Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Gusto Teams with Trainual to Automate Job Role Training.
  • Finovate Global: Finn AI Powers Chatbots in South Africa; Token Drives Open Banking in MENA.

Around the web

  • Green Dot helps Walmart customers move more than $2 billion through the program’s virtual Vault savings program.
  • Top Image Systems shareholders approve acquisition by Kofax.
  • BuyerQuest joins the Tradeshift platform as an app partner.
  • American Banker highlights how PayNearMe helps marginalized cash users partake in ecommerce.
  • Trustly grows to 300 employees.
  • Silicon Canals features SumUp, Aire, Revolut, and Zopa in its list of top fintech companies to work for in London.
  • Ripple, IBM, SWIFT and nearly 100 other organizations launch the International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA).
  • Forrester Research recognizes bpm’online as a “strong performer” in digital process automation for wide deployments in Q1 of this year.

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.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Thoma Bravo to Acquire Ellie Mae in $3.7 Billion Deal.
  • Welcome to Day Four of FinovateEurope.

Around the web

  • ACH Alert unveils its latest Payment Data Xchange (PDX) service module within its flagship Fraud Prevention HQ platform.
  • Fidor Bank launches chatbot powered by Best of Show winner, Finn AI.
  • Paysend to offer money transfers to bank accounts in 34 European countries.
  • Zopa introduces new chairman Gordon McCallum, who will take over from co-founder Giles Andrew.
  • Kentucky-based Forcht Bank partners with Fiserv to upgrade its credit card program.
  • Finastra appoints Siobhan Byron as SVP and Head of Technology Enabled Managed Services (TEMS).
  • Aire inks reseller agreement with Experian.

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.

Alt Credit Scorer Aire Scoops Up $11 Million in Growth Funding

Alternative credit assessment innovator Aire has picked up $11 million in new funding. The London-based company, which demonstrated its Aire Credit API at FinovateEurope 2015, said the new capital will support the continued development of its credit insight engine, as well as support expansion in the U.S.

This week’s investment adds to the $5 million Aire raised in the summer of 2017, and takes the company’s total funding to $23 million.

“Aire is built on the premise that empowering consumers to play an active role in their credit assessment is the only way to give lenders a comprehensive view with which to make a decision,” company co-founder and CEO Aneesh Varma said.

Calling the announcement a “significant milestone,” Varma highlighted the participation of Experian Ventures, the venture arm of fellow Finovate alum and credit bureau giant, Experian. “This Series B funding is allowing us to push the Aire philosophy further into new markets, such as the U.S., as well as new sectors,” he said.

Aire improves the credit decisioning process by providing lenders with the tools they need to accurately assess thin file credit histories. When an applicant’s initial credit check reveals insufficient information, the applicant is directed to an Aire Interactive Interview. The applicant answers a series of tailored questions to create a “three-dimensional” view of their finances, focusing on issues such as affordability, stability, and financial resilience. Aire then creates and delivers a score based on this data that gives lenders insight into the applicant’s creditworthiness in the future rather than the past.

This latest funding for Aire was led by Crane Venture Partners, and featured participation from Orange Digital Ventures as well as Experian Ventures. The round comes two years after the company earned Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval, and accompanies news that Aire has scored more than $10 billion in credit across a variety of consumer credit categories.

Krishna Visvanathan, Crane Venture Partners founding partner praised Aire’s “unique contextual decisioning methodology” which he said “combines direct consumer engagement, new data sources, and (a) dynamic algorithm model” to help lenders make more accurate assessments of credit risk.

“Aire is yet another great example of a category-leading enterprise software company formed in Europe that is fundamentally changing an industry,” Visvanathan said, “and we are proud to support its new phase of growth.”

Aire was founded in 2014. The company’s partners include Zopa and the UK. arm of auto financing company, Toyota Financial Services.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Best of Show Winner Capitalise Goes Live with Interactive Brokers.
  • Alt Credit Scorer Aire Scoops Up $11 Million in Growth Funding.

Around the web

  • Raiffesisen banks in Switzerland go live with Avaloq’s core banking system.
  • ID.me tops 10 million user milestone.
  • Fiserv launches new mortgage lifecycle integration solution, Mortgage Momentum.
  • Worldline announces expansion of its partnership with Rambus to provide ITSO smart tickets in the U.K.
  • The Paypers interviews Luke Flomo, Head of Ecommerce for Trustly.
  • BlueRush announces two new board members, Michael Beckerman and Paul G. Smith.

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.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Baker Hill Brings its Cloud-Based Loan Origination Solution to First Bank.

Around the web

  • Online banking innovator Dollar Bank to upgrade its digital offerings with technology from Fiserv.
  • Brazil’s Nubank reaches milestone of 1.5 million digital account openings in six months.
  • Aire, Onfido, Trunomi, TransferWise, YoYo Wallet and Revolut earn finalist spots in TechCrunch Europas Awards.
  • Emailage announces expansion across APAC and plans to double the size of its Phoenix, Arizona office.

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.

Finovate Alumni News

On the web

  • Braintree Powers RFID Payments for Eventbrite Attendees.

Around the web

  • Accion features Aneesh Varma of Aire on Medium.
  • Forbes: Blend Wants To Bring The $2 Trillion Mortgage Market To The Modern Era.
  • Seylan Bank selects Finastra (formerly Misys) for trade finance and corporate banking.
  • HSBC launches online data tool in collaboration with Xero, Sage and Intuit
  • TSYS President, COO Pamela A. Joseph resigns.
  • Actiance Announces Compliant Capture and Archiving Support for Microsoft Teams.
  • Blackhawk Network’s Hawk Incentives Launches Wallet-Enabled Prepaid Card for Promotions and Incentives.

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.

Aire Pulls in $5 Million, Lands Partnerships with Zopa and Toyota Financial Services

Alternative credit scoring company, Aire, announced today it has raised $5 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Sunstone Capital, with funds also coming from White Star Capital, which led the company’s 2016 Seed round. Aire’s funding now totals $12 million.

The London-based company plans to use the funds to drive recruitment. CEO Aneesh Varma said, “Aire has stood for an idea that people should have equal opportunities for financial products despite changing realities of work, lifestyle and careers in this modern economy.” Varma added that the new funds are a “strong vindication that we are making the right progress towards that goal.”

Founded in 2014, Aire leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer lenders new insight into borrowers with thin credit files. The company’s Interactive Virtual Interview adds a new layer of information to traditional credit bureau data. Because Aire’s credit risk analysis gives lenders access to a new pool of thin-file borrowers, the company has seen credit approvals grow by up to 14% on average, without increasing risk exposure.

Aire’s API integrates into the existing web and mobile workflows of the online credit application forms

Aire also announced strategic partnerships with P2P lender Zopa and the U.K. arm of vehicle finance company, Toyota Financial Services, who will leverage Aire’s API to enhance their underwriting and lending decisioning processes. These firms join credit card companies and high-street banks also benefitting from Aire’s API.

Earlier this year, Aire was featured in FinTechCity’s FinTech50 2017 list of top European fintechs and in January, we highlighted Aire’s role in our Fintech Filter for AI in 2017. Last year, the company made headlines when it announced it is now authorized and regulated by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, placing Aire on the same playing field as the big three credit bureaus. The company debuted its API at FinovateEurope 2015 in London.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Aire Pulls in $5 Million, Lands Partnerships with Zopa and Toyota Financial Services.
  • New Investment Boosts Betterment Valuation to $800 Million.
  • Klarna Announces Strategic Investment from Permira.

Around the web

  • PayPal extends partnership with JP Morgan Chase, providing greater payment options for consumers.
  • Taulia joins European E-invoicing Service Providers Association.
  • Persistent Systems agrees to acquires Swiss firm Parx Werk in deal valued at $16 million.
  • ID Analytics partners with Acxiom to strengthen risk assessment and combat fraud.
  • Dwolla adds Multi-User Feature to the Access API Dashboard.
  • Neener Analytics joins Plug&Play fintech accelerator.
  • Tavant selected by Fairway Independent Mortgage To Transform Its Digital Lending Experience.

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.

European Alums Shine in FinTechCity’s FinTech50 2017

Less than a week before FinDEVr London 2017, we’ve learned that fifteen of the companies selected by FinTechCity for this year’s FinTech50, a list of top European fintechs, are alums of Finovate and FinDEVr conferences. This is up from last year, when 13 alums who made the list. last year’s list. Six of the companies on the 2017 roster are making repeat appearances: BehavioSec, Fenergo, Kantox, Mambu, Meniga, and Revolut.

Eight of the alums in the FinTech50 are headquartered in the U.K., three hail from Germany, two from Switzerland and one each from Ireland and Sweden. The judges for the FinTech50 are a panel consisting of 60 financial services professionals from banking, payments, venture capital, and public policy-making, among other relevant fields.

2017 marks the fifth year that FinTechCity has produced its roster of the most innovative fintech companies headquartered in the U.K. and Europe. The list is designed to focus on the technology innovations each company has developed rather than the amount of money the companies have made from their technologies.  In a statement at the FinTechCity website, the organization explains the sole criteria for inclusion in the FinTech50 as “the potential to become a game-changer or the competitive staying power to continue being one.”

Here are our winning alums for 2017.

Check out the full 2017 roster. FinTechCity also honored ten fintech startups in an honorable mention category, Hot Ten 2017. Ten companies have also been recognized as the founding members of the FinTech50 Hall of Fame, including Finovate/FinDEVr alums Currencycloud, eToro, Klarna, Nutmeg, TransferWise, and Zopa. Founded by Julie Lake (CEO) and Nicky Cotter, FinTechCity will also unveil the inaugural FinTech50 Asia later this year.

A Fintech Filter for Artificial Intelligence in 2017

In what The New York Times is calling The Great AI Awakening and Forbes has dubbed The Year of AI, 2017 is shaping up to be obsessively focused on artificial intelligence, a field that has been around for awhile (remember playing checkers against a computer?) but has finally matured to the point of usefulness.

Because the technology has finally reached its tipping point, AI, and its close relative machine learning, have taken a variety of industries by storm, bringing self-driving Ubers to the streets of San Francisco (and then carting them away); robotic vacuum cleaners to dirty household floors; and natural language processing to chat bots and IVR communications. With AI already embedded into these industries, it’s easy to find examples of how the technology is shaping fintech.

Below are eight areas of fintech into which AI has made inroads. Each area is ranked and rated (out of 5 stars) based on how it is currently influenced by AI and based on AI’s potential to add value.

Robo advisory

  • Fintech example: Robo advisors are built on AI technology, which is used to augment portfolio management and rebalancing decisions typically made by a (sometimes biased) human. To see tens of dozens of these examples, check out our post on B2C wealth tech.
  • Current AI application: 4 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

AI is already a standard tool in robo advisory. Because the very nature of robo advisors is to replace humans, the potential application of AI in this space is huge, especially when enhanced with machine learning and held accountable using blockchain.

Advisory tools

  • Fintech example: Similar to B2C robo advisory platforms that leverage AI to automatically manage and rebalance users’ portfolios, advisors can automate their clients’ portfolios to minimize human error while still offering a personal touch. Kensho (FEU14) introduced Warren to helps advisors perform quantitative analyses on market data. ForwardLane (FS16) uses AI powered by IBM Watson to offer financial advisors access to quantitative modeling and highly personalized investment advice generally only available to ultra high net worth individuals.
  • Current AI application: 4 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

Just as AI is already standard in direct-to-consumer robo advisory, so is it with advisory tools, since many were built on the premise of AI.

Fraud detection

  • Fintech example: Multiple card issuers use AI to detect unusual spending activity. Feedzai (FEU14) uses AI combined with machine learning to analyze sets of big data created during a user’s online sessions to mitigate fraud associated with online account opening, payments, and ecommerce.
  • Current AI application: 4 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

AI is already heavily leveraged for use in fraud detection. Combining it with the blockchain, which can provide an un-editable ledger of events, paired with AI’s ability to analyze large data sets in real time makes it even more powerful.

Underwriting

  • Fintech example: AI can help underwriters create a uniform metric that accurately identifies risk across borrowers. Aire.io (FEU15) leverages the power of AI to create and assign credit scores to thin credit file individuals.
  • Current AI application: 4 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

The lending industry has already transformed its underwriting practices from relying on large databases to now using AI to analyze large amounts of scattered, unstructured data. Because AI can analyze these data sets in real time, there’s great potential for both borrowers and lenders to benefit.

Regulatory compliance

  • Fintech example: Banks can use AI to quickly scan legal and regulatory text for compliance issues, and do so at scale. IpSoft’s Amelia is a customer service bot that helps banks maintain compliance in conversations with customers.
  • Current AI application: 3
  • Potential AI application: 5

Relying on AI to scan for compliance issues instead of a team of employees helps avoid human error and allows financial institutions to quickly analyze multiple documents and practices. Because it removes human biases and error, AI has great potential in regulatory compliance.

Marketing

  • Fintech example: Marketers can better up-sell or cross-sell banking and finance products by using AI to identify and anticipate client needs. SBDA Group (FEU 16) helps banks leverage their data using algorithms and machine learning to create targeted marketing campaigns for individual customers.
  • Current AI application: 3 stars
  • Potential AI application: 4 stars

Fintech companies have been using AI to draw conclusions from bank data for a few years now, but marketing is an area in which human input still adds a lot of value.

Customer service

  • Fintech example: Firms can leverage AI to identify which clients are at most risk of leaving a bank or advisor. FinovateAsia 2016 Best of Show-winner, Finn.ai (FA16), offers a white-labeled chat bot that integrates into existing messaging platforms such as Line, Facebook Messenger, Alexa, and even the bank’s web chat interface.
  • Current AI application: 2 stars
  • Potential AI application: 5 stars

Banks have been hesitant to adopt chat bots and other AI-based customer service products because the technologies are not quite smart enough. Finn.ai overcomes this challenge by offering a Talk to a Human button at the bottom of the chat interface. This technique, combined with the implementation of machine learning and advanced natural language recognition, makes this space prime for growth in 2017.

Reporting tools

  • Fintech example: Advancements in natural language, along with AI’s ability to analyze large data sets, have made it possible for banks to rely on software to automatically create and distribute reports. Narrative Science (FF13), for example, automates the creation of anti-money laundering reports and allows the bank to adjust for the tone of the writing.
  • Current AI application: 2
  • Potential AI application: 4

We’ve seen AI used to generate reports, both in written and video form, in the wealth management and compliance sectors. However, there is still room for natural language reporting to extend to other forms (such as inside of a chat interface) as well as to other sectors of fintech.


In addition to these eight areas of fintech, there is a miscellaneous category that comprises technology such as ColletAI, which automates debt collection. Check out CollectAI, Comarch, and MoneyHub, along with other AI-based fintech at FinovateEurope next month.

While AI is widespread in many areas of fintech, it is still far from others, such as tax and estate planning, which require complex inputs and decision making. However, bolstering AI in these difficult areas using machine learning, the blockchain, and human intervention offers some potential for growth in 2017.

Since AI is pervasive throughout many sectors of fintech, it may not be too early for your company to begin searching for a Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer.