This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.
Tracking fintech, banking & financial services innovations since 1994
These nine fintechs wowed our FinovateFall audiences last year with their innovations in embedded finance, payments, wealth management, and more. To whet your appetite for FinovateFall next month, September 12 through 14, here’s a look at what our FinovateFall 2021 Best of Show companies have been up to since taking home Finovate’s top prize last fall.
Launched docuseries, Behind the Robo. Named a major player in the robo-advisory market by The Business Research Company. Worked with Standard Chartered Bank Kenya to help them launch their new money market fund offering.
Won Best of Show for its engagement banking platform that offers a unique way to engage customers and responsibly expand revenues. Awarded Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2021. Founded in 2014. Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.
Partnered with fellow Finovate alum ebankIT to support financial institutions undergoing digital transformation. Powered the new digital learning platform launched by Pacific Western Bank. Awarded Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2022.
Won Best of Show for its Mobile Native app that brings hyper-personalized experiences for every user in one single bank app. Founded in 1994. Headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Partnered with TESOBE to help banks in Latin America leverage open banking to build better, more customer-centric apps and services.
Won Best of Show for its gamified finance app that helps banks acquire new customers and increase engagement with their Millennial and Gen Z customers. Headquartered in San Francisco, California. Founded in 2015.
Won Best of Show for its intelligent automation technology that transforms documents into data analytics, helping lenders make timely, high quality credit decisions. Founded in 2014. Headquartered in New York City.
Raised $80 million at a valuation of $500 million. Partnered with fellow Finovate alum Blend to bring automation to the mortgage process.
Won Best of Show for its Customer Link solution that turns customer data into smarter action and provides a 360 degree view of your customers. Founded in 1845. Headquartered in New York City.
Miss an episode of the Finovate Podcast during the holiday rush? No need to fear; the Finovate blog has got your back.
From insights into the rise of embedded finance and prospects for “technosocialism” to discussions with innovators in the field of personal finance and roboadvisory, the Finovate Podcast is your one-stop-shop for fascinating, in-depth conversations between Finovate VP Greg Palmer and fintech’s finest analysts and entrepreneurs. Today we’re sharing some end-of-year episodes of the podcast that might have slipped beneath your radar as 2021 drew to a close.
Chris Karageuzian, CEO and Co-founder, Help With My Loan. Host Greg Palmer and Chris Karageuzian talk about how the Finovate newcomer is making the lending process more pleasant for borrowers.
“I was in the industry for 20+ years so I felt the frustration – that’s why I left and created this company. (There’s a) lack of technology and fragmented software – you have to use almost seven to ten pieces of software just to deal with one file. That’s really not productive in my opinion. We closely work with banks right now. We have 300+ banks signed up in our database and in our software. So deals get automated and matched and we are within an earshot of every deal.”
Vivek Krishnamurthy, Principal, Commerce Ventures. Host Greg Palmer sits down with Vivek Krishnamurthy for a conversation on “embedded finance” and an overview of the field’s opportunities and pitfalls.
“There’s a split between the infrastructure layers that enable third parties to launch financial services products. And then there are the instances in which financial services products are launched inside of other ecosystems. We think that latter aspect, that latter space of being able to turn on a financial services product in the customer journey inside of a non-financial services ecosystem, that’s what we think about as ’embedded finance.'”
Ned Phillips, Founder and CEO, and Mike Larsen, Head of Sales, Bambu. Host Greg Palmer talks about the challenges facing the automated investment business with Ned Phillips and Mike Larsen of Best of Show winning roboadvisor Bambu.
“We are a B2B wealthtech. So what does that mean? We design, build, and deploy those roboadvisor, savings and investment apps for financial institutions. So if a financial institution wants its own Betterment or its own Wealthfront, they come to us for the tech and we build it. And at Finovate, we built one on stage in seven minutes!”
Will Graylin, Chairman and CEO, OV Loop; CEO, Indigo Technologies. Host Greg Palmer chats with serial entrepreneur Will Graylin about contactless payment adoption, super apps, and the future of mobile payments.
“Why haven’t we adopted (contactless payments) in much more mass given that Apple Pay has been out for over seven years, and Samsung Pay has been out for six years, and Google Pay has been out there for seven years – eight years now? Why haven’t we adopted en masse? (Our situation is) unlike China’s WeChat/WeChat Pay/AliPay. For those solutions, they are adopted to the order of about 83% of all consumer transactions, whereas we’re still in single digits in the United States. Why?”
Brett King, Author, The Rise of Technosocialism; Founder of Moven. Host Greg Palmer and Brett King talk about King’s latest book, The Rise of Technosocialism: How Inequality, AI, and Climate Will Usher in a New World.
“When you think about why it is that we haven’t been able to tackle (climate change) and get agreement on this, part of the core problem is that we tend to be quite short-term focused in our planning as a species. We’re focused on the next quarter, the next year, in terms of financial reporting, or maybe the next two years or four years in terms of political cycles. But when it comes to planning out things for 20 years in our future or 30 years in our future, the big problem is we just ask ‘who’s going to pay for it?'”
Lindsay Holden, Co-founder and CEO, Long Game. Host Greg Palmer discusses loyalty, education, Millennials, and gamification with Lindsay Holden, founder of FinovateFall Best of Show winner, Long Game.
“Long Game is a mobile game. It’s an app that sits on top of your bank account and rewards customers for learning about financial literacy and for positive financial behaviors like saving. For banks, we are helping them have a branded experience that’s super-fun for customers, they can acquire new customers with us, and also increase their customer LTV through promoting their products, increasing savings, and increasing direct deposits.”
FinovateFall 2021 wrapped up a little over a week ago. Our return to live fintech conferencing produced one of our largest number of Best of Show winners (nine) to date. The event also gave us the one of the highest percentage of non-U.S. based Best of Show winners for a FinovateFall event.
This week’s Finovate Global Alumni Profile gives us an opportunity to take a closer look at the quartet of international fintechs that wowed our audiences with their latest innovations in New York City last week.
A Finovate alum since 2016, Bambu has made most of its Finovate appearances at our international shows in Hong Kong, South Africa, Dubai, and Berlin. The company is a multiple-time Best of Show winner, earning its first award in its second Finovate appearance at FinovateAsia in 2017, its second Best of Show award a year later at our conference in Capetown, and its third Best of Show trophy just last week in New York.
Bambu offers a next-generation B2B roboadvisory platform for both financial institutions and fintech disruptors. Powered by the company’s proprietary algorithms and machine learning technology, Bambu’s cloud-based platform has 300,000 end users in ten countries around the world. This summer, the company announced the acquisition of investment management technology provider Tradesocio, a move that will help expand Bambu’s reach internationally.
“After five years of building solid foundations, Bambu is now entering a phase of rapid growth,” Bambu CEO Ned Phillips said when the acquisition was announced in July. “This deal helps us in three key areas: it expands our product offering into stocks and crypto, it gives us a wider global footprint, and enables us to scale our team effectively to match exponential demand. We believe this positions us well for our Series C and ambitions of becoming the global leader in WealthTech.”
Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Dreams earned its second Best of Show award last week at FinovateFall. The company, founded in 2014, is among the more recent Finovate alums, joining our roster last year for our all-digital FinovateEurope conference.
Dreams offers engagement banking solutions that leverage insights from cognitive and behavioral science to enhance financial wellbeing. Launched as a B2C offering, the company has expanded into the B2B2C space, offering its solutions to banks to help them boost digital engagement with their customers. This year at FinovateFall, Dreams demonstrated the savings module of its white-label banking platform, which features debt management and micro-investing functionality, as well as new social/viral features.
Over the past year, Dreams has announced partnerships with Singapore-based financial services software provider Silverlake Symmetri and Ukrainian commercial bank UKRSIBBANK, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas Group.
“Our financial wellbeing platform – which is built upon behavioural science and personal finance management principles – will provide the perfect tool for UKRSIBBANK to help its customers make better financial choices and become more sustainable in the way they handle their finances,” Dreams CEO and founder Henrik Rosvall said when the collaboration was announced. “This partnership will also help UKRSIBBANK safeguard the loyalty of its customers and futureproof its digital banking offering against a growing number of challenger banks and fintechs.”
Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, digital adoption platform Horizn was launched in 2012. The company is dedicated to helping financial institutions leverage micro-learning, social technology, gamification, and advanced analytics to enhance employee performance, fuel client adoption of new technologies, and boost revenues. With a global reach of more than 40 countries in North and South America, Asia, and Europe, the company has enabled its clients to realize 85% employee adoption rates and a 20% increase in mobile platform usage.
Horizn made its Finovate debut in 2017 at FinovateEurope in London. The company earned its first Best of Show honors at FinovateEurope in Berlin three years later, and picked up its second Best of Show award the following year at our all-digital event FinovateFall 2020. “It’s great to see Finovate recognize the impact that Horizn is having on banks worldwide,” company CEO Janice Diner said last year. “While COVID-19 may have accelerated the shift to digital, Horizn ensures bank customers stay digital.”
In addition to their Best of Show winning technology demonstrations, Horizn has also provided Finovate with some of its most compelling keynote speakers. Both Diner and Senior Vice President for Global Sales Steve Frook have shared their insights during the Conference Days component of our Finovate events. Frook’s FinovateEurope presentation, Landing Your First Bank Customer, was a highlight of our Berlin conference last year. And Janice Diner’s epigrammatic reminder that “if you build it they will come is a myth” remains as a good a piece advice for fledgling fintechs as you’ll ever hear.
The rise of fintech in Latin America has been one of the most impressive developments in global financial services in recent years. This is partly why the Best of Show award won by Uruguayan fintech Infocorp last week at FinovateFall feels so special.
Making its Finovate debut in the spring of 2017, Infocorp demonstrated its IC Campaigns platform that enables financial institutions to coordinate marketing and commercial operations via all available channels to better identify the optimal, next action for each client. The technology takes the omnichannel banking and seamless user experience requirements of modern banks to another level by helping institutions set up shorter-cycled, more agile campaigns that deliver increased conversion rates and higher ROI. Last week at FinovateFall, Infocorp introduced its Mobile Native App, a new solution that brings hyper-personalized experiences for every user in a single bank app.
Inforcorp CEO Ana Inés Echavarren spoke to the importance of “the mobile challenge” in a conversation with fintech analyst and thought leader Jim Marous in the weeks leading up to Infocorp’s return to the Finovate stage in September. “Everywhere the mobile channel is the one of choice now among users,” she explained. “Adoptions have gone up in all the implementations that we have in all the countries that we know of.” As far as Echavarren is concerned, this means that there has been a “mindset shift” in which the mobile experience and the user experience increasingly have become synonymous. To this end, Echavarren said, “we are no longer talking about the bank application, but about the user application.”
Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Montevideo, Infocorp has more than 40 successful deployments, 10+ million active users on its platform, and processes more than 120 million transactions a year.
Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.
The Best of Show winners of FinovateFall this year featured both veterans and newcomers, established companies and bold, Millennial-led startups, fintech innovators from as far away as Europe and Latin America, as well as home-grown talent from right here in the U.S.A.
To be honest, we could not imagine a better way to celebrate Finovate’s return to New York!
So please join us in offering a hearty congratulations to the companies selected by our attendees as the FinovateFall 2021 Best of Show.
Array for its personalized consumer credit, identity, and financial wellness tools available via both API as well as embeddable components. Video.
AutoBooks for its small business digital invoicing and online payment acceptance tools for FIs. Video.
Bambu for its B2B robo-advisory platform for financial institutions and fintech disruptors. Video.
Dreams for its banking platform that leverages behavioral science to boost customer engagement and financial well-being. Video.
Horizn for its platform that helps banks accelerate digital banking knowledge, fluency, and adoption. Video.
Infocorp for its Mobile Native App, that brings hyper-personalized experiences for every user in one single bank app. Video.
Long Game for its gamified finance app that helps banks acquire new customers and increase engagement with their Millennial and Gen Z customers. Video.
Ocrolus for its intelligent automation technology that transforms documents into data analytics, helping lenders make timely, high quality credit decisions. Video.
PwC for its Customer Link solution that turns customer data into smarter action and provides a 360 degree view of your customers. Video.
Thanks to all the demoing companies, our sponsors and speakers, and our attendees for making our return to live fintech conferencing such a resounding success. Keep in touch with us via the Finovate blog for updates on our upcoming events next year in London for FinovateEurope, in San Francisco for FinovateSpring, and beyond!
Notes on methodology:
1. Only audience members NOT associated with demoing companies were eligible to vote. Finovate employees did not vote.
2. Attendees were encouraged to note their favorites during each day. At the end of the last demo, they chose their three favorites.
3. The exact written instructions given to attendees: “Please rate (the companies) on the basis of demo quality and potential impact of the innovation demoed.”
4. The nine companies appearing on the highest percentage of submitted ballots were named “Best of Show.”
5. Go here for a list of previous Best of Show winners through 2014. Best of Show winners from our 2015 through 2021 conferences are below:
From the partnership between Best of Show winners MX and Dwolla that will enhance and automate account verification to the news of a strategic partnership between roboadvisor Bambu and Moven, collaborations between Finovate alums are filling the fintech headlines to start the week.
With MX and Dwolla, the partnership extends instant account verification coverage to 4,000+ institutions, making it easier for MX customers to connect securely to any deposit account. The integration also enables account verification through micro-deposits, which makes it possible for MX to offer verification for “nearly 100 percent” of deposit accounts in the U.S.
Enabling better access to micro-deposits by improving the verification experience is a key component of the integration. MX co-founder and CTO Brandon Dewitt underscored the importance of these deposits and the role they play in financial inclusion and serving the underbanked. “Micro-deposits have gotten a bad reputation in the industry, but the truth is for some of the population who bank with community credit unions or mid-sized institutions, it comes down to either using a micro-deposit or not having the ability to connect them to their accounts,” Dewitt said.
MX most recently demonstrated its technology on the Finovate stage two years ago at FinovateFall. The Lehi, Utah-based company won Best of Show for a live demo of its MX Enabled platform that helps financial institutions add to their offerings via connections with fintechs through MX’s API ecosystem. Earlier this month, MX launched a new suite of financial insights APIs and embeddable user interfaces to enable companies to pursue opportunities in open finance.
Dwolla won Best of Show in its Finovate debut in 2011 at FinovateSpring. The company announced just last week that it had raised $21 million in funding in a round led by Foundry Group that will help it continue to innovate in the B2B payments space.
“Partnering with MX will automate the verification experience and make it that much easier to verify a bank account,” Dwolla President and COO Dave Glaser said. “Together with Dwolla, MX has configured a new solution to ensure that millions of payments occur smoothly and easily each day. We couldn’t be more excited about this partnership and the impact it will have on millions of Americans.”
Giving average retail banking customers the kind of support typically available only to high net worth individuals is part of the motive behind the strategic partnership announced early this week between roboadvisor technology solution company Bambu and financial wellness technology platform Moven.
“Adding Bambu’s capabilities to Moven’s mobile-centric experience is well in-line with the needs of banks and fintechs to provide consumers with personalized, automatic investing to their product offerings,” Moven Chief Revenue Officer Bryan Clagett said. He noted that traditional banks still have a major impact and influence on their customers and, as such, they can and should do more – beyond banking – to enable their customers to better manage the entirety of their financial lives.
The new offering is designed to empower bank customers by allowing them to manage and plan their finances and investments more holistically. The goal is to provide customers with the equivalent of a digital CFO to help them better understand their spending patterns in order to increase savings and better manage their investments. This is a critical aspect of the new solution, which moves beyond simple robo-investing to give customers a more comprehensive view – and greater control – over their finances.
“We look forward to working closely with Moven as wealth and digital banking become more seamlessly connected,” Bambu co-founder and CEO Ned Phillips said. “Moven’s long history in digital banking and Bambu’s intelligent wealth APIs will provide a perfect platform for any financial institution focused on digital banking and wealth.”
Singapore-based Bambu made its most recent Finovate appearance last year at FinovateEurope in Berlin where the company demonstrated its BambuGo white label financial roboadvisor platform. Earlier this month, Bambu announced that it had acquired investment management technology company Tradesocio.
Making its Finovate debut more than eight years ago, Moven famously pivoted from a direct-to-consumer/neobank model to a focus on “smart banking and financial wellness” a little over a year ago. The company has teamed up since with fellow Finovate alums Q2 and Digital Onboarding, as well as with intelligent billpay company Blip Labs and digital asset manager NYDIG, to help them better engage their customers with actionable insights to enhance financial health.
A look at the companies demoing at FinovateFall on September 14-16, 2020. Register today and save your spot.
Bambu is building innovative solutions for the digital wealth landscape with focus on customer engagement.
Intuitive user experience to engage end customers
Powerful insights for advisors on their customers
Achieving customer outcomes through goal-based investing
Why It’s Great Re-centering wealth management to the customer and away from the product.
Nick Wakefield, Managing Dir. Wakefield is a keen innovator in financial technology, helping to build Bambu across Europe. He is also the Co-Founder of Regulation Asia, the leading intelligence hub for regulatory professionals across Asia-Pacific. LinkedIn
Sam Beeby, Ops. Dir. Beeby has 15 years of experience in digital product delivery for clients including Google, Facebook, Nike and Amazon. He is now focused on revolutionising financial services with human-centered designs. LinkedIn
The financial world has been as much a fan of celebrity as a customer engagement tool as any other industry with brands to build. Today, Mastercardannounced that it was working with Swedish singer Nadine Randle to produce a song that “integrates the payment giant’s ‘sonic brand.” The company’s ‘sonic brand’ identity itself is the fruit of a partnership between Linkin Park co-founder Mike Shinoda, who developed the score last year.
And from the local sports hero to the homecoming veteran, credit unions and community banks have long leveraged the willingness of regional-minded stars and celebrities to “give back” to the communities and neighborhoods they grew up in.
But as fintechs increasingly partner with and compete with these and other financial institutions – and take advantage of new forms of celebrity such as social media influencers – they are increasingly taking a page from the FI marketing playbooks when it comes to using star power to shine a light on the work they do.
Expensify CEO and founder David Barrett highlighted the way his company’s technology would make it easier for talents like 2Chainz to “make the most epic music video ever” in his Expensify Th!$ ad. But he also told Fast Company at the time that even though Expensify had the “strongest brand” in the expense management game, and was the fastest-growing such firm with the biggest customer base, “virtually nobody in the world knows who we are.”
The celebrity approach to marketing is not without its detractors. In a post at Medium.com last year, Millennium Management COO Ajay Nagpal noted data from the 2018 Sprout Social Index that suggested that consumers are more likely to buy a product or service recommended by a friend than a celebrity. Moreover, Nagpal raised an interesting question as to whether or not the star endorsement of a brand in fashion, for example, would have the same impact as the same star’s endorsement of a brand in wealth management or tax planning.
Perhaps it depends on the star. Last fall, Finovate audiences were treated to a surprise appearance from noted Canadian investor and star of the reality show Shark Tank, Kevin O’Leary, who provided an on-stage, end-of-demo endorsement of Bambu’s Beanstox investing solution. And it’s a good bet that “Mr. Wonderful” is likely to be a more powerful advocate for white- label, B2B robo advisory technology than he might be for, say, leggings …
Additionally, as Director of Brand Strategy at Weber Marketing Group John Mathes wrote for The Financial Brand, even the best celebrity branding works better over time rather than as a one-off. Calling the practice “borrowed interest,” Mathes warned that while carefully targeted star power can produce positive results “brand building is usually a slow process. It takes time. It’s not a single campaign or gimmick.”
The impact of celebrity and influencers on the visibility of and engagement with fintech remains to be seen. But maybe more to the point, the fact that a growing number of fintechs are adopting the same approach to brand-boosting as their peers and rivals in the rest of the financial world may be a positive sign for the fintech industry in and of itself.
With real funding at stake, what are you waiting for? Apply to demo your tech at FinovateAsia or FinovateMiddleEast today. The application is free and you have nothing to lose!
The Middle East and North Africa startup culture has continued to mature, especially when it comes to early stage companies. Part of the growth can be attributed to the region’s investment in both talent and infrastructure. Coding programs and regional hackathons have not only added to the talent pool of startup recruits, they have also given the startup culture a boost.
In Asia, India has risen as the region’s top country for fintech funding. The $286 million in fintech funding the country raised in Q1 of this year outranks China’s total of $192 million raised for fintechs in that same quarter. Part of the slowdown in China can be attributed to increased regulation in the region.
Digital wealth technology company Bambu is bringing home the bacon today in the form of Series B funding. The $10 million round comes courtesy of three-time investor Franklin Templeton and new investor PEAK6 Strategic Capital, both of which co-led the round.
The Singapore-based company will use the funds to expand its reach of B2B clients, an audience Bambu sought out while a multitude of players in the space were taking a direct-to-consumer approach. And during the four years since launch, Bambu has made sizable gains in this market. Originally limited to Asia– the company marketed itself as Asia’s Premier B2B Roboadvisory– the company has since grown its client base into international markets. Bambu landed its first U.S.-based client and opened a new London office in March of last year.
As part of its B2B expansion, Bambu will target new segments in the financial services vertical and build teams in offices across the globe. As a part of that effort, the company will demo its technology at this year’s FinovateFall conference in New York, which kicks off September 23. Today, Bambu provides solutions to more than 15 financial institutions across the U.S., Europe, UAE and Asia including Standard Chartered, Refinitiv, and Connect by Crossroads.
“We are committed to working with a global client base to digitize saving and investing so it’s easier and more accessible to investors everywhere. We welcome PEAK6 together with the continued support from Franklin Templeton in this round,” said Bambu founder and CEO Ned Phillips. He added, “This is a strong confirmation that we have built a unique business and platform for the global market. We see growing demand across all markets, and we are increasing our ability to serve clients globally.”
Bambu’s cloud-based technology helps wealth managers bring automated investment services to their clients. The three-tiered approach includes the company’s Intelligent Advisor, a private banking product that creates efficiencies for relationship managers; White Label Robo, a white-labeled solution that helps asset managers create a personalized portfolio and risk profile for clients; and the BambuAPI developer hub, which offers developers their choice of modules to integrate into their own solutions.
With 70 employees working across Singapore, London, Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Johannesburg, Bambu has raised a total of $13.4 million in funding. The company won Best of Show for its demo at FinovateAfrica last year. Earlier this year, Bambu earned a spot on Fintech News Singapore’s list of 29 Hottest Fintechs in Singapore 2019.
As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.
Middle East and Northern Africa
ZagTrader and BeQuant team Up to help institutions go crypto.
Temenospartners with Saudi Arabia’s Al Rajhi bank.
Emirates NBD to work with Intellect Design Arena for a planned digital transformation of its transaction banking platform.
Central and South Asia
BankBazaarannounces partnership with Ujjivan Small Finance Bank for Personal Loans.
Victoria Commercial Bank Kenya goes live with corporate banking technology powered by i-exceed’sAppzillon.
Aurora interviews Bernhard Klemen, international partner with venture capital fund Sarmayacar on opportunities for venture financing for Pakistani fintech startups.
Latin America and the Caribbean
German challenger bank N26 announces plans to expand to Brazil.
BBVA Colombia looks at its role in helping promote fintech innovation in Peru. In Spanish.