CRIF Partners with Swoop Funding to Help Small Businesses Unlock Working Capital

CRIF Partners with Swoop Funding to Help Small Businesses Unlock Working Capital

Late last month, credit management solutions provider CRIF announced plans to team up with Swoop Funding, a business funding and savings platform. CRIF anticipates the partnership will help the U.K.’s community of 5.9 million SMEs access more funding and ultimately grow.

Swoop will leverage CRIF’s Credit Passport business credit scoring technology that provides real time credit scores for SMEs. This tool will benefit both Swoop and the small businesses themselves. Swoop will help match businesses with funding and savings products. For businesses with lower credit scores, this will help them potentially find previously unavailable sources for working capital. The partnership will also offer SMEs insights into their businesses’ financial performance and viability, and help them see how lenders view them.

“We designed Credit Passport to remove friction in the lending decisioning process and help SMEs get the right funding for them, when they need it, as well as to help educate businesses so they can build the most financially healthy and resilient companies,” said CRIF Realtime Chief Product Officer Glen Keller. “CRIF’s partnership with Swoop puts us at the heart of the U.K.’s SMEs with useful information at a time when they need it the most and will really make a difference to the market.”

CRIF’s Credit Passport helps bridge the gap between the financial industry and business owners. The tool leverages open banking to offer lenders a view into SME’s credit quality and will give Swoop’s SME clients insight into their own business credit score.

Swoop was founded in 2018. The company’s business funding and savings platform helps SMEs discover the right funding solution– ranging from loans to equity to grants– to fit their need. Swoop also has a business financial management (BFM) spin, and offers tools to help businesses identify savings opportunities. The company has matched its more than 79,000 customers with over $187 million in funding.

Italy-based CRIF was founded in 1988 and has more than 5,500 employees working across 70+ subsidiary companies on four continents. The firm counts 10,500+ financial institutions, 600 insurance companies, and 82,000 businesses as clients. In all, one million consumers in 50 countries use CRIF’s services. In 2020, CRIF acquired PFM company Strands to complement its customer acquisition, portfolio management, and credit collection tools. Last year, CRIF participated as an investor in nine fintech funding rounds.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

CRIF to Acquire Strands

CRIF to Acquire Strands

Credit management solutions provider CRIF has agreed to acquire PFM company Strands for an undisclosed amount. The deal will be finalized “in the coming weeks.”

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.

Strands’ technology will complement CRIF’s customer acquisition, portfolio management, and credit collection tools that help forecast market developments, improve business performance, reduce credit risks, and prevent fraud.

According to CRIF chairman Carlo Gherardi, the acquisition will “allow CRIF to create a worldwide digital solutions provider for open banking.” He added, “Through this deal, CRIF will combine its market knowledge and expertise with an innovative and well-positioned fintech player, creating synergies that will help our global clients to keep on growing and innovating through their digital transformation journey.”

For its part, Strands brings to the table 700 bank clients serving 100 million end customers. Strands CEO Erik Brieva said that the deal will help fuel Strands’ mission “to enable banks to anticipate customer needs and proactively suggest next-best-actions.”

Strands was founded in 2004 and has since raised more than $55 million in two rounds of funding. The company has offices in Barcelona, Spain; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and at its headquarters location in Miami, Florida. Strands’ most recent appearance on the Finovate stage was last year, where it demonstrated a cash flow solution for small businesses alongside Mastercard.

With more than 5,000 employees, CRIF is headquartered in Italy and was founded in 1988. Today’s deal is the company’s seventh acquisition, following its purchase of Vision-Net in 2018. CRIF demonstrated its Credit Framework solution at FinovateEurope 2014.

Finovate Alumni News


  • GreenKey Technologies Secures Strategic Investment from IPC.
  • “Hello USA!” eToro Goes Live in America.

Around the web

  • Russia’s Alfa-Bank joins Marco Polo Network to offer blockchain-based trade and supply chain finance services to its clients.
  • Credit and business information systems specialist CRIF acquires majority stake in digital identity firm Inventia.
  • Klarna partners with Canadian e-commerce and in-store point-of-sale financing specialist PayBright.
  • Ping Identity wins Best Identity Management Solution at the 2019 SC Awards.
  • Arcanum Technology named a finalist in the competition for a spot in the TAG FinTech Innovation Challenge’s 2019 class.
  • Avaloq joins the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA).

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


  • “Gusto, Formerly ZenPayroll, Closes on $50 Million Funding”
  • “U.K.-Based Yoyo Rolls Out Mobile Wallet in U.S.”

Around the web

  • B2B commerce technology company Handshake teams up with Xero.
  • Braintree launches new extension of its SDK in partnership with Magento Commerce.
  • CRIF Credit Solutions unveils new, fully responsive website geared toward international audiences.
  • Business Insider names Kabbage, Twilio, and Prosper as 3 of 42 startups that grew to be worth billions in 2015.
  • Top Image Systems to deploy eFLOW Digital Mailroom at GED Bulgaria.
  • NerdWallet’s five financial tips from robo-adviser CEOs feature insights from leaders of Betterment, Wealthfront, TradeKing Advisors, FutureAdvisor, and Personal Capital.
  • Nine months after launching, One Touch from PayPal reaches 10 million users in 23 countries.

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.

Finovate Alumni News: March 4, 2015

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgSecureIDNews takes a look at the partnership between FinSphere and Visa.
  • Fiserv launches four new modules for its Financial Crime Risk Management platform.
  • iQuantifi wins “Best in Show” at Bank Innovation 2015 DEMOvation Challenge.
  • Silanis earns spot on KMWorld’s “100 Companies that Matter in Knowledge Management” list for 2015.
  • IT Business Edge interviews Flint Mobile CEO Greg Goldfarb.
  • American Banker considers the benefits of banks using Ripple.
  • Innovation in Finance interviews CoinJar at FinovateEurope in London.
  • Capital Bank’s OpenSky Puts CRIF’s CreditFlow & StrategyOne to the Test.
  • Inc: How OnDeck Plans to Make Alternative Lending a Blue Chip Business.
  • Inc. lists Bionym as one of 8 Canadian startups to watch out for in 2015.
  • Yodlee now provides data APIs to nearly 50 fintech applications and services in the personal wealth-management space.
  • Braintree expands its Asia-Pac operations into Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.
  • PandoDaily: PayNearMe partners with Grameen America to help lift women out of poverty.
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.

Alumni News– October 28, 2014

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgSilanis Technology launches eSignLive for Sharepoint.
  • CRIF announces acquisition of Dun & Bradstreet UAE in Dubai.
  • National Health Service website, NHS Choices, chooses Quill from Narrative Science.
  • Check Point Software announces availability of Check Point Capsule, a mobile solution that offers protection for business data and devices.
  • InComm partners with Groupo BB e Mapfre to enable consumers to purchase insurance from local vending machines and retailers in Brazil.
  • BillGuard now uses geolocation to detect credit card fraud.
  • H&R Block turns to Social Money to promote goal-based savings for Emerald Card customers.
  • Check out a spooky clip from Moven about paranormal spending activity.
  • Southern Bank Selects Malauzai Software for Mobile Banking to Ensure Bill Pay Integration, Provide Customers with PicturePay.
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.

Alumni News– June 6, 2014

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgEverybody into the algos! Quantopian launches open beta program; announces $100 million in trades guided by platform algorithms.
  • CRIF announces acquisition of majority stake in High Mark Credit Information Services.
  • Financeit closes $C35 million renewable purchase facility and a $C5 million warehouse line facility with Pacific & Western Bank of Canada.
  • Wealthfront reaches more than $1 billion assets under management.
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.

OTP Banka Slovakia to Deploy CRIF Credit Framework

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Add one more bank to the hundreds of financial institutions in more than 20 countries currently relying on CRIF to manage their lending business.

OTP Banka Slovakia announced this week that it was deploying the CRIF Credit Framework, replacing its old loan approval system with a technology that represents “global best practices in lending processes and risk assessment,” according to bank CRO, Peter Leško.

In addition to the technology itself, CRIF’s experience in helping banks make the transition to more sophisticated loan origination and credit management solutions also helped OTP Banka Slovakia make the switch. Leško cited CRIF’s “flexible software framework” and the company’s ability to “act on site in local language” as key to providing both the support and the independence the bank wants.

This last point echoes what we heard from CRIF in the days leading up to their Finovate debut in February at FinovateEurope 2014. “Banks are more and more requesting the ability to make changes,” CRIF marketing director Sheila Donahue explained in a pre-demo briefing. “They don’t want to be dependent on vendors or have their hands tied.” Read more from our briefing with CRIF here.
OTP Banka Slovakia is part of the OTP Group. Based in Bratislava and with more than 600 employees, the bank has a network of 63 branches throughout Slovakia. OTP Banka Slovakia reported assets of €1.4 billion as of the end of 2013.
CRIF was founded in Italy in 1988. The company’s 2013 revenues were €305 million. More than 2,400 banks and financial institutions worldwide use CRIF’s technology daily.

Finovate Alumni News– April 9, 2014

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgMichigan Education Association selects Billhighway to improve membership experience.
  • ProfitStars’ iPay Solutions Resource Center receives NACHA’s 2014 PayItGreen Award.
  • miiCard launches IDaaS for Lenders, a solution that combines ID proofing, bureau data, bank data, & authentication.
  • CardFlight launches SwipeSimple to offer a co-branded mobile POS product to merchants.
  • LA Parent features Oink among its “Cool Tools.”
  • OTP Banka Slovakia to deploy CRIF Credit Framework.
  • LendUp launches in Mississippi, the state with the highest percentage of unbanked and underbanked households in the U.S.
  • Rippleshot CEO Canh Tran to join Chicago-area startups at White House summit on entrepreneurialism. See Rippleshot demo at FinovateSpring in San Jose.
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– February 26, 2014

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgOn Budget wins 2014 Paybefore Award as “One to Watch.”
  • United Bank Limited picks VoiceTrust for voice biometrics.
  • InComm partners with Asia-based Money Online to launch POS-activated gift card mall solutions in Southeast Asia.
  • Rezzcard to integrate with InComm’s Cashtie to enable Rezzcard cardholders to pay their rent in cash at over 70,000 retail locations.
  • American Banker reports: Western Union to use NICE Customer Analytics. Come see its new tech at FinovateSpring.
  • Xero reaches 100,000 paying customers in Australia.
  • Check out an interview with BRIDGEi2i Director and Co-Founder, Ashish Sharma.
  • SecondMarket considering U.S.-based bitcoin exchange.
  • Live Gamer customers to get access to MasterCard’s MasterPass digital payment service.
  • authenticID enhances ID proofing technology to help combat cloned credit card fraud.
  • Green Dot wins top honors in four categories at 2014 Paybefore awards.
  • Global Banking & Finance Review takes a look at Kalixa Group’s American expansion.
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.

FinovateEurope: Behind the Scenes with CRIF, Mobino, and SaaS Markets

Here’s more “behind-the-scenes” coverage of some of the companies that presented at FinovateEurope 2014.

If you missed our previous installment from last week, click here to read “FinovateEurope: Behind the Scenes with AdviceGames,, and Yseop.”

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What They Do:
CRIF specializes in leveraging big data to help small and medium sized banks make sound credit decisions.
In a conversation the day before the company’s Finovate demo, CRIF’s Marketing Director Sheila Donohue noted that what’s critical for banks is flexibility: “Banks are more and more requesting the ability to change and make changes,” she said. “They don’t want to be dependent on vendors, or have their hands tied.” 

CRIF Credit Framework serves this need by helping financial institutions use the platform to create end-to-end products such as custom apps for loan origination or tools for business analytics and intelligence. The company’s solutions have been deployed widely, from the Bank of Georgia in Central Europe to Interra Credit Union in north central Indiana.
  • More than $106 million in equity
  • More than 2,400 financial institutions use CRIF technologies daily
  • More than 1,500 employees/associates worldwide
  • Total revenues in 2012 were 285 million euros
  • Founded in Italy, CRIF recently celebrated its 25th anniversary
Use Case:
The new release of CRIF Credit Framework will be especially helpful for banks looking to deploy a 21st century sales force equipped with productivity-enhancing mobile solutions. The company’s mobile app can be used in-branch, as well as at the point-of-sale when customers are considering a variety of financing options.
CRIF is also unveiling a new version of its business-intelligence product, also optimized for mobile, which provides a dashboard that allows business executives better transparency and the ability to monitor KPIs.
This technology allows executives, rather than IT staff, to dig into the data behind their KPIs and make changes immediately. Changes are visible, graphical (not in programming language), and are tracked.
“You want to be fast,” Donohue said. “But if the regulators come by tomorrow, you want to be able to substantiate the changes you made.”

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What They Do:
Mobino’s project is straightforward, if not simple: to enable everybody with a phone in their pocket to make mobile payments as easily as paying with cash.
“We are both independent from the card networks and the telcos,” said Mobino CEO Jean-Francois Groff in a conversation the day before his company’s Finovate demo. “But we are working very closely with the banking industry. We want to enable bank account holders to circulate real money just as easy as they would circulate virtual money.”
How Mobino Works:
Smartphone and feature phone users alike are able to take advantage of Mobino. With a smartphone, the solution is a downloadable app (available for both iOS and Android). “Dumb” phone users can utilize a voice-based service that provides the same basic functionality.
Users can load money to their Mobino accounts through a variety of methods, including bank account direct deposit, wire transfer, and by purchasing prepaid cards. The company’s independence from the card networks means that funding Mobino accounts via credit cards is not a part of the plan.
The service is free to use for consumers, both for making P2P payments as well as transacting with merchants. Merchants accepting Mobino pay a 1% commission, substantially less than card fees.
Use Cases: 
Groff sees use cases for Mobino everywhere: from online transactions to point-of-sale shopping at brick and mortar retailers, to peer-to-peer payments, merchant payments and more. 


Here’s an example of how a merchant using Mobino might interact with a Mobino-paying customer:
Step One:
The process starts with the merchant entering the transaction amount in the Mobino app.
The merchant will then receive a one-time token number, and will be instructed to show the token number to the customer.

Step Two:
The customer then enters the token number given by the merchant. 
The customer agrees to pay the amount, and enters his or her private passcode. 
The merchant and the customer receive notification confirming the payment by SMS.
Mobino allows the merchant to have funds transferred to the merchant bank account, and charges a 1% fee for the transaction.

During our discussion, Groff previewed yet another use case he would be sharing with Finovate audiences: “Each merchant who participates, who uses Mobino at their point-of-sale, can act as a cash machine. A sort of reverse ATM.” This is because Mobino operates on a prepaid basis. And in the same way Mobino allows consumers to exchange “e-money” for goods and services, Mobino also allows consumers with cash in pocket to exchange that cash for the merchant’s accumulated “e-money.”
Role for Banks:
Groff makes an interest
ing point about our relationship with our banks: 
“(Online banking) was marketed toward us as banking without waiting. But in the end we do all the work, and the bank is not available when we need them. They are there when we need credit or want to buy a house or set up investments. But when we just want to do the basic movements of money that are paired with daily life, the banks are really in the background.”
How do move banks to the foreground? Groff suggests that the success of PingIt, launched in the United Kingdom by Barclays, reveals that there is a “latent, unmet demand from the population for simpler services coming from the banking world.”
Looking forward, Mobino is optimistic about the growth of his company and in the technology that makes his service work. Distribution is a major focus, the hard work especially of getting “mom and pop” shops with older POS hardware to consider Mobino. 
And, as always there are regulatory issues. Here, however, Groff remains confident:  “The regulators, in general, are quite open,” Groff said. “When we show them the potential the innovation has to enhance what they call ‘financial inclusion’ – helping people who would never have access to finance to actually do something with money –  they really, really are open to experimenting.”

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SaaS Markets

What They Do:
Saas Markets helps financial institutions build app stores to help their small and medium business clients solve their business challenges.
This is no small accomplishment. In addition to capital, one of the things that can help make a difference in the success of SMEs is their access to resources, especially business solutions that will save them money, create more efficient processes, and help them compete more effectively in the marketplace.
“We address three things,” Ferdi Roberts, SaaS Markets CEO said in a briefing in advance of his company’s Finovate appearance. “One, helping banks understand the challenges facing their business customers.Two, to help them provide solutions to those challenges. And, three, to give them a platform that helps them gain new customers and keep the customers they have longer, so there’s a stickiness to the product.”
To this end, SaaS Market’s MarketMaker cCloud platform provides a personalized, cloud-based marketplace containing more than 1,500 curated business apps from accounting to invoicing. Use of these SME apps is convenient for the business operator, who can take advantage of these app while never being more than one click away from their bank. It also increases stickiness and the potential for greater engagement for the financial institution that hosts the platform.
Benefits for Financial Institutions:
Making it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to get the accounting and invoicing technology they need is a worthwhile business in and of itself. But in conversation with  Roberts, and with Director of Marketing, Jay Manciocchi, it becomes clear that, in some ways, the app store is only the beginning.
This path toward a personalized app store is optimized by a technology called MarketMentor. MarketMentor works like a search engine within the platform, associating highly specific business problems to no less specific responses and solutions.  “Even if you don’t know what you want,” Roberts said. “You know what your problem is – so let’s start with that. And Market Mentor helps crystalize that.” 
The challenge for banks is that small and medium sized business customers tend to be the most numerous, the most profitable, and the most difficult to engage. Part of what SaaS Markets is trying to accomplish with its cCloud platform and Market Mentor technology is to boost engagement via personalized problem-solving. This helps banks become a more collaborative partner when it comes to helping SMEs solve their business problems.
The result is a win-win for banks, who benefit from greater engagement and less churn, as well as for their customers, who become better businesspeople with more resources at their disposal and a deeper understanding of their own business environment.

Stay tuned for next behind-the-scenes look at FinovateEurope 2014 later this week.

Finovate Alumni News– February 21, 2014

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgBanking Day reports: SocietyOne to take next step in development next month, when it announces the involvement of a strategic investor.
  • ThreatMetrix announces frictionless, context-based authentication to prevent unauthorized access to enterprise applications.
  • TSYS announces increased investment in Central Payment Joint Venture.
  • Fiserv Premier platform picked by New Jersey-based Sussex Bank.
  • CRIF acquires OFWI, aka, Teledata, from Axon Active Holding AG.
  • ZenPayroll brings in $20 million in Series A funding from General Catalyst and Kleiner Perkins.
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.