Azimo to Launch Facebook Messenger Bot

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 11.03.30 AM

Global money transfer platform Azimo recently announced plans to make sending and receiving money more social by launching a chatbot for Facebook Messenger.

The U.K.-based company will use artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a natural, human-like conversational chat experience. At a WIRED event in London, the company’s co-founder Marta Krupinska said, “We want to get to a point where the experience is like going into a branch.” Krupinska went on to note that, in addition to simply conducting transactions, users can interact with the bot as they would a human, for example, by asking about international transfer rates.

This is the second step we’ve seen Azimo take toward integrating its money-transfer services into messaging applications. Last month the company raked in $15 million from Rakuten, the owner of messaging service Viber. Azimo says it plans to integrate the funds into messaging services.

Azimo, which is already using AI in an algorithm to detect originality of scanned documents, lets users send money to and from 204 different countries. The company debuted at FinovateEurope 2013 in London and prides itself on being a cheaper, faster, and simpler way to send money across the globe.

Founded in 2012, Azimo has raised a total of $40 million; its estimated value is $100 million.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Passport Raises $8 Million in Series B.
  • OurCrowd Wins Red Herring Awards; Announces Partnerships with Bayer, DuPont.

Around the web

  • NCR releases updated version of its transactions processing solution, Authentic.
  • Major update to Xero’s online invoicing technology to help businesses avoid phishing scams.
  • TimeTrade brings its Banking by Appointment functionality to FIS’ mobile banking app.
  • Clover selects DAVO’s Sales Tax App as first app featured on its new blog.
  • ForwardLane and AlphaPoint selected to participate in Accenture’s Fintech Innovation Lab.
  • ENGIE to leverage Kony’s enterprise-mobility platform.
  • SafetyPay increases its volume of transactions paid in cash by 86% compared to last 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

  • Tradeshift Closes $75 Million Series D Round, Boosts Valuation to $500 Million.
  • Finovate Debuts: EquityZen Lets Wealth Managers Invest in Pre-IPO Companies.
  • Backbase Announces New CFO Leonore Van Waiij.
  • MyOrder, Wirecard Helps Power Shared Spending Functionality for GRPPY App.
  • Dyme Unveils Prototype of Facebook Saving Chatbot.

On FinDEVr

  • FICO Launches Falcon Assurance Navigator to Help Universities Monitor Federal Grant Spending.

Around the web

  • Chartis names CustomerXPs an Enterprise Solution player in the 2016 RiskTech Quadrant for Enterprise Fraud Tech.
  • Patch of Land Adds Institutional Investors to Real Estate Platform.
  • Prosper hires investment banks to explore raising more funds.
  • NuData Security Selected Best AntiFraud Solution at CardNotPresent Expo.
  • TechCrunch: Lending Robot makes Lending Club investing easy as setting screen brightness.
  • Tokbox launches its video broadcast solution for producers.
  • Banking Technology: Goldman Sachs to use technology from Infosys to power its new digital bank, GS Bank.
  • Business Insider features Finovate alums Azimo, eToro, Currency Cloud, and Zopa in list of potential future U.K. fintech unicorns.
  • True Potential wins Best Use of Technology at Money Marketing Awards 2016.
  • CreditHQ announces special freelancer rate.

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

  • “SuiteBox Teams Up with Midwinter to Ease Compliance Burdens for Investment Advisers”
  • “SigFig Partnership with UBS Features Equity Investment, Tools for Wealth Managers”

On FinDEVr.com

  • “PIMCO Selects Markit and KYC.com to Bolster Onboarding”

Around the web

  • PaymentEye interviews Azimo CEO Michael Kent in discussion with Ricky Knox, Tandem CEO.
  • Sberbank introduces fundraising function in mobile application.
  • Guardian Analytics partners with the Norman Group.
  • WePay unveils its white-label mPOS solution.
  • Misys wins awards for its work with Bank of Beijing and Vietnam Technological & Commercial Joint Stock Bank.
  • Green Dot announces plans to divide chairman and CEO roles.
  • Michigan First FCU leverages Insuritas to power Michigan First Insurance Agency for its members.
  • Bleu selected for VC Fintech Accelerator in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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

Around the web

  • Blooom CEO Chris Costello participates in a discussion on youth and savings.
  • NCR partners with Huntington Technology Finance, providing lease financing for NCR ATMs. See NCR in San Jose next week at FinovateSpring.
  • Crowdfundinsider features an interview with Cloud Lending CEO Snehal Fulzele.
  • PaySimple teams up with Fundera, a small-business-lending marketplace.=
  • Xero and Expensify form partnership.

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.

Money Transfer Company Azimo Pulls in $15 Million in Strategic Funds from Rakuten

AzimoHomepage

Digital money-transfer network Azimo added $15 million to its $25 million in VC funds today, bringing the London-based company’s total to around $40 million.

The strategic investment was led by Japanese fintech services company Rakuten, the organization that owns messaging service Viber. Existing investors—eVentures, Frog Capital, Greycroft, Accion and MCI Capital—also participated in the round.

The funds will be used to integrate Azimo’s money-transfer services into messaging apps and fuel the company’s expansion into Asia, which is home to seven of the top 10 remittance-receiving countries. Azimo already offers its services in a small portion of Asia. While 30% of its total transfers are sent to the region, the expansion efforts will enable more outbound remittances from Asia.

Michael Kent, CEO and founder of Azimo, explains:

While we weren’t actively looking for additional capital, the approach from Rakuten really appealed because of their presence in markets core to our long-term ambitions. They have a huge presence in Asia, they really understand consumer financial services, and, as owners of Viber, are a significant player in the social messaging market. The partnership will accelerate our Asian expansion and assist in our aim of developing ever deeper social network integrations.

Azimo is not disclosing its valuation but TechCrunch estimates it to be $100 million with the prospect of raising a bigger round of funding next year. Founded in 2012, the company operates in 190+ countries and 80+ currencies. Its network connects half a million people and has the potential to reach up to 5 billion people across the globe.

Founder and CEO Michael Kent and CTO Marek Wawro, co-founder, debuted Azimo’s social remittance network at FinovateEurope 2013.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “Money Transfer Company Azimo Pulls in $15 Million in Strategic Funds from Rakuten”
  • “From Billpay to Blockchain: The Themes of FinovateSpring”
  • “Finovate Debuts: myInvenio Turns Data Analysis into Process Intelligence”

On FinDEVr.com

  • “GreenKey Technologies Names Richard Garnier as Chief Revenue Officer”

Around the web

  • Klarna moves beyond ecommerce to service brick-and-mortar retail shops.
  • CSI GlobalVCard partners with Cambridge Global Payments for x-border payment solution.
  • Pershing selects Invesco-owned Jemstep, SigFig as roboadviser partners.
  • OurCrowd interviews BioCatch CEO Eyal Goldwerger. Check out OurCrowd at FinovateSpring next week.
  • OnDeck, Kabbage, and CAN Capital team up to form the “Innovative Lending Platform Association.”
  • Misys wins Best Portfolio Management Software Provider in HFM European Services Awards for 2016.
  • Thomson Reuters unveils new version of its ONESOURCE tax solution for companies doing business in Brazil.

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, FinDEVr Alums Among Winners of 2016 Fintech Innovation Awards

FinTechInnovationAwards_2016_homepage

Of the 15 first place prizes awarded this month in the 2016 Fintech Innovation Awards, five went to Finovate/FinDEVr alums.

“This award is recognition of the strength of our idea for peer-to-peer lending and the growth we have seen since then as the idea has moved mainstream,” Giles Andrews said. “Of course, credit should go much more to the team who helped build Zopa’s scale, particularly Jaidev who took the reins last year and led the company to record levels of growth.”

“FinTech continues to be at the forefront of innovation, and that requires equally innovative RegTech solutions for risk management, security, and fraud,” Zac Cohen, Trulioo general manager, said. “Our Compliance-as-a-Service technology addresses that need, enabling pioneering technologies to grow their businesses and protect their users on a global scale.”

“In a shifting U.K. market, our range of price-optimization products are helping banks to better understand their customers’ behaviors and sensitivities through advanced analytics and analysis,” Damian Young, managing director, EMEA at Nomis Solutions, said, “This brings banks significant competitive and market advantage that will help them grow smartly and responsibly in any economic environment.”

“It’s brilliant to be recognized by the industry for our work in creating an award-winning money-transfer service, but the best prize of all is our ever-growing number of happy customers,” Azimo founder and CEO Michael Kent said. “They’re all part of the Azimo story – sending money home to support loved ones for all kinds of reasons.”

Also earning recognition at the event was EquityZen. The company, which will make its Finovate debut next month at FinovateSpring 2016 in San Jose, won the Innovation in Wealth, Asset, and Investment Management category.

Hosted by Julia Streets, CEO and founder of Streets Consulting, the 2016 FinTech Innovation Awards winners were chosen by a group of leading fintech specialists chaired by Dan Cobley, managing partner at Blenheim Chalcot. Taking home top honors in the remaining 11 categories were:

  • Innovation of the Year: ClearScore
  • Fintech Marketing Campaign of the Year: “Cashless on the Catwalk” by The 10 Group and Visa Europe
  • Fintech Startup of the Year: ClearScore
  • Innovation in Corporate Banking Solutions: Idea Cloud by Idea Bank SA
  • Innovation in Insurance: Bought by Many platform by Bought By Many and Ping An Insurance.
  • Innovation in Lending: Marketinvoice
  • Innovation in Payments: Zwipe Payment by Zwipe
  • Innovation in Risk Management: Imagine Software
  • Innovation in Trading Systems: FX Connect from State Street Bank
  • Innovation in Treasury Management: Walletsizing by Vallstein

The FinTech Innovation Awards were held at The Brewery in London on April 13th. The event featured a keynote address from author and Duke University professor, Dan Ariely, as well as remarks from Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, Matt Hancock. Finovate alum Strands was among the event’s sponsors.

Check Out Who Took Home Top Honors at Last Night’s European Fintech Awards

GroupPhoto(Photo credit: http://www.fintech.nl/)

Last night in Amsterdam the 2016 European Fintech Awards celebrated innovators shaping the future of finance. A total of nine awards were presented to companies selected by a panel of judges for the quality of their pitch.

Four of the winners are Finovate and FinDEVr alums, including BehavioSec, who won the overall award of Best European Fintech Company of 2016:

BehavioSec
Category: Risk, Intelligence, and Security
HQ: Stockholm, Sweden
Founded: 2009
FinovateFall 2015 demo
FinDEVr San Francisco 2015 presentation

Backbase
Category: Innovative Banking Software
HQ: The Netherlands
Founded: 2003
FinovateEurope 2016 demo

Kreditech
Category: Financial Inclusion
HQ: Hamburg, Germany
Founded: 2012
FinovateSpring 2014 demo

Xpenditure
Category: Best of Show, selected for the best pitch
HQ: Mechelen, Belgium
Founded: 2011
FinovateEurope 2016 demo

A total of 29 Finovate and FinDEVr alums were recognized in the European Fintech Top 100 list. Companies awarded on this list were selected by a combination of online public votes (weighted 25%) and a panel of judges (weighted 75%).

  • AdviceGames
  • Kantox
  • Aire.io
  • Klarna
  • AMP Credit Technologies
  • Kontomatik
  • Azimo
  • Kreditech
  • Backbase
  • Mambu
  • BehavioSec
  • mBank
  • Cloud Lending Solutions
  • Meniga
  • ebankIT
  • Nutmeg
  • eToro
  • Qumram
  • ETRONIKA
  • Scalable Capital
  • eWise
  • SmartEngine
  • Fenergo
  • TransferWise
  • Holvi
  • Trustly
  • IdeaBank
  • Zopa
  • InvoiceSharing

The European Fintech Awards are organized by Amsterdam-based publishing company Alex van Groningen BV. The company offers a great explanation of the awards: “The purpose of the FinTech awards is not to scientifically prove who are the best FinTech companies. The judging is primarily based on the judges’ individual ideas and views on the nominating companies using their expertise, knowledge and ideas.”

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “Persado Pulls in $30 Million in Funding Led by Goldman Sachs”
  • “Ally Financial Acquires TradeKing for $275 Million”

Around the web

  • Mistral Mobile unveils its new, two-factor authentication solution, m-Aegis Secure OTP.
  • Azimo announces expansion within Denmark and Sweden.
  • TransferTo adds GGV Capital venture partner, Lee Kheng Nam, to its board of directors.
  • Alpha Payments Cloud teams up with WeCollect to launch China Payments Cloud.
  • Broadway Bank selects Micronotes’s cloud-based marketing automation platform to boost digital customer engagement.
  • RBC partners with BlackRock’s FutureAdvisor for robo-adviser pilot program.
  • “OutsideIQ Chosen To Participate In Brazilian Innovation Summit”

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.