Azimo Announces $1M Seed Round for European Expansion

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As far as Azimo is concerned, the “M” in Monday might as well stand for “Million Dollar Seed Round.”

FinovateEurope alum Azimo announced that it has raised “just over” $1 million in seed funding from existing investors.

The seed round was led by the European division of venture capital firm, eVentures, and included investment from Matt Cooper, founder of Capital One. The $1 million is slated to help the U.K.-based money transfer startup successfully expand to the Continent.

The new funding puts Azimo’s total capital at approximately $1.5 million. The company announced an angel investment of 300,000 pounds ($480,000 USD) in January of this year. TechCrunch is reporting that Azimo’s European expansion will begin in Germany. Other nations targeted include France, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Spain.
Azimo provides a simple and secure money transfer service that allows people to transfer money via PC or mobile device in more than 125 countries around the world. Funds can be transferred using debit cards or bank accounts, and cash can be received at more than 150,000 collection points.
To celebrate the funding news, Azimo will be offering free money transfers through October. More on transferring money via Azimo available here.
Founded in London in January 2012, Azimo was launched in August of that year. The company demoed its technology as part of the FinovateEurope 2013 show in February.

Finovate Alumni News– September 30, 2013

  • Taulia announces its Supplier Assurance Initiative, designed to provide services to customers and suppliers within Xign’s buyer network.
  • Upstart Business Journal features peerTransfer.
  • Azimo announces $1 million seed round for European expansion.
  • ACI Worldwide launches ACI Bill Presentment Services to ease adoption of electronic billing and invoicing.
  • Bank Innovation takes a look at Manila’s AOL Bill Manager.
  • eDeposit announces that it is now a fully licensed money transmitter in all 50 states.
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.

Umpqua Bank Launches Mortgage Sales Tool: Home Hunter

image Ever since I saw CEO Ray Davis speak at BAI in the mid-1990s, I’ve been a huge Umpqua Bank fan. But most of the bank’s notoriety is around its fresh take on the brick-and-mortar experience. But that’s not my thing, at all, so I don’t get a chance to write about them often.

However, today I was delighted to see a new mobile app appear in the iOS store called Umpqua Home Hunter. It’s a simple tool for house hunting. When a home buyer runs across a home of interest when out and about, they can open up the Home Hunter and automatically document the address (via GPS), then add comments, pictures, and a 1-to-5 star rating (see screenshots below).

There is also clever integration to Umpqua lenders. Users can forward the house to the lender of their choice to start the mortgage prequalification process (see third screenshot). 

Bottom line: While the app is pretty basic, lacking integration to home value databases such as Zillow, or MLS/Realtor services such as Redfin, it could recoup its development costs with a couple incremental mortgages every month. And even if it fails to do that, it’s a novel mobile service that helps position Umpqua as an innovator in digital, like they’ve long been in branch banking. 


Users add a home details                    ….pictures, comments, rating

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Below left: Users have the option to send homes over to their Umpqua
loan officer to get the mortgage process started




Note: For more on mobile banking and/or online lending, see our Online Banking Report archives (subscription).

Singapore-Based MyHero Earns $10M from Kleiner Perkins and Others to Enhance TradeHero App


Majulah, MyHero!

With the backing of Kleiner Perkins, Caufield Byers China fund, and IPV Capital, Singapore-based MyHero is now $10 million closer to reaching its goals of expanding into the Chinese market and growing its user base to more than 300,000.

Led by CEO and founder, Dinesh Bhatia, MyHero is the developer behind TradeHero. TradeHero, says Bhatia, is a “financial literacy tool” that lets users trade and invest virtual dollars in the stock market. Top performing traders and investors can monetize their talent by selling real-time market notifications through the app to their followers.

This combination of gamification and virtual trading community has earned the app a #1 spot in the financial category of the iOS App Store in 75 countries. The app is expected to be available in Android soon.
The $10 million in Series A funding is the company’s first major financing since a seed round put more than $450,000 in TradeHero’s coffers at the beginning of the year. The current infusion of capital is slated to help MyHero market TradeHero more aggressively over the next few years, as well as support a focus on China over the next three to six months. Bhatia cited successful testing of TradeHero’s mobile app in markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore as providing confidence that a move into China would be well-received.
Read more about Asia-based Finovate alumni in our recent feature by Julie Schicktanz that explores the support startups like TradeHero have received from the venture capital community.
TradeHero demoed their mobile app as part of the inaugural FinovateAsia event in Singapore in 2012. Finovate will be returning to Singapore for FinovateAsia 2013 in November, and early bird tickets to the one-day show are available through October 4. For more information on FinovateAsia 2013, visit our page here.

BankersLab and FICO Launch New App in Brazil: Missao Positivo

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BankersLab, the company that gamifies financial learning, unveiled a new app in Brazil in conjunction with FICO today called Missao Positivo (Portuguese for “Mission Positive”).

The goal of the app is to:

    • help players take charge of their financial life
    • create a better understanding of their financial obligations
    • understand how payment behavior affects their credit options

FICO brings 57 years of experience in understanding how a consumer’s behavior impacts their credit risk. The new app helps it bring that knowledge to consumers with insights into how to improve their financial standing.

BankersLab last demoed at FinovateAsia 2012 where it launched ScoringLab. If you’re interested in seeing the lineup of companies for FinovateAsia this year, check it out here.

Finovate Alumni News– September 27, 2013

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      Real estate tech firm Tribus is integrating Planwise’s PFM to help homebuyers evaluate the affordability of listings.

    • MyBankTracker lists Check, Manilla, and Personal Capital as 3 finance apps just as good as Mint.
    • MoneyDesktop marketing video wins 2013 Telly Award.
    • PC World features 11 FinovateFall demo companies. 
    • Singapore-based MyHero earns $10M from Kleiner Perkins and others to enhance TradeHero app.
    • What’s the Next Big Thing in financial services? Ideas from FinovateFall and beyond.
    • American Banker: The cutting edge of online banking, as practiced by a Polish bank (mBank).
    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.

    What’s the Next Big Thing in Financial Services? Ideas from FinovateFall and Beyond

    Finovate conferences are all about innovation and “what’s next” in financial services. At the recent FinovateFall conference miiCard Founder and CEO, James Varga, compiled thoughts and ideas of people from all places in the industry

    The following clip is the first installment of his two-part series, detailing current trends in the fintech industry. In it, participants are asked, “What’s the next big thing in financial services?”


    Here is just a taste of the responses:
    • “Large-value transactions online, such as real estate transactions”
    • “Personalized financial services including social payments and social authentication”
    • “Mobile as primary interface with the customer”
    • “Shifting of lending risk away from banks and to more flexible, non-bank lenders”
    • “Giving customers a fantastic experience and capitalizing on it by making revenues from those customers”

    Watch the video for more from the presenters, sponsors, attendees of FinovateFall.

    The second piece in the series, Predictions for 2020 and Beyond will come next week so stay tuned.

    The Rumors Are True: eBay’s PayPal Acquires Braintree for $800 Million in Cash


    After weeks of rumors, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of PayPal’s plan to acquire payments gateway, Braintree. This week, it pulled the trigger and dished out $800 million in cash for Chicago-based Braintree.

    According to PayPal CEO, David Marcus, this acquisition will help Braintree grow much faster than a normal, startup pace. In his blog post announcing the deal, Marcus states:


    “Our resources will enable them to push the boundaries of innovation with ambition and confidence for consumers, merchants and developers around the world.”

    Braintree’s payment gateway, which launched in 2007, can handle 130 different currencies in more than 40 countries. It will continue operating as it normally does, servicing companies such as AirBnB, OpenTable, and Uber.

    Braintree last demoed at FinovateSpring earlier this year where it showed off its recently acquired Venmo touch technology.

    Finovate Alumni News– September 26, 2013


    • Updated Google Wallet app lets users store loyalty cards.
    • MasterCard teams up with National Bank of Egypt, Egyptian Banks Company, and Fawry to launch m-wallet in Egypt.
    • EBay’s PayPal acquires Braintree in $800M cash deal.
    • The Boston Business Journal features peerTransfer.
    • miiCard presents trends from the innovators at FinovateFall.
    • Lendio raises $4.5 million for small business loan-matching Service.
    • TechCrunch reports: SecondMarket launches a Bitcoin investment trust for accredited investors.
    • Billhighway adds Boys & Girls Club of Troy as client.
    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.

    Asia-Based Finovate Alumni Score More Than $200 Million in Financing

    As we prepare to bring FinovateAsia to Singapore November 14, we researched the funding of six Asia-based companies who demoed at FinovateAsia last year. Combined, these companies raised more than $215 million from a variety of investors:

    BankBazaar, a credit processing platform that allows banks to offer consumers 7-minute credit eApproval on retail credit products.

    CustomerXPs creates technology that proactively senses cross-sell, attrition, customer engagement and fraud in real-time.
    DemystData enables real-time analysis of big data from consumers and SMBs, allowing for improved interactions as a result of richer, more relevant information. 
      • Venture Round: undisclosed amount from VentureLab
      • Series A: undisclosed amount from Accion and Arbor Ventures
      • FinovateAsia 2012 demo
    Heckyl provides real-time financial information, news analytics, trend matrix, and heat maps for coverage of markets, companies, and businesses. 
    TradeHero, a virtual trading community where the system models trades and ranks trader performance by proven returns on investment.
    Wipro, an information technology, consulting, and outsourcing company that delivers solutions to enable its clients to do business better.
      • Total of $205 million from cMango, Gallagher Financial Systems, Science Applications International Corp., and Promax Application Group
      • FinovateAsia 2012 demo

    The funding for these companies comes from a diverse set of investors, many of whom are based in Asia. Janus recently published a piece outlining venture funding options available to Singapore companies. For the most part, Singapore’s equity financing scene is quite similar to the U.S., but there are a few significant differences:

      • The VC scene in Singapore is small compared to the U.S. and Europe
      • Singapore’s government actively pursues VC firms to invest in Singapore startups and entices them with tax and other monetary benefits
      • There are more than 100 VC firms in the city today
      • Many VC firms in Singapore focus on late-stage expansion financing, but some offer financing for early-stage startups
      • Types of VC firms in Singapore range from independent limited partnership to corporate-backed firms
      • Singapore VCs are attracted to services, manufacturing and the high-tech industry

    At this year’s FinovateAsia, while not all demoing companies are looking for funding, each will show up to the MAX Atria @ Singapore Expo stage with their newest technology. Want to learn more? Check out FinovateAsia homepage or get your ticket here to be a part of the event.