SoFi Teams Up with Mastercard to Boost Benefits for Members

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Courtesy of a new partnership with Mastercard, SoFi members will have access to a new range of products and in-person experiences – including a new fan experience for visitors at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. SoFi will develop these offerings by leveraging Mastercard’s payments network, which will also serve as the exclusive card network for SoFi’s to-be-released credit card.

“Our mission at SoFi is to help our members achieve financial independence to realize their ambitions,” SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said. “In order to do so, we must build products and services that help our members ‘Get Their Money Right’.”

The partnership between SoFi and Mastercard will bring new member benefits to users of the SoFi Money debit card, which enables users to make transactions from their SoFi Money cash management account, launched last February. Cardholders will now benefit from cashback rewards, complimentary cell phone insurance, discounted airport concierge services, as well as other perks thanks to the Mastercard relationship.

“It is imperative that our partners are leaders in technological innovation, security, and enhanced benefits,” Noto said, “and Mastercard is an industry leader across all of those areas.”

SoFi, in collaboration with Quovo, participated in our developers conference, FinDEVr New York, in 2017. Together, the companies’ presentation “How Quovo and SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication” demonstrated how the integration of Quovo’s Authentication API supports the secure and streamlined authentication of financial accounts.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, and founded in 2011, SoFi currently has 900,000+ members who rely on the firm’s growing array of solutions for borrowing, saving, spending, and investing. SoFi has raised $2.5 billion in funding – including a May 2019 investment of $500 million in a round led by Qatar Investment Authority – and has a valuation of more than $4.8 billion.

How to Engage the Customer in an AI-First World

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Which digital technologies will make the biggest differences in shaping the customer experience in the new decade?

FinovateEurope next month in Berlin, Germany, will feature a keynote address from Steven Van Belleghem, author of Customers The Day After Tomorrow. Van Belleghem’s book tells the tale of customer relations in a world in which AI and automation dominate commerce.

To Belleghem, the new AI-focused world we are entering will have profound effects on the kinds of exciting new technologies we will have access to. But the deeper impact of AI may be on the expectations customers begin to develop in the marketplace, expectations such as what Belleghem calls “faster than real-time service, hyper-personalization, and intuitive user interfaces” that deliver unprecedented levels of convenience.

Customers The Day After Tomorrow shows the key role data plays in what Belleghem calls an “AI-first world”. He writes of data both as a product of engaged users and as the fuel for future product innovation which, in turn, attracts a new cohort of engaged users. Understanding how to make this virtuous circle work for your business will be critical in the AI-dominated world of the future. Belleghem offers strategies – ranging from how to market to machines, the importance of enhancing the human touch, and taking advantage of the right communication channel at the right time – that will help firms not just compete in an AI-first world, but grow and thrive.

“How will our relationship with customers change when AI platforms like Amazon Alexa will hijack the relationship with our customers?” Belleghem asked in the introduction to a recent ebook anthologizing many of his top blog posts on the future of customer engagement. “What will be the impact on our brands? How can we keep reaching out to our customers without becoming invisible?”

“I’d love to help you think about the next steps that you could be taking in preparation for when the AI gatekeepers will slide in between your brand, and your customers,” he wrote.

Check out the above trailer for Belleghem’s book, Customers The Day After Tomorrow for more. And catch Steven live at FinovateEurope in Berlin, Germany next month. To reserve your spot, visit our FinovateEurope page and pick up your ticket today. Take advantage of big savings when you register before January 31!


Interested in demoing at FinovateEurope? If you’re an innovative fintech startup with new technology to show the world, send us an email to heather@finovate.com. We’ll give you all the details you need to know about how you can join us on stage at FinovateEurope as one of our demoing companies.

Accenture Taps the Blockchain for New Procurement Platform

Consulting and technology services company Accenture launched a new procurement solution today called the True Supplier Marketplace. The new tool taps into the blockchain to more efficiently connect buyers and suppliers.

The company originally launched the True Supplier Marketplace to solve in-house procurement headaches. Today, however, Accenture has created an external SaaS solution for its clients.

True Supplier Marketplace creates a decentralized marketplace where buyers and suppliers can connect and share data easily and securely. Additionally, the True Supplier Marketplace automates actions such as pre-populating digital contracts and providing data for invoicing and payment solutions and provides tamper-evident auditability for transactions. The tool offers the right data to the right people quickly, minimizing lead times.

The company notes that today’s launch is “just the start.” Future iterations of the tool will offer analytics and insights, provide smart contracts for downstream services, and allow suppliers to rate and review buyers.

This isn’t Accenture’s first blockchain solution. In fact, in creating the True Supplier Marketplace, Accenture relied heavily on the work it did to launch Accenture Blockchain for Contracts. And, last April, the company unveiled a tool for the employee benefit sector.

Founded in 1951, Accenture’s 505,000 employees serve clients in more than 120 countries across 40 industries. Last year the company invested $1.8 billion on research and development and training efforts.

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: Unblu

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateEurope on February 11-13, 2020 in Berlin. Register today and save your spot.

Unblu’s Conversational Platform solves communication & collaboration challenges in digital channels by offering features to advise and support your customers at every step of their journey.

Features

  • Allows banks & insurance to serve customers digitally
  • Seamless transition from chatbot to human advisor in the customer consultation process
  • Integrates into existing digital channels

Why It’s Great
As financial decision making isn’t easy and self-service often isn’t enough, Unblu enables banks and insurances to deliver both automated and personal customer service utilising existing digital channels.

Presenters

Luc Haldimann, CEO, Co-Founder & Chairman
Haldimann has held a management position at OpenText, IXOS and co-founded CMS producer Obtree. Haldimann graduated with a Masters degree in Computer Science from ETH.
LinkedIn

Jens Rabe, COO
Rabe has held commercial functions in high tech companies (VP Product Marketing & VP Business Strategy at OpenText, CMO at Obtree) and graduated with an MBA from Edinburgh Business School.
LinkedIn

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: Qplatform

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateEurope on February 11-13, 2020 in Berlin. Register today and save your spot.

Qplatform is a cloud platform for integrating FinTechs with Banks using unified BaaS and FaaS connections and operates as the gateway for international FinTechs to the untapped Russian market.

Features

  • Time-to-market decrease for Banks
  • Low entry barriers for Fintechs
  • Low integration costs

Why It’s Great
Qplatform is the gateway to the Russian market and leverages both technical and market expertise in the region.

Presenters

Maxim Avdeev, CEO & Founder
Avdeev’s experiences include business development at Yandex, Microsoft and the launch of Qiwi Ventures initiative.
LinkedIn

Kirill Khromov, CBDO
Khromov brings 15+ years in finance, including investments and finances at Azimut and Rosatom.
LinkedIn

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: iProov

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateEurope on February 11-13, 2020 in Berlin. Register today and save your spot.

Financial Institutions and governments worldwide rely on iProov’s Genuine Presence Assurance to authenticate users online, with zero effort and unrivaled security.

Features

  • iProov’s remote palm and face authentication is revolutionizing the customer experience
  • Technology extended to unattended terminals, such as ATMs and kiosks
  • Improved inclusivity, accessibility, and ROI

Why It’s Great
FinovateEurope 2018 & 2019 Best of Show winners for our patented face and palm authentication on users’ own devices and now showcasing iProov’s expansion into new territories.

Presenter

Andrew Bud, CEO & Founder
Bud CBE FIET is CEO & Founder of London-based iProov, the world leader in secure, usable authentication. Bud is an experienced technology entrepreneur with a thirty-year career in mobile.
LinkedIn

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: Apiax

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateEurope on February 11-13, 2020 in Berlin. Register today and save your spot.

Apiax builds a lean yet comprehensive RegTech solution that makes it radically simple for companies to stay in line with regulations.

Features

  • Immediate binary answers to compliance questions
  • Visualization of regulatory requirements for each jurisdiction
  • Easy access to compliance knowledge

Why It’s Great
Apiax empowers organizations to bridge the gap between compliance, business, and technology.

Presenter

Ralph Huber, Co-Founder
Huber has over 16 years of legal and compliance experience within the financial industry and holds a Master in Law from the University of Zurich.
LinkedIn

FinovateEurope Sneak Peek: Efigence

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateEurope on February 11-13, 2020 in Berlin. Register today and save your spot.

Efigence is a technology company specializing in the design and implementation of both off-the-shelf products and development for financial services.

Features

EFI4 SME Digital Banking Platform new features include:

  • Instant project spaces
  • IF-THEN screening tools
  • Business dashboard for 360′ SMART reporting

Why It’s Great
EFI4 SME Digital Banking Platform helps reduce operational difficulties to zero.

Presenters

Paweł Haltof, Board Member & Innovation Director
Haltof is a consultant, strategist, and co-creator of the most innovative design concepts awarded many times by the most important international bodies.
LinkedIn

Bartłomiej Kozieł, Board Member & UX Director
Kozieł is a fintech pro specializing in innovative product development. He combines design knowledge with experience in UX management, creating innovative solutions for the financial sector.
LinkedIn

Paga Acquires Apposit, Announces Geographic Expansion

Mobile money operator Paga is poised for growth. The Nigeria-based fintech acquired U.S. software company Apposit and announced plans to expand its services geographically.

Apposit was founded in 2007 and builds software to power African tech businesses. The region is, as the company states on its website, a place where “formidable challenges and exceptional opportunities abound.”

Paga will leverage Apposit to expand into Ethiopia, a country that deals with similar cash and payment issues to Nigeria. To help fuel the expansion, the company will tap the experience of Apposit Co-founder and CEO Adam Abate, who will serve as CEO of Paga Ethiopia.

Through the acquisition, Paga Founder and CEO Tayo Oviosu said, “we not only gain a scalable world-class internal engineering team, but we also are in a stronger position to grow our global payments business.”

Paga and Apposit first partnered in 2009. After bringing on Apposit’s 62 employees, Paga’s staff now totals 530+ people. Additionally, the company adds Addis Ababa, London, and Mexico City to its list of office locations.

“Last year we refined our mission and vision to birth our massive transformative purpose: To make it simple for one billion people to access and use money,” added Oviosu. “Apposit has demonstrated strong alignment with our purpose and they have some of the very best engineers I have been privileged to work with, in over two decades in technology in Silicon Valley and elsewhere.”

Terms of today’s deal were not disclosed.

AvidXchange Secures $260 Million in New Capital, Earns $2 Billion Valuation

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Does fintech have its first “double unicorn” of 2020?

Leading accounts payable and payments automation solution provider AvidXchange has secured $260 million in equity funding in a round involving TPG Sixth Street Partners as well as other investors. The funding will power the company’s continued growth and takes AvidXchange’s total capital to more than $800 million. The investment also likely boosts the company’s valuation to more than $2 billion.

“We’re shaping the future of the B2B payments industry by fundamentally changing the way businesses pay their bills,” AvidXchange CEO and co-founder Michael Praeger said. “(We) provide a single platform for AP and payments with the largest payments network for the middle market.”

Praeger noted that even in 2019 more than 60% of businesses in the U.S. relied on paper checks to pay bills, generating $2.7 trillion in annual administrative costs. AvidXchange enables mid-market businesses to avoid this expense by automating invoice and payment processing in a single platform. the company processes 9.5 million payments a year via its network of more than 500,000 suppliers.

The funding announcement comes as the company reports that new acquisition BankTEL has secured its first partnership leveraging AvidXchange’s AvidPay solution. BankTEL will collaborate with Studio Bank, a Nashville, Tennessee-based boutique bank, which will use the platform to automate and streamline their AP to payment process.

AvidXchange was named to the Inc. 5000 list in November and earned a spot on the Forbes Cloud 100 list in October. Last year, the company also added 175 new workers, taking its total workforce to 1,400+ across seven offices. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, AvidXchange was founded in 2000.

FinovateEurope Alums Reel in $940 Million in 2019

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With FinovateEurope less than a month away, we thought we’d take a look at some of the fundraising success the conference’s alums had in 2019.

From companies that demoed at our very first FinovateEurope in 2012 to some of FinovateEurope’s newest players, alums of our European conference raised more than $940 million in funding last year. We’ve listed the companies below in alphabetic order, along with a link to their demo so you can learn more about the company and its work.

Looking to showcase your latest fintech innovation on stage? Send us an email at heather@finovate.com to find out how to become one of our demoing companies next month at FinovateEurope in Berlin, Germany, on February 11 through 13.

And if you haven’t picked up your ticket yet, run, don’t walk, to our registration page and save your spot today! Take advantage of big savings by signing up before January 31.


24sessions: $1.1 million – postFEU19 demo

Aire: $11 million – postFEU15 demo

Bitbond: $2.3 million – postFEU15 demo

Capitalise: $4.5 million – postFEU16 demo

Currencycloud: $12.2 million – postFEU14 demo

Dashlane: $110 million – postFEU13 demo

DataSine: $5 million – postFEU18 demo

Featurespace: $32.2 million – postFEU16 demo

Fintech OS: $1.2 million – postFEU18 demo

Flybits: $35 million – postFEU19 demo

Kantox: $5.7 million – postFEU13 demo

Minna Technologies: $6.3 million – postFEU19 demo

nCino: $80 million – postFEU17 demo

Nutmeg: $58 million – postFEU12 demo

Onfido: $50 million – postFEU18 demo

Passport: $65 million – postFEU16 demo

PaySend: $10.6 million – post – and $5.3 million –postEU16 demoP

Scalable Capital: $28 million – postFEU16 demo

Tink: $11.2 million – post – and $63 million – postFEU19 demoT

Token: $16.5 million – postFEU17 demo

TransferWise: $292 million – postFEU13 demo

Twisto: $15 million – post – and $15.7 million – postFEU18 demoT

YellowDog: $3.3 million – postFEU19 demo

French Challenger Bank Qonto Raises $115 Million

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Vive la France, indeed! One week after French payment app Lydia announced a $45 million fundraising, neobank Qonto reports that it has just closed the largest funding round to date for a French fintech.

French challenger bank Qonto has raised $115 million (€104 million) in Series C funding. The round was led by Tencent and DST Global, and also featured participation from existing investors Valar and VC Alven. Two angel investors, Taavet Hinrikus (TransferWise co-founder) and Ingo Uytdehaage (Adyen CFO), were also involved in the financing. Qonto now has raised a total of more than $150 million (€136 million) in capital.

The company will use the funds to fuel its expansion into three new markets just entered in 2019: Italy, Spain, and Germany. The investment will also help Qonto strengthen its position in France where the majority of its 65,000 SME and freelancer customers do business. The funding will help the company grow its headcount from 200 to 300 within a year, and help Qonto secure a credit institution license by year’s end that will allow it to become a bank.

Investors in the firm credited Qonto for its ability to efficiently provide financial services for an underserved sector such as freelancers. Managing Partner for DST Global Tom Stafford praised the company for “using technology to change banking for small and medium size businesses from a source of friction to a source of competitive advantage.”

Founded in 2017, Qonto offers freelancers and SME business owners a range of financial services from streamlined account opening and expense management to real-time notifications and visibility into cash flow. The company was named one of the “hottest startups in Paris” by Wired U.K. last August.