Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Rippleshot Raises $1.2 Million in Round Led by KGC Capital”
  • SocietyOne Offering Car Loans to Uber Drivers in Australia”

Around the web

  • Xero adds two-step authentication to its accounting platform.
  • CAN Capital teams up with iPayment to help SMEs get access to working capital.
  • Let’s Talk Payments features Klarna, Holvi, BehavioSec, Trustly, Meniga, and Tink in a roundup of top Nordic fintech startups. Remember FinovateEurope 2016 comes to London on February 9 and 10.
  • Check Point Names Julie Parrish as Chief Marketing Officer”
  • MyBankTracker names Mint, SmartyPig, Lending Club, Coinbase, and Loyal3 on its list of companies every millennial should know about.
  • ayondo CEO Robert Lempka Explains Innovative Trading Solutions Live on CNBC Asia”
  • TechCrunch looks at TransferWise’s growth.
  • PaymentEye interviews Daniel Abrahams, CEO and co-founder of CurrencyTransfer.com.
  • Bankless Times talks with Encap Security CEO Thomas Bostrøm Jørgensen on current trends in authentication technology.

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

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “Finovate Debuts: Slice Introduces Intelligent Shopping API”
  • “Arxan Technologies Drafts Joe Sander as CEO”

Around the web

  • Kasasa reaches milestone: 300+ community FIs now offer Kasasa to members, a total of 823,000 accounts.
  • NY Times lists Betterment, Coinbase, Wealthfront, ZenPayroll as companies that may be the next startup unicorns.
  • Crowdfund Insider: Zopa tops £1 million in loans, a U.K. first for peer-to-peer lending.
  • Global News interviews Karl Martin, Nymi CEO and founder.
  • Trustly bolsters team with appointments from H&M and Klarna.
  • FIS launches financial inclusion lab in India.
  • SME Insider interviews CurrencyTransfer.com‘s CEO Daniel Abrahams.
  • Silanis to deploy eSignLive technology with TransGuard and Occidental Fire & Casualty.
  • Puerto Rico-based Evertec to enable mobile e-commerce courtesy of Acculynk’s PaySecure.
  • Payoneer wins contract with Dailymotion.
  • NPR interviews Pindrop Security‘s CEO Vijay Balasubramaniyan.
  • Selling Power ranks OnDeck 17 out of 50 on its list of 2015 Best Companies to Sell For.
  • Nostrum Group receives FCA authorization for debt administration to cover its involvement in customer loan accounts and debt collection.

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

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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

On Finovate.com

  • “Mogl Earns $8 Million Investment Ahead of FinovateFall Debut”
  • “VATBox Locks Up $24 Million Growth Equity Investment”

Around the web

  • edo Interactive launches Blended Activation to give advertisers flexibility in how offers are redeemed.
  • nymi teams up with TD Bank and MasterCard to develop heartbeat-based, biometric authentication for contactless payments.
  • Generations Federal Credit Union hires Insuritas to upgrade its insurance agency offerings.
  • Intrade Magazine interviews Daniel Abrahams, CurrencyTransfer CEO.
  • Top Image Systems reports Q2 revenue growth of 21%.
  • Flint Mobile enhances its iOS app that leverages Apple’s digital wallet ecosystem.
  • Check Point Software Technologies and Wavecrest Computing partner to integrate Wavecrest’s Cyfin reporting tool with Check Point’s Next Generation Threat Prevention solution.
  • Austin Business Journal ranks BancVue’s Kasasa as number 6 in its 2015 Best Places to Work contest.
  • Tradeshift acquires Merchantry, a cloud-based, product-information-management provider for $30 million in cash and stock.

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

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “New Investment for Dealstruck Boosts Lending Capital to More Than $100 Million”
  • “Hypori Introduces Seamless App Mode in Latest ACE Product Suite Release”; see Hypori live in New York at FinovateFall 2015.

Around the web

  • DoubleNetPay co-founder and CEO weighs in on retirement planning in Employee Benefit News.
  • Bank Innovation: CurrencyTransfer is preparing for a “major funding round.”
  • TransferWise announces support for Apple Pay.
  • PayPal unveils six new features for its invoicing service.
  • ThetaRay opens up its first office in the U.S. See ThetaRay at FinovateFall 2015 in New York.
  • Expensify introduces new travel-and-expense platform with new integrations and partnerships.
  • TransferTo and PayPal partner to enable mobile top-up in Canada.

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

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “FinovateFall 2015 Presenting Companies Announced

Around the web

  • Pymnts interviews Karmic Labs CEO Ryan Weidenmiller.
  • Kony Announces Asia Pacific and Japan Expansion.
  • Bankless Times features Cloud Lending Solutions.
  • Let’s Talk Payments names multiple FinDEVr alums in its list of 29 APIs to Consider Before Building Any Fintech Product.
  • Betterment, Financial Guard, Personal Capital, Vanguard, and Wealthfront are featured in a Bloomberg Business column on options for new investors.
  • Samsung introduces its Loop-equipped Samsung Pay app in South Korea.
  • Tamebay interviews Peter Plewman, CurrencyTransfer.com director, on the volatility of the euro.
  • Trulioo taps identity and fraud specialist, Jon Jones, as new company president.
  • Business Insider looks at “transformative” fintech leadership at companies like Braintree, Coinbase, PayPal, SamsungPay (with Loop), and Venmo.
  • Forbes highlights Zopa in its review of the growth of P2P lending in the United Kingdom.

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: March 10, 2015

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  • CoverHound Raises $14 Million in Series B
  • Mambu partners with NCC Group, adding assurance solution, SaaS Assured.
  • Check out our interview with CurrencyTransfer.com co-founder, Daniel Abrahams.
  • Fiserv makes The Card Collection available to FIs to help accelerate transition to EMV chip cards.
  • Nashville Post reports on iQuantifi and its participation in the Plug and Play accelerator program this spring.
  • All ten of the top apps in U.S. News & World Report’s review of credit union apps were built by Digital Insight.
  • A look at technology in Kansas City features insights from EyeVerify CEO and founder Toby Rush.
  • Rippleshot and BioCatch earn finalist spots in MRC METAwards.
  • Gartner positions MicroStrategy in the “Leader” quadrant of the 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms report for eight years in a row.
  • Finovate Debuts: ebankIT’s Solutions Tap into Wearables and Augmented Reality

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.

Interview with CurrencyTransfer.com Co-founder Daniel Abrahams

currencytransferLogoNew-thumb-200x34-11771-thumb-150x25-12284If there is one of area where innovation—and venture capital investment—is most abundant, it may be international money transfers.

Whether it is the worker abroad looking for the best and safest way to send money back home, or the enterprise trying to find the best rates for converting thousands of dollars every day, the challenge of moving money across borders safely and efficiently is a growing one.

CurrencyTransfer.com is one of the pioneers. Founded in 2013 and headquartered in London, CurrencyTransfer.com works to bring about the same competitive pricing to small- and medium-sized businesses as that experienced regularly by large corporations.

SMEs trading up to £200 million annually can take advantage of CurrencyTransfer.com’s forex price-feed aggregator and execution platform, gaining access to competitive international payment quotes from a variety of providers all in one place.

We exchanged emails with Daniel Abrahams, CurrencyTransfer.com co-founder and managing director, to learn more about the company and its unique role in the money-transfer industry. His responses are below.

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Finovate: You’ve earned some great press heading into into the end of 2014. What have you been doing that’s been attracting so much positive attention.

Daniel Abrahams: For a start, CurrencyTransfer.com is doing something different. We’re not a bank, we’re not a broker, nor are we a P2P matcher. We’ve built the world’s first online marketplace for international payments, saving businesses up to 85% in hidden fees. Thinking differently runs through everything we do, and this is certainly capturing the imagination of both journalists and end-users alike.

At the capital markets level, FTSE 100 companies have the basic right to get live, multiple-price feeds. We simple try to democratize this down to the everyday SME, deserving of the same access as the big guys.

Finovate: Where did the idea for CurrencyTransfer.com come from?

Abrahams: Personal pain. My co-founder and I were getting ripped off on our own currency exchange when traveling around Europe and living in Australia. We were shocked at hidden fees; namely, profit built into the exchange rate by banks and bureaus.

My co-founder Stevan and I also observed other verticals closely. In any industry where there is inefficiency, we see marketplaces disrupt. Whether it is the way we book flights, hotels, taxis—the list goes on. In such a huge, opaque industry, we spotted a real opportunity to bring transparency and efficiency.

Finovate: There are a variety of players in the currency-transfer space. How do you distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack?

Abrahams: It’s a hot space that has attracted a significant amount of VC funding over the past 24 months. I see distinct layers in the currency-transfer space, rather than any “winner-takes-all” scenarios. Some focus on cracking remittance, others 100% pure play digital private clients.

While we do onboard private clients, there is a minimum trade size and our sweet spot is regular business foreign exchange. We actively trade and onboard companies with many millions of pounds worth of FX exposure annually. The average transaction size is in excess of £25,000 and rising the whole time. These customers have very regular foreign-exchange exposure and often use our platform for more than just a basic spot-transfer.

We offer anything from same-day spot, up to 12-month forward, and whilst all transfers are booked online, we also offer a more managed service through in-house currency experts. For larger companies—our sweet spot—we learned they need and often want to have a trusted specialist on the other end of the phone.

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Daniel Abrahams, managing director and co-founder; Stevan Litobac, technical director and co-founder; and Aviva Tabachnik, partnerships executive, demoed at FinovateEurope 2014.

Finovate: What are some of the biggest challenges on the technology side, in terms of building a platform that works well for users?

Abrahams: Marketplaces are notoriously tough to build. Building out a reliable system—one that works reliably across multiple external API systems—can be challenging as you have to amalgamate various different formats of data coming in from these providers.

The second biggest challenge is optimizing the speed of service across these providers when the customers are getting quotes.

Finovate: You’ve talked about building the world’s first multibroker KYC form. Tell us more about this project and why it’s such as big deal.

Abrahams: At CurrencyTransfer.com, we let customers set up a payment, aggregate LIVE rates, and book transfers—all within our web or mobile environment. This sounds easier to execute than it is.

For customers to get a live, bookable quote from non-bank FX suppliers, they need to be onboarded for compliance and anti-money laundering. When [creating the architecture for] our product, we realized we needed to onboard our customers with multiple providers in one hit. It would make no sense to fill in 5+ forms, then come back to our environment. You would lose stickiness and get quickly frustrated with the product and process. As a result, we coupled neat-tech with engaging with the various stakeholders behind the scenes to make this a reality for our customers.

Clients now never need fill out multiple forms, call up multiple brokers for an inaccurate and time-consuming rate-quote. Everything happens in one venue.

Finovate: Are you in the process of raising funds? If so, how is it going? What are some of the things that are impressing investors the most?

Abrahams: Yes. We’re looking to aggressively grow both side of the marketplace in 2015, and want to hit ambitious milestones we’ve set for ourselves. FinovateEurope was a great platform for announcing CurrencyTransfer.com, and as a result we’ve had a lot of inbound interest from both traditional VCs and, would you believe it, funds set up by banks. Investors like our fresh approach to the deep problem we’re tackling, the tech, and momentum we’ve built without raising a single penny of outside funding to date.

CurrencyTransfer_homepage2

Finovate: You spend time in both London and Tel Aviv. How do you compare the two cities in terms of being fertile ground for fintech innovation.

Abrahams: We think we’re well set, marrying two of the best startup ecosystems in the world. Both are regularly seeing success stories and have growing fintech activity. London is certainly more mature when it comes to fintech, boasting more employees in the space than either New York or Silicon Valley.

In Israel, we’re seeing significant companies including, among others: Payoneer, eToro, and BillGuard to name a few. Budding entrepreneurs are looking at these successful companies, and are constantly looking at ways to cut costs or deliver better user experience than banks or legacy businesses. Bank Leumi, Citigroup, and Hapoalim are looking at ways to engage with startups through hackathons and accelerator programs. Innovative bitcoin startups are popping up the whole time.

At CurrencyTransfer.com, we organize a monthly FinTech Aviv, which brings together the smartest minds in the Israeli fintech ecosystem.

Finovate: You had an interesting column on the relationship between banks and startups. Overall, your outlook seemed very positive for both banks and fintech startups. Why do you think that the relationship between banks and startups is more mutually beneficial than we are sometimes led to believe (with the focus often on “disruption”)?

Abrahams: Banks are very good at certain things, and with the greatest respect, suck at others. Startups get UI/UX, and how to deliver a best-in-class customer experience. Startups want to push all boundaries with cost saving and product, but are not the smartest when it comes to the regulatory landscape and the intricacies of holding client funds. As such, I truly believe where there is a match (and there isn’t always), banks and startups will continue to lean on each other to revolutionize finance.

At CurrencyTransfer.com, we’re an open and democratic marketplace, and whilst cutting excessive bank fees by up to 85%, we are more than happy to engage with banks.

Alumni News– November 20, 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.jpgPrivatbank customers can now use MoneyGram to send and receive funds courtesy of new partnership.
  • Financial Times Technology section looks at UK fintech startups TransferWise and Azimo.
  • CurrencyTransfer recognized by Secret Tel Aviv as Olim Business of the Week.
  • USA Today column on millennials and saving featured Tom White, CEO of iQuantifi.
  • TransferWise helps lead fight for foreign exchange fee transparency.
  • iBillionaire’s Index has increased 16.5% since launching in November of last year
  • Swipely now managing $4+ billion in annual sales, doubles sales under management in 6 months,  and provides businesses with insights on 20+ million customers.
  • Numerous Finovate and FinDEVr alums make AWI’s list of top 50 fintech innovators.
  • Advanced Merchant Payments brings in $5 Million in First Funding Round.
  • Kony helps Farmatodo increase customer loyalty and deliver new services via mobile apps.
  • Coinbase teams with Rewardspay to create workaround to make purchases on Facebook and iTunes with Bitcoin.
  • TSYS offers merchants and partners an omni payments solution with more ways to accept payments.
  • $493 million in P2P loans originated on Prosper in Q3 2014.
  • Credit Sesame wins 2014 U.S. Mobile and App Design Awards in Financial and Information Tools category.
  • BancVue wins four MarCom Gold awards.
  • Kensho launches strategic partnership with NBCUniversal.
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 Alums Among SWIFT Innotribe’s Startup Challenge Finalists

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With more than 280 companies applying, and 47 companies selected to compete, the Innotribe Startup Challenge is down to the top 15 companies that will move on to the Grand Finale. And six of the companies to advance are Finovate alums.

Sibos

The Innotribe Startup Challenge is part of Sibos, the conference held by SWIFT each year. The goal of the Challenge is to help what the contest categorizes as “startups” and “innovators” get access and exposure to the broader fintech community. Events are held in London, Singapore, and New York during which competing companies pitch their innovations to industry experts and fintech investors. 

The Grand Finale will be held on October 1 at Sibos. The winning companies – one “early stage startup” and one “growth-stage innovator” – will receive a prize of $50,000 USD.
The six Finovate alums among the finalists are below.
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“Innovator”
Founded: 2009
HQ: Hong Kong, China

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“Startup”
Founded: 2013
HQ: London, UK

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“Innovator”
Founded: 2012
HQ: Singapore
“Startup”
Founded: 2012
HQ: Seattle, WA

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“Innovator”
Founded: 2011
HQ: Berlin, Germany

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“Innovator”
Founded: 2011
HQ: Pasadena, CA
Said Fabian Vendenreydt, Head of Markets Management, Innotribe and the SWIFT Institute at SWIFT said “Since it started in 2011, the Innotribe Startup Challenge has provided a huge opportunity to our community to understand and support this innovation.” 
For more information about the Innotribe’s Startup Challenge, visit their page here.