Finovate Alumni News


  • TipRanks Takes Top Prize at IBM Watson Hackathon in Israel

Around the web

  • Greg Smith and Chris Costello of Blooom discuss simplifying 401(k) management with Fox Business News.
  • Nilesh Dusane, Ripple Labs VP for global sales and client relations, talks about distributed ledgers and the future of payments.
  • EZBOB announces Everline as the sole channel for intermediary businesses.
  • Nomis Solutions teams up with Oliver Wyman to help FIs boost profitability in their retail deposit portfolios.
  • Temenos opens new office in Helsinki, Finland.
  • The Financial Brand highlights the need for banks to compete with Mint, MX, D3, Yodlee, Meniga, Geezeo, and Strands.
  • Investopedia features FutureAdvisor’s use for college savings.
  • Ping Identity enhances partner program with new options, benefits and requirements for partners in three programs.
  • BCSG appoints Deutsche Telekom’s Simon Lunn as COO.
  • Strategic News Service FiRe tech conference names ValidSoft a 2015 FiReStarter Company.
  • ProfitStars Banno Mobile named a leader in the IDC MarketScape: North American Mobile Banking Software Solutions 2015 Vendor Assessment.
  • Huffington Post considers advice from Scott Cook, Intuit co-founder.
  • Remember, the application deadline for the Fall 2015 cohort for the SixThirty accelerator is Friday, 10 July 2015.

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: March 3, 2015

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgYour Daily Distraction: FinovateEurope 2015 Demo Videos Now Available.
  • Linkable Networks Rakes in $11.7 Million.
  • Pymnts discusses how Xero will use its recent funding.
  • ThreatMetrix now protects more than 1 billion mobile and web transactions each month.
  • TechCrunch: Wealthfront Now Manages More Than $2 Billion In Client Assets.
  • CrowdFlower launches Data for Everyone initiative, releasing data sets to the public.
  • Bluefin Payment Systems and Small Business Workbench partner for integrated payments.
  • HelloWallet, now owned by Morningstar, to deliver financial wellness software to Seagate employees.
  • BBC News feature on robo-advisers highlights Wealthfront and Betterment.
  • Malauzai Software and Payveris bring next-day P2P payments to First United Bank.
  • ZTE partners with EyeVerify to add Eyeprint ID to its Grand S3 handset.
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– December 17, 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 Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgThe Jerusalem Post profiles Israeli startup, TipRanks.
  • CashStar Market Solution is now powering 150 promotions during this year’s winter holiday season.
  • Enterprising Investor highlights Betterment, LearnVest, Motif Investing, Venmo, and Wealthfront in its column on Millennials and money.
  • TechZone 360 discusses CrowdFlower in a review of “What’s Hot and What’s Not on Data Science for 2015.”
  • Yahoo! Finance features an interview with Rippleshot co-founder and CPO Yueyu Fu.
  • WingCash unveils Brand Cash, a digital currency that replaces merchant-specific gift and loyalty cards.
  • Financial Times profiles Betterment CEO and co-founder, Jon Stein.
  • After Manilla’s demise, Mint launches bill pay and bill management platform.
  • Time, Inc partners with Coinbase to accept bitcoin for subscriptions to Fortune, Health, This Old House and Travel + Leisure.
  • Tradeshift to waive 30% revenue share from organizations that build apps to support the circular economy
  • Wealth Management looks at the human advisors behind Personal Capital and SigFig.
  • Money Talks News lists alternative lending sites to consider: Prosper, Lending Club, and Kabbage.
  • ID Analytics names Timothy Laughlin as new CFO.
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– December 9, 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 Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgCachet Financial Solutions to offer Mitek’s Mobile Photo Account Opening SaaS suite.
  • CrowdFlower CEO Lukas Biewald writes personally about the relationship between startups and their boards of directors.
  • Investor Junkie reviews roboadvisor, iQuantifi.
  • Knox Payments partners with ChangeTip to support bitcoin transaction via ACH.
  • CardNotPresent takes a look at Klarna’s US expansion plans.
  • Yodlee introduces transaction data enrichment service.
  • Fox News compares funding of Wealthfront, Personal Capital, Betterment, and SigFig.
  • Blackhawk Network’s closed loop gift cards available at some USPS locations.
  • VentureBeat: App Annie now tracks stats from Windows and Windows Phone stores.
  • SecondMarket wins 48,000 Bitcoin in U.S. Marshals auction.
  • Actiance extends security capabilities to email.
  • TechCrunch: Trustev Uses Fraud Detection Software to Crack Down on Internet Trolls.
  • Dashlane launches one-click password changer.
  • BehavioSec Lands $6 Million Led by Northzone and Octopus Investments.
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– December 4, 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 Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgIntelligent Environments awarded Fairbanking certification. See Intelligent Environments demo at FinovateEurope 2015 in February.
  • Xsolla partners with BitPay to bring bitcoin payments to gaming. See Xsolla at FinovateEurope in London.
  • MasterCard partners with Gates Foundation to launch innovation lab in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • App Annie unveils Audience Intelligence, a solution mobile app publishers can use to learn demographic data from users.
  • Access Development partners with Oklahoma Education Association.
  • Yueyu Fu, co-founder and CPO at Rippleshot interviewed at Benzinga Fintech Awards.
  • Intuit’s Quickbook Online Accountant is now available in the U.S.
  • Ripple to plug its real-time settlement protocol into Earthport’s payments hub.
  • Braintree is now rolling out its One Touch payment service outside the U.S.
  • eGift Card feature added to Wipit-powered Boost Mobile.
  • SocietyOne Closes Undisclosed Series B Funding Round.
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 Debuts: CrowdFlower Helps Businesses Harness Online Data Workers


The Finovate Debuts series introduces new Finovate alums. CrowdFlower won Best of Show in its Finovate debut last September at FinovateFall 2014. The company’s platform automates the management of online data workers, making it easier and faster for data scientists to maintain quality control over both the process and the result.

CrowdFlower is a data-enrichment platform that enables data scientists to easily and accurately collect, clean, and label data from an online workforce.

The Stats
    • Founded in 2009
    • Headquartered in San Francisco, California
    • Raised $29 million in funding
    • Operates with more than 80 employees and more than 5 million contributors
    • Backed by investors including Bessemer Venture Partners and Trinity Ventures
    • Customers include Bloomberg, eBay, Intuit, LinkedIn, and Microsoft
    • Lukas Biewald is founder and CEO
The Story
The task of collecting, cleaning, and labeling the enormous amounts of data generated every day may seem like the kind of thankless task that rarely receives proper recognition.
So credit the attendees at September’s FinovateFall for awarding CrowdFlower Best of Show honors.
Writing about CrowdFlower’s win, Jon Ogden of Money Summit focused on the “crowd” part of CrowdFlower’s innovation, saying the platform “represents the first time this many people have been put to work on a single crowdsourcing platform … This means that tasks that used to be impossibly expensive (or just plain impossible) are now manageable.”
CrowdFlower is a platform that helps institutions and organizations manage online workforces easier and more accurately. Importantly, with CrowdFlower’s “people-powered data” approach, human beings are very much a part of the data enrichment process. In those instances where algorithms are not yet capable of discerning subtle details in certain data – such as automobiles in satellite photos of shopping mall parking lots – human data workers remain crucial.
But what has been challenging historically has been finding non-cumbersome ways of managing these workers and their work. This is the problem that CrowdFlower solves.
“There are a few reasons why humans are still necessary,” Tatiana Josephy, VP of Product explained. “There is the problem of low and high confidence data, for example. It’s better for humans to handle low confidence data – a fuzzy image, for example – to fill in where computers fall down.”
The data workers involved are typically stay-at-home moms or students, mostly citizens of the United States, India, the U.K., or Europe. And CrowdFlower gives companies the ability to reach these workers, wherever they are, and put their talents and abilities to use.
“What would you do with 100s of millions of workers on demand?” she asked.
The Technology
CrowdFlower was founded by data scientists who had worked with “messy data” at Yahoo for years and were looking for ways to outsource the labor. They found that the messiness of the data meant that upwards of 80% of their time was spent in the manual work of just labeling the data.
“Big data is nothing if you don’t have clean data,” Josephy said.
Rich data is how CrowdFlower conceptualizes what businesses really need. And the CrowdFlower platform lets organizations and institutions manage everything from task development and worker procurement to quality control and performance evaluation with a single, integrated solution. 
The use cases for CrowdFlower are fascinating. One company uses the technology to handle the data derived from its satellite imaging of everything from ships docked in ports to oil in Saudi oil tanks in order to predict market price moves. Another company leverages the CrowdFlower platform to extract data from SEC documents – something algorithms still do unevenly. In both cases, all that the companies had to do was build the job on the CrowdFlower platform and then launch it to CrowdFlower’s online workforce. 
One last use case. A client of CrowdFlower uses sentiment analysis on Twitter to conduct market intelligence. Within 24 hours of the announcement of Apple’s iWatch, CrowdFlower’s online workforce of 1,400 analyzed 27,000 tweets at a cost of $280 to the customer.
“Big data is millions of pixels and images. Rich data is the number of cars in parking lots,” Josephy explained from the Finovate stage. “It’s clean and complete data that you can actually use.
Financial use cases range from reading the information on credit card statements (which is often incomplete or written in cryptic abbreviations), collecting and verifying merchant data, collecting data from SEC filings, and, as the company showed from the stage last fall, analyzing satellite imagery for business intelligence or market analysis.
And importantly, according to Josephy, the average business user is likely capable of using CrowdFlower. “You don’t have to be an engineer,” she said. “If you can understand Excel, then you have all the knowledge you need.”
Typically the work done by CrowdFlower is done through outsourcing. But the company believes there are significant issues with outsourcing that make it a poor choice for many companies. Outsourcing is expensive and time-consuming. “Every time you need to collect new data, you reach out to your outsourcing vendor and you engage in weeks of back and forth about the job,” Josephy said. “CrowdFlower is so much easier.”
The Future
CrowdFlower is revamping the tool that allows clients to built the initial job, as well as improving quality control technology to support a broader set of uses cases. The goal is also to continue to develop the platform to enable it to complete more complex, “longer form” tasks, such as transcribing a half-hour video or long tax documents.
(Above: Tatiana Josephy, VP of Product, and Seth Teicher, Head of Content and Business Development)
Meanwhile the company recently announced support for eight new languages – Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Russian, Turkish, and Vietnamese – and enhanced support for four others (French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish). Lukas Biewald, founder and CEO, said the new “Language Crowds” will “make it even faster for customers to get the high quality data they need.”
While so many innovations at the intersection of human labor and technology seem fraught with problems (see the debates over technologies like Kensho), CrowdFlower shows how critical human work is when collecting data, as well as how technology can help organizations manage these new workforces. 
“By connecting companies to an online, scalable, fully-vetted workforce,” Josephy concluded from the Finovate stage in September, “CrowdFlower turns big data into rich data faster, cheaper, and easier than any alternative on the market.” And while it is hard to say just how much the Finovate audience knew about the alchemy of turning big data into rich data before awarding CrowdFlower Best of Show, it is clear they they recognized the value of true innovation in the space when they saw it.

See CrowdFlower’s Best of Show winning demonstration from FinovateFall 2014.

Alumni News– December 2, 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 Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgCompass Plus TranzAxis now supports Futurex hardware security modules.
  • Coinbase introduces USD Wallets, enabling users to store U.S. dollar balances.
  • TradeKing unveils new features for its new LIVE platform.
  • Forbes column on disruption in traditional money exchange features Azimo, TransferWise, and CurrencyFair.
  • CrowdFlower announces support for eight new languages and enhanced support for another four.
  • CEO and co-founder of Trustev Pat Phelan wins MSL Cork Business Person of the Year award.
  • Linqto, Crowd Curity, Xignite, and CUneXus win Future of Money & Technology Summit Startup Showcase.
  • TickSmith adds Amazon Web Services version of its financial big data platforms.
  • The New Daily features SocietyOne as a premium P2P lending option.
  • The Chicago Tribune considers Lending Club’s impending IPO.
  • Google Cloud Platform now PCI compliant, enabling developers to hold, process, and exchange credit card information.
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.

FinovateFall 2014 Best of Show Winners


After a busy two days at FinovateFall packed with people, some of the most innovative new technology we’ve seen, and some rather entertaining demos, the audience has spoken. 

A huge thanks to everyone who came out to be a part of our record breaking audience and cast their votes. Each attendee was able to vote for their top three favorite company demos both days, and the top seven were crowned Best of Show winners.
Here they are in alphabetical order:


AnchorID for its new way to log into websites and apps. One universal username logs you in with unique security.


blooom for its simple tool built to fix the millions of mis-invested 401(k) allocations for individual clients.


CrowdFlower for its leading data enrichment platform to help data scientists, analysts, and engineers collect, clean, and label data to make it useful.


Loyal3 for its use of social technologies to democratize the markets, making investing in IPOs and stocks easy and affordable for everyone.



MX/MoneyDesktop for its WideNet Technology to help FIs expand their market reach, and its Helios cross-platform digital banking app.


NICE Systems for its real-time authentication that strengthens and streamlines the authentication process in real-time, while customers converse with an agent.


Toopher for its multi-factor authentication platform that uses the location awareness of your smartphone to automate authentication for logins and critical actions.

Again, thanks to everyone who came out to the show. We’ll see you next year!

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 seven 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. 

Data Enrichment Innovator CrowdFlower Collects, Labels, and Cleans Data from an On-Demand Workforce


This post is part of our live coverage of FinovateFall 2014.

Our next presenter is CrowdFlower, demoing its data enrichment platform for data scientists.

Financial statements are notoriously difficult to decipher. CrowdFlower puts an end to messy and incomplete financial services data that contributes to a poor customer experience. We are demonstrating how CrowdFlower can quickly and easily collect, clean, and label financial transaction data, from an online, on-demand workforce of over 5M contributors to help businesses provide a superior customer experience.
Presenting: Tatiana Josephy (VP Product) & Seth Teicher (Head of Content & Business Development)
Product Launch: 2009
Metrics: 80+ employees, 5M contributors, 1.5B judgments completed, 7 years of work is completed in one day on the platform.
Product distribution strategy: Direct to Business (B2B), licensed
HQ: San Francisco, CA
Founded: 2009
Twitter: @CrowdFlower

Crowdflower Raises $12.5 Million in Funding


CrowdFlower, the company that uses crowdsourcing for data scrubbing, announced yesterday it raised some cash to help it bloom.

The newest installment, which was led by Canvas Ventures, brings the San Francisco company’s total funding to $28 million. Other investors in this round include Bessemer Venture Partners and Trinity Ventures.


CrowdFlower, which does data work for companies such as Home Depot and Cisco, pays more than 5 million people to contribute to the data scrubbing. Some of the applications include:

    • Data Collection & Enhancement
    • Content Moderation
    • Search Relevance Tuning
    • Sentiment Analysis

CrowdFlower plans to use the new funds to grow its product and customer base.

To see CrowdFlower demo its newest technology live, come see them at FinovateFall next week in New York. We still have a few tickets left.