Mitek Acquires A2iA for $49.7 Million

Digital identity verification company Mitek is bolstering its capabilities this week with the acquisition of A2iA, an artificial intelligence and image analysis company, for $49.7 million. This is Mitek’s second acquisition in under a year– last October the company acquired ICAR for $15 million.

A2iA leverages AI and machine learning to create algorithms that process millions of checks, IDs and documents daily for financial services companies, retailers, mobile operators, healthcare providers, and governments. The company, which pulled in revenues of more than $15 million last year, works in more than 42 countries and 11 languages. A2iA’s software is used by top U.S. banks as well as all banks in the U.K., 90% of French banks, and 90% of Brazilian banks. It is leveraged by more than 75,000 ATMs worldwide.

In the press release, James B. DeBello, CEO and Chairman of Mitek said that he anticipates the acquisition to help Mitek get ahead in the industry. He added, “Mitek’s Mobile Verify product will be able to read government-issued identity documents even more accurately and quickly than today, and authenticate them using A2iA’s advanced AI algorithms, thereby increasing companies’ trust that their customers are who they say they are.” The move will also double the size of Mitek’s Labs team, a group that has been behind each of Mitek’s 39 patents.

Mitek software is deployed in 6,100 U.S. banks, including all 10 of the largest U.S. financial institutions, and is used by more than 80 million end consumers. The company is publicly traded on NASDAQ under the ticker “MITK” with a market cap of $305 million. Mitek was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in San Diego, California. The company most recently demoed its MobileVerify solution at FinovateFall 2017. Earlier this month, Mitek made headlines when it agreed to deliver digital KYC for cryptocurrency broker BTCDirect.

Optimove Acquires PowerInbox’s DynamicMail Business

Relationship marketing hub Optimove has taken a step further in helping brands build an emotional relationship with their customers. The New York-based company announced today it acquired DynamicMail from PowerInbox.

DynamicMail specializes in real-time email personalization and dynamic subscriber engagement and is expected to boost Optimove’s growth. Here’s how Optimove described the acquisition in its announcement: “After being built and developed as a brain, the company is now at a position to acquire muscle and give our clients a more holistic solution to their relationship marketing needs.”

The 3,000 brands that use Optimove can now email their subscribers that can be updated in real-time to keep the contents relevant at the time the consumer opens it. Brands can also include dynamic content such as countdown timers, videos, and information, such as weather, that is based on a reader’s current location.

As a part of the transition, eight of DynamicMail’s employees will join Optimove’s team. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Optimove was founded in 2009 with a mission to “empower marketers with the emotional intelligence required to communicate with their customers most effectively at all times, via all available channels.” At FinovateFall 2017, the company’s CEO & Founder, Pini Yakuel, showcased the Science-first Relationship Marketing Hub. That same year, the company’s clients sent more than 3 billion personalized emails to their customers.

TransUnion to Acquire Callcredit for $1.4 Billion

Credit reporting agency and risk information provider TransUnion announced this week it agreed to acquire Callcredit, the second-largest consumer credit bureau in the U.K. The deal is expected to close in the second or third quarter of this year for $1 billion.

With today’s acquisition, TransUnion aims to boost its international presence. The U.S.-based company already does business in 33 countries and offers consumer products in India, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Canada. TransUnion also markets regional-specific products, as well as a global suite of solutions, including:

  • CreditVision, which leverages credit performance trends, behaviors, and analytics to help banks gain a better understanding of consumers and make more informed lending decisions.
  • IDVision, a suite of solutions that offers a more accurate picture of consumer identities to help mitigate and manage risk during the consumer verification and authentication process.
  • DecisionEdge, a suite of decisioning solutions that help businesses turn data into actionable decisions.
  • Prama, which TransUnion showcased at FinovateFall 2016, is a suite of analytics tools that help lenders gain market intelligence and act on insights to drive growth and build a risk policy.

Jim Peck, TransUnion’s president and CEO, noted that the companies have “strong synergies” across their business models and solutions and that they both “share a commitment to using information to benefit consumers and global economies.” He added, “Callcredit is an outstanding acquisition for TransUnion, and together, we’ll be a powerful force to deliver value to shareholders, customers, and consumers across all the markets we serve.”

David Neenan, president of TransUnion’s International business commented on the company’s international strategy, highlighting Callcredit’s role as a major player in the world’s second-largest credit market. “And, with the growing trend of multi-bureau usage in the U.K., we believe this is the right time to introduce TransUnion into the market,” Neenan said.

Callcredit was founded in 2000 and was acquired by private equity firm GTCR in 2014. The company has 1,200 employees and offices across the U.K. as well as in Lithuania, Japan, Dubai, and Denmark.

TransUnion was founded in 1968 and has corporate headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. The company has regional headquarters in Hong Kong, Mumbai, Toronto, Johannesburg, Colombia, and Brazil. Last December, Fiserv leveraged TransUnion’s CreditVision to create better risk models for its Automotive Loan Origination System.

Sella Open Fintech Platform to Acquire Vipera for $34 Million

Mobile financial services company Vipera has agreed to be acquired by Italy-based Sella Open Fintech Platform (SOFP), the fintech arm of Gruppo Banca Sella, a family-owned banking and financial services group.

Talk of the acquisition first began on March 22. This week, SOFP’s board of directors and Vipera Directors Luciano Martucci and Martin Perrin have agreed upon a cash offer. The offer price of $0.11 per share values Vipera at just over $34 million, a premium of 20%. Commenting on the offer, which is subject to approvals, Vipera Director and Chairman Luciano Martucci said, “Gruppo Banca Sella has been a valued customer of Vipera for some time and a shareholder since July 2017. I am pleased that our increasingly close relationship has led to our shareholders being offered a fair price and to Vipera’s businesses being able to develop as part of the SOFP Group.”

Vipera was founded in 2015 and went public in 2010. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker VIP. Headquartered in London, Vipera has 125 employees and three million registered users. Last July, Vipera acquired SoftTelecom for $1.5 million.

The company offers a range of personal and corporate banking systems, along with customer engagement analytics and marketing tools. At FinovateEurope 2016, Vipera demonstrated MOTIF, a system that offers mobile banking, mobile payments, and mobile card control. The access to consumer data offers banks actionable insights that generate location and context-based mobile offers. The personalized offers are sent to the user’s phone at an appropriate time to enhance the shopping experience and build user engagement with their bank.

Most recently, Vipera teamed up with Mastercard at FinovateEurope 2018 to debut SME-pay, a mobile payment solution tailored for small and medium sized businesses. During the demo, Vipera Chief Commercial Officer Simon Pearce, along with Mastercard’s VP of Small Business Products Dick Paul, demoed how SME-pay allows business owners to decide when, where, and how employees can use their business payment cards.

FreeAgent Acquired by RBS

Cloud accounting platform FreeAgent has agreed to a takeover bid from the Royal Bank of Scotland this week. CEO Ed Molyneux and the rest of the board have accepted the offer, which values FreeAgent at approximately $75 million (£53 million).

In a blog post announcement, Molyneux said that the acquisition will allow the company to progress toward its vision and improve the FreeAgent platform for both customers and partners. “As part of a larger organisation we want to accelerate our growth ambitions in the micro-business and accountancy practice space, as well as significantly improve our core product,” he added.

This agreement comes just over a year after FreeAgent began working with RBS. The two formed a distribution partnership last January in which RBS offered FreeAgent’s accounting software services to its small business clients. The deal will help both parties leverage new opportunities to offer a more integrated banking and accounting experience for small businesses since, as Molyneux said, “the lines between banking, accounting and tax are becoming increasingly blurred.”

After the deal is closed, FreeAgent will continue to operate business as usual. In a Q&A, Molyneux said the company has “no intention of significantly changing the way that [it does] business with [its] customers.” FreeAgent shareholders will receive $1.70 (120 pence) per share. This represents an 86% premium to yesterday’s share price and a 43% premium to the IPO price of $1.19 (84 pence).

Founded in 2007, FreeAgent offers cloud accounting services for small businesses, an API for easy integration, and integrations with existing startups such as Basecamp, Stripe, PayPal, and Xpenditure. The company also has an offering for accountants and a fully-integrated payroll system.

Molyneux debuted FreeAgent’s Financial Health Insights at FinovateEurope 2013 in London. Since then, the company went public in 2016 and last month launched the Customer Sales Report, which allows businesses to see how much income they’ve received from each customer.

ActivePath Acquired by Broadridge

Email engagement company ActivePath will soon broaden the scope of how it transforms customer engagement. That’s because the New York-based company has been acquired by Broadridge Financial Solutions, a communications, technology, and data analytics firm. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2007, ActivePath originally offered its flagship ActiveMail solution but created a more robust email banking offering after merging with PowerInbox in late 2012. The company allows banks, brokers, and other billers to quickly compose and send website-like, interactive experiences via emails created using HTML. Under the new agreement with Broadridge, ActivePath will offer omni-channel capabilities including SMS, social, audio UI, chatbots, and personal cloud solutions.

(above) With ActivePath, organizations can edit mass emails using drag and drop editing

In the press release, President of Broadridge Customer Communications, Doug DeSchutter commented on how the company would benefit from bringing on ActivePath. “In ActivePath, we gain a founding management team with rich entrepreneurial experience and a proven track record of innovation, and we are delighted they are joining the Broadridge family,” DeSchutter said.

Broadridge began as the brokerage services division of ADP in 1962 and became independent in 2007. The company is headquartered in New York and employs approximately 10,000 people in 16 countries.

ActivePath debuted ActiveMail at FinovateFall 2010. Before today’s acquisition, the company had raised $13.3 million. Avi Weiss is CEO.

Experian Acquires ClearScore for $385 Million

About a year after Experian received authorization from the U.K.’s FCA, the company has made further inroads into the nation with the acquisition of U.K.-based ClearScore. The deal is anticipated to close for $385 million (£275 million).

Brian Cassin, Experian CEO described the move as “another important step in our strategy to extend the services we provide to U.K. consumers.” Cassin added, “Our goal is to provide more choice and greater convenience to individuals who want access to personal financial products at the best prices, while also making it easier for credit providers to offer better, more tailored offers to consumers.”

Founded in 2014, ClearScore has onboarded 6 million members in the U.K. through its free membership model. The company matches individuals to personal financial products, offers free credit reports, and provides financial education. Similar to Credit Karma in the U.S., ClearScore generates revenue through referral fees paid by lenders and other service providers on its site. The company is projected to generate $55 million in revenue in 2018, a 50% increase over what it earned in 2017.

Experian will retain the ClearScore brand and include it as part of its broader offering in the U.K. The company says it will benefit from ClearScore’s skills in creating a consumer-friendly user experience and in member engagement. Additionally, the acquisition will expand Experian’s geographical reach into South Africa, where ClearScore recently began offering services.

Additional payout is contingent on future financial performance. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close later in 2018.

Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Experian most recently presented at FinovateFall 2017 where it debuted Text for Credit. The new service allows consumers in search of credit to initiate the process with a text message, allowing them to review and apply for credit offers in minutes using their mobile device. Last month, the company earned a spot on One World Identity’s list of top 100 influencers.

Bazaarvoice Acquires AddStructure

Bazaarvoice, a startup that helps retailers find and reach consumers, has agreed to acquire Addstructure, a company that offers search and discovery apps for e-commerce merchants. The terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Addstructure’s platform, which leverages machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to analyze customer sentiment and product reviews, helps consumers search for and discover products faster. The addition of this capability to Bazaarvoice’s offerings will strengthen consumer-generated content and bolster shopper profiles across its network. Among Addstructure’s clients are Target and Best Buy, which use the company’s technology to analyze online reviews and customer questions that influence purchase decisions.

AddStructure’s employees will join Bazaarvoice’s team. The new team members will work out of offices in New York City and Chicago, where AddStructure was founded.

In a press release, Gene Austin, CEO of Bazaarvoice said, “As consumer behavior continues to evolve, brands and retailers must keep pace with new shopping trends and technologies to deliver engaging and consumer-friendly shopping experiences.” He added that AddStructure’s NLP and machine learning capabilities are an “incredible addition” to the company’s portfolio.

Founded in 2005 and headquartered in Austin, Texas, Bazaarvoice has offices in Chicago, London, Munich, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Singapore, and Sydney. The company debuted Bazaarvoice Conversations at FinovateSpring 2012. The Conversations solution allows brands to capture, moderate, analyze, and display customer word-of-mouth in digital and mobile experiences. In November of last year, Bazaarvoice agreed to be acquired by Marlin Equity Partners, which will acquire each share of outstanding common stock of Bazaarvoice in exchange for $5.50 for a total value of approximately $521 million.

Temenos Agrees to $1.96 Billion Takeover of Fidessa Group

Swiss banking software technology provider Temenos has agreed to buy its British competitor, Fidessa Group in a deal for $1.96 billion. The transaction, which is subject to conditions, approvals, and regulatory clearances, will close in the first half of 2018.

Andreas Andreades, the Executive Chairman of Temenos, said that under the new agreement, the two firms “will create a global leader across financial services software.” He added, “We truly believe that this powerful combination will accelerate both companies complementary growth strategies in banking and capital markets and will enable us to cross-sell into our existing client bases and capture a greater share of the IT and software spend of banks especially as they move to the cloud.”

With Fidessa under its roof, Temenos plans to increase revenue growth by:

  • Implementing its sales-focused model
  • Broadening Fidessa’s product to cover software solutions from the front to the back office
  • Continuing Fidessa’s strategy of providing software solutions across capital markets
  • Leveraging cross-selling opportunities

The deal is expected to expand Temenos’ relationship with Tier 1 and Tier 2 banks across the globe and deepen the company’s relationships and knowledge in the U.S. and Japan to grow its core banking business. At the same time, Fidessa will benefit from a larger client base. “We are convinced that our combined company will have a unique set of capabilities that when combined with our exceptional people will position us as a core strategic partner to large financial institutions globally looking to upgrade their systems for the digital age,” Andreades said.

Founded in 1993, Temenos debuted its Connect Mobile Banking application at FinovateEurope 2015 in London. Late last year, the company teamed up with Latin America’s largest banking group, Itaú Unibanco Holding. Temenos employs 4,600+ people, operating out of 64 offices. The company’s systems serve more than 2,000 clients in over 150 countries. Temenos has a market capitalization of more than $5 billion.

Placecast Acquired by Ericsson’s Emodo

In a deal announced today, location-based marketing and loyalty company Placecast has been acquired by Emodo for an undisclosed amount.

Emodo is a Swedish networking and telecom company that helps telcos monetize their subscriber data. The company, which debuted just months ago in November, is an Ericsson-owned entity.

As part of today’s deal, San Francisco-based Placecast’s CEO Alistair Goodman will transition to the role of Emodo Chief Commercial Officer. Placecast’s 38 employees will join Emodo’s workforce of 27 at its headquarters in the same city.

In a blog post, Goodman said that the deal builds on the strengths of both companies. “Placecast brings its leading carrier-verified, location-based data solutions to an experienced Emodo team, backed by Ericsson’s reputation as a neutral, trusted partner for mobile operators, advertisers, and publishers,” he said. The two firms plan to complete the integration by the second quarter of this year.

Founded in 2005, Placecast offers location-based marketing and loyalty programs for mobile operators, payments companies and brands. The company maintains and scrubs location data from more than 400 million mobile user profiles, tens of millions of merchant records, IDs and addresses from around the globe. Placecast’s other location-based solutions include Mobile Data Management PlatformMobile Demand-Side Platform, and Native Mobile Advertising, among others.

The company demoed Shop Alerts mobile wallet at FinovateSpring 2013, at the height of fintech’s mobile wallet boom. Last July, Placecast launched Location Verification, a solution that leverages data from U.S. carriers to confirm the location accuracy of mobile ads, audiences, and attribution to bring geolocation to the next level.