Zenmonics Lands Funding from FIS

Core banking specialist Zenmonics landed funding from its long-time partner FIS this week. The amount of the minority investment, along with other terms of the agreement remain undisclosed. This marks Zenmonics’ first round of funding; prior to the closing of this week’s investment Zenmonics was 100% company-owned.

The North Carolina-based company will use the funds to further its growth and burgeon capabilities of its channelUNITED platform. Riaz Syed, founder and CEO of Zenmonics said that the investment enables the company “to grow innovation and delivery capacity for our current clients, while also extending our reach in the market.”

Aimed to offer a consistent user experience across multiple channels, Zenmonics’ channelUNITED is an omni-channel solution that adapts and expands to each individual banks’ pace. The system places clients and associates on a common system to unify digital, sales, service, origination, and teller platforms.

Founded in 2007, Zenmonics has more than 200 employees. At FinovateFall 2016, the company debuted channelUnited. Earlier this week, Zenmonics earned a spot on the 2018 IDC FinTech Rankings for the second year in a row.

FIS most recently demoed at FinovateFall 2016. The company debuted its Cardless Cash solution that provides a fast, secure option for sending and picking up cash at any ATM. Headquartered in Florida, FIS serves more than 20,000 clients in more than 130 countries.

PayActiv More than Doubles its Funding with Fresh $20 Million

Employer-provided financial wellness platform PayActiv is receiving some wellness of its own this week in the form of $20 million. The Series B financing round was led by Generation Partners, with contributions from existing investors  Ziegler Link•Age Fund II and affiliate funds of Softbank Capital.

Combined with its previous investments totaling $13.5 million, today’s round more than doubles PayActiv’s total funding, which now adds up to $33.5 million. PayActiv will use today’s investment to expand its platform, accelerate growth, and develop more financial solutions for workers across the globe.

Mark Jennings, Managing Partner at Generation Partners, said that his firm chose to invest because it believes PayActiv has “the potential to positively change the lives of millions of workers, while also growing a profitable and successful business.”

The California-based company has experienced significant growth since its launch in 2012, expanding six-fold in the past year alone. Contributing to that growth was a large-scale contract signed with Walmart in December of 2017 and an agreement with ADP in July of 2018, which makes PayActiv’s services available to more than 600,000 businesses across the U.S.

Commenting on the growth, John Hawkins, Managing Partner at Generation Partners, said, “PayActiv has created a massive positive impact on the relationship between employees and employers. Already, they are settling more than $100 million in earned wage access transactions each month, and the company estimates that employees are avoiding an estimated $10 million each month in eliminated late charges, overdraft fees, and interest charges.”

As part of the deal, Hawkins will join the PayActiv Board of Directors.

At FinovateSpring 2016, PayActiv CEO and Founder Safwan Shah demonstrated how the PayActiv app encourages saving by helping users approach saving in units of time vs. percent of income. Earlier this fall, NPR featured PayActiv as Walmart’s payday loan alternative and in May the company was highlighted in the Wall Street Journal as a better alternative to payday loans.

Klarna Rakes in $20 Million in Fall Funding Round

Online payments innovator Klarna landed a strategic partnership along with a new round of funding this week. The Sweden-based company has partnered with fashion retailer H&M, which has invested $20 million in Klarna, bringing its total funding to almost $682 million.

Klarna, which is already partnering with retailers such as Ikea and ASOS, will work together with H&M to offer omni-channel payments, provide an in-app post-purchase service, and power payments for H&M’s digital loyalty program, H&M Club. As a result, millions of H&M customers across 14 countries will benefit from a simplified and more personalized payment experience. The retailer will go live with the U.K. and Sweden markets in 2019.

In the press release, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO and co-founder of Klarna said, “Customers will no longer be forgiving of unnecessary complexity or when their retail experience does not leverage the insight available to make their engagement smart, personal and easy. This partnership is rooted in a shared obsession about just how good that shopping experience should be. Together we have worked hard on developing a unique solution for instore and online that will delight customers, drive economic value, and build loyalty.”

According to TechCrunch, today’s round values Klarna “north of $2.5 billion.” The publication also seeded a rumor that Klarna has been considering going public to gain liquidity.

Founded in 2005, Klarna offers shoppers a range of options– pay at the point of sale, pay over time, or pay later. In addition to offering consumers more options, the payment variety helps businesses improve sales and Klarna’s online merchant portal helps them manage all of their payment and marketing tools from a single platform.

At FinovateSpring 2012, the company demonstrated its online payment-processing service. Klarna has formed a variety of merchant partnerships this year, and the company began 2018 with a partnership with ACI, in which the electronic payment solutions provider will enable online businesses to integrate Klarna’s payment products.

Finovate First-Timer Nordigen Hauls in $800,000 in New Funding

Latvia-based lending start-up Nordigen has received $800,000 funding from Seedcamp and Finnish venture capital firm Inventure, reports Antony Peyton of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

Nordigen said it aims to disrupt credit bureaus (and has a dig at them) and help creditworthy people get access to loans.

“It’s hard to love credit bureaus at the moment. What they do was necessary, but with the rise of open banking, we’re now able to build technologies that are much faster, more reliable and more customer-friendly than traditional credit checks,” said Rolands Mesters, co-founder of Nordigen.

According to the firm, banks across the world reject up to 90% of all loan applications daily. “This is because banks base their decisions on credit history reports from credit bureaus, but not many people have a formal credit history,” Mesters added.

To back up its plans more, the company also cited a World Bank private credit bureau coverage report, which stated that around 30% of the global population have a record at a credit bureau.

Nordigen’s core product allows a lender to verify a customer’s real income and spending habits to make the first assessment of their creditworthiness.

The firm said its “secret sauce” is the ability to identify risk-critical behaviours in customer account data.

With the new funds, Nordigen explained that it will be hiring across the board with a focus on sales and business development. A big part of the investment will also be directed towards entering new markets, such as Brazil, South Africa, the U.S. and U.K.

The start-up was established in 2016 in Riga, Latvia, by two Google Demo Day graduates, Mesters and Roberts Bernans.

The company works with banks and alternative lenders in 12 countries, including the Baltic states, Spain, Finland, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, Australia and New Zealand.

Nordigen makes its Finovate debut this week at FinovateFall in New York.

Cortera Raises $10 Million to Enhance Risk Scoring

B2B credit scoring company Cortera landed $10 million in funding this week, bringing its total capital raised to just over $578 million in combined debt and equity. Investing in the Florida-based company are Hearst’s Fitch Group Financial Venture Fund, who led the round, as well as existing investors Volition Capital, Battery Ventures, Allen & Company, and Tomorrow Ventures.

“We are passionate about fueling profitable business growth in the U.S.,” Cortera CEO Jim Swift said. “For too long, the flow of capital has been hamstrung by the need for more complete and timely insights into private companies. It is exciting to be at a point of network coverage where businesses now have a powerful alternative to traditional sources.”

Founded in 1993, Cortera gathers insights on the purchase and payment behavior of more than 20 million public and private U.S. businesses. The company leverages this data to create analytics such as new customer risk assessments, customer portfolio risk monitoring, supplier risk management, customer segmentation, insurance underwriting, customer profitability modeling, and loan-default prediction. Essentially, the data help businesses make decisions about their customers, prospects, and suppliers, and minimize risk.

Hearst’s Fitch Group Financial Venture Fund Managing Director Shea Wallon, who will join Cortera’s board of directors, said, “Cortera’s unique business information and analytics provide an alternative view into the credit risk of private businesses where traditional financial statements are not reliable or easily available.”

Cortera demoed a network where businesses can share payment experiences at FinovateSpring 2010. Earlier this week, the company announced its trade credit data will be available in Moody’s Analytics RiskCalc small business solution. Last spring, Cortera scored LexisNexis as a client, blending its B2B trade credit with LexisNexis’ risk solutions alternative data.

KPMG Takes Minority Stake in Alternative Credit Scoring Specialist AdviceRobo

Alternative credit scoring startup AdviceRobo announced today that KPMG has acquired a minority stake in the company. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

KPMG Head of Advisory Rob Fijneman called AdviceRobo a “front runner” in credit risk management. He added that the partnership would “enable us to add these types of AI-based predictive behavioral models to our services for lenders,” enhancing credit risk models and lowering costs. The partnership will also enable AdviceRobo to take advantage of KPMG’s expertise in a wide variety of areas including risk management, compliance and regulation, Big Data, and analytics.

AdviceRobo’s approach to credit risk management focuses on the insights available from the non-financial and behavioral data of would-be borrowers. The company’s psychographic risk scoring can be used to access the creditworthiness of applicants for products including loans, mortgages, and credit cards. The technology is especially valuable for lenders working with customers from historically underbanked communities, whose thin credit files make them poor candidates for traditional financing. AdviceRobo CEO Diederick van Thiel estimates that there are more than four billion people around the world who fall into this category and said that technology can help financial services firms reach them.

“Our software enables lenders to target these underserved customers and streamline their credit processes,” van Thiel explained. “This stimulates prosperity and the economy. Moreover, our software has the potential to accelerate credit processes and identify the key risk signals of existing clients. For instance, the software can identify vulnerable consumers who will be at risk of defaulting on loans in the future.”

AdviceRobo demonstrated its CreditRobo solution at FinovateEurope 2016. CreditRobo leverages artificial intelligence to evaluate credit risk, providing early warnings on bad debt, default, pre-payment, and outflow; real-time behavioral data on the risk profile of the customer base; and real-time credit scoring for instant onboarding, renewal, and targeting of the underbanked, whether they are millennials or SMEs.

Founded in 2013 and headquartered in London, U.K., Amsterdam, and Paris, AdviceRobo serves clients in ten countries across Europe and Latin America. In April, AdviceRobo joined the BNP Paribas Plug and Play accelerator program, one month before the company was named to Insights Success’ 20 Most Innovative FinTech Solution Providers roster. Also this spring, the company announced a trio of new bank customers: Hungary’s OTP Group, Argenta of the Netherlands, and Banco Macro of Argentina.

A member of KPMG’s Fintech 100 Emerging Stars, AdviceRobo began the year with news that its Psychographic Credit Score solution would be available via Mambu’s Product Marketplace.

SynapseFI Raises $17 Million in New Funding


SynapseFI is making public what insiders have known for months: the Bay Area banking platform provider closed a $17 million Series A late last year. Trinity Ventures and Core Innovation Capital led the round.

In a blog post thanking the customers who “build awesome products on top of us and pay our bills,” company CEO and founder Sankaet Pathak explained both what SynapseFI does and what he called “our super secret plan” to democratize banking.

“Our super secret plan is to build a better operating system for banking that is less expensive to maintain and easy to innovate on top of,” he wrote. “Then to change banking from a lending or transactions business to a SaaS business.” In order to do this, SynapseFI focuses on three areas: back office automation to lower per customer costs, vertical integration of all products and services, and behavioral economic research to help firms build consumer-friendly financial solutions.

“I am beyond excited for what lies ahead,” Pathak wrote. “The capital infusion is not just a testament to the team executing well; it is also a testament to the need for democratized financial access for all people – regardless if they hold ten dollars in their bank account, or ten million.”

Founded in 2015, SynapseFI demonstrated its white label loan issuance solution at FinovateSpring 2018. The solution provides origination and servicing of unsecured consumer and business loans, including customizable decisioning, automated compliance, and smart notifications. With a goal of simplifying banking, SynapseFI provides an intuitively-designed bank with more efficient, automated back office and access to key services for all customers.

SynapseFI began the year with news that it would support interchange processing for debit and credit card transactions. Last month the company announced new custodial accounts for escrow, payment, and crowdfunding applications, as well as a new multi-bank savings account offering that enables per user FDIC coverage of up to $16 million.

In May SynapseFI unveiled its first Crypto Wallet for Bitcoin (recently updated). The company began the year with the launch of its Design Lab, which helps developers improve the UX for their financial solutions.

CAN Capital Receives $287 Million Financing Facility

Small business lending solution company CAN Capital has accepted a $287 million financing facility from alternative asset manager Varadero Capital. This marks the second time Varadero Capital has facilitated funds for the New York-based company.

CAN Capital plans to use the funds to support growth, invest in talent and technology, and enhance the customer experience. “We look forward to utilizing this funding to expand our ability to provide access to capital for small businesses, enhance our technology stack, and continue to build a dedicated, customer-driven team,” said Parris Sanz, CEO of CAN Capital.

Additionally, the company reached a milestone this week, having provided small businesses access to more than $7 billion in funding through 190,000+ transactions. “Reaching $7 billion in working capital is a significant milestone for us. We are excited to use our deep experience and data to enable even more small business owners to grow with streamlined access to capital,” Sanz added.

Founded in 1998, CAN Capital has helped 81,000 small businesses ranging from restaurants to auto repair shops by offering capital for them to open new locations, purchase equipment, hire employees, and more. The company last demoed at FinovateFall 2013, where it showed off its mobile funding solution. Earlier this year, CAN Capital appointed Tom Davidson as Chief Financial Officer.

Deserve Raises $17 Million in Equity Funding

Credit-building payment card innovator Deserve just closed $17 million in equity funding this week. Contributors to the round include new investor Sallie Mae, as well as existing backers Accel, Pelion, Aspect Ventures, and Mission Holdings. This brings the company’s combined debt and equity funding to $95.5 million.

The California-based company will use the funds to build out its platform and add partners to its reward programs. The company currently offers users deals with six partners, including Amazon Prime, T-Mobile, and Wikipedia.

Originally known as SelfScore, Deserve rebranded in 2017 to enhance its focus on serving college students and Generation Z. The company offers Mastercard-branded credit cards for young, financially underserved consumers and others with thin credit files. The cards are made to appeal to international students and others, such as the company’s Founder and CEO Kalpesh Kapadia, who have recently moved to the U.S. and are having difficulty accessing credit. When it came to applying for credit in the U.S., Kapadia told Business Insider, “I got rejected every time. It was mostly for credit cards and student loans, given that I didn’t have a credit card history in the country.”

Deserve has three card options: Deserve Edu, which offers student benefits such as 1% back on all purchases and a free subscription to Amazon Prime Student; Deserve Pro, which offers no foreign transaction fees and 1% to 3% back on purchases; and Deserve Classic, which is specifically designed to help users build their credit.

The company leverages non-traditional data such as current financial health, education history, future employability, and projected potential earnings. Deserve combines those factors into a machine learning algorithm to determine applicants’ credit eligibility. The company’s cards are open to U.S. citizens, green card holders, registered international students, and H1B or L1 visa holders.

Founded in 2012, Deserve demoed a consumer behavior analytics service at FinovateFall 2014 under the name SelfScore. The company’s accounts are issued by Utah-based Celtic Bank. In April, Deserve closed on $50 million in debt financing to drive growth in accounts receivables.

Diebold Nixdorf Receives $650 Million Capital Commitment

Financial services, software, and hardware provider Diebold Nixdorf secured a commitment of $650 million in capital this week. The loan is coming from two unidentified, institutional lenders and repayment is due in August 2022.

The Ohio-based company will use the loan to acquire remaining shares of Diebold Nixdorf, repay debt, and fund its DN Now operational improvement plan. The loan is expected to be completed within the coming days.

Bloomberg reported earlier this month that the company may be experiencing a “potential liquidity crisis” and that “Diebold is trying to negotiate easier terms with its lenders, the second change in four months, to allow for greater leverage in its debt covenants.”

Diebold Nixdorf demoed on the Finovate stage alongside Zenmonics at FinovateFall 2014, showcasing an in-lobby terminal. Founded in 1859, the company is partnered with almost all of the world’s top 100 banks and most of the top 25 global retailers. Diebold Nixdorf’s employees help bring solutions to more than 130 countries.