Finovate Alums Earn Top Honors in Wealthtech 100

More than ten Finovate alums have earned spots on Fintech Global’s second annual Wealthtech 100 roster. The collection of companies is meant to represent the most innovative businesses operating in the wealth and asset space worldwide.

Companies were evaluated based on a variety of criteria ranging from industry significance and technological innovation to growth in capital raised and the ability of the company to save clients money, boost revenues, or increase efficiency. More than 1,200 companies were provided by Fintech Global to its judging panel of fintech analysts and industry experts.

Here are our winning Finovate alums:

“We’re thrilled to have made the WealthTech 100 list from Fintech Global,” Wealth Wizards said on Twitter after the news was announced. “There are some brilliant U.K. firms included.” Finantix and additiv also tweeted about the announcement this week.

See the full WealthTech 100 roster.

Headquartered in London, U.K., Fintech Global provides comprehensive data, insights, and analytical tools on fintech around the world.

Finovate Alumni News


  • The ID Co. Unveils its Income Verification Solution.
  • Finicity Partners with Pulte Mortgage to Accelerate Asset Verification.

Around the web

  • CBANC hires Mike Snavely as Chief Commercial Officer.
  • Congrats to 3rd Eyes, ArthaYantra, aixigo, BaseVenture, Capitalise, Entersekt, eToro, Finantix, Fincite, Finhorizon, ForwardLane, Hydrogen, Scalable Capital, Sentifi, Tradeit, Trizic, WealthWizards, WealthForge, and Xignite on being recognized in the Wealthtech 100.
    • Xero’s new invoicing experience available for all Xero customers and partners over the next two weeks
    • Nordigen opens new office in Spain to expand operations.
    • Yseop’s AI solution for Société Générale wins award for most innovative initiative of the year at this year’s Digital Finance Awards. Come see Yseop at FinovateSpring next month.
    • Contovista and NDGIT expand partnership, enabling Contovista to be implemented via the German NDGIT API marketplace.

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

    Finovate Alums Join MassChallenge’s 2019 FinTech Inaugural Program

    Digital Onboarding, SizeUp, and ForwardLane are among 21 startups that will take part in the 2019 MassChallenge FinTech inaugural program. The program runs from January to June, and will support startups as they work with the accelerator’s partners to develop solutions in asset management, insurance, retail and commercial banking, e-commerce, and transportation. Specific challenge areas include developing AI-powered research assistance, big data for SMEs, and student financing.

    “Our inaugural cohort represents trailblazing technologies that advance financial services, from AI-powered on boarding platforms to modern giving solutions,” Program Director of MassChallenge FinTech Devon Sherman explained. “We look forward to structuring and driving meaningful, outcome-driven partnerships between startups and enterprises that tackle some of the industry’s biggest pain points and opportunities.”

    Participating startups will also have access to MassChallenge FinTech and FinTech Sandbox’s enterprise readiness program, as well as the FinTech Sandbox’s data and resources. MassChallenge FinTech will award a total of $250,000 in cash prizes at the conclusion of the six-month program, at zero cost and for zero equity.

    Also participating in the 2019 cohort are:

    • AlphaSense
    • Cake
    • Catapult HQ
    • Datavore
    • Diffeo
    • Edmit
    • eGiftify
    • Elsen
    • Fincura
    • GainLife
    • LifeSite
    • Pinkaloo Technologies
    • Posh
    • Surround Insurance
    • TellusLabs
    • WalletFi
    • Zylotech

    MassChallenge FinTech is supported by a public-private partnership that features Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Putnam Investments, Fidelity Investments, Citizens Bank, John Hancock, and the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP) among its founding partners. The program’s challenge partners include Eastern Bank, AARP, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Walmart, and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). FinTech Sandbox, Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, and Brandeis International Business School are community partners of the program.

    Explaining his company’s decision to partner with MassChallenge FinTech, Head of Innovation and Advice for John Hancock Steve Dorval said, “To us, innovation means looking for new tools, new technologies and new ways of working that can enhance the businesses we’re already in or give us insights into creating new opportunities.” He added that MassChallenge FinTech enabled John Hancock to “engage with intelligent passionate people that are solving important problems.”

    Digital Onboarding demonstrated its platform at FinovateFall 2018. Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Digital Onboarding announced earlier this month that it was partnering with Hudson River Financial FCU. The company will help the $57 million member-owned financial cooperative improve access to account-related benefits.

    Making its most recent appearance on the Finovate stage at FinovateEurope 2016, SizeUp helps banks empower their SME clients with business insights that can drive increased customer acquisition, retention, and engagement. Founded in 2011 and based in San Francisco, California, SizeUp was featured by Bplans earlier this year in its look at 85 of the Best Business Tools for Startups.

    ForwardLane announced an expansion of its menu of AI tools this fall, a move the company believes will help bring the benefits of artificial intelligence to small and mid-sized financial advisors. Founded in 2015 and headquartered in New York City, ForwardLane demonstrated its cognitive productivity solution for wealth management at FinovateSpring 2016, leveraging machine learning to deliver personalized investment advice to mass affluent investors.

    ForwardLane Launches New AI APIs

    ForwardLane has introduced a pair of new artificial intelligence APIs that apply natural language processing and deep learning AI to help financial market professionals better manage research data as well as improve communication among advisors and end investors.

    “The two APIs empower the world’s leading asset managers, wealth mangers, and insurers augment the capabilities of their star performers and bring a consistently high-quality, personalized experience to their clients,” ForwardLane CEO Nathan Stevenson said in a statement. “It ties humans with machines for exciting new solutions.”

    ForwardLane CEO Nathan Stevenson demonstrating the company’s wealth management solution at FinovateSpring 2016.

    The two API frameworks are Personalized Insights and Expert Conversation. Personalized Insights helps professionals working in advisory, sales, and distribution automate and augment the research and preparation process ahead of client meetings. The API leverages natural language processing to read client profile information and complies configurable human business data with commentary. This provides “high-touch customization” for all of an asset manager’s clients while giving professionals a prioritized client list, and guidance on which research content to share and why.

    Expert Conversation is designed for institutional finance and enables on-demand access to company and market intelligence. Financial professionals and individual investors can use the technology to query the firm about how market-related issues and the company’s investment strategies can affect their portfolios.

    Headquartered in New York City, ForwardLane demonstrated its cognitive productivity solution for wealth management at FinovateSpring 2016. The company’s technology combines “massively scalable” machine intelligence with institutional-grade risk analytics supported by more than 14 years of actionable investment insights derived from the company’s data aggregation platform. The result is a system for RIAs, IFAs, family offices, and other wealth managers that learns over time, providing the kind of “personalization at scale” that has enabled users to boost client loads up to 3x.

    A graduate of the FinTech Innovation Lab’s mentoring program, ForwardLane has raised more than $1 million in funding, and includes Thomson Reuters among its investors. The company was founded in 2015.

    Finovate Alumni News


    • Coinbase Custody Helps Institutional Investors Securely Store Digital Assets
    • Kabbage Expands Small Business Funding with $200 Million Credit Facility.

    Around the web

    • Overbond offers U.S. corporate issuers and institutional investors real-time access to its platform.
    • PayPal and Synchrony Financial expand strategic consumer credit relationship.
    • U.K.-based Featurespace to open office in Atlanta in November.
    • WealthForge Debuts Its First Regulation A Offering with New Investor Workflow
    • GoBankingRates features Blend, Unison, and Ellevest in its 10 Startups to Watch in 2018 list.

    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.

    Spring Forward: FinovateSpring 2016 Alums Top $200 Million in Funding


    With FinovateSpring 2017 coming next month, we thought we’d take a look back at how the alums from our last spring conference a year ago have fared on the fundraising front.

    And after a quick review, it seems that investors continue to be interested in the innovations of Finovate alumni. In fact, even without the $1.8 billion Golden Gate Capital spent on its acquisition of Neustar late last year ($2.9 million with debt included), the alums from FinovateSpring 2016 have had an impressive year of fundraising. While the specific funding amounts for a number of alums were not officially disclosed, our review shows more than $200 million raised by 20 FinovateSpring 2016 alums over the past year alone.

    Among the bigger deals of the past year, the $72 million raised by OurCrowd stands out. OurCrowd, a crowd investing platform for venture capital, was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Jerusalem, Israel. With a growing network of more than 17,000 investors, OurCrowd has raised $400 million on its platform, providing funding for 110 companies. Also noteworthy was the $29 million raised by FinDEVr/Finovate alum NYMBUS in two separate fundings in August and February. NYMBUS is an innovator in developing advanced, cloud-based core banking systems. Known as a “bank in a box” NYMBUS technology gives smaller banks and credit unions the ability to compete with larger FIs when it comes to providing customers with the latest digital banking services.

    So to help get you ready for FinovateSpring 2017, here’s a list of the investments scored by alums from last year’s conference. And remember you can see live demos from all 20 of our fundraising FinovateSpring 2016 alums in our Video Archives.

    February 2017

    • FinDEVr New York Alum NYMBUS Announces $16 Million in New Funding
    • Qumram’s Regtech Offering Lands $1.49 Million
    • Empyr Raises $3 Million in Funding

    January 2017

    • ForwardLane Raises $1.1 Million in New Funding
    • Earnix Receives $13.5 Million in Growth Capital from New and Existing Investors

    December 2016

    • Cyberfend Acquired by Akamai Technologies for Undisclosed Amount

    November 2016

    • Sezzle Raises Seed Funding Ahead of Shopify Debut ($1.85 million)
    • Neustar Acquired by Golden Gate Capital for $1.8 Billion (including debt $2.9B)

    October 2016

    • ThreatMetrix Picks Up $30 Million in Growth Capital from Silicon Valley Bank (debt financing)

    September 2016

    • OurCrowd Pulls In $72 Million
    • WealthForge to Raise $2.5 Million in New Convertible Note Offering
    • OneVisage Earns Seed Funding in Round Led by Polytech Ecosystem Ventures (amount undisclosed)

    August 2016

    • CUneXus Closes $5 Million Series A
    • Automobile Title Lending Platform Finova Financial Raises $52.5 Million
    • NYMBUS Raises $12 Million in Round Led by Vensure Enterprises

    July 2016

    • Linqto Announces New Venture Funding from Keiretsu Capital (amount undisclosed)

    June 2016

    • NICE Funding! CallVU Raises $3 Million
    • Civic Announces New Debt Financing from Blockchain Capital (amount undisclosed)
    • savedroid AG Completes €1 ($1.1 USD) Million Seed Round; Announces Beta Launch
    • Cyberfend Earns Undisclosed Non-Equity Assistance from MasterCard Start Path Global Program.
    • BanQu Secures $100,000 in Financing (convertible note)

    Are you a FinovateSpring 2016 alums whose funding we missed? Send us an email and we’ll be happy to make the update.

    Top Business-to-Business Wealth Tech Players


    If you’ve been following our series on wealth tech, you’ve seen our analysis of the industry as a whole, a review of the top trends, and an examination of B2C wealth tech players.

    Our wealth tech coverage continues this week with a review of business-to-business (B2B) players in the wealth tech space. These are companies that cater directly to banks, advisors, or brokerages, instead of offering products or services directly to consumers. B2B wealth tech is a large category, so I’ve sub-divided it into four digestible groups and listed my top picks for each category. Since category sizes vary, the number of selections also varies.

    Alternative investment services
    These are platforms that help advisors connect clients with unconventional investment types, such as private equity, hedge funds, futures, real estate, etc.

    Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 11.44.57 AMEquityZen’s EZ Institutional lets advisors give clients access to a diverse asset class

    Technology for advisors and brokerages
    These are tools available via API, SDK, or web interface to help advisors compete with robo advisors by allowing them to invest with less bias, increase client communication, scale operations, find new clients, and more.

    Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 11.40.41 AMTrizic offers advisors their own digital tools to compete with robo advisors

    Non-U.S. B2B investment and advisor technology
    Similar to the above category, these companies offer tools for advisors outside of the U.S.

    Screen Shot 2017-01-19 at 11.30.52 AMmeetInvest helps advisors invest like world-renowned market experts

    News and Information Companies
    These are online platforms, APIs, or SaaS offerings that provide advisors market information, show them trending news, or connect businesses with market data to power their own products.

    Screen-Shot-2016-10-31-at-3.22.22-PMForwardLane’s dashboard acts like a private research analyst for advisors advisors, helping them stay current on new trends and funds

    A Fintech Filter for Artificial Intelligence in 2017

    In what The New York Times is calling The Great AI Awakening and Forbes has dubbed The Year of AI, 2017 is shaping up to be obsessively focused on artificial intelligence, a field that has been around for awhile (remember playing checkers against a computer?) but has finally matured to the point of usefulness.

    Because the technology has finally reached its tipping point, AI, and its close relative machine learning, have taken a variety of industries by storm, bringing self-driving Ubers to the streets of San Francisco (and then carting them away); robotic vacuum cleaners to dirty household floors; and natural language processing to chat bots and IVR communications. With AI already embedded into these industries, it’s easy to find examples of how the technology is shaping fintech.

    Below are eight areas of fintech into which AI has made inroads. Each area is ranked and rated (out of 5 stars) based on how it is currently influenced by AI and based on AI’s potential to add value.

    Robo advisory

    • Fintech example: Robo advisors are built on AI technology, which is used to augment portfolio management and rebalancing decisions typically made by a (sometimes biased) human. To see tens of dozens of these examples, check out our post on B2C wealth tech.
    • Current AI application: 4 stars
    • Potential AI application: 5 stars

    AI is already a standard tool in robo advisory. Because the very nature of robo advisors is to replace humans, the potential application of AI in this space is huge, especially when enhanced with machine learning and held accountable using blockchain.

    Advisory tools

    • Fintech example: Similar to B2C robo advisory platforms that leverage AI to automatically manage and rebalance users’ portfolios, advisors can automate their clients’ portfolios to minimize human error while still offering a personal touch. Kensho (FEU14) introduced Warren to helps advisors perform quantitative analyses on market data. ForwardLane (FS16) uses AI powered by IBM Watson to offer financial advisors access to quantitative modeling and highly personalized investment advice generally only available to ultra high net worth individuals.
    • Current AI application: 4 stars
    • Potential AI application: 5 stars

    Just as AI is already standard in direct-to-consumer robo advisory, so is it with advisory tools, since many were built on the premise of AI.

    Fraud detection

    • Fintech example: Multiple card issuers use AI to detect unusual spending activity. Feedzai (FEU14) uses AI combined with machine learning to analyze sets of big data created during a user’s online sessions to mitigate fraud associated with online account opening, payments, and ecommerce.
    • Current AI application: 4 stars
    • Potential AI application: 5 stars

    AI is already heavily leveraged for use in fraud detection. Combining it with the blockchain, which can provide an un-editable ledger of events, paired with AI’s ability to analyze large data sets in real time makes it even more powerful.


    • Fintech example: AI can help underwriters create a uniform metric that accurately identifies risk across borrowers. (FEU15) leverages the power of AI to create and assign credit scores to thin credit file individuals.
    • Current AI application: 4 stars
    • Potential AI application: 5 stars

    The lending industry has already transformed its underwriting practices from relying on large databases to now using AI to analyze large amounts of scattered, unstructured data. Because AI can analyze these data sets in real time, there’s great potential for both borrowers and lenders to benefit.

    Regulatory compliance

    • Fintech example: Banks can use AI to quickly scan legal and regulatory text for compliance issues, and do so at scale. IpSoft’s Amelia is a customer service bot that helps banks maintain compliance in conversations with customers.
    • Current AI application: 3
    • Potential AI application: 5

    Relying on AI to scan for compliance issues instead of a team of employees helps avoid human error and allows financial institutions to quickly analyze multiple documents and practices. Because it removes human biases and error, AI has great potential in regulatory compliance.


    • Fintech example: Marketers can better up-sell or cross-sell banking and finance products by using AI to identify and anticipate client needs. SBDA Group (FEU 16) helps banks leverage their data using algorithms and machine learning to create targeted marketing campaigns for individual customers.
    • Current AI application: 3 stars
    • Potential AI application: 4 stars

    Fintech companies have been using AI to draw conclusions from bank data for a few years now, but marketing is an area in which human input still adds a lot of value.

    Customer service

    • Fintech example: Firms can leverage AI to identify which clients are at most risk of leaving a bank or advisor. FinovateAsia 2016 Best of Show-winner, (FA16), offers a white-labeled chat bot that integrates into existing messaging platforms such as Line, Facebook Messenger, Alexa, and even the bank’s web chat interface.
    • Current AI application: 2 stars
    • Potential AI application: 5 stars

    Banks have been hesitant to adopt chat bots and other AI-based customer service products because the technologies are not quite smart enough. overcomes this challenge by offering a Talk to a Human button at the bottom of the chat interface. This technique, combined with the implementation of machine learning and advanced natural language recognition, makes this space prime for growth in 2017.

    Reporting tools

    • Fintech example: Advancements in natural language, along with AI’s ability to analyze large data sets, have made it possible for banks to rely on software to automatically create and distribute reports. Narrative Science (FF13), for example, automates the creation of anti-money laundering reports and allows the bank to adjust for the tone of the writing.
    • Current AI application: 2
    • Potential AI application: 4

    We’ve seen AI used to generate reports, both in written and video form, in the wealth management and compliance sectors. However, there is still room for natural language reporting to extend to other forms (such as inside of a chat interface) as well as to other sectors of fintech.

    In addition to these eight areas of fintech, there is a miscellaneous category that comprises technology such as ColletAI, which automates debt collection. Check out CollectAI, Comarch, and MoneyHub, along with other AI-based fintech at FinovateEurope next month.

    While AI is widespread in many areas of fintech, it is still far from others, such as tax and estate planning, which require complex inputs and decision making. However, bolstering AI in these difficult areas using machine learning, the blockchain, and human intervention offers some potential for growth in 2017.

    Since AI is pervasive throughout many sectors of fintech, it may not be too early for your company to begin searching for a Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer.

    Finovate Alumni News


    • Passport Raises $8 Million in Series B.
    • OurCrowd Wins Red Herring Awards; Announces Partnerships with Bayer, DuPont.

    Around the web

    • NCR releases updated version of its transactions processing solution, Authentic.
    • Major update to Xero’s online invoicing technology to help businesses avoid phishing scams.
    • TimeTrade brings its Banking by Appointment functionality to FIS’ mobile banking app.
    • Clover selects DAVO’s Sales Tax App as first app featured on its new blog.
    • ForwardLane and AlphaPoint selected to participate in Accenture’s Fintech Innovation Lab.
    • ENGIE to leverage Kony’s enterprise-mobility platform.
    • SafetyPay increases its volume of transactions paid in cash by 86% compared to last year.

    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.