Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • BankBazaar Receives $30 Million in Funding Round Led by Experian.
  • Feedzai Secures $50 Million in New Funding.
  • BlueVine Lands $130 Million in Debt Financing.
  • Sensibill Brings Receipt Management to Royal Bank of Scotland’s Business Banking Customers.

Around the web

  • Entersekt hires Sherif Samy as SVP for North American operations.
  • Visa and Billtrust team up to streamline B2B payment reconciliation and support automation of virtual card payments.
  • PayPal announces Vemno is now payment option at more than two million U.S. retailers.
  • Narrative Science wins Microsoft Office 2017 App Award for Best Business Value.
  • TransCard partners with ExpenseAnywhere to Deliver Automated Payment Process Management 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

  • National Bank of Canada Joins SecureKey’s Digital Identity Network.
  • P2Binvestor Launches Bank Partnership Program.
  • doxo Surpasses 30,000 Payable Billers on its Platform
  • Contextual Commerce Platform Omnyway Raises $12.75 Million in Series A.

Around the web

  • ConnectOne Bank ($4.7 billion in assets) to deploy nCino’s Bank Operating System.
  • ACI Worldwide partners with European clearing and settlement firm, STET, to bring real-time payment solution to PSPs.
  • FICO reports increased accuracy of its Enterprise Security Score when it comes to predicting data breaches.
  • Finastra moves its payments solution to the cloud via Microsoft Azure.
  • Trusted Knight partners with eTECH Channel.
  • CloudTrade and Taulia partner to enable businesses to transition to paperless invoicing.
  • iSignThis’ ISXPay initiates further Australian card acquiring/processing contracts.
  • BancPass announces license agreement with mobile tolling provider PayTollo.
  • EFL a finalist in the 2017 MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge.
  • Datanami article on bot technology features insights from Narrative Science CEO Stuart Frankel.
  • MoneyMarketing highlights SpyCloud in a look at the safety of life and pensions company data.

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.

Narrative Science Raises $11 Million Series E

NarrativeScience_homepage_April2017

In a round co-led by Sapphire Ventures and Jump Capital, advanced natural-language generation technology innovator Narrative Science has raised $11 million. The Series E round takes the company’s total funding to more than $40 million. Quoted in Crain’s Chicago Business, Sapphire Ventures partner Jai Das wasted few words in explaining Narrative Science’s edge. “People like to read,” Das said. In other words, it’s all about the Advanced NLG.

Narrative Science specializes in using advanced natural-language generation technology to turn ordinary numeric and symbolic data and visualizations into what the company calls “intelligent narratives.” These narratives express in language indistinguishable from that of a human author all the relevant insights and context from the chosen data. This data can take a variety of forms, including business intelligence reports, customer communications, and regulatory filings – any information that is based on quantifiable data can be turned into an intelligent narrative. “People who don’t have skill with spreadsheets, people who might not have skills with visualizations … they can still get to the insights within that data,” Kris Hammon, Narrative Science Chief Scientist explained during the company’s demo at FinovateFall.

Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Narrative Science demonstrated its Quill Financial solution at FinovateFall 2013. The company, which celebrated its seventh anniversary in April, has been on a partnership spree in recent months. A deal with Sisense in February will put Narrative Science’s Narratives for Business Intelligence API to work for the company’s business intelligence technology, Sisense Everywhere. Also in February, Narrative Science partnered with FactSet to integrate automated portfolio commentary within FactSet’s analytics and client reporting platform. We featured Narrative Science in our look at artificial intelligence in fintech back at the beginning of the year. Stuart Frankel is CEO.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Finovate Debuts: unblu Delivers an In-Person Customer Experience Online.
  • Check out our latest Sneak Peeks of upcoming FinovateSpring demos from Newchip, IBM Trusteer, Divy, CallVU, Finicity, GoodData, & NCR Corporation.
  • Narrative Science Raises $11 Million Series E.

Around the web

  • MaxMyInterest members gain access to increased FDIC insurance and competitive yields on cash balances courtesy of new partnership with UFB Direct.
  • Bahrain-based Bank ABC goes live with omni-channel digital banking service using Backbase’s platform.
  • Revolut joins forces with UK online mortgage broker, Trussle, enabling prospective homebuyers to begin the application process on mobile phones.
  • PayPal teams with Android to launch a new way to pay.
  • Lending Club launches mobile app for investors.
  • Handpoint launches analytics dashboard.
  • ProfitStars and Tyfone partner to offer digital banking and billpay solution.

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

  • SWITCH Lands $400,000 Angel Investment.

On FinDEVr.com

Around the web

  • Customers can now host Actiance Vantage on Microsoft Azure
  • Handpoint launches EMV Tip Adjustment feature for MPOS.
  • Financial Times reports: Starling Bank strikes money transfer deal with TransferWise
  • ShopKeep expands into online ordering and delivery with ChowBOT acquisition.
  • Narrative Science launches Narratives for Business Intelligence API.
  • Strands to power PFM for Kenya’s largest bank, Commercial Bank of Africa.
  • Citi introduces new mobile passcode solution for its Treasury and Trade clients. See Citi at FinDEVr New York next week.
  • BBVA to focus on identity, AI, and “fintech for companies” in ninth installment of its Open Talent innovation competition.
  • Cachet Financial Solutions aims to raise more than $9 million in initial public offering this week.
  • Following its platform limit announced in December, Zopa has set up a waiting list for new prospective investors.
  • Capital One Financial Corporation appoints Amy Lenander as UK CEO.
  • Putnam-Greene Financial Corporation to deploy core banking technology from Fiserv. Join Fiserv in New York next week for FinDEVr New York.
  • PaySwag to power mobile loyalty and instant rewards to the underbanked for Sionic Mobile.

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

  • Barclaycard Brings the Ka-Ching to Bling in New Wearables Payment Partnerships. See Barclaycard at FinDEVr in New York this month.
  • Excited to see Finicity at FinDEVr New York on March 21 and 22. Check out our interview with Co-Founder & EVP Nick Thomas.
  • Excited to see NuCypher at FinDEVr New York on March 21 and 22. Check out our interview with CEO & Co-Founder MacLane Wilkison.

On FinDEVr.com

  • Check out this week’s FinDEVr APIntelligence.

Around the web

  • Arxan Technologies completes the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 validation process from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
  • Credit Sesame launches new service that pre-qualifies members for credit cards.
  • Sisense and Narrative Science partner to Merge BI and AI.

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.

Narrative Science Brings Automated Portfolio Commentary to FactSet Platform

NarrativeScience_AssetManagement

The new partnership between advanced natural language generation specialist, Narrative Science, and investment analytics service provider, FactSet, will add automated portfolio commentary to the latter’s analytics and client-reporting platform.

Calling FactSet’s platform an “ideal match” for advanced NLG technology, Narrative Science COO Nick Beil said the integration would “reduce time-to-market, streamline client reporting, and raise the bar for prompt and comprehensive service.” Vice President of Analytics for FactSet, Ali Stewart added that with client reporting being a “rapidly evolving area of the market,” technologies such as those developed by Narrative Science are providing what Stewart called “a truly client-centric, cost-effective customer reporting solution.” Empowering investment managers with automated portfolio commentary, the new integration will enable companies to scale their reporting efforts to serve a larger and broader client base – and to do so within the monthly and/or quarterly reporting cycles customers and regulators demand.

In an infographic at the Narrative Science website, the company compares the current practice of creating portfolio commentary – from sourcing internal talent or finding able freelancers through the process of data access, drafting and reviewing, and publishing and distribution – to the process as run by the combination of solutions from Narrative Science and FactSet technology. What takes a team of human authors and editors as much as four work-weeks to accomplish is completed by FactSet Portfolio Analysis and Narrative Science’s Quill Portfolio Commentary in a matter of seconds.

Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Narrative Science demonstrated Quill Financial at FinovateFall 2013. Forging partnerships with Deloitte last October and with Franklin Templeton Investments last September, Narrative Science launched Narratives for Tableau back in August. The company has raised more than $29 million in funding and includes Battery Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Jump Capital, and Sapphire Ventures among its investors. We highlighted Narrative Science’s technology in our overview of artificial intelligence and fintech last month. Stuart Frankel is founder and CEO.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Narrative Science Brings Automated Portfolio Analysis to FactSet Platform.

Around the web

  • Vantiv to provide debit, credit, and ATM processing services for Financial Technology Solutions International. Join Vantiv at FinDEVr New York next month.
  • Tradeshift clients gain access to Biz2Credit ‘s small business lending marketplace courtesy of new agreement.
  • Massachusetts-based bank, Salem Five ($4.2 billion in assets) picks Fiserv as its new technology partner.
  • D3 Banking promotes former VP of Development, Jeff Marshall to Chief Technology Officer.

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.