TrueAccord Lands $22 Million to Humanize Debt Collection

Online debt collection service TrueAccord received $22 million in funding this week. Leading the round was Arbor Ventures. A mix of existing and new investors, including Arbor, Nyca Investment Partnership, Assurant Growth Investing, Caffeinated Capital Fund, Felicis Venture, TenOneTen and Crystal Towers, also participated. The round brings the company’s total funding to almost $34.5 million.

In an announcement, the company noted this comes after a period of “sustained and rapid growth”– between 2016 and 2017 TrueAccord grew its collection accounts by 2.5x. The funds will be used to support TrueAccord’s strategic growth initiatives, including product development, compliance functionality, client acquisition and retention, and hiring. Melissa Guzy, co-founder and managing partner of Arbor Ventures, said that TrueAccord’s “unique approach” is making a “positive impact” on the debt collections industry “by empowering many of the estimated 77 million people in debt, to get on a path to better financial health.”

TrueAccord was founded in 2013 as a debt recovery platform. The company has worked with more than 2 million people in debt by creating flexible payment solutions, helping businesses recover billions of dollars in lost revenue. TrueAccord’s clients include top 10 issuers, leading creditors, and companies such as Yelp! and LendUp. Since 2014, the company has facilitated more than $1.5 billion of debt repayment on its platform.

“It was the personal experience of dealing with a debt collector that made me realize the traditional collections industry was ripe for disruption with technology innovation and a more human approach,” said Ohad Samet, Chief Executive Officer of TrueAccord. “With changing consumer preferences, strong regulatory support for innovation, and clients who understand a customer-focus collection process is good for their business, we’re experiencing tremendous demand from the market. We are seizing this opportunity to use machine learning to humanize debt collection for good.”

Ohad Samet demoed the company’s SaaS solution at FinovateSpring 2015 along with CTO, Nadav Samet. TrueAccord landed a place on CB Insights’ Fintech 250 list this spring and contributor Jim Bruene featured TrueAccord in his piece, The Great Rewiring of Financial Services: Consumer Debt Collection.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • TrueAccord Lands $22 Million to Humanize Debt Collection
  • Rising in the East: Asian Fintech Startups Shine in Showcase
  • BOKU to Raise $60 Million Ahead of London IPO

Around the web

  • UBS Card Center leverages AI technology from FICO to lower fraud write-offs.
  • D3 Banking adds new payment options, flexible card controls to its digital banking platform.
  • Thomson Reuters introduces new set of MiFID II reference data capabilities available on its data and analytics platform, DataScope.
  • Prosper Reports Third Quarter Growth; Closes $1.5 Billion of Securitizations in 2017
  • AngelList picks Quid as a top machine learning company.
  • Lighter Capital partners with Intuit to launch $15M fund for QuickBooks developers.
  • Blackhawk Network Expands Partnership with eBay to Provide B2B Gift Card Solutions

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

  • Blooom Surpasses $1 Billion in Assets Under Management.

Around the web

  • Yelp Partners with TrueAccord to Deliver Digital Collections and Streamline Data Loop for Customer Engagement.
  • Lending Club Closes Second Self-Sponsored Securitization to Further Expand Investor Access.
  • Finovera and Payveris partner to launch Payveris BillManager.
  • Signifyd Guarantees Fraud Protection for Magento Commerce Merchants.

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.

Algomi

AutoGravity

Avalara

Behalf

Betterment

Blend

Chain

Coinbase

Credit Karma

Currencycloud

CurrencyFair

Fenergo

Financeit

Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll)

Juvo

Kabbage

Kensho

Kreditech

Klarna

LendUp

Moneytree

PayNearMe

Payoneer

Personal Capital

Plaid

Quantopian

Quovo

Revolut

Ripple Labs

Roostify

Signifyd

SocietyOne

Socure

Tink

Token

Tradeshift

Transferwise

TrueAccord

Trulioo

VATBox

Wealthfront

Xignite

Zooz

Zopa

The Great Rewiring of Financial Services: Consumer Debt Collection

Perusing the hot financial services startups on AngelList today, I noticed Finovate alum TrueAccord (FS2015 link) in second place across more than 8,600 companies. TrueAccord’s core service, a digital-first approach to consumer debt collection, is a great example of the profound changes occurring all around us. Every transaction, every process, every customer interaction (and every job), is being rewired for the digital world.

Think about the typical non-digital collection process at large lenders and other merchants. A series of annoying calls that were both stressful for the recipient, who is often in the middle of some life crisis, and awkward for the financial institution, especially if they had an ongoing relationship with the customer outside the delinquent credit account. Both sides were easily riled, leading to combative communications that were the opposite of transparent, honest and collaborative. And really, it’s almost impossible to rationally assess repayment options on a phone call you are desperate to not have.

Compare that with the 3-step digital debt collection process (outlined below). Consumers receive a well-crafted email message inviting them to begin a dialogue to work together to solve the problem. While many recipients will avoid the emails, just as they avoid phone calls, and snail mail, those that are truly interested in resolution can review their options in the privacy of their own web browser (or phone), and select what works best for them.


Step 1: Email to delinquent customer with giant Resolve Now button

Step 2: Choose a repayment plan. Note the variety of choices with the amount “You Save” at the bottom for faster repayment.

Step 3: Make first payment via credit card or bank transfer


My take: Obviously, not everyone will respond to the kindler and gentler digital approach. Deadbeats and fraudsters are still deadbeats and fraudsters. And non-responders will continue to receive harshly worded voice messages from hardened collectors. But for the forgetful and/or the well-intended, laying out their options visually in a safe and neutral manner is a great improvement for the customer relationship, which will pay dividends over time.

Author: Jim Bruene is Founder & Senior Advisor to Finovate as well as
Principal of BUX Advisors, a financial services user-experience consultancy. 

20 Alums Make the First Forbes Fintech 50

ForbesFintech502015

There’s more to the Forbes Fintech 50 list than just an awesome logo featuring George Washington wearing wrap-around shades. Forbes compiled the list by soliciting information from 300 startups, then interviewing more than 150 CEOs, founders, and industry experts. To make the cut, companies were required to have operations in the U.S. and a viable product.*

Simply put, Forbes describes the companies on the list as “small firms destined to have a big impact on your financial future and possibly upend your portfolio.”

This year, 20 Finovate and FinDEVr alums made the cut:

Algomi

  • Founded: 2012
  • HQ: London
  • Funding: $30 million
  • Customers: 14 large banks and 140 buy-side firms
  • FinovateFall 2014 demo

Betterment

Braintree

Chain

Credit Karma

HelloWallet

  • Founded: 2009
  • HQ: Washington, D.C.
  • Exit: Purchased by Morningstar in 2014 for $52.5 million
  • FinovateFall 2015 demo

Kensho

LearnVest

  • Founded: 2009
  • HQ: New York City, New York
  • Exit: Purchased by Northwestern Mutual in 2015 for $250+ million
  • FinovateFall 2013 demo

Motif

Personal Capital

Plaid

Prosper

Quantopian

Ripple

Simple

TransferWise

TrueAccord

Vouch

Wealthfront

Xignite


*While the list excludes financial giants, Forbes included startups acquired by larger companies but operating independently.

Finovate Debuts: TrueAccord Provides Kinder, Gentler, Automated Debt Collection

TrueAccord_homepage_June2015

TrueAccord uses machine learning and behavioral analytics to automate the debt-collection process. The result is an all-in-one, debt portfolio management platform with a multichannel, “humanistic” approach to engage the debt-account holder.

At FinovateSpring 2015, the company demoed the white-label version of its platform. TrueAccord says they have seen recovery improvements of 20% or more in the companies using the technology, and individual agent productivity gains of 10x. The goal at Finovate was to introduce the platform to larger institutions that could use the technology under their own brands to better manage debt accounts.

TrueAccord_FS2015_stage

TrueAccord co-founders: CTO Nadav Samet and CEO Ohad Samet demonstrated their white-label, automated debt-recovery platform at FinovateSpring 2015 in San Jose.

Company facts:

  • Founded in 2014
  • Headquartered in San Francisco, California
  • Services more than $60 million in debt from more than 400,000 debtors
  • Ohad Samet is co-founder and CEO

The story

Ohad Samet left his job as chief risk officer at Klarna to launch TrueAccord. Inspired in part by his own experience with a debt collector, Samet enlisted his brother, Nadav Samet, a veteran of the Israeli intelligence services and a former Google engineer. Together they began to tackle some of the key problems involved in debt collection:

  • Make it easier for lenders to track and manage their debt portfolios. TrueAccord provides institutions with a visually engaging, online dashboard where all debt accounts can be reviewed and monitored.
  • Automate as much of the process as possible. TrueAccord’s platform provides automated repayment plans that can be accepted as-is by borrowers or modified, and creatively engages with the debtor automatically to suggest alternative plans—even if the debtor abandons the process by closing the window.
  • Add the right kind of “human touch.” In building TrueAccord, Samet and his team knew that different debtors would respond differently to requests to repay debt. One debtor may respond better to a lighthearted text with emoticons. Another debtor may be more encouraged to pay off his debt with a more overtly motivational approach. Yet another debtor may just need to “see the math” in order to realize the importance of prioritizing debt repayment.

What’s important is meeting the debtor where he or she is, in the channel of his or her preference, in a voice (or tone or image) that is likely to produce the positive result of turning non- or under-performing loans into performing ones.

How it works

When a company initially logs onto the TrueAccord platform, the first thing to do is add loan accounts, a task easily done either by uploading files via CSV, or by using TrueAccord’s API to set up a two-way integration. Once the loan accounts are uploaded, TrueAccord goes to work classifying the loans and displaying the information graphically in the dashboard (see below).

The dashboard makes it easy to track the kind and quality of loans in the portfolio: working and non-working loans, loans in dispute, loans under a revised payment plan and more. The dashboard also tracks inbound and outbound communication volume; recoveries (with week-to-week and month-to-month comparisons); and disbursements.

trueaccord_dashboard_1

Above: TrueAccord’s dashboard gives the lender all the relevant information in an easy-to-digest graphical format.

The settings control (below) lets the company establish parameters to guide the automated debt-recovery process. Select minimum payments, maximum discounts to be offered, and maximum payment-plan length, and the system does the rest. Administrators can use the settings tab from the dashboard to see what other features TrueAccord’s engineers are developing. Those features are tested for stability before being offered for use on the platform.

trueaccord_settings_2

Above: The settings tab in the dashboard gives the lender the opportunity to customize and adjust the parameters of the loan-repayment terms TrueAccord will offer on its behalf.

Below is an example of the view of the platform from the perspective of an individual agent reviewing accounts. The account view gives the agent all the information he or she needs in order to see exactly what condition any given loan is in. Here, the agent can see the name, outstanding balance, initial loan amount, and contact information. To the right of the Home tab, the history tab displays all of the contact between the company and the debtor. The time and date when the contact was made is noted, as are the channel (email, voicemail, SMS, etc.), and any other substantive details. Interestingly, the platform also lets the agent know if the contacted debtor has tried to access any of the messages (whether or not the debtor actually returned them), including attempts that are abandoned. TrueAccord also lets the agent know if the debtor has visited the web site and which pages have been viewed.

All of this is geared toward increasing engagement with a debtor who probably is at least a little reluctant to be engaged. By studying which channels and which messages have received the most positive responses, TrueAccord is able to provide better outcomes from debt collectors and debtors.

trueaccord_agentviewdetail

Above: The TrueAccord platform gives collection agents the details on individual accounts, including a contact history.

Easily one of the most clever features of TrueAccord from this perspective is the way the technology remains engaged with the debtor, even if the debtor abandons the process. For example, if the debtor closes the tab or window in the middle of a repayment “negotiation,” the platform will send the debtor a text or email with a subject line, such as “Let’s Try Again,” a phrase with a more conciliatory tone (or more “encouraging” or more “motivating,” depending on the debtor’s personal characteristics), and a new repayment-plan offer for the debtor to consider.

trueaccord_paymentplan_4

Above: TrueAccord automatically recontacts when debtors abandon the process with an email or text offering a repayment plan that may better suit the debtors needs.

The future

Since its Finovate debut in San Jose this spring, TrueAccord has found itself in the headlines. COO Sofya Pogreb was interviewed as part of Huffington Post Business’ Women In Business series earlier this month, and the company was recently highlighted by Fox Business as one of “30 Hot Fintech Startups to Watch” and by Coin Telegraph as one of “6 Rising FinTech Startups.” The company has raised more than $5 million, with its last funding being a $250,000 Series A round completed in October 2014.

TrueAccord’s primary goal now is to encourage more large financial institutions to adopt their technology. And if the company’s desire to add data analysts is any indication, TrueAccord is optimistic about its prospects of getting FIs to put the platform to work. Writing about the company in the fall of 2014 when it included TrueAccord in a list of “Top 10 Tech Companies to Watch,” the editors of American Banker put it simply: “Debt collection is in dire need of an overhaul. TrueAccord is trying to offer an enlightened approach.”

Often we find companies trying to put a “human face” on technology to make it more palatable. In TrueAccord, we have a company knowledgeable enough about the world of debt collection to do the exact opposite.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “PayPal’s Braintree Tapped to Turn Pinterest Browsers into Consumers”
  • “EyeVerify’s Partnership with Turkish Reseller Yields Vodafone Contract”
  • “U.K.-based TransferWise: Growth and Metrics Updates

Around the web

  • TradeHero updates mobile iOS app.
  • WSJ features how Venmo helps users instantly move money more cheaply.
  • Apple lists Xero among group of business apps Apple is using to market the iPad for use in business.
  • Indianapolis Business Journal looks at the rise of robo-advisors Betterment, Wealthfront, Hedgeable, and Motif Investing.
  • TSYS launches its Chip Card on Demand to help issuers make the transition through the October chip-liability shift.
  • Top Image Systems unveils its new mobile account opening and onboarding app, MobiENROLL.
  • Benzinga interviews Igor Gonta, CEO of Market Prophit, on the launch of his Twitter-based, social media, smart beta index.
  • Fox Business features Planwise, LendUp, Trulioo, Plaid, Wealthfront, TrueAccord, WePay, Flint, Lending Club, Prosper, LendingRobot, and FutureAdvisor in its roundup of “30 Hot Fintech Startups to Watch.”
  • New York Business Journal reviews its gamification strategy of PFM solution, Qapital.
  • Financial Times profiles LendUp and the “grubby end of U.S. debt.”

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: Whodini Takes KYC to the Bluetooth Level”
  • “DriveWealth Hires Harry Temkin as New Chief Information Officer”

Around the web

  • PYMNTS chats with Morgan Beard, strategic marketing director at TSYS about how “Bring Your Own Persona” applies to banking.
  • Akamai Technologies partners with CU Cloud, China Unicom’s cloud business, to offer web performance, media delivery, and cloud security services.
  • TransferWise surpasses £500 million transferred worldwide every month, representing 2% of the U.K.’s global remittance market.
  • Money.com’s column on the secrets of crowdfunding success highlights Realty Mogul.
  • Financial Times profiles European payments innovator, Klarna.
  • GAINSCO Auto Insurance to provide agents with e-signature technology from Silanis Technology.
  • Wealth Management looks at the “new breed” of fintech companies specializing in alternative investments such as HedgeCoVest and Hedgeable.
  • Benzinga’s Jim Probasco interviews Sang Lee, CEO and co-founder of DarcMatter.
  • Edenred Mexico to deploy real-time transaction-monitoring and customer-analytics technology from INETCO Systems.
  • Market Prophit and TickerTags are featured in a Waters Technology column on the changing nature of market data.
  • HuffPo Business interviews TrueAccord COO Sofya Pogreb as part of its series on women in business.
  • Coin Telegraph lists Bitbond, Wealthfront, and TrueAccord in its roundup of “rising fintech startups.”
  • Tech.co looks at how Trulioo defends startups against credit card fraud.
  • How Motif CEO Hardeep Walia and Personal Capital CEO Bill Harris feel about the term “robo-advisor”.

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: SayPay Combines Voice Recognition and Biometric Authentication

Around the web

  • ColoradoBiz talks with Entrepreneur of the Year finalist: Krista Morgan, CEO and co-founder of P2Binvestor.
  • TechCrunch column on bitcoin and the remittance market references Coinbase and TransferWise.
  • PYMNTS.com highlights OnDeck, Lending Club, and Prosper in its look at the changing relationship between banks and alternative lenders.
  • Business Insider: SocietyOne thinks Australia is big enough for a bunch of small players.
  • TradeHero parent partners with the Singapore Exchange (SGX) to launch the SGX StockWhiz 2015 contest.
  • Bitbond, Wealthfront, and TrueAccord listed among six rising fintech startups.
  • Lendio-powered Staples business loans surpasses $1 million in funding for 43 SMBs across the U.S.
  • Quisk short-listed for Red Herring’s Top 100 North America award.
  • Fox Financial Planning Network picks Jemstep’s Advisor Pro as automated investment service platform for its AdvisorTouch Symphony program.
  • The Hanover Insurance Group teams up with Identity Theft 911 to provide businesses with better defense against data breaches.
  • FearlessMen.com reviews small business lender, EZBOB.
  • etcAndroid spotlights Toshl Finance Budget and Expense app 1.7.21.
  • FundSERV to integrate e-SignLive from Silanis into its eDOCS solution.
  • Mitek to acquire IDchecker, a global identity verification solutions provider.
  • Oink featured in USA Today’s list of five financial musts for college grads.
  • Accredited Investor Markets interviews DarcMatter CEO Sang Lee.
  • Kabbage partners with Sage payment solutions to launch Sage small business loan powered by Kabbage.

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.