44 Alums Populate CB Insights’ Fintech 250 List

This week, CB Insights unveiled its Fintech 250 list. The research outfit selected 250 emerging, private companies in 17 sub-sectors of fintech that are changing the face of financial services. The roster includes 44 Finovate and FinDEVr alums that were selected using CB Insights’ data-driven process that analyzes company momentum, market participation, funds raised, and investor quality.

The list is in alphabetical order.

Algomi

AutoGravity

Avalara

Behalf

Betterment

Blend

Chain

Coinbase

Credit Karma

Currencycloud

CurrencyFair

Fenergo

Financeit

Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll)

Juvo

Kabbage

Kensho

Kreditech

Klarna

LendUp

Moneytree

PayNearMe

Payoneer

Personal Capital

Plaid

Quantopian

Quovo

Revolut

Ripple Labs

Roostify

Signifyd

SocietyOne

Socure

Tink

Token

Tradeshift

Transferwise

TrueAccord

Trulioo

VATBox

Wealthfront

Xignite

Zooz

Zopa

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Vera Announces $15 Million Strategic Investment from Hasso Plattner.
  • Digiliti Money Celebrates Rebrand by Ringing NASDAQ Closing Bell.

Around the web

  • San Francisco Business Times names Blackhawk Network CEO and President, Talbott Roche, an Inspire Award recipient.
  • Baker Hill NextGen to power business intelligence for iQ Credit Union.
  • CrossFirst Bank to leverage nCino’s cloud banking technology.
  • Geezeo launches digital reputation management solution.
  • Kensho launches open source Python package aims to make app configuration easier.
  • Empyr introduces CPR: Cost-Per-Revenue O2O Performance Marketing.
  • Thomson Reuters and S&P Global enter strategic transcript data agreement.
  • Overbond adds swap pricing calculator to its corporate bond intelligence suite.
  • FinovateSpring Best of Show winner Neener Analytics earns finalist spot in Citi Tech for Integrity Challenge.

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.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Lendio Brings the Franchising Model to Small Business Lending.
  • Excited to see Symphony Software Foundation at FinDEVr NY March 21 & 22. Check out our interview with Executive Director, Gabriele Columbro.
  • Scotiabank and AlphaPoint Wrap Up Blockchain Trial.

On FinDEVr.com

  • RSVP for FinDEVr’s International Debut.
  • PwC Brings Blockchain PoC to London’s Specialty Insurers.
  • Shwayhat Steps Up: Greenkey Technologies Announces New CEO.

Around the web

  • Vantiv to provide payment processing for Tyndall FCU ($1.3 billion in assets). See Vantiv at FinDEVr New York this month.
  • Scalable Capital recognized as only European startup on CNBC Upstart 25 roster.
  • Wealthify lowers minimum investment to £1.
  • Mambu goes live in the Americas with new offices in Miami and new regional managing director.
  • Trustly processes more than €3 billion in payments in 2016, announces UK expansion.
  • Fiserv Expands Contact and Servicing Center into Florida.
  • Yandex Money brings bankers onboard.
  • D+H Mortgagebot named HW Tech100 winner.

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.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • NatWest, RBS to Offer Clients Business Banking Solutions from FreeAgent.
  • Card-Linked Offers Consolidates: Edo Interactive Acquired by Augeo.
  • Dwolla Raises Capital, Relaunches Access API.

Around the web

  • Persia International Bank chooses core banking technology from Temenos.
  • Kensho Technologies CEO Daniel Nadler weighs in on cybersecurity in the Age of Trump.
  • Rabobank to deploy UP Immediate Payments from ACI Worldwide.
  • Asset manager Schroders picks Capriza to help drive digital transformation.
  • Stuart Frankel of Narrative Science writes about bots and advanced natural language generation technology in Harvard Business Review.
  • De Surinaamsche Bank expands relationship with Fiserv to deepen core banking

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.

A Fintech Filter for Artificial Intelligence in 2017

In what The New York Times is calling The Great AI Awakening and Forbes has dubbed The Year of AI, 2017 is shaping up to be obsessively focused on artificial intelligence, a field that has been around for awhile (remember playing checkers against a computer?) but has finally matured to the point of usefulness.

Because the technology has finally reached its tipping point, AI, and its close relative machine learning, have taken a variety of industries by storm, bringing self-driving Ubers to the streets of San Francisco (and then carting them away); robotic vacuum cleaners to dirty household floors; and natural language processing to chat bots and IVR communications. With AI already embedded into these industries, it’s easy to find examples of how the technology is shaping fintech.

Below are eight areas of fintech into which AI has made inroads. Each area is ranked and rated (out of 5 stars) based on how it is currently influenced by AI and based on AI’s potential to add value.

Robo advisory

  • Fintech example: Robo advisors are built on AI technology, which is used to augment portfolio management and rebalancing decisions typically made by a (sometimes biased) human. To see tens of dozens of these examples, check out our post on B2C wealth tech.
  • Current AI application: 4 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

AI is already a standard tool in robo advisory. Because the very nature of robo advisors is to replace humans, the potential application of AI in this space is huge, especially when enhanced with machine learning and held accountable using blockchain.

Advisory tools

  • Fintech example: Similar to B2C robo advisory platforms that leverage AI to automatically manage and rebalance users’ portfolios, advisors can automate their clients’ portfolios to minimize human error while still offering a personal touch. Kensho (FEU14) introduced Warren to helps advisors perform quantitative analyses on market data. ForwardLane (FS16) uses AI powered by IBM Watson to offer financial advisors access to quantitative modeling and highly personalized investment advice generally only available to ultra high net worth individuals.
  • Current AI application: 4 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

Just as AI is already standard in direct-to-consumer robo advisory, so is it with advisory tools, since many were built on the premise of AI.

Fraud detection

  • Fintech example: Multiple card issuers use AI to detect unusual spending activity. Feedzai (FEU14) uses AI combined with machine learning to analyze sets of big data created during a user’s online sessions to mitigate fraud associated with online account opening, payments, and ecommerce.
  • Current AI application: 4 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

AI is already heavily leveraged for use in fraud detection. Combining it with the blockchain, which can provide an un-editable ledger of events, paired with AI’s ability to analyze large data sets in real time makes it even more powerful.

Underwriting

  • Fintech example: AI can help underwriters create a uniform metric that accurately identifies risk across borrowers. Aire.io (FEU15) leverages the power of AI to create and assign credit scores to thin credit file individuals.
  • Current AI application: 4 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

The lending industry has already transformed its underwriting practices from relying on large databases to now using AI to analyze large amounts of scattered, unstructured data. Because AI can analyze these data sets in real time, there’s great potential for both borrowers and lenders to benefit.

Regulatory compliance

  • Fintech example: Banks can use AI to quickly scan legal and regulatory text for compliance issues, and do so at scale. IpSoft’s Amelia is a customer service bot that helps banks maintain compliance in conversations with customers.
  • Current AI application: 3
  • Potential AI application: 5

Relying on AI to scan for compliance issues instead of a team of employees helps avoid human error and allows financial institutions to quickly analyze multiple documents and practices. Because it removes human biases and error, AI has great potential in regulatory compliance.

Marketing

  • Fintech example: Marketers can better up-sell or cross-sell banking and finance products by using AI to identify and anticipate client needs. SBDA Group (FEU 16) helps banks leverage their data using algorithms and machine learning to create targeted marketing campaigns for individual customers.
  • Current AI application: 3 stars
  • Potential AI application: 4 stars

Fintech companies have been using AI to draw conclusions from bank data for a few years now, but marketing is an area in which human input still adds a lot of value.

Customer service

  • Fintech example: Firms can leverage AI to identify which clients are at most risk of leaving a bank or advisor. FinovateAsia 2016 Best of Show-winner, Finn.ai (FA16), offers a white-labeled chat bot that integrates into existing messaging platforms such as Line, Facebook Messenger, Alexa, and even the bank’s web chat interface.
  • Current AI application: 2 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

Banks have been hesitant to adopt chat bots and other AI-based customer service products because the technologies are not quite smart enough. Finn.ai overcomes this challenge by offering a Talk to a Human button at the bottom of the chat interface. This technique, combined with the implementation of machine learning and advanced natural language recognition, makes this space prime for growth in 2017.

Reporting tools

  • Fintech example: Advancements in natural language, along with AI’s ability to analyze large data sets, have made it possible for banks to rely on software to automatically create and distribute reports. Narrative Science (FF13), for example, automates the creation of anti-money laundering reports and allows the bank to adjust for the tone of the writing.
  • Current AI application: 2
  • Potential AI application: 4

We’ve seen AI used to generate reports, both in written and video form, in the wealth management and compliance sectors. However, there is still room for natural language reporting to extend to other forms (such as inside of a chat interface) as well as to other sectors of fintech.


In addition to these eight areas of fintech, there is a miscellaneous category that comprises technology such as ColletAI, which automates debt collection. Check out CollectAI, Comarch, and MoneyHub, along with other AI-based fintech at FinovateEurope next month.

While AI is widespread in many areas of fintech, it is still far from others, such as tax and estate planning, which require complex inputs and decision making. However, bolstering AI in these difficult areas using machine learning, the blockchain, and human intervention offers some potential for growth in 2017.

Since AI is pervasive throughout many sectors of fintech, it may not be too early for your company to begin searching for a Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Klarna Raises $35 Million in ‘First Small Step” into Debt Financing
  • D3 Banking Brings in $10 Million from West Partners
  • LendingTree Launches CRA-Eligibility Tool
  • Encap Security Acquired by Client, AllClear ID
  • Avoka Locks in $12 Million in New Investment

Around the web

  • Banco CTT goes live with customer onboarding solution developed by Novabase.
  • Canada’s ATB Financial and Germany’s ReiseBank use Ripple to complete world’s first banking transfer using blockchain.
  • Wired UK profiles Fidor, “the fintech bank run by its customers.”
  • Asseco South Eastern Europe (SEE) named a Representative Vendor in Gartner’s report on open unified digital banking platforms.
  • Fortune.com’s list of the five hottest companies in fintech features alums Kensho and Ripple.
  • Kasasa’s MoneyIsland money-management game for children ranks among iTunes’ most popular apps.
  • Chip-Chap bitcoin marketplace leverages SafetyPay as a payment method.
  • OnDeck launches Accountant Advisor Program to help accountants arrange financing for their small business clients.

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.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “Hedgeable Helps Investors Add Venture Capital Exposure with New Fund”
  • “Finovate Debuts: Ledger’s Blue Smartcard Mitigates Phishing & Malware Attacks”

Around the web

  • Ripple reports that banks can save more than 40% on payments by using distributed ledger technology.
  • PFM technology from Geezeo now available to customers of Access Softek, courtesy of new partnership.
  • Concur Technologies teams up with CTI, a travel management specialist.
  • Dashlane adds YubiKey support.
  • Nerdwallet profiles robo-advisors Betterment and Wealthfront.
  • ThetaRay launches its Detection Center, the “visual results module,” for its new UI.
  • Britain’s Bank Leumi to deploy e-banking technology from Infosys Finacle.
  • Cortera releases 10 new modeling-attribute families to help commercial lenders improve their risk and response analytics.
  • Kasasa enhances online marketing platform FIRSTBranch to improve the UX by creating a website that drives traffic online and in-branch.
  • The Australian Business Review features SocietyOne.
  • The New York Times publishes extensive feature on Kensho.

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.

20 Alums Make the First Forbes Fintech 50

ForbesFintech502015

There’s more to the Forbes Fintech 50 list than just an awesome logo featuring George Washington wearing wrap-around shades. Forbes compiled the list by soliciting information from 300 startups, then interviewing more than 150 CEOs, founders, and industry experts. To make the cut, companies were required to have operations in the U.S. and a viable product.*

Simply put, Forbes describes the companies on the list as “small firms destined to have a big impact on your financial future and possibly upend your portfolio.”

This year, 20 Finovate and FinDEVr alums made the cut:

Algomi

  • Founded: 2012
  • HQ: London
  • Funding: $30 million
  • Customers: 14 large banks and 140 buy-side firms
  • FinovateFall 2014 demo

Betterment

Braintree

Chain

Credit Karma

HelloWallet

  • Founded: 2009
  • HQ: Washington, D.C.
  • Exit: Purchased by Morningstar in 2014 for $52.5 million
  • FinovateFall 2015 demo

Kensho

LearnVest

  • Founded: 2009
  • HQ: New York City, New York
  • Exit: Purchased by Northwestern Mutual in 2015 for $250+ million
  • FinovateFall 2013 demo

Motif

Personal Capital

Plaid

Prosper

Quantopian

Ripple

Simple

TransferWise

TrueAccord

Vouch

Wealthfront

Xignite


*While the list excludes financial giants, Forbes included startups acquired by larger companies but operating independently.

Artificial Intelligence Innovator Kensho Boosts Total Capital to $58 Million

Kensho_homepage_Aug2015

Update: Artificial intelligence specialist Kensho has raised an additional $33 million in new funding, according to regulatory filings filed last week. The $47.8 million figure originally reported includes $15 million raised in November 2014 in a round led by Goldman Sachs.

Investors in the most recent capital infusion were not specified. The latest investment takes Kensho’s total funding to more than $58 million.

Kensho’s previous investors include Accel Partners, Devonshire Investors, General Catalyst Partners, Google Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Promus Ventures, Work-Bench, and Xfund.

Kensho_stage_FEU2014

From left: Kensho’s Adam Broun, head of strategy and business development, and CEO Daniel Nadler demonstrated Warren, an interactive research environment from Kensho, at FinovateEurope 2014 in London.

Kensho has built what it calls the world’s “first computational knowledge engine for the financial industry.” The company leverages massively parallel, real-time, statistical computing and advances in unstructured data engineering to create Warren, an “interactive research environment” that is able to answer more than a million queries posed to it in natural language. Portfolio managers and market researchers can ask Warren questions—such as the short-tern history of Apple’s share price after an earnings announcement or the effect of North Korean missile tests on the South Korean stock market—and get answers in minutes.

Recently featured in a review of Boston-area startups, Kensho was named to OnFinance’s “50 Companies to Watch” roster in April. The company forged a partnership with NBC Universal News Group last fall, providing unique analysis to the viewers of the financial news network, CNBC. Later that month, Kensho announced a $15 million fundraising led by Goldman Sachs.

Founded out of MIT and Harvard in 2013 and headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Kensho demoed Warren at FinovateEurope 2014 in London.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “Holy Yodlee! Envestnet to Buy Yodlee for $660 Million”
  • “Artificial Intelligence Innovator Kensho Locks in $48 million Series B Round”
  • “Digital Retail Apps Raises C$1 Milllion in Round Led by Texas Ventures”

Around the web

  • Misys shortlisted in three different categories in the CIR 2015 Risk Management Awards.
  • Bloomberg TV looks at Fenergo in a discussion on investment in startups.
  • NICE Systems wins “8-figure contract” to bring call recording and incident-management technology to NYC’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT).
  • Personal Capital CEO Bill Harris writes about the rise of robo-advisors in a column for Investment News.
  • CashStar to power digital gift card offerings from Maritz Motivation Solutions.
  • KCUR 89.3 FM interviews EyeVerify CEO Toby Rush.

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.