Finovate Alumni News

Around the web

  • MoneyRates column on robo-advisers features Chris Costello, Blooom CEO.
  • Finance Magnates spotlights Nuno Sebastio of Feedzai on EMV in the U.S.
  • Digital Retail Apps to showcase SelfPay at the Visa Innovation Center at One Market in San Francisco.
  • Alt-Fi News interviews Renaud Laplanche, CEO and founder of Lending Club.
  • Prosper passes $5 billion in loans originated on its platform.
  • German development bank, KfW to deploy EDM technology from Markit. Join Markit in San Francisco for FinDEVr 2015.
  • CR2 and Ameriabank partner to bring BankWorld omnichannel banking platform to Armenia.
  • Digital Insight adds automated account-switching solution, ClickSWITCH.
  • EVO Payments, parent of EVO Snap*, inks U.K. market reseller-partnership deal with Handepay. See EVO Snap* at FinDEVr 2015 in San Francisco.
  • Xero chosen as business ‘Platform of the Year’ at Internet Marketing Association’s IMPACT15 Conference.

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


  • “Munich-Based Fidor Bank Launches in the UK” —Check out Fidor Bank at FinDEVr, 6/7 October, in San Francisco.

Around the web

  • New P2P lending app, Ledge, leverages Venmo technology.
  • CNET features Wealthfront, Betterment, FutureAdvisor, SigFig, and Personal Capital in a look at investment in robo-advisers.
  • American Banker profiles PaySwag and its strategy to put a gamified face on debt collection.
  • Kashoo unveils version 4.4 of its iOS app.
  • American Legion magazine interviews Mark Rockefeller, StreetShares CEO and co-founder.
  • itBit announces new higher withdrawal limits.
  • Digital Retail Apps CEO and founder Wendy MacKinnon Keith wins 2015 Women in Payments Innovation Award.
  • InvestorJunkie lists its top 15 robo-advisers, featuring eight Finovate alums.
  • Braintree and PayPal reflect on their two-year anniversary. See Braintree show off its APIs at FinDEVr in San Francisco, 6/7 October.
  • EQ features DAVO’s sales-tax solution.
  • Bank Innovation highlights Ldger’s demo at FinovateFall last week.
  • Forbes features Aerospike. See Aerospike’s presentation at FinDEVr San Francisco on 6/7 October.

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.

Digital Retail Apps Raises C$1 Million in Round Led by Texas Ventures

Digital Retail Apps Raises C$1 Million in Round Led by Texas Ventures


Courtesy of an investment from Texas Ventures and featuring additional participation from angel investors in the U.S., Digital Retail Apps is C$1 million (US$770,000) closer to its goal of going global.

Digital Retail Apps is the company behind SelfPay, the mobile payments technology that alleviates the most overlooked pain point of the in-person payment process: the queue. “We are seeing more and more retailers shift their focus to an app-based payments model, which eliminates the checkout line, as opposed to a tap and pay model,” DRA founder and CEO Wendy MacKinnon Keith said.

“App and pay is much more convenient to the shopper because it saves them time – they don’t have to wait in line to pay,” she explained.


Pictured: Digital Retail Apps founder and CEO Wendy MacKinnon Keith demonstrating SelfPay at FinovateSpring 2014 in San Jose.

In order to make this work for merchants as well as consumers, Digital Retail Apps has built a platform that integrates directly into the merchant’s POS system, and provides a range of payment methods including all major credit cards, credit card branded debit cards, as well as Apple Pay and PayPal. The platform is available as a white label app for individual merchants, a multi-merchant app for mall operators, as well as licensed and integrated into a current mobile shopping app.

The new capital is the first non-founder, non-friends and family investment in the Toronto-based e-commerce startup. Scott Crist, Texas Ventures CEO, called Digital Retail Apps a leader in the mobile payment space and praised both the company’s IP portfolio and “partnership-based approach (that) brings many parties together to create a consistent shopping flow across retailers, payment processors, and payment types.”

Digital Retail Apps was featured earlier this year in Toronto Star’s coverage of Canada’s first financial technology cluster launched by MaRS. The company also earned a mention in a Financial Post column as an example of the “great strides” in store for digital payments in 2015.

Founded in March 2012 and headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Digital Retail Apps demonstrated its SelfPay technology at FinovateSpring 2014 in San Jose.

Finovate Alumni News


  • “Holy Yodlee! Envestnet to Buy Yodlee for $660 Million”
  • “Artificial Intelligence Innovator Kensho Locks in $48 million Series B Round”
  • “Digital Retail Apps Raises C$1 Milllion in Round Led by Texas Ventures”

Around the web

  • Misys shortlisted in three different categories in the CIR 2015 Risk Management Awards.
  • Bloomberg TV looks at Fenergo in a discussion on investment in startups.
  • NICE Systems wins “8-figure contract” to bring call recording and incident-management technology to NYC’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT).
  • Personal Capital CEO Bill Harris writes about the rise of robo-advisors in a column for Investment News.
  • CashStar to power digital gift card offerings from Maritz Motivation Solutions.
  • KCUR 89.3 FM interviews EyeVerify CEO Toby Rush.

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.


Celebrate Canada Day with Our Alums from the Great White North

Celebrate Canada Day with Our Alums from the Great White North


July 1st is Canada Day, the day Canadians from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and all the provinces in between celebrate the day the country we know as “Canada” was officially formed as a single nation within the British Empire.

So if you’ve got room in your schedule for one more Canada Day Celebration, then please join us in spending a little time celebrating with a score of Finovate alums that are driving fintech innovation in and out of “the Great White North.”

And a special Canada Day shout-out to Finovate partner, the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, which supports Canadian startups through mentorship and access to U.S. partners and investors.

Alumni News– February 19, 2015

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgAmerican Banker: Retail Banking Vet Deanna Oppenheimer Joins Tech Vendor Finsphere.
  • American Banker: Federal Payments Website Partners with PayPal, Dwolla.
  • Kantox Surpasses $1 Billion in Foreign Exchange Transfers.
  • Pindrop Security Raises $30 Million.
  • eToro launches its Popular Investment Programme to recognize and reward the network’s top traders.
  • Phroogal reviews Motif Investing.
  • MaxMyInterest brings consolidated tax reporting functionality to its cash optimization platform.
  • Encap Security CEO Thomas Boström Jörgensen and Ping Identity Managing Director EMEA Jason Goode weigh-in on Touch ID banking.
  • Digital Retail Apps featured in Toronto Star’s coverage of Canada’s first financial technology cluster.
  • Azimo launches its money transfer service in China.
  • Finsphere Lands $1.8 Million, Partners with Visa.
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– January 22, 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.jpgKreditech secures $200 million credit line from Victory Park Capital.
  • GMC Software and Silanis Technology partner to integrate eSignLive with Inspire.
  • Internet Retailer features Trustev CEO Pat Phelan in discussion on consumer fraud.
  • TradeKing unveils Risk Assist to protect clients against steep market declines.
  • Braintree completes initial integration with Coinbase; opens up private beta access.
  • Financial Post business section features Digital Retail Apps in its look at digital payments in 2015.
  • Realty Mogul adds new Senior VP of Mortgage Operations, Kendra King.
  • Temenos forges strategic alliance with EFT processor, Elan Financial Services.
  • Check out our latest FinovateEurope 2015 Sneak Peek, Part 4 featuring Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, CPB Software AG, Ixaris, JSC Delta Bank, QCR, and Topicus Financial.
  • Planwise launches Connect, leveraging affordability tools to help real estate agents engage potential buyers.
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 22, 2014

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgDeutsche Bank launches FinanzPlaner powered by Strands PFM. Check out Strands’ newest tech at FinovateEurope.
  • Arroweye Solutions increases its payment card security.
  • SF Gate considers how Personal Capital brings a human touch to robo-advising.
  • Bluefin Payment Systems partners with 3Delta Systems to provide Bluefin’s Decryptx Point-to-Point Encryption Solution to 3Delta clients.
  • Financial Post takes a look at how innovations like SelfPay from Digital Retail Apps are helping small businesses.
  • Feedzai wins Silver Stevie Award in Most Innovative Company of the Year category in the 12th Annual American Business Awards.
  • FTSE Global Markets looks at how Kensho, Motif Investing, FutureAdvisor, and Wealthfront are leveraging big data and big computing.
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 23, 2014

  • CEOs and founders from eToro, BehavioSec, TransferWise, The Currency Cloud, and Nutmeg earn spots on FN’s 40 fintech leaders list.
  • Bill Harris, Personal Capital CEO, featured on CNBC to Personal Capital and how it differs from robo-advisors.
  • Investment News looks at the humans behind FutureAdvisor’s robo-advisors.
  • Betterment adds municipal bonds asset class to make client’s non-IRA portfolios more efficient.
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.

Behind the Scenes with Digital Retail Apps and Verde International

Behind the Scenes with Digital Retail Apps and Verde International

And so, because all good things must come to an end, we’ve reached the final installment of our Behind the Scenes series. It has been a pleasure highlighting the companies that became new Finovate alums after being accepted to demo at FinovateSpring 2014.

We’ve taken a good look at 23 Finovate newcomers in the week since our spring conference in San Jose. If you’re looking to get caught up, here’s a list that will connect you with all the previous installments in the series.

So now that you’re ready to go, come with us and meet two more newcomers to the Finovate family: mobile shopping innovator, Digital Retail Apps, and alternative credit decisioning specialist, Verde International.

What they do
From the perspective of Digital Retail Apps, it doesn’t matter how efficient your payment device is if you are still waiting in line with everybody else.
Instead, Digital Retail Apps has launched Self-Pay. Self-Pay is a technology that allows consumers to pay for items in store with their mobile devices, and have those purchases confirmed by mobile device-equipped sales personnel rather than waiting in line.
The goal, in the words of company founder and CEO Wendy MacKinnon Keith, is to have consumers spending more time shopping and buying, and less time standing and waiting.
Digital Retail Apps launched Self-Pay last December at a beauty salon in Edmonton, Canada. During an anniversary event in the store the following spring, Self-Pay represented 8% of in-store transactions, with 78% of the Self-Pay shoppers opening accounts that day. From the company’s perspective, this is evidence that consumers will readily download and use a mobile app alternative to waiting in line.
The stats
  • Founded in March 2012
  • Launched SelfPay in May 2014
  • Has $500,000 in self-funded capital
  • Less than 10 employees
The experience
“We’ve finally integrated shopping and paying in one seamless flow,” says Wendy during a conversation at FinovateSpring 2014. And seamless is an apt description for the Self-Pay experience. Shoppers in a store where Self-Pay is available simply scan the QR codes of the items they want to purchase with the camera on their mobile device. The Self-Pay mobile app keeps the product data in a cart, just as shopper would encounter while doing online e-commerce.
When the shopper is ready to check out, rather than head over to the register and hope the line isn’t too long, all she needs to do is bring her mobile device to a salesperson who is also carrying a Self-Pay enabled mobile device. The salesperson can then confirm the sale, and the shopper is quickly on her way. 
What’s interesting – and what was in evidence at the Lux Beauty Salon Self-Pay launch noted above – is that the time spent not waiting in line is often instead spent doing more shopping. Wendy found that the receipts for Self-Pay transactions were 17% higher than non Self-Pay transactions during Lux’s anniversary day event, and doubts that is a coincidence. “Lines change behavior,” she says.
Self-Pay leverages Beacon technology in a number of ways, from welcoming shoppers when they enter stores where Self-Pay is available, to reminders to “come back soon” the next time the shopper is in the area. It is easy to imagine this technology being leveraged further, with highly-targeted offers, for example.
Over the balance of the year, Digital Retail Apps hopes to pilot with much larger retailers. Self-Pay is fully-integrated with Beanstream, LightSpeed, Shopify, and Vend POS software, helping pave the way for wide adoption. A pilot with a major retailer by 2015 is among the company’s goals.
In the meanwhile, Digital Retail Apps remains focused on solving the needs of end users, reducing friction as much as possible. Technology should help consumers focus on what Wendy calls “the delight of the shopping experience” as opposed to the payment experience, where she sees most of the innovation focusing. “We are not payers, we are shoppers,” she says.

What they do
Are borrowers more than just credit risks to be managed? Or are borrowers fully financial and economic entities that are often more than the sum of their credit scores?
It may sound crazy in this post-financial crisis era, but Verde International is making a strong case for the latter.
In the words of Verde International’ s Chief Operating Officer Jason Daniels, Verde International’s goal is to help financial institutions capture the $140 billion in net income of dollars “left on the table” due to the inability of FI’s to properly serve retail and business customers deemed poor credit risks. Unveiling their loan decisioning technology, Aurora, at FinovateSpring, the company is showing how big data and big analytics can help lenders catch many potential borrowers who are otherwise falling through the cracks.
My conversation with Verde International CEO Pat Reily was a fascinating excursion into the world of lending at the margin. “As we move beyond the very best credit customers,” he explained. “Denial rates go up in part because models are poor.”
“Looking at out of the mainstream customers with mainstream tools,” he said, is a sure path to what he calls “alienated customers.” It also offers us a new way of looking at a lending market, the subprime market, in a way that is also very much out of fashion in recent years.
“Subprime isn’t bad,” Pat said. “There may not be enough information or a life event. These factors go unseen.”
The stats
  • Founded in June 2006
  • Product launched in April 2014
  • Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia
The experience
Verde Aurora looks to both improve loan terms and to help FIs meet the unmet demand Jason and Pat spoke of. The technology starts by predicting payment behavior and uses these predictions as a basis to set up pro forms for each set of loan terms.
Each possible loan term option is given optimal terms that satisfy both the customer and investor return expectations. Verde International calls this part of the process “getting to the best guess” and explains how it differs from the “fast” but “crude” traditional approach that focuses almost exclusively on “rates on scorecards.”
Instead, Verde International relies on advanced, market-specific modeling, as well as customer experience, to predict not only repayment behavior (including default risk), but repayment timing and magnitude, also. This nuanced attention to behavior helps the company understand the complex relationship between behavior and pricing. “This is a simultaneous problem requiring a simultaneous, convergent solution,” said Jason.
Aurora lets clients test their financial assumptions around their policy thresholds. Everything from fees and costs, collateral and cost of capital can be seen alongside real world loan application scenarios. These initial loan terms are compared with optimized terms calculated by Verde Aurora to provide clients with a base from which to make further adjustments.
In the examples provided, the adjustment for the given loan included a term adjustment that extended the life of the loan. The idea in this instance was that a loan with a potential charge-off later in its life was more valuable than a loan that had the potential for an earlier charge-off date.
The goal is to create a win-win for all stakeholders involved: competitive pricing for borrowers, a fair return for shareholder risk, and terms that meet the letter and spirit of fair lending. Above is a screenshot showing a comparison of cash flows for the optimized solution versus collateral value in the sample loan.
And below is a screenshot of Verde Aurora’s loan origination system (although the platform plays well with most common loan origination systems). Aurora provides a final evaluation of the loan terms as requested, an evaluation that even includes a counteroffer in the event that it can improve on the terms initially offered.
Looking forward, Pat seems a number of opportunities for Verde International and Aurora, real estate and the mortgage area is one, particularly as it relates to the economics of the secondary market. He said the company is also looking into the possibility of integrating a mobile web app for loan origination with top fraud and ID verification resources. “If you’re going to lend well in a non-traditional environment, you need to meet (people) where they are,” Pat said, adding that features as straightforward as push alerts and similar reminders could also become a part of the platform by early 2015. The goal, he said, “is to increase the quality of the engagement.”
But in many ways it is the underlying insight that not only guides the technology, but the mission of the company as well. “If you take away nothing else,” said Jason from the Finovate stage, ” it’s that underwriting loans is not just a credit risk decision.”
In conversation late on Wednesday as the conference attendees were making their way downstairs for the Best of Show announcements, Pat echoes those sentiments: “I’m passionate about giving people a rung on the ladder.  For example, the nature of the job matters. Consider a farm worker. What kind of cash flow can we expect from this borrower? Making the payment easy to digest is critical.”

Finovate Alums LendingRobot, Wallaby Among 2014 Innotribe New York Winners

Finovate Alums LendingRobot, Wallaby Among 2014 Innotribe New York Winners

Today, New York. Tomorrow, Boston and the world.

LendingRobot and Wallaby Financial were among the five companies to win the 2014 Innotribe Startup Challenge in New York last week. The two companies will join fellow winners, Epiphyte, Juntos Finanzas, and Standard Treasury – as well as winners from competitions held in Singapore and London – for the final competition in Boston this September where an overall winner for 2014 will be crowned.


LendingRobot demoed its technology at FinovateSpring 2014 in San Jose. The company’s solution not only helps investors manage their P2P loan portfolios, but also uses automation to help them compete against experienced and institutional investors who themselves use technology to spot the best loans available from companies like Lending Club.


Wallaby Financial helps consumers choose which credit card in their wallet is the optimal one to use with any given transaction. Demoing its Wallet Boost technology as part of the FinovateSpring show in 2013, Wallaby was recently in the news announcing a new service called WalletUp. Available from its new partner,, WalletUp makes it even easier for consumers to have and use the best mix of credit cards for them.
Also participating in the Innotribe competition in New York were a handful of other Finovate alums including CUneXus, Socure, and Digital Retail Apps. See FinovateSpring 2014 demos of CUneXus here, and Digital Retail Apps here. Socure’s demo from FinovateFall 2013 is available here.

Digital Retail Apps Previews its Consumer Engagement Solution, SelfPay

Digital Retail Apps Previews its Consumer Engagement Solution, SelfPay

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

Our next presenter is the team from Digital Retail Apps demoing SelfPay.

SelfPay helps merchants engage each shopper in-aisle, item in hand and on their mobile device. As a shopper nears a store, they’re located via iBeacon and location services – no need to check in or search for an app. SelfPay welcomes the shopper and displays the store’s brands, items, descriptions and pricing. Shoppers can purchase items in-app to take home right away – no more waiting in line just to pay. 
SelfPay extends the POS to the shopper’s mobile device and purchases are settled with the existing merchant account, posting immediately to the POS. As a wallet aggregator, SelfPay offers a wide choice of payment methods from credit cards to e-wallets. Also included is a patent-pending wireless purchase verification method, SP Verify.
Presenting: Wendy Keith (CEO & Founder), Jakub Ostapinksi (Marketing), and Susan MacKay (Marketing)
Product Launch: May 2014
Metrics: Beta launch retailer recorded 7% sales via SelfPay, official allowance confirmed from USPTO for claims protecting SelfPay IP; less than 10 employees; $500,000 in self-funded capital.
Product distribution strategy: Direct to Consumer (B2C), Direct to Business (B2B), through other fintech companies and platforms, licensed
HQ: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Founded: March 2012
Twitter: @digitalretail