Finovate Alumni News


  • AlphaPoint Teams with Intel to Launch Secure Smart Contracts Solution.

Around the web

  • Finextra: Sberbank joins Enterprise Ethereum Alliance.
  • Aerospike announces upcoming new version of its database — Aerospike 4.0 Enterprise Edition.
  • Checkpoint Systems wins Asia Business Achiever Awards.
  • Kony unveils its next generation digital banking platform and suite of applications.
  • FIS to provide cash management and payment solutions for Citi’s corporate treasury customers in new partnership.
  • iSignthis to integrate its Paydentity UBO Service with Web Shield’s InvestiGate platform.

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


  •  Luxoft Acquires UNAFORTIS to Broaden Client Base within Financial Services.
  • EVRY Announces Five-Year, $18.7 Million Deal with Finland’s Aktia Bank.
  • OurCrowd Opens Office in Spain, Lays Down Roots with Strategic Partnership.

Around the web

  • Trulioo launches its Global Business Verification service.
  • Diebold partnership with Transguard to expand service and technology offerings in the UAE.
  • Ethiopia’s Cooperative Bank of Oromia goes live with core banking solution from Temenos.
  • Pindrop Security leverages machine learning and a “customer consortium of shared fraudsters” to introduce Pindrop Protect 4.0.
  • Quovo unveils new account authentication solution, Autoverified Micro-deposits.
  • Xero partners with UK fintech Curve to automate expense management.
  • Zopa searches for new borrowers through Saffron Building Society loan partnership.
  • Sberbank, Russia’s Largest Bank, Announces Payment Solution.
  • DefenseStorm Renews SOC 2 Compliance.

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


  • NuCypher and Sureify Earn Finalist Spots at Startup Battlefield, MetLife’s Collab.

Around the web

  • Mobile identity scoring innovator Juvo appoints Prosper president Ron Suber as strategic advisor.
  • BBVA unveils new chatbot providing basic financial information over Facebook and Telegram.
  • IBM opens the doors on its Blockchain Founder Accelerator program for blockchain startups.
  • Spanish tax agency, AEAT, certifies Comarch’s Accounts Payable solution.
  • Puget Sound Business Journal Features Lighter Capital.
  • NuCypher wins finalist spot at Disrupt NY 2017’s Startup Battlefield.

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.

Forecasting Fintech for 2017


It takes more than just one crystal ball to discern which trends will drive fintech innovation in 2017. To this end, here’s a roundup of predictions and prognostications on what the new year will bring in everything from artificial intelligence and the blockchain to payments and banking for the underbanked.

  • Banking ‘Disappears’ and Other Fintech Predictions for ’17 – American Banker
    • Hot Take: “Whether it’s through IoT devices, fintech platforms, virtual assistants or chatbots, people will likely spend more time connecting to their money through such channels and less time directly interacting with their banks.”
  • 3 Key Fintech Predictions for 2017 –
    • Hot Take: “As much as 80 percent of the (African) continent is unbanked and up to 90 percent of retail payments are made using cash. This opens the door for fintech players to target consumers and workers who do not have access to traditional banking. Because of this banking gap, it is likely that some countries will entirely skip one generation of payment types (e.g. cards and start building a more innovative, mobile-drive(n) payments infrastructure.”
  • 11 Fintech Trends You Need to Follow – The Finanser
    • Hot Take: “According to EY, China has now taken the lead as the #1 fintech market in the world. Organizations should be looking east for business model innovations that can drive new revenues and sources of profit. New business models, such as Ant Financial and WeBank services, will start influencing fintech in the U.S. and Europe, as they are driven by mobile money services.”
  • Top 10 Fintech Predictions for 2017 – Daily Fintech
    • Hot Take: “Bitcoin moves from its Darknet phase (illegal) to the early adopter Clearnet phase. This is when legitimate people charge in Bitcoin for legal transactions. This will start with cross border digital products. Because this brings new bitcoins into ‘circulation’ with owners who also then want to pay in bitcoin, this starts a sustainable move to mainstream use which supports the price.”
  • Five fintech trends for 2017 – bobsguide
    • Hot Take: “Innovation in artificial intelligence is set to increase in 2017. AI will provide business users with access to powerful insights before they are available to them. This will be done through the use of cognitive interfaces in complex systems, advanced analytics, and machine learning technology.”
  • Top Ten Fintech Predictions for 2017 – Crowdfund Insider
    • Hot Take: “The rebirth of trust is upon us with the advent of distributed ledger. Many issues such as fraud, verification of true ownership, clearance of multi-party transactions and chain-of-events are easily solvable. Insiders have been calling the distributed database, ‘The New Internet.'”
  • Fintech Predictions for 2017 – TechCrunch
    • Hot Take: “2016 brought rocky times for some FinTech lenders, especially in the first half of the year, but through the tumult came maturity. The complexity and challenges of running capital intensive businesses in a highly regulated industry was never more real than 2016, but the top platform weathered the storm, and most are long-term stronger for it. 2017 will continue to be the year where the top players pull away from the pack. At the beginning of 2016, there were an estimated 400+ fintech lenders in the U.S. – in 2017, I expected the supermajority of the lending to come from just 10 or so platforms.”

Fintech 2017 – The Roundtables

  • Fintech: What’s Next? – Breaking Banks
    • Brett King, Moven (F16); Chris Skinner, The Finanser; Jim Marous, The Financial Brand; Dave Birch, Consult Hyperion; Ghela Boscovich, FemTech Leaders; and Penny Crosman, American Banker
  • Fintech Predictions for 2017 – Fintech Insider
    • David M. Brear, 11FS; Chris Skinner; Jason Bates, 11FS; Simon Taylor, 11FS; David Birch; Ben Brabyn, Level3
  • Top 10 Retail Banking Trends and Predictions for 2017 – The Financial Brand
    • Last, but not least, this 90+ page report features insights from a panel of more than 100 global financial service leaders from around the world. Includes Don Bergal, Avoka (F16, FD16); Mike Carter, D3 Banking (F15); Scarlett Sieber, Shamir Karkal, Teppo Paavola, Maria Jose Jorda Garcia, BBVA (F13, FD16); Jon Ogden, MX (F16, FD16); Frank Schwab, Sberbank (F16); Sophie Guibaud, Fidor (F11, FD16); Matthew Wilcox and Deva Annamalai, Fiserv (F16); Bob Legters, FIS (F16); John Waupsh; Kasasa (as BancVue F09); Jelmer de Jong, Backbase (F16).

“F” refers to the company’s most recent Finovate conference appearance. “FD” refers to the company’s most recent presentation at our developer’s conference, FinDEVr. Find out more about our upcoming events FinovateEurope in February and FinDEVR New York in March.

Finovate Alumni News


  • WorkFusion Closes $35 Million in Funding

Around the web

  • Klarna teams up with ASOS Partners to bring “pay after delivery” to Nordics.
  • Luxembourg’s Rakuten Europe Bank goes live with core and digital banking technology from Temenos.
  • Wipro to acquire Brazilian IT banking services provider, InfoSERVER.
  • Let’s Talk Payments interviews Kontomatik CEO Marcin Truszel.
  • Financial transactions optimized using Nomis Solutions technology exceeds $1.5 trillion in 2016.
  • Finextra: Worldpay partners UnionPay for bumper Chinese New Year.
  • Truphone launches Global SMS recording solving the Blackberry migration challenge.
  • Sberbank launches a new corporate online banking platform designed together with IBM iX.
  • WISeKey partners with Stratumn to use Blockchain for real-time accountability and traceability.

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.

Fintech Trending: P2P, EMV, NFC, NLP…. OMG

A look at the trending topics of the past two weeks, co-authored by Finovate’s research analysts David Penn and Julie (Schicktanz) Muhn.

Big handshakes

Cardtronics acquires DirectCash Payments

In a $460 million deal, Texas-based ATM operator Cardtronics has acquired Canada-based DirectCash Payments. The deal is expected to help Cardtronics expand into Canada and the United Kingdom. DirectCash Payments has 25,000 ATMs around the globe, primarily in Australia, Canada, and the U.K. Once the deal closes in Q1 of 2017, it will boost Cardtronics’ network to 225,000 ATMs across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

Jack Henry & Associates (F10) teams up with Visa (F10)

In a new partnership, Jack Henry & Associates has integrated with Visa to allow customers to send P2P payments directly to a recipient’s Visa debit card. This eliminates the need for a recipient to provide their account and routing number to the sender. With increased competition in the P2P payments industry (PayPal/Venmo (FDNY 16), Square Cash, Zello), banks are feeling pressure to compete by offering faster delivery of funds. The partnership enables banks to offer funds-transfers a day sooner, or even same-day. Jack Henry began offering P2P payment capability in 2005 and expects the new method to boost usage.

Sberbank (F16) and MasterCard (F11) partner to launch ApplePay in Russia

Starting this week, Mastercard cardholders in Russia can now pay using ApplePay, thanks to a new partnership between Russian bank Sberbank and Mastercard. In a statement, the bank’s Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board, Alexander Torbakhov, said, “Apple Pay is driving the popularization of contactless payments in Russia and globally. Many of Sberbank clients actively use new technologies, and an increasing number of them will prefer cash-free and contactless payment using their smartphones.”

This is the Russian bank’s second big move this week. On Monday the company inked a partnership with Hyperledger to begin working on the Hyperledger Project.

PayPal (F11) and Vodafone partner for in-store NFC mobile payments

Acting on a partnership it first initiated in February, PayPal partnered with Vodafone to enable U.K. users to make NFC payments from their PayPal accounts using their Android phones. The agreement enables consumers to make transactions of up to £30 ($36.60) at 400,000 retail locations. For more expensive purchases, Vodafone Pay users can use their Vodafone wallet (launched in 2013), which requires a PIN.

The NFC payment capability with Vodafone was piloted in Spain. PayPal also has agreements in place with other global telcos, including America Movil, Telcel, and Claro.


Happy birthday, U.S. EMV.
It’s been one year since EMV regulation in the United States was placed into effect. If you live in America, you’ve likely noticed that adoption is low. In fact, according to a recent report from Mastercard, 88% of consumers have been issued chip cards, but only 33% of merchant locations accept them.

Mobile POS company CardFlight (F13) released data on EMV usage in the U.S. over the course of the year and found:

  • 78% of cards now contain EMV chips, up from 46% in October 2015
  • American Express leads the way in EMV card issuance, with 96% of their cards now EMV-enabled
  • Mastercard is the runner-up: 71% of cards issued contain an EMV chip

Check out CardFlight’s full EMV report here.

Though usage remains low, Mastercard reported this week that it has seen an overall decrease in fraud since the EMV change. The company reports that between April 2015 and April 2016, retailers who have transitioned to EMV experienced a 54% decrease in counterfeit fraud.

Ready, set, ACH
As of September 30, a new rule from NACHA requires all banks to process incoming same-day ACH credits. Most ACH payments are currently settled on the next business day: the new rule-change offers originators the option to send an ACH transaction to any recipient account for same-day processing. NACHA has imposed a same-day fee on every same-day ACH transaction to help financial institutions receiving the funds to recover the cost to enable same-day ACH. Phase two of NACHA’s Same-day ACH initiative will take effect 15 Sept 2017.

Capital One integration with Amazon Echo
Capital One integration with Amazon Echo

Technologies: AI, chatbots, and natural language processing (NLP)

The industry-wide obsession with chatbots continues. Finovate last month showcased a dozen variants on the chatbot theme. One of our newer alums, Personetics (F16), is even holding a Chatbot Bootcamp next month in San Francisco. And our chatbot-banking post in March is our fourth most-read. But the bigger conversation is around natural language processing (NLP) and how it can be used to retrieve information and perform tasks. A new report from Juniper Research estimated that NLP would drive $2.1 TRILLION in annual purchases via mobile five years from now (2021).

The tech world is in a tizzy over Amazon’s Alexa capabilities. We showcased two demos of her at FinovateFall from BankJoy (F16 demo) and FIS (F09) (F16 demo). Capital One is the only bank with a live Alexa integration (called “Skill”), but Lloyds Bank put together a proof of concept this spring. There are currently 2,904 skills listed in the unofficial Alexa database, but very little in the financial realm. Expect to see much more activity as financial institutions and fintech companies develop applications using Amazon’s Alexa and the new Google Assistant.

Sibos 2016 celebrates the blockchain

The annual Sibos 2016 conference in Geneva took place at the end of September—between the last Fintech Trending meeting and this one. Organized by SWIFT, Sibos is considered to be the world’s premier financial services event covering areas such as payments, securities, cash management, and trade.

So what was big at Sibos 2016 this year? The blockchain. 2016 was the first year that Sibos dedicated a track “exclusively to distributed ledger” technology. And the event’s startup-industry challenge was all about how to use the blockchain in the securities industry. The three startups that won the challenge will develop PoCs using technologies like smart contracts (SmartContract), distributed ledgers (Rise Financial Technologies), and open-source blockchain platforms (Coin Sciences).

Some have ascertained the irony in SWIFT’s embrace of the blockchain: Its $6 billion payment-messaging service is one of the technologies “widely perceived to be at risk for disintermediation” by blockchain technology. And indeed, companies like Finovate alum Ripple (F13) have made great strides in helping FIs like Bank of America, Santander, and Royal Bank of Canada use distributed-ledger technology to provide a global blockchain-payments network with “near-instant” settlement. Interestingly, Ripple recently hired former SWIFT board member Marcus Treacher as its new global head of strategic accounts. Treacher told CoinDesk in September that SWIFT was the “de facto way everyone moves money through countries.” And cross-border payment is something he specifically believes Ripple “can do better.”

  • Global Banks Partner to Form Blockchain Payments Network—CoinDesk
  • Sibos 2016: Innotribe Industry Challenge—results—Banking Technology

Speaking of blockchain, a number of companies with blockchain and distributed-ledger technologies will be presenting at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley, next week. These companies include PwC, which will present its blockchain-as-a-service technology to improve trade finance, and IBM with its hyperledger implementation in the cloud that helps manage and test blockchain-dev projects. Also on hand will be distributed database specialists Aerospike (FD16) and Cognitect (FD16).

InsurTech rising

From FT Partners recent report on the boom in insurance-technology innovation, to InsurTech Rising’s event, Informa, to launch on 21 Oct, this area of financial technology is garnering increasing attention.

Why? As FT Partners pointed out in their 247-page report, the insurance industry is one of the areas of finance that so far has been least affected by the technological disruption nearly commonplace elsewhere. The insurance industry is a multitrillion dollar business; property and casualty insurers alone generated more than $64 billion in net income in 2014. And it sits at the nexus between the drive to better engage customers (is there anything enjoyable about insurance from a consumer perspective) and the need to accommodate complex and shifting regulatory landscapes (something the rest of finance is becoming increasingly familiar with).

What are the focuses of insurtech? Most technology innovation in the area revolves around trends in distribution and administration: data and analytics, and marketing and customer engagement. This includes everything from the kinds of products offered to consumers, such as micro-insurance, to using mobile channels and interactive technologies to make insurance products easier to understand, choose from, and purchase.

How are industry players responding and what to watch for? From partnering with innovative startups to acquisitions, incumbent insurance firms are increasingly aware of the challenge. FT Partners reports that more than 40% of traditional insurers surveyed by Ptolemus Consulting said they were planning to “acquire, or have already acquired, innovative startups to help them expand their digital capabilities” and more than half say they have already invested in social media, data mining, and predictive modeling. Nearly 70% have embraced mobile technology.

  • Wave Mechanics: FT Partners Report Highlights Trends Driving Rise of Insurtech—Finovate
  • Prepare for the InsurTech Wave: Overview of Key Insurance Technology Trends—FT Partners
  • Informa’s FinTech Futures Hosts InsurTech Rising (pending)—Finovate

Note: Finovate alums have the year of their first appearance listed after their name. For example, FIS first appeared at Finovate in 2009, so there is a (F09) after their name, with a link to that first demo.

Fintech Favorites


  • U.K.-based challenger bank Atom opens to the public. The bank’s iPhone and iPad app is built on the Unity gaming platform and is the only way to access the mobile-only bank. Atom has a customer service team equipped with AI and machine learning, and has bolstered its security using voice and face biometric login. Atom Bank is the first of a handful of U.K. challenger banks set to launch this year, including Mondo, Starling Bank, and Tandem. Atom is headquartered in Durham and is already valued at almost $190 million. Check out Business Insider’s coverage.


  • Akamai (FEU 15) acquires Soha Systems, which offers secure access as a service for enterprises. This matches well with Akamai’s aim to offer cloud-based services to enterprises, and places it in a good position for a potential acquisition. See our coverage.
  • Jack Henry & Associates (FF 15) collaborates with Visa (FDSV 14) to accelerate P2P payments to debit cards. This may help banks compete with other services that have sped up settlement times, such as Zelle (formerly clearXchange) and Venmo (FS 13). See the press release.


  • IBM (FF 16) announced a $200 million investment for a new global headquarters for its Watson IoT business. The headquarters will be located in Munich and is one of IBM’s largest-ever investments in Europe. This move is part of a $3 billion initiative to bring Watson’s computing expertise into the world of IoT. See IBM at FinDEVr Silicon Valley, 18/19 Oct 2016. See VentureBeat’s coverage here.
  • Banking Technology reported that Misys (FEU 15) is preparing to issue an IPO in Nov 2016 with a $6.9 billion float. Advisory firm Moelis will be overseeing the move. Misys was delisted from the London Stock Exchange in 2012 when it merged with Turaz. Misys CEO Nadeem Sayed says going public is a “logical step in our evolution.” See Banking Technology’s coverage.
  • Aire (FEU 15) raised $2 million. Along with the funding announcement, the alternative credit-scoring platform announced it is now authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the U.K.’s financial regulator. This places it on a more level playing field to compete with the big three credit bureaus. See our coverage.


  • Thomson Reuters (FF 12) unveils blockchain-dev platform, BlockOne ID. Built for Ethereum, BlockOne ID is an experimental framework in which app owners can manage access to their blockchain contracts in a controlled environment. See Banking Tech’s coverage.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Kreditech Taps mBank Veteran Michal Panowicz to Lead on Products, Technology

Around the web

  • TransferTo partners with Eurogiro to enable mobile money transfers.
  • Sberbank and MasterCard launch Apple Pay in Russia.
  • AcceptEmail announces integration with Salesforce.
  • TransUnion unveils its Fraud Prevention Exchange.
  • PaySimple launches the first e-commerce platform for service providers.
  • Ethoca teams up with Lean Industries to improve dispute processing for card-issuing banks.
  • announces 8% dividend payout for new REIT, MogulREIT I. Read more in our coverage about MogulREIT I.
  • Overbond wins spot in Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) 2016 Top 20.

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


  • Darwinex Unveils Mobile App for Android
  • Two P2P Sharing Economy Players Team Up–Airbnb and Zopa

Around the web

  • Fidor Bank teams up with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank to launch first community-based digital bank in the region.
  • Bank of Ireland to deploy UniversalSuite core banking solution from Temenos.
  • Jack Henry & Associates collaborates with Visa to accelerate P2P payments to debit cards.
  • Sberbank and MasterCard launch Apple Pay on Russian market.
  • Bluefin Announces Issuance of Patent on Decryption as a Service.
  • Eurogiro and TransferTo join forces to link mobile money with 500,000 bank and postal branches.
  • PayPal promotes Braintree’s William Ready to chief operating officer.
  • Commercial Bank of Texas hires Insuritas to launch insurance agency.
  • Cachet Partners with Viamericas to Provide Mobile International Money Transfers

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.

Sberbank Inks Partnership with Hyperledger to Tap Into the Blockchain


Originally founded in 1841, financial services organization Sberbank has seen a lot of change over the 175 years it’s been in business. And this week the bank is embracing more change by taking a leap into the blockchain.

The Russian bank, along with Hyperledger’s founding organization, the Linux Foundation, have signed a deal for the bank to participate in the Hyperledger Project. A group of Sberbank’s 9,000 developers have formed a dedicated team to work with the nonprofit blockchain initiative. The project was created to advance blockchain technology by identifying aspects for a cross-industry standard that will change the way transactions are conducted.

Lev Khasis, first deputy chairman of Sberbank’s executive board, anticipates the open source blockchain platform will help Sberbank to “access international expertise and cutting-edge blockchain developments.” Khasis also explained that the bank’s use of the blockchain will span multiple use cases, including real estate, and that it already has plans to go live with one use case in the next 12 months.


This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Sberbank’s innovative side. In the middle of the Pokemon Go epidemic this summer, the bank, which is the biggest life insurance provider in Russia, announced it will offer free accident insurance for distracted Pokemon Go players. Sberbank also set up a mobile virtual network operator subsidiary to provide telco services to customers.

At FinovateSpring 2016 Sberbank launched Sberbank Messenger to expand beyond what customers typically expect their bank to offer. The messenger platform, which is built on top of the Sberbank digital ecosystem, enables consumers to chat and seamlessly send money to one another. It also allows businesses to interact with consumers using both human respondents and chatbots, and enables consumers to purchase goods and services without leaving the chat dialogue.

The bank has 270,000 employees and serves more than 110 million clients, equivalent to 70% of Russia’s population, through 17,000 branches. At the Global Finance Awards for Central and Eastern Europe, Sberbank won four categories, Best in Mobile Banking, Best Bill Payment & Presentment, and Best SMS/Text Banking.