Safe Spaces: The Best of the Authenticators, Verifiers, and Fraud Fighters

Safe Spaces: The Best of the Authenticators, Verifiers, and Fraud Fighters

Left to right: A representative from Alipay joins Tinna Hung, Director of Marketing for EyeVerify during a demonstration of Eyeprint ID at FinovateAsia 2016.

This month we’re highlighting the issue of security in fintech. Our first installment was our interview with ENVEIL CEO Ellison Anne Williams.

Today we use the lens of our Best of Show awards to take a look at companies innovating in the security space for financial services companies and institutions. Three security companies have won Best of Show awards in more than one conference. Biometric specialists EyeVerify and BehavioSec have both earned Best of Show trophies on three separate occasions. Interestingly, both companies won one of their Best of Show awards at FinovateAsia; BehavioSec in Singapore, EyeVerify in Hong Kong. (Speaking of FinovateAsia, remember that Finovate returns to the Far East November 7 & 8.)

Earning two Best of Show awards was Silver Tail Systems (now a part of RSA, the security division of EMC, which acquired the company in 2012). Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Menlo Park, company was a pioneer in leveraging real-time behavior analysis to spot and stop business logic abuse on financial institution websites.

BehavioSec CEO Neil Costigan demonstrating BehavioWeb and BehavioMobile at FinovateEurope 2014.

EyeVerify, which was acquired by Ant Financial last fall, announced in August that it was rebranding as Zoloz. In a blog post at the company’s website, CEO Toby Rush said the new company would be focused on providing a hosted identity platform geared toward the Asian market. “Underserved and underbanked consumers in this region are moving to mobile so quickly that they have leapfrogged biometrics adoption and identity services in other geographies,” Rush wrote. “The platform is centered around the idea that I am me, my phone should just know me, and my apps and services should know me – automatically, conveniently, and securely,” he explained.

Zoloz is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, and was founded in 2012. The company most recently demonstrated its technology at FinovateEurope 2017.

BehavioSec, the behavioral biometric innovator, forged a partnership with Gemalto earlier this summer, to provide end-user verification and identity solutions as FIs increasingly embrace digital technologies. “Removing bottlenecks to achieve full digitization of a business goes hand-in-hand with conquering online fraud, through a layered an collaborative approach,” Costigan said. In May, BehavioSec teamed up with fellow Finovate alum Kount, integrating its behavioral biometric technology with Kount’s fraud management platform. A partnership with Appdome this spring produced AppFusion for BehavioSec, a solution that makes it easier for app developers to add behavior-based biometric authentication to their mobile apps.

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, BehavioSec was founded in 2009. The three-time Best of Show winner most recently demonstrated its technology at FinovateFall 2015.

Making it on the Finovate stage as a security solutions provider is one challenge. Taking home a Best of Show trophy as a company dedicated to helping stop fraudulent transactions, prevent unauthorized access, and create truly “safe spaces” in a connected world is quite another. Here is the full list of security companies that have won Best of Show awards at Finovate conferences.

FinovateFall 2017

FinovateSpring 2017

FinovateAsia 2016

FinovateFall 2016

FinovateEurope 2016

FinovateEurope 2015

FinovateFall 2014

FinovateSpring 2014

FinovateEurope 2014

FinovateAsia 2013

FinovateFall 2012

FinovateSpring 2012

FinovateFall 2011

FinovateFall 2010

Finovate 2009

FinovateStartup 2009

  • Silver Tail Systems (demo)

Startup Watch: Clarity Money Makes a New Run at PFM

Startup Watch: Clarity Money Makes a New Run at PFM

clarity money in ios app storeWhile the term PFM is dead, the concept, employing software to watch over your finances, is more widespread than ever. It’s just called AI, spending management, or nothing at all since it’s now baked into many digital banking offerings.

However, automated spending management is still not widely used by customers because the big players don’t make it available by default, except Wells Fargo’s My Spending Report. So there is still room for new companies in this arena, especially if they invoke AI in their value proposition. And it doesn’t hurt to have celebrity business connections either.

Enter Clarity Money into the crowded field. But with Michael Dell’s brother Adam as founder, and $3.5 million in funding from VC heavyweights Soros Fund, Maveron Partners and Bessemer Venture Capital, the mobile PFM startup has attracted a slew of press mentions (NY Times, TechCrunch, Business Insider, Bank Innovations, and a dozen more). But the biggest help to the fledgling business came a few weeks ago when Apple namclaritymoney_mint aded it a “new app we love” that pushed the app from nowhere to #16 (USA app store, free Finance apps). Today it is number 56 (see above).

The mobile-only free service reminds us of BillGuard (acquired by Prosper) married to Moven, with a sprig of Mint on the side (see image posted to Clarity’s Instagram left). The value proposition is around monitoring transactions to save money on unneeded recurring services and/or bloated bills (in which the company takes a one-time commission on savings) while building a small nest egg in an integrated FDIC-insured savings account.

Bottom line: There’s much to learn from Clarity’s marketing messages, value proposition, and mobile-first build. If you don’t offer these benefits for customers, someone else will.

claritymoney value prop 1Consumer value prop

  • Save money on bills
  • Build a savings account
  • Don’t get ripped off by unauthorized or unneeded recurring charges
  • Keep your spending organizes

Business model

  • Consumer loan lead gen (e.g., a Chase credit card is shown on a screenshot)
  • Deposit spread
  • Commission on bill savings
  • Offers

Team (co-f0unders)

  • Adam Dell, CEO, brother of Michael Dell (yes, THAT Michael Dell)
  • Hossein Azari, Chief Data Scientist and formerly of Google Research
  • Matt Jacob, VP of Engineering, formerly of CommonBond

Service providers:

  • BillShark for bill savings
  • Experian for credit and transaction monitoring
  • Wells Fargo for savings accounts


Product roadmap

  • Investing
  • 401(k)s

Author: Jim Bruene is Founder & Senior Advisor to Finovate as well as
Principal of BUX Advisors, a financial services UX consultancy. 

BillGuard App Changes Name to Prosper Daily

BillGuard App Changes Name to Prosper Daily


P2P lending company Prosper, which purchased Israel-based startup BillGuard for $30 million last September, has rebranded the BillGuard app as Prosper DailyThe company offers reasoning behind the change, stating, “the security focus of ‘BillGuard’ no longer captures the essence of the app.”ProsperDaily

IMG_6212BillGuard users will be automatically migrated to the new platform automatically upon updating the app. The core of the app, which helps users flag suspicious charges, check their credit score, and track spending, is the same (aside from the rebrand). Today’s update brings added 3D Touch capability that lets users view inbox count and monthly spend from their home screen. Also new is a loan overview for Prosper borrowers.*

While there’s no word yet on loan performance overview capability for Prosper lenders, the company hints at upcoming changes, stating, “In the near future, we’ll be strengthening the app’s core with smarter ways to keep track of your spending, helping you reach your money goals and improving the reliability of the updates from your accounts.”

BillGuard last presented at FinovateSpring 2012 where it debuted BillGuard FI. Prosper presented at FinovateSpring 2009 as well as the inaugural Finovate in 2007.

*Note: While the update description touts “loan overview for Prosper borrowers” as a new feature, it doesn’t yet appear available in the app. 

Finovate Alumni News


  • “BillGuard App Changes Name to Prosper Daily”
  • “ to Join Microsoft Accelerator London”
  • “CashSentinel Launches in France with SFPMEI Partnership”
  • “StockViews Raises $355k in Seed Funding; Adds Fidelity’s Balk as Chairman”


Around the web

  • Poland’s mBank elects to focus on HCE for mobile payments over NFC.
  • Spain’s BBVA upgrades its ATM network to enable cash recycling.
  • TechCrunch features multiple Finovate and FinDEVr alums in its recommendations of financial products for the gig economy.
  • Mitek elects CEO James B. DeBello as chairman of the board.
  • CereTel, selects Cachet Financial Solutions to develop, deploy and manage new prepaid mobile banking platform.
  • Lendio partners with SBE Council to offer its lending resources to SMB owners.
  • Tradeshift announces MetaProcure as reseller.
  • First National Bank to install Insuritas insurance agency solution for its customers.

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


  • “ThreatMetrix Launches Digital Identity Graph”


Around the web

  • Markit to deploy smart automation technology from WorkFusion.
  • Ethoca teams up with Pegasystems to help fight ecommerce fraud.
  • Michigan First Credit Union ($764 million in assets) picks Insuritas to open and run turnkey insurance solution.
  • Finance Magnates shines on Credit Karma and BillGuard in its Fintech Spotlight.
  • Check Point launches Check Point R80 to help consolidate the security environment.
  • Coinbase now lets users buy bitcoin instantly with a debit card.

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.

Prosper’s BillGuard Unlocks Premium Features for All Users

Prosper’s BillGuard Unlocks Premium Features for All Users


Fresh on the heels of being acquired by Prosper in October, the expense-management and fraud-tracking application BillGuard made some of its most popular premium features available for free, including:

  • Unlimited card monitoring (previously limited to one credit or debit card)
  • Free tracking of TransUnion credit scores

Prior to today’s announcement, BillGuard offered three versions: freemium, BillGuard Pro, and BillGuard Ultimate. The company is paring down to two services by retiring its Pro service. All Pro users will be upgraded to Ultimate at no additional cost.

In today’s announcement, Prosper also hinted at its future plans for BillGuard:

In the months ahead, we will be releasing our initial BillGuard-Prosper product integrations which will take BillGuard to a whole new level of financial control and well-being. We can’t wait to share it with you.

San Francisco-based BillGuard, which launched in 2011, has helped its 1.4 million users flag more than $70 million in unauthorized charges.

BillGuard last presented at FinovateSpring 2012 where it debuted BillGuard FI. Prosper presented at FinovateSpring 2009 as well as the inaugural Finovate in 2007.

Finovate Alumni News


  • “Prosper’s BillGuard Unlocks Premium Features for All Users.
  • “Zopa Partners with Equifax, Boosting its Risk-profiling Capabilities”

Around the web

  • Ledger launches developer edition of hardware wallet.
  • Jack Henry’s ProfitStars now has 20+ institutions that have implemented Gladiator Hosted Network Solutions.
  • RTN FCU to power its insurance agency with Insuritas.
  • InComm plans Atlanta expansion, will add 200 employees.
  • TransferTo joins with Continental Money to bring remittance services to Kenya.
  • Bankless Times features Bento for Business and its solution for helping small businesses control employee spending.
  • Marx Noctor of Arxan explains the importance of protecting apps “down to the source code” in CBR Online.
  • Business2Community features Expensify and DocuSign in its list of nine apps to help you run your business on the go. See DocuSign at FinovateEurope 2016 in London.
  • Adelaide Now profiles small-business lender Spotcap. Join Spotcap in London for FinovateEurope 2016.
  • Mobile ID World looks at the reception to EyeVerify’s mobile app.
  • Tradier reaches milestone: 100 financial services firms are now directly integrated with Tradier’s brokerage platform.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Commentary: Prosper Signals Move into PFM with $30 Million Acquisition of BillGuard

Commentary: Prosper Signals Move into PFM with $30 Million Acquisition of BillGuard

billguard_prosperIt’s a little bittersweet when two of my favorite fintech companies combine. I am happy for both, but will miss seeing what BillGuard could have done as a stand-alone financial transaction watchdog (see note 1). After raising $16.5 million, the $30 million in cash—plus undisclosed amount of Prosper stock (note 2)—should provide a decent payday for investors, founders and employees. Caveat: without knowing the liquidation preferences of later investors, or the stock piece, we don’t really know how all the stakeholders fared.

From the sounds of it, though, it’s no acqui-hire. BillGuard said it’s tripling its dev team to 75 and will be heading full-speed-ahead on its product roadmap. That sounds good for BillGuard.

The more difficult question is why Prosper is spending 20% of the $165 million it raised in April on an ancillary service? The company says it is looking to move into broader financial management. And with 1 million visitors per month—the vast majority of which are likely to be unqualified for a Prosper loan—marketing PFM and credit-monitoring services have some appeal. But it seems like it could be a distraction (note 3).

But at least from the outside, I’m not seeing BillGuard as a significant value-add at this point. Even if Prosper were to convert 1% of its 1-million/mo traffic (optimistic) into BillGuard’s $5 to $10/mo credit-monitoring services with a margin of 50%, that would only add $75,000/month to the bottom line or about $900,000 in the first year—assuming 50/50 mix at the two price levels. Depending on attrition rates, that would grow over time, but it’s still not a great return on $30+ million. And if Prosper is looking to mine BillGuard’s 1.7 million customers for new loans, the lender could have done it much cheaper via partnership.

Peter Renton, writing at LendAcademy, has the best justification for the deal I’ve seen. Prosper needs something to stay engaged with loan customers—and presumably denied loan customers—since there is little reason for them to log back in once the loan has been made and automatic payments established.

All those reasons are part of the valuation. But my guess is that Prosper has something grander cooking, and BillGuard is just a piece of that puzzle. Perhaps they seek to take on Credit Karma in the broader credit-reporting/lead-gen space. I look forward to more news down the road.



1: Chris Larsen showcased Prosper at our initial multi-unicorn-producing Finovate in NYC in 2007, winning our very first Best of Show trophy (along with Mint and MortgageBot).
BillGuard was named Best of Show at its two Finovate appearances, 2011 and 2012.

2: The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the official announcement. VentureBeat appears to be the widely cited source of the “$30 million plus stock” terms.

3: I bet Prosper’s FI investors—BBVA, Suntrust, Chase, USAA—like the deal. They not only have an inside peek at BillGuard’s metrics, but also a ringside seat to see how a lending specialist can or cannot expand into broader banking/PFM services.


Finovate Alumni News


  • Commentary: “”Prosper Signals Move into PFM with $30 Million Acquisition of BillGuard
  • Thanks to Xignite, the #FintechRevolution Will Be API’d”

Around the web

  • Lending Club adds Indiana, Kansas, and Nebraska, expanding its services to 36 states.
  • Premier Bank in Bangladesh extends payments agreement with TSYS, upgrading to PRIME4.
  • iSignthis to provide KYC services to Danish payment processor and card acquirer, Clearhaus, beginning in early 2016.
  • LeasePlan Bank implements Matrix digital banking platform from Five Degrees.
  • Peoples Bank & Trust hires Insuritas to launch turnkey insurance agency.
  • Kaspersky’s blog mentions Twilio’s Authy as a way to protect your ID on a smartphone.
  • Avalara announces the availability of a benefits program exclusively for U.S. QuickBooks ProAdvisors® and their clients.
  • Celent advises banks to be more like Fidor Bank in order to remain relevant.
  • The Neutral Internet Exchange NL-ix will use Interxion Cloud Connect to connect to Microsoft Azure as a part of its new cloud connectivity services.
  • TABB Research features Heckyl Technologies, Market Prophit, PsychSignal, and TickerTags in its new report on “social alpha 2.0.”
  • Nexmo teams up with mobile operator, H3G, to bring its SMS-based user-authentication technology to Sweden and Denmark. See Nexmo at FinDEVr 2015 in San Francisco next month.

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.

More Than 30 Alums Make Hot Topics 100 Most Influential People in Fintech

More Than 30 Alums Make Hot Topics 100 Most Influential People in Fintech


If you drew up a list of the 100 most influential men and women in fintech, how many of them would be alumni of our Finovate/FinDEVr conferences?

The answer is about a third, according to Hot Topics, which released its list of the top 100 fintech influencers this week.

“More transactions taking place online mean more opportunities to help consumers manage their money in digital form: enter the fintech platforms,” wrote Joel Watson for Hot Topics. “Whether it be securing mortgagees, getting a loan, transferring money abroad, spending money in an ecommerce store, or one of a thousand other applications, the marketplace is fiercely competitive and growing all the time.”

See if you agree with who made the cut, who was overlooked, and who deserves at least an honorable mention.

Hot Topics is an online community of more than 300 entrepreneurs, corporate executives, venture capitalists, journalists, bloggers and other professionals interested and involved with technology.


Finovate Alumni News


  • “12 New FinDEVr 2015 Presenters Announced
  • “A Dash of Good Karma: Karmic Labs Raises $5 Million”

Around the web

  • Cardlytics wins 2 Silver Stevies at 2015 American Business Awards.
  • Xero adds payroll availability in Nevada and Illinois.
  • ThreatMetrix wins Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in three categories at Network Products Guide 2015 Hot Companies and Best Products Awards.

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


  • “PayPal’s Early Valuation Tops $44 Billion”
  • “Monitise to Emphasize API, On-Site Solutions in Strategy Shift”

Around the web

  • Xero to offer foreign invoice payments via new partnership with Midpoint Holdings.
  • Loop featured in profile of Samsung Pay.
  • takes a look at PayPal CEO Dan Schulman’s conversation with the Financial Times.
  • Gulf News Banking highlights Zopa in its review of the rise of P2P business lending.
  • Ferratum Group selects Mambu to Power SME Lending.
  • Top Image Systems to deploy an automated multichannel and mobile data-capture project for online financing company that provides funds to India-based SMBs.
  • Lighter Capital closes 100 deals.
  • CDApress recommends FamZoo to help kids understand personal finance skills.
  • blog lists Global Debt Registry as a tool to help get rid of an old debt.
  • Better ATM Services CEO Todd Nuttall quoted in Australian Times column on how technology delivers a growing share of bank services.
  • The Bitcoin News interviews the new online marketing manager for Bitbond, Chris Grundy.
  • Wall Street Journal features PsychSignal in a review of stock market sentiment and social media.
  • Inc. feature on Silicon Prairie highlights Blooom, Hip Pocket, and Dwolla.
  • Rise in tech investment in the United Kingdom credited to companies like Azimo and Currency Cloud in London’s fintech sector.
  • Forbes column on investing for millennials features Hedgeable.
  • Realty Mogul adds two new vice presidents of commercial real estate.

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.