Investment Firm Takes Minority Stake in OurCrowd

Global crowdfunding platform OurCrowd is padding its pockets today with funding from investment banking firm Stifel. Terms of the deal, which brings a strategic partnership between the two companies, were not disclosed.

Stifel has taken a minority stake in OurCrowd, boosting the company’s total funding up over $112.5 million. OurCrowd’s past investors include Alta Berkeley Venture Partners, United Overseas Bank, and individual investors.

“Partnering with a leading U.S.-based wealth management and investment banking firm like Stifel is yet another major step toward further expanding the OurCrowd brand and investor base,” said OurCrowd Founder and CEO Jon Medved. “We also look forward to collaborating with Stifel’s investment and venture bankers to identify potential ways we can help identify and best support prospects and portfolio companies.”

Under the partnership, the two companies will build an investment portal for Stifel’s accredited investor clients that offers access to venture capital funds and individual portfolio companies on a deal-by-deal basis. In exchange, Stifel will offer OurCrowd’s portfolio companies investment banking services.

Stifel CEO Ronald Kruszewski, whose U.S. retail brokerage has 2,200 advisors overseeing more than $300 billion in client assets under management, said that he anticipates the partnership will offer the firm’s investors access to the “ever-expanding” category of venture capital. “Through this partnership, our clients will gain access to attractive, early-stage investment opportunities that have been typically restricted to traditional VC firms and family offices,” he said.

OurCrowd’s platform hosts almost 37,000 registered investors from 183 countries. The Israel-based company allows these users to participate in startup investment opportunities alongside VCs and institutional co-investors at the same terms. OurCrowd’s curated deal selection process employs a team of investment professionals to review thousands of companies, meet with selected management teams, and select opportunities for investors.

Since it was founded in 2013, OurCrowd has made more than $1.28 billion in commitments and has invested in 200+ companies and funds, 35 of which have made successful exits. At FinovateSpring 2016, the company debuted the OurCrowd mobile app. 

nCino Raises $80 Million

Cloud banking innovator nCino garnered its largest funding round to date, bringing in $80 million. The round was led by a group of investors advised by T. Rowe Price, with participation from existing investor Salesforce Ventures.

Today’s round elevates nCino’s total funding to over $213 million. The company will use the new investment to boost research and development efforts for the nCino Bank Operating System, expand globally, hire new talent, and develop the skills of its 750 person-strong workforce.

“Since day one, our vision has been to be the worldwide leader in cloud banking,” said Pierre Naudé, CEO of nCino. “We believe that a strong partner ecosystem is critical to maintaining a customer-centric approach in everything we do. This strategic fundraise aligns with that vision and mission by leveraging the investment approaches of two industry leaders to help us further scale our business and Bank Operating System to continue enabling financial institutions to provide the kind of personalized, streamlined and fast experiences that customers have come to expect in the digital era.”

nCino demoed its Bank Operating System at FinovateEurope 2017. The SaaS solution is built on the Salesforce platform and aims to create efficiencies for financial services companies in delivering personalized onboarding, loan origination, and deposit account opening experiences.

Recently, nCino has partnered with Santander UK, teamed up with Mambu to create a banking solution for B-North, and acquired analytics firm Visible Equity.

With offices in London, Sydney, Toronto, Salt Lake City, and Wilmington, North Carolia, nCino serves a growing list of 1,100 financial services clients ranging in size from $30 million to $2 trillion.

Kreditech Raises $24 Million to Fuel Global Expansion

With FinovateEurope set to make its German debut next February, it is especially gratifying to hear that investors are voting with their dollars when it comes to identifying and backing innovative European fintechs.

Hamburg-based online lender and POS financing firm Kreditech announced late last week that it has raised $24 million (€22 million) in funding. The round, led by Runa Capital, takes the company’s total equity financing to more than $519 million, and will be used to deepen its presence in existing markets, especially in Asia.

“I am really excited about our growth plans in India,” Kreditech CEO David Chan said. “We hold a first-of its-kind digital NBFC (non-banking financial company) license in a large and fast-growing market. We have been successful in finding our niche and have established the right proof of concept. Now it’s time to scale up while a key target customer segment remains unaddressed by the competition.”

Also participating in the round were existing investors HPE Growth and Amadeus Capital Partners, as well as private German investors.

Kreditech specializes in offering financing products to “near-prime” customers. In 2014, the company made its Finovate debut, demonstrating how its self-learning, proprietary algorithm accurately assessed the creditworthiness of loan applicants in less than a minute. The technology leverages up to 10,000 current data points to provide better insights into the finances of underbanked applicants who might otherwise struggle to secure credit.

The funding news for Kreditech comes as the company previews its 2018 financial statement, to be released in October. Chan said that Kreditech was “on track” to hit profitability targets, and added that the company was up to the task of “rapid, profitable growth.” In its funding statement, the company noted that it is aiming for $1 billion euros in revenue by 2025.

With more than 300 employees in seven countries and lending operations in India, Poland, Russia, and Spain, Kreditech is also developing regional centers of excellence and tech centers in its native Poland, as well as Romania and Thailand. The company was founded in 2012.

Trulioo Accepts Another $53 Million in Funding

Canadian identity innovator Trulioo announced today it brought in $53 million (CAD $70 million). The round was led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity and saw participation from Citi Ventures, Santander InnoVentures and American Express Ventures. Trulioo’s total funding how stands at $73 million (CAD $96.6 million).

The Trulioo team will use the funds to build its presence in new markets, as well as boost its workforce from 130 to 200 people who staff the company’s Vancouver, San Francisco, and Dublin offices.

Trulioo’s team is 130 employees strong

“Today, families, businesses and entire economies are being powered by the global shift towards a truly digital economy, which is exciting but also opens up new forms of risk,” said Stephen Ufford, Trulioo CEO and founder. “We’re committed to leveraging technology to help our customers fight financial crime, money laundering and election fraud. I’d like to thank our investors for their trust in the work we are doing and for enabling us to push forward our solutions that transcend boundaries and channels, and which facilitate trusted transactions from anywhere, instantly.”

Trulioo’s API allows organizations to instantly verify identities of more than five billion consumers (more than two thirds of the global population) and more than 250 million businesses across 195 countries. The company’s GlobalGateway database offers an online electronic identity verification (eIDV) service that helps businesses comply with AML and KYC rules, as well as a range of international electronic identity verification requirements.

Trulioo, which will demo its technology at FinovateFall next week in New York, provides electronic identification technology that has the potential to positively impact people in developing nations who may not have much of an online record to prove their identity. This underrepresented group can now potentially open a bank account, apply for a loan, or conduct other financial activity that was previously out of reach.

Earlier this year, Trulioo’s Head of Growth, Anatoly Kvitnitsky,demonstrated GlobalGateway’s instant onboarding with EmbedID at FinovateSpring. EmbedID enables businesses to query Trulioo’s GlobalGateway API and instantly verify customers in multiple markets by embedding a snippet of code to their website.

Arival Bank Nets $2.3 Million in Equity Crowdfunding Campaign

FinovateAsia 2018 Best of Show winner Arival Bank announced this week that it raised $2.3 million (£1.87 million) in a pre-Series A, equity crowdfunding campaign. The Singapore-based fintech bank for businesses and entrepreneurs soared past its fundraising target of $864,500 (£700,000), and now boasts a pre-money valuation of more than $14.8 million (£12 million).

“We’re not a neobank or challenger bank,” the company noted in its crowdfunding pitch. “We think of ourselves as the first fintech bank. We’ll exist as a licensed bank, (with) forward-thinking compliance (as) our secret sauce, and we plan to bundle some of the world’s hottest fintech products inside one banking platform.”

The fundraising follows the company’s $1 million seed round from April of last year. The new capital will help support licensing, product development, and effectively going live. The company is targeting a series A early in 2020 to capitalize the bank in the U.S., as well as to expand operations globally.

The campaign also marks the first time a digital bank has conducted an equity crowdfunding raise in the U.S. Seedinvest, an SEC-licensed broker dealer platform based in New York, spearheaded the fundraising with Crowdcube (the largest platform in the U.K.) in the role of joint partner.

“This is atypical for a digital banking startup, especially in the U.S.,” Arival Bank COO Jeremy Berger explained. “However, this was something we presented to the local regulators as we enter one of the most sophisticated banking markets in the world. Other digital banks in Europe have had real success with similar raises as it opens the opportunity to build camaraderie with future customers.”

Currently, Arival Bank has more than 1,000 requests from individuals and entities interested in opening accounts with the firm as it seeks to provide an alternative for “abnormal clients” traditional banks and even some digital banks do not serve. The firm’s main target focus currently are crypto- and blockchain-related businesses – who are chronically underbanked – as well as tech startups, and freelancers. The company, which applied for a U.S.-based international banking license last year, is betting that providing SMEs with access to innovative third party financial products and services – as well as “kick-ass customer service” and a unified banking interface – will go a long way toward supporting the next generation of businesses.

At FinovateAsia 2018 in Hong Kong, Arival Bank demonstrated ArivalOS, a digital banking platform, powered by open APIs, that features integrated third party fintech solutions designed specifically for SMEs. ArivalOS offers bank accounts, money transfers, debit cards, mPOS and factoring, and SME loans. The company also offers A.ID, a “virtual compliance manager” that provides a full-stack compliance solution that covers KYC, onboarding, AML and transaction monitoring.

Arival Bank was founded in 2017 by Jeremy Berger (COO), Igor Pesin (CFO) and Vladislav Solodkiy (CEO) – also known as the team behind Life.SREDA venture capital. Berger was recognized by Forbes this year in its 30 Under 30 list of the world’s top young finance professionals. Pesin is one of the top-ranked fintech influencers in Southeast Asia according to Lattice80, and is author of the annual fintech report, Money of the Future. Solodkiy is author of the book, The First Fintech Bank’s Arrival, now in its second edition, that inspired the very idea for Arival.

Berger will be one of the featured speakers later this month at FinovateFall in New York, joining a panel discussion titled Digital Challengers vs Incumbents: Who Will Emerge Victorious? For more information on how to catch his presentation, visit our FinovateFall page.

HackerOne Cracks into $36.4 Million in Funding

Bug bounty and vulnerability disclosure platform HackerOne announced a funding round this week that boosts its capital up to $110 million. The oversubscribed Series D round, which totaled $36.4 million, saw contributions from Benchmark, New Enterprise Associates, Dragoneer Investment Group, EQT Ventures, and others.

HackerOne will use today’s round to expand global market reach, scale its offerings, and continue to strengthen its hacker community.

The California-based company offers a platform that recruits security researchers and white hat hackers to identify security weaknesses for its more than 1,500 clients, including Twitter, Airbnb, Uber, Yelp, and the U.S. Department of Defense. Government bug bounty programs, in fact, have increased more than 2x in the last 12 months alone, during which time customers have resolved more than 30,500 security vulnerabilities.

Since it was founded in 2012, the hackers on HackerOne’s platform have found over 120,000 vulnerabilities and have been awarded over $51 million in bug bounties. With the average bounty paid for critical vulnerabilities now totaling almost $3,400, some hackers are able to make a career out of discovering bugs on HackerOne’s platform. And while it’s not explicitly in the business of making millionaires, the company has helped six hackers earn more than $1 million each by finding vulnerabilities.

David Obrand, partner at Valor Equity Partners, will join HackerOne’s Board of Directors. “HackerOne is leading a new wave of cybersecurity companies tackling the unique challenges brought on by rapid growth and more sophisticated attack surfaces,” said Obrand. “Hacker-powered security is here to stay and with its tremendous customer and hacker community, HackerOne is dominating the market. I am thrilled to be joining the Board of Directors and being a part of the next stage of growth and innovation.”

HackerOne has offices in London, New York, Singapore, and the Netherlands. In 2017, the company earned the Favorite FinDEVr Debut award for its presentation at FinDEVr New York and won the Crowd Favorite award at its FinDEVr London presentation. Mårten Mickos is CEO.

Twisto Raises $15 Million in Series B Funding

William Reeve, a co-founder of LOVEFiLM and Secret Escapes, is the latest investor in Czech payments innovator Twisto. Tech.eu reports that the company has raised $15 million (€14 million) in capital as a follow-on to the Series B that it completed in this spring. The company is also looking to bringing an additional $33 million to $44 million (€30 million to 40 million) in senior and venture debt financing to support expansion.

Twisto will use the funds to further build out its platform and to develop what it calls the first universal “debit-credit payment app.” The company’s goal is to have two million, “full-account” customers within the next five years.

Speaking of Reeve, Twisto CEO and founder Michal Smida called his fintech experience “an invaluable resource” and said Twisto would work closely with Reeve on “key strategic initiatives” including M&A and entry into new markets.

Founded in 2013, Twisto has grown into a major Central European fintech with more than 275,000 customers and more than 500,000 monthly visits. The company’s Nikita risk engine applies machine learning to non-traditional data to provide a credit assessment based on more than 400 data points per transaction – all in milliseconds.

Twisto demonstrated its Twisto Card at FinovateEurope 2018. The card, designed to support all of the daily financing needs of its users, provides access instant credit and notifications, a favorable foreign exchange rate, cashback and UNIQA insurance. The card also features a “Buy Now. Pay Later” solution that provides one-click instant financing. Twisto offers three tiers, including a free online version that includes many of the platforms key features including cashback from online purchases and Twisto Snap, which lets users pay bills and invoices by photo or email.

Headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic, Twisto announced in July that it was opening an office in Poland, with an expansion into Romania expected soon. The company began the year with news that Wirecard would facilitate the integration of Apple Pay for users of Twisto’s digital Mastercard.

Credit Sesame Raises $43 Million in Advance of IPO

Credit score and loan management platform, Credit Sesame, has raised $43 million so far in its latest funding round, which is likely to be the last before the firm goes public, writes Jane Connolly of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

The round, led by ATW Partners with participation from previous investors, has not yet closed. TechCrunch reports CEO and founder, Adrian Nazari, believes the company is on track to achieve a $1 billion valuation when the round does close.

The funding is a combination of equity and debt for the profitable company, which has seen 90% annual revenue growth for the last five years. It will be spent on business expansion and developing Credit Sesame’s RoboCredit artificial intelligence algorithms, which enable consumers to see what actions they can take to improve their credit scores.

Nazari said this is likely to be the last funding round before launching an IPO and the company has no plans to look at mergers or acquisitions until after it goes public.

“Credit Sesame is revolutionizing how consumers manage their credit,” said Kerry Propper, co-founder and managing partner of ATW Partners. “What once was a mystery and black box is now distilled by Credit Sesame’s PCM platform into easy to digest actionable insights that can effortlessly and meaningfully change a consumer’s credit and financial health.”

Users of Credit Sesame, which coined the term “Personal Credit Management,” can check their initial credit score and look at debt rebalancing options for free, but pay fees to take up products referred through the engine.

Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Mountain View, California, Credit Sesame demonstrated its credit-based PFM for a co-branded environment at FinovateSpring 2015.

3E Software’s Teslar Closes $2 Million Round

3E Software’s portfolio management system Teslar closed a $2 million funding round this week. Leading the investment is the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA).

“We provide the solutions necessary for community banks to operate more efficiently and effectively, while focusing on what matters most: exceptional customer service,” said Teslar CEO and Founder Joe Ehrhardt. “This investment and ICBA’s support will provide resources to grow our team and continue advancing our technology, furthering our mission to help community bankers prosper.”

The Arkansas-based company will use the funds to add to its workforce, specifically in its client support, marketing, and technology development departments. Teslar graduated from ICBA’s ThinkTECH accelerator program earlier this year where its demo won the Banker’s Choice Award for Most Impactful Solution.

Teslar offers a lending and credit management SaaS solution that offers banks a holistic tool for managing credit and lending operations. At FinovateSpring 2015, Ehrhardt demoed how Teslar serves as a one-stop shop for lenders.

A full 60% of the company’s staff are former bankers, a pedigree which offers them insight into the headaches often faced during the lending process. This group of former bankers relies on what they call the “four pillars:” empowering bankers, integrating multiple systems, streamlining processes, and making it scalable. These objectives translate into everything from a toolset to manage loan reviews, to loan portfolio management, exceptions management, and more.

Innovation in the lending space is becoming increasingly relevant as bankers are taking a second look at their loan portfolios to make sure they are recession-proof. Solutions like Teslar offer a faster way for loan officers to close deals and minimize risk.

We’ve Got Funding, How About You?

With FinovateAsia and FinovateMiddleEast coming up later this year, we wanted to pause to take a look at the funding that participants from last year’s shows have received so far this year.

In the first eight months of 2019, four fintechs that participated in FinovateAsia and FinovateMiddleEast 2018 raised more than $23 million combined.

With real funding at stake, what are you waiting for? Apply to demo your tech at FinovateAsia or FinovateMiddleEast today. The application is free and you have nothing to lose!

The Middle East and North Africa startup culture has continued to mature, especially when it comes to early stage companies. Part of the growth can be attributed to the region’s investment in both talent and infrastructure. Coding programs and regional hackathons have not only added to the talent pool of startup recruits, they have also given the startup culture a boost.

In Asia, India has risen as the region’s top country for fintech funding. The $286 million in fintech funding the country raised in Q1 of this year outranks China’s total of $192 million raised for fintechs in that same quarter. Part of the slowdown in China can be attributed to increased regulation in the region.

If your startup is interested in demoing at this year’s FinovateAsia or FinovateMiddleEast conference, contact our demo team at middleeast@finovate.com or asia@finovate.com.