Eight Finovate Alums Join Plug and Play Accelerator’s 2017 Fintech Class

Accelerator and global innovation platform Plug and Play revealed its incoming Fall 2017 class this week. And within Plug and Play’s Fintech cohort of 24 startups, eight companies are Finovate alums, including three Best of Show winners.

  • Capitali.se
    • Founded in 2014
    • Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel
    • Shahar Rabin is CEO and co-founder
    • FinovateSpring 2017 demoBest of Show
  • Eltropy
    • Founded in 2013
    • Headquartered in Milpitas, California
    • Ashish Garg is CEO and founder
    • FinovateSpring 2017 demo
  • HEDG
    • Founded in 2016
    • Headquartered in San Francisco, California
    • Bob Rutherford is CEO and founder
    • FinovateSpring 2017 demo
  • Hedgeable
    • Founded in 2016
    • Headquartered in New York, New York
    • Matthew Kane is Chief Ninja and co-founder
    • FinovateSpring 2017 demoBest of Show
  • Neener Analytics
    • Founded in 2014
    • Headquartered in San Jose, California
    • Jeff LoCastro is CEO and founder
    • FinovateSpring 2017 demoBest of Show
  • Qumram
    • Founded in 2011
    • Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland
    • Patrick Barnert is CEO
    • FinovateFall 2016 demo
  • True Link Financial
    • Founded in 2013
    • Headquartered in San Francisco, California
    • Kai Stinchcombe is CEO
    • FinovateSpring 2014 demo
  • Voleo
    • Founded in 2015
    • Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    • Thomas Beattie is CEO
    • FinovateSpring 2017 demo

Fintech is one of six programs run by Plug and Play (the others are Brand & Retail, Energy & Sustainability, Food & Beverage, New Materials & Packaging, and Supply Chain & Logistics). A total of 101 startups across all six programs were selected from an applicant pool of 2,800. The fall program lasts 12 weeks, ending at the Plug and Play Fall Summit in late October, and will provide startups with access to “world-class mentors, tier one VCs, and C-level executives to propel their businesses to success,” said Principal of Plug and Play Ventures, George Damouny. Opportunities for investment are also a feature of the program. “As an investment group,” Damouny added, “we will have a lot of fantastic investment opportunities, and I’m super excited to be working closely with these startups.”

Joining our eight alums in the fall 2017 Fintech cohort are:

  • Blockdaemon
  • Bouxtie
  • CreditStacks
  • HEXANIKA
  • Income&
  • Keyo
  • Koyfin
  • Synswap
  • LifeSite
  • MIRACL
  • Squirro
  • Novo
  • Qanta
  • Responsive AI
  • Scanovate
  • Tomorrow Ideas, Inc.

“Together, with our team members and community, Plug and Play’s goal is to showcase the startups to at least 30 corporate partners and 30 investors per vertical in the next 100 days,” Plug and Play CEO and founder Saeed Amidi said. More than half the companies in the Fall 2017 class are in the seed stage (57%), with 25% early stage, and 18% growth stage. Additionally, more than a fourth of the Fall 2017 startups are from outside of the United States, including companies from Hong Kong, Ghana, and Switzerland.

Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Silicon Valley, Plug and Play has made more than 500 investments in more than 400 companies since inception. The accelerator provides mentorship, co-working space, and opportunities for investment for both seed and more developed companies. Plug and Play’s sizable list of partners includes financial institutions and financial services firms such as USAA, Credit Suisse, Cathay Financial and US Bank. In addition to FinDEVr alums Google Cloud Platform (FD16) and Plaid (FD14), Plug and Play’s data partners include IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Medici, Dun & Bradstreet, Morningstar, and AWS Activate. Graduates of the Plug and Play accelerator include Finovate alums Dwolla (FS15), Lending Club (FS09), PayPal (FE12), and Trulioo (FF16).

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Aire Pulls in $5 Million, Lands Partnerships with Zopa and Toyota Financial Services.
  • New Investment Boosts Betterment Valuation to $800 Million.
  • Klarna Announces Strategic Investment from Permira.

Around the web

  • PayPal extends partnership with JP Morgan Chase, providing greater payment options for consumers.
  • Taulia joins European E-invoicing Service Providers Association.
  • Persistent Systems agrees to acquires Swiss firm Parx Werk in deal valued at $16 million.
  • ID Analytics partners with Acxiom to strengthen risk assessment and combat fraud.
  • Dwolla adds Multi-User Feature to the Access API Dashboard.
  • Neener Analytics joins Plug&Play fintech accelerator.
  • Tavant selected by Fairway Independent Mortgage To Transform Its Digital Lending Experience.

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.

Neener Analytics is Biometrics for Personality

As social media analytics company Neener Analytics says on its website, “we may not be superheroes… but we’re pretty darn close.” As proof, the company is backed by an advisory board, whose members have Ph.Ds in fields such as game theory, behavioral economics, and decision science.

Furthermore, the company itself has received its share of accolades. CIO Review Magazine named Neener Analytics among Top 20 Most Promising Data Analytics Companies 2017, CIO.com honored the company in Top 20 Fintechs to Watch in 2017, MergerMarket U.K. listed it as a Top 4 U.S. Fintech To Follow in 2017, and Neener Analytics won Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2017 last month in San Jose.

In the company’s award-winning demo, Neener Analytics CEO Jeff LoCastro showed off what the company is doing to earn such accolades. “We’re here to unveil today at Finovate social media decisioning analytics that actually works,” LoCastro said. He went on to explain that Neener Analytics goes further than just “measuring likes and friends,” what he described as the “you-are-who-your-friends-are” approach that is unfounded because “we’re not who our friends are.”

Instead, Neener Analytics looks at each user’s individual social media presence and leverages social biometrics to determine their risk. LoCastro pointed out during his demo that the question is not can the user pay the bank back, but rather will they pay them back. It is this perspective that distinguishes Neener Analytics from others that use social media data for underwriting.

Company facts

  • Headquartered in San Jose, CA
  • Typically reduces lender defaults by 25% to 33%
  • Can accurately predict or project a consumer’s FICO score range almost 80% of the time

Above: Neener Analytics’ Jeff LoCastro (CEO & Founder) and Marc Tomlinson (CTO & Co-Founder) demo at FinovateSpring 2017

We spoke with Jeff LoCastro after his demo at FinovateSpring this year. The following is the written interview.

Finovate: What problem does Neener Analytics solve?

Jeff LoCastro: Well, current credit and financial risk assessment systems using historical, transactional, and relational data simply don’t provide individually actionable projective insight.

Think of us as the Biometrics of Personality. We’ve developed a regulatory compliant social media analytics technology for lenders, insurance companies, and other risk-centric businesses. This technology enables them to better decision and understand specific individual risk outcomes of thin-file, no-file and credit challenged consumers using our patent-pending personality and behavior analytics technology. We decision individual human characteristics, not transactions, history, or relationships.

We’ve also redefined the idea of the social login. No longer is it simply a way to prepopulate applications or registrations. That’s old stuff. We’ve turned it into a portable financial persona.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

LoCastro: Lenders, insurance companies, or any consumer-facing business trying to understand the risk of the engagement. Our sweet spot right now are those really trying to understand the thin-file, no-file, and credit challenged consumers out there… about 56% of American consumers. And internationally, it can be as high as 90%.

Finovate: How does Neener Analytics solve the problem better?

LoCastro: Again, think of us as the biometrics of personality. What if you could sit each customer down with a psychologist and ask them, “are you REALLY going to pay us back?” or “Why should we trust you?” And have everything that customer says predict, with almost 80% accuracy, whether they will default on their loan, transact or revolve, predict/project a risk-correlated FICO score, or tell you if they are likely telling the truth. With one click and a 20-minute implementation, we’ve automated that psychologist.

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of your solution.

LoCastro: Sure. We recently completed a comprehensive, nine-month long validation for a U.S.-based high-volume consumer products lender doing about 30,000+ applications per month. Their market leans generally toward thin-file and no file individuals, but does also include those we would classify as simply “credit challenged.” They wanted to see 1) if we could improve on their current underwriting models to better predict default, 2) How many turn-downs we would predict default or succeed compared to their current approaches. We also used this validation as an opportunity (although not a use case for them) to predict collection reinstatement and charge-off.

We reduced their defaults by 33% and demonstrated a revenue increase of 22%. In our collections validation, we demonstrated that we could predict (post default) who would likely be reinstatable with a 79% accuracy.

Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

LoCastro: I was a part of the initial executive team of the inventor of the online social network, Classmates.com, and was extracting insights from social media long before it became a thing. I can’t for certain say that I invented it, but I sure did pioneer the cost-per-action model. It worked for us (and our customers) because I could prove insight, and that insight created clicks. While the rest of the market was bragging about “investor” revenue, we were out there actually making money and being, at the time, one of the fastest growing web properties in the world.

Finovate: What are some upcoming initiatives from Neener Analytics that we can look forward to over the next few months?

LoCastro: There’s a couple that we are not quite ready to announce, but we are grinding out 16-hour days developing new ways to deliver insight. We are, in particular, honing our ability to predict ‘veracity,’ that is, whether they are likely telling the truth or not. Our initial testing has been out-of-this-world promising.

Finovate: Where do you see Neener Analytics a year or two from now?

LoCastro: Let me answer this way: I see the future of social media itself being almost “avatars of self.” Now this is me saying this, not Facebook or whatever. People are pouring themselves into their media and it seems to me to be the next logical step. And with the coming of functional AI, I can see social media being defined as a “conversation” with that user, their AI avatar of sorts, instead of being defined as a page or “profile”. We are definitely poised for that. But that’s perhaps longer than two years.

So the next couple years, I see us with double-digit in-roads into the four major lending verticals and having cracked the insurance markets. Ambitious, yes. Do-able, absolutely. With the right partners and strategic relationships… very doable. I’ve made sure we think big and that’s never going to change.

Check out the live demo from Neener Analytics at FinovateSpring 2017 with Jeff LoCastro (CEO & Founder) and Marc Tomlinson (CTO & Co-Founder):

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

On FinDEVr.com

  • Check out our latest FinDEVr Previews featuring ISARA and eSignLive by VASCO.

Around the web

  • TransferWise introduces multi-currency bank accounts for businesses.
  • Langley FCU to deploy Episys core system from Jack Henry & Associates’ Symitar division.
  • Great Southern Bank selects cloud banking technology from nCino.
  • getAbstract and CREALOGIX enter into a digital learning partnership.
  • InComm partners with Sony to deliver gift cards in Hong Kong.
  • NIIT Technologies partners with AI company Arago.
  • AutoGravity receives the 2017 North American Frost & Sullivan Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award.
  • Fiserv launches SecureNow to integrate cybersecurity protection for digital banking.
  • Finextra: ABN Amro selects Fenergo to support KYC.
  • Yandex.Money brings Android Pay to Russia.
  • Misys FusionBanking Essence to power online and mobile banking offering for Crnogorska Komercijalna Banka (CKB).
  • Trustly to power online bank payments at leading online fashion retailer Boozt.com

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 Alums Prepare for Citi Tech for Integrity Challenge Finals

For the the next month or so, we’re calling a bunch of Finovate alums the “Awesome Eight”. Citi revealed the finalists for its Tech for Integrity Challenge (T41) Demo Days competition last week. And out of the more than 1,000 entries, eight of the 103 finalists are alumni of Finovate and/or FinDEVr conferences.

Speaking at the launch of the Tech for Integrity Challenge earlier this year, Citi global head of the public sector group in charge of corporate and investment banking, Julie Mocaco said, “By supporting open innovation and providing innovators with the tools they need to develop ideas, we hope to help solve some of the biggest challenges that the public sector faces.”

The Challenge encourages technology companies to develop solutions that “promote integrity, accountability, and transparency in the public sector.” Competition organizers crowd-sourced a set of “pain points” ranging from financial transactions and information security to analytics and financial crime to provide contest participants with potential “solution areas” in which to innovate. The 103 finalists are presenting their pilot-ready technologies at live demonstration events in Abu Dhabi, UAE; Dublin, Ireland; Mexico City, Mexico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Singapore; and Hyderabad, India from mid-May through mid-June.

Here’s a look at the eight alums. Click on the company logo to visit their website.

 

 

DigiByte Holdings

  • Headquartered in Santa Monica, California
  • Founded in 2015
  • Raised $250,000 in funding
  • Jared Tate is President
  • Demoed at FinovateSpring 2016; Presented at FinDEVr 2016 New York

 

identitii

  • Headquartered in Sydney, Australia
  • Founded in 2014
  • Nick Armstrong is CEO and co-founder
  • Demoed at FinovateFall 2016

 

 

 

 

iProov

  • Headquartered in London, UK
  • Founded in 2011
  • Andrew Bud is CEO
  • Demoed at FinovateEurope 2017

 

 

Moxtra

  • Headquartered in Cupertino, California
  • Founded in 2012
  • Raised $20 million in funding
  • Subrah Iyar is CEO
  • Demoed at FinovateSpring 2017

 

 

 

Neener Analytics

  • Headquartered in San Jose, California
  • Founded in 2014
  • Jeff LoCastro is CEO and co-founder
  • Demoed at FinovateSpring 2017; Won Best of Show

 

 

NICE

  • Headquartered in Ranana, Israel
  • Founded in 1986
  • Publicly traded with market capitalization of $4.4 billion
  • Barak Eilam is CEO
  • Demoed at FinovateEurope 2015

 

NuCypher

  • Headquartered in San Francisco, California
  • Founded in 2016
  • Investors include Base Ventures, Mission and Market, NewGen Capital, Y Combinator
  • MacLane Wilkison is CEO
  • Presented at FinDEVr 2017 New York
  • Selected to present at FinDEVr 2017 London

 

 

 

Trulioo

  • Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Founded in 2011
  • Raised $23.3 million in funding
  • Stephen Ufford is CEO and founder
  • Demoed at FinovateFall 2016; Presented at FinDEVr 2014 Silicon Valley

See the full list.

Winners of the Citi Tech for Integrity Challenge will be announced in June. One or more finalist will receive a cash award as the Global T4I award recipient(s). The Demo Days events will also feature Audience, Peer’s Choice, Citi and Ally awards, as well. Partnering with Citi as strategic allies are companies including IBM, Microsoft, Facebook, Let’s Talk Payments, pwc, Clifford Chance, and Mastercard.

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.

FinovateSpring 2017 Best of Show Winners Announced!

Do the Best of Show winners of FinovateSpring 2017 represent our most diverse array of fintech innovations to date?

You be the judge. This year’s winners include four companies that made their Finovate debuts this year, as well as a pair of companies – Hedgeable and SaleMove – that are not only Finovate veterans, but also are previous Best of Show award winners. And when we focus on the technologies involved: artificial intelligence, automated financial advisory, OCR, machine learning, biometrics, and more, it is clear that the innovations we see on the Finovate stage are indicative of broader trends not just in fintech, but in the technology industry as a whole.

So here’s to the innovators of FinovateSpring: from those who leverage technology to solve fundamental problems in finance to others who take advantage of the “sharing economy” to introduce entirely new ways to do everything from buying a home to investing for retirement.

Alpharank for its APIs that enable FIs to turn their transaction data into predictive social graph data.

Capitali.se for its fully-automated portfolio management and trade execution technology that turns natural language into executable investment strategies.

 

Hedgeable AI Lab for its artificial intelligence platform, Katana, that leverages voice commands and chatbot technology to provide financial planning advice.

 

 

Microblink for its real-time, retail receipt scanner for mobile apps, turning the mobile camera into an accurate data catcher and replacing manual inputs.

 

 

Neener Analytics for its compliant social media analytics solutions that provide frictionless credit decisioning and individual risk outcome predictions.

 

SaleMove for its Engagement Platform and OmniBrowse solution that helps FIs meet or exceed the in-person customer experience online.

SpeechPro for its VoiceKey.FRAUD technology that uses voice biometrics to enable call centers to detect fraudsters.

Unison for its HomeBuyer and HomeOwner solutions that helps make homes more affordable and home equity easier and less expensive to access.

What a time we had this year in San Jose! Thanks to all our presenting companies, our sponsors and partners, our volunteers, temps, and presenter-acclaimed AV team, and of course, thanks to you, our attendees. We are already looking forward to our return to Silicon Valley next year for FinovateSpring 2018. So if we don’t see you this summer in London for FinDEVr or this fall in New York for our new, expanded FinovateFall conference, we hope we’ll see you again this time next year right here.


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 our 2015 and 2016 conferences are below:
FinovateEurope 2015
FinovateSpring 2015
FinovateFall 2015
FinovateEurope 2016
FinovateSpring 2016
FinovateFall 2016
FinovateAsia 2016
FinovateEurope 2017

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

  • BioCatch and Experian Form Partnership.
  • Finovate Debuts: Icon Solutions’ Instant Payments Helps Keep Banks PSD2 Compliant.

Around the web

  • unblu receives European patent protection for 3rd generation co-browsing technology.
  • Bluefin Payment Systems earns EMV certification from First Data.
  • Payment solutions provider Buckaroo chooses AML solution from Fiserv.
  • Tech Loop interviews GMC Software Technology’s Michaela Rýdlová and Jan Růža.
  • Infosys recognized as “major player” in IDC MarketScape: Service Providers for EMA Utilities Vendor Assessment.
  • Quantopian to deploy order/execution management technology from FlexTrade.
  • BusinessWorld profiles BankBazaar and co-founder Rati Shetty.
  • Neener Analytics accepted into the Citibank WorldwideT4I Accelerator. Come see Neener Analytics at FinovateSpring on April 26  & 27.
  • Standard Chartered announces digital wealth advisory tool

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.

FinovateSpring Sneak Peek: Neener Analytics

NeenerAnalytics_homepage_April2017

FS2017-Logo(rev)V1A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateSpring on April 26 & 27 in San Jose. Pick up your tickets today and save your spot.

Neener Analytics provides regulatory compliant social media analytics that deliver specific individual risk outcomes for thin-file, no-file, and credit-challenged consumers.

Features:

  • Highly predictive, 1-click decisioning solution
  • Application friction reduced to almost zero with NextGen underwriting provided in the same solution.
  • Implementation in 20-minutes

Why it’s great
Neener Analytics uses social media to decision people the way people used to decision trust: based on the content of their character and who they are as human beings.

Neener_JeffLoCastro_FS2017Presenters:

Jeff LoCastro, Founder/CEO
LoCastro was a member of the initial executive team of the first online social network, Classmates.com, and was extracting unique insights from social media long before it became fashionable.
LinkedIn

 

Neener_MarcTomlinson_FS2017Marc Tomlinson, Co-founder/CTO 
Tomlinson was one of the first scientists to converge psychology and computer science to build the core tech for the U.S. government in detecting terror plots online.
LinkedIn