FinovateFall Digital 2020 Sneak Peek: Remitter

A look at the companies demoing at FinovateFall Digital on September 14 through 16, 2020. Register today and save your spot.

Remitter is a white labelled digital communications platform powered by artificial intelligence that helps lenders maximize revenue by optimizing customer engagement.

Features

  • SMS and email intelligent engagement
  • Reaching customers on their preferred channel, at the right time and language
  • No downloading apps, remembering logins, or speaking to an agent

Why it’s great
Remitter’s secure white-labelled platform engages customers with personalized mobile communications to increase collections and maximize revenue for our customers.

Presenters

David Nathanson, EVP & Head of Sales
Nathanson joins Remitter after spending the past ten years in a variety of senior leadership roles. He is responsible for leading all sales and business develpoment.
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Roxanne Bartley, EVP Strategic Partnerships
Bartley is EVP of Strategic Partnerships. In this role she is responsible for cultivating strategic relationships and driving business development across Remitter with key partners.
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FinovateFall Digital 2020 Sneak Peek: Q2

A look at the companies demoing at FinovateFall Digital on September 14 through 16, 2020. Register today and save your spot.

Your fintech product. Millions of users. One integration. Q2’s Q2 Partner Marketplace lets you offer your fintech products to more than 400 bank and credit union customers.

Features

  • Rapid partnership
  • Streamlined integration to over 450 financial institutions
  • Target end users through a trusted channel

Why it’s great
The path to partnering with financial institutions is hard. The Q2 Partner Marketplace makes it simple.

Presenters

Greg Varnell, VP Engineering
Varnell has worked in the technology arena for over 20 years. With more than ten years of experience at Q2, he is responsible for creating and growing the Q2 Caliper SDK team.
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Derik Sutton, VP Product & Experience, Autobooks
Sutton joined Autobooks in 2018 as Vice President of Product and Experience. As part of the executive team, Derik leads Autobooks’ product, design, and marketing execution.
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BlockFI Raises $50 Million for Crypto-Based Bank Services

Crypto asset-backed lender BlockFI just landed $50 million in funding, marking the company’s third investment in just 12 months.

The round was led by Morgan Creek Digital with participation from Valar Ventures, CMT Digital, Castle Island Ventures, Winklevoss Capital, SCB 10X, Avon Ventures, Purple Arch Ventures, Kenetic Capital, HashKey, and others.

BlockFI will use the cash to hire more employees and boost its business offerings. Specifically, BlockFI plans to add support for additional assets and currencies and is working on the launch of a bitcoin rewards-based credit card.

Flori Marquez, SVP of Operations and Co-Founder of BlockFi, described the company as “a driving force in bringing cryptocurrencies mainstream.” And that summarizes BlockFI’s goal with this new growth round. Not only does the company hope to improve the customer experience, it also wants to broaden the appeal of crypto-based investment.

Founded in 2017, BlockFI offers some of the same services customers are used to seeing at their traditional bank, only for cryptocurrencies. In addition to providing trading and institutional services, the company allows users to earn compound interest in a range of different cryptocurrencies. BlockFI also helps clients leverage their cryptocurrency as collateral towards a loan, paid in U.S. dollars, and receive their cryptocurrency back after the loan is paid off.

“With the support from our partners, we’re creating a platform for investors where they aren’t investing in just digital assets anymore—they’re investing in the future, greater financial empowerment and accessibility,” said Zac Prince, CEO and Founder of BlockFi.

BlockFi, which currently has $1.5 billion in assets on its platform, has seen impressive growth in recent months. The company ballooned its revenue 10x over the past year, with plans to reach $100 million in revenue over the next 12 months.


Photo by Maxx Miller on Unsplash

CredoLab Locks in $7 Million in New Investment

Alternative credit scoring innovator CredoLab announced a new $7 million investment today. The Series A round was led by identity data specialist GBG, a company that entered a technology partnership with CredoLab back in June and is now taking a minority stake in the Singapore-based firm. CredoLab plans to use the additional capital to fuel expansion in markets in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Africa.

Founded in 2016, CredoLab made its Finovate debut at our Asian conference in 2018. At the event, the company demonstrated its proprietary CredoScore which converts digital footprints into highly predictive scores that can be used by banks and lenders to guide credit decisioning. The company’s technology examines mobile device data – collected after securing the user’s permission – and leverages AI-based algorithms to analyze 50,000+ data points to, as the company puts it, “connect the dots that traditional credit scoring methods can’t.”

GBG Group uses Credo’s technology to bolster its own antifraud platform’s ability to determine creditworthiness during the onboarding process. GBG Chief Executive Chris Clark praised the way Credo’s risk scoring will help it better serve “good customers who are financially excluded” – especially by lowering false positives.

In addition to its partnership with GBG, CredoLab teamed up with GoBear and fellow Finovate alum Mambu in June to help the financial platform expand to the Philippines. The previous month, CredoLab was highlighted by Fintechnews Singapore in its look at fintechs in SE Asia that are making a difference when it comes to financial inclusion. The company this year has also worked with LenDenClub, among the fastest-growing P2P lending platforms in India, and collaborated with Salary Dost – also based in India – to help the lending platform enhance its underwriting process.

A winner in the ASEAN Open category of the SFF x SWITCH Fintech Awards last year, CredoLab was recognized in January as Indonesia’s first credit scoring company. Since inception, CredoLab has powered more than $2 billion in loans issued, analyzing more than one trillion data points across 21 countries. Peter Barcak is co-founder and CEO.


Photo by ALAMEEN A-DAE from Pexels

Why a Lack of Diversity in Fintech Poses an Existential Threat

This is a guest post written by Philippa Ushio and Hal Bienstock of Prosek Partners.


In an extremely uncertain business environment, there are two things that almost every expert agrees to be true:

  1. The most innovative companies are likely to come out ahead when the COVID-19 crisis comes to an end
  2. Diverse leadership teams are more innovative and generate better business results 

So, why is it that venture capitalists – the very people tasked with funding innovation – are so monolithic? According to a report from Richard Kerby of Equal Ventures, just three percent of VC employees in 2018 were Black and only one percent were Hispanic. Eighteen percent are women.

The numbers for fintechs tell a similar story. According to research from Oliver Wyman, women represent just 14% of fintech boards, compared with 23% in the banking sector. The consulting firm found that 39% of fintechs it studied had no women on their board at all. 

Now consider that McKinsey’s Delivering Through Diversity Report found that companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability. And research from Boston Consulting Group found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation. Clearly, there’s a disconnect.

That said,  we can agree that not all talk about diversity and serving underserved populations is just lip service; many fintechs are in fact delivering on their missions. Facilitating access to PPP is a good example, with loan marketplaces like Lendio, Fundera and Nav having all been credited with reacting quickly to help small businesses during the first round of government support. And many neo-banks and earned wage access providers are helping low-income workers achieve financial wellness during a period of great economic uncertainty. Pandemic aside, there is no doubt that it is easier today than it was 10 years ago for businesses and individuals to get reasonably priced short-term credit, specialized financial advice, and avoid high percentage loans, among other things. Yet, for all the good fintechs are doing, it’s impossible not to think about the problems that founders haven’t begun to even consider – let alone solve – because they don’t have people on their teams who are actually living with these issues.

In addition to the disturbing lack of ethnic and gender diversity at VC firms, Richard Kerby found that 40% of VC employees went to one of just two schools – Stanford or Harvard. How many of them grew up unable to afford an unexpected $400 expense, like 40% of Americans? Or with parents running small businesses that lived or died based on what was in the cash register at the end of the day?

Over the past decade, fintechs have done a lot to help small and medium businesses. But there’s an opportunity to do so much more and there has never been a more important time than now as so many face the reality of shutting their doors in the wake of the pandemic. 

If founders and VC firms continue to ignore the benefits that diversity in leadership bring, it won’t be long before the disruptors find themselves disrupted by those who are more innovative, more thoughtful about the problems they are trying to solve, and more able to reach a customer base that consists of far more than just Harvard and Stanford grads. 

The good news is that things are changing. Many fintechs and VC firms put out strong statements of support following recent racial justice protests and committed themselves to taking measurable action to diversify. Only by living up to these ideals can the current fintech wave continue to build. Let’s watch this space.


Philippa Ushio is SVP at Prosek Partners where she leads teams in developing communications strategies and mounting multi-disciplinary campaigns to protect and enhance business value. Throughout her career, she has provided strategic counsel to clients facing a wide variety of complex issues, focusing particularly on their communications challenges. 

Hal Bienstock is a Managing Director at Prosek Partners. A fintech specialist, he has spent more than 20 years working as a brand strategist and corporate communications executive. He has extensive experience counseling C-suite leaders and developing integrated campaigns that change perceptions internally and externally. 


Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels

The Generational Divide Between Challenger Banks and Incumbents

A couple weeks back I had a conversation with Andrew Besheer, Head of North America for Appway, about the rise of challenger banks. Our discussion centered around some of the data points in Ron Shevlin’s piece, The Online Banking Insurgency of 2020, published in Forbes last month.

One of the questions that came up was if this surge in new challenger bank accounts is an accident of digital transformation? In other words, are Millennials and Gen Z consumers gravitating towards challenger banks because their websites appear more digitally savvy?

At its core, this is a chicken-and-egg question. Are challenger banks successful because their tech-first approach satisfies consumers? Or are underserved consumers driving challenger banks to create new products and services that banks are unable (or unwilling) to offer?

First, its important to recognize that both challenger banks and incumbents know their target market. That is, the challenger banks are catering to an audience looking for a different bank experience than the one that appeals to their parents.

To answer this question, first, take a look at the outward appearance. Traditional banks’ websites are text-heavy, with long-winded fine print, and are intimidating enough to drive away less experienced consumers. Conversely, challenger banks use colloquial language and present websites that look simple and transparent. As an example, take a look at Charles Schwab’s website:

And now look at Dave’s:

Both are relatively technologically and digitally advanced banks, but they are appealing to two entirely different demographics.

Taking a look under the surface, the products and services each bank offers are also different. Schwab’s are heavily geared toward investing and trading, while what Dave offers– paycheck advances and credit building tools– seems to center around keeping its users afloat.

In the end, the two approaches are perfectly suited for users on opposite sides of the generational spectrum. My father and grandfather would never bank somewhere that had a cartoon as a mascot. And younger, Generation Z users don’t trust incumbent banks’ language and apparent lack of transparency.

Now, to answer the question, “are Millennials and Gen Z consumers gravitating towards challenger banks because their websites appear more digitally savvy?” The answer is no. Challenger banks are built from the ground up to entice this generation of users. And while the banks’ advanced digital capabilities help to draw users in, they are not the sole reason younger, tech-savvy users choose them.

You can check out the full interview, where Besheer and I delve further into the challenger banking conversation, on Appway’s website.


Photo by Mario Dobelmann on Unsplash

Urban FT Helps Banks Bridge Fintech’s Infrastructure Gap

Urban FT’s newly-launched X-35 FinTech Core will enable financial institutions to centralize their fintech infrastructure into a singular hub that sits beside and is connected to the bank’s existing core or payment processor. The API-based, developer-friendly technology helps FIs create and deploy new, innovative solutions to their customers faster and at significantly less expense.

Urban FT sees the new offering as a tool to help smaller and mid-sized FIs maximize their engagement with their customers via more personalized products and services. Company CEO Richard Steggall said in a statement that providing these resources to banks was not just a matter of helping them keep up with the larger competition, but also was designed to empower them to “leap frog the competition entirely.”

“We founded Urban FT with the vision of giving our clients the means to dream big and deliver exceptional, and that’s exactly what X-35 does,” Steggall explained. He compared his company’s approach to providing “an Amazon Web Services for FIs” enabling them to leverage Urban FT’s R&D team on a continuous basis. “FIs can digitize nearly every interaction they have with their customers while significantly compressing the number of implementations, systems, and platforms they need to outpace the competition.”

Urban FT’s new solution is geared toward bridging the gap between the dreams of open banking and the reality of a fintech infrastructure that is not yet capable of maximizing this opportunity. By contrast, Urban FT’s offering relies on a cloud-based, serverless, microservice architecture that supports continuous innovation, seamless updates, and greater operational efficiencies in a scalable environment. “It makes the ‘impossible’ possible by providing both the foundation and the plumbing that realize the vision that many have tried but few have been able to deliver on,” said Urban FT board member and former Citibank Managing Director Aditya Menon.

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in New York City, Urban FT made its Finovate debut in 2015. A member of the Inc. 5,000, Urban FT has more than 500 financial institution clients, and processes more than $18 billion in transactions a year. The company has raised more than $15 million in funding.


Photo by ALBERT CHERNOGOROV from Pexels

Alviere Launches the HIVE to Let Any Business Become a Fintech

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “every company will become a fintech company.” That’s because the banking-as-a-service model has officially taken off and is helping companies across all industries offer their customers a variety of banking options.

Perhaps that’s what Alviere was thinking in creating its new flagship offering, The Hive Platform, which it distinguishes as a Financial-Services-as-a-Platform (FsaP) tool. Hive allows businesses to choose from a range of seven financial services offerings– including banking and treasury application services; payment processing and cross border transactions; debit, prepaid, and credit issuing services; identity, risk, and fraud management services, business intelligence and analytics, customer communication tools, and mobile technology– and enables them to easily integrate their own branded tools into their existing business via an API.

“We know from our own experience the pain it takes to get a financial service to market, so we launched Alviere and The HIVE to help companies like us to alleviate the pain,” said Yuval Brisker, co-founder and CEO of Alviere. “We’re excited to announce the launch of The HIVE, which is the most advanced and complete Financial Services as a Platform (FsaP) on the market today. It’s much more than Banking-as-a-Service, incorporating many more capabilities than similar offerings.”

The Hive Platform also solves one of the biggest hurdles for companies delivering financial services– regulations. That is because it is already designed to be deployed in any geography with any regulatory framework.

Offering businesses financial services is a good move because it allows companies to focus on their core competency while providing access to valuable financial services. In addition to keeping customers happy, delivering financial services helps businesses by creating a stickiness that will drive customers back to their business, website, or app more frequently.

Founded by Yuval Brisker and Pedro Silva, Alviere is now available to businesses in Canada and the U.S. The company plans to be available in more geographic regions by year-end.


Photo by Vivek Doshi on Unsplash

How Samsung’s Payment Card Made it to the U.K.

After teasing the launch of its debit card in the U.S. earlier this year, Samsung announced that its digital debit card, the Samsung Pay Card, is now available in the U.K.

To make the launch possible, Samsung has teamed up with Curve, a fintech that consolidates all of a user’s existing Mastercard and Visa payment cards. The London-based company makes all of a user’s cards contactless and compatible with Samsung Pay.

Users will receive access to Curve features such as peer-to-peer money transfers, instant notifications about spending, competitive foreign exchange rates, 1% cash back on purchases made with a select group of three merchants, and 5% cash back on purchases made at Samsung.com. Samsung Pay Card users will also be able to use Curve’s Go Back in Time feature that allows them to switch payments from one card to another for up to 14 days after the purchase was made.

The deal is a win-win for both companies; Samsung will benefit from Curve’s e-money license with the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, and Curve will gain from an increase in users. Interestingly, however, existing Curve users cannot also apply for a Samsung Pay card. As other sources have pointed out, the reason for this exclusion isn’t entirely clear.

“At Samsung we believe in the power of innovation and, through our partnership with Curve, the Samsung Pay Card brings a series of pioneering features that will change the way that our customers manage their spending, with their Samsung smartphone and smartwatch at the heart of it,” said Conor Pierce, Corporate VP of Samsung U.K. and Ireland. “This is the future of banking and we look forward to continuing this journey with our customers.”


Photo by Kote Puerto on Unsplash

FIS Unveils Subscription Model for Core Banking

Fintech giant FIS has adopted the subscription model that has proven popular in selling everything from wine to digital media to diapers. The Florida-based company launched a subscription core banking solution today called ClearEdge.

ClearEdge is geared specifically to serve community banks and offers a bundle of technologies to help them modernize their operations and provide a better customer experience. The flat-fee, month-to-month subscription model doesn’t require lengthy terms and it eliminates liquidated damages and exclusivity requirements.

“We are committed to making it as easy as possible for our qualifying community bank clients to access the advanced technology they need to offer modern, differentiated products and services to their customers,” said Head of Global Core and Channels, Americas at FIS Rob Lee. “ClearEdge takes that commitment to the next level with a powerful offering that we believe will be a game-changer for many community banks.”

“The ability to bundle solutions relative to our business needs creates the opportunity for us to be more creative and flexible while better controlling our back-office expense,” said John Dickson, chief operations officer at Coastal Community Bank. “Plus, it just makes sense in today’s volatile market.”

As the bank-fintech partnership ecosystem strengthens and the uncertainty of the COVID-19 economic environment persists, we can expect to see more subscription-type models from tech providers. The increased flexibility, combined with the ability to pick-and-choose solutions that are tailored to each individual organization, is a model that is better suited to modern banking requirements.


Photo by Yoann Boyer on Unsplash

Cybersecurity Innovator SpyCloud Secures $30 Million

Account takeover (ATO) prevention specialist SpyCloud locked in $30 million in Series C funding today. The round, led by Centana Growth Partners, featured participation from all of the company’s existing investors, a list that includes Altos Ventures, March Capital Partners, Silverton Partners and M12, Microsoft’s venture capital fund. This week’s funding takes SpyCloud’s total capital to $58.5 million.

“Criminals work together to steal information and find creative ways to monetize it. As a result, even the most careful and sophisticated organizations are vulnerable,” SpyCloud CEO and co-founder Ted Ross said. “SpyCloud will continue to pursue new and innovative ways to stay ahead of criminals and provide solutions that make the internet a safer place for individuals and businesses.”

SpyCloud made its Finovate debut in the fall of 2017, earning a Best of Show award for its exposed credential monitoring and alert service. The company, based in Austin, Texas, finds and recovers stolen and compromised assets that are actively trading on the digital underground, capturing 40 million exposed assets a week using techniques that go beyond web crawlers and other automated solutions.

This spring, SpyCloud partnered with security operations platform ThreatConnect, integrating its database with two of ThreatConnect’s offerings. More recently, the company teamed up with third party risk management platform Privva, and worked with MENA-based information security valued added distributor Spire Solutions,

One of the more interesting partnerships SpyCloud announced this year was a collaboration with Zero Trafficking, a company that provides solutions to combat human trafficking. Taking advantage of the fact that the bad guys are as likely to suffer from the same data breaches and stolen credentials as everyone else, SpyCloud has leveraged its technology to help Zero Trafficking round them up.

“Billions of data assets per year are exposed in breaches, including assets belonging to criminals,” SpyCloud Head of Investigations Jason Lancaster explained. “By drawing on the 100+ billion assets SpyCloud has recovered from third-party breaches, Zero Trafficking can piece together criminals’ digital breadcrumbs to uncover the identities of specific adversaries engaging in human trafficking activity.”


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FinovateFall Digital 2020 Sneak Peek: Obsecure

A look at the companies demoing at FinovateFall Digital on September 14 through 16, 2020. Register today and save your spot.

Obsecure’s notary-grade technology provides you with a real-time evidence of the true person behind the actions you see. The result is a level of authenticity that exists in an in-person interaction.

Features

  • Effortless digital experience
  • Expanded digital services
  • Reduced fraud

Why it’s great
The technology uses AI, biometrics, and unique action capture technologies to “notarize” every digital action and seal it with the identity of the person who performed it, assuring its authenticity.

Presenter

Will Herlands, CTO & Co-Founder
Herlands has a Ph.D. in Machine Learning from Carnegie Mellon University and is a MIT Lincoln Lab researcher focused on cybersecurity, AI, and robotics.
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