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Tracking fintech, banking & financial services innovations since 1994
Finovate events have always been celebrations. Celebrations of innovation, celebrations of technology, celebrations of industry. But this spring was not a time for celebration, and our thoughts are with every single person and company impacted throughout the community.
As heard from our followers and in news recently, we are turning a corner and seeing the light. The fall season has always been a big time for product launches, and these will be more important now than ever as companies reemerge. And that’s something to celebrate.
This fall for the first time, Finovate hits both coasts: FinovateFall in September in New York and FinovateWest (formerly FinovateSpring) in November in San Francisco. And we’re accepting applications from companies interested in demoing their technology at each.
Showcasing products and solutions – not just talking about them – is the best way to do business. It allows 1,000+ potential buyers, partners and investors to see how your technology works and how it can benefit them. Not convinced? Hear from some of our alums:
It’s one of the leading fintech conferences around the world, so there’s no better place to launch a product. With any conference, it’s about the return on investment — you never know if you’ll meet one person of five, but we’ve already met 10 potential partners that I’m really excited to work with.
Dana Budzyn, CEO & Founder, UBDI
It’s been successful here! We’ve already had around 30 to 40 people visit our booth and 15 requests from people saying, “Can you come and show us your technology?”
Ned Phillips, CEO & Founder, Bambu
I think we’ll be here every year – we met 90% of our clients at Finovate. We meet our clients; we meet our prospects. If you’re a bank or fintech and want to know about the trends and get a sneak peek into the future, this is the place.
Uday Akkaraju, CEO, Bond.AI
Finovate is the best place for our startup to get exposure to potential clients and investors, all under one roof!
Emil Tarazi, Chief Data Scientist & Founder, ETFLogic
Finovate is a great way to meet the right people at the right organizations! It was really exciting to have them approach us after seeing our demonstration on stage!
With a global pandemic reshaping the way we live and work, Finovate VP Greg Palmer and his Finovate Podcast turned to two of our industry’s most insightful observers this week to help put the current challenges to fintech in context.
Ron Shevlin, Managing Director of Fintech Research at Cornerstone Advisors, is one of the world’s top fintech influencers. Author of the book Smarter Bank and a columnist for Forbes, he has provided keynotes and moderated panels at industry events including FinovateFall.
On the challenges facing business leaders during the COVID crisis
We’re wrestling, all of us, with three major concerns: our physical health, our mental health, and our financial health. And if you’re an executive at a fintech company, a bank, a credit union, whatever it might be, you’re wrestling with those things in multiple dimensions: your personal physical, financial, and mental health; your family’s physical, financial, and mental health, your employees’ three areas of health and your customers’. You add that up and it’s pretty daunting …
Alyson Clarke is a Principal Analyst with Forrester Research. Among our Analyst All-Stars at FinovateFall 2019 last year, she is a specialist in digital business transformation, creating digital and customer “obsessed” cultures, and digital strategy and innovation.
On how a likely post-COVID-19 recession will affect fintechs and financial services firms
I think we’re clearly going to see fintech funding slow – especially for new or less established startups. In fact, I think it will slow across the board from VCs to corporate funding. I think that will be some of the downside for the fintechs.
In terms of financial services and banks, they’re going to do what they naturally do and that’s focus on cost-cutting and making the operations more efficient. Sadly, some of that focus will be on automation and things like that for the sake of reducing headcount. The problem with that is that they really need to be focused on productivity, not just cost-cutting, because (managing) recessions is about preparing for the upturn.
IdentityMind Global Acquired by Acuant – The deal offers Acuant access to IdentityMind’s digital identity product, a SaaS platform that builds, maintains, and analyzes digital identities and helps companies perform risk-based authentication, regulatory identification, and detect and prevent synthetic and stolen identities.
Vymo Offers Work From Home for Sales Professionals – Vymo, the company whose intelligent sales assistant makes life easier for on-the-go sales pros, has unveiled a new enhancement to help sales teams at this time when customer engagement is even more challenging.
Azimo Partners with Siam Commercial Bank – SCB clients will benefit from Azimo’s digital money transfer program that uses RippleNet, a blockchain-based money transfer service. Using RippleNet, Azimo will be able to instantly deliver payments from Europe to SCB client accounts.
CRIF to Acquire Strands – The union will bring Strands’ personal financial management and business financial management solutions to CRIF’s client base that includes 6,300 banks, 55,000 businesses, and 310,000 consumers across 50 countries.
Nordic challenger bank Lunar announced a new tranche of funding today, boosting its Series B round. The new $21.6 million (€20 million) installment adds to the $28 million (€26 million) the digital bank disclosed in August of last year.
Today’s investment brings the company’s Series B round to $49.6 million (€46 million) and raises its total funding to $74.7 million. Leading the extension round is Seed Capital, with participation from Greyhound, Socii, Augustinus, and Unity Technologies founder David Helgason.
Lunar’s free bank account includes transfers, payments, debit card, billpay, and access to in-app budgeting tools. The Premium accounts offer a fancier-looking card, three personal accounts, travel insurance, virtual cards, and more at a cost of just under $7 (69 krona) per month. The challenger bank also offers a business bank account for $194 per year that integrates with third-party software providers comes with commercial lending opportunities.
Lunar was founded in 2015 and received its banking license in August of last year from the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority. In all, the company touts 150,000 users. Ken Villum Klausen is founder and CEO.
The world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and financial services and fintech companies are no exception. We’ve taken a look at how lenders are working to help small businesses struggling with cash flow challenges, and how firms are offering their services free of charge during the crisis to help businesses continue operating with as little interruption as possible.
Beyond this, a number of institutions around the world have taken more innovative approaches to helping manage the dislocations caused by COVID-19. Stockholm, Sweden-based Swedbank, for example, has supported hackathons in Latvia and Lithuania dedicated toward finding solutions to help businesses and individuals deal with COVID-19 related issues. The firm announced today that it is sponsoring a global hackathon in April, called “The Global Hack” to broaden the effort to get fintechs involved in the effort.
Swedbank is specifically sponsoring the economy track of the hackathon, which Swedbank Head of Digital Banking and IT Lotta Lovén said would help drive innovation in products designed to help keep markets moving.
“We not only dive into topics that will help our customers and industry through these unprecedented times, but the results will also support the local communities and the society as a whole,” Lovén said.
The Global Hack event is also supported by the European Commission, the World Health Organization, The World Economic Forum, and LinkedIn, among others.
The Fintech Times has just published its special edition on Asia – guest edited by The Finanser’s Chris Skinner. And while the timing does not allow for much consideration of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on China’s fintech industry, a handful of articles nevertheless feature worth-reading insights on what that industry might look like on the other side of the current public health crisis.
Foremost among them – and having the most relevance for Western audiences – may be Jim Marous’ article, Tomorrow’s Model for Banking Exists Today. Marous, publisher of The Financial Brand, credits “big data, advanced analytics, modern digital technology and an innovation culture” for what he calls “the spectacular growth of innovative financial services in China.” The fact that this innovation is accompanied by – instead of being ahead of – successful financial inclusion makes the achievements of China’s techfin and fintech enterprises all the more worth learning from.
Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.
Central and Eastern Europe
Payments platform Paysafe launchesPaysafecash in Latvia.
Russia’s second-largest bank, VTB Bank, announces big data joint venture with telecom Rostelecom.
Polish payments processor KIR partners with Danish authentication solutions provider Cryptomathic.
Middle East and Northern Africa
PayBy, a fintech based in Abu Dhabi, begins mobile payment services in the UAE.
Dubai-based Rise, which provides banking services to underbanked migrant workers in the UAE, raises $1.4 million in funding.
Mobile banking services provider Khazna secures seed funding in round led by Egyptian VC Algebra Ventures.
Central and Southern Asia
Recko, an Indian fintech that leverages AI to reconcile digital transaction plans, raises $6 million in Series A funding.
Fortune India looks at the impact of COVID-19 on India’s fintech industry.
Uruguayn-Mexican fintech Mozper, which specializes in helping parents financially educate their children, raises pre-seed investment of $770,000.
Mexico-based digital payment processor Kushki locks in Series A funding in round led by DILA Capital.
Brazil’s Cora adds cash flow boosting feature to its SME platform that enables customers that are observing quarantines to purchasing vouchers today from their favorite merchant for goods and services to be picked up later.
Japanese digital banking startup Kyash raises $45 million in Series C funding.
Hong Kong virtual bank Airstar Bank pilots its virtual banking service.
Ripple to power cross-border payments for Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank.
South African fintech TaxTim teams up with PwC to support expansion to Nigeria.
Zeepay Ghana wins approval for mobile money license.
Bank of Zimbabwe inks memorandum of agreement with Apollo Fintech to build a gold-based digital currency.
As the current COVID-19 pandemic reminds us, technology has a critical role in helping us respond to unforeseen events. Whether it is development of treatments and vaccines in the case of public health emergencies, or the ability to offer services and solutions to keep businesses running and workforces productive, technological innovation takes on an entirely different light at times of crisis.
One of the major themes of our FinovateEurope conference in February had to do with the ethical deployment of these financial technologies in areas like emerging markets and the frontier. These are regions where challenges from public health crisis to financial inequality can be all the more acute.
Mel Tsiaprazis, Group Chief Operating Officer at Crown Agents Bank, is one of the women who helped lead that conversation at our event in Berlin. A financial services specialist with international experience in markets such as Europe, Asia, and Oceania, Tsiaprazis believes that the combination of financial inclusion and financial education is key to ensuring financial wellness for future generations. Much of her support for diversity in financial services is revealed in the work she does as an angel investor and advisor for fintech startups.
We caught up with Ms. Tsiaprazis to discuss her work at Crown Agents Bank, the importance of ethics in fintech innovation, and the challenges of banking on the financial frontier.
Finovate: You are relatively new to the post of COO at the bank – What have been some of your early priorities?
Mel Tsiaprazis: It’s my nature to dive straight into a new challenge, so while it’s only been a year I feel like we’ve already made great progress. My priority when joining was to help drive the bank’s ambitious plans for digital transformation, so making sure we have the right infrastructure and passion to build on our technology focus has been really important. Joining at the same time as the Segovia acquisition was announced, then running with the integration, was really exciting. You can feel that becoming more technology-driven has helped keep us agile and pushing for more.
Finovate: Can you tell us a little about Crown Agents Bank and the markets it serves?
Tsiaprazis: In simple terms, Crown Agents Bank moves money to, from, and across developing, emerging, and frontier markets. We really pride ourselves on serving markets that most other players can’t. Many players don’t have the adaptability of a boutique bank like CAB or the unique relationships and expertise that we have built up over nearly two centuries, which is part of why it’s crucial we continue to serve these territories. For many countries, we provide vital access to the international market, by offering cross-border payments and FX solutions.
Our coverage spans the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia Pacific, and our knowledge of Africa is particularly high. Within these regions, there are countries that are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters or political and economic volatility, so our services are often essential for enabling aid to reach the people who need it most.
Finovate: You participated in our FinovateEurope Power Panel on AI and Data Management in February. What were the key points you emphasized in that discussion?
Tsiaprazis: That was a really fantastic discussion! One of the key points I emphasized on the panel was how AI can help to solve societal challenges. A lot of governments worldwide are rushing to foster AI investment and develop formal AI frameworks to help spur economic and technological growth, and we need to pay close attention to the positive impact that this boom can have.
The other thing that I think is important in every AI discussion is to talk about how we can shift from fear to acceptance. What many people don’t realize is how ingrained AI already is in our daily lives – and how helpful it is – so as an industry we need to help people recognize the benefits of AI and build trust.
Finovate: You’ve spoken before about the challenges of developing or frontier markets when it comes to the lack of liquidity in local currency and the lack of financial services infrastructure. Are there ways that technology can respond to these concerns?
Tsiaprazis: Technology is an absolutely crucial part of the solution to these issues. Low liquidity and poor or absent financial infrastructure have been an issue in frontier markets for generations, but the strides we’ve made in technology over the last few years have and will be transformational.
For example, automation has already made a considerable difference in trading currencies in terms of reducing the time and cost of transactions. For markets where a large volume of cash inflow comes from remittance payments, minimizing the cost for the sender is really vital.
We’ve already seen how mobile wallets can transform access to financial services for a population. M-Pesa in Kenya is still a fantastic example of how technology leapfrogs a lack of infrastructure to reach consumers. Our payments gateway, powered by Segovia, enables International Development Organizations, for example, to reach individuals directly by allowing them to pay into mobile wallets.
Technology provides optionality in markets where financial infrastructure is considered to still be developing. We are proud to be able to offer FX to last mile delivery payment options from ACH to mobile transactions.
Finovate: One of the interesting things I’ve heard you discuss is the mutually-reinforcing relationship between financial inclusion and the need for better knowledge of local markets. Can you explain the importance of this mutually-reinforcing relationship?
Tsiaprazis: The lack of local knowledge of emerging and frontier markets can make it exceptionally difficult to serve those with limited infrastructure in the right way. A strong understanding of local financial processes and more complex environments are vital to providing financial services in hard-to-reach territories. It also helps to build trust and relationships with key organizations in that region.
Where the relationship becomes mutually reinforced is when financial inclusion increases and we get more data on people within the market. As we understand consumer behaviors and markets are better understood, more players are willing to serve them and we are able to reach more people with financial services. When the two complement each other well, we can make a real difference in improving access to these services.
Finovate: You champion gender diversity in the financial services industry through angel advice and investment in startups that support this cause. Who are some of these companies – especially in financial services? Why do you think it is an effective way to bring about the change you seek?
Tsiaprazis: Diversity is vital in all forms. It comes in numerous guises including but not limited to race, age, gender, and work experience. It is all important to the future profitability and health of an organization. Gender challenges more specifically though, within the world of startups are exacerbated. When looking for investments, I factor in BCG research which showed startups launched by women are significantly better financial investments. For every dollar of funding, startups launched by women generate 78 cents, while male-founded startups generate less than half of that at just 31 cents. Sadly, I am also very alert to the fact that only 3% of the total capital invested in 2018 in U.K. fintech companies went to firms with female founders. This challenge isn’t only in startups, we see this gender fragmentation in the top VC firms that invest in startups with only 7% of partners in the top 100 VC firms are women, according to research by Crunchbase.
While 72% of founders say that diversity in their startup is extremely or very important, only 12% of startups are diversity leaders in practice. With only 1 in 10 startups having diversity leaders, I place greater emphasis on this 10% portion not because of their background, but because startup track record shows these are sound investments. The question remains, how do we actively change the distribution of investment? How do we encourage a broader more diverse group of co-founders/startup colleagues? In my experience, the latter is answered by not only focusing on recruitment, but on retention strategies for diverse backgrounds (perhaps targeted at working/single parents, apprenticeship-like approach for high school leavers or non-degree colleagues). Encouraging a workforce reflective of your client base starts with recruitment but ends with retention.
There is no magic bullet to solve this challenge. My advice to those thinking of starting a startup is to remember you may be a superhero and a brilliant SME, but you can’t do it alone. Be wise on diversity recruitment, prioritize retention even more, and embrace lateral thinking that sets you apart.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to unfold, loan servicers are experiencing unprecedented call center and default volumes as customers struggle to stay above water. With a looming global recession in 2020, financial institutions are reevaluating their loan servicing operations across the board (mortgage, auto, commercial, and personal).
During the last financial crisis in 2008, the rate of foreclosures in the United States more than quadrupled over five years, reaching a high of 1.18 million homes as falling valuations and high unemployment pushed people into default. At the same time, 3.7 million homes were in serious delinquency.
Watch the DXC Technology discussion on what lessons can be drawn from previous downturns and how institutions can better prepare their operations, technologies, and customers for what’s ahead. Topics included:
Scalability How to rapidly scale capacity and quickly train internal resources and customers while maintaining customer satisfaction.
Self-service and a single source of truth How to give customers more control over the process
Speed to change How to proactively react in a matter of days– not weeks or months– in a dynamically changing environment.
Auditing How to maintain a consistent audit trail throughout the process
Featuring Bart Bailey, Head of Global Lending Product Management, DXC Technology and David Penn, Research Analyst, Finovate.
Foreign exchange platform Azimoannounced today that it will facilitate payments on behalf of Thailand’s largest commercial bank, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB).
SCB clients will benefit from Azimo’s digital money transfer program that uses RippleNet, a blockchain-based money transfer service. Using RippleNet, Azimo will be able to instantly deliver payments from Europe to SCB client accounts.
The partnership leverages a program called PromptPay, which offers Thailand residents a PromptPay ID to serve as a proxy for their bank account number. PromptPay was launched in 2017 as part of the Bank of Thailand’s E-Payment initiative.
According to Azimo CEO Richard Ambrose, “Transfers can be set up in minutes from a smartphone. The fees are low and the rates are great, so our customers will be spared the extortionate charges levied by many competitors.”
Azimo counts more than one million customers of its digital money transfer platform, which allows users to send money from 25 countries to more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
Last year, the company increased its transfer volume by 60% year-over-year. Today’s move with SCB should boost that growth even further; Thailand is one of the top destinations for remittances. The country receives $6.7 billion from around the globe each year.
Headquartered in London, U.K., Azimo was founded in 2012. The FinovateEurope alum brought in $21.7 million (€20 million) in debt financing last month, bringing its total combined debt and equity funding to $88 million.
Automated workflow and portfolio management solutions provider Teslar Software is partnering with Liberty National Bank. The Oklahoma-based bank will use Teslar’s technology to boost productivity, increase transparency, and streamline its commercial lending process.
“By leveraging our advanced portfolio management tools,” Teslar CEO and founder Joe Ehrhardt said, “Liberty National Bank will benefit from stronger data and increased visibility in the commercial lending process, helping them carry out their growth plans with confidence.”
Specifically, the bank will use Teslar’s technology to enhance its exceptions tracking, reporting, and portfolio management. This will give Liberty National Bank’s loan officers better access to more customer information, enabling them to both better engage customers as well as take advantage of potential cross-selling opportunities.
“We’re confident that through our partnership with Teslar, we’ll be able to boost efficiencies, improve accuracy of information, and provide better customer service, ultimately helping us rise above the competition,” Liberty National Bank Chief Credit Officer Michael Bucher said. “Our bank appreciates that Teslar’s platform is built by former bankers who understand our unique challenges and goals.”
With seven branches in five counties in Oklahoma, and a new loan production office in Oklahoma City, Liberty National Bank has nearly doubled its asset size over the past ten years. Founded in 1902 as the Bank of Elgin before Oklahoma had been granted statehood, the institution became Liberty National Bank in 2002. Currently serving customers in Oklahoma and North Texas, the bank has assets of $456 million as of last summer.
Teslar provides community banks and credit unions with a lending and credit management SaaS solution that enables them to manage all stages of the loan lifecycle, from pipeline and call activity to loan review. The company behind the technology, 3E Software, was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas. Teslar has been a Finovate alum since 2015.
In order to reflect the new timeline of the event, we have changed the name from FinovateSpring 2020 to FinovateWest 2020. The show will take place November 23 through 24 at the Hilton in San Francisco’s Union Square. Registration is now open (if you were already registered for the event our team has been in contact with you via email).
Over the past 12 years, many of you have come to feel like family to us, and we hope you are all doing what is needed to keep yourselves and your family safe.
As part of an effort to keep everyone safe, and to comply with current governmental recommendations surrounding COVID-19, we have rescheduled FinovateWest 2020 to take place November 23 through 24.
The venue will remain the same at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. Attendees who have booked as part of Finovate’s room block will not incur any cancellation fees from the hotel. The hotel is in the process of moving attendees in our block to the new dates and attendees will receive a confirmation when the move has been completed. If you need to change your new reservation, please contact the hotel directly.
We will be in touch with respective parties – speakers, sponsors, and demo companies – with more detailed information about arrangements for the new dates. If you have any questions please contact us to discuss further.
We remain grateful for your continued support and understanding and very much look forward to welcoming you in November.
In the meantime, please let us know if there is anything we can do to foster innovation and community in the fintech sector. Our industry was created to fulfill unmet needs of society. We know that in these crucial months ahead, innovators in this space will continue to do so.
We’re all in this together, and we each have a role in continuing the heartbeat of fintech across the globe.
There are two things that the COVID-19 crisis is teaching us. Be careful of what you touch. And be careful of who you are near.
Neither one is a good message for the future of cash nor the bank branch, two staples of 20th century financial life whose demise analysts and prognosticators have been anticipating for decades.
Could a global pandemic that forces society into “social distancing” prove to be the final straw that breaks the back of both our commitment to cash and what’s left of the bank branch?
Cash: The Irresistible Force
For all the innovations in digital payments, and the increasing adoption of these technologies by younger generations, the persistence of cash in modern economies has been impressive. In part, this is because technology has not yet been able to outperform cash where it performs best: convertibility, convenience, and anonymity.
Of late, however, one of cash’s biggest – and probably least considered – downsides has become impossible to ignore: cash is dirty. At the end of the day, regardless of whatever hero, politician, or artistic talent adorns it, cash is a slip of cotton paper passed from hand to hand, over and over again. In a article published in Scientific American three years ago, Dina Fine Maron noted:
The fibrous surfaces of U.S. currency provide ample crevices for bacteria to make themselves at home. And the longer any of that money stays in circulation, the more opportunity it has to become contaminated.
And bad news for those who limit their cash exposure to a “just couple of bucks” for tips and tiny purchases.
Lower-denomination bills are used more often, so studies suggest our ones, fives and tens are more likely to be teeming with disease-causing bacteria. Some of these pathogens are known to survive for months …
Countries around the world have already begun a coronavirus-induced assault on cash, with South Korea’s central bank both quarantining and even burning bank notes, as well as resorting to a “high-heat laundering process” to help stem the spread of the virus. Paper money has faced a similar fate in China, and even the U.S. Federal Reserve is getting into the act (albeit with currency imported from China).
Not everyone believes that COVID-19 will herald the beginning of the end of cash. Maybe it is because of doubts that, as dirty as cash is, paper money may not be a reliable transmitter of viral infection. Possibly, like young revelers at beaches in Florida well into last month, we are just too accustomed to our habits to change.
But again, the emphasis on which “we” is being discussed is probably what matters. While there is a tendency to equate people’s willingness to use digital payments as one of many options with a desire to use digital payment method exclusively, the generational trends away from cash are clear. For those who grow up in a world in which cash is increasingly under assault from one source or another, it may simply be the passage of time that ends up accomplishing what neither global pandemic nor technological innovation – combined – could not.
Branches: The Immovable Object
As thousands of traditionally on-premises employees find themselves working from home, businesses all over the world are seeing a version of themselves that is far less dependent on a brick and mortar presence – let alone multiple ones. In banking, where the value of the local branch office with lobby, tellers, and loan officers is hotly debated, it seems like the COVID-19 crisis will make the case for branches that much more of a challenge to make.
Although essential businesses that are allowed to remain open in most instances during the pandemic, banks have dramatically cut back on access to their physical locations. Often, as is the case with my bank, access is limited to a drive-through window – complete with gloved and masked teller who has you to sign your withdrawal receipt with a branded pen she asks you not to give back.
As someone who still regularly visits his bank branch – and has for decades – I actually found the experience no less impersonal than the ATMs I’ve avoided for years. Could our social distancing response to the coronavirus pandemic encourage a long-time branch-lover like me to stay away? Asked whether the COVID crisis will accelerate the trend toward fewer bank branches, KeyBank EVP and head of digital banking Jamie Warder told The Financial Brand’s Jim Marous that more “thoughtful consolidation” wouldn’t surprise him. But Warder suggested that the world still had a need for the branch, even as it “continue(d) to morph and become more digitized.”
Many innovations in the branch designed to accommodate a more digitally-savvy customer, for example, could survive the demise of the branch. Self-service kiosks that enable bank customers to perform a number of routine banking tasks without the intervention of a human teller could find homes in locations ranging from fitness centers to restaurants and other recreation hubs. The ubiquitous bank branch in any U.S. supermarket of even middling size is a reminder of how compatible these banking kiosks could be with a wide number of environments.
Unfortunately, those innovations that are geared toward making the branch itself a more enjoyable place to spend your time may struggle in the current public health climate. More luxurious accommodations – including addition of full-service cafes – could be a weak draw in a world in which we are conditioned to keep our distance.
The strain between distancing and the branch will be most acute for those who live in communities where the bank branch serves as the center of everyday financial activity. Often this consists of bill payments, check cashing, money transfers, but notably does not include short-term personal loans, a major source of financial activity in many of these communities. While a great deal of time is spent envisioning a Branch 2.0 that would appeal to the digitally-savvy and already well-banked, it may be the case that the future of the branch – to the extent that there is one – is best geared to the real needs of these communities above all others.
Digital identity company IdentityMind Global has agreed to be acquired by identity verification company Acuant five months after the two initially formed a partnership. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The deal offers Acuant access to IdentityMind’s digital identity product, a SaaS platform that builds, maintains, and analyzes digital identities and helps companies perform risk-based authentication, regulatory identification, and detect and prevent synthetic and stolen identities.
While digital identity was a hot topic at the beginning of the year, it is even more so now that much of consumer interaction is being pushed from in-person to online channels.
“Never before has identity been so critical to building and maintaining a stable and productive economy,” said Acuant CEO Yossi Zekri. “Businesses must rely on trusted identities to successfully transact, fight fraud and stay compliant. Our Trusted Identity Platform, now with IdentityMind’s orchestration layer, creates a new standard in identity verification.”
Acuant has offered identity verification solutions for 20 years. Since then, the California-based company has completed more than one billion trusted transactions in over 196 countries. Today’s deal is Acuant’s second acquisition after purchasing AssureTec Technologies in 2016.
IdentityMind was founded in 2013 and has raised $21.5 million across three rounds of funding. The company most recently demoed at FinovateSpring 2018, showcasing its GDPR compliant KYC plug-in.
Merchant acquirer EVO Payments, the parent company of EVO Snap, has secured $150 million in cash to help fortify the company’s balance sheet, retire debt, and provide funding for future investment opportunities during the COVID-19 crisis. Private equity firm Madison Dearborn, a major shareholder in the company, led the investment.
“While EVO’s global portfolio represents a diversified mix of merchants across Europe and North America,” the company explained in a statement, “many of these merchants operate in markets that are subject to broad governmental restrictions on movement and commerce, resulting in substantial reductions in merchant transaction count and volumes.”
In addition to the funding, EVO Payments has launched initiatives to lower fixed costs and capital expenditures over the balance of fiscal 2020. The company’s CEO James G. Kelly said that the “long-term fundamentals of EVO’s business remain strong” and that the current strategies will enable the company to continue to grow.
Founded in 1989 and currently active in 50 markets around the world, EVO Payments acquired the technology that powers the EVO Snap development platform in 2013. EVO Snap makes it easy for developers, independent software vendors, and merchants to develop omni-channel and cross-border payment solutions. The company participated in our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley, offering a presentation and workshop on building customized loyalty programs, card-linked offers, and real-time POS rewards.
EVO Payments is publicly-traded on the Nasdaq under the ticker EVOP. The company, headquartered in McLean, Virginia near Washington, D.C., has a market capitalization of $1 billion. EVO services more than 500,000 merchants in North America and Europe, processing 900+ million transactions in the former and 1.7 billion transactions in the latter each year.