Jwaala Acquired by Alogent


U.S. firm Alogent has acquired a Texas-based digital banking tech vendor, Jwaala, for an undisclosed amount, reports Antony Peyton of Banking Technology (Finovate’s sister publication).

Alogent, which is based in the U.S. state of Georgia, said it will continue to support Jwaala’s collection of solutions, which will be marketed under the new name, Alogent Digital.

Dede Wakefield, Alogent CEO, described the acquisition as “the next major step forward in our mission to digitize and automate the financial services world”, with Jwaala’s platform bringing a “significant foundational set of capabilities”.

“We believe deeply in our unique approach to digital banking,” Jwaala founding partner and CTO Andrew Taylor added. “And we expect tremendous new growth opportunities as part of a company as agile, innovative, and dynamic as Alogent.”

As reported last year, U.S.-based banking software vendor, Jack Henry & Associates, shed its deposit automation business, Goldleaf Enterprise Payments (formerly Alogent Corporation).

The buyer was Battery Ventures, a US/Israeli venture capital and private equity firm. With that deal, the company regained its former name – Alogent.

In terms of Alogent’s current back office software, this focuses on electronically capturing, processing and analyzing check data and images, including those captured on mobile devices.

Its customers range from small community banks and startups to top tier banks, and it is the latter segment that will be the company’s key focus with the arrival of Battery Ventures.

Founded in 2006, Jwaala demonstrated its MoneyTracker PFM solution at FinovateSpring 2009. In August, the company announced that Alaska USA FCU with more than 625,000 members and more than $7 billion in assets would deploy Jwaala’s Ignite platform. The company began the year with news that United Nations FCU had picked Jwaala’s Ignite as its new digital banking platform.

Actiance Acquired by K1 Capital Management

Communications compliance and analytics company Actiance has made its exit this week. The California-based company has been acquired by K1 Investment Management, an investment firm focused on acquisition-based growth opportunities.

K1 will join Actiance with its rival, Smarsh, which specializes on archiving compliance. The combined company will reach more than 6,500 financial services companies, including the top 15 global banks. Neil Malik, Managing Partner at K1, said, “This combination of capabilities from Actiance and Smarsh provides the industry with a means to get ahead – and stay ahead – of compliance trends, while introducing the latest communications technologies to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the modern enterprise.”

The service can be deployed in the cloud, dedicated, on-premise, and hybrid and will offer capture, compliance, archiving, and supervision support across a range of communication channels, including email, social media, mobile messaging, instant messaging/collaboration, encrypted chat and voice communications. K1 plans to enhance the service by investing in product capabilities, increasing flexibility in deployment options, accelerating expansion in Europe and developing a joint channel partner program.

Kailash Ambwani, CEO of Actiance said that the new combined entity is “incredibly well-positioned” to address the growing compliance needs of financial services firms. He added, “Together we will enhance our combined sales and distribution capabilities, offer our customers additional resources and services, and accelerate our product development.”

Founded in 1998, Actiance most recently demoed at FinovateFall 2012 where it showcased Socialite, an active social compliance tool. Last month, the company launched a Safe Landing program for continuous compliance and in August, Actiance introduced a compliance and archiving solution for WeChat and WhatsApp. Before today’s acquisition, the company had raised $43.6 million.

Qumram Acquired By Digital Performance Management Firm, Dynatrace

Digital performance management company Dynatrace has acquired Qumram, a digital interaction audit solutions provider, for an undisclosed amount, reports Antony Peyton of Banking Technology (Finovate’s sister publication).

With the addition of Qumram’s technology and intellectual property, Dynatrace said it will provide the ability to visually replay a user session within its existing platform. Qumram’s product will be re-engineered and will form part of an expanded digital experience analytics offering that will be announced early next year.

Patrick Barnert, Qumram CEO, praised Dynatrace as a clear compliment to Qumram’s  technology. “Dynatrace is unique in its ability to not only monitor highly complex digital ecosystems but see every user transaction. In addition, their AI-powered analytics is amazing, The technology fit is identical to what we believe at Qumram, where every user’s experience is captured, analyzed, and able to be replayed on demand.”

Dynatrace CEO, John Van Siclen, said via the deal it will offer “advanced behavioral analytics that will combine session replay with our unique artificial intelligence (AI) analytics capabilities”.

Dynatrace also plans to double Qumram’s existing engineering team in Barcelona in the coming year.

In a recent and separate development, Dynatrace is working with Rabobank “to monitor the real-time experience of every customer and user for all services” at the bank.

The project, says Dynatrace, “supports Rabobank’s vision to centralise and optimise company-wide application performance monitoring to future-proof customer experience”.

Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, Qumram demonstrated its regtech platform at FinovateFall 2016. This fall, the company announced that it would provide fully-compliant, mobile-to-mobile WhatsApp and WeChat conversation recording. In April, Qumram earned recognition as Best RegTech Company in the 2017 FinTech Breakthrough Awards, and in March, the company won Growth Stage Startup of the Year at the Swiss FinTech Awards 2017.

EFL Merges with Lenddo

Psychometric credit scoring company Entrepreneurial Finance Lab (EFL) announced today it has merged with alternative credit score provider Lenddo. The two companies have joined forces to offer a suite of credit scoring and identity verification products.

Both companies share a mission of “providing financial inclusion for more than one billion new and underserved individuals across the globe.” The new, combined company’s products will be available in more than 20 emerging markets, enabling lenders in those markets to offer citizens access to financial products and tools. Because of limited financial data and credit history availability, access to financial products has been previously unavailable to this underserved group.

“This merger will allow us to apply the right data at the right time on a per client basis, allowing people to use their digital profiles and personality traits to increase their financial options. Financial institutions across emerging markets will be able to predict risk like never before through the combination of our data sources and innovative risk modeling techniques,” said Jared Miller, CEO of EFL.

Each company has facilitated more than 5 million credit assessments since launching– EFL in 2010 and Lenddo in 2011– and have individually helped more than 50 financial institutions to disburse more than $2 billion in credit to people with limited information. The combined company will serve individuals and small businesses by offering banks, telcos, retailers, microfinance institutions, and insurers access to global data as well as machine learning and risk modeling techniques. Borrowers have the ability to choose if and when lenders use their psychometric, social media, and mobile phone data to underwrite risk.

The two entities will operate independently at first and will announce further changes over the next few months. The companies anticipate a name change will “most likely” happen, and expect to announce a branding decision in early 2018. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The first joint product offering went live in Asia and Latin America yesterday. Additional products and features will be announced in the “coming months.”

Headquartered in Bermuda, EFL showcased its credit scoring tool at FinovateAsia 2012 in Singapore. Last year, the company teamed with FICO to enhance the company’s credit scoring methodology. EFL was recently nominated as a finalist in the 2017 MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge.

JPMorgan Chase Acquires WePay

JPMorgan Chase has demonstrated a number of different ways for banks and other FIs to keep up with the competition: investment, in the form of its capital infusion into Bill.com,  partnership, as in the recently extended deal with OnDeck, and outright acquisition, as in today’s case of WePay.

The bank has agreed to acquire the Palo Alto, California-based fintech, which will function as the payments innovation incubator in Silicon Valley for JPMorgan Chase. The terms of the acquisition were not immediately available, but the Wall Street Journal suggests the WePay price tag is just above the company’s most recently established valuation of $220 million.

“With WePay, Chase is taking the work out of payments for both our business clients and the software providers who serve them,” Chase Merchant Services CEO Matt Kane said. “We are powering payments for growth, so businesses can accept payments instantly, get paid faster, and never lose a sale.” Kane added that ISVs will get a “payment facilitator-like experience” with less cost and fraud risk. WePay founder and CEO Bill Clerico said the acquisition would enable the company “to better support (its) growing list of platform partners and the businesses they serve.”

The two companies have set out distinct areas where the merger will provide new opportunities to software providers and merchants. These include instant onboarding for small businesses, instant payments for merchants, and the ability for software platforms to serve as payment facilitators or third party payment processors.

Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Palo Alto, California, WePay demonstrated its Veda Risk Engine/Risk API at FinovateSpring 2014. The company’s API-based technology gives simple payment functionality to software platforms like Constant Contact and GoFundMe. Payment integration can be a significant challenge for many software providers; in a statement JPMorgan noted that software-enabled payments are growing at 4x the industry average.

Earlier this month, WePay announced a partnership with SignUpGenius. Over the summer, the company released new national research that showed 41% of businesses suffered from cash flow challenges and 16% experienced payment fraud in the past year. The research also revealed high adoption of business management software tools or apps among SMBs (84%) and a high preference for faster service from their technology (50%) and improved security (45%). In March, WePay began accepting Apple Pay and Android Pay online.

Mitek Acquires ICAR for $15 Million

Mobile capture and identity solutions company Mitek Systems scored a win for its identity verification arm this week. The company has acquired Barcelona-based ICAR for $15 million (€12.75 million).

In addition to strengthening Mitek’s position in the consumer identity and access management market, the move is expected to bolster the company’s stance overall in the industry. The acquisition will enable Mitek to offer extensive identity document coverage in North America, Europe, and Latin America and will increase Mitek’s capabilities with several new factors of authentication. Additionally, Mitek can now enable customer onboarding and authentication on both web and mobile interfaces.

“The technical and cultural fit between ICAR and Mitek is a tremendous opportunity to maximize value for shareholders, while expanding our mission to bring the highest quality user experience and digital identity verification solutions to our customers globally,” said James B. DeBello, Chief Executive Officer of Mitek and Chairman of the Mitek Board of Directors.

ICAR was founded in 2002 and facilitates more than 20 million identity validations per year. The company is headquartered in Barcelona with offices in Madrid, São Paulo, and Mexico City. ICAR is a spin-off of Computer Vision Center of the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona which, combined with researchers from Mitek Labs, will boost Mitek’s expertise in how machine learning and computer vision enhance digital identity verification.

At FinovateEurope 2017, ICAR’s CEO Xavier Codó and CMO Mariona Campmany demonstrated the company’s IDMobile solution that analyzes factors such as the consumer’s geolocation, email address, social networks and compares them with the user’s selfie and ID photo. Check out an interview we conducted with Campmany earlier this year.

Mitek recently demoed its MobileVerify solution at FinovateFall 2017. The company is publicly traded on NASDAQ under the ticker “MITK”. Mitek was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in San Diego, California. Last month, the company began leveraging near field communication (NFC) technology to add another factor of authentication by reading data held on RFID chips embedded into documents.

Aviva Acquires Majority Stake in U.K. Online Wealth Management Specialist, Wealthify

U.K.-based insurer Aviva is the latest financial services company to turn to fintech in general and online investment services in specific in order to provide greater value for its customers. The firm announced today that it had acquired a majority stake in robo advisor, Wealthify. And while terms were not disclosed, the company was valued at £9.7 million in the wake of recent £1 million crowdfunding campaign.

Writing at the Wealthify blog, company CEO and founder Richard Theo called the acquisition “a huge vote of confidence” in both Wealthify’s vision to make investing more democratic, as well as, “the way we have delivered that vision.” Theo said the move affirmed the company’s place as a significant disruptor in the wealth management space, and takes Aviva closer to being a “one-stop-shop for all their customers’ insurance, pension, and investment needs.”

Left to right: Wealthify founder and CEO Richard Theo and Chief Investment Officer Michelle Pearce demonstrating the company’s online investing service.

Theo added that the investment will enable the company to pursue its “ambitious customer acquisition targets” as well as support new products, particularly JISA and SIPPs. Wealthify also plans to add talent to its team, and will take on a trio of non-executive directors from Aviva. The company will remain headquartered in Cardiff, Theo noted with pride, referencing both Wealthify’s Welsh roots and the promise of the growing financial services community in and around Cardiff.

Managing director of Aviva U.K. Digital Blair Turnbull praised Wealthify’s platform, which will be integrated into Aviva’s digital hub, MyAviva. Turnbull called the technology “remarkably easy to use” and underscored its appeal to both traditional cash savers and millennial investors. Aviva is the biggest general insurance provider in the U.K., and a leading life and pensions provider. The firm serves 33 million customers in 16 markets around the world.

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Cardiff, U.K., Wealthify demonstrated its platform at FinovateEurope 2017. With as little as £ 1, users can use the platform to save for specific financial goals, create a monthly investment installment plan, set an investment time horizon, and articulate a personalize risk profile – all of which guide the way the platform chooses potential investments. The platform gives users a “predicted value” of their portfolio and the ability to see the actual plan summary of asset class allocations, fees, and more. Wealthify has more than 1,800 registered users.

TIBCO Acquires Cisco’s Data Virtualization Business

Integration, analytics, and event-processing software company TIBCO has agreed to acquire Cisco’s Data Virtualization business (formerly Composite Software). Today’s acquisition, which is subject to conditions, is expected to close in a few weeks.

The solution powers enterprise-scale data virtualization and offers associated consulting and support services. TIBCO will leverage the new solution to enhance its portfolio of analytics products and will help clients onboard analytics solutions faster than competing products. Additionally, it will help TIBCO adapt to a range of data sources — from traditional,  IoT-sourced, to big data. The new technology creates a virtual layer of data (without the need for extracting) and leaves the original data sources in tact.

“Data Virtualization helps our customers find and analyze the data they need in hours or days, rather than months, so that they can quickly discover insights and take insight-driven action,” said Mark Palmer, senior vice president of analytics at TIBCO. “The next generation of business intelligence depends on doing more with analytics than just putting data on a graph. Data Virtualization is a key component of getting the right data at the right time to business analysts, data scientists, and automated applications using streaming analytics.”

This is the California-based company’s third acquisition this year, after announcing plans to acquire both nanoscale.io for its microservices in July, and data science company Statistica in May. Last month, TIBCO received a number of accolades, having been named a leader by Dresner Advisory Services, and Forrester, and ranking first in Dresner Advisory Services 2017 Advanced and Predictive Analytics Market Study.

TIBCO presented at FinovateAsia 2013, showcasing how banks can leverage their clients’ transactional data to gain insight into customer behavior. Founded in 1997, TIBCO was acquired by Vista Equity Partners in 2014.

Luxoft Acquires UNAFORTIS to Broaden Client Base within Financial Services

Software development services company Luxoft has bolstered its skillset recently. The Switzerland-based firm announced last week it acquired fellow Swiss company UNAFORTIS, a wealth management consultancy.

UNAFORTIS is a leading implementation provider of Avaloq, a popular software package that offers fully integrated banking software for the back, middle, and front office. This addition is expected to deepen Luxoft’s proficiency in standardized software as well as broaden the client base for the company’s financial services arm, Excelian. Luxoft aims to add clients within the wealth management, private, and universal banking sectors across the globe.

In fact, the company plans to build a team of 150 to 200 engineers to better combine its existing Excelian product, as well as recently-acquired derivIT, into its core capabilities offered across the globe. “We are looking forward to UNAFORTIS joining our growing Luxoft team. It is a strategically important acquisition, helping us diversify financial services business outside of our core investment banking and capital markets presence,” said Dmitry Loschinin, President and CEO of Luxoft. “Its client base complements our own, creating mid-term cross-selling opportunities that can be scaled significantly through our delivery network,” he said. “This will add another valuable premium services layer to our core application development and maintenance offering.”

Founded in 2000, Luxoft is a publicly-traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:LXFT). Last month, the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals recognized the company as a “world leading” IT service provider for the sixth year in a row and in August, Luxoft expanded its geographical presence by opening a distribution office in Russia and expanding its offices in Germany. At FinovateFall 2014, the company debuted Horizon, a visualization framework.

Blackhawk Network Acquires CashStar in $175 Million Deal

With Blackhawk Networks’ $175 million acquisition of fellow Finovate alum CashStar, we may soon learn just how good digital gifting is going to get.

Talbott Roche, CEO and president of Blackhawk Network, said the deal “strategically enhances Blackhawk’s ability to provide the right digital solutions to our partners to meet the changing needs of business customers and consumers.” She added that the acquisition made Blackhawk “a leading provider in the fast growing, first-party digital (gift card) market.” CEO and president of CashStar Ben Kaplan added that the combination of CashStar’s platform and Blackhawk’s “product breadth and global reach” would deliver “more powerful capabilities and new revenue opportunities for our clients and partners.” The acquisition will make CashStar a part of Blackhawk’s digital and incentives business, with Kaplan remaining on board to manage the business.

The acquisition is an all-cash deal which Blackhawk CFO Jerry Ulrich said would be “at least earnings neutral in fiscal 2017 and meaningfully accretive after synergies in 2018.” Ulrich also anticipates the acquisition will “generate positive cash flow in 2018” as well as boost topline growth.

CashStar’s platform gives retailers the ability to market, sell, and distribute both plastic and digital gift cards. The company offers a Commerce platform for merchants and an Exchange platform for gift card distributors and loyalty program managers. Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Portland, Maine, CashStar demonstrated its Digital Gifting and Incentives platform at FinovateFall 2011. The company added real-time card activation, security improvements, and streamlined ordering in its last platform upgrade in July, and in May, CashStar’s Velocity B2B division helped global prestige retailer Sephora to introduce a B2B gift card program.

This spring, the company partnered with discount gift card marketplace Raise in a deal that will give the Chicago-based startup access to more than 250 merchants and 40 payment processors. CashStar had raised $44 million in funding previous to this week’s acquisition, most recently completing a $15 million Series D in 2015. The company’s customers include Starbucks, The Home Depot, and Uber.

Headquartered in Pleasanton, California, Blackhawk Network demonstrated its GoWallet solution at FinovateFall 2012. Last month, the company partnered with fellow Finovate alum PayNearMe, giving the cash transaction network access to Blackhawk’s retail partners. In May, the San Francisco Business Times recognized Blackhawk’s Roche with its Inspire Award as part of its annual “Most Influential Women in Business” initiative. Also honored by the Times was the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, Teri Llach. Blackhawk Network trades on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker “HAWK” and has a market capitalization of $2.5 billion.