“I have lightbulb moments all the time – doesn’t everyone?” The rise of women in Fintech

This article was first published on FinTech Futures on April 18th 2017.

Liz Maguire, Head of Digital & Transformation at ANZ reveals the secret to her success within fintech and #WomenInTech.

How did you start your career?

I started in a bank graduate programme straight out of university in a frontline role. I’ve since worked in lots of different departments and roles across several companies and time zones. I’ve held leadership roles in products, marketing, business support and channel management, and now lead a fantastic Digital and Transformation function at New Zealand’s largest (and best!) bank.  

What sparked your interest in fintech?

I’ve always worked in areas which are trying to do things differently and better – and this has really motivated me.

The Digital and Transformation area is a perfect fit for me – we’re part of an industry which is evolving around us and we’re using digital tools to drive the evolution.

I also love the people aspect of it. It all comes down to human behaviour – everything we do starts with people. We don’t just think up cool digital stuff and then try and get people to use it. We study the way people think, behave, work and live and design digital banking functions to make their lives easier – and that’s pretty satisfying.

What was your lightbulb moment?

I have lightbulb moments all the time – doesn’t everyone? For example, I had a real lightbulb moment about the so-called ‘disruptive FinTech companies’. The whole fintech industry is often positioned in quite a negative light for banks, but I think this ignores the fact that banks have a huge track record of digital transformation already.  There are fantastic examples of fintech enablers – those which help banks be better at a particular aspect of what they do. I see enormous opportunity in this.

What inspires you?

People with growth mind sets inspire me – those people who have the ability to take 1 plus 1 and create 3. I have tremendous respect for people who have overcome large obstacles to achieve their goals.

Also, on a daily basis I’m inspired by great customer experiences – whether that’s a story about how one of our bankers or digital tools have impressed a customer, or an experience I’ve had with a company that has blown me away.

Why is the #WomenInTech movement important?

It’s bringing together two important things. Women are half of the population and so we need to address the disparity in the industry. And it’s such an important industry – it’s a crucial part of society and the way we all progress. We need to get as many diverse brains as possible working on the opportunities that exist out there for technology.

What piece of advice would you give women starting their careers in FinTech?

As a whole, society has come a long way in the gender equality stakes. But we’re definitely not there yet, especially in this industry. I think it’s important to ensure young women are supported and can learn from the examples of others. This might be simple things like learning to speak up in meetings, how to ask for help and how to be more visible.

Throughout the year we will be profiling women in fintech, not simply to celebrate their success but also to hear what has worked for them during the course of their careers. Click here to read more inspirational stories from fintech’s leading women >>

Women in FinTech: “Be brave and dare and you will succeed.”

Woman run to new opportunities

FrancoiseThis article was first published on FinTech Futures. Françoise Lamotte, SVP, Head of Direct and Digital, MetLife EMEA, tells us about her path to becoming a distinguished leader within the FinTech industry and gives some invaluable advice for companies and women aiming to give rise to Women in Tech. Lamotte is on the Advisory Board for InsurTech Rising 2017, the leading InsurTech showcase for the future of insurance.

How did you start your career?

I started my career 25 years ago in Japan – I was absolutely fascinated by the country after spending 18 months there as a scholar funded by the Japanese government. At that time there was no internet, no mobile or smart phones; it sounds like pre-history!

What sparked your interest in FinTech?

In 2007, I became the first chief digital officer of AXA group. I realized the tremendous challenge for a large multinational company to digitally transform itself and bring innovation to the forefront. Large companies have assets like brand, customers, data, capital, but often lack the agility and the willingness to experiment. Fintech is the primary stimulus for more customer centricity. More importantly, smart partnering with startups is, for me, the best way to prepare the future when you are a large incumbent.

What was your lightbulb moment?

I had the opportunity to work at a very successful start-up of the sharing economy and experienced how company culture is critical for success: sharing the same vision, strong values, leadership and transparency, customer focus – these are key ingredients that need to be seeded from the very beginning to ensure success and growth.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by courage and determination – a mix of “anything is possible” and “I can do it”.

Why is the #WomenInFinTech movement important?

Diversity in the workspace is very important. Organizations perform better when they are inclusive and when women are strongly represented at all levels. However, when you add “tech” to the equation, it seems it raises an additional barrier.  Right from the source, the pool of female talents is currently more limited – fewer female engineers, fewer female studying computer science, etc. The #WomeninTech movement will help inspire female students and young professionals to choose careers in that space and create an inclusive environment where they can thrive and succeed.

What piece of advice would you give women starting their careers in fintech?

Choose the right environment for you, meaning the project that inspires you and the colleagues and leaders who develop a great company culture. Get support and coaching from a mentor. Join Women’s network. Give visibility to your work and achievements – speak up, promote what you do, share your opinion, get on stage. Be brave and dare.. and you will succeed.

Throughout the year we will be profiling women in fintech, not simply to celebrate their success but also to hear what has worked for them during the course of their careers. Read more inspirational stories from fintech’s leading women >>

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Take a look at our latest FinovateSpring Sneak Peeks featuring Microblink, HotDocs, Lleida.net and SATEC, Capsilon, RFM, and TALK Accounting.

Around the web

  • Private bank Julius Baer teams up with CREALOGIX for new mobile banking solution.
  • Ripple hires SWIFT business director Marjan Delatinne as new sales director for Europe.
  • Former Kabbage CTO Amala Duggirala joins Regions Bank as its new CIO.

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.

Women in FinTech: An interview with Samina Rizwan

Samina Rizwan

This article was first published on FinTech Futures on 22 March 2017. 

Throughout the year we will be profiling women in FinTech, not simply to celebrate their success but also to hear what has worked for them during the course of their careers. This week, Samina Rizwan, Enterprise Architect, Habib Bank Ltd tells us about her path into FinTech and how she has become a distinguished leader within the industry, making a positive impact in the financial services industry. In 2016, Samina was shortlisted for the Woman In Technology (W.I.T) Award with Banking Technology.

How did you start your career?

I started my career 1995, as a Computer Systems Engineer working for a PCB manufacturing company in San Jose. Being a professional engineer, I was excited about the challenges I used to face each day when I routed and designed multi-layered circuit boards in those days where technology was in its midway especially in a country like mine. Yet it was far from sight as to when that type of technology would become common and a career path for engineers in Pakistan. I then switched to the software technology soon after realizing these facts and proceeded with software development further growing into the project management regime and remained as a vendor for another eight years.

I joined the financial industry after 10 years of my career where I started working as customer rather than a vendor and that really change the way I thought about technology, as I was the end user of it. Being a banking technology person, the need of satisfying the bank’s customers became a pressing need of the day. I was engaged in the IT Portfolio Management at the bank working with internal and external customer and also turned the technology back end to offer more innovative financial products.

“I always believe in ‘change for good’.”

What sparked your interest in FinTech?

The Fintech Rise. As the financial world is shrinking and becoming more personal to customers based on their requirements, lifestyle trends, socio-economical changes around the globe has limited the financial institutions to cover the demand and supply cycle of all the customers at an equal and consistent level. Hence the rise of FinTechs gaining momentum and disrupting the financial industry by their financial inclusion in everyone’s life.

What was your lightbulb moment?

In developing countries like mine, the FinTechs have played a vital role along with other service providers like TELCO companies that are providing simple means of payment services to the unbanked masses.

This disruption created a phenomenal change in the financial institution including my previous and current organization to startup banking for the unbanked. This has not only brought in competition to the local market, but is also now becoming popular in the international markets. The African region is offering similar financial products to their customers using technology.

“Women have proven to be an important and critical part of the technology.”

What inspires you?

After having said all about FinTechs, financial institutions, we all remain human at the end of the day and being a human gives us the leverage to bring change on a faster pace, thus driving the technology owners to bring corresponding changes in their technology stacks. I always believe in “change for good” and so I follow the FinTech models to bring changes in the financial institutions while crafting business and IT strategies, bringing in new technologies to the bank, creating room for innovation and new ideas like digital banking.

“Women are far stronger than they think and can carry on another mile to reach the pinnacle of their professional lives and pick themselves up and move on…”

Why is the #WomenInFinTech movement important?

The other half of the world has always been a part of almost every industry, technology included. We, as females have been consistently assisting, creating, developing, researching, innovating, working by all means in all areas of science, technology and engineering at superior levels rather than mediocre levels. The current C-levels in most technology giants currently are “females” and I am really proud to be a woman too. Women, being patient in nature and having the great capability of multi-tasking, have proven to be an important and critical part of the technology.

What piece of advice would you give women starting their careers in FinTech?

I still consider that many women are still far away from being a mid-level and leading positions, and the main reason for such exclusion might be due to mid-career exits from their professional life and entering into domestic lives. It is also due to upbringing of children most of the time in our part of the world. But I would suggest that they are far stronger than they think and can carry on another mile to reach the pinnacle of their professional lives and pick themselves up and move on…

Save $200 When You Register for FinovateSpring By This Friday!

Venue Demo

This Friday is the final day of Very Early-Bird ticket sales for FinovateSpring 2017. To take advantage of these early discounts and save $200 off the regular price, be sure to register before the end of the week.

Our spring conference returns to San Jose on April 26 & 27 for two days of live fintech demonstrations and high-caliber networking. The show will take place at the San Jose Convention Center. Find out more about the venue and local hotels on the event’s website.

Based on the early ticket sales we’ve seen and the impressive applications we’ve received from companies eager to present, this show promises to be one you won’t want to miss (stay tuned in the coming weeks for the presenter announcement!). If you’d like a refresher of what you can expect to see on stage, check out last year’s demo videos in our video archives.

And remember, tickets are fully refundable through March 3, so there’s no risk in securing these savings and your spot today. We hope to see you in Silicon Valley this April!

FinovateSpring 2017 is sponsored by: FT Partners, Leverage PR and more to be announced.

FinovateSpring 2017 is partners with: Aite Group, BankersHub, Banking Technology, Celent, FemTech Global, Financial IT, Fintech Finance, Mapa Research, Mercator Advisory Group, Ovum, Paybefore, The Paypers, SME Finance Forum, and Western Independent Bankers.

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.

I’ve Got 99 Fintech Problems and a List Ain’t One

With apologies to Jay-Z (and a hat tip to The Middle Ground which, unbeknownst to me, came up with a better twist on his lyrics), we point you to the latest reference for those looking to solve real financial services problems.

The fintech wizards at Singapore’s MAS recently published a list of 100 problems in financial services. The problem 100 fintech problems tocstatements, and suggested enabling technologies, were crowdsourced from around the world. The list is as an aid for participants in its 2016 hackcelerator (which has a 31 July deadline for submissions for the S$20,000 prize), but it’s also a good reference for anyone in the fintech startup space.

While I’ve seen bigger lists (in 2014, we published a report with more than 1,000), the MAS version covers more diverse topics than most, addressing regulatory bottlenecks, trade finance opportunities, financial inclusion, along with the usual payments and consumer banking issues. Check out the table of contents (inset) and the full PDF here.

Fintech Fundings: 113 Companies Raised $1.7 Billion in May

money_pig_sunglassesTotal fundings worldwide in May were $1.7 billion across 112 deals and 1 IPO. The weekly details can be found through the following links:

The final week of the month saw 29 companies raise $592 million, including $238 in Cotiviti’s IPO. Venture funding was $354 million, of which just $100,000 was debt.

Two Finovate alums raised substantial rounds:

  • TransferWise raised $26 million, at a $1.1 billion valuation, for its international funds-transfer service
  • DashLane raised $22.5 million to fund growth of its digital password-management system

The total number of deals YTD stands at 551, 80% more than last year’s 306. Total dollars raised YTD is now $15.7 billion, more than twice the $7.2 billion raised during the same period a year ago.


Fintech deals by size from 21 May to 27 May 2016:

Healthcare payments analytics
Latest round: $238 million IPO
Total raised: Unknown
HQ: Atlanta, Gerogia
Tags: SMB, enterprise, healthcare, payment, insurance, bookkeeping, analytics, cost savings
Source: FT Partners

P2P lending platform
Latest round: $153 million Series C
Total raised: $177 million
HQ: Hangzhou, China
Tags: Consumer, lending, peer-to-peer, credit, underwriting, investing
Source: Crunchbase

Crowdsourced investment information
Latest round: $30 million Series D
Total raised: $57.2 million
HQ: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Tags: Consumer, investors, advisers, investing, trading, wealth management
Source: Crunchbase

International funds transfer network
Latest round: $26 million Series D
Total raised: $116.4 million
HQ: London, England, United Kingdom
Tags: Consumer, SMB, payments, remittances, foreign exchange, fx, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Carson Group
Wealth management platform
Latest round: $35 million
Total raised: $35 million
HQ: Omaha, Nebraska
Tags: Advisers, investing, wealth management, trading
Source: Crunchbase

Password management and secure digital wallet
Latest round: $22.5 million Series C
Total raised: $52.5 million
HQ: California
Tags: Consumer, B2B2C, password management, security, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Online alternative investments
Latest round: $20 million
Total raised: $20 million
HQ: Limassol, Cyprus
Tags: Consumer, investing, alt-investments, trading, wealth management, advisers
Source: Crunchbase

Point-of-sale system for vehicles
Latest round: $17 million
Total raised: $19.5 million
HQ: San Francisco, California
Tags: Consumer, B2B2C, credit, lending, auto lending, indirect loans, underwriting
Source: Crunchbase

Wealth management platform
Latest round: $9.6 million Angel
Total raised: $9.6 million
HQ: London, England, United Kingdom
Tags: Consumer, advisers, investing, trading, asset management
Source: FT Partners

Electronic execution platforms for interest rate swaps
Latest round: $9.2 million Series A
Total raised: $33.7 million
HQ: New York City
Tags: Enterprise, investing, trading
Source: Crunchbase

Alt-lender to small businesses
Latest round: $8 million Series A
Total raised: $8 million
HQ: Mexico City
Tags: SMB, credit, commercial loans, lending, underwriting
Source: Crunchbase

Lien rights platform
Latest round: $5.0 million Series A
Total raised: $6.77 million
HQ: New Orleans, Louisiana
Tags: SMB, commercial lending, construction loans, security, underwriting
Source: Crunchbase

Syndicate Room
Equity crowdfunding platform
Latest round: $4.6 million Series A
Total raised: $8 million
HQ: Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
Tags: Consumer, SMB, investing, equity, P2P, peer-to-peer
Source: Crunchbase

Mobile sales and fulfillment for financial institutions
Latest round: $3 million
Total raised: $3 million
HQ: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tags: Enterprise, online marketing, account opening, marketing, lead gen
Source: FT Partners

Clarity Money
Personal finance management app
Latest round: $2.5 million
Total raised: $2.5 million
HQ: New York City, New York
Tags: Consumer, personal finance, PFM, mobile
Source: Crunchbase

United Mobile Technology
Mobile payments platform, iPAYst
Latest round: $2.2 million Series A
Total raised: $2.2 million
HQ: Munich, Germany
Tags: Consumer, B2B2C, payments, analytics, big data
Source: FT Partners

Online tax preparation
Latest round: $2 million Seed
Total raised: $15.4 million
HQ: New Delhi, India
Tags: Consumer, taxes, personal finance, tax prep
Source: Crunchbase

Personal finance coach
Latest round: $1.2 million Seed
Total raised: $1.2 million
HQ: San Francisco, California
Tags: Consumer, personal finance, PFM, service, sales, chatbot
Source: Crunchbase

Online investment manager
Latest round: $1 million Seed
Total raised: $1 million
HQ: Bangalore, India
Tags: Consumer, investing, trading, advisers, wealth management
Source: Crunchbase

Online investment platform for secured loans
Latest round: $870,000 Equity Crowdfunding
Total raised: $1.28 million
HQ: London, England, UK
Tags: Consumer, advisers, investing, commercial loans
Source: Crunchbase

Online automobile leasing service
Latest round: $725,000
Total raised: $725,000
HQ: Sweden
Tags: Consumer, credit, auto loans, lending, underwriting
Source: Crunchbase

Company credit cards
Latest round: $560,000 Seed
Total raised: $560,000
HQ: London, England, United Kingdom
Tags: SMB, credit cards, expense management, bookkeeping, controls, security
Source: Crunchbase

Latest round: $335,000 Seed
Total raised: $2.43 million
HQ: Malmo, Sweden
Tags: SMB, B2B2C, payments
Source: Crunchbase

Retail investor services platform
Latest round: $100,000 Debt
Total raised: $100,000
HQ: Miami, Florida
Tags: Consumer, advisers, investing, trading, deal management
Source: Crunchbase

Financial literacy app
Latest round: $10,000 Grant (from JP Morgan)
Total raised: $85,000
HQ: California
Tags: Consumer, personal finance information, gamification, underbanked, mobile
Source: Crunchbase

Bitcoin exchange
Latest round: Not disclosed
Total raised: Unknown
HQ: Dubai, UAE
Tags: Consumer, crypto-currency, bitcoin, blockchain
Source: Crunchbase

Blockchain-based smart contracts (aka Wings)
Latest round: Undisclosed Seed
Total raised: Unknown
HQ: Tel Aviv, Israel
Tags: SMB, blockchain, bitcoin
Source: Crunchbase

Expense reporting
Latest round: Unknown
Total raised: Unknown
HQ: Paris, France
Tags: SMB, bookkeeping, accounting, employee management
Source: Crunchbase

Equity crowdfunding platform
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: Unkown
HQ: Nacka, Sweden
Tags: Consumer, SMB, equity investing, investors
Source: Crunchbase

Fintech Fundings: 28 Companies Raise $400 Million Week Ending May 20

Money_clickTotal fundings in second quarter hit $8.4 billion as 28 companies raised $401 million the third week of May. Eight deals passed the $10-million mark, with one more at $9 million.

Along with the usual payment and lending startups, two insur-tech companies raised substantial rounds: Embroker ($12.2 million) and Jetty ($4 million).

Finovate alums accounted for 40% of the week’s dollar volume including:

The total number of deals YTD stands at 522, 80% more than last year’s 290. Total dollars raised YTD is now $15.1 billion, more than twice the $7.1 billion raised during the same period a year ago.


Fintech deals by size from 14 May to 20 May 2016:

Clover Health
Health insurance provider
Latest round: $160 million Series C
Total raised: $295 million
HQ: San Francisco, California
Tags: Consumer, insurance, healthcare, human resources, benefits, employees
Source: Crunchbase

Personal Capital
Digital wealth manager
Latest round: $75 million Series E ($500 million valuation)
Total raised: $175.3 million
HQ: Redwood City, California
Tags: Consumer, investing, wealth management, robo-adviser, trading, asset management, trading, Finvoate alum
Source: Finovate

Digital investment adviser
Latest round: $40 million
Total raised: $56 million
HQ: San Francisco, California
Tags: Consumer, investing, trading, portfolio management, wealth management, Comerica Bank (investor), Santander (investor), New York Life (investor), Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Small business alt-lender
Latest round: $35.5 million Debt
Total raised: $130.8 million ($83.1 million Equity, $47.7 million Debt)
HQ: London, England, United Kingdom
Tags: SMB, credit, loans, underwriting, lending
Source: Crunchbase

Tally Technologies
Consumer credit-card management
Latest round: $15 million Series A
Total raised: $15 million
HQ: San Francisco, California
Tags: Consumer, credit cards, personal finance, PFM, debt management, lead gen
Source: Crunchbase

Business insurance
Latest round: $12.2 million Series A
Total raised: $14.4 million
HQ: San Francisco, California
Tags: SMB, insurance, claims management, broker, lead gen, price comparison
Source: Crunchbase

Personal finance app
Latest round: $10.2 million Series B
Total raised: $14.2 million
HQ: Stockholm, Sweden
Tags: Consumer, personal financial management, PFM, spending, budgeting, mobile, Finovate alum
Source: Finovate

Shift Technology
Fraud detection for ecommerece and financial services
Latest round: $10 million Series A
Total raised: $11.8 million
HQ: Paris, France
Tags: Enterprise, security, insurance, ecommerce, fraud protection
Source: Crunchbase

Neo bank
Latest round: $9 million
Total raised: $20.75 million
HQ: San Francisco, California
Tags: Consumer, prepaid/debit card, savings account, deposits, payments, billpay
Source: Crunchbase

Document management for accounting and financial firms
Latest round: $5 million
Total raised: $31.05 million
HQ: Lehi, Utah
Tags: Enterprise, SMB, , credit, loans, underwriting, lending
Source: Crunchbase

Accounting services for small businesses 
Latest round: $4.2 million
Total raised: $4.2 million
HQ: Charlston, South Carolina
Tags: SMB, accoounting, bookkeeping, receivables/payables, financial reporting
Source: Crunchbase

Digital property and casualty (P&C) insurance
Latest round: $4 million Seed
Total raised: $4 million Seed
HQ: New York City
Tags: Consumer, insurance, P&C, millennials
Source: Crunchbase

Full-service digital bank
Latest round: $3.05 million Equity Crowdfunding
Total raised: $34.8 million
HQ: London, England, United Kingdom
Tags: Consumer, credit, deposits, banking, payments, credit/debit cards
Source: Crunchbase

Mobile rent payments
Latest round: $2.9 million
Total raised: $2.9 million
HQ: London, England, United Kingdom
Tags: SMB, payments, property management, rentals
Source: Crunchbase

Data aggregation and visualization for wealth management
Latest round: $2.35 million
Total raised: $6.13 million
HQ: Singapore
Tags: Advisers, SMB, investing, wealth management, investing tools, investors
Source: Crunchbase

Fund That Flip
Real estate marketplace lending
Latest round: $2 million
Total raised: $2.04 million
HQ: New York City
Tags: Consumer, SMB, credit, loans, underwriting, investing, P2P, peer to peer, crowdfunding
Source: Crunchbase

Hey You
Mobile ordering and payment app
Latest round: $2 million Series B
Total raised: $7 million
HQ: Surry Hills, Australia
Tags: SMB, merchants, acquiring, credit/debt card processing, restaurants, payments
Source: Crunchbase

Latin America real estate portal
Latest round: $2 million
Total raised: $4.23 million
HQ: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tags: Consumer, home buying, mortgage, lead gen
Source: Crunchbase

Online cap-table management
Latest round: $1.99 million
Total raised: $2.99 million
HQ: Sandy, Utah
Tags: SMB, financial management, investors, investing, valuations
Source: Crunchbase

ET Index
Investor tools to evaluate carbon risk
Latest round: $1.6 million Equity Crowdfunding
Total raised: $1.6 million
HQ: London, England, United Kingdom
Tags: Investors, trading, valuations, analytics, eco, investing tools
Source: Crunchbase

Latest round: $1.6 million Convertible Note
Total raised: $1.6 million
HQ: New York City
Tags: Advisers, investors, wealth management, investing
Source: Crunchbase

Consumer alt-lender
Latest round: $600,000 Seed
Total raised: $600,000
HQ: Stockholm, Sweden
Tags: Consumer, credit, loans, underwriting, lending
Source: Crunchbase

Mobile point-of-sale solution
Latest round: $513,000 Debt
Total raised: $18.96 million
HQ: Kirkland, Washington
Tags: SMB, merchants, acquiring, credit/debit card processing, hospitality, restaurants, underwriting, POS
Source: Crunchbase

Automated financial advice
Latest round: $385,000 Seed
Total raised: $385,000
HQ: Miami, Florida
Tags: Consumer, investing, portfolio management, trading
Source: Crunchbase

Consumer marketplace lender
Latest round: $300,000 Angel
Total raised: $300,000
HQ: Noida, India
Tags: Consumer, credit, loans, underwriting, lending, P2P, peer to peer, investing
Source: Crunchbase

Funds-transfer service
Latest round: $50,000 Seed
Total raised: $60,000
Acclerator: VC Fintech
HQ: Charlston, South Carolina
Tags: Consumer, savings account, investing, ACH
Source: Crunchbase

Renew Financial
Renewable energy financing
Latest round: Undisclosed
Total raised: $102.2 million
HQ: Oakland, California
Tags: Consumer, SMB, loans, credit, lending, underwriting, personal finance management, energy consumption management
Source: FT Partners

Peer-to-peer payments
Latest round: Undisclosed Angel
Total raised: Unknown
HQ: London, England, United Kingdom
Tags: Consumer, P2P payments, remittances, funds transfers
Source: Crunchbase


Lending Club’s Stock Price is Not a Leading Indicator for Fintech


Lending Club (LC) will always have a fond place in my heart. Renaud Laplanche’s small team presented at our very first Finovate in 2007. And until a few months ago, they were our most successful startup alum, at least measured by company valuation (Credit Karma gets the nod for now). While LendingClub is still a unicorn (market cap = $1.5 billion today), the loss of 7 or 8 unicorns’ worth of market cap in the past 12 months is unsettling.

I have had little interaction with the company in the past few years as it moved from demoing tech at Finovate to keynoting alt-lending events. But I’ve always been a fan, both of the business model, and also of Laplanche and the company as a whole. I will say this, though, they were one of our more intense alums. But that’s not necessarily a negative. That’s often what it takes to scale in the difficult world of consumer credit where one misstep can sink you (RIP Nextcard).

But they’ve also been willing to give back. Laplanche personally introduced us to a potential strategic partner several years ago. He did it purely as a friendly favor. It was long past the point where he had anything to gain from that introduction.

So, yeah, it’s been hard to watch the s***storm of the past 10 days. I was preoccupied with FinovateSpring during the worst of it last week, but I’ve been soaking up the various articles the past few days. I agree with Peter Renton’s post today: Lending Club must overcome some serious challenges in the short-term. But to say that the marketplace lending model is broken (paywall warning), or to jump to the conclusion of a fundamental flaw in the entire fintech industry is just so much hyperbole.

lc ytd stockFrom what I can discern, Lending Club had a relatively minor disclosure issue. And while LC lost major trust-points (albeit a HUGE issue), it’s important to note there were ZERO financial losses for anyone involved other than shareholders (see inset) and fired LC execs. A single bad consumer loan would produce more financial damage to LC lenders than this whole sordid situation.

What does this mean for the future of P2P lending? Well, it’s bad for LC short-term. But for other players, the situation is mixed. Less volume going through the LC platform means more loan demand for other players. But it’s a two-sided market, and clearly some institutional money is pulling back, so it may be harder to fund loans. That means rates go up, which will spike lender returns, bringing more capital back into the system. Money always flows to the best risk-adjusted return. So marketplace lending survives.

And what does all this mean to the other fintech players? We had 72 demos at FinovateSpring last week. Exactly zero of them are impacted negatively by the LC situation. The primary P2P loan-play, Best of Show winner Lending Robot, is probably helped by volatility. As the “Mint for individual P2P lenders,” that YC alum acts as a front-end to multiple loan platforms (see their demo here).

You could argue that the stock-price decline of Lending Club puts a damper on future fintech IPOs. That is probably true for U.S. consumer lending marketplaces like Prosper (which recently laid off 28% of its workforce, which, remember, had doubled in 2015). But serious investors don’t view fintech as one homogeneous field. Returns from angel investing in Hip Pocket or UBS’s recent investment in SigFig, have no correlation with the stock market return of a single public marketplace lender.

So yes, one high-flyer falls back to earth, but that’s not an indictment of an entire, highly diversified industry.