Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • A Look at the Savings Tech Horizon: Crowdfunded Savings with Spiff and InSpirAVE.
  • LendingTree Launches Student Loan Comparison Tool.
  • Check out this week’s FinDEVr APIntelligence.
  • A Look at the Savings Tech Horizon: Advice-Only with Hellowallet and  Wealth Wizards.

Around the web

  • Malauzai Software launches Fingerprint Authentication and Touch ID technology for Android 7.0 this year.
  • VISA to enable electronic business payments for SME clients of B2B electronic invoicing network, Viewpost.
  • Fiserv reports nearly 30 banks and CUs deployed its digital banking technology in 2016, taking the total number of FIs using its online banking solutions to 3,500.
  • PurePoint launch leverages Zenmonics’ channelUNITED.
  • Bitpesa partners with Bitbond to financially assist SMEs.

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 Look at the Savings Tech Horizon: Crowdfunded Savings

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This is part four of a six part blog series about savings technology. Last week we discussed how savings technology works in goals-based PFM platforms and standalone, automated savings platforms and yesterday we looked at solutions targeted to Generation Z. Today, we’re shifting our focus to crowdfunded savings.

Missed the other five savings categories? Check them out:

The crowdfunding model has existed for more than a decade and expanded significantly when Obama enacted Title II of the JOBS Act in 2013. It’s no surprise, then, that we’re starting to see this model creep into the savings realm to enable friends and family to contribute money toward others’ goals.

Crowdfunded savings

These solutions are like Kickstarter for savings goals. Having a platform where you can request money or simply advertise what you’re saving for (in the hope someone might contribute), helps remove some of the awkwardness from asking for money. Spiff and InSpirAVE are goals-based PFM platforms that enable friends and family to contribute to users’ savings goals.

  • Spiff
    Norway-based Spiff launched its saving app at FinovateEurope 2016 in London. The company’s user interface simplifies what it takes to save for a goal and gives the user the option to save their money in a bank or in an investment fund. Spiff makes saving money a bit more fun by letting the user assign pictures to their goals and share them on social media and via messenger, where friends and family can contribute.
Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 5.04.50 PM
Couples who Spiff together, save together
  • InSpirAVE
    Having dubbed its solution the Internet of Savings, InSpirAVE has a lot to live up to. The company’s combination savings-shopping platform takes goals from cradle-to-grave, so to speak. InSpirAVE leverages third party information from eBay and other shopping sites to enable users to search for the exact product they want and build a wish list with the different options. Users solicit the opinions of their friends and family, who vote for the product they want to user to buy, and ultimately contribute funds to help the user make the purchase.

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 9.33.26 AM

The key to InSpirAVE is that the entire process– from dreaming of the goal, to finding the perfect product, funding and contributing to the goal, and even the point of purchase– takes place entirely within the InSpirAVE platform. The company’s founder and CEO Om Kundu, along with CTO Mark Krofchik, debuted at FinovateFall 2016 in New York.


To recap, here are the types of savings tech we’ve seen so far:

Stay tuned later this week for the final two categories.

Spiff Partners with Nordea Liv to Launch Mobile Savings App

Spiff_homepage_February2017

FinovateEurope alum Spiff has teamed up with Norwegian life insurance corporation, Nordea Liv, to develop its social savings app. Together the two companies will begin a pilot project of the app for a limited number of users “very shortly,” with a full launch anticipated “before the summer.”

“Our aim is to lower the bar and make it easier for everybody to save by offering them the most innovative, efficient, and user-friendly saving and investment platform,” founder and CEO of Spiff, Carl-Nicolai Wessmann said. Nordea Liv CEO Randi Marjamaa added that with individuals increasingly responsible for managing their own finances – including pensions – solutions like Spiff are especially valuable. “Spiff offers us a new approach to saving that is easy, fun, and social,” Marjamaa said. “It is more important than ever to save.”

Spiff_stage_FEU2017

Pictured (left to right): Kristin Juland Møller (Social Media and Communication Manager) and Carl-Nicolai Wessman founder and CEO) demonstrating the Spiff savings app at FinovateEurope 2016.

Spiff enables users to create personalized savings plans and share them with family and friends. Users begin by choosing goals – personal goals, children’s future, or rainy-day savings – which help the app shape the appropriate saving plan for each individual. They name the plan, add a brief description of the savings goal, and then choose a monthly savings amount, with allocations going to either a connected bank account or a fund. Users choose a transaction date for the funds to be transferred, confirm all selections, and the savings plan is set. The app makes it easy to build additional savings plans (for children, for example; as well as for other goals), and to send completed savings plans to relatives and friends, encouraging them to contribute.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Spiff demonstrated its simple savings app designed with women in mind at FinovateEurope 2016. The company has raised NOK 10 million in funding and includes Sverre Munck (former board chairman of Opera), Trond Riiber Knudsen (TRK Group), and StartupLab’s Founder Fund among its investors. Last summer, Spiff announced a partnership with developer startup, Fink , providing a engineering boost to the company. We featured Spiff’s Kristin Juland Møller in our International Women (in Fintech) Day post last spring.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Spiff Partners with Nordea Liv to Launch Mobile Savings App.
  • PayPal Acquires TIO Networks in $230 Million Deal.
  • Qumram’s Regtech Offering Lands $1.49 Million

On FinDEVr.com

Around the web

  • TransferWise announces integration with Facebook Messenger.
  • Valiant Bank to deploy new customer engagement platform from Backbase.
  • Thomson Reuters Labs’ latest data science lab opens in Singapore.
  • Malauzai reports record growth for 2016.
  • Santander’s VC arm invests undisclosed amount in Personetics.
  • Standard Chartered leveraging WeChat’s online payment gateway to launch e-commerce solution for corporates.

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.

Spiff Raises $150,000; Adopts Tech Talent from Fink

Spiff_homepage_July2016

Spiff is now $150,000 (NOK 1.3 million) closer to its planned launch in Norway this fall. The financing was announced by Spiff CEO and founder Carl Nicolai Wessman on Shifter.com and shared with readers on the new Spiff blog. The investment comes a year after the company raised more than $300,000 (NOK 3.5 million) from a group of investors including Founders Fund, and Sverre Munck, the chairman of Opera Software.

The current financing was led by Silvija Sere and Mildrid Raade, veteran investors in the industry, and the company’s first female angel investors. “We built a product for women, so it makes sense to want women on-board,” Spiff’s blog post read this morning. “However there are actually very few women that make angel investments today. That’s why we’re incredibly excited to introduce our first female angel investors.”

Spiff_stage_FEU2016b

From left: CMO Kristin Moller and CEO Carl Wessmann, founder, demonstrated the Spiff app at FinovateEurope 2016 in London.

“I started Spiff (two) years ago from my own savings with Steve Mellbye-Stolen,” Wessman says. “Now we (raise) NOK 1.3 million, and (we are) particularly pleased that it came from two women investors.” Silvija Seres is a partner at TechnoRocks and serves on the boards of a number of financial services and technology companies, including Nordea. Mildrid Raade is a marketing strategist and private angel investor who recently finished an executive MBA thesis on disruption in banking.

In addition to the funding news, Spiff reported that it is joining forces with Fink, a developer startup with experience working for companies such as Microsoft as well as fellow Finovate alums Telenor and Encap Security. Fink will handle engineering with founding partner Svein Halvorsen joining Spiff in August. Calling Fink a match in terms of values, Spiff’s Wessmann praised the team of full-stack developers as “perhaps among Europe’s best.”

Founded in January 2015 and headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Spiff previewed its savings app and service designed especially for women at FinovateEurope 2016 in London. Check out our Finovate Debut post on Spiff from this spring.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Revolut Lands $8.7 Million, Launches Crowdfunding Campaign
  • Spiff Raises $150,000; Adopts Tech Talent from Fink

Around the web

  • Asset TV interviews CEO Tony Aguilar, founder, Student Loan Genius.
  • Business Quarter profiles Ormsby Street MD, Martin Campbell.
  • TechCityNews features Aire in an issue devoted to artificial intelligence.
  • TickSmith upgrades its TickVault Platform with file inventory module.
  • Bank Info Security interviews Fiserv anti-fraud specialist, Andrew Davies.
  • CNBC column on financial fraud and retirees quotes Liz Loewy, general counsel for EverSafe.
  • Bill.com launches Bookkeeping Accelerator Program.
  • CNBC features Moven founder and CEO Brett King speaking about his newest book, “Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane.”
  • Kasasa Named One of the Best Places to Work in Austin for a Second Consecutive Year.

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.

International Women’s Day: Celebrating Females in Fintech

WomenOfFintech

One question I’m always asked during a Finovate networking session is, “Why don’t you put more women on stage?” My answer: we don’t dictate the gender of the company’s presenter. We leave that decision up to the company.

This post is to celebrate the fintech industry’s growth of female inclusion. At the first Finovate conference in 2007, there were zero women on stage. Last month, at FinovateEurope 2016, 20% of the companies featured a woman on stage (party on!). Here’s a look at the ladies of FinovateEurope 2016:

AdviceRobo’s CCO Rosali Steenkamer

AdviceRobo

 

BankersLab’s Co-founder and CEO Michelle Katics

BankersLab

CREALOGIX’s Geraldine Critchley, head of digital marketing

ebankIT’s Diana Winstanley, business development

eBankIT

Envestnet’s SVP Molly Pandya, product management

Ethoca’s Helene Ladjadj, senior manager, issuer relations, EMEA

Ethoca

EyeVerify’s Director of Marketing Tinna Hung

EyeVerify

IT Sector’s Inês Domingues, market manager

ITSector

Livian Technologies’s Raquel Oliveira, head of product

LivianTech

myInvenio’s Modesta Jonauskyte, sales and marketing assistant

MyInvenio

Outshared’s Director Irene van den Brink

SBDA Group’s Anna Laskovaya, project manager

SBDAGroup

Spiff’s CMO Kristin Moller

Spiff

While not all of these women are CEOs of their company, each plays a role in removing women from the “endangered species list” of fintech.

While we still have a long way to go, we can all be encouraged by the movement that has already taken place and the global initiatives that have sparked growth. The FemTech Leaders MeetUp, organized by Ghela Boskovich and Michelle Moffatt, has held three successful events this year (I attended the London meetup last month, and the attendance was impressive).

If you’re interested in attending a FemTech leaders event (men are also invited to attend), check out the upcoming meetup in Sydney or RSVP for the meetup in New York after the first day of FinDEVr New York on March 29. It’s less than a 10-minute walk from the venue.

This post wouldn’t be complete without a shoutout to the ladies of Finovate and FinDEVr; the women who help make our events happen (editor’s note: And of course, Julie Schicktanz, the author of this post):

  • Leah Baldwin
  • Dom Marczak
  • Emily Olyarchuk
  • Erika Sanchez
  • Kate Schultz
  • Kate Stolte
  • Heather Stowell
  • Paula Wrzecionowska

Be sure to check out our celebration of International Women’s Day on the FinDEVr blog.

Finovate Debuts: Designed for Women, Spiff Introduces its Social Savings Service

Spiff_homepage_Feb2016

Spiff is a straightforward concept: a “simple and fun” savings service designed with women in mind. Founder and CEO Carl Wessmann credits the women in his life for helping him understand the importance of savings, and he’s returned the favor with a new technology that, as he explains it, “helps connect money with what it can accomplish” for users and their loved ones.

Spiff is poised to take advantage of the disconnect between the rising economic power of women and the fact that women are still a disproportionately small portion of the world’s savers and investors.

Spiff_stage_FEU2016

Spiff CMO Kristin Juland Møller and CEO Carl Wessmann demonstrated their technology at FinovateEurope 2016 in London.

“Our key demographic, women between 25 and 35, play an essential part in our mission to reduce wealth inequality,” said Spiff CMO Kristin Juland Møller. Noting that 1 in 4 millennial women are “already parents,” she pointed out that “by providing them with inspiration and savings tools they need, we will not only empower millions with good saving habits, but also empower future generations as they pass on their saving habits to their children.”

Spiff_image_0In Spiff’s Finovate debut, Møller showed three of Spiff’s key features:

  • Setting up a savings plan for oneself
  • Setting up a savings plan for a dependent
  • Sharing that savings plan with a relative, such as an aunt or grandparent

Møller presented the Spiff Dashboard, where she was able to choose between different types of savings plans (options included themes such as “Your Future,” “Your Kids,” and “Rainy Day”). The Savings Plan can be personalized with an image, as well as a description of the specific savings goal for the plan.

The user then chooses the amount of monthly savings to be automatically drawn from a connected account and set aside into either a savings account or a pre-selected investment fund. Choose a day of the month for the transaction and, after confirming the information, the savings plan is set.

“Saving is a family affair,” Møller said, showing next how a child’s savings plan built with Spiff could easily be shared with grandparents or other relatives via social media. “It’s something parents do for their kids, and grandparents do for their grandkids,” she said.

The stats

  • Founded in January 2015
  • Headquartered in Oslo, Norway
  • Carl Wessmann is CEO and founder
  • Raised $500,000 from investors in five countries

Spiff_Kristin_MollerHow it works

We sat down for a quick conversation with Møller during rehearsal day at FinovateEurope, and followed up with a few questions about Spiff, its focus on helping empower women financially, and what to look forward to from the company in 2016.

Finovate: What problem does Spiff solve?

Kristin Juland Møller: Spiff is a saving service, designed with women in mind. We want to empower women with smarter finance tools for saving, so we created a simple, social and fun savings app. Spiff connects money to what it can accomplish, for you and your loved ones. In simple, straightforward language. 

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

Møller: Women 25-35.

Spiff-PR-Dashboard-iPhoneFinovate: How does Spiff solve the problem better?

Møller: You need to build products that people love, not products that will only make you more profit. That means that you need to design products for key demographics, and we choose to focus on a key demographic that has been widely neglected from banks for the past hundred years. It’s time we shake it up. 

Finovate: Tell us about your favorite implementation of Spiff.

Møller: Saving is a family affair. Grandparents save for their grandkids, parents for their kids, friends save for trips together, and young couples save for their first home. Spiff is a social savings app that allows you to share saving plans, give savings as a gift, and reinvent the charm of saving together. We cheer you on, and celebrate when you reach your goals!

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

Møller: Our founders are strongly influenced by Nordic values, equality, and the universal notion that women and men are worth the same. Our one founder Calle has written a Facebook Note on why this is important in his life. Keyword: Women https://www.facebook.com/notes/carl-nicolai-wessmann/the-women-of-my-life/10153213470391190

Strong and independent women around us have taught us the value of kindness, fairness and empathy—and the importance of saving. Spiff is built on these values. 

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

Møller: Testing has begun. And the early signs are that people love it. We are launching in Norway this year. Expansion will follow. We welcome everyone to join the Spiffy waitlist (www.getspiff.no), and be one of the first to try Spiff. We will also be part of one of the world’s best accelerators, TINC, in Silicon Valley.

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

Møller: We will have empowered one million women with smarter savings. 


Check out Spiff’s demo video from FinovateEurope 2016.

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: Spiff

Spiff_homepage_Jan2016

FEU2016_logo_withdateA look at the companies demoing live to 1,500 fintech professionals. Get tickets this week for early bird savings.

Spiff_logo_HiRes

Spiff is a simple saving service for you and me, designed with women in mind.

Features:

  • Designed for women
  • Fun, safe, and simple
  • We connect money to what it can accomplish

Presenters

Spiff_Carl_Nicolai_WessmannCarl-Nicolai Wessmann, CEO, Founder

Wessmann spent 3+ years at Schibsted Media Group, Strategy & International; and 3+ years at Handelsbanken. He is a Harvard Business School alum, and holds a master’s in business and economics from the Norwegian Business School. He is a proud father and husband.
LinkedIn

Spiff_Kristin_MollerKristin Juland Moller, Social Media and Communication Manager

Moller spent 10+ years in media as VP of consumer sales for Schibsted Media Group; VP product and marketing at Aftenposten; and as a management traineee at Schibsted. She holds a master’s in business and economics from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration.
LinkedIn

 

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Moven Launches Offers with Four Merchant Partners”
  • Gem Raises $7 Million in Series A”

Around the web

  • Blackhawk Network acquires GiftCards.com and OmniCard for $120 million.
  • EyeLock partners with Diebold to develop new ATM experience using mobile app, QR codes, and iris scanning.
  • Trustly partners with GoldMoney’s BitGold to connect with financial institutions for direct deposits and redemptions.
  • LiveRamp interviews Cardlytics CMO Dani Cushion.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.