Take Your Head Out the PSD2 Sand


Marten Nelson Token

With the PSD2 compliance deadline having just passed, in this series we speak to some of the relevant firms both in and out of the U.K. about what this means for them and how the industry should move forward. In this installment, we chat to Marten Nelson, VP Marketing at Token. Nelson demoed Token’s PsD2 compliant solution at FinovateEurope 2017 in London.

Finovate: According to Strategy&, 68% of bankers are worried PSD2 will cause them to lose control of the client interface. What’s your advice to these banks?

Nelson: Take your head out of the sand!

Banks need to recognize that their customers’ expectations have changed and it is this, not PSD2, that is the main driver for their loss of control. Banks’ customers have grown accustomed to a new kind of digitized customer experience. One that gives them power to choose and options to choose from. New value. Ultra-convenience. Security. The changing dynamics of the customer have given rise to PSD2, which is now forcing the banks to respond.

I understand banks’ reluctance. Banks are powerful, protective and risk averse. Change is risky. Until now, customers of banks have been loyal. Why would this change? And who would want to throw open their systems to third parties, so they can build apps and services that might pull their customers away?

The hard truth, however, is this: if banks do not respond, their customers will be pulled away anyway. And faster than they might think.

The real risk to banks lies in non-participation. Banks that seek to control or limit the interface through which they engage with other banks, service providers or customers, will fail.

Finovate: Will PSD2’s enhanced security requirements increase friction for end consumers?

Nelson: Perhaps in the short term, while the new model of open banking establishes, but the main point is that consumers will have so many more secure options for financial products and services that any teething problems will ultimately pale into insignificance.

The level of friction in the end-user experience will also depend on how smoothly banks’ APIs integrate, together with which security measures they choose to implement to enable transaction authorisations.

Joining forces behind a common open banking platform – one that is easy, secure, interoperable, low cost and developer friendly, will enable banks to deliver the variety and freedom of services that their customers demand. Currently, TokenOS is the only solution that provides one interface to access all banks in the EU for both payments and data.

Finovate: How do you suggest banks and fintechs communicate about PSD2 to consumers who are scared to share their data because of privacy issues?

Nelson: Consumers do not (and will not) care about PSD2. They will care about what it enables, i.e. being able to access new products and services securely and linking them to their bank account. So, banks and fintechs should not communicate using industry jargon, they should talk in terms of new opportunities, services, facilities and benefits. Everything leads back to how they can meet the customer’s new expectations.

From a security perspective, consumers will want to be reassured that their data is safe.

Finovate: The benefits of PSD2 to fintechs are obvious. How can banks make sure they’re benefitting, as well?

Nelson: Banks that support new apps and services arising from PSD2 will benefit from their kudos, and retain customers and attract new ones as a direct result.

The key for banks lies in their support for developers. A truly open ecosystem will run on one or two APIs and support maximum third party integration.

Competitive forces prevent any bank from establishing its own API as the de-facto choice for all.

Those that try will not recruit enough developers to deliver the depth and variety of third-party services that will meet customer demand and enable them to differentiate in the market.

A single API ecosystem will attract the most developers. More developers means more innovation and more exciting and attractive financial apps and services.

History speaks (again): If there were as many operating systems as there are personal computers or smartphone manufacturers, it would be cost prohibitive for developers to build apps. That’s why there are two platforms each for PCs and mobile devices, because that is the maximum number the developer market can sustain.

The Future of FinTech Regulation_Finovate Europe

Finovate: Should banks be worried that, by opening their APIs to third parties, they risk increased security vulnerabilities?

Nelson: Banks that are working with trusted software providers shouldn’t be. The key here is in adopting an open banking platform that delivers a secure ecosystem and a developer-centric approach. Uniquely, Token combines tokenization and cryptography to make transactions virtually impossible to hack, since the data transmitted between the transacting parties is meaningless to everyone else.

We also use programmable money and an open API. As a result, developers can connect securely to banks to initiate payments or access information. The programmable money element then provides support for a sea of other use cases that can benefit the bank. Since money and information always are combined, reconciling payments, for example, is a breeze. Also, payments are instant between banks on the Token network.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Klarna to Power Invoice and Credit-Based Payments for Worldpay Clients.
  • Prevoty Raises $13 Million in Series B.

Around the web

  • Fiserv partners with Boiling Springs Savings Bank and North Shore Trust and Savings to Provide End-to-End Debit and Card Solutions.
  • Global Debt Registry joins the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance.
  • Latin America’s largest bank, Itau Unibanco chooses WealthSuite from Temenos for its international private banking operations.
  • Token pledges to connect banks, merchants, and third party providers to any EU bank for PSD2 payments and data.

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

KPMG, H2 Ventures Unveil Fintech 100 for 2017

It’s that time of the year once again: KPMG and H2 Ventures have teamed up to introduce their Leading Global Fintech Innovators roster, the Fintech 100 for 2017. The judges for this year’s Fintech 100 included more than 20 professionals from KPMG and other organizations with expertise in IT, data analytics, capital markets, financial services, and more.

This year 11 Finovate/FinDEVr alums made the Leading 50, with another 12 alums making the Emerging 50. New entrants to the KPMG/H2 Ventures roster include SoFi and Revolut among the Leading 50. All 12 the alums on the Emerging 50 are making their first appearance. See the full list.

Some of the highlights from the 2017 Fintech 100 include the observation that five of the roster’s top 10 companies are from China, as are the top three companies on the list: Ant Financial, ZhongAn, and Qudian (Qufenqi). The U.S. has a pair of companies in the top five: Oscar and Avant, and Europe and the U.K. each have one company in the top ten: Kreditech and Atom Bank, respectively.

Speaking of Asia, the Asia-Pacific region has 30 fintech companies in the top 100. The United States has 19 companies – the most from any single country – and the U.K. and EMEA areas have 41 companies in the list. The U.K. and EMEA region are also responsible for the highest number of companies on KPMG/H2 Ventures’ Emerging 50 list with 26.

With regard to sectors within fintech, the Fintech 100 breaks down as follows:

  • 32 lending companies
  • 21 payments companies
  • 14 transaction and capital markets companies
  • 12 insurance/insurtech companies
  • 7 wealth management/wealthtech companies
  • 6 cybersecurity/regtech companies
  • 4 blockchain/digital currency companies
  • 3 data and analytics companies

Alums from the Leading 50

Alums from the Emerging Stars

Token Forges Strategic Partnership with Envestnet | Yodlee

Token and Envestnet | Yodlee are combining their respective talents in PSD2-compliant payments and financial data aggregation to give banks in the EU a new, open-banking friendly, payments and data option. The partnership will leverage Token’s open banking operating system, TokenOS, which supports PSD2 compliant payments, including bill pay, e-commerce, B2B payments and money transfers, with Envestnet | Yodlee’s Financial Data Platform and Aggregation API. Via the API, banks will get access to the bank, card, investment, loan, reward and other financial account data required to support a variety of PFM, wealth, and debt management apps and services.

Making the case for the alliance, Token CEO and founder Steve Kirsch said, “When it comes to PSD2, developers are not going to support hundreds of unique bank APIs; they will only write to one common API, maybe two. This means that banks that create their own proprietary APIs risk not being able to deliver the variety of freedom that customers expect in the digital age.” Kirsch characterized the kind of open banking platform that banks should support as “easy, secure, interoperable, low cost and developer friendly.”

Envestnet | Yodlee SVP for EMEA and Australia Jason O’Shaughnessy underscored Kirsh’s observations on the importance of open banking. “Both Token and Envestnet | Yodlee believe that open data access is critical to enabling innovative tools that can help consumers improve their financial lives.”

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Token demonstrated its fully PSD2 compliant open banking solution at FinovateEurope 2017. The company also participated in our developer’s conference, presenting The Future of Payments Now at FinDEVr San Francisco 2015. Token was named to CB Insights’ Fintech 250 list in June, and began the year teaming up with information technology consulting and outsourcing company, VirtusaPolaris. Token has raised more than $18 million in funding, and includes EQT Ventures, Octopus Ventures, and OP Financial Group among its investors.

Acquired by Envestnet two years ago, Yodlee is a multiple-time Finovate Best of Show winner headquartered in Redwood City, California. The company took home top honors more recently for its demo of Financial Health Check financial wellness technology at FinovateFall 2017. A partnership with Home Credit India to digitize loan processing and an integration with Fannie Mae’s Desktop Underwriter Validation Service are among the company’s top headlines since the conference.

Envestnet’s technology and services are used by 16 of the 20 largest U.S. banks, 39 of the 50 largest wealth management and brokerage firms, and more than 500 of the largest Registered Investment Advisors. With a market capitalization of $2 billion, Envestnet trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “ENV.” The company is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Token Forges Strategic Partnership with Envestnet | Yodlee.

Around the web

  • ACI Worldwide to provide “technology backbone” for real-time payments platform designed by Payments Network Malaysia.
  • NCR partners with Samsung to launch new all-in-one POS commerce station, NCR Silver Quantum.
  • Grab chooses TransferTo to deliver real-time digital payments to its drivers in Southeast Asia.
  • Meniga wins London Design Awards for brand design experience.
  • PayPal’s TIO Networks suspends operations to protect TIO’s customers.
  • Kinecta FCU to Offer Mortgage Harmony’s CU RateReset products.
  • App Informers lists Credit Karma and Credit Sesame in list of top 5 Identity Monitoring Apps for 2017.

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.

44 Alums Populate CB Insights’ Fintech 250 List

This week, CB Insights unveiled its Fintech 250 list. The research outfit selected 250 emerging, private companies in 17 sub-sectors of fintech that are changing the face of financial services. The roster includes 44 Finovate and FinDEVr alums that were selected using CB Insights’ data-driven process that analyzes company momentum, market participation, funds raised, and investor quality.

The list is in alphabetical order.









Credit Karma





Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll)










Personal Capital





Ripple Labs
















FinDEVr APIntelligence

Our first developers conference in the U.K. is just over a month away. If APIs and SDKs are just a few of your favorite fintech acronyms, then join us for two days of developer-focused presentations, demonstrations, and conversations at FinDEVr 2017 London, June 12 and 13. Stop by our registration page today and save your spot.

FinDEVr 2017 London is a part of London Tech Week, which runs from June 12 to June 16.

On FinDEVr.com

  • Symbiont Gains “Strong Partner in Asia” with Investment from Hundson Technologies.

Upcoming FinDEVr 2017 London alum news

  • Check Out Our Exclusive Interview with ISARA CEO, Scott Totzke.
  • Our latest FinDEVr Features Are Up. Meet Kontomatik and IdentityMind Global.

Alumni updates

  • Kontomatik earns top 50 spot in the 2017 Dutch FinTech Awards. Join Kontomatik in London for FinDEVr in June.
  • ACI Worldwide’s point-to-point encryption solution earns PCI P2PE compliance validation.
  • Thoma Bravo to Acquire Lexmark’s Kofax.
  • MapD partners with Continuum Analytics & H2O.ai, to form the GPU Open Analytics Initiative.
  • Thinking Capital to offer SMB financing options to TouchBistro POS clients.
  • Token Picks Up $18.5 Million to Help Banks Rise to Challenge of PSD2.
  • PayNearMe adds 8,000 CVS Pharmacy Stores to its network cash acceptance locations.
  • CardFlight unveils new line of mobile card readers to support secure EMV and NFC contactless payments.
  • Gartner recognizes OutSystems as a leader in enterprise high productivity application platform as a service technology.
  • Malauzai’s Vantiv Partnership to Leverage OnDot’s CardControl Tool.

Stay current on daily news from the fintech developer community! Follow FinDEVr on Twitter.


Token Picks Up $18.5 Million to Help Banks Rise to Challenge of PSD2

With an investment of $15.7 million from Octopus Ventures, EQT Ventures, and OP Financial Group, open bank platform innovator Token has successfully completed its Series A financing. “Securing the backing from such world-class investors allows us to grow and execute faster in our mission to reinvent the world’s payment systems by providing common, secure access to all banks and a modern, bank-centric payment ecosystem,” Token founder and CEO Steve Kirsch said. The total raised in the Series A reached $18.5 million.

Token is leveraging its open banking platform to give financial institutions the ability to fully participate in the digitization of finance. Calling the company’s technology, “a true game-changer in the world of banking and financial services,” EQT Ventures partner and Token board member Andreas Thorstensson said: “Through a secure API, they are creating an open banking ecosystem, which creates possibilities for new revenue streams for its customers and a better user experience for consumers.

Pictured (left to right): Stefan Weiss (Head of APIs and Open Platforms at Fidor) and Marten Nelson (VP, Marketing, Token) demonstrating Token’s technology at FinovateEurope 2017.

In the company’s live demonstration at FinovateEurope earlier this year, Token co-founder and VP of Marketing Marten Nelson emphasized the relative speed and low cost of using Token as a PSD2 compliance solution. “It eliminates security mass breaches, reduces fraud and, perhaps best of all, it paves the way for revenue,” Nelson added. Joining Nelson on stage was Stefan Weiss, Head of APIs and Open Platforms at Fidor Bank who noted, “At Fidor, we believe that PSD2 and open banking is not a threat to banks, it is an opportunity. An opportunity to stay relevant.”

With programmable money, Token has developed a technology that “can transform the way the world transacts,” according to Octopus Ventures partner Simon Andrews. Programmable money uses tokenization and cryptography to enable parties to take advantage of a “vastly greater range of parameters … when exchanging value.” And value is defined as more than just money. Writing at the Token blog, Nelson explained: “Far more than conventional money – time, contracts, expertise, goods, services, and more can all be traded.” For FIs, this offers not just greater security and verification standards for their transactions, but the ability to use more efficient self-validating transactions that would reduce costs for FIs, as well. “The potential applications for self-validating transactions conducted using programmable money are practically limitless,” he wrote.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Token presented The Future of Payments Now at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2015. Earlier this month, the company announced a partnership with Finland-based OP Financial Group and, in January, Token teamed up with information technology consulting firm, VirtusaPolaris.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Signifyd Raises $56 Million to Fight eCommerce Chargebacks.
  • Token Picks Up $18.5 Million to Help Banks Rise to the Challenge of PSD2.

Around the web

  • Wipro signs on as founding member of Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA).
  • PayNearMe adds 8,000 CVS Pharmacy Stores to its network cash acceptance locations.
  • D3 Banking announces enhancements to its small business banking 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

  • Wells Fargo and Finicity Sign Data Aggregation Partnership. Check out Finicity’s recent presentation from FinDEVr 2017 New York.
  • SwipeStox Lands $13 Million, Hints at Asia Expansion.

Around the web

  • Tradeshift teams up with CreditEase to provide low-cost, trade financing to Chinese SMEs.
  • FICO unveils FICO Origination Manager Essentials to accelerate loan decisioning.
  • Market EarlyBird selected to participate in HM Government’s first International Fintech Conference in London in April.
  • VASCO appoints Jeff Cole as Chief Information Officer.
  • Datanami interviews MapD CEO and Co-Founder Todd Mostak.
  • Finland-based OP Financial Group partners with Token to develop new fintech solutions.
  • Celent awards IndusInd Bank for its CustomerXPS-powered solution that has revolutionized fraud and AML management within the bank.
  • Connect JIRA with process mining software from myInvenio.

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.