Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Payfone Receives $23 Million in Funding from Synchrony Financial.
  • Clinc Tops $4.5 Million in Annual Revenue; Hires Helen Yu as Chief Growth Officer.
  • Payworks Completes $14.5 Million Series B Round.
  • Bankjoy Brings New Online and Mobile Banking System to SafeAmerica Credit Union.
  • Placecast Acquired by Ericsson’s Emodo.

Around the web

  • GreenKey Technologies to release its voice API through OpenFin’s plugin architecture
  • TipRanks offers stock tracking tool to manage investments and maximize returns.
  • Worldline selects VMware to accelerate innovation and time to market.
  • Japanese personal care company selects Top Image Systems’ eFLOW Extract accounts payable solution.
  • Kestra Financial to offer eMoney Advisor’s financial planning platform to its advisors.
  • TIBCO ranked first in Dresner Advisory Services 2018 Location Intelligence Market Study.

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

  • Finovate Debuts: Helping Banks Turn Data into Insights with Liferay DXP

Around the web

  • WISeKey and Stratumn partner to provide enterprise-grade process security software based on blockchain technologies.
  • TipRanks unveils new feature for its Smart Portfolio platform to follow the elite investors and compare their portfolio to the top 10% of TipRanks portfolios.
  • EVO Payments acquires Sterling Payment Technologies.
  • BBVA Compass reups payments agreement with TSYS.

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.

Top Trends in Wealthtech: From API-ization to Virtual Engagement

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Wealth management technology provider eMoney Advisor, pictured here at FinovateFall, was acquired by Fidelity Investments in 2015 for $250 million.

With 2017 just around the corner, what trends are likely to drive innovations in wealth management technology, aka wealth tech?

The biggest potential regulatory change is the Department of Labor rule that financial planners must act as fiduciaries. The Trump election victory, accompanied by Republican control over both houses of Congress, may make this rule irrelevant. But most in the wealth management industry are nevertheless making preparations in the event the rule (announced this past spring and to be rolled out next spring) is kept. One concern with regard to the fiduciary rule specifically related to wealth tech is how fiduciary responsibility would work with robo-advisories. Can an automated investment platform determine conflicts of interest between the planner and client? What technological tools will be needed to give robo-advisory platforms this capacity? Maintaining fiduciary responsibility with a robotic investment platform suggests two potential scenarios: increasing use of human advisers in combination with automated technology, and deploying sentiment analysis technologies to better interpret nonverbal communication between planners and clients. Interestingly, both of these solutions are connected to other trends in wealth management, such as virtual meetings/conferences.

Use of virtual meetings

Virtual meetings will help wealth managers respond to a variety of issues, including better engagement and multichannel/channel-of-choice engagement. Virtual meetings could even help managers deal with greater fiduciary responsibilities. The channels can include everything from the use of Skype calls and video conferencing to more elaborate virtual meeting platforms such as those from Finovate alums like SuiteBox (F16) and SaleMove (F16). Both PwC and Deloitte have noticed the trend. “Multichannel delivery will become a strategy for delivering advice to clients in the most convenient, most efficient way possible based on each client’s particular needs at particular moments,” said PwC, in a recent look at wealth management technology trends. Deloitte noted that “new combinations of digital and human-based channels” are not just for millennials, saying that some gen-Xers and boomers “want to engage in new ways” as well.

According to a study conducted by Investment News/Cambridge, only 4% of advisers who responded currently list video conferencing as one of their communication methods, but 32% expect to rely on it more within five years. Douglas Boneparth, partner at Life and Wealth Planning, told Investment News, “I am seeing advisers, especially younger advisers, adapt to a more virtual and technologically savvy way of doing business. Advisers are focused on the level of service we provide and being accessible in more ways … virtual meetings is a great example of that.”

API-driven platform-ization

The ability to integrate financial data using APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) has been a huge boon for finance in general and wealth tech in specific. API use and adoption within wealth tech is especially strong where brokerage services are involved, (e.g., order-management system APIs). At a fundamental level, APIs enable linking multiple apps (portfolio management, document management, pricing systems); eliminate manual data entry; and limit mistakes during data transfer and update.

Marion Asnes of Broadridge Financial Solutions emphasized this last point. “Platforms must aggregate performance data across various institutions, and then, integrate planning, portfolio accounting, trading, reporting, and communications functions,” Asnes wrote for Investment News. “A wealth manager would need to aggregate performance data from all the various accounts in one place and base recommendations on that complete picture.” Writing in Quovo, John Horneff presented APIs also as an opportunity for managers to differentiate themselves, “leveraging new, innovative technology to break away from the pack and provide unique offerings.”

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Stephane Dubois, CEO of Xignite, during his company’s demo at FinovateAsia 2016. Xignite serves more than one one trillion market data API calls a year.

Xignite (F16) founder and CEO Stephane Dubois says the most salient factors of robo-advisory are: “ETFs, Trading APIs, and Market Data APIs.” Dubois’ firm is an acknowledged leader in the latter. With clients that are a who’s who of wealth management innovators—think Betterment (F11); Motif Investing (F14); Personal Capital (F14); and TipRanks (F13)—Xignite launched its FintechRevolution API Ecosystem in 2015 in an effort to make financial APIs more available to startups.

Growing importance of platforms

Both digital storage and ensuring ready accessibility of data are two trends in wealth management that point to the growing importance of advisor platforms to help wealth managers to their work. This is clearly one area where technology is playing a major role, especially for those focusing on the “accessibility of data” issue. Quoted in Investment News, Overplays co-founder Abby Schneiderman said, “Having data all in one place is one more way advisers can serve their clients’ needs … . I think one thing advisers are looking for is singular places to house all of their client’s information: wishes, documents, investment accounts, etc. in one place.”

Innovations in wealth management and financial advice platforms enable better engagement. Innovative platforms can give advisers more “surface area” for conversation and engagement with their clients. A good example is Polly Portfolio (F16) that uses natural language technology to ask customers about their financial goals and economic outlook to personalize and, importantly, explain portfolio construction. Combined with API-delivery and the inclusion of functionality like video, innovations in platform design will be key to help managers and advisors take advantage of industry trends.

HNW clients and robo-advisory

As robo-advisory becomes both more sophisticated and more accepted, an increasing number of high net worth (HNW) individuals are taking the automated investment route for some part of their finances. Betterment’s Jon Stein says their largest customer has $10 million invested with the company. He adds that many HNW people are already investors, but are now upping their investment from 5% two years ago to 20% (Stein defines HNW as having assets above $500,000).

Catering to high net worth clients, according to some, involves both greater technological sophistication on the part of robo-advisors as well as more extensive customer service. Writing in the CBInsights Blog, the analysts noted that one criticism of robo-advisors is that the very wealthy might have “more complex investment needs and higher customer service expectations.”

Specifically, high net worth clients may require access to more complex investment vehicles, including non-equity investments, as well as more advanced rebalancing and tax harvesting than the average investor. Other services, such as helping HNW clients manage sizable amounts of cash a la MaxMyInterest (F14), would also help encourage more wealthy investors to allocate a portion of their assets to robo-advisors.

wealthtech_wisebanyan

Herbert Moore and Jennifer Chin of WiseBanyan during their FinDEVr Silicon Valley debut. WiseBanyan is an independent robo-advisor that caters to millennials.

“Small data”

One large trend wherever clients and customers are involved is the role of small data, the kind of basic client data—demographics, for example—that can be very informative for the financial planner or wealth manager. In terms of increasing engagement, providing more accurate and personalized financial guidance, a little information about a client’s personal circumstances can go a long way.

In addition to providing better service to customers, small data can be the key to making a wealth management or financial planning business more efficient. Knowing which revenues are coming from new versus existing clients, for example, can help managers get the right products and services to the right customers. This is another area where innovators have produced platforms and software to help analyze client data and provide insights, often leveraging visualization technologies.

Robo-advisories: build or buy?

For financial institutions looking to provide wealth management services via robo-advisor, the question is whether to build or buy. While each approach has advantages and disadvantages, many FIs and brokerage firms have already decided:

Examples of firms that have gone the “roll your own” route include Fidelity with its Fidelity Go; Schwab with its Schwab Intelligent Portfolios; Vanguard with its Vanguard Personal Advisors Services; and E-Trade with its E-Trade Adaptive Portfolio.

But acquisitions have been a way for FIs to get up and running with robo-advisory service in a hurry. Some of the more notable recent acquisitions include Legg Mason’s purchase of Financial Guard (F13); Invesco PowerShares acquisition of Jemstep (F13); and Blackrock’s taking on FutureAdvisor (F13).

Other FIs are splitting the difference and instead seek partnerships with robo-advisors. The recent agreement and investment between Citizens Bank and SigFig to help the former build out a robo-advisory platform is an example of this approach.

Changing nature of advice

The growing capacity of robo-advisors to help manage other aspects of personal finance supports a more expansive view of wealth management and financial planning. This includes everything from health care planning, insurance, even real estate, education and leisure. The ability of technology to aggregate financial information is a major catalyst here, giving managers the ability to provide guidance beyond traditional boundaries.

Much of what is driving the changing nature of advice has to do with those being advised. The myriad and interconnected financial concerns affecting millennials—from managing student loan debt to starting a family—mean that financial planning beyond how to invest in a 401(k) is increasingly relevant and necessary. At the other end of the spectrum, active older adults in the “longevity economy” have financial issues that differ from those of seniors a generation ago who often had pensions and other financial support later in life.

This is where companies like iQuantifi (F14)—a self-described “proud robo-advisor” and virtual financial advisor—come in, with a platform that provides planning and guidance over a wide variety of topics, including insurance. Millennials are being catered to by wealth tech firms like WiseBanyan (FD16) while near and recent retirees can look to a company like True Link (F14), which specializes in financial planning for seniors.

H2 Ventures and KPMG Unveil 2016 Fintech 100

h2_kpmg_2016fintech100

H2 Ventures and KPMG have released their Fintech 100 roster for 2016. Divided equally between 50 “industry leaders” and 50 “emerging stars,” the roster features 17 Finovate/FinDEVr alums in the first category, and 10 in the second. Calling its roster a “celebration” of the most compelling innovators in this “bold new space,” the H2 Ventures/KPMG 2016 Fintech 100 covers a variety of different shades of fintech:

  • Lending (32 companies)
  • Payments (18 companies)
  • Insurance (12 companies)
  • RegTech (9 companies)
  • Data & analytics (7 companies)
  • Wealth management (6 companies)
  • Blockchain (5 companies)
  • Digital currency (5 companies)
  • Capital markets (3 companies)
  • Crowdfunding (2 companies)
  • Accounting (1 company)

And here is a look at how Finovate/FinDEVr alums fared. Earning recognition among the companies in the Leading 50 group are:

Also noteworthy in the Leading 50 are Ant Financial, which acquired Best of Show-winning EyeVerify in September 2016, and Avant, which acquired Finovate alum ReadyForZero in the spring of 2015.

Additionally, Finovate/FinDEVr alums earning spots in the Fintech 100’s 50 Emerging Stars roster were:

The H2 Ventures/KPMG report includes a geographic breakdown of the 2016 Fintech 100, as well as a set of key takeaways such as increased geographic diversification, the return of lending, the continued ascent of Insurtech, and the appearance of RegTech. The report also notes that China now has four out of the top five companies in the report’s top 10, and eight companies in the top 50. The report says funding for fintech “continues to rise,” and its authors cite more than $14 billion in capital was raised by the Fintech 100 in the past year.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • PayNearMe Powering Cash Payments for Comcast
  • Lendio by the Numbers: $250 Million in Loans to 10,000+ Small Businesses
  • Azimo Launches Money Transfers on Facebook Messenger
  • Dwolla Launches New Dashboard for White-Label Partners

Around the web

  • Trustly announces new partnership with Nordnet Bank to speed new customer onboarding.
  • Sberbank adds brokerage services to its online system.
  • Wealthfront upgrades its Android app, adding PIN and fingerprint lock and support for IRA contributions.
  • TipRanks launches new feature to allow users to Import their Online Brokerage Portfolio to TipRanks.
  • The International Swaps and Derivatives Association and Markit launch ISDA Amend 2.0.

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 Earn Top Honors at 2016 Benzinga Financial Awards

Trunomi_homepage_June2016

Finovate alum Trunomi took home two awards at the 2016 Benzinga Fintech Awards this week. The KYC and data-sharing solution provider won first place in the Proprietary Technology & APIs and Most Promising Startup categories.

Also winning top honors were Loyal3, which took first place in the Leveling The Playing Field category, and SmartAsset, which won first place in the Best Educational Tools & Services category.

BenzingaFintechAwards2016

This year was the second for the Benzinga Fintech Awards. More than 250 companies from five countries competed for this year’s awards, including Founder of the Year which was awarded to TickerTags founder, Chris Camillo.

Other alums earning recognition were runners up PsychSignal (Finding Alpha category) and WealthForge (Lending & Alternative Investments category). TipRanks picked up a runners up spot in the Research Platforms, Apps & Tools category, as well as third place overall. DriveWealth earned an honorable mention in the Innovation in Mobile category for its Passport solution.

See the full list of 2016 finalists.

Jason Raznick, founder and CEO of Benzinga, congratulated this year’s winners and praised their “forward thinking and product development.” This year marked the second strong performance at the Awards from Finovate alums in general and TipRanks in particular, which in 2015 took top honors in Trade Recommendations category in 2015. Other alum winners from 2015 include Betterment, EquityZenLikeFolioMarket Prophit, Motif InvestingPersonal Capital, and HedgeCoVest, which won runners up in the Most Disruptive category, Best in Class in the Robo Advisor Tools category, and first place overall.

Finovate Alums Help Represent Fintech Innovation in Israel

Israel_FlagPYMNTS.com published an interesting, metric-based post on the tech scene in Israel. The post emphasized that while the country has a well deserved reputation as a “cybersecurity hotspot,” it is also true that “Israel’s tech ambitions and prowess extend much further.”

The salient statistic for me: 430—the number of fintech startups headquartered in Israel—is highly impressive, considering only 90 fintech startups existed in 2009.

With that in mind, here’s a look at some recent Israel-based Finovate alums who are helping make the country one of the world’s key locations for fintech innovation.

Our 14 Israel-based Finovate alums have raised more than $164 million in funding. Two alums—NICE Systems and Top Image Systems—are publicly traded on the Nasdaq, and two more—Capitali.se and TipRanks—have won Best of Show awards.

TheFloor_Israelfintechhub

There’s no doubt the fintech in Israel is on the move. The country’s first fintech hub, The Floor, was launched in 2015, and as of March 2016 is now located at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Writing about why fintech innovation is thriving in Israel, VentureBeat’s Avi Zeevi of Carmel Ventures highlighted a few key features:

  • Mastery of relevant technologies such as real-time analytics, cybersecurity, and risk management
  • Legacy of success creating a “startup ecosystem (with) massive amounts of knowledge”
  • The country has learned from other key global financial centers
  • Global financial institutions have a presence and have been investing in Israel
  • Israeli FIs “have always been open to innovation”

“All of this had led to a dramatic rise in investments in Israel fintech companies,” Zeevi wrote. “By addressing the needs of both developed and emerging markets, Israeli fintech will only continue to grow.”

Are you an Israel-based Finovate or FinDEVr alum that we overlooked? Send us an email at research@finovate.com and we’ll update our roster.

 

 

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Mobino Inks Partnership with Paymint”

Around the web

  • JPMorgan announces partnership with OnDeck Capital.
  • Nigeria-based consumer-finance firm, RenMoney, to deploy cloud banking solution from Mambu.
  • Green Dot plans to launch new loan marketplace in 2016.
  • Freedom CU ($673m) chooses core processing technology from Jack Henry & Associates’ Symitar.
  • Smarter Analyst features Tradier, QuantConnect, TipRanks, and Quantopian.

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.

The #FintechRevolution Will Be API’d

FintechRevolutionAPIEcosystem

An open Fintech ecosystem for developers could be imminent, at least if Xignite has anything to say about it.

Fresh off its FinovateFall 2015 appearance, the financial market-data provider to many of fintech’s most innovative companies is spearheading a new initiative, the #FintechRevolution API Ecosystem. The goal of #FintechRevolution—a partnership involving more than 20 other technology companies and accelerators—is to make it easier for developers to get their hands on the APIs and tools they need in order to bring their innovations to life.

Stephane Dubois, CEO and founder of Xignite, says the initiative “consolidates the best-of-the-best in the fintech API ecosystem. It will now be easier for firms, large and small, to start and grow financial services and fintech companies just by leveraging the APIs in the ecosystem.”

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From left: Xignite CEO Stephane Dubois, founder, and Anand Vidwanathan, developer, demonstrated Xignite Cloudstreaming at FinovateFall 2015.

Xignite divided the API contributions from the founding members into workflow, analytics and data categories. And, as Finance Magnates reports, a special emphasis should be placed on what it calls “non-traditional” APIs, the ones embracing inclusion of social and sentiment data alongside more-familiar financial data. This social data includes everything from the portfolio-management APIs of Advisor Software to the trader-mood-data APIs of PsychSignal.

The APIs from all of the founding members of the API ecosystem are listed in an integrated, Xignite-powered API catalog for easy access. All APIs have been vetted, and sales-and-support teams from all Ecosystem members are knowledgeable and ready to field questions from developers.

See the full list of founding members of the #Fintech Revolution below. The names of those companies that are also Finovate and/or FinDEVr alums are in bold.

Other founding members include incubators, Draper University in Silicon Valley, Fintech Sandbox in Boston, Level39 in London, and ValueStream in New York City.

Speaking of the initiative and its importance to startups and enterprises alike, ValueStream founding partner Greg Neufeld says, “We wouldn’t be investing our time, relationships and capital if we didn’t believe that the transformative changes happening today are merely the tip of the iceberg.” Neufeld is calling for innovators in fintech to work together to “build a better and stronger moat for the future.”

Neufeld says the entire industry of financial services is being “reinvented from the ground up,” and added: “We’re excited to be a part of this movement.”


FinDEVr2015LogoV2DateIf you are a developer, software architect, engineer, or CTO looking to hear from and network with some of the biggest builders in financial technology, then join us 6/7 October for FinDEVr 2015 in San Francisco. Save your spot and we’ll see you in the city by the bay!

TipRanks Takes Top Prize at IBM Watson Hackathon in Israel

TipRanks_homepage_June2015

Stock market analysis service TipRanks won first place at the IBM Watson Hackathon in Tel Aviv, Israel. The company’s winning solution was StockRadar, an application that leverages the AI of Watson to provide insights into stock market sentiment.

StockRadar determines which stocks have the most positive or negative sentiment, as expressed in both financial news and social media. For the hackathon, the application surveyed more than 80,000 news articles and 30,000 tweets.

The IBM Hackathon took place on 10/11 June 2015 and was the first Watson Hackathon event hosted in Israel. Applications were developed on IBM’s Bluemix platform, and the winning team was awarded a trip to visit the IBM Watson Labs in New York City.

TipRanks called the day-and-a-half hackathon “challenging and fun.” The company was especially glad to “have a working PoC (proof of concept) that (we) can integrate into our existing service. Very exciting.”

StockRadar_screenshot

Going forward, TipRanks will be integrating the capabilities developed through the StockRadar hack into the TipRanks dashboard. The company also plans to do some quantitative research to see just how positive and negative sentiment extremes can affect intermediate-term price-movement.

Founded in June 2012 and headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, TipRanks demonstrated its technology at FinovateFall 2013 in New York and FinovateSpring 2013 in San Francisco, winning Best of Show honors on both occasions.