LendingRobot and NSR Invest to Form Biggest Robo Advisor in Marketplace Lending

P2P lending robo advisor LendingRobot will join NSR Invest, creating what the company called in a statement “the largest independent robo advisor in the alternative lending space.” LendingRobot explained in its blog that the “websites, operating, and trading systems” of each platform will continue to function as usual for the time being as the companies prepare to combine the two businesses. Formally, the acquisition involves Lend Core, the parent company of NSR Invest, acquiring Algorithmic Inc. and its assets, which include LendingRobot.

The new entity is expected to bring a variety of new innovations to the P2P alternative lending space, and LendingRobot pointed to its Lending Robot Series Fund, as an example of the types of products customers will see more of in the future. As reported in LendAcademy, the combined company will have more than 8,000 clients and $150 million in assets under management. NSR Invest co-founder and CEO Bo Brustkern will serve as CEO, with LendingRobot CEO and co-founder Emmanuel Marot remaining as a special advisor.

“We have long respected the work of the LendingRobot team and recognize that our companies are pursuing a common goal,” Brustkern explained. He added that the combination of the two companies will deliver “enhanced capabilities to our combined client bases today, and big plans for the future.” Marot highlighted the fact that the two companies had “taken different tracts to provide similar services” and that the time had come to marry “complimentary strengths.”

LendingRobot provides investors with the opportunity to invest in P2P loans as an asset class. The company’s platform uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to spot loans with risk and return profiles that suit individual investor preferences. LendingRobot automates loan selection to ensure that investor portfolios remain diversified and can be configured to continually-invest sidelined cash. Alternative lending platforms accessible through LendingRobot include fellow Finovate alums, Lending Club and Prosper.

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Seattle, Washington, LendingRobot demonstrated its LendingRobot Dashboard at FinovateSpring 2016. Prior to its acquisition by NSR Invest, the company had raised $3 million in funding from investors including Runa Capital and Club Italia Investimenti.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • 12 Alums Earn Their Place on Inc. 5000 List
  • LendingRobot and NSR Invest to Form Biggest Robo Advisor in Marketplace Lending

Around the web

  • Arxan Technologies takes home the bronze in 9th Annual 2017 Golden Bridge Awards for Innovation in Technology.
  • The American Genius profiles Checkbook.io.
  • TSYS enters agreement to become official payment processor of the National Golf Course Owners Association.
  • Tyfone joins JLR incubator to boost its involvement in the auto industry
  • Actiance announces general availability of Vantage 2017.

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.

New Robo Fund from LendingRobot Leverages Automation and the Blockchain

LendingRobotSeries_homepage_January2017

With the stock market rallying to new highs, the new robo fund from LendingRobot may have arrived just in time for people looking to diversify their portfolios with investments in the alternative lending market. LendingRobot Series makes it easy for peer lending investors to put money to work in different timeframes and risk exposures with returns ranging from 6.86% to more than 9%. The solution – part roboadvisory, part hedge fund – converts clients’ contributions into units which are invested across four leading lending marketplaces – Funding Circle, Lending Club, Lending Home, and Prosper. LendingRobot CEO Emmanuel Marot says that the new solution is designed to take advantage of the “excellent performance” of alternative lending investments and help investors avoid the problem of “fragmentation” that adds complexity to the process.

“That’s why we’ve created LendingRobot Series: to provide investors that understand the value of investing in alternative lending with the confidence that comes from intelligent automation, easy liquidity, and complete transparency,” Marot explained.

LendingRobot_stage_January2017

Pictured: LendingRobot CEO Emmanuel Marot demonstrating his platform’s dashboard at FinovateSpring 2016.

That “complete transparency” comes courtesy of LendingRobot’s decision to leverage blockchain technology to create a detailed, weekly ledger of the fund’s holdings. LendingRobot Series uses a hash code signature and notarization by Ethereum’s blockchain, to prevent data tampering, and assets are held in a bankruptcy protection vehicle with no liabilities other than its investors. The service charges a flat 1% a year management fee and caps fund expenses at 0.59% with no performance fees.. These compare favorably with the notorious “2% and 20%” demanded by most hedge funds.

LendingRobot supports four “Series” investors can choose from based on their investment preferences: short term aggressive and conservative, and long term aggressive and conservative. Average performance ranges from 6.86% for short-term conservative to 9.66% for long-term aggressive. Average maturity for short term series is 18 months. Long-term series maturities are 30-31 months.

Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, LendingRobot demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2016, where it won Best of Show. The company has raised $3 million in funding, and includes Runa Capital and Club Italia Investimenti among its investors. TechCrunch profiled the company last summer, quoting Marot’s optimism toward the “insane growth in the peer lending market.” LendingRobot launched its P2P investment tracking mobile app – dubbed “Mint for P2P Lending Accounts” – last spring.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • New Robo Fund from LendingRobot Leverages Automation and the Blockchain.
  • Insuritas’ Growth Scales with the Popularity of Insurtech.
  • Wipro Agrees to Acquire InfoSERVER for $8.7 Million

Around the web

  • G2Crowd lists eSignLive as the top eSignature product for mid-market. Come see eSignLive’s demo at FinovateEurope Feb 7 & 8.
  • Blackhawk Network’s customer experience insights featured in Loyalty360.
  • Misys to offer peer lending technology to help banks compete with P2P startups.
  • Thomson Reuters introduces new end-to-end, compliance dashboard, Regulatory Change Management.
  • IBM Security announces plan to acquire business data risk management specialist, Agile 3 Solutions.

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

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

Around the web

  • Techfoliance features Dyme, Personetics, and Finn.ai.
  • Cryptocoins news examines LendingRobot’s new automated hedge fund.
  • The CardLinx Association unveils Microsoft-developed, open source, card-linking software available to public.
  • Capital One forges strategic partnership with Bill.com and Gusto to develop financial management tools for SMEs.

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

  • “Five Degrees Raises $10 Million in New Funding”

Around the web

  • Through partnerships with Arvest Bank and First Tennessee Bank, D3 Banking adds 1+ million users to its digital banking platform.
  • Jack Henry partners with Early Warning to offer P2P payment service Zelle to FI clients.
  • TIS deploys cloud-based forms-processing integrated with Salesforce for electricity supplier Powercor Australia.
  • Credit Karma expands operations to Canada.
  • Lending Robot files to form pooled investment fund.
  • Xero launches Xero HQ for accountants and bookkeepers.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Tradeshift Closes $75 Million Series D Round, Boosts Valuation to $500 Million.
  • Finovate Debuts: EquityZen Lets Wealth Managers Invest in Pre-IPO Companies.
  • Backbase Announces New CFO Leonore Van Waiij.
  • MyOrder, Wirecard Helps Power Shared Spending Functionality for GRPPY App.
  • Dyme Unveils Prototype of Facebook Saving Chatbot.

On FinDEVr

  • FICO Launches Falcon Assurance Navigator to Help Universities Monitor Federal Grant Spending.

Around the web

  • Chartis names CustomerXPs an Enterprise Solution player in the 2016 RiskTech Quadrant for Enterprise Fraud Tech.
  • Patch of Land Adds Institutional Investors to Real Estate Platform.
  • Prosper hires investment banks to explore raising more funds.
  • NuData Security Selected Best AntiFraud Solution at CardNotPresent Expo.
  • TechCrunch: Lending Robot makes Lending Club investing easy as setting screen brightness.
  • Tokbox launches its video broadcast solution for producers.
  • Banking Technology: Goldman Sachs to use technology from Infosys to power its new digital bank, GS Bank.
  • Business Insider features Finovate alums Azimo, eToro, Currency Cloud, and Zopa in list of potential future U.K. fintech unicorns.
  • True Potential wins Best Use of Technology at Money Marketing Awards 2016.
  • CreditHQ announces special freelancer rate.

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

  • “Social Trading Company ayondo Appoints New CFO Prior to Reverse Takeover IPO”
  • “Ignite Sales Taps Ex-Fiserv SVP as New CEO”
  • “VoicePIN Launches New SaaS Model for SMEs”
  • “Realty Mogul Reaches $200 Million in Funded Real Estate Transactions”

Around the web

  • Markit adds Federal Republic of Germany to derivatives trade-management service.
  • FIS introduces Banking by Appointment with TimeTrade.
  • Zopa partners with UNSHACKLED.com to offer cell phone financing.
  • RegTech event sponsored by BBVA features presentation by Ayasdi.
  • Infosys wins five-year contract with Commerzbank.
  • Temenos welcomes new core banking client, BMO Asia Pacific.
  • Fiserv adds ten years to its loan processing, private-label credit partnership with John Deere Financial.
  • Buzz Points and Xtend partner to provide new loyalty rewards program to credit unions.
  • Bloomberg features TradeSafe, a distributed ledger from Standard Chartered and DBS Group that uses Ripple.
  • eSignLive unveils new UX featuring responsive design.
  • TechCrunch column on APIs features Signifyd, Plaid, and Twilio.
  • The Law of Startups interviews B.J. Lackland, Lighter Capital CEO.
  • WorkFusion earns recognition from Gartner in its “Cool Vendors in Smart Machines” 2016 report.
  •  Guardian Analytics introduces a certification program to help fraud examiners become familiar with the Guardian Analytics platform.
  • Crowdfund Insider interviews Emmanuel Marot, LendingRobot CEO.
  • Comarch launches prototype of wealth management app for virtual reality.

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.

Lending Club’s Stock Price is Not a Leading Indicator for Fintech

Lending-Club-NYSE

Lending Club (LC) will always have a fond place in my heart. Renaud Laplanche’s small team presented at our very first Finovate in 2007. And until a few months ago, they were our most successful startup alum, at least measured by company valuation (Credit Karma gets the nod for now). While LendingClub is still a unicorn (market cap = $1.5 billion today), the loss of 7 or 8 unicorns’ worth of market cap in the past 12 months is unsettling.

I have had little interaction with the company in the past few years as it moved from demoing tech at Finovate to keynoting alt-lending events. But I’ve always been a fan, both of the business model, and also of Laplanche and the company as a whole. I will say this, though, they were one of our more intense alums. But that’s not necessarily a negative. That’s often what it takes to scale in the difficult world of consumer credit where one misstep can sink you (RIP Nextcard).

But they’ve also been willing to give back. Laplanche personally introduced us to a potential strategic partner several years ago. He did it purely as a friendly favor. It was long past the point where he had anything to gain from that introduction.

So, yeah, it’s been hard to watch the s***storm of the past 10 days. I was preoccupied with FinovateSpring during the worst of it last week, but I’ve been soaking up the various articles the past few days. I agree with Peter Renton’s post today: Lending Club must overcome some serious challenges in the short-term. But to say that the marketplace lending model is broken (paywall warning), or to jump to the conclusion of a fundamental flaw in the entire fintech industry is just so much hyperbole.

lc ytd stockFrom what I can discern, Lending Club had a relatively minor disclosure issue. And while LC lost major trust-points (albeit a HUGE issue), it’s important to note there were ZERO financial losses for anyone involved other than shareholders (see inset) and fired LC execs. A single bad consumer loan would produce more financial damage to LC lenders than this whole sordid situation.

What does this mean for the future of P2P lending? Well, it’s bad for LC short-term. But for other players, the situation is mixed. Less volume going through the LC platform means more loan demand for other players. But it’s a two-sided market, and clearly some institutional money is pulling back, so it may be harder to fund loans. That means rates go up, which will spike lender returns, bringing more capital back into the system. Money always flows to the best risk-adjusted return. So marketplace lending survives.

And what does all this mean to the other fintech players? We had 72 demos at FinovateSpring last week. Exactly zero of them are impacted negatively by the LC situation. The primary P2P loan-play, Best of Show winner Lending Robot, is probably helped by volatility. As the “Mint for individual P2P lenders,” that YC alum acts as a front-end to multiple loan platforms (see their demo here).

You could argue that the stock-price decline of Lending Club puts a damper on future fintech IPOs. That is probably true for U.S. consumer lending marketplaces like Prosper (which recently laid off 28% of its workforce, which, remember, had doubled in 2015). But serious investors don’t view fintech as one homogeneous field. Returns from angel investing in Hip Pocket or UBS’s recent investment in SigFig, have no correlation with the stock market return of a single public marketplace lender.

So yes, one high-flyer falls back to earth, but that’s not an indictment of an entire, highly diversified industry.

FinovateSpring 2016 Best of Show Winners Announced

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Heading into FinovateSpring 2016, we knew that one of the big themes would be the use of video for everything from authentication to improving customer engagement. And it seems like the hundreds of votes cast in our FinovateSpring 2016 Best of Show awards saw it the same way. Of the six Best of Show trophies awarded on Wednesday afternoon, two went to companies—SaleMove and Silver6that are helping to make visual technology a bigger part of fintech innovation.

In fact, the more we think about it, the more we see how Best of Show award winner Quid—with its interactive maps that help businesses better navigate big data—is part of this larger trend toward leveraging the visual. Whether to better connect customers and clients with merchants and advisers, or to help make data more accessible and actionable, when it comes to fintech innovation, the “eyes” have it.

Our Best of Show voters were also impressed by the way innovators are using technology to solve the challenges of refugee populations and the underbanked (BanQu); the cash-flow struggles of working families (PayActiv); and even to help middle-class investors better track their finances across peer lending platforms (LendingRobot). This year’s Best of Show vote is real testament to both the diversity and social engagement that defines fintech in 2016. And truth told, it is a beautiful thing to see.

So let’s take a closer look at the award winners for Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2016 (in alphabetic order):

BanQu - true vector copyBanQu for its blockchain-based identity platform that enables financial inclusion and empowers the underbanked to join the global economy.

 

 

LendingRobot copyLendingRobot for its dashboard that helps investors track investments across peer lending platforms like Lending Club and Prosper.

 

PayActiv Logos CMYKPayActiv for its real-world alternative to payday loans that gives workers access to earned but unpaid wages.

 

Quid copyQuid for its web-based intelligence platform that leverages big data analytics, natural language processing, and network science to turn data searches into visual explorations.

 

SaleMoveSaleMove for its engagement platform that creates high-touch customer interactions using video, voice, and chat.

 

Silver6 copySilver6 for its financial video platform that enables businesses to use video personalization to provide custom communications.

 

We hope you enjoyed FinovateSpring 2016. We had a great time hosting this year’s event and are already looking forward to our return to San Jose next year. Many thanks to all those who supported, attended, sponsored, partnered with, and demoed their latest and greatest innovations live on stage. We’ll see you again in 2017!


Notes on methodology:
1. Only audience members NOT associated with demoing companies were eligible to vote. Finovate employees did not vote.
2. Attendees were encouraged to note their favorites during each day. At the end of the last demo, they chose their three favorites.
3. The exact written instructions given to attendees: “Please rate (the companies) on the basis of demo quality and potential impact of the innovation demoed.”
4. The six companies appearing on the highest percentage of submitted ballots were named “Best of Show.”
5. Go here for a list of previous Best of Show winners through 2014. Best of Show winners from FinovateEurope 2015 are here. Best of Show winners from FinovateSpring 2015 are here. Best of Show winners from FinovateFall 2015 are here. Best of Show winners from FinovateEurope 2016 are here.