FI.SPAN Raises $4 Million for U.K. and Australia Expansion

Financial services management platform FI.SPAN has some extra holiday spending cash, thanks to a new round of funding led by BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund. The round also features participation from FinTop Capital, VFF, Panache Ventures and others. The $4 million investment brings FI.SPAN’s total funding to $6 million.

The Canada-based company will use the funds to expand its operations to the U.K. and Australia, as well as grow its Vancouver, B.C.-based team. FI.SPAN currently employs 20 people in its New York and Vancouver offices, and it hopes to double its Vancouver workforce within the next year-and-a-half.

FI.SPAN CEO Lisa Shields told BIV.com that she’s not worried about Brexit impacting the company’s U.K. expansion. “Brexit, to be honest, for my particular business doesn’t affect us that much and the market is massive in the U.K.,” Shields said. “Because we sell to banks, we’re less impacted by Brexit.”

Above: Shields and with co-founder Clayton Weir demo at FinovateFall 2018

Shields co-founded FI.SPAN in 2016 and recently demoed the company’s ERP Connectivity Suite at FinovateFall 2018 in New York.  The company’s white-labeled service designs, builds, and maintains live connections to online and cloud-based accounting systems. The company’s API services suite helps banks build out their APIs to offer clients third-party connectivity. Similarly, FI.SPAN’s Fintegration suite helps banks integrate with fintechs and securely manage data exchange between the two parties.

Best of Show Winner Voleo to Help Drive Social Trading in Europe

OP Financial Group has chosen Finovate Best of Show winner Voleo as its partner to build and launch a new social trading platform for the European market. The company will join the Helsinki, Finland-based firm’s Wealthtech Partnership Program, having bested nine other fintechs that competed for the opportunity during OP Financial’s four-day Co-alignment Week.

Voleo offers a white-label, social trading app that enables investors to leverage their collective knowledge to invest together and pursue higher market returns. Users can build and manage investment clubs with the app, democratically managing portfolios by discussing and debating trades which are executed automatically by majority vote.

To help guide decision-making, Voleo provides a Definitive Return On Investment Decisions (DROID) score that helps users spot and follow along with the best performing investment clubs and individual investors on the platform. Designed to both lower the costs of and barriers to entry for less experienced investors, the app is available on both iOS and Android, as well as via the web.

The OP Wealthtech Partnership Program consists of a four-month intensive collaboration period, with three “co-creation phases” featuring workshops, advisor meetings, and networking. OP Financial Group is the largest financial services group in Finland, and its partnership program is one way to help companies access the Nordic market.

“I am thrilled for the opportunity to collaborate with OP and its program partners, Accenture, CGI, and Siili, to deliver our seamless and secure solution that empowers people to invest together in a way that’s never been possible,” Voleo CEO Thomas Beattie said. “There is a robust future demand for mobile investing technology and Voleo is already capitalizing on the massive generational wealth transfer in North America.”

Voleo demonstrated its platform at FinovateFall 2017, winning Best of Show honors. Featured last month in Retail Banker, Voleo began the year with a business combination with Logan Resources, and reports that it has experienced consistent user growth of 20% per month since the company’s “soft launch” in 2017. That year, Voleo partnered with Nasdaq to launch an equity trading competition which offered $10,000 in real cash portfolios to winning investors and teams. The company was founded in 2015, and is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

EVRY Wins $75 Million Contract

Less than a month after landing a deal worth almost $77 million, Nordic IT company EVRY announced it has inked a $75 million contract with Handelsbanken in Finland.

Under the agreement, which is set to last eight years with an optional two-year extension, EVRY will provide Handelsbanken its complete suite of SaaS core banking and payment solutions, reaching both corporate and private banking customers. This includes internet banking for personal and corporate customers, loan management and back office solutions for Handelsbanken’s employees, and selected card services.

“EVRY’s solution will give us a modern and configurable banking platform with extensive product development capabilities. Modernising our core banking system in this way will enable us to develop more efficient processes and thereby to provide better customer service,” said Nina Arkilahti, CEO of Handelsbanken in Finland.

EVRY has partnered with the Handelsbanken Group in the past. Earlier this year, the company teamed up with Handelsbanken in Norway to launch a wrist-based contactless payments solution. Describing today’s deal, Wiljar Nesse, EVP of financial services at EVRY, named it an “important milestone” for EVRY as it advances the company’s presence in Finland.

EVRY demonstrated its PFM solution, Spendific, at FinovateEurope 2015. With more than 10,000 customers across the private and public sectors and 8,800 employees across nine countries, EVRY is headquartered in Fornebu just outside Oslo. The company is listed on the Oslo stock exchange under the ticker “EVRY AS” and has a market capitalization of $11 billion. Terje Mjøs is CEO.

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.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazil’s Nubank announces debit options for its digital savings account.
  • Infocorp spinoff Bankingly raises $5.25 million in Series A funding in round led by Elevar Equity.
  • Vocalink to modernize Peru’s electronic payments infrastructure courtesy of new deal with the company’s automated clearinghouse, Cámara de Compensación Electrónica (CCE).

Asia-Pacific

  • UNPay expands QR code payments.
  • Indonesian lending and payments firm, Pohon Dana, picks up investment from Mayapada Group.
  • PaySend launches transfers to bank accounts and Napas cards in Vietnam.
  • Fenergo wins Fintech Exporter of the Year award from Asia Matters.
  • Juvo expands across Asia with regional headquarters in Singapore.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Experian purchases South African credit information and analytics firm Compuscan for $263 million.
  • Ecobank partners with MFS Africa to offer cross-platform digital payments to customers.
  • Emergent Technology acquires Ghana-based Interpay Africa.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Sberbank offers clients new strategies for investment life insurance.
  • Finastra opens new offices in Romania.
  • Backbase powers omni-channel digital services for Poland’s BGŻ BNP Paribas bank.
  • International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) to deploy technology from FICO to fight money laundering.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • UAE and Saudi Arabia launch blockchain-powered, cross-border payments proof of concept.
  • Temenos announces partnership with Tunisia’s Banque de l’Habitat.
  • Token brings open banking to MENA region.

Central and South Asia

  • James Finance, Ocrolus, Hydrogen, and iProov shortlisted for India FinTech Awards 2018.
  • Currencies Direct taps Ripple’s xCurrent for real-time remittances to India.
  • Fintech News Singapore features BankBazaar in its round up of 10 Hot Fintech Startups from India to Watch Closely.

Top image designed by Freepik

Brazil’s Nubank Announces Debit Options for its Digital Savings Account

A jigsaw is being filled as Brazil-based challenger Nubank has unveiled debit and withdrawal options for its digital savings account, NuConta, reports Antony Peyton of FinTech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

According to the bank, these functions were most requested by its customers. This news may not be a big deal to some, but it’s another sign that Nubank is moving along fairly well and trying to shake up the old order.

In October, Tencent invested $180 million in the bank – taking the challenger’s valuation to a healthy $4 billion. While in June, Nubank said it got 1.5 million customers signed up for NuConta.

NuConta is the challenger bank’s bid to reach the nation’s sizable underbanked population, estimated at around 60 million Brazilians.

In this debit/withdrawal matter, it explains that it has started testing Nubank Debit. With it, it has also launched a new withdrawal option so customers can use the debit function to withdraw money directly from their NuConta at ATMs.

At first, it will test this only with some customers who already own the Nubank and NuConta card and, from 2019, it will be expanded for all.

David Vélez, CEO of Nubank, said: “The release of the debit function is another piece of the jigsaw that was missing to help people find a way out of the current banking system and its revolving doors of complexity and bureaucracy.”

The “revolving doors” bit was his word play on the official launch at the Pinacoteca Museum in São Paulo.

The bank turned a revolving door into a museum piece to cleverly show how it was the “first barrier that Brazilians had to face in order to gain access to a banking service”.

Founded in 2013, Nubank also has funding support from DST Global Investment Partners, Founders Fund, QED, and Goldman Sachs. The company is an alum of our developers conference, FinDEVr, having presented Our Money, Our Rulebook at FinDEVr New York 2016.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • EVRY Wins $75 Million Contract.
  • Best of Show Winner Voleo to Help Drive Social Trading in Europe.
  • FI.SPAN Raises $4 Million for U.K. and Australia Expansion.

Around the web

  • Sberbank offers clients new strategies for investment life insurance.
  • PaySend launches transfers to bank accounts and Napas cards in Vietnam.
  • Anorak earns a spot in FinSMEs’ Top 10 U.K. Insurtech Startups to Watch in 2019 roster.
  • Intuit relaunches its redesigned ProAdvisor program in the U.S., Canada, and Australia.
  • DataSine and FinovateFall Best of Show winner Golden join the Envestnet | Yodlee Incubator’s latest cohort.
  • API platform provider for banking and insurance NDGIT announces strategic partnership with Synpulse.
  • James Finance, Ocrolus, Hydrogen, and iProov shortlisted for India FinTech Awards 2018.
  • PYMNTS highlights WePay Co-founder Rich Aberman in its latest podcast.
  • Jack Henry & Associates introduces a voice-driven consumer billpay solution.

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.

Accenture Acquires Zafin

Digital banking platform provider Zafin and global professional services company Accenture have forged a new relationship that is both a strategic alliance and an acquisition. The companies have announced a “joint go-to-market strategy” that will make Accenture the preferred integrator of Zafin’s financial platform. And by bringing on “select employees” from Zafin’s professional services business, Accenture also gains the technical integration and development capabilities it needs to enhance its own financial services offerings.

For Zafin, the alliance and acquisition gives the company the opportunity to “focus squarely on product innovation and technology” said CEO and founder Al Karim Somji. He added that the partnership also provides the Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based firm with “rapid scalability.”

“We are particularly proud of the work we’ve done with our clients globally,” Somji said, “and expect our expanded relationship with Accenture to enable us to accelerate our momentum in the market.”

Zafin offers financial institutions around the world technology that drives relationship pricing, bundling, and rates management strategies. The company’s platform enables financial institutions to boost revenue and efficiency by upgrading legacy infrastructure which, among other benefits, helps them improve client engagement via solutions and services that deliver greater customization for consumers and greater profitability for banks.

Head of Accenture’s global banking practice Alan McIntyre blamed legacy IT systems for the inability of many FIs to modernize the customer experience, and pointed to Zafin’s technology as a solution. “Zafin’s software enables financial institutions to improve their pricing, personalization and product configuration without having to replace their legacy systems,” the senior managing director said.

Zafin demonstrated its miRevenue enterprise banking platform at FinovateFall 2017. In May of this year, the company announced a partnership with Celero, an IT solution provider for credit unions. In April, Zafin inked a strategic partnership with the Empire Startups, a  global community of fintech entrepreneurs, investors, and innovators.

Named one of Canada’s 50 fastest growing companies in 2016 by Deloitte, Zafin has more than 40 global banking customers in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, and India. The company was founded in 2002, and raised $30 million in funding previous to the alliance and acquisition by Accenture.

With clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture offers a wide variety of strategy, consulting, technology, and operations services and solutions. The company partnered with mBank at FinovateFall 2013 to demonstrate the Polish bank’s next generation online banking platform. Accenture was founded in 1989, and is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. With a market capitalization of $106 billion, Accenture trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “ACN.”

The Faves of FinovateEurope: A Brief History of Best of Show Winners

With FinovateEurope right around the corner, we wanted to take a look at the companies that have won Best of Show trophies from FinovateEurope conferences since we first took the show across the pond back in the winter of 2011.

Specifically, we focused those FinovateEurope alums that have won multiple Best of Show awards to see how they reflect the development – and anticipate the future – of fintech in Europe.

eToro (FinovateEurope Best of Show 20172015, 2012, 2011) – Innovator in social trading and investing

  • Headquarters: London, U.K.
  • Founded: 2007
  • Total funding raised: $72.9 million
  • CEO: Yoni Assia (founder)
  • Most recent Finovate appearance: FinovateEurope 2017

Winner of a Best of Show trophy at the inaugural FinovateEurope in 2011 and picking up another three awards since, eToro is a pioneer in social investing. The company has more than 4.5 million traders and investors in currencies, commodities, indicies, and CFD stocks operating in more than 170 countries. Last month eToro launched GoodDollar, a new non-profit, open source initiative to use cryptocurrency to reduce income inequality.

Meniga (FinovateEurope Best of Show 20182015, 2013, 2011) – Digital banking solutions specialist

  • Headquarters: London, U.K.
  • Founded: 2009
  • Total funding raised: $23.4 million
  • CEO: Georg Ludviksson (co-founder)
  • Most recent Finovate appearance: FinovateEurope 2017

Meniga is a digital banking solutions provider with offices in London, Reykjavik, Stockholm, and Warsaw, Poland. With more than 50 million digital banking users in 20 countries, Meniga most recently demonstrated its technology at FinovateEurope 2017, presenting its new UX and API, Personal Finance Challenges. November was a big month for the company, picking up an investment of $3.4 million from long-time client Islandsbanki, and inking a deal with Singapore’s United Overseas Bank.

Backbase (FinovateEurope Best of Show 20182017, 2014) – Digital banking platform provider

  • Headquarters: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Founded: 2003
  • CEO: Jouk Pleiter (co-founder)
  • Most recent Finovate appearance: FinovateEurope 2017

A leader in banking digitization and modernization and a long-time Finovate veteran, Backbase provides FIs with the tools and platform they need to turn traditional core banking systems into platforms that offer modern, seamless, digital customer experiences. The company has more than 80 major financial entities around the globe using its technology – including Barclays, Credit Suisse, Fidelity, and Al Rajhi Bank. Backbase most recently announced that it would power omnichannel digital services for BGZ BNP Paribas Bank.

Dynamics (FinovateEurope Best of Show 2014, 2012) – Manufacturer of battery-powered, next-generation payment cards

  • Headquarters: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
  • Founded: 2007
  • Total funding raised: $110.7 million
  • CEO: Jeffrey Mullen (founder)
  • Most recent Finovate appearance: FinovateFall 2017

One day plastic cards may become a thing of the past. Until then, with card usage for debit and credit remaining a strong preference for many consumers, companies like Dynamics will continue to innovate on that platform. The company builds next generation, battery-powered payment cards that give issuers the ability to offer customers single cards that are able to perform a wide variety of payment functions. Dynamics’ technology enables secure transactions across multiple networks, with global acceptance at most points of sale. Expanding to the Japanese market earlier this year, Dynamics announced a partnership with Mumbai-based IndusInd Bank last month.

Tink (FinovateEurope Best of Show 2017, 2014) – Builder of PFM solutions

  • Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden
  • Founded: 2012
  • Total funding raised: $30.7 million
  • CEO: Daniel Kjellen (founder)
  • Most recent Finovate appearance: FinovateEurope 2017

Two Finovate appearances. Two Best of Show awards. Not a bad showing for the Swedish PFM designer Tink. The company’s solution marries account aggregation and information with payment initiation services to provide consumers with a virtual bank experience that is fully PSD2-compatible. Of late, Tink has teamed up with banks, expanding its offerings beyond B2C to bring its technology to FIs like Nordea, Klarna, and Nordnet (see the Tink Technology homepage pictured). The company also launched its developer platform, enabling developers to leverage the company’s Account Aggregation and Categorization solutions via API.

mBank (FinovateEurope Best of Show 2015, 2013) – Universal bank

  • Headquarters: Lodz, Poland
  • Founded: 1986
  • CEO: Cezary Stypulkowski
  • Most recent Finovate appearance: FinovateEurope 2015

mBank’s FinovateEurope appearances have been occasions to celebrate the power of partnerships. The fourth largest retail bank in Poland, mBank has shown through live technology demonstrations with firms like virtual reality specialist i3D, global management consultancy Accenture, and fellow Finovate alum Efigence how an openness to collaboration can enable banks to provide a better experience for customers while building their brand. Earlier this month, a corporate customer survey sponsored by Euromoney named mBank to be the Best Service Bank in Poland. In November, mBank unveiled a new, free, multi-currency service for its Visa cardholding customers.

Etronika (FinovateEurope Best of Show 2014, 2013) – Digital banking platform provider

  • Headquarters: Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Founded: 2000
  • CEO: Arnoldas Jankunas
  • Most recent Finovate appearance: FinovateEurope 2016

Out of our eight multiple-time Best of Show winners from FinovateEurope, four are digital banking platform providers. Lithuania-based Etronika, a member of the European FinTech 50, specializes in providing not just a state-of-the-art digital platform, but also solutions like a visualized API engine that makes it easier for FIs to connect, bundle, and offer a variety of financial services through an omnichannel user interface. The company forged a partnership with Comarch last spring and, last fall, Etronika’s mobile banking solution was featured in IDC MarketScape 2017’s vendor assessment.

CREALOGIX (FinovateEurope Best of Show 2018, 2017) – Digital banking solution provider

  • Headquarters: Zurich, Switzerland
  • Founded in 1996
  • CEO: Thomas Avedik
  • Most recent Finovate appearance: FinovateEurope 2018

If recent Best of Show wins are any indication, digital banking solution provider CREALOGIX is one of our hottest Best of Show winning alums. The Swiss firm picked up its second trophy in February, impressing our audience with a live demo of its customer banking app. Since then the company has helped private bank Hauck & Aufhauser launch its digital asset management solution, gained a few spots in the IDC ranking of the global top 100 fintech companies, and reported record sales for a third consecutive year. With more than 450 bank customers around the world, CREALOGIX has more than 1,200 installations of its technology.

And here’s the full list of FinovateEurope Best of Show winners since 2011.

FinovateEurope 2018

  • Backbase
  • Be-IQ
  • CREALOGIX
  • iProov
  • Meniga
  • Microblink
  • W.UP

FinovateEurope 2017

  • Backbase
  • CREALOGIX
  • Dorsum
  • eToro
  • Memento
  • SaleMove
  • Tink

FinovateEurope 2016

  • Capitali.se
  • DriveWealth
  • EyeVerify
  • IDscan Biometrics
  • SwipeStox
  • Valuto

FinovateEurope 2015

  • Avoka
  • Coinjar
  • ebankIT
  • eToro
  • Jumio
  • mBank & i3D
  • Meniga

FinovateEurope 2014

  • Backbase
  • BehavioSec
  • Dynamics
  • Etronika
  • Misys
  • Luxoft
  • Tink
  • Toshl
  • Momentum (FKA YourWealth)

FinovateEurope 2013

  • Credit Agricole
  • Etronika
  • mBank & Efigence
  • Meniga
  • Moven
  • Pockets United
  • SumUp
  • Virtual Pigy (Oink)

FinovateEurope 2012

  • Cardlytics
  • Dynamics
  • eToro
  • Nutmeg

FinovateEurope 2011

  • eToro
  • Finantix
  • Liqpay
  • Meniga

FinovateEurope 2019 is only a few months away. Join us February 12 through 14 for three days of live fintech demonstrations and insightful keynotes and presentations on some of the most innovative technologies and trends in fintech. Tickets are on sale now, so be sure to visit our registration page and save your spot today.

Top image designed by Freepik

Equifax Launches Ignite Solution in the U.K.

Credit reporting agency and financial health company Equifax announced this week that its data analytics and insights platform, Ignite, has launched in the U.K. market.

Originally unveiled in March of last year, Ignite aggregates advanced analytics such as payment data and risk scores to offer businesses insights about consumer behavior that facilitate decision making. “Equifax Ignite will redefine businesses’ access to data and reduce the time it takes to build, test and deploy models,” said John Power, chief data & analytics officer for Europe at Equifax. “The cloud-based environment provides our customers with a flexible and scalable platform where they can easily access and intuitively manage and test multiple data sources, enabling them to easily explore new ideas and opportunities with market leading tools,” he added

Ignite is comprised of three delivery methods:

  • Ignite Direct, for businesses looking to extend and enhance the data and analytical tools available to their in-house analytics teams.
  • Ignite Models and Scores, which leverage expertise from Equifax analysts, data scientists, and consultants to deliver a tailored approach to solving problems quickly.
  • Ignite Apps, which offer simple visualizations created from a range of data sources for faster decision making.

At FinovateFall 2011, Equifax showcased the benefits of the Equifax Complete features of its mobile app. This summer, the company teamed up with Thinking Capital to launch BillMarket, a solution that helps small businesses in Canada extend payment terms and increase their purchasing power. Later that month, the company acquired DataX to promote financial inclusion.

Founded in 1899, Equifax is publicly traded on the NYSE under the ticker EFX. The company’s market capitalization sits at $11.7 billion.

Licensed to Bank: Revolut is Ready for Europe

Following on from the recent licenses in Singapore and Japan, challenger Revolut has secured its European banking license, reports Antony Peyton of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

The “specialized” bank license was facilitated by the Bank of Lithuania. This type of license was introduced by the Bank of Lithuania in 2017. It has a minimum capital requirement of €1 million (a traditional bank is €5 million), and excludes some investment services and also complex financial services.

Revolut will begin implementing the license next year, and plans full current accounts, consumer lending and commission-free stock trading. Customers will also be able to deposit their salaries into their Revolut account, which will be protected for up to €100,000 by the European Deposit Insurance Scheme.

“With the banking license now secured, commission-free stock trading progressing well and five new international markets at final stages of launch, we are living up to our reputation as the ‘Amazon of banking’,” said Nik Storonsky, founder and CEO of Revolut.

The firm will initially focus on smaller European countries, before eventually passporting the licence to “key markets” including the U.K., France, Germany and Poland.

It says one of the “key focus areas” for the company is to break into lending. Revolut plans to offer standard overdraft facilities as well as personal and business loans at competitive rates.

Invest Lithuania explained: “The move of getting a license in mainland Europe has been considered by many a hedge against Brexit. Having received both the specialized bank license and electronic money institution facilitated by the Bank of Lithuania, Revolut is now effectively safe from any decision regarding Britain leaving the EU.”

At the end of 2016, FinTech Futures was invited to a fintech tour of Lithuania. During that trip, the Bank of Lithuania discussed its memorandum of understanding with Revolut. The firm said it intended to set up a financial institution in the country and obtain a banking license.

Over the last 12 months, Revolut says it has opened between 8,000 and 10,000 current accounts daily and transacted over $4 billion per month in volumes.

As reported last month, it was planning a $500 million Series D investment round, potentially enlisting tech giants like SoftBank to its roster of investors.

This is with a view to launch in the U.S. after the investment round. Revolut has seen major regulatory shortcoming preventing it from starting operations there.

And not forgetting April, when Revolut raised an additional $250 million in Series C funding. The plan was to expand, starting with the U.S. (as above), Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia in 2018.

The company has raised a total of $336 million from investors including DST Global, Index Ventures, Balderton Capital and Ribbit Capital.

Founded in 2013, Revolut demonstrated its platform at FinovateEurope 2015.