Finastra Integrates FormFree into Mortgagebot Solution

Finastra Integrates FormFree into Mortgagebot Solution
  • Finastra is partnering with FormFree, a SaaS company that helps lenders assess consumers’ ability to pay.
  • Finastra will integrate FormFree’s AccountChek into its Mortgagebot solution to help lenders make faster underwriting decisions.
  • Mortgagebot was among the first companies to demo at a Finovate event, having won Best of Show at FinovateFall 2007.

With unpredictable housing markets and interest rates, banking software company Finastra is stepping in to remove a bit of the sting from the process of purchasing a new home. The company is partnering with FormFree, a SaaS company that helps banks assess consumers’ ability to pay (ATP).

Under the partnership, Finastra will leverage FormFree’s AccountChek, a data verification service that bundles asset, income, and employment verification to help lenders make better-informed decisions. Finastra will integrate AccountChek into its Mortgagebot solution to help lenders make faster loan decisions while mitigating risk.

“FormFree provided us with the perfect solution to help further streamline what is traditionally a very manual and labor-intensive task,” said Finastra VP of Mortgage and Origination Steve Hoke. “For both lenders and borrowers, this added verification capability to our lending solution will have a significant impact on the loan cycle, creating a more efficient, secure and inclusive process.”

AccountChek uses borrower-permissioned data from applicants’ assets, income, and employment information. AccountChek retrieves and formats the data into underwriter-friendly reports that offer transparency for better, faster credit decisioning with reduced fraud risk.

FormFree Founder and CEO Brent Chandler said that the partnership has the potential to help lenders increase access to homeownership. “Notably, the integration makes it easier for lenders to support the government sponsored enterprises’ verification initiatives that help expand access to homeownership and streamline processes without incurring additional risk,” said Chandler. “Combined, Finastra and FormFree’s technologies and shared vision for fair and inclusive access to home financing will help lenders deliver an elevated borrower experience.”

Finastra launched in 2017 as a merger between Misys and D+H. The latter acquired Mortgagebot in 2011 for $232 million. Mortgagebot was among the first companies to demo at a Finovate event, having won Best of Show at FinovateFall 2007.


Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

EU Toughens Crypto AML Rules; ADGM Academy and Singapore University Promote Fintech Literacy

EU Toughens Crypto AML Rules; ADGM Academy and Singapore University Promote Fintech Literacy

One of the many fascinating conversations I enjoyed at FinovateEurope last week was my chat with Trulioo Chief Technology Officer Hal Lonas. Among the topics we discussed was the way evolving regulations were impacting the business of keeping financial services companies compliant with regard to KYC and AML requirements.

This week we learned that the European parliament is moving closer to embracing another measure to tighten rules with regard to financial services – in this case, cryptocurrency transactions. Members of two parliamentary committees this week approved new rules to ban anonymous cryptocurrency transactions as part of an overall European Union-wide anti-money laundering campaign.

The new regulations will require all transfers of cryptocurrencies, regardless of size, to include information on the source and the beneficiary of the assets involved. This information, which will be made available to regulators, would cover transactions from wallet addresses that are held by private users (“unhosted wallets”). The new requirements, however, would not apply to P2P transfers made without an intervening provider.

“Illicit flows in crypto assets move largely undetected across Europe and the world,” Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs co-rapporteur Ernest Urtasun explained. “(This) makes them an ideal instrument for ensuring anonymity.”

The new policy has its critics. Supporters such as Urtasun have pointed to the disclosures of the Panama and Pandora Papers as good reasons for bringing additional scrutiny to cryptocurrency transactions. But critics such as Paul Grewal, Chief Legal Officer with Coinbase, suggest that the new regulations are based on a false premise: that cryptocurrencies represent a significant vehicle for illegal activity.

“The truth is that digital assets are in generally a markedly inferior way for criminals to hide their illicit financial activity,” Grewal wrote in a blog post earlier this week. “That’s why, according to the best research available, by far the most popular way to hide illicit financial activity remains cash.”

By contrast, Grewal noted “digital assets and the immutable nature of their blockchain technology actually enhances the ability to detect and deter illicit activity.”

The proposed legislation will now be voted on by the full parliament and national ministers.


April is Financial Literacy Month. Be sure to check out our themed coverage of financial literacy both on the Finovate blog in general and here in Finovate Global in specific all month long.

To this end, we found news of the Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by the Abu Dhabi Global Market Academy (ADGMA) and the National University of Singapore’s Asian Institute of Digital Finance (AIDF) to be especially noteworthy.

The goal of the pact is to help bring thought leadership to the fintech community and bolster the fintech ecosystem in Abu Dhabi “and beyond.” There are three main pillars to the agreement: research and publication, technology development, and knowledge dissemination – each of which contributes differently toward the goal of facilitating knowledge exchange across regions and encouraging research collaboration.

What’s interesting about this initiative is the way it supports financial literacy and education among professionals already in the field of financial services. “We, at AIDF, look forward to the close collaborations with ADGMA in research advancements, the education of skilled professionals, and nurturing of FinTech entrepreneurs,” Duan Jin-Chuan, Executive Director of the Asian Institute of Digital Finance at the National University of Singapore, said. “We see these activities as a vital component in pursing a better future for our countries.”

The ADGM Academy, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, was established in 2018 to build expertise, financial education, and literacy in the region. The Academy is part of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), an international financial center, and features coursework areas including banking and finance, digital and fintech, and entrepreneurship, as well as national, personal, and professional development.


FinovateEurope ended just a few days ago. Of all our events, our London conference often provides the best showcase for international fintech innovation – especially from developing economies and parts of the world not always considered to be fintech hubs in spite of their economies.

Below is a quick run-down of companies in this category that demoed their latest solutions at FinovateEurope last month.


Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Asia-Pacific

Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia


Photo by ArtHouse Studio

Filipino Neobank Tonik Secures $131 Million; Latin American Payments Company EBANX Turns Ten

Filipino Neobank Tonik Secures $131 Million; Latin American Payments Company EBANX Turns Ten

Tonik, a digital neobank based in the Philippines, has secured $131 million in a Series B round that will help the institution expand in the Philippines, as well as throughout Asia. The investment was led by Mizuho Bank of Japan, and gives the company $175 million in total funding.

Also participating in this week’s Series B funding round were Prosus Ventures, Sixteenth Street Capital, Nuri Group, and individual investor Rahul Mehta, co-founder of DST Partners. Valuation estimates were not immediately available.

Launched in the Philippines in the spring of 2021, Tonik has been one of of the fastest growing new banks, topping $100 million in consumer deposits in its first eight months of operation. The neobank has partnered with Finovate alums Finastra for its cloud-based core banking proposition, NICE Actimize for its AML technology, and Daon for its biometric authentication solutions. In the Philippines, where more than 70% of the population is unbanked, Tonik sees a $140 billion retail deposit market and an unsecured lending opportunity of $100 billion.

“The partnership with Mizuho will provide Tonik with enhanced access to the international wholesale funding markets and world-class managerial talent, as well as serve as a fantastic platform for our future international expansion,” Krasnov said.

Tonik offers a variety of retail financial products, including deposits, loans, current accounts, payments, and cards. The first licensed, digital-only bank in Southeast Asia, Tonik began this year with a partnership with Google Cloud. The neobank will leverage Google Cloud’s platform as part of its strategic to boost financial inclusion and open banking in the Philippines.

EBANX Emerges from its First Decade

Last month we highlighted Latin American payments company EBANX and its expanded operations in Mexico. This month, we congratulate the Brazil-based fintech on its 10-year anniversary.

“In these 10 years, we have been able to witness important transformations in the digital market, in the payments industry, and in innovation ecosystems around the world,” EBANX co-founder and CEO João Del Valle said in a statement. “We are pleased to have actively participated in these movements in Brazil and Latin America, using cutting-edge technology and local knowledge.”

With nearly a billion total payments processed and offices in ten countries, EBANX notched more than 110 percent in processed volume last year. Also in 2021, EBANX launched its EBANX One payments platform that unites all of its payment solutions via a single integration, acquired a pair of Brazilian fintechs Juno and Remessa Online, and raised $430 million in Series B funding. Already in 2022, EBANX has opened new offices in Mexico City and appointed former Google VP Paula Bellizia as its new president of Global Payments.

“Today is the day to celebrate all the achievements so far,” Del Valle said, “but, above all, to outline the new challenges ahead, always with the clear mission of creating more access between people and companies from all over the world.”


FinovateEurope 2022 is just one month away. If you are an innovative fintech company with new technology to show, then there’s no better time than now and no better forum than FinovateEurope. To learn more about how to demo your latest innovation at FinovateEurope 2022 in London, March 22-23, visit our FinovateEurope hub today!


Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Asia-Pacific

Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean


Photo by Mel Casipit from Pexels

Chilean Fintechs Secure Millions; EBANX and Amazon Forge Payments Partnership

Chilean Fintechs Secure Millions; EBANX and Amazon Forge Payments Partnership

Fintech companies from Chile made headlines this week, taking their rightful place alongside the innovators in neighboring countries like Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, which have tended to dominate conversations about the surge in financial technology in Latin America in recent years.

Xepelin, a Chilean company that offers a financial services platform designed especially for small businesses, raised $30 million in equity along with another $200 million in debt facilities. The equity financing was led by Kaszek Ventures, a Latin American VC fund, and featured participation from DST Global and a number of angel investors. The company’s debt facility were provided by asset managers and hedge funds based in Latin America as well as the U.S.

Xepelin focuses on enabling small businesses to secure organize their financial data in real time, as well as apply for – and receive – short-term financing easily and quickly. The company says that SMEs can apply for working capital loans “with three clicks” and receive their funding “in a matter of hours.”

With a monthly growth rate of 30%, Xepelin said it has more than 4,000 clients in Mexico and Chile, and has loaned more than $400 million to small businesses in those countries. The company said that the new capital will help it ensure that all small businesses in Latin America will have access to both financial services and financial capital. Xepelin also noted that it is looking to expand beyond the B2B space to provide a broader range of services to small businesses and companies in the region.


Helping employers improve the financial health of workers is the mission of Quansa, another Chilean fintech that raised $3.6 million in new capital this week. Quansa combines financial education with financial management tools to give companies in Chile the ability to offer their employees a more holistic benefits package. Quansa’s platform provides personalized financial guidance, access to flexible salaries, and debt management resources to more than 2,000 workers currently.

The seed funding round was led by Valor Capital Group and featured participation from Pear VC, Norte, Magma Partners, Sequoia Scouts, as well as a number of angel investors.

Quansa co-founder Mafalda Barros pointed to the challenge of debt that many Chilean workers struggle with, and noted that 70% of workers say that they feel as if they have little control over their finances. “It’s just as important to understand how to manage your money as it is to have access to these services,” Barrros said. “We teach users how to organize and manage their bills, use financial tools, start saving and, of course, to spend better.”


Not all big fintech headlines out of Latin America were related to funding and venture capital. EBANX, a payments solution provider based in Brazil, and Amazon have teamed up to enable Amazon Prime Video customers in Peru to subscribe to the service and make payments in local currency rather than in U.S. dollars.

“Localized solutions deeply improve the online purchasing experience for Peruvians and all Latin Americans, helping them to access the best services around the world – in addition to broadening the total addressable market of companies in the LatAm region,” EBANX co-founder and CEO João Del Valle said. “And this two-way street of access is precisely what we work for everyday at EBANX. That is why we are very excited about this collaboration with Amazon Prime Video in Peru.”

Founded in 2012, EBANX is among the leading payment platforms in Latin America. The company offers more than 100 local payment methods and brought access to financial products and services to more than 70 million Latin Americans. Last month, the company secured $430 million in funding from Advent International. This spring, EBANX launched operations in Central America, expanding its total reach to 15 countries. The company has said it plans to offer shares to the public via IPO “in the coming months.”


Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean

Asia-Pacific

Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe


Photo by Alisha Lubben from Pexels

Fabrick, Open Banking, and an Update on Fintech in Italy

Fabrick, Open Banking, and an Update on Fintech in Italy

Last week, we leveraged the occasion of French alum Ledger’s new, cryptocurrency-focused, business division to bring readers up to speed on the latest in French fintech. This week, news from Fabrick, a financial services company based in Milan (and a sponsor of the just-concluded FinovateEurope Digital) offers us a similar opportunity to catch up with innovations in fintech in Italy.

Fabrick announced this week that it had forged a partnership with Microsoft Italia. The collaboration will enable the open banking financial services provider to leverage cloud computing and other new technologies to develop solutions that help accelerate digital transformation in financial services. As part of the alliance, Fabrick’s offering will become a part of the Microsoft Commercial Marketplace and enable the company to better market its technology to the enterprise sector. Fabrick’s personal financial management solution is already available on Microsoft’s marketplace.

“For us, the partnership with Microsoft represents an extraordinary opportunity to grow and strengthen our positioning in the market,” Fabrick CEO Paolo Zaccardi said. “We have found a valuable ally who, like us, has seen in technological evolution and Open Finance a new way to innovate the delivery of corporate services for the end user.”

Founded in 2017, Fabrick is an open banking ecosystem and a regulated TPP. Within digital payments, channel innovation, and open banking, Fabrick helps enrich the offerings of banks, processors, and fintechs. With customers including Bankart, HDI Assicurazioni, and illimity, Fabrick made fintech headlines earlier this year via collaborations with DizmeID Foundation for a hackathon based on innovations in digital identity, and with Banca Progetto and Faire to help the Italian challenger bank offer an instant lending service for small and medium-sized businesses.

“We are particularly enthusiastic about this collaboration because it testifies to the validity of the ecosystem proposed by Fabrick,” Zaccardi said when the partnership was announced last month. “On the one hand (we have) the capacity of our platform, through which the service will be implemented, and on the other the important synergies that arise within our community Fintech District, of which Faire is part and through which we have begun to collaborate with them.”


Like France, which we looked at last week, Italy has a fintech industry that is often overlooked in the broader conversation on European financial technology. To this end, this week’s Finovate Global Reports turns to the Fintech District and its The Italian Fintech Guide 2020 for a peek into “the most promising fintech companies operating in Italy.”

According to Fintech District, Italy had 345 fintech startups as of the end of 2019. It is a young industry – with most startups at an intermediate stage of growth and with less than one million in capital raised. Additionally, these fintech teams have members who are, on average, less than 32 years old. As with most regions, fintechs in Italy have increasingly been looking to enhance the digital capabilities of incumbent banks and insurance companies – as well as developing B2C solutions for Italian consumers. Open banking has helped accelerate this trend, and companies like Fabrick have been among those helping banks and third party solution providers connect and innovate together.

To learn more about fintech in Italy, check out IBS Intelligence’s 5 Italian FinTech companies transforming the financial sector from last fall. For a more inclusive look, consider Italian entrepreneur Claudio Bedino’s Top 100 FinTech leaders and influencers in Italy that appeared a year before IBS Intelligence’s roundup.

In recent years, our FinovateEurope conferences have featured a number of alums headquartered in Italy, as well. Ten of these companies, along with the year of their most recent Finovate appearance and their home city, are listed below.


Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean

Asia-Pacific

  • Gimo, a fintech startup that serves underbanked workers in Vietnam, received seed funding from ThinkZone Ventures, BK Fund, and others strategic investors.
  • Jakarta, Indonesia-based insurtech, Qoala, acquired Thai insurech FairDee in bid to expand into the Thailand market.
  • Malaysia Debt Ventures and Kenanga partnered to launch a new $73 million fund to back new fintechs and stimulate the VC industry in Malaysia.

Photo by Emily Geibel from Pexels

Ten Finovate Alums Join FedNow Instant Payments Pilot Program

Ten Finovate Alums Join FedNow Instant Payments Pilot Program

More than two years in the making, the FedNow payments initiative – launched by the U.S. Federal Reserve to accelerate payments and transfers – is picking up speed. The project currently has more than 110 banks, financial services providers, and other organizations slated to participate, and among them are ten Finovate alums.

“We’re gratified by the industry’s tremendous interest and willingness to devote time and energy to help us develop the FedNow Service,” Esther George, executive sponsor of the Federal Reserve’s payments improvement initiatives, said. George, who is also President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, added that the pilot has had to “adjust” to accommodate greater than expected interest.

The idea behind the service is to expand the reach of instant payment services offered by financial institutions and enable businesses and individuals to send and receive instant payments, with full access to their funds within seconds. The FedNow Service will leverage the Federal Reserve’s FedLine network, which connects to more than 10,000 financial institutions directly or via their agents.

The pilot program is designed to review the technology’s features and functionality, assess the user experience, and greenlight the product for further testing and eventual general availability. Participating institutions will be retained, post-launch, to provide additional review and advice with regard to issues like adoption roadmap, industry readiness, and overall payments strategy.

“The FedNow Service marks a turning point in the industry’s move to making real-time payments a reality,” Booshan Rengachari, founder and CEO of Finzly, explained. Finzly is one of Finovate’s newest alums – most recently demoing its technology at FinovateWest Digital last fall – and is one of the participants in FedNow’s pilot program.

Rengachari further suggested that this “turning point” was a moment his company had anticipated. “We created our Payment Hub specifically to help FIs prepare and go to market faster with newer RTP networks,” he said. Finzly’s CEO added that this helps “address the challenges of offering single payment API for multiple payment networks without having to run disparate payment systems from multiple vendors.”

The 10 Finovate alums participating in the FedNow project are listed below.


Photo by Inge Wallumrød from Pexels

Alliance in the Americas: Constellation Software Acquires Infocorp

Alliance in the Americas: Constellation Software Acquires Infocorp

The decision by Canada’s Constellation Software to acquire Uruguayan technology firm – and Finovate alum – Infocorp earlier this year is a reminder of the vibrancy of the fintech ecosystems thriving in the countries to the north and south of the U.S. The acquisition was completed in June via Constellation Software’s U.S.-based subsidiary Aquila.

“We have been looking for a partner to support us as we move to our next level of experience for our clients,” InfoCorp CEO Ana Inex Echavarren said. “We are excited to join Aquila and the Constellation family as they believe in long-term relationships, and the ‘buy and hold forever’ approach supports us in our focus on long term growth with our clients.”

Montevideo-based InfoCorp offers its customers an omnichannel banking platform that leverages the latest advanced technologies – conversational AI, machine learning, voice recognition, and chatbots – to build solutions to better engage and serve financial services customers. With clients such as Banco Santander, Banco de Bogota, Banco Internacional, and Towerbank, the 25+ year old company made its Finovate debut in 2017, demonstrating its marketing and commercial actions orchestrator platform that enables more agile, personalized, marketing campaigns that lead to higher conversion rates and ROI.

“InfoCorp has an inspiring focus on their clients,” Aquila CEO Mike Byrne said. “To produce solutions that connect the banks with their clients is such a deep passion for the team at InfoCorp. We are really looking forward to working with the group.” Operations at InfoCorp will remain the same, post-acquisition, with Echavarren continuing as CEO and the company keeping its client portfolio and offices. InfoCorp has 250+ workers in its development and innovation centers in Santiago de Chile, Montevideo, and Colonia.

In fact, the company announced last month that it is looking to expand into both Mexico and Argentina in the wake of the acquisition, with potential expansion to Europe, Canada, and the U.S., as well. Echavarren told BNamericas that the company is currently growing at a rate of 40% to 50% a year over the past five years and is looking at investments to power Infocorp’s ability to enter bigger markets.

The fintech ecosystem in Uruguay is often overlooked compared to the fintech industries in other Latin American nations such as Mexico and Brazil – both of which Uruguay borders. With a population of approximately three and a half million, the country is the second smallest in South America and gets high marks on a number of metrics including democracy, low perception of corruption, and e-government. Uruguay is regarded as a “high-income country” by the United Nations.

In its look at fintech in Uruguay, Contxto highlighted a baker’s dozen of companies that are not only growing regionally, but moving closer to expansion worldwide. The feature divides the country’s fintech industry into five components: payments, exchange, open banking, investments, and what it calls “fintech enterprise services (FES).” This primarily involves providing fintech solutions to online financial services companies.


Here is our look at fintech around the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • A partnership with Standard Chartered Bank will enable Airtel Africa to build its fintech business and help support financial inclusion.
  • South African digital banking platform provider Ukheshe earns finalist spot in the 2020 Ecobank Fintech Challenge.
  • ThisDayLive features VC investor Ameya Upadhyay on the challenge of startup development in Africa.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Fintech Futures takes a look at financial inclusion in Russia.
  • Poland’s mPay teams up with iDenfy to bring biometric facial recognition and other identity verification technologies to its mobile payments platform.
  • Romania’s PayByFace brings its biometric facial recognition technology to Up Romania cardholders, enabling biometric purchases as participating stores and restaurants.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • CIH Bank of Morocco partners with Finastra for a remote implementation of the company’s Fusion Corporate Channels and Fusion Trade Innovation systems.
  • Cairo, Egypt-based payments-as-a-service fintech Paymob raises $3.5 million in funding.
  • National Bank of Oman enables cardless ATM transactions.

Central and Southern Asia

  • MEDICI featured Indian regtech startup Signzy in its RegTech Top 21 Startups for 2020 roster. Signzy is the only Indian regtech to make the list.
  • Reserve Bank of India announces offline digital payments pilot project.
  • JCB International and PJSCB Orient Finans initiate merchant acquiring operations in Uzbekistan.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mexican lending platform Creze raises $12 million.
  • Rapyd partners with PayMyTuition to boost the company’s ability to accept bank transfer-based payments from countries in Latin America and the Asia Pacific region.
  • WorldRemit teams up with a pair of Mexican neobanks, albo and Klar.

Asia-Pacific

  • Ayoconnect, a billpay network based in Indonesia, raises $5 million in pre-Series B funding.
  • Southeast Asian fintech TrueMoney teams up with cross-border payments firm Thunes to expand its remittance business.
  • Vietnamese digital banking platform Timo announces new partnership with Viet Capital Bank.

Top image designed by Freepik

MENA and Open Banking: A Conversation with Mohammed Aziz of Dapi

MENA and Open Banking: A Conversation with Mohammed Aziz of Dapi

This week for Finovate Global, we caught up with Mohammed Aziz, co-founder and CEO of Dapi, a fintech startup that offers a suite of open banking APIs to help connect customer bank accounts, initiate payments, and access data in real-time. Founded in 2019, the company currently operate in six countries in the Middle East and Africa, and is headquartered in both San Francisco, California, and the UAE.

We talked about the opportunity for open banking to fuel innovation in financial services in emerging economies, as well as the overall environment for fintech innovation in the MENA region. We also discussed the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on pre-existing trends such as digitization.

Finovate: Dapi is the third company you’ve founded, but your first fintech. What made you want to focus on the opportunities in this industry? What do you bring to fintech from your experience in other areas?

Mohammed Aziz: Dapi was the result of a problem that I personally faced when trying to build “Spendy” a hybrid between a peer to peer payment application and a personal financial management app. We were unable to build out Spendy for most emerging markets due to the lack of bank connectivity which got us super keen to build out the underlying infrastructure that would power the future of fintech in these markets.

Finovate: Tell us about Dapi. What problem does your company solve and who are your primary customers?

Aziz: Dapi’s mission is to provide the building blocks for a thriving fintech ecosystem in emerging markets around the world. Our API serves as the bridge between financial applications and banks, empowering developers to create digital wallets, budget trackers, investment applications and more. Our clients are developers working on fintech applications, businesses hoping to include financial services in their mobile and web offerings, and anyone that wants to include bank functionality within their digital offerings.

Finovate: Your business strategy relies on an embrace of open banking in the MENA region. How strong is the movement toward open banking there?

Aziz: The MENA region is a very exciting space to be operating in right now. Fintech is only beginning to develop here and the market is pretty much untapped, so we are hoping to serve as an influence towards the region embracing open banking and all the opportunities that come with that. I would also like to point out that we are able to activate and build connectivity regardless of open banking being present or not. We like to take the approach that companies like Plaid in the US or Truelayer in the UK did, whereby they were connected to banks despite frameworks and regulation being in place.

Finovate: Aside from open banking, what are some of the other exciting trends in the fintech industry in the Middle East/Abu Dhabi right now?

Aziz: There’s a general trend of growing interest for the kinds of applications that financial technology empowers, from digital wallets and peer to peer applications to investment platforms and digital banks. The market is new and rapidly evolving. 

Finovate: We talk about the Middle East and North Africa as a region. But there is a great deal of variation among countries in MENA. How does this impact your ability to market your technology in the area?

Aziz: Beyond market considerations, the regulation surrounding the use of APIs in financial applications varies greatly from country to country. This is a new and mostly unregulated space, but we have had to consider completely separate approaches to integrating our services in the UAE as opposed to KSA, for example. Culture is also another important factor, as it varies between countries and impacts the products that you would want to launch along with the go-to-market approach. 

Finovate: How has COVID-19 impacted the fintech industry in the region? Early in the crisis, we heard news from countries like Iran, but not as much since. How are businesses, especially fintech businesses, faring?

Aziz: The COVID-19 pandemic and its push towards social distancing and remote work  has actually increased interest in digitization of financial services. For example, there have been a number of announcements within the UAE that the country will be moving towards enabling more online payments and other financial services without the need to physically go to a bank.

Finovate: You participated in the Y Combinator program. What was that experience like? What advice do you have for startups with the opportunity to pursue a similar path with a top-notch accelerator?

Aziz: Y Combinator has been a phenomenal experience for us. It really put us out there on the map and helped expand our network in silicon valley. From our experience, investors and VCs in the US are not usually convinced about investing in early stage MENA startups, but YC really helps establish that credibility.  

Finovate: Tell us about your experience of setting up your business in Abu Dhabi.

Aziz: Abu Dhabi is an exciting place to work, since it is a rapidly growing and developing market, as mentioned above. Furthermore, we have received a lot of support from our involvement in ADGM and Hub71, which provided resources for us to establish and grow our operations in these beginning stages. 

Finovate: What can we expect from Dapi over the balance of 2020 and beyond?

Aziz: We are very excited to continue growing and expanding into a variety of developing markets, beyond the UAE. At the same time, we have a number of exciting partnerships in our sights for the UAE, which we hope will bring our vision of a strong fintech ecosystem in the MENA region closer to reality.


Here is our look at fintech around the world.

Asia-Pacific

  • Singapore-based MatchMove launches cross-border remittance platform for businesses.
  • Clik, a payment aggregator and merchant acquirer based in Cambodia, raises $3.7 million in seed funding.
  • Leading Asian financial services platform GoBear teams up with UnionBank to launch lending-as-a-service solution in the Philippines; announces new Chief Financial Officer.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Fiserv inks partnership with Absa Regional Operations (ARO) to enhance credit card management and processing in nine African countries.
  • Ecobank Group unveils the finalists for its fintech challenge, now in its third year. Ten African startups from seven different countries made the cut out of an applicant pool of more than 600.
  • Salaam Gateway looks at the development of Islamic fintech in Kenya.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Onfido to streamline digital identity verification for Poland’s Alior Bank.
  • Russia’s Tinkoff Bank launches new charitable program, Cashback to Give Back.
  • Austrian regtech kompany lands $7.14 million in funding.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Salt Edge partners with Jordan Ahli Bank Cyprus, making it one of the first banking groups in Cyprus to achieve PSD2 compliance.
  • Israeli fintech Approve.com raises $5 million in seed funding for its technology that automates the procurement process.
  • Infosys Finacle to deploy its Liquidity Management platform with National Bank of Bahrain.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Uzbekistan’s People’s Bank partners with Finastra to automate its risk management business.
  • TerraPay collaborates with Bank Alfalah to enable instant money transfers to Pakistan.
  • Indian B2B fintech Signzy announces plans to hire “close to 70” employees over the next six moths in response to increased demand.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Feedzai expands partnership with PayU, enabling the company to enhance its fraud prevention capabilities in Latin America and the EMEA region.
  • TechCrunch profiles Mozper, a digital banking service based in Latin America that caters to parents and Gen Z kids.
  • MercadoLibre announces plans to launch branded credit cards in Brazil and Chile “in the near future.”

Five Ways Partnerships Between Banks and Fintechs Help Drive Innovation

Five Ways Partnerships Between Banks and Fintechs Help Drive Innovation

To steal a line from Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock, when it comes to innovation in fintech, it takes two to make a thing go right. Whether the “thing” is an end-to-end digital transformation or creating the technology infrastructure to enable firms to build and market their own innovations, collaboration and partnership with fintechs increasingly seems to be the path that the most forward-looking banks and other financial institutions are pursuing.

With this in mind, here’s a look at some of the more interesting recent partnership announcements over the past month – with an eye toward what these collaborations might be saying about the near-term future of fintech.

DBS Bank: Headquartered in Singapore. Total assets of $420 billion (SGD 579 billion) in 2019. Largest bank in Southeast Asia. Operates in 18 markets around the world.

  • Partner: Infor
  • Project: Digital trade financing
  • Objective: Faster “more cost efficient” financing for the 68,000+ SMEs on Infor’s Nexus network.

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC): Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Has 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S., and 34 other countries. Total assets of $1.2 trillion (1.49 trillion CAD) as of 2019.

  • Partner: Red Hat, Nvidia
  • Project: In-house, AI-based private cloud platform
  • Objective: The new build will allow the bank to develop “transformative intelligent applications” and to bring those solutions to market faster.

Orange: Telecommunications corporation headquartered in Paris, France. Fourth largest telecom in Europe and one of the ten largest in the world with 26 million customers. Total assets of $124 billion (€106 billion) and revenues of $49 billion (€42 billion) as of 2019.

  • Partner: Temenos, NSIA
  • Project: Orange Bank Africa launch
  • Objective: Partnership will bring savings and micro credit services to underserved customers in Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal.

Lloyds Banking Group Headquartered in London, U.K., Lloyds is the country’s largest digital bank with 16.9 million active customers online and 11.5 million on mobile. Founded in 1765, the bank currently has total assets of more than $1 billion (£833 billion).

  • Partner: Form3
  • Project: Along with partners Google Cloud and Microsoft, Form3 will help the U.K.-based bank “investigate and develop” a cloud-payments-as-a-service platform.
  • Objective: The collaboration, which also includes a minority equity stake in Form3, will simplify Lloyd’s payment capabilities and support enhanced data and new overlay services.

Banca Ifis: Specialty commercial and corporate banking firm for SMEs headquartered in Venice, Italy. The firm has more than 130,000 retail clients in the country, and online funding and deposits totaling more than $4.7 billion (€4 billion).

  • Partner: Raisin
  • Project: New deposit products
  • Objective: Raisin’s customers in Germany will gain access to deposit solutions available from Banca Ifis. The collaboration will enable German customers to take advantage of relatively higher interest rates available in Italy.

Other fintech/financial institution partnerships of note this month:


Photo by maitree rimthong from Pexels

Helping Secure Digital Identities; Managing Financial Crime Risk

Helping Secure Digital Identities; Managing Financial Crime Risk

Two of the biggest themes in fintech – digital identity and the rise of fintech in Central and Eastern Europe – meet in the latest announcement from biometric authentication specialist and Finovate Best of Show winner iProov. The company’s facial recognition technology now makes it easier for users of SK ID Solutions’ Smart-ID Service in countries like Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to renew their accounts without having to visit a physical bank branch.

“This is a major development for all digital identity providers,” iProov CEO Andrew Bud said. “Estonia has proved, for the first time, that a remote, automated, biometric ID verification service can deliver the highest possible levels of security.”

Recognized as equal to a handwritten signature throughout Europe, Smart-IDs enable users to authenticate themselves and provide permissions online using a smartphone app. iProov’s facial recognition technology adds a three-second scan to compare the image of the user to the image on their presented ID document to help defend against fraud and identity theft.

Smart-ID also leverages NFC-based ReadID document verification technology from InnoValor.

Financial crime risk management innovator Featurespace will be helping Enfuce combat fraud and money laundering courtesy of a newly announced partnership. Enfuce, a financial services firm based in Finland, will use Featurespace’s ARIC Risk Hub to enhance its ability to protect its customers from fraud and financial crime.

“Our clients deserve industry-leading services that allow them to freely and fully concentrate on the success of their core business, without worrying about ever-evolving fraud,” Enfuce co-founder and chair Monika Liikamaa said.

ARIC Risk Hub offers real-time transaction monitoring for fraud and financial crime, enabling institutions to identify and act against anomalous and potentially dangerous behavior as it occurs. The technology also reduces the number of false positives by as much as 70%, keeping anti-fraud processes efficient. Featurespace introduced its fraud-fighting technology to Finovate audiences at FinovateEurope 2016.


Here is a round up of recent news from our Finovate alumni.

  • Sezzle unveils new logo along with its first annual report.
  • Flybits expands its executive team in New York, Toronto, the U.K., and Dubai.
  • ID R&D updates voice biometric solution IDVoice.
  • M1 Finance surpasses $1 billion in assets on its platform.
  • Armor Bank selects Teslar Software’s automated workflow and portfolio management tools.
  • Mastercard partners with myPOS to boost adoption of card payment solutions among European SMEs.
  • Black Hills FCU selects nCino’s Bank Operating System.
  • Bazaarvoice launches partnership program with Yotpo as the piloting partner.
  • Keysafe inks partnership with Salt Edge to access tenants’ bank data without the need to acquire its own PSD2 license.
  • Lending Club appoints Annie Armstrong as Chief Risk Officer.
  • Assaray Trade and Investment Bank selects Temenos Infinity and Transact to power its digital transformation.
  • Long John Silver’s chooses Blackhawk Network for gift card program.
  • Trustly and Fly Norwegian team up to let travelers pay directly from their bank accounts.
  • Pindrop launches Deep Voice 3, the new version of its voice recognition technology.
  • Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga steps down, replaced by Chief Product Officer Michael Miebach.
  • Venmo to launch debit card for teens.
  • Almost 600 banks select Fiserv’s Turnkey Service for Zelle.
  • Finastra to offer ClickSWITCH’s account switching technolkogy to its clients.
  • Simmons Bank partners with Jack Henry to leverage its Banno platform to build a digital presence.
  • Currencycloud and Currensea team up.
  • Yseop and Automation Anywhere join forces to scale intelligent automation.
  • Lighter Capital appoints Kevin Fink at CTO and Patricia Elliott as CSO.
  • InComm launches Roblox gift cards in France and Germany.

Finovate Alum Features and Profiles

Revolut’s $500 Million Round Boosts Valuation to $5.5 Billion – Global financial platform Revolut has secured its place as the U.K.’s most valuable fintech.

Dealing with Deepfakes in Fintech – The fintech industry is ripe with security firms, such as iProov, that use AI to combat both video and audio deepfakes with anti-spoofing technologies.

Envestnet | Yodlee Acquires Indian Data Aggregator FinBit.io – Envestnet | Yodlee has acquired another asset in its strategy to further grow and develop its data aggregation and analytics business.

Meet Sonect: Cash Network Builder, Finovate Newcomer, Best of Show Winner – What’s better than having a large pizza with all your favorite toppings delivered to your front door? How about a side order of cash, saving you a trip to the ATM or bank branch?

Azimo Taps Ripple for Cross-Border Payments to the Philippines – Fueling these payment transfers is Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) solution that uses XRP to source liquidity and complete money transfers within three seconds.

Lendio Lands $55 Million to Match Small Businesses with Lenders – The investment more than doubles the company’s previous funding, bringing its total to $108.5 million.

SheerID Expands Identity Marketing Platform – The move enables brands to identify and acquire new customers across the globe.

Japan’s Digital Yen; Visa, Plaid, and the Opportunity for African Fintechs

With FinovateEurope less than a month away, Finovate Research has been busily putting together a variety of features looking at different issues surrounding fintech in Europe. These insights will be published in an upcoming special supplement; stay tuned for our celebration of and reflection on PSD2’s second birthday, our look at venture capital’s impact on the surging challenger bank movement, and more.

This week on the Finovate blog we covered the $115 million raised by French challenger bank Qonto, looked at the new banking license U.K. challenger bank Vive Bank just scored from the Bank of England, and reported on Nigeria-based mobile money operator Paga’s acquisition of U.S.-based Apposit.

Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazilian SME payments solution provider C6 reaches one million customer milestone.
  • EBANX launches 10,000-consumer trial of its digital wallet, Ebanx Go.
  • BNP Paribas to foster fintech innovation at new Sao Paulo startup hub, La Fabrique.

Asia-Pacific

  • Japan may be the next country to issue a digital version of its currency.
  • Finastra to power core banking for Asia digital-only bank, Tonik.
  • Fintech News Malaysia features the top 20 fintechs in the country in 2020.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • African payments startup Flutterwave locks in $35 million in new funding; announces partnerships with Visa and WorldPay.
  • What does Visa’s acquisition of Plaid mean for African fintech startups? Tech Cabal examines the opportunities for two of Nigeria’s top fintechs.
  • International Adviser looks at how broader financial literacy may be key to a “fintech revolution” in South Africa.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • German challenger bank N26 announces 40% customer increase with five million customers now using the institution’s products and services.
  • Poland’s Autenti, which enables digital agreement signing and provides e-document workflow, seals the deal on $4.48 million in new funding.
  • Members of Sberbank’s loyalty program can now share reward points with other members.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Dubai-based robo advisory platform Sarwa picks up $8.4 million in Series A funding.
  • MoneyGram partners with Suez Canal Bank enabling its MoneyGram customers worldwide to send funds directly to bank accounts in Egypt.
  • Startupbootcamp FinTech Dubai introduces its 2020 cohort. Three of the 10 startups selected are from the MENA region.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Cardholders in India will now be required to opt in to access contactless payments.
  • Pakistan-based ride-hailing and logistics company Bykea launches Bykea Cash to enable mobile wallet top-up and utility billpay.
  • Revenue-based financing platform GetVantage goes live in India.

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Top image designed by Freepik

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Capture-as-a-Service Specialist Ephesoft Partners with Malaysia’s Alliance Bank
  • Tinkoff Launches Super App, Integrating Finance, Leisure, and Lifestyle

Around the web

  • Trulioo brings its identity verification service to Nigeria and Ghana.
  • ID.me introduces new solution to help businesses to comply with California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
  • Greece’s Pancreta Bank partners with Finastra to enhance regulatory compliance.
  • ThetaRay taps Edward Sander as its new Chief Product Officer.

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.