IBM Debuts Blockchain Network for Cross-Border Payments

 

IBM has unveiled a global blockchain network, Blockchain World Wire, that will offer near real-time cross-border payment exchange and international settlement. Blockchain World Wire can transfer funds in 47 currencies to locations in 72 countries, and the company is calling it the first blockchain network of its kind to integrate payment messaging, clearing and settlement in a single unified network.

“We’ve created a new type of payment network designed to accelerate remittances and transform cross-border payments to facilitate the movement of money in countries that need it most,” General Manager of IBM Blockchain Marie Wieck said. “By creating a network where financial institutions support multiple digital assets, we expect to spur innovation and improve financial inclusion worldwide.”

Blockchain World Wire leverages the Stellar protocol to support point-to-point money transfers, cutting out the intermediaries of conventional correspondent banking. World Wire also shortens settlement time by transmitting value via digital assets (i.e., cryptocurrencies or stable coins).

The network currently supports settlement with Stellar Lumens and a U.S. dollar-based stable coin. Six global banks have signed letters of intent to issue their own stable coins on the network, which will add the Euro, the Indonesian Rupiah, the Philippine Peso, the Korean Won, and the Brazilian Real to the mix.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) of the Philippines and Banco Bradesco of Brazil are among the banks that have announced their participation in IBM’s new initiative. Representatives from both institutions highlighted “innovation” and the need to “enhance” or “add value” to the customer experience as key factors in the decision to join the network. Also believed to have signed a letter of intent is South Korea’s Banco Busan.

IBM participated in our developers conference, FinDEVrNewYork 2017, discussing the IBM Cloud for Financial Services. The company’s security division, IBM Trusteer, demonstrated its latest technology to fight new account fraud at FinovateEurope earlier this year. A leader in open source blockchain technology solutions for the enterprise, IBM has a market capitalization of $124 billion, and trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “IBM.”

Categories: IBM

FIS Acquires Worldpay

Banking technology giant FIS is acquiring payments firm Worldpay via a cash and stock combination – bringing Worldpay’s enterprise value to approximately $43 billion (including the assumption of Worldpay debt, which FIS expects to refinance), reports Henry Vilar of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

According to Bloomberg, FIS is spending $34 billion on this purchase.

“Scale matters in our rapidly changing industry,” said Gary Norcross, chairman, president and CEO, FIS. “Upon closing later this year, our two powerhouse organisations will combine forces to offer a customer-driven combination of scale, global presence and the industry’s broadest range of global financial solutions.”

“At Worldpay, our focus has always been on delivering more value to our clients and partners and making decisions that achieve our growth and performance objectives,” said Charles Drucker, executive chairman and chief executive officer, Worldpay.

Organic revenue growth outlook has grown from 6% to 9% through 2021 for FIS, in conjunction with $700 million of total EBITDA synergies from the combination of revenue and expense opportunities over the next three years.

This acquisition comes hot on the heels of another massive deal in the payments space: Fiserv, another US heavyweight and direct rival of FIS, buying First Data.

Worldpay, as it is today, is also the result of a big merger with Vantiv announced back in 2017.

The combined company of Worldpay and FIS will have pro forma 2018 annual revenue and adjusted EBITDA of approximately $12.3 billion and $4.9 billion, respectively.

Upon closing, the combined company’s Board of Directors will consist of 12 members, seven of which will come from FIS’ board of directors and five of which will come from Worldpay’s.

Gary Norcross will remain as FIS chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer. Charles Drucker, Worldpay’s current executive chairman and CEO, will serve as the executive vice-chairman of the board.

The transaction is subject to receipt of required regulatory and shareholder approvals and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second half of 2019.

FIS demonstrated its Cardless Cash solution at FinovateFall 2016. Cardless Cash provides consumers with faster, more secure options when it comes to sending and accessing cash via ATMs, including the ability to pre-order funds from their mobile banking app.

Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, FIS trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “FIS.” The company has a market capitalization of $35 billion.

Worldpay participated in our developers conference, FinDEVrSiliconValley 2015. The company’s Head of Strategic Partnerships discussed how businesses can add secure payments to any website, app, or mobile device via the Worldpay Securenet API.

Worldpay was founded in 1971 (as Midwest Payment Systems) and is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. With a market capitalization of $33 billion, Worldpay trades on the NYSE under the ticker “WP.”

Categories: FIS

PayPal in Argentina; Temenos Backs African Challenger Bank

Finovate Global 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

  • PayPal invests $750 million in Argentina-based e-commerce company MercadoLibre.
  • First Data to acquire Brazilian electronic funds transfer (EFT) solution provider Software Express.
  • NCR, Bluefin, and Powertranz team up to support POS card processing for Caribbean quick serve restaurants.
  • BlueRush deploys its Individeo platform with a large Colombian bank courtesy of a partnership with Bee Concept.
  • The Wall Street Journal looks at how global FIs are gaining interest in the Latin American alternative lending market.

Asia-Pacific

  • Experian launches Singapore-based incubator, Experian X Labs.
  • South Korean crypto company Kakao raises $90 million via private coin offering.
  • Thai Stock Exchange to launch a digital asset exchange next year.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Front office and core banking technology from Temenos to drive digital revamp for African challenger bank, Vista Bank.
  • Financial Software and Systems takes 46% stake in South Africa’s Ecentric Payment Systems.
  • South Africa’s second largest retail bank, Capitec, extends its partnership with ACI Worldwide.
  • ThreatMetrix teams up with Blue Turtle Technologies to help market its fraud prevention solution to customers in Africa.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Tinkoff Bank reports 2018 highlights including launch of new mortgage app, a joint P2P money transfer offering with Sberbank, and more than 2.7 million new active credit customers.
  • iSignthis Inks Banking and Payments Deal with Ibanera.
  • Bulgaria-based Software Group scores €18 million loan from Europe Investment Bank.
  • EU Startups features lending platform Inlock its look at 10 Hungarian startups to look out for in 2019.
  • Bulgaria’s Municipal Bank to deploy new core and payments solutions from Oracle.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) launches $10 million fund for fintech startups in the MENA region.
  • Commercial Bank of Qatar joins R3.
  • Credit scoring solution provider Creditinfo opens regional hub in Muscat following new strategic partnership with the Central Bank of Oman.

Central and South Asia

  • ArthaYantra wins Fintech of the Year (India) at The Asset Triple A Digital Awards.
  • Africa’s Naspers plans to spend $1 billion on investments in Indian fintechs.
  • Standard Chartered’s SC Ventures division to launch digital platform for Indian SMEs.

Top image designed by Freepik

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • IBM Debuts Blockchain Network for Cross-Border Payments.
  • Finovate Global: PayPal in Argentina; Temenos Backs African Challenger Bank.

Around the web

  • Envestnet to acquire PIEtech, maker of MoneyGuide, in $500 million deal.
  • HooYu partners with online lottery betting operator, Lottomart, to help the Gibraltar-based firm meet AML requirements.
  • Wipro launches its AI and machine learning-powered accounts payable, KYC, and other solutions on Amazon Web Services.
  • Polish neo bank Nest Bank unveils new lifestyle services module, Finanteq’s SuperWallet, to its mobile banking app.
  • FindBiometrics interviews Biometric Signature ID CEO, President, and founder, Jeff Maynard.

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.

InComm Acquires Linq3 Technologies

Prepaid payments technology firm InComm marked its eighth acquisition this week with the purchase of Linq3 Technologies, an Atlanta, Georgia-based digital lottery company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal gives InComm access to Linq3’s suite of lottery products that leverage consumer interaction at retailers’ point of sales systems. Brooks Smith, InComm founder and CEO, noted that incorporating the new technology will enable InComm “to deliver new product solutions to create experiences that will engage the consumer – right at the retailer’s point of sale.”

Smith also noted that this week’s purchase extends beyond technology and into Linq3’s human resources, offering InComm lottery industry intelligence. “This transaction brings us an experienced management team with a great deal of industry knowledge that can be leveraged to transform and grow lottery business across North America.”

In anticipation of the acquisition, InComm has already integrated with central gaming system vendors in the U.S. In fact, the company plans to launch lottery products including point of sale-activated draw games, prize payouts and validations, and prepaid state lottery gift cards for its retail clients.

Tom Spiegel, CEO of Linq3, noted that InComm will especially benefit from state lotteries. “Today, state lotteries face many challenges tied to retailer expansion, new player acquisition, and product innovation in an increasingly digital world. Through InComm’s acquisition of Linq3, state lotteries will now have the ability to reach more players through new and current retailers, retailers can realize more revenue by driving new consumer traffic to their locations, and lottery players will benefit from easy, simple and new ways to purchase and play lottery products.”

InComm offers more than 500,000 points of retail distribution with 1,000+ brand partners in more than 30 countries. The company debuted CorFire Mobile Commerce at FinovateFall 2011. More recently, InComm showed off the Cashtie API at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2014. Last June, the Atlanta-based company teamed up with Fiserv to make it easier for consumers to pay their bills using cash at retailers’ physical point of sale systems.

LendingFront, Veridium, Voca.ai Join Mastercard’s Start Path

LendingFront, Veridium, and Voca.ai are three of the seven companies recently selected to participate in Mastercard’s startup engagement program, Start Path. The accelerator program works with startups from a variety of fields ranging from banking and biometrics to data intelligence and security. Participating companies will access Mastercard’s worldwide ecosystem and leverage their new relationship with Mastercard and its customers to expand into new markets.

“After searching around its presence in 210 geographies and beyond,” a statement from Mastercard Start Path read, “Mastercard and seven startups are descending upon Dublin this week to ignite their collaboration.”

Start Path begins with a kick-off event that helps the program administrators get to know the companies, define goals and introduce startups to Mastercard’s partners, as well as future channels and customers. The majority of the program consists of a six-month virtual engagement that companies participate in from their home location.

Upon successful completion of the Start Path program, companies that have produced what the program referred to as “tangible value” for Mastercard’s partners will be eligible for potential strategic investment.

“The diverse technologies comprising the latest Start Path wave is a snapshot of the nearly 10,000 startups and fintechs connected to Start Path since its founding in 2014,” the program announcement noted. “It also shows how, through Mastercard Labs, we partner successfully to explore new technologies, accelerate new concepts and deliver transformative growth and change to the commerce landscape.”

The full roster of companies also includes Fligoo, mfarmPay, Monsoon CreditTech, and Segasec.

LendingFront demonstrated its Small Business Platform at FinovateFall 2016. Founded in 2015 and headquartered in New York City, the company offers an automated lending platform that consolidates processes typically conducted by disparate systems. The technology features application workflow for loan processing, a data engine, decision engine, offer screens, documentation and booking functionality, as well as servicing. LendingFront raised $4 million in Series A funding at the beginning of the year.

Massachusetts-based identity and access management solution provider Veridium demonstrated its VeridiumID with 4Fingers Touchless ID technology at FinovateEurope 2017. Earlier this month, the company unveiled its InMotion solution that leverages user behavior analytics to help secure online identities and prevent cyberfraud. Also this spring, Veridium partnered with Blue Turtle Technologies to drive adoption of biometric technology in Africa.

Best of Show winner Voca.ai demonstrated its intelligent virtual agent for call centers at FinovateEurope 2019 in February. It was the second Best of Show win for the company, which made its Finovate debut at FinovateAsia last fall. Founded in 2017 and headquartered in Herzliya, Israel, the company’s technology provides a flexible, natural-sounding, automated human voice system that improves customer satisfaction, and helps businesses convert and qualify more leads.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • LendingFront, Veridium, Voca.ai Join Mastercard’s Start Path.

Around the web

  • Kinetica releases active analytics platform to simplify architecture and deliver analytical applications at scale
  • Tango Card partners with StatementGames to deliver e-gift cards as a redemption option for StatementGames players.
  • Larky wins big at Finastra’s Innovation Challenge

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.

Doxo to Provide Electronic Billpay Solution to R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company

Billpay solutions company doxo announced a new partnership with R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company (RRD) recently that will offer the marketing and communications solutions provider’s clients access to doxo’s electronic billpay solutions.

Tim Reedy, president of RRD Business Communications Solutions said, “We partnered with doxo because consumers are increasingly seeking a seamless, digital bill pay experience, and doxo has developed a capability that delivers that experience.” doxo’s secure payment solution enables customers to access and pay bills from more than 45,000 providers using a single set of login credentials. “Like our other business communications solutions, doxo integrates easily into our clients’ current workflows and processes to further enhance their communications program without any down time,” Reedy added.

doxo is compatible with existing billing systems and allows billers to electronically connect for free. The platform offers a simplified experience for end users and provides a complete online payment system for billers who have yet to go digital. Among the company’s list of billing partners are AT&T, National Grid, Puget Sound Energy, Kansas City Light, and more providers across finance, utilities, healthcare, telecom, banking, and insurance sectors.

Founded in 2008, doxo debuted its Control Panel at FinovateSpring 2011. The Seattle-based startup is among the companies that will take the Finovate stage at FinovateSpring to demo its newest technology. doxo has raised $18.8 million and counts Mohr Davidow Ventures, Sigma Partners, and Bezos Expeditions as investors.

Once SaleMove, Glia Raises $20 Million in Post-Rebrand Funding

Omnichannel digital customer engagement platform for financial services Glia has raised $20 million in new funding. The Series B round for the Best of Show winning company formerly known as SaleMove was led by Insight Venture Partners, and takes Glia’s total capital to $29 million.

The company will use the funds to get bigger, adding to its product development, sales, solutions, and marketing organizations and infrastructure. Glia co-founder and CEO Dan Michaeli praised Insight’s record of collaborating with “best-in-class SaaS companies” and made a direct connection between the firm’s investment with Glia’s growth plans.

“By adding an investor as strong and experienced as Insight, we are poised to rapidly expand Glia’s market reach,” Michaeli said.

Left to right: Glia’s Jordan Christopher (SVP Sales) and Patrick Yoon (Account Executive) demonstrating Omniguide at FinovateEurope 2019.

Glia specializes in helping companies maximize the way they engage with their customers. Its digital communications platform enables businesses to leverage messaging, video, co-browsing, AI, and voice to communicate with their customers the way they want to communicate and via the channel of their choice – whether between sessions or in the middle of a session.

“Almost every interaction between businesses and customers today involves a screen, yet the main method of getting in touch is still an old-school phone call,” Michaeli explained. “Over the next 3-5 years, the move from phone-first to digital-first communication will define the businesses that win customer experience in their category.”

With Glia, a customer service conversation can begin on a smartphone, transition seamlessly to co-browsing, and then move on to conversational AI with an intelligent agent or live chat with a human representative. And while the technology has strong application for sales teams (hence the company’s original name, SaleMove), the evolution of the technology has led to an evolution in the way the technology can be deployed.

“As we’ve built on (our) initial vision, our customers have found many ingenious uses for our functionality that we didn’t imagine at the time,” Michaeli said. “We realize now that the platform does so much more than move sales, so we’ve made the decision to build a brand which supports that wider vision of the value our customers are achieving.”

A four-time Best of Show winner as SaleMove, Glia picked up a fifth Best of Show award for its live demo at FinovateEurope earlier this year. At the conference, the company showed how its new solution, OmniGuide, enables companies to deploy one or more conversational AI engines across the enterprise.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Once SaleMove, Glia Raises $20 Million in Post-Rebrand Funding.
  • Doxo to Provide Electronic Billpay Solution to R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company.

Around the web

  • Low code development platform OutSystems reports record revenues for 2018.
  • NICE Robotic Process Automation (RPA) teams up with CallVU.
  • Finastra named a leader in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide End-to-End Corporate Banking Solution Providers 2019 Vendor Assessment report.
  • Kony named a leader for low-code development platforms by independent research firm.
  • OurCrowd announces it has raised $1 billion to date.

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.