Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Temenos Acquires Avoka in $245 Million Deal.
  • More Than $400 Million Raised by 19 Alums in Q3 2018.
  • ShopKeep Closes $65 Million to Boost Small Business Financing Tool.

Around the web

  • The Open Bank Project wins Best Technology Provider for Open API Standards at Global Open Banking Awards.
  • InComm partners with Revolut to offer their prepaid cards at U.K. retail chain wilko.
  • U.K.’s Experian to buy Africa’s Compuscan.
  • First Data and China CITIC Bank International to join forces with launch of new merchant acquiring solutions.
  • PayPal launches Xoom International money transfer in Canada.
  • Docutech and Tavant integrate for digitally-focused loan origination process.

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.

Plaid Raises $250 Million Series C Round Led by Mary Meeker

Provider of APIs for financial infrastructure, Plaidclosed a $250 million Series C round. The company’s founders, Zach Perret and William Hockey, discussed the funds in a blog post today, along with Plaid’s plans to “reinvest in the fintech ecosystem,” an industry they say is “just getting started.”

The investment, which boosts Plaid’s total funding to $310 million, comes with celebrity endorsement from Mary Meeker. Meeker led the round and will join the company’s board of directors. Additional investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Goldman Sachs, NEA, and Spark Capital.

“Plaid has built an important underpinning for financial services on the web and mobile. Plaid allows businesses to rapidly launch innovative products, drive growth and enhance consumer satisfaction. We are excited about the evolution and potential ahead,” Meeker said.

The San Francisco-based company will use the funds to onboard new employees and expand its operations. “We’re focused on shipping and scaling products that will both serve the growth and scale of these customers, and become the foundation for fintech for decades to come,” the founders said in the blog post. “Every company is becoming a fintech company…. Plaid’s role is to empower these innovators with a platform—and a data network—that delivers access to the financial system.”

TechCrunch, which pinned Plaid as a company to watch in 2019, reported that Plaid is now valued at $2.65 billion. This is up significantly from the company’s last valuation in 2016, which sat at $200 million after Plaid’s $44 million Series B round.

At FinDEVr San Fransisco 2014, Perret gave a presentation about leveraging the Plaid API for financial infrastructure. Since then, the company has grown to 175 employees and offers six products, including Auth, an account authentication tool; Balance, which pulls account balance information in real-time; Identity, which leverages bank data to verify consumer identity; Transactions, which pulls bank statement data across banks; Assets, a verification of assets tool; and Income, a tool that validates a consumer’s income and verifies direct deposit data.

This May, Plaid launched in Canada– its first international market. The startup also partnered with JPMorgan Chase to help the bank make a move toward open banking by enabling account holders to safely share their financial data with third party fintech applications.

Bill.com Achieves NACHA Certification

Business payments company Bill.com received NACHA certification as an ACH third-party sender today. While the certification is voluntary, it indicates that Bill.com is meeting standards, such as corporate governance and risk and compliance obligations, for ACH payment processing.

NACHA Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Jane Larimer praised Bill.com’s achievement saying, “NACHA certification is a clear indication of Bill.com’s adherence to sound ACH practices and policies.” René Lacerte, founder and CEO of Bill.com added, “it’s important that our clients and partners know that we are committed to the highest quality ACH processing as demonstrated by achieving NACHA Certification.”

Bill.com was founded in 2006 to help businesses manage accounts payables and receivables with online billpay, custom invoicing, document storage, collaboration tools, and more. At FinovateSpring 2012, Lacerte debuted the company’s CashView tools. Since then, Bill.com has grown to process more than $60 billion each year for its network of three million members.

Bill.com is partnered with four of the top 10 largest U.S. banks, 60+ of the top 100 accounting firms, as well as accounting software providers such as Netsuite, Intacct, QuickBooks and Xero. The company has taken in more than $200 million in funding from investors including JP Morgan Chase and Temasek.

Motive Partners Acquires Majority Stake in Finantix

Private equity firm Motive Partners will become a majority shareholder in Finantix, a provider of digital services for the private banking, insurance and wealthtech sectors, reports Antony Peyton of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

Financial details were not disclosed. Both firms are a bit vague but Motive will support the company and the founders (Ralf Emmerich and Alessandro Tonchia) in “extending the functional footprint of the product and in accelerating geographic expansion”. The latter means Europe, Asia and to enter the U.S. market.

Scott Kauffman, partner at Motive Partners, said Finantix has demonstrated its ability to create a “compelling product, bringing a leading technology platform to an ever-increasing set of blue chip clients”.

Finantix’s founders and the management team will continue to lead the company.

The company has over 250 staff in seven cities and a customer base in more than 45 countries. Some of its clients include Rothschild Bank, Crossbridge Capital, and DBS.

Motive Labs, the operational and technology team of Motive, will also work with Finantix.

Back in March, Finantix acquired Singapore-based Smartfolios, a creator of quant-enabled investment tools. No financial details in that deal as well.

As reported last year, Motive powered up and revealed its plans to invest in fintech firms in the U.K. and U.S.

According to its Form D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the U.S, Motive was looking to raise $150 million.

“Our mission is to back and build the next generation of financial technology businesses to transform markets, models and society,” the company said on its website.

Based in Venice, Italy, and founded in 1994, Finantix demonstrated its Banking Assistant solution at FinovateEurope 2013.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Plaid Raises $250 Million Series C Round Led by Mary Meeker.
  • Bill.com Achieves NACHA Certification.

Around the web

  • Narrative Science introduces its new language-based augmented analytics product, Lexio, in beta.
  • Currencies Direct taps Ripple’s xCurrent for real-time remittances to India.
  • AlphaPoint to support Stellar Lumens.
  • Motive Partners acquires majority stake in Finantix.
  • Camden National Bank further leverages Jack Henry relationship to support demand for growth, innovation.

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.

BioCatch Brings Behavioral Biometrics to ACI Worldwide

A new partnership between real-time electronic payment and banking solutions provider, ACI Worldwide, and behavioral biometrics specialist, BioCatch, will deliver better online and mobile fraud prevention to banking customers. Along with the advanced analytic capabilities of ACI Worldwide’s UP Payments Risk Management, BioCatch’s behavior assessment technology will help institutions better defend themselves and their customers from a growing variety of cyberthreats.

“As online and mobile banking proliferates, fraudsters are consistently finding new ways to infiltrate banks’ systems, creating havoc for consumers and businesses alike,” BioCatch CTO and founder Avi Turgeman said. “By using behavioral data to distinguish between a genuine customer and a fraudster – whether human or non-human – we are able to detect fraudulent activity in real-time and protect consumers.”

ACI Worldwide global director for Payments Intelligence & Risk Solutions Cleber Martins pointed to threats like account takeover, social engineering, and bots as the main obstacles for institutions that are attempting to provide “enriched customer experience(s).” He praised the way BioCatch offers “cost-efficient access to behavioral biometrics” solutions to enable banks to “further promote safety and loyalty through the online relationship with their clients.”

BioCatch demonstrated the Passive Biometrics/Invisible Challenges mechanism of its cognitive behavioral biometrics technology at FinovateFall 2014. The mechanism injects a dynamic, cognitive challenge during the user’s interaction with an app. The challenge is so subtle that the user responds to it without being aware that the challenge has occurred. This response helps define the user’s relationship with the app, providing a unique user profile that reduces vulnerability to a variety of cyber threats.

Founded in 2011 and headquartered in Israel, BioCatch has raised $41.6 million in funding, and includes Blumberg Capital, OurCrowd, and Maverick Ventures Israel among its investors. In October, the company announced that it was partnering with seven, tier-one Latin American banks in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. Earlier this year, BioCatch teamed up with ForgeRock, offering its behavioral biometrics solution as an integrated module to ForgeRock’s platform.

ACI Worldwide powers electronic payments for more than 5,000 institutions globally, including more than 1,000 of the world’s largest financial institutions and service providers. The company participated in our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016, presenting Simple, Global, and Secure eCommerce Payments with ACI Worldwide’s Next-Generation API. The discussion focused on the technical challenges of payments integration and the value of using an end-to-end solution with integrated real-time fraud prevention.

Founded in 1975 and based in Naples, Florida, ACI Worldwide trades on the NASDAQ under the ticker ACIW, and has a market capitalization of $3 billion.

Interactions Partners with Next Caller for Phone-Based Threat Assessment

Intelligent Virtual Assistance (IVA) company Interactions recently announced a new partnership with Next Caller, a phone fraud detection and authentication firm, with a goal of boosting Interactions’ fraud protection.

“At Interactions, security is a top priority,” said Mary McKenna, director of product management at Interactions. “Customer service interactions generate massive amounts of data that are often sensitive, so being able to provide our clients with state of the art security is a must. With this enhanced security offering, we strengthen our commitment to protect our clients and their customers from security threats.”

Under the agreement, Interactions will expand security services for its IVA enterprise clients by leveraging Next Caller’s VeriCall tool, which will add a layer of security to prevent fraudulent phone calls. VeriCall will help IVA assess the threat level of an incoming call using the caller’s automatic number identification (ANI) and network information. The resulting risk score will route high risk calls to either further screening questions or to a live agent, and will direct low-risk calls via a more frictionless user experience.

“Our partnership with Interactions will provide sophisticated real-time call verification and authentication technology to their customers,” said Ian Roncoroni, co-founder and CEO of Next Caller. “Fraud is a growing problem for businesses today, and can be especially damaging to companies that have to deal with large amounts of customer data. One small mishap can provide a fraudster with enough personal information to steal a customer’s identity.”

Interactions will use Next Caller’s technology alongside its current security offerings, including Voice Biometrics, which creates a personalized voice print for customers; ANI Blacklists, which cross-checks a caller’s ANI against existing databases of blacklisted numbers; and Voiceprint Blacklists, which uses the caller’s voiceprint to search an existing database of fraudster voiceprints.

Massachusetts-based Interactions leverages AI and voice-recognition technology to help big brands offer a more friendly, automated customer experience. The company most recently presented its IVA at FinovateFall 2018. Founded in 2004, Interactions facilitates 1 billion customer interactions per year across six different channels for large brands including Hyatt, Humana, LifeLock, and Mountain America Credit Union.

Ohpen Migrates More than 400k Accounts in Partnership with Aegon

Ohpen is making tech progress as it has migrated over 400,000 Dutch savings and investment accounts from Aegon to its core banking engine, reports Antony Peyton of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

As reported in April last year, financial services provider Aegon was partnering with Ohpen to develop a new platform for its Dutch services.

The firms said they are merging their domain knowledge within pensions and technology. Aegon will plug into Ohpen’s singular platform via a 100% API-based interface.

In the latest phase, Ohpen said this migration is in line with their previously communicated ambition to “build the infrastructure and architecture of the future”.

Chris Zadeh, founder and CEO of Ohpen, said it developed its cloud-based core banking engine “from scratch to ensure that the technology and processes actually work, all the time.”

After the completion of this migration, all accounts of clients with investment and (fiscal) savings products of Aegon Bank will be administered by Ohpen.

In other Ohpen news, last month it unveiled its Ohpen API Portal (OAP) in beta mode. In its view, IT and re-platforming projects in financial services have a “reputation of running over time and budget”.

The firm stays true to its name because when asked about wealthtech woes in the U.K. it was very transparent. In that exclusive report in November, it responded quickly and said it had made 19 staff redundant at its U.K. office due to the lack of action in the asset management space.

Ohpen’s Dutch operations appear to be unaffected by these U.K. job losses. As reported in an exclusive in July, LeasePlan Bank, the online savings bank based in the Netherlands, chose it to upgrade its whole core cloud banking engine.

Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Ohpen demonstrated its core banking platform at FinovateFall 2012. The firm has raised €40 million in funding and includes Amerborgh among its investors.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Interactions Partners with Next Caller for Phone-Based Threat Assessment.
  • BioCatch Brings Behavioral Biometrics to ACI Worldwide.

Around the web

  • Token to support PSD2 compliance and open banking capabilities for U.K.’s thinkmoney.
  • SafeAmericaCU’s switch to AI-powered technology from Bankjoy helps the $433 million asset FI to earn “Best Practices” honors from CU Journal.
  • TransferWise secures £65 million syndicated debt facility with NatWest, JP Morgan, and LHV Bank.
  • iSignthis plans for Australian neobanking license in 2019.
  • PayNearMe’s electronic payment volume grew by more than 25% month-over-month in the past year.
  • Klarna joins Shopify Plus Partner program to power merchants.
  • TrueAccord wins a Healthy Mothers Workplace Award.
  • Passport recognized as one of Charlotte’s fastest growing companies.
  • Launchfire wins gold Brandon Hall Group Excellence in Technology Award.
  • Bill.com selects Comdata as Virtual Credit Card Provider for B2B Payments.
  • TopTracker partners with Payoneer to allows free payments between companies and freelancers.

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.

Boku Acquires Mobile ID and Authentication Company Danal

Carrier billing company Boku is set to expand its expertise with a new acquisition this week. The San Francisco-based company agreed to acquire mobile identification and authentication company Danal for up to $68 million. The acquisition is expected to close December 31, 2018.

The deal is being structured as a reverse triangular merger to ensure Boku acquires 100% of Danal, a subsidiary of DFS Services. To finance the acquisition, Boku is issuing 26.7 million common shares for $0.0001 each, $3 million in Boku warrants, and $1 million in cash. In addition, Boku will pay deferred consideration of up to $64 million, the exact amount dependent on Danal’s future performance.

Leveraging its connections to MNOs, Danal offers data matching, account baselining, phone identification, and proactive monitoring to verify users’ identities for verticals including banks, healthcare, hospitality, and ecommerce. The San Jose-based company also offers solutions to satisfy Know Your Customer (KYC) and Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulations. Some of Danal’s customers include Western Union, BNP Paribas, PayPal, Square, Moneygram, Login.gov, and USAA. The privately-held company has raised $14.5 million.

Boku will leverage Danal’s technology to offer mobile identity services to its existing customers and to provide global coverage to Danal’s U.S. customers. “Combining Danal’s customer base and technology with Boku’s international scale and global MNO connection capability, will allow us to build the world leader in this emerging space,” said Boku CEO Jon Prideaux. “This acquisition allows us to offer services that go further and to improve user quality for our customers while at the same time improving the mobile experience for users… Danal has shown that MNO data can also combat fraud, reduce friction in signup and ensure regulatory compliance on mobile.”

Boku was founded in 2008 and provides payments technology that allows consumers to charge purchases to their mobile phone bill. The company offers its operator network for acquiring, activating, and monetizing customers through their mobile phones. The Boku platform is used in large digital marketplaces such as the Google Play store, Apple’s App store, Spotify, and Facebook’s App Center.

At FinovateEurope 2011 Boku showcased its mobile payment service. Earlier this fall, Boku was awarded Best Newcomer at the AIM Awards. Boku is publicly traded on the London stock exchange with a current market capitalization of $124 million.