Finovate Global: Braintri Wins App Prize; Featurespace in Singapore

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Austrian division of private banking and asset management group, LGT, partners with Avaloq.
  • Bank of Lithuania announces updates to its position on virtual assets and ICOs.
  • IKO, the mobile app co-developed by Braintri for PKO Bank Polski, wins first place in worldwide ranking of mobile apps published by British Retail Banker International for second consecutive year.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Finastra brings its core banking technology to Saudi Arabia.
  • Cryptocurrency brokerage based in Kuwait, YallaBit, raises $925,000 in Series A.
  • Arabian Gazette highlights Bahrain’s Manama, Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh, as well as both Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE in its look at Four Arabian Gulf Cities Where Fintech is Thriving.

Central and South Asia

  • Temenos acquires Bangalore-based big data and analytics firm, hTrunk.
  • National Bank of Pakistan introduces its first contactless debit card.
  • Anirban Mukherjee appointed CEO of PayU India.
  • QR code-based payment app BharatPe raises $17 million in round led by Sequoia Capital India.
  • Pan Asia Bank and TerraPay partner to provide instant cross-border payment access to bank accounts in Sri Lanka.
  • Halyk Bank teams up with Fiserv to centralize its cash management process.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Digital challenger bank C6 goes live in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • Mexico looks at the possibility of forming a digital payments system, run by the central bank, to help make financial services more accessible for the underbanked.
  • PYMNTS.com features Argentine digital challenger bank, Wilobank.

Asia-Pacific

  • Ping An’s fintech subsidiary OneConnect sets up shop in Indonesia.
  • Hong Kong Exchange acquires minority stake in Shenzhen-based fintech.
  • Featurespace goes live in Singapore.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South African digital lender Payabill announces equity stake investment from Johannesburg-based business challenger bank, Sasfin.
  • Kenyan Capital Markets Authority Chief Executive Paul Muthaura speaks about the need for a “conducive environment” for fintech innovation in the country.
  • Nigerian Lagos state government to launch e-procurement platform within the next three weeks.

Top image designed by Freepik

Entrust Datacard to Acquire nCipher Security from Thales

Entrust Datacard, a provider of identity and secure issuance technology, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Thales’ general purpose hardware security module (GP HSM) business, nCipher Security, reports Henry Vilar of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

NCipher Security has been operating as a separate stand-alone business within Thales since January 2019.

The acquisition is expected to be finalized during the second quarter of 2019. Financial terms of the acquisition will not be disclosed.

Thales is divesting its nCipher GP HSM business, in accordance with regulatory clearances necessary to complete Thales’ acquisition of Gemalto.

“This acquisition is an excellent complement to our expertise in both cryptography and hardware,” said Todd Wilkinson, president and CEO of Entrust Datacard.

“There is a powerful synergy between our solutions and the combination of our organizations will accelerate innovation for our customers as they embark on initiatives such as mobility, cloud and IoT to grow their businesses and simultaneously strive to protect data and manage ever-growing cyber risk,” added Cindy Provin, CEO of nCipher Security.

Entrust Datacard said GP HSMs are a core component of its solutions, and an underlying part of the security infrastructure of the company’s public key infrastructure (PKI) and secure socket layer (SSL) offerings.

The acquisition will allow the company to address the increased demand for data security stemming from regulations such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the electronic identification, authentication and trust services (eIDAS) regulation.

The transaction is subject to the successful completion of the acquisition of Gemalto by Thales, the approval of Entrust as a suitable purchaser by the European Commission, US Department of Justice, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and New Zealand Commerce Commission, and the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

Entrust Datacard is a two-time alum of our developers conference, FinDEVrSiliconValley. The company presented Securing the Omni Channel Experience with a Trusted Identity in 2015, and returned the following year with Safeguarding Your Banking Applications, a look at the value of integrating second factor authentication into banking apps.

Avaloq Banking Suite Goes Live with LGT

The Austrian unit of LGT, the international private banking and asset management group owned by the Princely House of Liechtenstein, has gone live with the Avaloq Banking Suite, reports Henry Vilar of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

The roll-out complements similar activation projects for LGT with Avaloq in Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Singapore and Hong Kong, meaning that all of the group’s core markets now use the same banking system.

The LGT deal with Avaloq dates back to 2006 – the company has been rolling out the core banking system across LGT locations over the years, and Austria is the last site to join. The project in Austria started in 2016.

Jürg Hunziker, CEO of Avaloq, said: “Avaloq is now able to support Austrian banks as the sector increasingly looks to digitise its infrastructure.”

Dietmar Baumgartner, co-CEO of LGT in Austria, added: “The integration of Austria into LGT’s group-wide core banking system makes it possible to benefit from synergies and further simplifies internal processes.”

LGT is a financial services group that has been controlled by the Liechtenstein Princely Family for over 80 years. With Avaloq’s adoption, it aims to strengthen its client-centric sales and service model.

The solution addresses market needs specific to Austria, such as the local tax system and current and future financial regulations. This means that the bank’s advisers automatically meet regulatory requirements.

The going live marks the market entry of Avaloq in Austria. Its scalable solution is now also available to other private as well as retail banks.

Back in 2017, FinTech Futures reported that LGT was implementing the vendor’s OneSumX platform for the regulatory reporting and risk management of its Asian operations – in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Avaloq demonstrated its “double marketplace” that brings the app store concept to banking, at FinovateAsia 2018, winning Best of Show. The Zurich, Switzerland based firm was founded in 1985.

Finovate Alumi News

Around the web

  • Sberbank customers can now make instant transfers between Sberbank cards and WebMoney wallets courtesy of new partnership.
  • Mobile gifting platform Swych announces it will accept payment in cryptocurrency.
  • Ellie Mae introduces the early adopters of its Integrated Partner Program.
  • Lending Club and U.K. data vendor Brismo team up to provide standardized performance metrics for lending.

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.

Onfido Teams Up with Extended Stay Marketplace 2nd Address

Less than one month after announcing its expansion into France and a new partnership with IDEMIA, Onfido is back in the news. The identity verification specialist is bringing its technology to San Francisco, California-based online rental marketplace, 2nd Address.

“As the rentals market gets ever more popular, with millions of online transactions happening every month, it’s hard to know if your customers are who they claim to be,” Onfido CEO and co-founder Husayn Kassai said. “We bring trust to digital interactions worldwide and pride ourselves in delivering an experience that’s as rapid as it is robust.”

2nd Address provides furnished, long-term rental accommodations for business professionals in the U.S. Onfido’s identity verification technology will enable the company to quickly and accurate verify and onboard new renters at the point of booking while helping protect hosts against fraud. The process is straightforward: potential renters take a selfie and a photo of their identity document. Onfido’s technology determines the legitimacy of the ID document, and compares the selfie image to the photo on the ID.

“2nd Address is committed to making sure that not only do our guest have a modern booking process, but that our hosts receive high-quality guests,” company CEO Chung-Man Tam said. “Onfido helps us deliver a smooth user experience while also creating the trust and safety that’s crucial to our community.”

Onfido demonstrated its Facial Check with Video technology at FinovateFall 2018. The point-of-signup solution leverages machine learning to detect liveness to ensure that facial checks cannot be spoofed by stolen photos or IDs. Partnered with firms such as Zipcar and fellow Finovate alum Revolut, Onfido provides verification checks in more than 190 countries around the world.

The company has raised $60.3 million in funding. Crane Venture Partners, Microsoft Ventures, and Salesforce Ventures are among Onfido’s most recent investors.

London’s Accountant Marketplace Capitalise Raises $4.5 Million

Capitalise.com, the London-based financial marketplace for accountants, has raised a $4.5 million (£3.5 million) Series A investment round, reports Henry Vilar of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

The round was led by QED Investors, a US fintech venture capital firm, and supported by existing investor Hambro Perks, as well as Gauss Ventures.

Capitalise positions accountants as experts, using its data analytics and marketplace access, so it becomes the point of advice to discuss growth plans with small business clients.

Paul Surtees, co-founder and CEO of Capitalise, said it wants to build a “culture of funding.”

The firm cites the UK’s Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), which says access to finance and cash flow are business owners’ top concerns despite the UK market having over 360 small business lenders.

Surtees said: “Whilst the bank manager might be a thing of the past, we say it is ‘long live the accountant.’”

According to Capitalise, its platform and online learning for accountants has allowed for an annual compounded growth rate of 234%.

“The recent raise will be used to expand our cloud product for advisers to navigate the market of financial products for SMEs”, explained Ollie Maitland, co-founder and chief product officer at Capitalise.

Through its online platform, Capitalise works with 105 partners, including PKF, Armstrong Watson, Farnell Clarke, BluSky, Wow and Woods Squared.

Not to be confused with fellow Finovate alum Capitalise from Tel Aviv, U.K.-based Capitalise demonstrated its platform at FinovateEurope 2016.

Save up to $1,000 if you register for FinovateSpring before Friday!

 

Coinbase Acquires Blockchain Intelligence Platform Neutrino

Crypto exchange Coinbase is in a buying mood again with the acquisition of Milan-based blockchain intelligence platform Neutrino, reports Antony Peyton of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

Financial details were not disclosed.

According to Coinbase, blockchain intelligence is “increasingly important” in the crypto ecosystem, and is “necessary to achieve our mission of bringing the open financial system to the world”.

By analyzing data on public blockchains, Neutrino’s tech will let Coinbase prevent theft of funds from peoples’ accounts, investigate ransomware attacks, and identify bad actors. It will also help bring more (unspecified) cryptocurrencies and features.

For example, on its website, Neutrino offers its XFlow nSpect solution. This is developed specifically for law enforcement agencies, and provides features for criminal investigations and intelligence gathering.

Neutrino, which was founded in 2016, will continue to operate as a standalone business based out of its London office.

Meanwhile, Coinbase seems to be making good progress.

Last month, it bought Blockspring, a San Francisco-based start-up enabling data collection through APIs.

Back in August 2018, it acquired another San Francisco-based start-up – Distributed Systems – as it plans to use cryptocurrencies and blockchain for validating and verifying identity.

Coinbase demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2014. With more than 20 million users and $150+ billion traded, the fintech unicorn was valued at $8 billion at the time of its last fundraise in October 2018.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Onfido Teams Up with Extended Stay Marketplace 2nd Address.
  • London’s Accountant Marketplace Capitalise Raises $4.5 Million.
  • Coinbase Acquires Blockchain Intelligence Platform Neutrino.

Around the web

  • Featurespace brings its anti-fraud technology to Singapore.
  • Revolut CEO Nik Storonsky urges UK government to provide special tech visa to ensure London’s status as a “fintech powerhouse” after Brexit.
  • Fiserv helps Kazakhstan’s Halyk Bank centralize its currency management process.
  • Bottomline Technologies partners with UMB Financial to offer Visa-powered payables solution to customers in the U.S.

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.

Bill.com Bans Wire Transfer Fees for Small Businesses

Here’s a ban that businesses can really get behind. Digital payments company Bill.com has eliminated wire transfer fees for SMEs that meet three conditions.

  1. Pay Electronically
  2. Pay in Local Currency
  3. Pay with Bill.com’s International Payments solution

Bill.com CMO Yael Zheng highlighted both the convenience and the cost savings available for small businesses that take advantage of International Payments. “Payments can be made and tracked in U.S, dollars, for a better wire transfer rate than most banks, and in more than 24 local currencies with no wire transfer fee and at a competitive exchange rate,” Zheng said.

International Payments was launched last July as a way to help businesses pay international vendors digitally. Bill.com said it has already seen “rapid adoption” of the platform by customers who can now make payments in more than 40 countries. The solution provides automated approval workflows, and helps SMEs save time by syncing with major accounting software platforms such as Quickbooks, Xero, Sage Intacct, and Oracle NetSuite.

“Bill.com has eliminated payments torture from our business life.” co-founder and Operations Manager for The New Stack, Judy Williams said. “We’re growing approximately 25-30% outside the U.S., and the Bill.com International Payments solution enables us to pay our contractors, who are located all over the world, in a timely manner.”

Bill.com demonstrated CashView at FinovateSpring 2012. The solution is a feature of the company’s banking platform, and gives business customers visibility into and management over cash flow, payables, and receivables. More recently, the company partnered with American Express to launch Vendor Pay, a solution that makes it easier for companies to automate their AP processes.

Bill.com finished 2018 with news that it had achieved NACHA certification, ensuring that the company is meeting the corporate governance and risk and compliance obligations for processing ACH payments. Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Bill.com has raised more than $259 million in funding, and includes Temasek Holdings and JP Morgan among its most recent investors. René Lacerte is CEO.