Xendpay Joins RippleNet to Bring Fee-Free Cross Border Payment Options to SE Asia

By joining RippleNet – the global payments network that leverages blockchain technology to quickly and inexpensively facilitate transactions – cross-border money transfer specialist Xendpay will bring its fee-agnostic remittance service to customers in countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

This includes access to its Pay What You Want feature that enables customers to pay no fees on transfers totaling $2,500 over the course of a calendar year. For businesses, the option is twice as valuable with a $5,000 fee-free limit.

“Most of our customers are migrants who are sending money back home,” Xendpay Head of Product Innovation Bhavin Vaghela said. “This money is vital to support their families: to pay rent or mortgage, electricity bills, medical fees, and education costs.” He added that, as an online service, Xendpay is able to save on overhead and pass that savings on to the customer.

“I think of our fees as similar to providing a tip,” Vaghela said. “If you feel like you’ve been treated well, received a good rate and enjoyed the experience, you might pay the recommended rate. We’ve even had clients pay us more.”

In joining RippleNet, Xendpay and its customers will benefit from a significant increase in processing speed for international money transfers, according to Vaghela. He noted that a transfer in a currency like the Thai Baht that might have taken up to four days to complete, now takes less than an hour courtesy of RippleNet’s technology and network of partners. Not only does the partnership with RippleNet accelerate the money transfers Xendpay has always offered, but also the collaboration enables Xendpay to provide money transfers it previously felt it could not.

“We were unable to offer currencies like Malaysian Ringgit or Bangladeshi Taka before,” Vaghela said. “Now that it’s easier to connect with local partners, we can provide our clients with more local currencies and, therefore, see new growth in those corridors.”

Xendpay demonstrated its cash-to-cash mobile international payment service at FinovateEurope 2013. Founded in 2012 by Paresh Davdra and Rajesh Agrawal, CEO, and headquartered in London, U.K., the company offers its services in 200+ countries, and transfers funds in more than 50 currencies and 2,900+ currency pairs. Xendpay is agent of foreign currency exchange payments firm RationalFX, founded in 2005 by Davdra and Agrawal.

A Look at Fintech Talent in Singapore; Mobile Money Goes Live in South Sudan

Join us in October as our annual Asia-Pacific fintech conference returns to Singapore! FinovateAsia is one of the best ways for fintech startups and innovative industry veterans from the region and around the world to showcase their latest technologies before an audience of C-level decision-makers, venture capitalists, all-star analysts, and more.

For information on how to participate in FinovateAsia as a demoing company, partner, or sponsor, send us an e-mail and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Business Review looks at the potential for French-Romanian cooperation on fintech innovation.
  • Relex, a cryptocurrency-based real estate development investment platform, inks agreement with Belarus Currency and Stock Exchange.
  • Austrian telecom A1 to begin accepting cryptocurrencies as payment.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Emirates NBD introduces the first graduates of its fintech sandbox.
  • Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) joins the World Alliance of International Financial Centres (WAIFC).
  • Partnership between NilePay PLC and Zain South Sudan brings the first licensed mobile money service to South Sudan.

Central and Southern Asia

  • An investment of $110 million will help power Tala’s planned expansion into India.
  • Khalti, a fintech startup based in Nepal, wins the United Nations Fintech Innovation Fund.
  • Software Technology Parks of India establishes FinBlue, a Center of Excellence in FinTech, to support emerging fintech startups.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Argentina’s largest national private bank Banco Galicia integrates PFM technology from Strands.
  • Citi enables biometric authentication for its institutional clients throughout Latin America.
  • TransferWise announces launch of international transfers from Argentina.

Asia-Pacific

  • Standard Chartered Bank partners with SAP Ariba to bring financial supply chain solutions to companies in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Japanese messaging platform Line teams up with Nomura to launch online brokerage firm geared toward younger, digitally-oriented traders.
  • Singapore FinTech Association and PwC Singapore look at the demand for talent in the local fintech industry.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Ghananian fintech Bezo Money is among the 11 startups to receive an $100,000 investment as part of its graduation from Pan-African incubator MEST.
  • Nigerian startup financial services startup Carbon posts its audited financial information online to promote transparency in the country’s tech market.
  • South African startup Ukheshe raises $500,000 (R7.6 million) for its app that provides payment services for the unbanked.

Top image designed by Freepik

New Investment Makes Numbrs Europe’s Latest Fintech Unicorn

Swiss fintech Numbrs, which demonstrated its PFM solution at FinovateFall in 2013, is back in the fintech headlines in a big way. The company has raised $40 million in new funding that takes the firm’s total capital to nearly $200 million and boosts the company’s valuation to more than $1 billion.

The company did not disclose the round’s investors by name. It did confirm that both existing and new investors participated. The funding is designed to help Numbrs as it prepares to expand outside of its current market in Germany, with the U.K. as the company’s next target.

In a blog post at the Numbrs website, the company highlighted the relatively-exclusive club it has joined when it comes to private firms with a billion-plus valuation and praised the role of private investors in giving Numbrs “the time to build the best technology platform in the financial industry.” Since its founding in 2012, the company has developed partnerships with major FIs such as Barclaycard and Santander. More than two million app downloads and an excess of $11 billion (€10 billion) in managed assets have helped the company’s solution to become the top independent finance app in Germany.

Numbrs leverages machine learning and analytics tools to enable users to better manage their financial lives. Users link one or more accounts to the app and Numbrs goes to work: analyzing finances to create savings plans based on user goals, tracking and categorizing transactions in real-time to help users avoid overspending, and making it easy to handle common banking chores such as checking balances and transferring money.

The Numbrs app also offers a Money Store where users can shop for loans, credit cards, and insurance – just added in April – as well as other financial products and services.

The funding news for Numbrs arrives amid a summer of positive headlines for the company. Numbrs celebrated reaching 2.2 million downloads in July, the same month the company announced hitting the €10 billion mark in terms of assets managed on the platform. The company forged a partnership with Allianz in May, making the company’s insurance products available via the Numbrs app.

Numbrs is headquarterd in Zurich, Switzerland. Martin Saidler is CEO.

CashFlows Partners with Akamai for Defense Against DDoS Attacks

Akamai has teamed up with CashFlows to help the U.K.-based fintech protect cardholder and personal data from cyberattack. CashFlows will leverage Akamai’s Kona Site Defender solution, which provides DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) mitigation, web app security, and 24/7 monitoring. CashFlows added that the new security solution from Akamai also will enable it to add more payment options and products to its platform. Cryptocurrencies, data analytics, and gateways were among the additional solutions that could be introduced. All will be supported by Akamai security technology.

CashFlows CTO Mat Peck credited Akamai’s “global network and expertise” in explaining the company’s decision to work together. This expertise included Akamai’s track record in defending companies against some of the largest DDoS attacks in the world. Kona Site Defender runs on the edge servers of the Akamai Intelligent Edge platform. The fact that the system is supported by Fast DNS means that CashFlows can service its customers via local DNS servers while adding a layer of DDoS protection. “We need to make sure anyone anywhere in the world can make local connections to our service, in a way that is resilient and incredibly protected,” Peck said.

One of the first independent U.K. payments firms to be accepted as a principal member of both Mastercard and Visa, CashFlows currently processes payments for more than 1,000 customers and powers 34,000+ ATMs throughout Europe. Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Cambridge, the company provides merchant services, alternative payments, and BIN Sponsorship solutions via its cloud-based payments platform. Martin Belsham is CEO.

Akamai demonstrated the Client Reputation feature of Kona Site Defender at FinovateEurope 2015. The service enables FIs to identify which IP addresses are likely to represent a web or DDoS attacker, web scraper, or scanning tool. More recently, Akamai unveiled its Enterprise Defender solution to help its customers transition toward Zero Trust security regime. The company launched its Edge Cloud solution line in June, which facilitates data delivery between IoT connected devices and in-app messaging at scale. The launch highlighted Akamai’s IoT Edge Connect, a product that provides a secure framework for sending and publishing information using Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) common to IoT and in-app messaging.

Akamai began the year with news that it planned to acquire customer identity access management company Janrain. Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and founded in 1998, Akamai trades on the NASDAQ under the ticker AKAM. The company has a market capitalization of $14 billion.

Fiserv Drives Digital Transformation for NEFCU

Global US-based fintech, Fiserv, announces its open core platform will now serve Long Island-based credit union, NEFCU, to help transform the credit union’s member experience and drive innovation, reports Ruby Hinchliffe of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

The fintech’s DNA core account processing platform was chosen for its open architecture and APIs, and its ability to service all loan types from a single system. The move to Fiserv will also facilitate NEFCU’s planned introduction of self-service kiosks.

NEFCU, who has more than $3 billion in assets, hopes that through the new partnership it will be able to deliver more personalised services and relevant product offerings, with a look to add integrated solutions from Fiserv too, including content management and wire transfers.

“Our goal is to become the financial institution technology leader on Long Island, and we wanted a core platform that could help us achieve that goal,” said NEFCU CEO, John Deieso. “We needed a core platform that was future-oriented, and a partner committed to continuous investment in its technologies.”

Fiserv believes “the right technology” can enable credit unions to meet “rapidly evolving expectations” expectations of its members and drive growth as a result.

Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin, Fiserv demoed its integration of Samsung SDS America’s biometric authentication and collaboration solutions into its Commercial Center: Security solution at FinovateSpring 2018. The company announced late last month that it had completed its $22 billion merger with First Data.

Artivest Inks Deal with WM Partners

An agreement between alternative investment platform Artivest and WM Partners will allow the middle-market, private equity firm expand its ability to reach qualified high net worth (HNW) investors and financial advisors.

WM Partners co-founder Jose Minski highlighted this opportunity as a key reason behind the collaboration. “Artivest provides us with the scalability and efficiency to broaden our exposure to a more diversified investor base,” Minski said. “We are eager to harness Artivest’s open architecture platform to engage with advisors and qualified investors who are looking to add a private equity solution that strives to generate diversified returns within their portfolios.”

A specialist in buyout investments in the health and wellness sector, WM Partners focuses on creating scalable businesses by acquiring, integrating, and consolidating tuck-in acquisitions, and driving operational efficiencies to boost growth. Based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the firm emphasizes companies in the natural personal care, natural remedies, and functional foods businesses, and features a senior team with more than 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical, consumer, and health and wellness industries.

Chief Investment Officer for Artivest Matt Osborne underscored the growth of the health and wellness sector as an investment opportunity. “Health and wellness brands have been continuing to gain market share for over a decade, and now advisors and investors can attempt to improve the health of their products by seamlessly and cost-effectively accessing this unique alternative solution through our digital platform,” Osborne said.

Artivest’s latest partnership news comes just days after the company announced the appointment of new CEO, Martin Bealieu, who previously served as Artivest executive chairman. Bealieu takes over the top spot from former CEO and founder James Waldinger, who will take the role of executive chairman. Bealieu is only the most recent C-suite shift for the company, which hired Karl Jaeger as Chief Financial Officer in June, and appointed Paul Nobile as Chief Marketing Officer in May.

An alum of FinovateSpring, Artivest demonstrated its online platform for alternative investments in 2014. The New York City-based company began 2019 with news of a platform expansion that added product structuring and fund distribution solutions for asset and wealth managers. Over the course of this year, the company has forged partnerships with Sudrania Fund Services, institutional investment manager LaSalle, and alternative investment manager EJF Capital.

Artivest has raised $17 million in funding, and includes FinTech Collective and Signatures Capital among its most recent investors. The company was founded in 2011.

Identitii’s Overlay+ to Drive Intelligent Data Exchange for HSBC Bank Australia

A new agreement will give HSBC Bank Australia access to financial communications technology innovator Identitii’s Overlay+ platform, a peer-to-peer solution that enables the secure sharing of data and documents between authorized parties and to regulators.

Overlay+ leverages blockchain technology and tokenization to make financial communications easier and more secure. A private blockchain ensures an auditable, time-stamped, tamper-proof record of all activity, and uses permissioned communications to allow trusted parties to securely share intelligent information in real-time. The platform uses unique identifiers, known as Identitii Tokens, which serve as cryptographic keys to permission access to the blockchain.

Importantly, the technology, dubbed a “platform for intelligent information exchange” by the company, can be added to a bank’s or corporation’s existing technology infrastructure via API to support both internal and external document and information exchange.

“This is our second technology license with HSBC and it delivers on a key part of our growth strategy, which is deepening relationships with existing customers,” Identitii CEO Nick Armstrong said. “It also represents the commercialization of a new use case for Overlay+, which seamlessly integrates with existing systems to ensure compliance with regulatory reporting requirements.”

The five-year pact has a minimum contract value of $511,600. Identitii’s revenues will come from both professional service fees incurred during technology implementation (slated to be finished in Q2 2020), as well as ongoing monthly license fees.

Identitii’s HSBC/Overlay+ announcement comes just a few months after the company announced that HSBC had launched its digital accounts receivable tool, DART, leveraging tokenization technology from Identitii. The company teamed up with Trace Financial Limited in April to help companies migrate to new messaging standards for financial business transactions. Identitii began the year with a new membership in the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BAIN), ensuring its Overlay+ platform is compatible with open banking standards.

Identitii demonstrated its platform at FinovateFall 2017. Founded in 2014 and headquartered in New South Wales, Australia, Identitii won an award for Best Workplace Diversity at The Finnies 2019 earlier this year. The company went public last fall, and currently trades under the ticker ID8 on the Australian Stock Exchange. Identitii has a market capitalization of $10 million.

BeSmartee Integrates with BytePro

A collaboration between loan technology innovator BeSmartee and Byte Software’s BytePro platform will improve the digital mortgage experience for customers by enabling lenders and originators to process applicants faster and better manage heavy demand cycles.

“We’re pleased to have fulfilled this bi-directional integration to the BytePro LOS platform,” BeSmartee co-founder Arvin Sahakian said, calling Byte “a truly great company.” He added, “(This) gives BeSmartee the opportunity to enhance the origination process and user experience for more than 1,000 Byte LOS customers.”

Among other features, the integration will enable lenders to create a loan file in Byte using Fannie Mae 3.2 file data, and will support the pushing and pulling of documents and conditions to meet all the requirements of the loan origination and financing process. Borrowers will benefit from a multi-channel, interactive borrowing experience that leverages chat, text, messaging, email, and co-browsing to enhance the customer journey through an automated workflow.

Kirkland, Washington-based Byte Software was founded in 1985. With clients in all 50 states of the U.S., the company works with both multi-state lenders as well as community banks and mortgage brokerage firms. Its BytePro platform streamlines the mortgage process by using document imaging, an accessible web portal, task tracking and metrics, customizable pipeline views, and multiple user editing of loan files to improve efficiency. A business partner of CBCInnovis, a mortgage lending support solutions provider, Byte Software released the latest version of its technology this spring, introducing a new VA Cash Out Refinance Certification document in addition to other enhancements.

BeSmartee demonstrated its Smart Mortgage technology at FinovateSpring 2017. The company leverages artificial intelligence to enable lenders to move borrowers from initial engagement to underwriting in 20 minutes with completed loan application, credit report, income and asset documentation, eSigned and eDelivered disclosures, and paid appraisal.

In just the past few months BeSmartee has forged partnerships with a variety of players in the mortgagetech industry. In July, the company announced an integration with real estate document collaboration and recording technology company Simplifile. Also in July, BeSmartee and private mortgage insurance provider Arch Mortgage Insurance Company (Arch MI) collaborated on a direct integration that will provide quick and accurate risk-based pricing to accelerate the application process.

In June, BeSmartee announced another partnership, integrating with income calculation and verification technology provider LoanBeam. The same month, the company introduced its new mortgage platform for wholesale lenders and third-party originators.

Founded in 2008, BeSmartee is headquartered in Huntington Beach, California.

WattzOn’s SNAP Delivers AI-Enabled Data Extraction For Cleantech Sales Teams

Utility bill data solution provider WattzOn has unveiled SNAP, a new product for energy and cleantech firms that leverages AI to capture data from utility bills. SNAP will enable sales teams to provide prospects with faster, customized quotes and pricing, as well as make it easier for them to onboard new customers.

WattzOn CEO Martha Amram said SNAP was part of her company’s effort to give sales professionals in the industry the digital tools they need. “Leading solar and energy companies are out in the field, meeting potential customers where they are at,” Amram said. “Mobile data capture solutions are critically important for converting leads into customers, and for instantly offering customized plans that meet customer needs and secure profitable operations.”

A streaming data service, SNAP works by leveraging a set of pre-trained, machine learning models to automatically extract utility bill information from PDF files and images displayed on supported devices. Extracted data is sent to customers via API in seconds, and can be readily integrated into CRM, ERP, and custom software solutions. New utilities can be added to SNAP’s library to ensure broad coverage across states. And while the solution is pre-set for residential utility bills, SNAP can be configured for both commercial and industrial utility bills, as well.

“Our years of market experience have shown that adding the option of data capture from a single utility bill in paper or PDF form increases consumer engagement and sales conversion rates,” Director of Product Management for WattzOn David Nelson said. “I’m delighted that our powerful machine learning system can be applied to this important use case, opening up new sales opportunities for our customers.”

WattzOn demonstrated its Personal Energy Management Platform at FinovateSpring 2012. The company currently offers two solutions for the energy and cleantech industry in addition to SNAP: LINK, which extracts data and bills from utility accounts directly; and GLYNT, WattzOn’s automated, instant data extraction system for utility bills and other documents.

Headquartered in Mountain View, California, WattzOn was founded in 2008.

Alterna Bank Partners with nCino

A new partnership between Alterna Bank and nCino will enable small businesses in Canada to take advantage of a new digital banking solution that features a seamless, anytime, anywhere, account opening experience, as well as automated decisioning, digital document management, and portfolio management.

The agreement marks nCino’s first Canadian credit union customer. nCino CEO Pierre Naudé called Alterna – which consists of Alterna Savings and its subsidiary Alterna Bank – “one of the most innovative financial institutions in Canada.” With a combined $8 billion in assets under management, Alterna was also the first bank in Canada to offer its customers an end-to-end digital mortgage experience.

In addition to its plan to enhance its onboarding processes, Alterna is also working on other initiatives to further improve the customer journey. These efforts include new loan referral and merchant services, and a partnership with Canada’s largest acquirer, Global Payments. The firm said that it plans to deploy its new nCino-powered, digital small business banking solution by the end of this year.

“At Alterna Bank, we’re dedicated to finding the best solutions for our valued small business customers,” Alterna President and CEO Rob Paterson said. “We know that small business owners are extremely busy and we took on the challenge to create a faster and easier banking experience for them.”

Winner of RateHub’s Best Personal Banking, Best eChequing, Best TFSA eSavings, and Best RRSP eSavings account awards, and named Canada’s Best Bank for Millennials, Alterna Bank was founded in 2000 as a subsidiary of 110-year old Alterna Savings. Alterna Savings was the first credit union established in Canada outside of Quebec, and has been awarded Canadian Top Employer honors three consecutive times.

nCino’s partnership with Alterna Bank is the latest in a string of big fintech headlines for the Wilmington, North Carolina-based fintech. Last month, nCino announced that Columbia Bank, a New Jersey-based bank with $7 billion in assets, had gone live with nCino’s Bank Operating System. Also in July, nCino announced its acquisition of analytics and insights specialist Visible Equity for an undisclosed sum. Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, Visible Equity has more than 850 bank and credit union customers who use the firm’s technology to better manage risk and improve credit decisioning.

Other partnerships for nCino this year include deals with Westfield Bank and South State Bank in June, with S&T Bancorp in May, and with Navy Federal Credit Union in April. Navy FCU is the largest credit union in the world, with more than eight million members and 329 branches.

Founded in 2012, nCino has raised more than $133 million in funding, and counts Insight Partners and Salesforce Ventures among its investors. More than 1,100 financial institutions around the world are partnered with nCino, including 12 of the top 25 FIs in North America. nCino demonstrated its Bank Operating System at FinovateEurope 2017.