Zopa’s New Launch Gives Consumers the Best Rate

P2P lending company and challenger bank Zopa announced something consumers can feel good about this week. The U.K.-based company, which brands itself as the FeelGood Money company, launched a tool to help borrowers find the best rate for their loan.

The new tool, Borrowing Power, leverages AI to show users what makes up their personal borrowing power and guide them toward actions to help improve it. Each score is linked to a Zopa loan and shows the user their eligibility and rate. Borrowing Power also shows users what-if scenarios– that is, how their rate may increase if they take certain actions to improve their score. Ultimately, the tool has the potential to positively impact consumers’ financial behavior.

“Customers deserve to know their eligibility for credit, current credit scoring is merely scratching the surface,” said Zopa CPO Didier Baclin. “We have effectively broken open the black box to understand what is going on and, combining this data with additional information about the customer, are able to give bespoke actionable insights to our customers that could enable them to improve their credit risk in a short time frame and then ultimately be able to borrow from Zopa at a better rate.”

The Borrowing Power score, which ranges from one to 10, is simpler than a credit score. The score is comprised of only five elements:

  • Combination of credit rating data
  • Credit utilization
  • Credit limits
  • Hard searches
  • Affordability based on personal circumstances

Zopa leverages this data to inform consumers if they can improve an aspect of their credit profile, and in what time period. The company makes it easy for borrowers to understand the loan by showing them the actual interest rate. And, making the score as consumer-friendly as possible, Zopa only uses a soft credit inquiry so that it doesn’t impact their credit score until the loan is official.

Zopa was founded in 2005, pioneering peer-to-peer lending in the U.K., and has since amassed more than 400,000 customers and facilitated $5+ billion (£4+ billion) on its platform.

Last December Zopa made fintech headlines by launching its new bank in beta. The company is currently operating the bank in a period called AWR (authorization with restrictions), meaning it has met all of the FCA’s conditions and is allowed to begin testing the new banking products.

Zopa’s former CEO Doug Dolton debuted the P2P lending platform at FinovateSpring 2008 at Finovate’s very first show in the Bay Area.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Zopa’s New Launch Gives Consumers the Best Rate.

Around the web

  • Tieto and EVRY announce operating structure for TietoEVRY after $1.5 billion acquisition.
  • Taulia launches AI-powered cash forecasting solution.
  • Tradeshift to power digital transformation for Abreon.
  • Q2 named a winner in the 2020 CSO50 Awards for Q2 TrustView.
  • Washington credit union iQ to leverage Alkami to create a personalized user experience.
  • Stratifyd named among Chralotte’s best places to work.
  • ProfitStars brings mobile remote deposit to ICBA member banks.

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.

DriveWealth Teams with Nigerian Trading Platform

Wealthtech company DriveWealth is making further inroads into Africa this week with the news that it has partnered with Chaka, a Nigeria-based trading platform.

Chaka will leverage DriveWealth’s API to offer its clients access to U.S. stocks. Citi Investment Capital Limited is a licensed Nigerian stockbroking firm and will facilitate the brokerage transactions for Chaka clients.

“Chaka has developed outstanding technology that we’ve integrated with our customizable APIs to make it easy for clients in Nigeria to participate in the U.S. stock market,” said DriveWealth CEO Robert Cortright. “At a time when many Nigerians are seeking foreign investment opportunities for diversification purposes, this partnership fulfills an important component of Chaka’s global offering with access to the largest and most liquid stock markets in the world.”

Chaka CEO Tosin Osibodu called international investing a “daunting task” for most Nigerians and praised DriveWealth for its “best-in-class” technology, highlighting how the company’s fractional share investment technology makes higher-priced stocks more affordable. “Integration of our technologies has gone very smoothly, and we see this as an important long-term partnership for Chaka,” Osibodu added.

Today’s partnership isn’t DriveWealth’s first connection to Nigeria. In July the company teamed up with Sigma Securities and Trove Technologies to launch a digital U.S. equities trading product for retail investors in Nigeria.

Since it was founded in 2012, the company has set up partnerships with firms on six continents, including Asia, where DriveWealth collaborated with Singapore-based Bambu on the launch of a white-label roboadvisory platform for U.S. wealth managers.

At FinovateAsia 2016, DriveWealth released a new API to enable partners to offer a roboadvisory product suite and a self-directed equity investing platform.

Bill.com’s New Release Targets Midmarket Companies

Business payments company Bill.com unveiled a new set of offerings for midmarket companies today. With the launch, the California-based company aims to help businesses automate their accounts payable and accounts receivable (AP/AR) functions to become more efficient.

“As companies scale, the advantages of AP and AR automation are magnified. Midsized companies can be in dire need of next-generation, end-to-end back office solutions that help them work smarter, faster and more efficiently,” said Bill.com CEO René Lacerte.

The new capabilities include:

  • Bill.com purchase orders: syncs purchase orders directly from Oracle NetSuite and Sage Intacct into the Bill.com platform.
  • Expanded international payments: increases coverage for cross-border payments to encompass 130+ countries and 106 currencies.
  • Intelligent virtual assistant (IVA): leverages AI to set up payments and incorporate information directly into the required payment fields.
  • Premium customer support: includes enhanced support service level options.

“These new offerings will provide insights for customers to act on and enable them to automate their AP/AR processes, thus saving significant time and money while greatly improving productivity,” added Lacerte.

Founded in 2006, Bill.com helps businesses manage accounts payables and receivables with online billpay, custom invoicing, document storage, collaboration tools, and more. At FinovateSpring 2012, Lacerte debuted the company’s CashView tools. Since then, Bill.com has grown to manage workflows and process payments. In fiscal year 2019, Bill.com processed over $70 billion for its network of three million members.

Investment Firm Takes Minority Stake in OurCrowd

Global crowdfunding platform OurCrowd is padding its pockets today with funding from investment banking firm Stifel. Terms of the deal, which brings a strategic partnership between the two companies, were not disclosed.

Stifel has taken a minority stake in OurCrowd, boosting the company’s total funding up over $112.5 million. OurCrowd’s past investors include Alta Berkeley Venture Partners, United Overseas Bank, and individual investors.

“Partnering with a leading U.S.-based wealth management and investment banking firm like Stifel is yet another major step toward further expanding the OurCrowd brand and investor base,” said OurCrowd Founder and CEO Jon Medved. “We also look forward to collaborating with Stifel’s investment and venture bankers to identify potential ways we can help identify and best support prospects and portfolio companies.”

Under the partnership, the two companies will build an investment portal for Stifel’s accredited investor clients that offers access to venture capital funds and individual portfolio companies on a deal-by-deal basis. In exchange, Stifel will offer OurCrowd’s portfolio companies investment banking services.

Stifel CEO Ronald Kruszewski, whose U.S. retail brokerage has 2,200 advisors overseeing more than $300 billion in client assets under management, said that he anticipates the partnership will offer the firm’s investors access to the “ever-expanding” category of venture capital. “Through this partnership, our clients will gain access to attractive, early-stage investment opportunities that have been typically restricted to traditional VC firms and family offices,” he said.

OurCrowd’s platform hosts almost 37,000 registered investors from 183 countries. The Israel-based company allows these users to participate in startup investment opportunities alongside VCs and institutional co-investors at the same terms. OurCrowd’s curated deal selection process employs a team of investment professionals to review thousands of companies, meet with selected management teams, and select opportunities for investors.

Since it was founded in 2013, OurCrowd has made more than $1.28 billion in commitments and has invested in 200+ companies and funds, 35 of which have made successful exits. At FinovateSpring 2016, the company debuted the OurCrowd mobile app. 

Lidya Launches SME Lending Platforms for Poland and Czech Republic

Digital small and medium enterprise (SME) lender Lidya is launching its platform in Poland and the Czech Republic, marking the Nigerian firm’s first international expansion into Europe since it was founded in 2016 in Lagos, reports Ruby Hinchliffe of Fintech Futures, Finovate’s sister publication.

Lidya’s launch in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region is being led by former CEO of Polish lender Idea Money, Tomasz Sekalski, and the former head of retail banking for ING Bank Czech Republic, Libor Vanicek. Sekalski and Vanicek will become country directors for Poland and the Czech Republic, respectively.

The company’s proposition is to provide loans within 24 hours to SMEs and create 100 million jobs worldwide. To date, it has raised nearly $10 million.

“Through Lidya, we have the opportunity to empower the growth of SMEs in Africa, Europe and around the world,” said Lidya’s co-founder, Ercin Eksin. “SMEs create the most number of jobs and significantly contribute to GDP. We are on a mission to support the creation of 100 million jobs in fast-growing economies.”

The fintech says it has issued more than 10,000 loans in Nigeria, and aims to become the largest lender in the country’s market for SMEs by the end of this year.

“We are planning to disburse €1 billion to small businesses in Poland and the Czech Republic over the next five years,” said fellow Lidya Co-founder, Tunde Kehinde.

Eksin demonstrated Lidya’s credit scoring algorithm at FinovateFall 2016. The demo showcased how the bank helps small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) share or upload their bank data to manage cash flow, customer data, and create and send digital invoices. To help businesses smooth lumpy cashflow held up in invoices, Lidya lends from $500 to $50,000 without requiring the business to visit a physical branch.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Investment Firm Takes Minority Stake in OurCrowd.
  • Bill.com’s New Release Targets Midmarket Companies.
  • DriveWealth Teams with Nigerian Trading Platform.
  • Lidya Launches SME Lending Platforms for Poland and Czech Republic.

Around the web

  • CU Broadcast features Larky CEO and Co-founder Gregg Hammerman.
  • eToro partners with The TIE to develop unique sentiment-driven investment strategies for traders.
  • Trustly launches Trustly Live to bring instant cashless payments to land-based casinos and sportsbooks.
  • Home Bank renews relationship with Baker Hill, adding Baker Hill NextGen CECL and Baker Hill NextGen Business Loan Origination.
  • Salt Edge to power PSD2 API for Habib Bank AG Zurich.
  • Chetu earns #3 for dollar growth and #15 for percentage growth at the SFBJ technology awards 2019.
  • Insuritas to power bank-owned insurance agency for Signature Bank of Georgia Partners.

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.

Credit Sesame Appoints New Chief People Officer

Consumer credit health platform Credit Sesame today announced the appointment of a new Chief People Officer.

Pablo Gaito (pictured), who will be the first to serve in the newly created position, is tasked with scaling Credit Sesame’s “people operations” ahead of the company’s planned IPO. Gaito brings 20 years of experience managing human capital at large companies such as Cargill, Gap, and ServiceNow.

Gaito said he was attracted by “the authenticity of the people” at Credit Sesame” as well as the company’s “noble purpose to improve people’s lives through democratizing credit health.” He added, “Given the recent funding and ongoing growth, Credit Sesame is at a defining moment. I’m thrilled to guide us on our talent and culture roadmap to achieve our goal of scaling a healthy mission-driven company.”

Credit Sesame aims to democratize access to consumer credit scores, and has offered the service for free for almost a decade. The company also offers identity theft protection, savings recommendations, and a complete picture of users’ financial state all in one place.

Last month, Credit Sesame raised $43 million, a round which brought its total funding to $110 million. The company’s investors include Menlo Ventures, Inventus Capital, Globespan Capital, IA Capital Groups, Symantec, Capital One Ventures, and Stanford University.

After Credit Sesame’s most recent funding round in August, the company revealed that its valuation was nearing $1 billion and it planned to IPO soon. There is no word on the exact timing for the public debut, however.

Nubank’s User Base Soars to 15 Million

Brazilian fintech Nubank claims to have 15 million customers, representing a 25% increase since August, reports Jane Connolly of Fintech Futures, Finovate’s sister publication.

Reuters reports that Nubank – which provides a free-of-charge credit card along with bank accounts, small business services and individual credit – aims to offer interest rates at 30% to 40% below the normal market rate for Brazilian banks, which typically offer credit cards with 400% APR.

Founder and CEO David Vélez said that 10 million of Nubank’s clients are holders of its credit card. “We have opened many new business fronts in the last 12 months [and] we are growing quickly.”

The announcement comes just three months after the company raised $400 million in a funding round led by TCV.

Founded in 2013 and now valued at $10 billion, Nubank also operates in Argentina and Mexico. Vélez said that operations in the latter country will be accelerated in the coming weeks.

This summer there were also speculations about potential expansion into Colombia, but this has not been confirmed by Nubank.

Founded in 2013, Nubank offers a Mastercard credit card with a companion mobile app that features PFM capabilities, spending alerts, and a card-lock feature.

Nubank Co-founder and CTO Edward Wible, along with Lucas Cavalcanti, lead software engineer, showcased at FinDEVr New York 2016 in a presentation titled Our Money, Our Rulebook, which explored how Nubank deals with real-time, double-entry accounting on a per-customer basis.

INETCO’s Insight 7 Brings Machine Learning to Fraud Prevention

Transaction monitoring and analytics company INETCO recently unveiled Insight 7, fraud detection technology for financial institutions and payment processors.

Insight 7 leverages payment data and machine learning algorithms to discern payment fraud in real time and reduce the number of false positives; keeping the bad guys out while allowing authentic consumers to proceed with their transactions. The new release’s fraud detection capabilities monitors for suspicious activity, including card present, card not present, and card reversal fraud; as well as provides transaction risk scoring, payment outlier detection, “man-in-the-middle” attacks, and more.

“Real-time transaction risk scoring on an individual customer basis is a game changing advancement from existing approaches that only rebuild customer models as part of a scheduled batch ETL (extract, transform and load) process,” said Ugan Naidoo, INETCO CTO. “The result is more precise risk scores for all types of card-present and card-not-present transactions, a streamlined escalation process and less customer friction.”

The real time nature of the technology is made possible through INETCO’s ability to view the entire path of a transaction. When malware or an ATM cash-out attack is detected, banks and payment processors will instantly know that the transaction has been tampered with.

INETCO is primarily distributing Insight 7 via partner sales. The company has strong relationships with NCR, Cognizant, and Fiserv, as well as global partners in Mexico, North Africa, and Eastern Europe.

The recent release builds on INETCO’s existing technology, including the ATM analytics technology the company demoed at FinovateEurope 2015. INETCO’s solutions, which are available in more than 50 countries, range from regulatory compliance to ATM monitoring to payment card analytics. Established in 1984, INETCO is a privately held company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada. Bijan Sanii is president and CEO.