vets the list to ensure the opportunities are compliant and have a good likelihood of positive returns.
2) For fundraisers
The platform enables alternative investment funds and private companies to raise funds from $200,000 and up on its platform. Venovate verifies the accreditation of investors before allowing them to invest (non-accredited investors can still join, but are in view-only mode; they are not allowed to invest).
The online platform makes it easy for both parties with search capabilities and e-signature functionality.
Stats
    • Can reduce the fundraising process from 10 months to 10 weeks
    • Launched in April 2014 at FinovateSpring
The experience
When creating their profile, the investor selects the type of investments they are interested in, as well as the dollar range and the number of investments they are willing to make per year. Additionally, the platform shows the investor’s accreditation status and investment history in the upper right hand corner.
This is useful for fundraisers, who are given full visibility to these details before deciding who they will allow to invest in their project.
2 - Venovate - Investor Profile
Venovate’s company directory serves as a resource for investors to search companies seeking investment. It provides high-level information on companies, with an option to drill down into more specific detail.3 - Venovate - Company Directory
Each fundraising company has its own profile that provides more details for interested investors. The deal profile below shows relevant information about the deal. It covers basics such as description and minimum investment amount. It also shows the valuation cap, the number of current investors and the number of users currently watching the investment.

4 - Venovate - Deal Profile

Venovate announced its public beta at FinovateSpring, along with an investment from Studio 9+, an accelerator program based in Silicon Valley.


Stay tuned for more behind the scenes features next week.