FinovateAfrica Sneak Peek: Yoco

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateAfrica on November 27 and 28, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. Register today and save your spot.

Yoco is an African technology company that builds tools and services to help small businesses get paid, run their businesses better, and grow.

Yoco Capital includes:

  • Fast, simple access to a cash advance
  • No security or collateral required
  • One-of-a-kind payback method with no debit orders or late fees.

Why it’s great
Yoco Capital is the simplest, fastest way to access a cash advance for your business with an effortless, one-of-a-kind payback method.


Bradley Wattrus, CFO and Co-Founder
Highly experienced in business strategy and venture development, Wattrus enjoys the daily challenges of the fintech industry.


Clayton Brett, Capital Product Owner
Brett has 15 years of financial industry experience in business analysis and project management.

FinovateAfrica Sneak Peek: OUTvest

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateAfrica on November 27 and 28, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. Register today and save your spot.

OUTvest is a new generation wealth platform. The company has integrated wealth planning and execution and management, online or with human advisors.

OUTvest built its own capabilities to design proprietary advice algorithms, investment exposures and user experience, and deliver it in a simple client experience.

Why it’s great
Imagine if investing was as easy as driving a car: all the technology is there, it’s just as easy to use.


Grant Locke, Head of OUTvest
Locke is a CFA charterholder and has worked in the investment industry for more than 15 years in the U.K. and South Africa. He is a passionate advocate that investing is a personal finance solution.


Niel de Bruin, Head of Operations
de Bruin is a CA(SA) and has been in the financial services industry since 2002. “He is one hell of an operator and a phenomenal business partner,” says Grant Locke.

FinovateAfrica Sneak Peek: DocFox

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateAfrica on November 27 and 28, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. Register today and save your spot.

DocFox automates compliance for the new FICA Act with document processing, client screening, risk rating, and bank account verification.


  • Automate cumbersome and manual processes in compliance
  • Breeze through regulatory audits
  • Branch into new areas of business previously too high risk to enter

Why it’s great
DocFox handles the compliance needs of any organization, of any size, serving all types of clients from individuals to complex offshore structures.


Richard Cohen, Director and Co-Founder
Cohen has been a shareholder and board member of DocFox from the inception of the company. He is a qualified economist, Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Financial Analyst.

GreatHorn Unveils Comprehensive Email Security Solution for the Enterprise

Cloud-based email security specialist GreatHorn announced a major expansion of its flagship solution, GreatHorn Email Security, transforming it into a comprehensive platform to defend institutions against email-borne threats from time of delivery to post-delivery.

The new addition, GreatHorn Mailbox Protection, gives users immediate, ready access to relationship and risk data to help them when interacting with their email messages. The solution lets users know the strength of their relationship with the sender, the date of their last outbound communication with the sender, the likelihood that the sender is from the domain they say they are, and the relative risk of any embedded links within the message.

Chris Fraser (VP of Strategic Accounts and Founding Team Member) and Sean Varga (Senior Account Executive) demonstrating the GreatHorn Inbound Email Security platform at FinovateFall 2017.

“The security industry continues to treat users as the ‘weakest link’ in their security practices, rather than as intelligent, informed, and vital parts of a true security posture,” CEO and co-founder of GreatHorn Kevin O’Brien explained. In contrast, GreatHorn’s solution turns this conventional wisdom on its head, empowering “end users to take action from the front lines” to fight malicious email messages.

The solution also enables users to confirm and quarantine email phishing attempts, build personal sender block lists, and easily tag spam email and transfer it to the trash. Currently in beta, GreatHorn Mailbox Protection will be available soon through the Microsoft Office and Google Chrome Web stores.

“GreatHorn is known for industry-leading phishing protection,” O’Brien said in discussing the new comprehensive platform. “With GreatHorn Email Security, we have expanded that protection to offer enterprises a truly comprehensive email security platform, tuned to safeguard them from the full range of today’s advanced email-borne threats.” O’Brien added that, as the “most critical business communication system in existence,” email deserves “best in-class protection, not just a small point solution, plug-in, or add-on.”

GreatHorn demonstrated its Inbound Email Security platform at FinovateFall 2017. Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Belmont, Massachusetts, the company leverages machine learning and automated response technology to spot and counter highly targeted, malicious message-based threats before the damage takes place. The platform’s security is provided without the need for major overhead, traditional network routing solutions, or perimeter blocking.

This spring, GreatHorn partnered with Rhino Security Labs, combining its inbound email security solution with Rhino’s multi-vector phishing research and assessment services. “Our partnership with GreatHorn will provide enterprises with a nuanced view of their social engineering exposure,” Rhino Security Labs CEO Benjamin Caudill said when the partnership was announced. “(We) will demonstrate how an automated, risk appropriate remediation approach can be used to prevent cybercriminals from compromising critical data or credentials.”

GreatHorn has raised $8.8 million in funding, and includes TechStars, ff Venture Capital, Uncork Capital, and .406 Ventures among its investors.

Finovate Alumni News


  • GreatHorn Unveils Comprehensive Email Security Solution for the Enterprise.

Around the web

  • UrbanFT Co-Founder Mark Kilpatrick named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30.
  • Entrust Datacard IntelliTrust Cloud Service strengthens authentication for Microsoft Azure customers.
  • NIIT Technologies partners with R3 to build solutions on the Corda Platform.
  • CardFlight earns top 50 ranking in the 2018 Deloitte Fast 500 roster.

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.

MoneyHub Secures Investment from Nationwide

Financial tools company MoneyHub announced today it received an undisclosed amount of funding from the venture arm of financial services giant Nationwide, which used a portion of its $64.5 million fund to take a minority stake in the U.K.-based fintech.

Tony Prestedge, deputy chief executive at Nationwide Building Society, said, “It’s important that the Society invests for the future to ensure we remain at the forefront of innovation. Investing in start-ups like Moneyhub helps us identify, learn about, and explore new capabilities and technologies that will help deliver our technology strategy both now and in the future.”

Interestingly, this isn’t MoneyHub’s first tie-up with the insurance industry. The company was acquired by South African insurance company MMI Holdings in 2014.

Founded in 2009, MoneyHub offers direct-to-consumer, direct-to-advisor, and enterprise versions of its personal financial management technology. The company aggregates consumers’ financial data onto a single platform to offer a holistic view of their overall financial health. In August, MoneyHub received authorization as a payment initiation services provider from the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority. This certification enables the firm to allow users to initiate payments across accounts from within its platform.

In April, MoneyHub solidified its commitment to open banking by partnering with challenger banks Monzo and Starling in an integration that enables the banks’ clients to use the Moneyhub app to link their checking and savings accounts, credit cards, pensions, loans, mortgages, SIPPs, ISAs, and investments. “While we have years of experience in innovating and unlocking the benefits of new technology, we aren’t complacent. We know that by working together with start-ups we can learn from each other and ensure we are best placed to help our members get the most out of new technology in the future,” said Prestedge.

MoneyHub most recently presented at FinovateEurope 2017, where it debuted the SmartAssist tool for the enterprise version of its software. SmartAssist is an intelligent messaging feature that leverages AI to help consumers manage their finances and plan for the future.

Lighter Capital Increases Funding Limit to $3 Million

Revenue-based small business financing startup Lighter Capital announced today it has increased its funding limit by 50%.

The Washington-based company will now provide tech startups with up to $3 million in working capital in exchange for 2% to 8% of their business’ future revenue. The $3 million cap is up from Lighter Capital’s previous funding limit of $2 million. Unlike with VC funding, startups retain full ownership of their company.

“As more and more tech entrepreneurs discover alternatives to equity-based venture funding, we realized the need for even more significant financial commitment,” BJ Lackland, CEO of Lighter Capital said. “The reality is, most banks won’t fund small, early-stage tech startups, and venture capitalists demand significant equity in the company. By increasing our loan amounts by 50 percent, we can ensure burgeoning tech startups can rapidly expand and get ahead of competition.”

Founded in 2010, Lighter Capital has funded more than 270 early stage tech startups in 450 funding installments totaling $125 million. The company today announced it has provided an additional $555,000 in funding to proptech company ListReports. Thanks to the more than $2 million in total financing from Lighter Capital, ListReports has increased its revenue by 11x since Lighter Capital first began investing in it in 2016, Regarding the round, Lackland said, “Since day one, ListReports has been on an upward trajectory, showing continuous growth, while building out a sustainable business model. We’ll happily provide them with the financing they need to become a dominant force in the real estate technology market.”

Lighter Capital most recently demoed at FinovateFall 2013 where it showcased loan analysis and monitoring tools. Last month, the company launched a new Client Perks Program and a few weeks back appointed Anthea Louie as Chief Marketing Officer.

Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World

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.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Fintech digital crowdsourcing platform, Fintech Galaxy, honors leaders of MENA’s fintech industry at its FinX – Excellence in Fintech awards.
  • Entrepreneur magazine looks at how recent investment trends are impacting the growth of fintech in the MENA region.
  • ADGM announces partnership with Bahrain’s central bank to encourage innovation in financial services in both the UAE and Bahrain.

Central and South Asia

  • Bangladeshi sales automation and credit assessment firm ShopUp picks up $1.62 million in seed round led by Omidyar Network.
  • Kazakhstan’s Bank CentreCredit buys 111 ATMs with integrated security and monitoring technology from BS/2.
  • TechCrunch interviews ZestMoney CEO Lizzie Chapman on the building a fintech startup in India.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Decision Report features Finn AI in a look at how chatbots are revolutionizing the financial sector. In Portuguese.
  • Banco Ficensa of Honduras goes live with new core banking technology from e-IBS.
  • Brazil’s Banco Bradesco partners with Japan’s MUFG Bank to develop Ripple-based cross-border payments service.


  • Singapore’s Grab raises $50 million in new funding from Thailand-based Kasikornbank; unveils co-branded mobile wallet, GrabPay by KBank.
  • Courtesy of a joint venture with China’s LianLian, American Express becomes the first foreign card scheme to gain direct access to China’s payment card market.
  • Ondot Systems announces new end-to-end digital card services platform for Asian banks.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Kenyan fintech startup Pezesha unveils financial education academy to help educate would-be borrowers.
  • Rand Merchant Investment Holding (RMI) via AlphaCode, awards R16 million to eight South African fintech startups.
  • Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo urges the nation’s banks to make reforms in order to “cope” with what he called “a quick convergence between technology and financial products.”

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Tinkoff Mobile extends service to seven additional areas of Russia including Smolensk and the Republic of Mordovia.
  • Czech Republic’s Moneta embraces cloud-based banking with test of automatic application deployment in the AWS environment.
  • Russian microfinance company MFC Zaymer joins automated P2P platform,

Top image designed by Freepik

Prosper Plans HELOC Product Launch in 2019

P2P lender Prosper announced today that it will expand its offerings next year to include a new digital Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) product.

“We are taking advantage of our expertise in consumer credit and personal loans to build a product that removes the complexity and time-consuming barriers in applying for a HELOC,” Prosper Marketplace CEO David Kimball explained. “For many of our customers, a HELOC could be a better choice for their financial needs and we’re thrilled to be working with our bank partners to render the traditional process obsolete with a new digital HELOC process that is simple, fast, and painless.”

In a press release, Prosper cited a TransUnion study that indicated rising home values encourage homeowners to consider HELOCs as an option for financing. The study estimated that 10 million consumers would pursue HELOCs between 2018 and 2022, more than 2x the number of HELOCs taken out between 2012 and 2016.

Prosper and its bank partners will look to serve this demand by streamlining the HELOC application process, including offering an online application that can be completed in minutes, and an instant HELOC prequalification offer. No origination fee will be charged with HELOCs originated via Prosper, which pledges to offer the same competitive rates as the banks.

Founded in 2006 and one of Finovate’s earliest alums, Prosper demonstrated its P2P platform at our first conference in 2007. Since then, the company has originated more than $13 billion in loans to help borrowers finance debt consolidation, home improvement projects, medical expenses, and special occasions.

“Maintaining a balanced marketplace that provides value to both borrowers and investors remains our highest priority,” Kimball summarized when the company’s Q2 results – and its milestone of more than one million loans originated – were announced in August. “Throughout 2018, Prosper has been raising interest rates and significantly tightening credit in order to ensure that we continue to provide a fair price for borrowers and a solid risk-adjusted return for investors,” he said.

The company unveiled Q3 2018 financial results this week, underscoring Prosper’s emphasis on “credit and pricing discipline” as well as plans for new products like the new digital HELOC offering.

Prosper has raised more than $428 million in funding, most recently closing a $50 million Series G round led by FinEx Asia.

Nvstr Brings Brokerage Optimized Investing to the Masses

New York-based Nvstr demonstrated its machine learning-powered stock selection platform just over a year ago at FinovateFall. By leveraging technology and the collective wisdom of the investing crowd, Nvstr offers individual investors access to the same sort of “smart processes” to discover good investment opportunities and build profitable portfolios that professional investors have long enjoyed.

Roughly half the U.S. population is invested in the stock market. But in reality, many people do not learn about investing formally. This makes it incredibly difficult to find information on investing intelligently – or to even know what to look for,” Nvstr co-founder and CEO Bernard George (pictured) explained in an email conversation.

“We understand that building a stock portfolio can be time consuming and intimidating, and that’s why we created Nvstr. Studies suggest that Americans are leaving $60 billion on the table each year due to poorly allocated portfolios,” he said.

We caught up with George to talk about the company’s technology and plans for the future. The company recently launched a promotion to add up to $500 to any newly-opened brokerage account.

Finovate: What does Nvstr do and how does it do it?

Bernard George: Our social trading platform empowers individuals to invest smarter by leveraging technology and the collective experience of other investors to make more educated investment decisions. Our software is based on independent Nobel Prize-winning research that works behind the scenes to guide users towards intelligent portfolio allocations in just one click.

Finovate: Who are your primary customers?

George: Our primary customers are individuals who already have some experience in investing. However, anyone can create a free simulated trading account to familiarize themselves with our platform and to practice investing risk-free. This is a great way for beginners or intermediate investors to get more comfortable investing before having to commit real money.

Finovate: How does Nvstr solve the problem better?

George: Existing brokerages are not designed to help customers achieve their fundamental goal, which is to build wealth by intelligently allocating their money for the long-term. Nvstr fills this void by bringing a social, technology-driven approach to investing. First-time users can buy and sell stocks (at cheaper fees than many competitors) with a front row seat for what other really successful investors are thinking and doing.

Not only can they view their portfolios, but they can collaborate and discuss investment ideas and their pros/cons. To make things better, everyone’s input on each stock is automatically summarized. This means everyone can access the key benefits – and risks – of each stock at a glance.

Finovate: Tell us about a favorite feature of the Nvstr platform.

George: Nvstr’s machine learning technology is used behind the scenes throughout the product to surface relevant and interesting ideas to the Nvstr community.  One of the most exciting implementations is the Collective Intelligence filter. This filter lets users quickly find stocks that our algorithm determines will be most interesting in based on a user’s actions on the site.

It will even tell them how these stocks might fit into their current portfolio. This list can be further filtered by traditional data like market cap, P/E ratio, industry, and more. It’s like browsing for a new TV series on Netflix, but for stocks.

Finovate: What in your background gave you the confidence to tackle this challenge?

George: We’ve been professional investors at some of the world’s most sophisticated institutions, but we’ve also experienced the frustrations of personal investing. Nvstr’s leaders are former hedge fund managers, game designers and ed tech engineers who left those industries to make intelligent investing easy and engaging.

Our team has spent time working for companies like J.P. Morgan, Merrill Lynch, The Carlyle Group, and Electronic Arts, and we know where the gaps in this market lie, and that’s what we have set out to fix.

Finovate: Where do you see Nvstr a year or two from now?

George: Nvstr is the best place for people to discuss stocks with friends and find new trade ideas from their network and a community of smart investors. As our community continues to grow, more investors will benefit from the advanced portfolio allocation and machine learning technology within the platform.

Our ultimate goal is for Nvstr to be the platform of choice for investors of all skill levels to gain insights and to build and manage their portfolios – all in one place.