FinovateAsia: Innovation in Customer Experience, Regtech, and Financial Crime

How have customer expectations changed as financial services companies around the world rush to embrace digital transformation? How can technology be leveraged to provide more personalized financial solutions without violating privacy or adding unnecessary complexity? What is the role of digital identity technology in making the online and mobile worlds safer places for all of us to work and live?

On our final day of FinovateAsia Digital, these are some of the questions our fintech industry experts answered – often with surprising responses. From the rise of “the offer you can’t refuse” in customer experience to negotiating between the helping hand of government and its ever-present regulatory arms, our experts bring a wealth of experience and insight into fintech’s most urgent themes.

If you missed any of the conversation from FinovateAsia Digital this week, then you’re in luck. You can still register and gain access to an entire week worth of informed commentary and lively discussion on the biggest trends shaping fintech in Asia.

On the opportunities in digital and the rise of new customer expectations

I think if you look at what happened in the first few months of this year, I tend to call this the biggest digital training course the world has ever seen. We had to turn to digital for every aspect in our life. And we learned the benefits of digital, like working from home. Sometimes it’s really fun and sometimes it’s really challenging. But it’s part of our day-to-day life and it won’t disappear soon.

I think we’re at the beginning of a new phase of customer experience. Customer expectations will change. I think that in the last ten years, we mainly saw an evolution of digital convenience, and many companies understood that and became really big because of that. I think that situation has matured. In my opinion, we’re at the beginning of a new curve, of new customer expectations that will be formed thanks to new technologies like AI, IoT, 5G, quantum computing, robotics, the general purpose technologies … But it’s not going to just be technology that drives new customer expectations, it will also going to be personal dreams and wishes, and also the challenges the world will be facing.

-Steven Van Belleghem, Author, Customers The Day After Tomorrow

On leveraging advanced technologies to deliver more personalized solutions

I’m a techie. And that’s true for the rest of our team. We love our algorithms, our data models. And one of the things we’ve learned is that sometimes (with) personalization, the best one (solution), the most engaging one, does not come from the most clever models that you come up with, but instead comes from fairly simple rules. So it should not be underestimated: you should not fall in love with your beautiful, artificial intelligence and data science models to the detriment of simplicity, because sometimes simplicity is what is bringing the most engaging content.

Another (lesson) we learned as well very early on is to make sure that customers and users are in control. And that whatever bite-sized, personalized piece of content you are delivering to them is going to give them them the option to say “stop” or “give me more” or “give me less often” … (to put them) in control of that feed of information they are receiving.

–Olivier Berthier, CEO and Co-founder, Moneythor

On the challenge of providing digital identity solutions in an increasingly globalized world

If I was to look at the way that digital identity is changing the landscape, I think actually what we’re seeing at the moment is really the proliferation of a lot of intermediating layers. So there is quite a number of different platforms that are evolving, platform players that are actually doing a lot of the heavy lifting for a lot of the companies in the fintech space. So whether you might be talking about somebody like Onfido or any of their competitors, there’s been this whole big wellspring of different types of companies that are actually doing that integration work.

And I think they have been carrying off the back of a lot of the actual governmental work that’s been happening to come up with different digital identity models. These are very complex problems, but I think given that the last decade or so, a lot of trade has been increasingly globalized, payments have been increasingly globalized, it’s become very difficult for people to keep pace with the change of all of these different governments coming up with different types of systems and experimenting.

–Danielle Szetho, Fintech Client Advisory, Standard Chartered Bank

Available On Demand for five days after the end of the conference week, FinovateAsia Digital is a unique opportunity for those interested in learning more about fintech in the Asia-Pacific region. Browse our all-digital presentations, interviews, and discussions; network with fellow attendees; and gain key insights into the trends driving fintech innovation in critical, emerging markets. Visit our FinovateAsia Digital Hub and register today.

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China Teams Up with On Demand Transport Firm Didi to Test Digital Currency

The ways that ride-sharing companies in Asia have leveraged their platforms to bring a variety of financial services to underserved communities is one of the more noteworthy – and unexpected – developments in the evolution of fintech in the region.

Many people are familiar with Grab, the car-sharing and food delivery company founded in 2012 and based in Singapore. The firm picked up more than $850 million in funding in February to help fuel both its payments and financial services operations. Grab competes with other similar companies in the region such as Indonesia’s Gojek that have also taken the so-called “Super App” route to diversifying their offerings into e-commerce and financial services.

This week we learn that Asia’s ride sharing industry is helping financial services innovate in another way: China’s Didi has inked a deal with the country’s central bank to test its digital national currency. The strategic partnership, announced earlier this week, is designed to “jointly study and explore the innovation and application of digital RMB in the field of smart mobility.”

Digital RMB trials began earlier this year in April, and involved four Chinese cities – as well as host of major U.S. brands like Starbucks and McDonald’s. China’s top four, state-owned banks have been included in the trials, and are reportedly testing a wallet to enable users to store and send the digital currency. The People’s Bank of China hopes to launch its digital RMB around the time of the 2022 Winter Olympics, to be held in Beijing. The central bank has been working on its digital currency project – known as Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) since 2014.

We took a look at how different countries around the world have begun to examine the role digital currencies could play in their economies earlier this year in Finovate Global. Here is our reporting on digital currencies and central banks in Europe and the Americas. For more on the pros and cons of digitizing national currencies, check out our coverage from the beginning of the year, as well.

Founded in 2012, Didi has more than 550 million users in China, Asia, Latin America, and Australia who use its on-demand transportation service.

Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Pair Finance, a digital debt collection company based in Berlin, Germany, secures $2.2 million (€2 million) in new funding from existing investors.
  • U.K.-based banking services provider ELPASO goes live for Ukrainian SMEs and merchants.
  • Paysafe, a payment service provider headquartered in the U.K., launches its Paysafecash solution in Bulgaria.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Paymentology, a cloud-based payment processor based in the U.K., to expand its operations in the Middle East.
  • Discover and Saudi Payments ink strategic agreement that will enable cardholders to use the cars on the country’s mada network.
  • Libyan fintech Tadawul Tech launches its new Electronic Payment Platform.

Central and Southern Asia

  • India’s Paytm to acquire insurance company Raheja QBE in deal valued at $76 million.
  • Central Bank of Sri Lanka to develop blockchain-based KYC platform.
  • Pakistan-based digital wallet SadaPay hires former Gojek executive Jon Sheppard as its new Chief Technology Officer
  • India-based insurtech marketplace PolicyBazaar scores $130 million in new investment from SoftBank’s Vision Fund.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Fintech-as-a-service company Rapyd goes live in Mexico with its integrated payment solution.
  • Brazilian fintech Swap, which helps FIs build their own fintech businesses, raises $3.3 million in seed funding.
  • Brazilian SME financial solution provider One7 acquires small business invoice financing firm Rapidoo.


  • Payfazz, an Indonesian company that provides financial services to the underserved communities, raises $53 million in Series B funding.
  • A partnership between Viet Capital Bank, 7-Eleven Vietnam, and JCB International (JCBI) powers the launch of the Viet Capital Bank JCB 7-Eleven credit card.
  • Fintech Futures looks at open banking adoption rates in South Korea.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Global online money transfer services company WorldRemit goes live in Somalia.
  • Nigeria’s Inter-Bank Settlement Scheme (NIBSS) reports an increase in mobile payments of more than 390% since May 2019.
  • Visa launches its online payment solution, Click to Pay, in South Africa.

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Opera to Acquire Challenger Bank

Every company is a fintech company. Or so said Plaid CEO and Cofounder Zac Perret earlier this year. Today’s news that web browser Opera plans to acquire challenger bank Fjord Bank certainly affirms Perret’s statement.

Terms of the purchase, which is currently subject to regulatory approvals, were not disclosed.

So what will a web browser do with a bank? According to the press release, Opera will use Fjord Bank to “further accelerate its fintech operations in Europe by launching new, disruptive services aimed at improving consumers’ personal finances.”

“Looking at the fintech space in Europe,” said Opera EVP Krystian Kolondra, “we believe it needs more and bigger challengers who should provide people with smarter and empowering solutions for their personal finances.”

Opera, which counts 50 million active browser users, has already made inroads into the fintech space. Earlier this year the Norway-based company acquired banking-as-a-service provider PocoSys. As a result of the move, Opera built on Pocosys’ digital wallet and payment technology and is currently testing a new version of the Pocopay card and app.

“With the support of Opera, we are also excited to launch our first banking services in Lithuania this summer,” said Fjord Bank CEO Veiko Kandla.

FinovateAsia: Finding Opportunities in Emerging Markets and Financial Inclusion

Day Four of FinovateAsia Digital focused on two issues that have only become more pressing in recent months: the role of emerging markets as sources of innovation and new markets in fintech, and the rise of financial inclusion as a moral – as opposed to simply economic – imperative.

For many entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, and consumers the fact that these themes have come to the forefront in 2020 is bittersweet. Global interconnectivity is now challenged by coronavirus-fighting lockdowns and quarantines. Efforts to bring more diverse voices to the fintech industry – and to bring the benefits of financial technology to more people – will put additional pressure on companies and entrepreneurs who are already negotiating technological disruption, increased competition, and economic uncertainty.

Here are some of the highlights from the fourth day of our all-digital conference. Visit our FinovateAsia Digital hub and register today to join us for hours of live and On Demand access to more insightful commentary on the trends shaping fintech innovation in the Asia-Pacific region.

On the importance of technology as a tool in advancing financial inclusion around the world

How can we use technology to include more people in the formal financial system? How can we reduce (the number of) unbanked and underbanked? Perhaps by 50% or more by 2022?

Half of the world’s unbanked adults reside in Asia. And there are more women than men who are unbanked. We can use technology to change that. Some of the top reasons for not having an account in a financial institution include: not having enough money, it costs too much to open an account; it’s too far to get to a branch; there’s not enough or insufficient documentation to prove you are who you say you are; or a lack of trust. A lot of these can be resolved with the proper business models, value proposition, and technology.

–Theodora Lau, Founder, Unconventional Ventures

On the biggest challenge Singapore faces in maximizing its opportunity as an international fintech hub

For us, for Singapore in particular, I think the ability for the cross-border business activity to start to pick up again (is key). Clearly during COVID-19 elements of that would have slowed down. So at the moment most countries are thinking about how do we get our domestic market back in shape again.

And the way that Singapore (sees it) – and I think this is a view from quite a few countries, not just around the region, but around the world – is if we start to think just domestically, then we miss a big trick here in terms of real growth and that will materially impact GDP. And so you have to start thinking about things as collections of countries, as regions, as a world. Because that way, if we all kind of plug together, we can stand up together rather than the opposite of that where everyone becomes a bit more nationalistic, the barriers come up, and we all end up a little bit worse off in terms of business activity.

–Pat Patel, Principal Executive Officer, Monetary Authority of Singapore

On the role of readiness and the public sector in helping the fintech industry survive COVID-19

It’s a difficult time to be a fintech, but when you look at the various different aspects that make this challenging, with collaboration, sales, these are things that many successful fintechs have had in place in southeast Asia for many years – and indeed globally.

We’ve been talking to a number of B2B fintech companies that are doing very well in the roboadvisor space, in the payments space. It’s one of those areas that, before COVID-19 started, you really needed to be ready for it. And after COVID-19, it’s even more important to have those collaboration tools and remote sales tools in place.

–Zennon Kapron, Founder & Director, Kapronasia

Available both live (Singapore time) and On Demand during the conference week, FinovateAsia Digital is a unique opportunity for those interested in learning more about fintech in the Asia-Pacific region. Browse our all-digital presentations, interviews, and discussions; network with fellow attendees; and gain key insights into the trends driving fintech innovation in critical, emerging markets. Visit our FinovateAsia Digital Hub and register today.

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Taulia Garners $60 from J.P. Morgan Chase and Ping An

Sometimes the story in a funding announcement isn’t necessarily the funding itself, but rather the investors. That’s the case with today’s news of supply chain finance provider Taulia’s $60 million funding round.

The strategic round, which brings Taulia’s total funding to $177 million, was led by China-based Ping An Global Voyager Fund. J.P. Morgan and Prosperity7 Ventures also participated, along with existing investors including Zouk Capital.

With today’s funding, The Wall Street Journal estimates Taulia’s valuation at $400 million.

The strategic relationship tied with this funding round signals international expansion for California-based Taulia, which already has a global customer base. “Ping An, J.P. Morgan and Prosperity7 Ventures bring a wealth of knowledge that we will leverage to further solve liquidity needs of businesses and contribute to economic growth,” said Taulia CEO Cedric Bru.

“Taulia is at the forefront of supply chain finance technology, with a global footprint that spans over two million SME suppliers and a suite of solutions that dramatically improves SMEs’ ability to manage cash,” said Managing Director and COO of the Ping An Global Voyager Fund, Donald Lacey. “We are excited to partner with Cedric and his team to build out their capabilities in China.”

The investment further deepens Taulia’s ties with JP Morgan. The two initiated a relationship earlier this year that aimed to help J.P. Morgan build a trade finance solution for its clients. “We’re committed to bringing the best solutions in the market to our customers and our strategic alliance with Taulia has been well received by clients,” said J.P. Morgan’s Global Head of Trade, Stuart Roberts. “The investment component is another step in our relationship as we look to better serve clients and their supply chains within our Global Trade franchise.”

Founded in 2009, Taulia helps businesses improve their supply chains by providing financing options with flexible payment terms. Their tools help businesses accelerate payments and free up working capital. A network of two million businesses use Taulia’s technology. The company processes over $500 billion every year. Taulia’s clients include Airbus, AstraZeneca, Nissan and Vodafone.

Trulioo Adds Document Verification, Facial Recognition to EmbedID

Advanced biometric technologies like facial recognition have their critics. The city of Boston, Massachusetts, just a few weeks ago, became the second community in the world to ban the use of facial recognition technology over concerns of bias against ethnic minorities. And the use of facial recognition in places like China has heightened concerns over the potential privacy-violating aspects of the technology.

Nevertheless, the fact that companies continue to innovate in the biometric authentication space suggests that these issues are more likely to be seen as contemporary challenges rather than permanent obstacles. This is all the more so in a world that is coming more – rather than less – connected, and digital.

Trulioo, a leading global identity verification provider, is one the companies that is helping small businesses take advantage of these technologies. The company announced today that its low-code developer tool, EmbedID, will now feature both facial recognition and document verification functionality. This will enable SMEs to verify new users during the account opening process more efficiently and accurately, and assure that KYC and AML requirements are met.

“Taking a multi-layered approach to identity verification offers businesses the strongest defense against increasingly sophisticated bad actors,” Director of Growth at Trulioo Rutherford Wilson explained. “Adding document verification gives another layer of protection to help reduce risk, especially when combined with reliable identity verification.” Wilson credited the combination of these features for providing businesses with the “increased confidence in knowing the user is tied to a real identity and that they are who they claim to be online.”

Small businesses can use the technology by copying a snippet of code and pasting it on their website. This will automatically generate a stylized registration form that is prewired to Trulioo’s GlobalGateway to provide instant verification of personal identification information. Via the connection to GlobalGateway, small businesses can verify the authenticity of government-issued ID documents and leverage facial recognition technology – equipped with liveness detection – to establish that the individual opening the account is the same person in the photo on the ID document.

“In an age of ongoing digital transformation, it’s essential for SMBs to be able to access the same identity verification solutions used by large organizations to protect their business and scale their company,” Wilson added. He cited cost as the main barrier for most small businesses when it comes to accessing “bank-grade” technology and security. This leaves them more vulnerable to fraudsters than their larger rivals, and makes it more difficult for them to compete.

“We designed EmbedID to help level the playing field to allow for accelerated innovation, customer acquisition, and competition in the marketplace,” Wilson said.

Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Trulioo has been a Finovate alum since 2014 and most recently demonstrated its technology at our European conference in February. Named to CNBC’s 2020 Disruptor 50 roster in June, Trulioo was featured in our look at Canadian fintech innovators on Canada Day earlier this month.

Halftime Heat Check: The Biggest Fintech Headlines of 2020

Two of the biggest stories of 2020 so far – the global public health crisis of COVID-19 and the worldwide resurgence in social justice activism – have had as much impact on the fintech industry as they have the rest of the world.

The mobilization of banks and fintechs to facilitate financing for small businesses, for example, or to offer discounts on their services for essential workers in other industries has been impressive.

And it has been heartening to see companies in the financial technology and services space join with corporations and entrepreneurs in other industries to express their commitment to fighting ethnic discrimination and actively encouraging diversity.

But behind the bright lights of these two, year-defining stories, there have been some pretty impressive fintech-specific headlines that are worth remembering as we dive into the second half of the year. With that in mind, here is our take on the biggest fintech stories from the first half of 2020.

The collapse of Wirecard early this summer was the first major negative headline for the fintech industry this year. What began as an inquiry into a missing $2.1 billion in cash has turned into a major scandal involving the arrest of former Wirecard CEO Markus Braun and talks that the company could become an attractive acquisition target thanks to its relationships with the major card companies.

With Visa’s acquisition of Plaid at the beginning of the year and Mastercard’s purchase of Finicity near 2020’s midway mark, card companies are putting their money where they believe the future of fintech lies: open banking and the leveraging of consumer-permissioned data.

If you had nCino on your bingo card of fintechs most likely to be among the first to go public this year, then you are a luckier soul than most. The news that the Wilmington, North Carolina, Bank Operating System provider is planning an IPO for later this year was a sign that some fintechs still see the public markets as an optimal way to raise capital.

The boost in e-commerce brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic was a major boon for digital payments company Stripe, which raised $600 million this spring, earning a valuation of $36 billion.

Starting as a student loan refinancing company and since expanding its portfolio to include loans, investment products, and debit cards, SoFi made yet another expansion to its product suite with its $1.2 billion acquisition of payments company Galileo.

From the outside, $7.1 billion might be a lot to pay for the ability to help younger consumers better understand and manage their credit. But Intuit’s decision to acquire Credit Karma in the first few months of 2020 may have been an early sign of the sort of consolidation that could await the fintech industry on the other side of COVID-19.

A $500 million Series D round has sent the valuation of U.K.-based fintech Revolut soaring to more than $5.5 billion. Led by Silicon Valley-based VC firm, TCV, the February investment set an optimistic tone for Q1 VC fintech funding before the reality check of the coronavirus set in.

In acquiring Radius Bank for $185 million early this year, P2P lending pioneer LendingClub became the first U.S. fintech to acquire a licensed bank. Boston, Massachusetts-based Radius Bank is an online bank with $1.4 billion in assets.

By mid-year, the rise of the retail trader a la Robinhood and Dave “Stoolpresidente” Portnoy may have become a bit of a cliche. But that only makes Morgan Stanley’s $13 billion acquisition of ETrade – announced back in February – that much more of a prescient move to diversify its online and self-directed customer base beyond the ultra-rich.

FinovateAsia: Innovation in Wealth Management; New Players in Lending

From the arrival of disruption to the shores of the wealth management industry to the eagerness of Asia’s large e-commerce platforms to bring credit to the region’s overlooked consumers and small businesses, Day Three of FinovateAsia Digital continues to provide some of the most insightful commentary on fintech trends in the Asia-Pacific region. Today we share some of the highlights from the third day of our online conference.

Our all-digital event, FinovateAsia Digital, continues all week. Join us live or On Demand and access hours of insightful commentary and conversation on the trends shaping fintech innovation in the Asia-Pacific region. Visit our FinovateAsia Digital hub and register today.

On fintech’s role in creating value at a time of change in the wealth management industry

Connectivity to fintechs is often a high priority when asked to create new and additional value to the client’s overall proposition. When I was a panelist at Finovate in Berlin back in February, I noticed there were few fintechs representing asset management – which is surprising given the tens of trillions of assets which impact every single one of us whether you are investing yourself or someone does it on your behalf.

Why was this sector late to the disruption party? Or was it happening without us noticing? Little did any of us know that, in the following months, asset management, like many other sectors, would experience an acceleration in embracing change and wonder about its relevance and role in the Now and the Next Normal.

— Simone Vroegop, Head of Strategic Partnerships for FinTech, Brown Brothers Harriman

On key insights from case studies in the optimization of fintech solutions in the cloud

You want to be very disciplined when you look at your online architecture, your solution, or any cloud provider’s platform. You don’t want to get distracted by a lot of existing native services, or third party services. That’s great. That’s the nature of the cloud. But you have to be very disciplined, and every time you introduce a component, you have to rationalize it, why you need it, and how to keep this new component that you’re going to introduce as reliable and as efficient as possible.

You also have to have a very rigorous test plan in place. You don’t exercise this plan toward the end, when you have built everything. That could be too late. You want to start doing some of these rigorous tests early on, using either a prototype or proof of concept, so you can mimic some of your market conditions plus your system conditions.

–Harry Tong, Senior Solutions Architect, InterSystems Corporation

On the importance of large e-commerce platforms in Asia’s digital lending landscape

Micro, small, and medium enterprises have traditionally struggled to access capital. Many lack an existing banking relationship or detailed financial record. And obviously incumbent banks in China favor corporate lending as smaller businesses fail to meet their credit check standards. Again, the larger e-commerce platforms have been enthusiastically filling the gap left by inadequate lending from incumbents. And by avoiding all those traditional evaluation processes that require substantial credit history, in favor of more data-based appraisals, platforms have demonstrated to incumbents that they must reform if they wish to compete across that sector of lending and to bring that experience to more businesses.

In rapidly growing countries with populations the size of China’s or India’s, the ability to lend vast sums of money to millions of SMEs places those platforms in a position of really significant power. How incumbents respond to this shift will determine the future of lending in this whole region.

–Louise Beaumont, Chair, Smart Data, Open Banking & Payments Working Groups, techUK

Available both live (Singapore time) and On Demand during the conference week, FinovateAsia Digital is a unique opportunity for those interested in learning more about fintech in the Asia-Pacific region. Browse our all-digital presentations, interviews, and discussions; network with fellow attendees; and gain key insights into the trends driving fintech innovation in critical, emerging markets. Visit our FinovateAsia Digital Hub and register today.

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Binance Acquires Swipe Digital Wallet & Debit Card

Cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance made a major purchase today, acquiring digital wallet and crypto debit card company Swipe. The deal closed for an undisclosed amount.

The aim of the acquisition is to help push the use of cryptocurrencies into the mainstream by encouraging payments with cryptocurrencies through traditional financial systems such as debit cards.

U.K.-based Swipe provides a cryptocurrency banking account that offers a multi-currency mobile wallet, the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, access to exchanges with instant settlements, and a Visa debit card.

Users can pay with their Visa debit card at all 50 million locations across the globe where traditional Visa debit cards are accepted. The card also offers up to 4% cash back (paid in Bitcoin), doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, has built-in security features, and more. The debit card is crypto-to-fiat, meaning the user makes a purchase using cryptocurrency while the merchant receives fiat currency in exchange.

“By giving users the ability to convert and spend crypto directly, and have merchants still seamlessly accept fiat, this will make the crypto experience much better for everyone,” said Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao. “Swipe’s exceptional team has made great strides in furthering this mission and has been instrumental in the industry for bridging the gap between commerce and crypto. The Swipe Wallet alone is unique which acts as a digital bank account for its users, providing access to traditional banking services. We are thrilled to work with a team that shares the same core values and looking forward to our larger efforts ahead.”

Swipe CEO Joselito Lizarondo said that the deal “will place Swipe in the position to make cryptocurrencies more accessible for millions of users worldwide.” He added, “We are excited to work with Binance to continue innovating in this crypto-banking space to further build towards mass adoption on our current and future product lines.”

This is the seventh acquisition Malta-based Binance has made since it was founded in 2017. The company has also purchased CoinMarketCap, BxB, DappReview, and WazirX.

Photo by Yucel Moran on Unsplash

Xignite Unveils its Enterprise Microservices Suite

Financial market data distribution and management solutions provider Xignite has launched a new set of market data management services to change the way businesses manage their data in the cloud. Xignite Enterprise Microservices is a suite of solutions that make it easier and more efficient for companies to store, distribute, manage, and control market data.

The microservices approach – embraced by Xignite in this latest offering – provides core functionality via a combination of “loosely coupled, independently deployable components.” Not only can these components work together or separately, but also they can be massively scaled at a very low cost. This compares favorably to legacy systems, which often consist of monolithic platforms that are more expensive, difficult to scale and manage, and typically not used at full capacity.

Xignite Enterprise Microservices runs on Xignite’s cloud-based architecture, which supports 250+ different data sources and 12 billion API calls daily for more than 750 clients in fintech and financial services. The vendor-agnostic solution has already been deployed by fellow Finovate alum NICE Actimize.

“We are incredibly excited to launch Xignite Enterprise Microservices, which we believe will truly revolutionize market data management,” Xignite founder and CEO Stephane Dubois said. “The culmination of over 10 years of nonstop innovation, we have taken the cloud-native architecture that has powered some of the world’s most prominent fintechs and scaled it to meet the unique requirements of institutional players that consume huge amounts of data but often have no way of integrating and optimizing it in an efficient and cost-effective way.”

The suite consists of seven cloud-native microservices tailored for both buy and sell-side firms, fintechs, and exchanges. These include:

  • Data Lake
  • Optimization
  • Entitlements and Usage
  • Reference
  • Historical
  • Real-Time
  • Fundamentals

Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Xignite introduced its data-as-a-service market data solution in 2006, and has been a Finovate alum since 2014. Recently, the company announced that it had enhanced its financial data cloud APIs to streamline delivery of news headlines and company earnings during the global public health crisis. This announcement followed news from the company that it was seeing “record demand” for its financial data during the pandemic.

“The past two-and-a-half months have been difficult both within our industry and in the wider world,” Dubois said. “It is reassuring to know that we’ve been a reliable source for our clients in these trying times. There is enough to worry about right now and nobody wants their market data providers to be a part of that.”

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

Canadian Data Aggregator Flinks Raises $11 Million in Funding

Flinks, a startup based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, that specializes in data aggregation for financial services, has secured $11 million in Series A funding. The investment was led by NAventures, the VC arm of National Bank of Canada, which also provided $5.2 million in debt financing. Also participating in the round were Intact Ventures, Luge Capital, and Panache Ventures.

Flinks CEO Yves-Gabriel Leboeuf called the investment “timely” adding that the company was “well on track” to meet the goals it has previously set and was now ready to “face new, bigger challenges.” In a Q&A announcement at the company blog, Lebouef explained that, having focused on retail banking up to this moment, the company will look to expand into what he referred to as “wealth data.”

“Flinks will enable connections to data sources in the wealth management space, through a new aggregation service,” Lebouef said. “This is something we’re going to pull off in the near future – in fact, we’re already well into the beta phase.”

Founded in 2016, Flinks helps businesses provide users with the financial services they want. The company’s technology enables companies to connect their customer’s bank accounts, and to leverage data insights to build better, more personalized financial products. Lebouef noted that “roughly 1 in 3 Canadians” have connected their bank accounts with his company, which has processed 300+ million connections.

The investment will help Flinks expand to new markets and take advantage of the opportunities of open banking. Managing Director, Venture Capital, NAventures Philippe Daoust said, “We see great alignment between Flinks’ mission and our own focus on helping our clients manage their finances by providing them with innovative and reliable digital solutions.”

Flinks, which signed its first client in the spring of 2017 and its 100th client a year later, began 2020 by adding Clayton Feick as its new Chief Revenue Officer. Feick is a veteran of Quandl and Thomson Reuters, where he was vice president and global head of sales and business development and global lead, respectively.

Lendio’s Role in Keeping Small Businesses Afloat During COVID

We generally think of healthcare workers, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, and other essential workers as the main heroes of the coronavirus public health crisis. However, there’s one company worth mentioning that has risen to “hero” status for small businesses across the U.S.

That company, Lendio, has been serving small businesses since it launched in 2011 by matching small businesses in need of funding with lenders. After the coronavirus hit and the U.S. Small Business Administration passed the CARES Act and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Lendio became a critical resource for merchants across the nation.

After seeing the mass confusion around different types of relief programs and their application requirements, Lendio quickly created a COVID-19 Relief hub on its website to educate business owners, help them apply for funding, and match them with one of its 300 lender partners.

Since April, Lendio has facilitated $8 billion in PPP loan approvals. The company has also helped more than 100,000 small businesses receive approval for PPP loans of an average size of $73,000. This is a massive increase in production for the Utah-based company which, prior to PPP, had facilitated $2 billion in loan approvals since it began operations nine years ago.

The 100,000+ PPP applications Lendio facilitated offered the company a large amount of data (and insight) into the applicants. The company published an analysis of that data last week. Here are some of the findings:

  • States in the Pacific region received 25% of PPP approvals, while those in the Mountain region received only 9%.
  • States in the Northeast and Pacific regions saw the highest average loan size ($80,518 and $79,507, respectively). The average loan size is lowest in the South Atlantic ($64,064).
  • Women business owners made up 32% of applicants.
  • Businesses in urban areas received 30% of the loans applied for, while suburban businesses received 28%, and rural received 39%.

As for what business owners can expect next, just as with the virus itself, the battle has not been won. “I think the next big market mover is going to be the realization that the PPP program actually had an enormous impact,” Sanders Morris Harris CEO George Ball in an interview with Yahoo Finance. “It worked. It kept the patient alive. But the half-life of the forgivable loans to small businesses comes up pretty soon, comes up mid-July to August.”

Photo by mauro paillex on Unsplash