Stratyfy Earns Spot in FIS Fintech Accelerator Incoming Cohort

Predictive analytics innovator Stratyfy is one of ten companies selected to participate in the incoming cohort of FIS’ 2020 Fintech Accelerator program.

“The ten companies selected for the fifth year of FIS’ Accelerator program bring a wealth of promising ideas and technologies,” FIS Chief Growth Officer Asif Ramji said. “We look forward to working with these firms to bring their ideas to life.”

Joining Stratyfy in the program are:

  • Cirrus Secure
  • Cobbler Technologies
  • Dasceq
  • Mall IQ
  • Sequretek
  • Silot
  • Surfly
  • TrustStamp
  • XpenseOne

Seven of the companies in the cohort have headquarters in the United States. Of the others, Sequretek is based in Mumbai, India; Silot in Singapore; and Surfly in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. And after four years in operation, the accelerator, in partnership with The Venture Center, will conduct its fifth program virtually due to the challenges of the global public health crisis.

In addition to being entirely virtual, this year’s program will run for 18 weeks instead of the usual 12 weeks to allow for increased mentoring and training time. The program will culminate with a Demo Day technology presentation on October 14th. Participating startups will also receive a monetary investment; the amount was not disclosed.

Executive Director for The Venture Center, Wayne Miller, pointed to the program’s success in empowering startup companies and helping improve access to financial services and technology. “With our partners at FIS and the State of Arkansas, we’re honored to be a part of bringing cutting-edge technologies to the places and people who need them, particularly in this moment of monumental technological advancement,” Miller said.

The news comes in the wake of Strayfy’s announcement of a new strategic partnership with Innovesta Technologies. The two companies are collaborating on a machine learning solution that will help businesses better measure the risk of and opportunity in non-public companies. The partnership combines Stratyfy’s decision engine and advanced machine learning technology with Innovesta’s comprehensive data assets to deliver real-time insights into the forces that impact business performance.

“Models built from historical data offer little help during an unprecedented health and economic crisis like the current global pandemic,” Stratyfy co-founder and CEO Laura Kornhauser said when the partnership was announced in May. “Achieving an inclusive global financial recovery requires robust risk management strategies, and those strategies necessitate an understanding of the unique challenges being faced by every business. Stratyfy’s decision management solutions will leverage Innovesta’s trustworthy data to directly address this need.”

Founded in 2016, Stratyfy is headquartered in New York City. The company was named one of the world’s 100 most promising startups to watch last year by CNBC.

FIS Unveils Portal to Help SMEs Access PPP Loan Forgiveness

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

There may be no second acts in politics. But with the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) rolling out the next phase in its loan forgiveness initiative for SMEs, it’s good to see that the economic rescue plan has another shot at getting it right.

We chronicled some of the challenges that PPP 1.0 faced. Fortunately, this time around, many of the cooperating financial institutions, financial services companies, and fintechs are in a better, more informed position to help make sure the businesses that need the help actually get the help.

One example of this is the new portal powered by the FIS Real-time Lending Platform. This portal, available to FIs and merchants participating in the SBA’s PPP, automates and streamlines the process of applying for loan forgiveness under the provisions of the new program.

“As a critical infrastructure provider, FIS is focused on making it as easy as possible for small businesses and merchants to complete the loan forgiveness process and help them get back to business as soon as possible,” FIS Head of Global Core Banking and Channels Rob Lee said. “Our new portal uses advanced automation technology to handle the entire process, reducing the time and complexity for businesses in getting forgiveness of the essential loans that are critical to their business.”

Using pre-filled applications and documentation uploads for efficiency, the portal figures loan forgiveness amounts, and allows FIs to review and e-sign the requests. The document packages are sent to the borrower and bank for e-signing and then, via the portal, the materials are submitted to the SBA for validation. The portal is 100% digital and can be easily deployed by banks who can get started by uploading a file of eligible loans from their current PPP customers. FIS notes that via its Real-Time Lending Platform, it has facilitated “billions” in PPP loan funds through lenders to SMEs whose businesses have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

A Finovate alum since 2013, FIS made fintech headlines last month when the company unveiled a new venture arm and a plan to invest $150 million in fintech startups. Last year, FIS was part of fintech’s biggest transactions of 2019 with its $34 billion acquisition of fellow Finovate alum Worldpay.

FIS’ New Venture Arm Unveils Plan to Invest $150 Million in Fintechs

Fintech giant FIS unveiled a new venture arm today. The Florida-based company is targeting a goal to invest $150 million in fintechs over the course of the next three years.

The investment arm will focus on early-to-growth stage startups across the fintech sector and will centralize around emerging technologies such as AI and machine learning, digital enablement and automation, data and analytics, security and privacy, distributed ledger technology, and financial inclusion.

FIS launched the new venture arm to “nurture a growing ecosystem of innovators within and outside the company” as well as to complement its other initiatives including the FIS FinTech Accelerator program, the FIS Innovatein48 research and development competition, and its innovation labs.

“At a time when many other fintech firms are scaling back their investments, FIS is deepening its commitment to stay at the forefront of innovative technologies that can help our clients accelerate digital transformation and emerge even stronger from the current pandemic,” said FIS Chief Growth Officer Asif Ramji. “FIS Ventures is a significant new component of our investment strategy to identify and bring to market innovative new technologies that advance the way the world pays, banks, and invests.”

And FIS Ventures has made it clear that the funding relationship is not just about the money. The company will form strategic partnerships with each funding recipient. In turn, the companies will not only benefit financially but will also gain from FIS’ reach, scale, operating expertise, customer-base, and channel partners.

FIS Ventures’ first investment went to Flutterwave, a Nigeria-based payment acceptance platform.

Founded in 1968, FIS is a Fortune 500 company and is a member of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. The company demoed at Finovate in 2016. In the third quarter of last year FIS made one of the biggest acquisitions of the year, purchasing Worldpay for $34 billion.

Categories: FIS

OTB Ventures Goes Big on CEE Startups; Analysts Share Insights on Indian Fintech

With a commitment of $100 million (€92.4 million), Poland-based OTB Ventures will spend the next few years helping back some of the most innovative tech startups in Central and Eastern Europe.

The investor, whose funding is backed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) will target “post-product startups” developing solutions for fintech, cybersecurity, AI, Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics and other advanced technologies. Known as the biggest venture capital fund in the CEE region, OTB Ventures said it wants companies with “unique intellectual property” and “disruptive ideas.”

“CEE is a cradle of talented engineers and IT specialists, pioneering innovative companies,” OTB managing partner and co-founder Marcin Hejka explained. We see a huge investment potential in these companies with up-and-running products and initial business traction in international markets. The purpose of our fund is to discover, develop, and realize this potential on a global scale.”

OTB Ventures includes AI and consumer analytics firm Cosmose, regtech innovator Silent Eight, and digital transformation solution provider – and Finovate alum – FintechOS – among its more recent investments. With its new fund, OTB plans to commit approximately $15 million to 16 companies, taking stakes of 10% to 15%. OTB’s largest investment in a single company to date was the $10 million in company invested in micro-satellite company Iceye in 2018.


Report Season for Indian Fintech: A number of analyst organizations have picked the second half of February to release their latest insights on fintech in India. In addition to the report from IBS Intelligence noted below, content marketing platform SEMrush released its Top Insights into Fintech Industry of India report this week.

Among the interesting top level takeaways from both reports is the importance of making sure that security and financial education keep pace with the growth of financial inclusion. As more people in frontier and periphery markets become comfortable with sharing their personal details and newly-forged financial identities online, the dangers of criminal exploitation and even simple misuse (poor password management habits, for example) grows, as well.


Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Aafaq Islamic Finance to deploy core banking, Islamic banking, and payments solutions from Infosys.
  • Bahrain-based GFH Financial Group acquires 70% stake in pan-MENA payments technology company, Marshal.
  • National Bank of Yemen goes live with the ICS Banks Universal Banking Platform from ICSFS.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Pakistan-based mobile wallet Sadapay readies for launch.
  • Entrepreneur features fintechs apps that are helping SMEs in India go digital.
  • IBS Intelligence unveils its India fintech report.
Photo by Vikas Sawant from Pexels

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • The Central Bank of Brazil to enter the payments business with the launch of its new app, PIX, later this year. PIX will provide immediate settlement for all transactions.
  • TechCrunch profiles fintech startup Belvo and its aspiration to become the Plaid of Latin America.
  • Bank Innovation features Mexico City, Mexico-based digital bank Stori.

Asia-Pacific

  • Singapore-based, installment payment startup Hoolah expands to Malaysia.
  • Indonesian online lender UangTeman raises $10 million in new funding.
  • Get, a digital commerce platform based in Myanmar, acquires local lender Daung Capital.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Nigeria’s LAPO Microfinance Bank, the largest microfinance institution in the country, to deploy core banking, payments, and digital experience solutions from Oracle Financial.
  • African Banker examines the balance between financial inclusion and consumer protection as Kenya’s fintech boom expands.
  • Nigerian consumer lending platform Carbon announces $100,000 fund to support startups in insurance, health, and education.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Poland-based OTB Ventures raises $100 million to back tech startups in the CEE region.
  • Wirecard partners with Raiffeisen Bank International to bring digital payments solutions to markets in 13 Eastern European countries.
  • Germany’s Opel Bank chooses FIS’ cloud-native, Modern Banking Platform. This marks the solution’s first deployment in Europe.

Top image designed by Freepik

Tink’s $100 Million Monday; Azimo’s C-Suite Shakeup Promotes Experience and Diversity

It is hard to imagine having a better start to your week than Plaid had seven days ago when the innovative fintech (and Finovate alum) announced that it had agreed to be acquired by Visa for $5.3 billion.

But the €90 million ($100 million) raised by Swedish open banking platform Tink on Monday is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, the funding, which is the company’s largest to date, is a reminder that investment interest in (and funding for) companies dedicated to developing the infrastructure that connects consumers, banks, and the financial technologies is very much in abundance.

“Our aim is to become the preferred pan-European provider of digital banking services and to offer the technology needed for banks, fintechs, and startups to leverage the opportunities of open banking and enable them to successfully develop financial services in the future,” Tink co-founder and CEO Daniel Kjellén said in a statement.

Tink demonstrated its platform most recently at FinovateEurope 2019. For more on this year’s Finovate event in Europe kicking off next month, visit our FinovateEurope 2020 page.


Azimo, one of our earliest FinovateEurope alums, announced a pair of big changes at the top to begin the new week.

The London-based money transfer firm, founded in 2012, promoted its COO Richard Ambrose to CEO back in August, as Azimo founder Michael Kent took what TechCrunch referred to as a lateral move to become executive chairman. Today, Fintech Futures, Finovate’s sister publication, reports that the company has appointed Dora Ziambra to the post of Chief Operating Officer. Azimo also promoted its head of finance Tatiana Okhotina to the post of Chief Financial Officer.

“We’re fortunate to have the depth of talent to fill these top roles internally,” Ambrose said in a statement. “We’re lucky too that Azimo will continue to benefit from the experience and leadership of these two outstanding women.”


Here’s our weekly roundup of the latest news from our Finovate alumni:

  • Union Bank to leverage technology from FIS for core banking.
  • Italy-based CREDEM leveraging Worldline’s Payment and Liquidity Hub software CRISTAL to process Target2 payments
  • POS software Vend partners with Klarna to offer retailers more flexible payment options.
  • U.K. food retailer The Co-operative to deploy ACI Worldwide’s fraud management solution, ReD Shield.
  • A partnership between TransferGo and Currencycloud will enable the money transfer company to enter 14 new markets.
  • YellowDog forges reseller agreement with Annex Pro.
  • Bankable cozies up with Plaid to allow its bank customers to connect with their users’ bank accounts.
  • Ohpen appoints former Tesla marketing leader Corinne Aaron as new head of marketing.
  • Segmint to acquire WAND’s Product and Service Taxonomy division.
  • CuneXus celebrates 2019 success with a 40% year-over-year increase in consumer reach.
  • TransUnion expands partnership with Payfone.
  • PayPal reaches $10 billion in charitable donations processed.
  • California approves Sezzle’s lending license.
  • People’s Bank selects NYMBUS’s SmartMarketing and SmartOnboarding solutions.
  • Ayondo ends its European social trading business.

Alumni Features and Profiles

Three Key Lessons We Learned from Plaid – Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Visa is acquiring Plaid for a deal that’s worth $5.3 billion. The fact that they were so widely used at such an early stage is a testament to the quality of their code, but there are also a few key lessons to take away from their success.

ITSCREDIT’s Joao Pinto on the Digital Lending Opportunity –  ITSCREDIT is a spinoff from ITSECTOR and is a fairly new player in the digital lending space. In this interview, Pinto talks to us about the digital lending opportunity, how his company fits into the current state of this fintech subsector, and what we can expect to see next.

Kasasa Enhances its Take-Back Loan – Community bank marketing expert Kasasa announced a partnership with Carleton today in which Kasasa will integrate Carleton’s insurance and debt protection calculations into its Kasasa Loan.

Our latest FinovateEurope Sneak Peeks Are Up! Meet Dorsum, CASHOFF, Tensorflight, Trulioo, W.UP, Horizn, Glia, and BLECKWEN.

Plinqit Brings Rewards-Powered Financial Literacy to First Community Bank – One day in the distant future, children will be educated in basic financial literacy as readily as they are taught algebra. Until then, solutions like Plinqit from HT Mobile Apps will be valuable tools for credit unions and community banks looking for novel ways to engage and educate their members and customers.

Credit, Data, and Cryptocurrencies: Graychain Rebrands as Credmark – The company that is bringing credit data clarity to the cryptocurrency industry is entering 2020 with a new name.

Tradeshift Lands $240 Million as it Inches Toward Profitability – The San Francisco-based company will use the investment to boost expansion efforts and gear toward a “direct path to profitability in the near future.”

Fintech, Financial Services, and the Case for 5G – Calling 5G “something banks aren’t even thinking about,” Celent SVP Dan Latimore said, “we believe the effects of 5G are going to be subtle and profound over time.”

Backbase-as-a-Service Helps Banks Leverage the Cloud to Innovate and Scale – The solution makes the company’s broad portfolio of digital banking offerings available to FIs looking to accelerate their ability to develop and offer new technologies to customers.

Also on Finovate.com

Visa to Acquire Plaid in $5.3 Billion Deal – “Today marks an important milestone for our company and for fintech,” company co-founder and CEO Zach Perret wrote on the Plaid blog earlier today. “What started with two founders building in a cramped conference room has become an incredible network that enables millions of consumers to interact with over 2,500 digital finance products.”

Not Another 2020 Trends Prediction Post (Seriously, It’s Not!) – We’re taking a look at the trends you can expect to see on stage next month at FinovateEurope. To keep things simple this year, we assessed the themes at a very high level and broke them down into three categories: the big, the little, and the trends in-between.

Singapore’s Digital Banking License Space Race Accelerates – Is there anyone out there who is NOT trying to secure a digital banking license in Singapore? The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced last week that has received 21 applications for digital bank licenses

MogoSpend Offers Credit, Cashback, and Help Reducing Your Carbon Footprint – The new digital spending account from Canadian fintech Mogo does more than help Canadians get control of their finances. The solution also offers cardholders generous cashback rewards and a way to make a positive impact on the environment by reducing their carbon footprint.

Getsafe Expands its Insurtech to the U.K. – If your insurance company is offering you drone insurance, you know it’s not your grandmother’s insurance agency. Germany-based insurtech Getsafe does just that– and the company announced today it is expanding its home contents insurance offering (though, sadly, not its drone insurance offering) to users in the U.K.

Raisin’s New Acquisition Gives Company Access to the U.S. Market – European deposit marketplace Raisin announced today it acquired New York-based Choice Financial Solutions. 

French Fintech Lydia Locks in $45 Million – TechCrunch reported this morning that French mobile payment app Lydia has raised $45 million (€40 million) in a round led by Tencent.

Visa’s Tap to Phone Brings Contactless Payments to mPOS – With Visa’s Tap to Phone app arriving pre-installed on the new, enterprise grade smartphone from Samsung, a broad range of merchants will have access to yet another way to accept payments from customers. 

INTL FCStone Acquires International Bank Transfer Firm – Headquartered in Germany, GIROXX offers international bank transfers and currency hedging. INTL FCStone plans to leverage this technology to expand its current client base to small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Solaris Bank to Secure Cryptocurrencies; Brazilian Fintechs Announce New Funding

Join us next month in Berlin, Germany for FinovateEurope 2020. Our three-day fintech conference will begin on February 11 and run through February 13.

The event features both our signature, seven-minute, live technology demonstrations, as well as keynote addresses, roundtables, and case studies on many of the most critical issues in fintech. Check out our conference agenda and stay tuned for more about our speakers and demoing companies.

Here’s our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Austrian mobile payments firm Bluecode raises $13.4 million (€12 million) from European Private Venture Capitalists.
  • German fintech Solaris Bank announces plans to offer custodial services to cryptocurrency investors.
  • Ukraine’s mobile-only bank Monobank to expand to the U.K. in 2020.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • IBM brings its fraud prevention technology to Qatar International Islamic Bank.
  • PYMNTS looks at the opportunities PSD2 may offer Turkish banks.
  • Egypt-based fintech Dayra wins $15,000 grant from Y Combinator’s Startup School, the first MENA-based startup to do so.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Business Recorder interviews Syed Mohsin Ahmed, CEO of Pakistan Microfinance Network.
  • Fintech Singapore lists India’s top fintech influencers for 2020.
  • Makers India highlights five women who are driving fintech innovation in India.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Born2Invest examines the impact of mobile money on Argentina’s banking industry.
  • Brazilian fintech Cora raises $10 million in funding to help provide financial services to SMEs.
  • Rebel, a startup that helps provide credit to middle-class Brazilians, rakes in $10 million in equity funding.

Asia-Pacific

  • With closing of a 70% stake in China’s GoPay, PayPal is the first non-Chinese firm licensed to offer payment services in the country.
  • FIS’ global ecommerce platform, Worldpay, partners with Japanese issuer and acquirer JCB.
  • Who are the top contenders in Singapore’s digital banking race? Fintech Singapore reviews the field.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Micro-investing startup Trove picks up an investment from Nigerian asset management company, ARM.
  • Kontomatik’s Konstantin Rabin looks at South Africa’s position as an “unlikely fintech leader.”
  • Julaya, a startup based in Ivory Coast that specializes in digitizing financial services for small businesses, raises $550,000 in funding..

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

FIS Integrates with IBM to Help Clients Counter Fraud

Financial services vendor FIS has announced that it has integrated IBM’s Safer Payments solution within its peer-to-peer (P2P) services to aid in the prevention of fraud, reports Alex Hamilton of Fintech Futures, Finovate’ sister publication.

With the IBM solution integrated, FIS believes its P2P services will be able to monitor high volumes of transactions and provide “real-time detection and decisioning” using artificial intelligence.

The vendor claims that since it first installed IBM’s solution it has seen a “significant” reduction in attempted and completed fraudulent transactions.

“Criminals are growing ever-more sophisticated in their methods for conducting payments fraud and they are increasingly targeting P2P services due to the growth in this market,” said Jim Johnson, head of Americas payments and wealth at FIS.

“FIS is excited to incorporate IBM Safer Payments to provide the highest level of fraud protection to our U.S. clients and their customers who rely on P2P services for fast, convenient payments.”

According to a 2018 PwC report, 53% of US companies were hit by fraud between 2016 and 2018, while 37% of companies reported losing more than $1 million as a result of it.

“FIS is taking aggressive steps to protect its clients against new and evolving threats in the industry,” said Michael Curry, vice president at IBM RegTech. “IBM Safer Payments uses artificial intelligence designed to deliver insights and to quickly adapt to a changing threat landscape. This technology is yielding successful results for FIS and some of the world’s largest and most complex payment portfolios.”

FIS most recently demoed at FinovateFall 2016. The company debuted its Cardless Cash solution that provides fast, secure options for sending and picking up cash at any ATM. Headquartered in Florida, FIS’ solutions move $9 trillion each year for 20,000 clients in 130 countries.

IBM’s IBM Trusteer demoed its new account fraud solution at FinovateEurope 2018.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • FIS Integrates with IBM to Help Clients Counter Fraud.

Around the web

  • Blackhawk Network unveils new line of gift cards.
  • Tinkoff GDRs will be included in MOEX Russia indices next month.
  • Finantix opens new office in Sydney, Australia.

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

  • Glance Powers Visual Customer Engagement for Axos Bank.

Around the web

  • Klarna added 60,000 new merchants in 2019,a group which now totals 190,000+.
  • Australia-based Heritage Bank signs 5-year services agreement with Diebold Nixdorf.
  • FIS integrates IBM’s Safer Payments solution with its P2P services to help prevent fraud.
  • Onfido partners with online currency exchange company b-sharpe to provide a better sign up experience using Onfido’s AI-powered identity verification.

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.

FIS Brings Core Banking Technology to Apple Bank

New York-based Apple Bank has selected FIS and its IBS system for its new core banking setup and will be moving to a hosted platform as part of a major transformation program, reports Alex Hamilton of Fintech Futures, Finovate’s sister publication.

According to FIS, the bank wanted to modernize its in-house technology with a new core platform. IBS will be deployed across the institution’s mobile banking, branch and ATM channels.

Apple Bank, which has 79 branches and assets of more than $15 billion, is the second-largest state-chartered savings bank in New York State.

“It’s all about the experience,” said Aditya Kishore, EVP and CTO of Apple Bank. “We chose the FIS IBS core banking platform because it enables us to deliver that consistent, seamless customer experience.”

Rob Lee, head of digital and banking at FIS, added that the vendor is confident that IBS will provide Apple Bank with a technology platform it needs “to support its growth well into the future.”

FIS demonstrated its Cardless Cash solution at FinovateFall 2016. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, the company acquired payments firm – and fellow Finovate alum – Worldpay in March for $34 billion.

“Scale matters in our rapidly changing industry,” FIS Chairman, President, and CEO Gary Norcross explained when the Worldpay deal was announced. “Upon closing later this year, our two powerhouse organizations will combine forces to offer a customer-driven combination of scale, global presence, and the industry’s broadest range of global financial solutions.”

Categories: FIS

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • WeInvest Bolsters its WealthTech with the Launch of StratWealth.
  • Kofax Embraces AI and ML as Intelligent Automation Platform Evolves
  • Financial Literacy Focused Best of Show Winner Zogo Unveils 11 New Partners

Around the web

  • Thurgauer Kantonalbank integrates Avaloq’s e-banking solution to its existing platform.
  • MoneyGram launching Ripple’s XRP in multiple markets.
  • FIS brings core banking technology to Apple Bank.

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

  • Jumio Partners with Philippines Remittance Provider I-Remit

Around the web

  • Sezzle’s Karen Hartje wins recognition from Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal as its 2019 CFO of the Year.
  • FIS earns number one ranking for risk management and compliance technology solutions from Chartis RiskTech100 for the fifth year in a row.
  • Kinetica announces integration of NVIDIA RAPIDS to enhance performance of its Active Analytics Platform.
  • Fintech Finance interviews Personetics’ President of the Americas Jody Bhagat.

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.