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Development platform Hydrogen is one of seven companies selected to participate in the Mastercard Start Path accelerator program. The six-month virtual program for later-stage startups is designed to help these firms scale, land strategic investments, and forge key relationships with some of the world’s largest banks and FIs.
“We are proud to be part of Mastercard Start Path,” Hydrogen shared from its Twitter account earlier today. “We’re excited to partner with them as we continue to build the future of commerce.”
Hydrogen offers a set of fintech and blockchain APIs that enable a range of financial services including banking, investing, savings, and insurance. The company provides developers with a toolkit of configurable APIs, an integration library and standardized data model, as well as business logic and modular interface components, giving them the resources they need to build end-to-end apps and solutions.
The Mastercard Start Path program begins with a global pitch day and three-day, international program kick off. During the six-month program that follows, participants will receive support from a dedicated sponsor who serves as a “sounding board and relationship broker” to help startups develop a “unique and relevant” pipeline. Mastercard does not take equity in companies that participate in the program. Instead, it reserves the option to participate in the startup’s next funding round “if and when a strategic fit is identified.”
Jen Langione, Senior Specialist with Mastercard’s Global Communications team, wrote about the importance of innovation and creating value in determining which companies would make the cut. “Innovation is at the heart of Mastercard’s 50-year history,” Langione wrote, “and the cutting-edge technologies being pioneered by the latest group of Start Path companies align to the innovative, value-driven approach Mastercard takes to the solutions it creates and services it offers.”
Joining Hydrogen in the upcoming cohort are:
In its statement, Mastercard noted that it received applications from companies operating in more than 210 countries. The program accepts 40 startups per year, and has worked with more than 200 startups since the program’s inception in 2014.
Hydrogen’s Mike and Matt Kane demonstrated the company’s technology at FinovateEurope 2018. At the event, the two co-founders showed how to use the app development platform to build a European savings platform in five minutes. The platform leveraged the blockchain for security and a proprietary AI to offer an interactive digital assistant.
Last month, Hydrogen announced that it won a finalist spot in the South African Reserve Bank’s Fintech Demo Day – along with three other Finovate alums. In September, the company made its app building platform available to Oracle Cloud customers by way of the Oracle Cloud Marketplace. Named to the Wealthtech 100 this spring, Hydrogen was founded in 2017 and is headquartered in New York City.
A partnership between digital trading technology company DriveWealth and India’s SV Capital will allow two of India’s largest stock brokers – Stockal and HDFC Securities – to offer their investors greater access to the U.S. stock market. The brokerage firms will leverage DriveWealth’s technology and brokerage execution, including its fractional share offering, to make it easier for investors in India to diversify their portfolios with investments in U.S. stocks.
“India is a very important market for us,” DriveWealth CEO Robert Cortright explained, “and this relationship has the potential to have a real impact on expanding opportunities for individuals to have straightforward, affordable online investing experiences related to brands they know and products they use on a daily basis.”
DriveWealth enables banks, wealth management firms, fintechs, consumer brands, and global businesses to build or add to their existing investment offerings. The company’s cloud-based technology powers real-time, dollar-based fractional share investing, digital roboadvisory portfolios, and features such as card-linked, round-up investing and stock-back, loyalty and rewards programs.
Importantly, for international partners, DriveWealth offers the ability for brokerages and other financial firms around the world to give their customers access to stocks, exchange-traded funds, and other assets that trade on U.S. exchanges. HDFC Securities Head of Digital Strategy and Analytics Nandkishore Purohit said that the partnership will able its Indian customers to participate in “global growth stories” and take advantage of investment opportunities outside India’s borders. Purohit also praised DriveWealth’s technology for its ease-of-use. “Being a completely digital platform,” Purohit said, “we strongly believe that customers will easily warm up to its user-friendly interfaces and will appreciate the simplicity of the investing process.”
DriveWealth has spent the year at a furious, partner-making pace. Leading up to this week’s announcement, DriveWealth has collaborated with Nigerian investment platforms, Bamboo and Chaka; partnered with Asia digital trading platform FastWealth, and teamed up with fellow Finovate alum Revolut to enable the U.K.-based fintech to offer its users commission-free trading in NYSE and NASDAQ-listed stocks. DriveWealth said that the partnership enabled it to acquire 20,000 customers in 36 hours.
DriveWealth demonstrated its technology at FinovateAsia 2016. The company, which won Best of Show, earlier that year, was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Chatham, New Jersey. Since inception, DriveWealth has raised more than $29 million in funding from investors including Route 66 Ventures, Point72 Ventures, Raptor Group, and SBI Group.
While rumors have been circulating for days, Zopaconfirmed today that it has raised $182 million (£140 million) in its largest fundraising to date. The capital comes from IAG Silverstripe, the investment division of IAG Capital, and will, in the words of Zopa CEO Jaidev Janardana, enable the P2P lending pioneer to fulfill the regulatory capital requirements and lift restrictions on its banking license.
“This new funding means we have concluded the fundraising phase of our bank mobilization,” Janardana said. “Definitive agreements to provide the funding have been finalized and are subject to final approvals including regulatory change of control.”
IAG Silverstripe has been an investor in Zopa since the fall of 2018, and holds a minority stake in the company. Zopa noted that its bank will operate along with its current P2P financing business (Zopa Limited) as part of the larger Zopa Group.
The funding for Zopa arrives at an opportune time for the company, which will celebrate its 15th anniversary next year. Granted an “Authorisation with Restriction” by U.K’s Financial Conduct Authority on December 4, 2018, Zopa had twelve months to meet the capital requirements that would enable the company to go ahead with a full launch. Even as the deadline drew near last week, Zopa representatives expressed confidence in the company’s ability to raise the necessary capital.
“We continue to hold our bank license with restrictions and are working closely with the regulators to gain our full license,” Janardana explained. “We are excited that, once approved, Zopa will be able to launch its bank alongside its peer-to-peer business and offer a broader set of products to our customers.”
One of Finovate’s earliest alums, the company demonstrated its P2P lending platform at FinovateSpring 2008, billing itself as the “world’s first social finance company,” In the years since its founding in 2005, Zopa has lent 5 billion pounds in unsecured personal loans to customers in the U.K. Headquartered in both New York and London, the company launched a new savings solution last month that offers a fixed-term account with 4% interest as part of its entry into the world of banking. In October, Zopa introducedBorrowing Power, a new offering that uses AI to help customers see what determines their personal borrowing power.
One of the largest insurance groups in Asia, Sompo Holdings, is turning to AI to help its field sales teams spend less time consulting and updating customer information on databases, and more time building relationships with actual customers.
The Japan-based insurer announced that it has partnered with Vymo to use the company’s AI-powered, mobile-first sales assistant technology to boost the efficiency and productivity of its agents. The agreement follows a successful pilot project between the two companies that was launched in September.
Vymo demonstrated its Intelligent Personal Sales Assistant technology at FinovateAsia 2018. The app uses contextual intelligence and proactive sales coaching to automatically detect the sales representative’s actions and provide guidance on the optimal next steps to improve outcomes. In addition to leveraging dialler and client integrations and geo-intelligence to automatically log sales activity such as calls, emails, and meetings, Vymo learns from the success of the best performing sales professionals to help others on the platform determine how to better prioritize leads and best engage customers.
“At a leadership level , Vymo enables decision-makers to understand where should the sales and development efforts be,” Anurag Srivastava, Vymo VP-APAC explained last year during his FinovateAsia technology demonstration. At a manager level, he added, the technology solution helps them understand what the sales people are doing on a daily basis, as well as how they can constructively intervene to help them to become better. Srivastava noted that the solution also makes life easier for sales professionals, helping them meet their numbers and “gain predictability into what they are doing.”
Vymo earned a finalist spot in the India FinTech Forum’s IFTA 2019 awards last month. This fall, the company partnered with ABeam Consulting in a move that will help Vymo further expand into Asia-Pacific and Japanese markets. Also this fall, Vymo teamed up with FE Credit, the consumer lending arm of VP Bank to help the Vietnam-based financial institution improve customer acquisition, lead generation, and onboarding. Vymo raised $18 million in funding earlier this year, taking its total capital to $22 million
More than 100,000 sales professionals in 50+ businesses use Vymo’s Intelligent Personal Sales Assistant technology. The company notes that its solution has helped sales teams experience a nearly 2x increase in productivity and sales gains of 30%-50% within the first three months of deployment.
Yamini Bhat is Vymo co-founder and CEO. Founded in 2013, the company is headquartered in New York City.
Having already worked with Amazon in the past, Swedish banking firm Klarna has reinforced its reliance on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to increase redundancy and fault tolerance as it aims to scale its business, reports Alex Hamilton of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).
The company also plans to follow up the launches of its cloud-based Open Banking platform and customer authentication platform with additional on-demand products using AWS.
“Together with AWS we share a relentless focus on providing choices to consumers, so they no longer have to settle for the status quo,” said Koen Koppen, chief technology officer at Klarna.
“Our collaboration with AWS has helped us to rapidly innovate and create new services and applications that customers want, in a secure and seamless way.”
Andy Isherwood, managing director for AWS EMEA, added that Klarna is going to “change the world” with cloud technology.
“We have worked with Klarna for over a decade and it has been inspiring to see them grow from a Swedish startup to a global financial services powerhouse, using the secure, proven infrastructure of AWS,” Isherwood said.
The company demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2012. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden and founded in 2005, Klarna has 80 million shoppers on its platform and partnerships with 190,000 retailers around the world. Company co-founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski is CEO.
Our second FinovateMiddleEast conference is in the books! And after a full day of live fintech demos, our attendees have made their voices heard as to which fintech innovations are most deserving of Best of Show honors. Congratulations to all of our demoing companies for their hard work, and a hearty thanks to our attendees for their votes in our Best of Show competition.
With that, here are the winners of Best of Show at FinovateMiddleEast 2019:
Amber Labs for its Bitcoin Bank, where people anywhere in the world can get all the benefits of a robust, global financial network, without the technical and jurisdictional restrictions, nor the inherent asymmetries, associated with the modern banking system.
efigence for its EFI4 Digital Banking Platform, a seamless digital banking experience that guides retail banking customers through the complexity of the banking world using a three-screen environment.
In addition to all of the companies that demonstrated their technologies live on stage at FinovateMiddleEast this week, we would like to thank our partners and sponsors for their participation and support. We also extend a special thanks to our Strategic Partner, the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Finance, whose guidance in this our second FinovateMiddleEast has been invaluable.
Notes on methodology:
1. Only audience members NOT associated with demoing companies were eligible to vote. Finovate employees did not vote.
2. Attendees were encouraged to note their favorites during each day. At the end of the last demo, they chose their three favorites.
3. The exact written instructions given to attendees: “Please rate (the companies) on the basis of demo quality and potential impact of the innovation demoed.”
4. The two companies appearing on the highest percentage of submitted ballots were named “Best of Show.”
5. Go here for a list of previous Best of Show winners through 2014. Best of Show winners from our 2015 through 2019 conferences are below: