SWITCH Lands $400,000 Angel Investment

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SWITCH, a Seattle-based startup that makes it easy to manage your online payment information, has raised $400,000 in funding from angel investors. The company, which made its Finovate debut at FinovateSpring last year, now boasts $1.9 million in total capital.

Chris Hopen, SWITCH co-founder and CEO, called his technology the “first of its kind, credit card updater for online accounts.” SWITCH makes it easy for card holders to update their payment methods at online merchants and e-commerce sites, as well as for subscriptions and recurring repayments like cable and utility bills. It also helps card issuers get new and replacement cards to cardholders faster, and provides issuers with analytics and data on card usage to better understand their competition. Hopen highlighted the benefit this analytics component provided for issuers, saying “If I’m in 10,000 wallets, I want to know who my top five competitors are in those wallets, so I can do something about increasing my profile and getting more sites using my card.”

SWITCH was founded in 2014 by Chris Hopen and David Pool. The company demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2016, and has 10 employees. SWITCH opened early access to its free, credit card updating service in February.

Currencycloud Collects $25 Million in New Funding

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In a Series D round led by GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) and featuring participation by existing investors Anthemis, Notion Capital, Rakuten FinTech Fund, and Sapphire Ventures, cross-border payments innovator Currencycloud has raised $25 million (£20 million in funding).  The new capital takes Currencycloud’s total funding to more than $59 million.

Pointing to the rise of what he called “the building block economy,” Currencycloud CEO Mike Laven explained how firms like his add value and create new opportunities in the market. “Companies can combine services such as AWS, Google Maps, Stripe, and Twilio to build innovative new businesses fast and without the overhead of expensive proprietary systems,” Laven said. “Currencycloud provides a set of multi-currency payment and conversion tools that are helping hundreds of companies globalize fast.”

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Pictured: Chief Commercial Officer John Hammond demonstrating the Currencycloud Payment Engine at FinovateFall 2016.

Tom Hulme, general partner at GV echoed Laven’s observation, saying, “We believe in empowering developers by making it easier for them to add scalable services to their products, ideally with simple APIs,” Hulme added, “Currencycloud is the leader in providing cross-border payment services in this manner, a real need as companies globalize.” Norton Capital partner Jos White credited Currencycloud with “powering the global economy of the future,” while Rakuten Fintech Fund managing partner Oskar Mielczarek de la Miel pointed to the company’s “flagship deals” in 2016 which he said “validated the market opportunity and … huge momentum (for) 2017.” This list of “flagship deals” includes Currencycloud’s partnership with Arkea Banking Services (a subsidiary of Credit Mutuel Arkea), its agreement with fintech data control services provider, Duco, and the deal with Fidor Bank, forged late in 2015.

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in London, U.K., Currencycloud demonstrated its payment engine at FinovateFall 2016. The company added former Misys executive Ed Addario as CTO in January and, last fall, announced its participation in Monitise’s FINkit partner program supporting collaboration between fintechs and banks. A member of FinTech Forward 20’s Companies to Watch list, Currencycloud also participated in our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2015, where VP of Engineering Rachel Nienaber and Liam McAndrew discussed how the company re-built its API. For more about our upcoming developer’s event, FinDEVr New York, coming next week on March 21 and 22, visit our FinDEVr New York page.

Dream Payments Closes $10 Million Series A

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Canadian payments innovator Dream Payments raised $10 million in new funding this week. The Series A round was led by the investing division of Fairfax Financial Holdings, FairVentures, and takes the company’s total capital to more than $17 million. In addition to FairVentures, Connecticut Innovations, Real Ventures, and angel investors also participated.

Citing the timing of the investment, Dream Payments CEO Brent Ho-Young said the funding “propels Dream into the American market at a perfect time to serve the critical needs of businesses that are struggling to support emerging payment technologies like mobile wallets.” The company plans to use the new capital to fuel expansion in the U.S., increase its presence in its native Canada, and drive development of its third party app ecosystem. Connecticut Innovations CEO Matt McCooe praised its “unique go-to-market strategy and product offering” while Janet Bannister, General Partner of Real Ventures, spoke from the position as an “early investor,” saying “(Dream Payments is) experiencing exceptional growth as the only payments cloud powering mobile commerce for the leading North American financial institutions.”

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Pictured: Chief Marketing Officer Christian Ali demonstrating the Dream Mobile Point of Sale solution.

Dream Payments Cloud enables businesses across Canada to accept mobile payments by accessing a cloud-based, mobile point of sale (mPOS) solution. The company partners with financial institutions, who can then offer the PaaS solution to their business customers. In this way, Dream Payments helps consumers and businesses take advantage of both the latest and their preferred payment methods anytime, wherever they are.

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Dream Payments demonstrated its mPOS solution at FinovateSpring 2015. Last month the company announced a partnership with Intuit QuickBooks to enables small business owners and entrepreneurs to accept a wider variety of payments including chip and PIN, cash, and mobile wallet. And, last fall, the company won the Global Fintech Challenge, taking home a $1.5 million investment award. In addition to Intuit QuickBooks, Dream Payments includes TD Merchant Solutions and TruShield Insurance among its partners and, later this month, expects to announce a new partnership with JP Morgan Chase.

Qapital Raises $12 Million, Adds Debit Card Functionality

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Personal finance app Qapital pulled in some capital of its own today– $12 million worth, to be exact. This Series A investment brings the Sweden-based company’s total funding to $23 million.

Notable investors in today’s round include Industrifonden, Northzone, Rocketship VC and Anthemis Exponential Ventures, among others. Qapital has lofty goals for the new funds, planning to “strengthen [its] platform and lay the groundwork for continued reinvention in the financial services sector.”

Getting a head start on “strengthening the platform,” Qapital is launching debit accounts and payments capability. The addition of these features marks a pivot in Qapital’s strategy from a savings-only app into more of a traditional banking services provider. Offering debit card functionality will not only drive users to the app, it will also lead to a new revenue stream from interchange fees.

Qapital’s goal-focused platform uses behavioral economics to turn consumers’ everyday actions into positive financial habits. The company’s founders George Friedman and Erik Akterin plan to “rewrite the rules of retail banking” by helping millennials “translate money into happiness.” In the three years since it launched, 180,000 users have opened and funded savings accounts on the Qapital platform. The company is adding 10,000 new accounts per week.

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George Friedman (CEO & Founder) and Henrik Wrangel (Chief Product Officer) demo Qapital at FinovateSpring 2014

Pär-Jörgen Pärson, New York-based Partner at Northzone said in the press release, “The fantastic user engagement speaks for itself: the team has built a product that customers really love and the app is consistently rated one of the best personal finance apps in the industry. With millennials looking for banking solutions that put user experience first, we are excited about what the future holds.”

The company debuted Qapital for iPhone at FinovateSpring 2014 and launched on Android about a year ago. Earlier this year, Qapital was listed by PC Magazine as one of the best mobile finance apps of 2017.

Euronext Invests $10 Million in Algomi; Expands Joint Venture Agreement

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Fixed income technology innovator and FinovateFall alum Algomi raised $10 million in funding today. The capital from Euronext is the company’s most recent investment since a 2016 infusion of an undisclosed amount from former Thomson Reuters CEO and current Algomi strategic advisor, Tom Glocer. Euronext’s minority stake in the company comes with governance rights and a included a decision to globally expand a 10-year joint venture agreement between the two companies announced back in November.

“This long term commitment to Algomi by Euronext cements our position in the market,” Algomi CEO and co-founder Stu Taylor said. “We are particularly excited by the access to the Euronext network of global regulated exchange and the liquidity opportunities this will provide our clients.” Underscoring the crucial challenge of liquidity when it comes to the fixed income markets, Taylor added, “(this) will allow us to bring Algomi’s unique bond information network to new parts of the credit market, something which has been very positively received by our existing bank clients.”

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Pictured: Algomi CEO Stu Taylor demonstrating Honeycomb at FinovateFall 2014.

Algomi specializes in technologies that optimize fixed income trading between sales professionals, traders, and clients. The company’s solutions collect and organize data points inside the FIs credit trading system and uses custom algorithms to drive the most appropriate fixed income trading opportunities to the most appropriate sales professional in order to facilitate the optimal, risk-free transaction. The company calls its buyside interface, Honeycomb, “smart marketing” that raises client marketing to the level of the highest quality online retailing.

Euronext sees the combination of Algomi’s technology and its own position as a leading exchange as a boon for both companies. Stephane Boujnah, Euronext CEO, cited the diversification of revenues and expansion into markets outside of Europe as upsides of a partnership he called “central to our fixed income ambitions and our wider FICC diversification plans as part of our ‘Agility for Growth’ plan.” Euronext’s Head of Fixed Income, Rates and FX, Paul Humphrey will join Algomi’s board of directors as part of the investment.

Founded in 2012 and based in London, Algomi demonstrated its technology, Honeycomb, at FinovateFall 2014. The company’s buyside GUI, Honeycomb promotes market efficiency by giving investors visibility into the ability of different dealers to move illiquid block trades without roiling the markets. The company’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Usman Khan was listed as one of the “40 most exciting people in fintech in the U.K.” by Business Insider magazine last August, the same month the company introduced its SaaS, sell-side engine, Synchronicity. Last spring, Algomi teamed up with IPC Systems to support users of its Honeycomb technology. Algomi was named to FinTechCity’s FinTech50 for 2016 and was featured by Tech Tour in its 2016 Growth 50 of the fastest-growing technology companies in Europe.

Pindrop Receives Investment from Cisco’s John Chambers

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Phone-based fraud prevention company Pindrop Security received a major endorsement yesterday. The Atlanta-based company announced this week that it has received an investment from John Chambers, Executive Chairman at Cisco. The exact amount is undisclosed, but Chambers stated, “for me it’s sizable.” This marks the company’s fifth round of funding and brings its total raised to more than $123 million.

Also of note, Chambers, along with Andreessen Horowitz General Partner, Martin Casado, have joined Pindrop’s board of directors. Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, has also joined as a board observer. Vijay Balasubramaniyan, CEO and co-founder of Pindrop, described how he plans to leverage the expertise of each new board member:

“John is going to help scale Pindrop to new heights, Marc is helping with our audacious vision, and Martin knows how to create and dominate a market. These three entrepreneurs have all created global ecosystems and will help accelerate our growth and expansion in the voice security and authentication market.”

Pindrop reported these 2016 milestones:

  • Customer base doubled, revenues increased more than 100% year-over-year
  • Clients include eight of the top 10 U.S. banks and two of the top five insurance carriers.
  • Calls protected by Pindrop increased 500% year-over-year.
  • More than 100 employees were added, bringing Pindrop’s total workforce to 255 employees

Founded in 2011, Pindrop debuted its Phoneprinting technology at FinovateFall 2012 in New York. The technology detects 80% of fraudulent calls into call centers and protects “hundreds of millions” of calls annually. In October of 2016, Pindrop announced a partnership with Lloyds Bank, the company’s first customer in Europe.

FinDEVr New York Alum NYMBUS Announces $16 Million in New Funding

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In a round led by Home Credit Group, core banking technology innovator NYMBUS raised $16 million in new capital. The funds build on the $12 million the FinDEVr/Finovate alum raised in the second half of last year, bringing its total capital to $28 million.

NYMBUS executive chairman Scott Killoh pointed to reliance on outmoded legacy core technology as holding back many institutions in the financial services industry. Because of this, he said “tens of thousands of banks and credit unions are not capitalizing on strategic growth opportunities.” The investment from Home Credit Group will help NYMBUS provide FIs with the modular, third-party friendly core banking technology that will enable them to keep pace with the demands of their customers. NYMBUS President David Mitchell called it “helping … implement digital-first strategies in order to drive customer growth and competitive differentiation.”

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Pictured: NYMBUS President David Mitchell during his presentation “NYMBUS: The Next Evolution in Core Processing” at FinDEVr New York.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Miami Beach, Florida, NYMBUS presented “The Next Evolution of Core Processing” at FinDEVr New York last year, during which Mitchell explained why the company decided to focus on core processing technology. “If I asked who in this audience has a pager or a Walkman,” Mitchell told the attendees at last year’s event, “not too many people are going to raise their hands. “But community banks right now are on 30-year old, 20-year old technology,” he said. “(It’s) the oldest technology in the world. It’s been lipstick on a pig, mainframes, green screens for 20 or 30 years.”

NYMBUS, in contrast provides an advanced, core processing platform, SmartCore, with a wide variety of APIs, customizable UI, a conversion layer, and an ecosystem of banking apps. The platform keeps all critical banking functions in a single system with a single sign-on and data set. Home Credit International Group Head of Special Projects Miroslav Boublik called NYMBUS “best positioned to stand at the core” of the disruption of the traditional banking model today. “NYMBUS’ technology is both many years ahead of traditional banking system vendors and most viable among emerging (fintech) providers,” Boublik said.

Earlier this month we shared news of the company’s partnership with California’s Kaiperm Diablo FCU to deploy its core banking technology, SmartCore. Kaiperm Diablo’s announcement comes just a few months after Pennsylvania-based CHROME Federal Credit Union reported that it would use SmartCore as part of its goal of transitioning to a digital-first credit union. NYMBUS has also been an active acquirer, buying Sharp BancSystems, KMR, and R.C. Olmstead in the summer of 2016. Also a veteran of Finovate, the company demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2016.

Finie Gets Funding: AI Innovator Clinc Closes $6 Million Series A

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Clinc, developers of the voice-based intelligent assistant app, Finie, closed a $6.3 million Series A round this week. The round was led by Drive Capital and featured participation from Cahoots Holdings, Hyde Park Venture Partners, and individual investor Stuart Porter. Clinc’s total capital now stands at $7.75 million.

Calling the opportunities for his company’s technology “truly endless,” and pointing to “overwhelming interest in Finie from financial institutions,” Clinc CEO Jason Mars sees a major role for artificial intelligence in a number of financial use cases. “We’re going to eliminate the complexity and barriers that consumers typically face when understanding their finances,” Mars said. “And we’re going to help more consumers connect with their financial data in personalized, impactful ways with minimal effort.”

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Pictured: Clinc CEO and President Jason Mars demonstrating the intelligent virtual assistant banking app, Finie, at FinovateFall 2016.

The additional capital will fuel further product innovation and help expand the Clinc team, currently at 21 “and growing,” the company said in a statement. Drive Capital co-founder and partner Mark Kvamme will join Clinc’s board of directors.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Clinc demonstrated its voice-based intelligence assistant app, Finie, at FinovateFall 2016, earning a Best of Show award. Finie uses advanced natural language processing and artificial intelligence to understand and respond to unstructured, conversational speech. The technology is nuanced enough to “interpret not only semantics and intent, but the underlying meaning of user queries,” as well. Designed for financial services, Finie provides personalized advice as part of its ability to handle a variety of banking tasks, giving customized answers to user questions about balances, spending patterns, and more. Clinc includes Notion AI and fellow Finovate alum, Bankjoy among its customers.

VATBox Brings in $20 Million

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Automated VAT recovery solution VATBox landed $20 million in funding today. The round was led by Target Global Fund. Existing investor Viola Private Capital, as well as other private investors, also participated.

Combined with the company’s first round, this brings VATBox’s total funding to $50 million since it was founded in 2012. Today’s round will accelerate the company’s international expansion and facilitate product development. VATBox’s SaaS offering is an automated, global VAT recovery service for businesses. Shmuel Chafets, Target Global partner, highlighted VATBox’s potential when he said, “We believe that within a few years VATBox’s services will become an integral part of the financial infrastructure for every international company.”

At FinovateEurope 2015, the company launched VATBox2, an automated version that leverages qualified and validated data to deliver full visibility and compliance. The company’s clients include Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, Eli Lilly, Dell, and 3M. In May of last year, VATBox was listed among the top promising startups in Israel and one month earlier was selected as a finalist for Red Herring’s Top 100 Europe award.

February seems to be making up for the recent slump in fintech funding. This is the seventh alum funding we’ve seen this month— the 5th this week alone (and it’s only Wednesday!). Including today’s rounds, ten alums have closed on more than $100 million in funding so far this year.

Bitbond Closes on $1.2 Million in Funding

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If peer-to-peer lending isn’t hip enough to pique your interest, how does bitcoin lending sound? That’s exactly what Germany-based Bitbond is doing that earned them $1.2 million in investor funding today. This boosted the online SME lender’s total funding to $2.3 million.

The round was led by mobilike founder Şekip Can Gökalp. Other contributors include Fyber founders Janis Zech and Andreas Bodczek as well as Kreditech co-founder & CEO Alexander Graubner-Müller. Founder & CEO of Bitbond Radoslav Albrecht said, “We are happy to have such experienced investors supporting us on this exciting journey.” According to Albrecht, the funds will help Bitbond to “make lending and borrowing globally accessible” by furthering product development and growing its user base in underserved markets. Currently, the company has 76,000 registered users from 120 countries.

Since launching in 2013, Bitbond has extended 1,600+ loans worth $1.2 million. The company matches investors with SME borrowers from across the globe by leveraging the blockchain for cross-border payment processing. In October of 2016, Bitbond received a regulatory license from German regulator BaFin, making it one of the first regulated blockchain-based financial services providers.

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Bitbond’s Radko Albrecht (CEO & Founder) and Jarek Nowotka (CTO) on stage at FinovateFall 2016 in New York

At FinovateFall in September, the company launched automated, universal scoring for SME lending. As Albrecht said in his demo, “The main challenge about creating an international platform is credit scoring, because data is different from one country to another.” The new offering solves this with its scalable, automated scoring mechanism that offers applicants an instant loan decision.