New Investment Takes ThetaRay’s Total Capital to More than $60 Million

Advanced cyber security solution provider ThetaRay has raised $30+ million in funding courtesy of investors including Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), GE, Bank Hapoalim, OurCrowd, and SVB. The investment takes the company’s total equity capital to more than $60 million.

“In this era when criminal activity and money laundering are increasing and becoming more sophisticated and also regulation is on the rise, there is a greater demand for our solutions,” ThetaRay CEO Mark Gazit explained. “As the amount of digital information grows, you just can’t protect it without artificial intelligence systems. ThetaRay offers the most advanced and mature solutions to detect threats before they happen. We thank the existing investors, especially JVP, for their confidence in ThetaRay, and welcome the new ones joining in this round.”

ThetaRay, which has doubled in size every year in its five years of operation, will use the new funding to grow its presence in Europe, Asia, and the U.S., and “significantly increase” its workforce to scale operations to meet growing demand. Founded in 2013, the company is headquartered in Israel and New York City, and has offices in the U.K. and Singapore.

Combining machine learning, artificial intelligence, and “the wisdom of the algorithm crowd,” ThetaRay enables financial institutions to detect in real-time the kind of anomalies that typically indicate fraud, while reducing the number of false positives. The company provides financial services companies with anti-money laundering, fraud detection, and ATM solutions that leverage unsupervised machine learning instead of outdated rule-based systems and pre-defined thresholds.

“Existing systems fall short of addressing the agility and innovation of rogue organizations, fraudsters and hackers,” JVP General Partner Yoav Tzruya said. “ThetaRay is uniquely positioned to address this significant market pain, through its no-rules, holistic, AI-driven solution to identify such events, while significantly reducing the operating cost for banks.” Tzruya is also a founding investor in ThetaRay.

ThetaRay demonstrated its fraud and credit risk technology at FinovateFall 2015. Last month, the company announced that it was teaming up with ABN AMRO in a five-year project to improve the AML and counter-terrorist financing capabilities of the Dutch bank. Also in June, ThetaRay was honored with the Next Generation ATM Security Award from ATMIA.

In addition to financial services, ThetaRay’s anomaly detection technology has also been deployed in Industrial Internet of Things (Industrial IoT) contexts to help protect critical assets such as turbines, sensors, aircraft engines, and more.

ezbob Lands Undisclosed Investment from Honeycomb Investment Trust

Alternative business lending company ezbob closed a round of equity funding this week. The amount of the financing was undisclosed and boosts the U.K.-based startup’s total combined debt and equity funding higher than its previous total of $136 million (£103 million). Of that amount, $50.3+ million (£38.2+ million) is equity and $81.9 million (£62.2 million) is debt.

Today’s Series C funds come from Honeycomb Investment Trust, which is managed by Pollen Street Capital, one of the leading investors focused on lending startups. Lindsey McMurray, Pollen Street founding partner, will join ezbob’s Board of Directors. ezbob will use the funds to build out a more robust automated lending portfolio and to expand into new geographical territory.

Regarding McMurray’s involvement, Tomer Guriel, founder and CEO of ezbob said, “Our initial focus is on the SME community, many of whom struggle to acquire the financial support they need to achieve their personal and professional business development goals. My vision is to create a portfolio of innovative solutions which streamline and accelerate the entire lending process for both the borrowers and loan providers. With the support of highly experienced individuals like Lindsey, together with the new funding, there is nothing to stop us from turning our shared vision into a sustainable reality.”

“We have watched ezbob develop from being a niche player into a leading lending platform provider,” said McMurray. “ezbob are pioneers in this space and I believe both the financial institutions, and the businesses they support will derive significant benefits from this new and innovative approach to lending,” she added.

In addition to lending directly to small businesses in need of capital, ezbob offers banks a lending-as-a service platform for their small business banking customers. Esme Loans and Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank are among the company’s clients.

Founded in 2011, ezbob has 70 employees across offices in London, Tel Aviv, and Bulgaria. At FinovateEurope 2014, Guriel demonstrated ezbob’s online application process. The company started this year off on the right foot with the announcement of a $21 million funding round. Late last year, ezbob won an award for “Best Technology Initiative” at the Financial Innovation Awards.

Paysend Seals Deal on $20 Million Financing

 

In a round led by MARCorp Financial, global money transfer platform Paysend has raised $20 million in new funding. The company said that the capital, which takes the company’s total to $23 million, will help it launch new services and expand globally.

“Paysend has created the first integrated B2B and B2C global payments business which is already disrupting the market,” said MARCorp Financial Chairman Michael Fazio. “Their three businesses – Global Transfers, Global Account, and Global Processing – are leaders in their respective fields. We look forward to being a part of the next stage of Paysend’s growth.”

Paysend CEO Europe Ronald Millar demonstrating the Paysend Global Account at FinovateSpring 2018.

Via its Global Transfers service, Paysend enables card-to-card money transfers from customers in more than 60 countries. With the recipient’s name and a 16-digit card number, cardholders can make fast, secure, low-cost money transfers 24/7. Paysend charges a fixed rate for international transactions regardless of the amount transferred. Recipients can withdraw cash from millions of ATMs around the world, and pay by card at any merchant that accepts Visa or Mastercard. The service is accessible via both an iOS and Android app as well as online.

Global Account, demonstrated live at FinovateSpring 2018 in May, provides a digital wallet for both fiat and crypto currencies. The solution enables fund transfer between currencies as well as sending money to other Global Accounts or crypto wallets, and making online and in-person payments. The account comes with a prepaid card, physical and virtual, that can be linked to any of the currencies in the account, enabling the user to pay with both fiat and crypto currencies. Cardholders can also withdraw cash from the account in 125 different currencies.

Paysend’s Global Processing division processes credit and debit cards, and helps boost revenue for merchants by taking what the company calls a “data-driven approach to customer shopping.”

“I am proud of what we have achieved to date, and what we have planned for the future,” Paysend CEO Europe Ronald Millar said. “We are the only global card-to-card platform, and the technological and operational expertise required to create that could only have come from an executive team with special knowledge, creativity and ambition – our team.”

London, U.K.-based Paysend announced a number of major service expansions this year including launches in Turkey in June, in Israel in May, and in both Canada and the UAE in April. Nigeria was added in February. Paysend’s partnership with China UnionPay, announced back in December, enabled card-to-card transfers to China.

Veridium’s $16.5 Million Series B Led by Michael Spencer

Exactly one week after pocketing a $150k grant, Veridium has made headlines again after the company reported a Series B funding round totaling $16.5 million. Because Veridium’s initial funding round was unreported, the company’s total funding is unknown.

U.K. entrepreneur and philanthropist Michael Spencer led the round, contributing $14.2 million of the total financing. Other contributors include Citrix Systems, and investor Michael Powell. Both Spencer and Powell will join Veridium’s board of directors.

The company will use the capital to boost product development and to scale its sales and marketing efforts across the Americas, Europe, and Asia in order to meet demand. Veridium already boasts customers in multiple industries across the globe, having recently added several large financial services organizations. In February, the company onboarded the largest bank in the Nordic region, Nordea, and last month, it signed a deal with a multinational Swiss bank to replace passwords, tokens, and swipe cards to create a more user-friendly authentication process.

“In today’s digital age, global organizations are challenged to secure their most critical assets against advanced threats in a way that’s both convenient and secure,” said Spencer. “Veridium is unique in the industry because it provides organizations with an enterprise-ready authentication solution to address those problems with the adoption of biometrics – while increasing security and convenience.”

Veridium offers biometric authentication solutions available through a software-only biometrics platform. The identity access management technology allows users to replace passwords, tokens, and swipe cards with their own facial and fingerprint biometrics that can be read on the sensors already available on their smartphone.

At FinovateEurope 2017, Veridium showcased 4 Fingers TouchlessID, a multi-finger touchless biometric authentication that works on smartphones with a camera. Headquartered in London and Boston, Veridium was founded in 2015. James Stickland is CEO.

Bento for Business Raises $9 Million in New Funding

In a round led by Edison Partners and featuring participation from current investor Comcast Ventures and new investor MissionOG, Bento for Business has raised $9 million in funding. The financial management solutions provider will use the capital to bolster its marketing and engineering efforts with new hires, and to expand the Bento for Business platform across payments, spend management, and business banking.

“Time and again, research says that poorly managed business spend is the single largest threat to the profits of small and midsize businesses in the U.S.,” Bento for Business founder and CEO Farhan Ahmad explained. “We solve this problem and bring our customers an intelligent financial management solution that stops unauthorized spending before it happens.”

The funding nearly doubles Bento for Business’ total capital to $18.5 million.

Bento for Business provides SME owners with a card-based digital spending management solution that enables employers to prevent unauthorized expenditures by controlling when, where, and how much their employees spend at the point of sale. The platform stops unapproved business spend before the purchase, saving time and money on returns and cancellations. The technology also has features like receipt upload and the ability to automatically sync Bento with popular accounting systems like Quickbooks to reduce the need for expense reports.

The company’s solutions include expense cards, API virtual cards, and ghost cards. Bento’s tiered levels of service range from a free program that supports up to two cards to its enterprise level offering with unlimited cards for $149 a month. Bento does not charge a setup fee and all paid programs (Team, Professional, and Enterprise) come with free, 60-day trials.

Bento for Business demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2015. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the company was featured in Inc.com’s article 7 Cool Productivity Tools You Probably Haven’t Heard Of last month. Bento’s technology was also highlighted in CardRates.com in March, the same month the company launched its Business Fraud Risk Calculator. The calculator is a two-minute diagnostic test that identifies potential fraud risk factors at small businesses by asking questions about expense policies, receipt handling, and accounting systems.

In February, Finovate founder Jim Bruene featured Bento in his look at startup challenger banks with a small business focus. Last fall, the company unveiled a suite of new solutions, opened up its APIs, and announced a partnership with The Bancorp.

Unison Raises $40 Million to Promote the American Dream

Homeownership and investment company Unison unveiled its latest round of funding today. The company pulled in $40 million in Series B financing led by F-Prime Capital, whose partner, David Jegen, will join Unison’s board. Additional contributions came from Citi Ventures and Royal Bank of Canada.

The California-based company will use the new investment to fuel growth, build brand awareness, expand business operations, hire new talent, and advance its platform. Unison did not disclose its total funding to-date, but the company reported in 2017 that it “has raised tens of millions in operating capital and secured investment mandates totaling several billion.”

“I built Unison with home buyers, home owners and institutional investors top of mind and to bridge two massive needs: provide a form of capital for consumers and make residential real estate an investable asset class,” said Thomas Sponholtz, CEO of Unison. He added that Unison is “liberating consumers from debt-only solutions that have saturated the marketplace.”

Founded in 2004, Unison most recently demoed its two flagship products at FinovateFall 2017. The first is Unison HomeBuyer, which provides a percentage of the down payment needed to purchase a home in exchange for a percentage of the home’s equity upon selling. The second product is Unison HomeOwner, which allows homeowners to liquidate some of the equity in their home without interest or monthly paymentsThe company also showcased at FinovateSpring 2017, where it won Best of Show.

Unison has reported a handful of notable achievements recently, including a 10x increase in loan originations in Q1 2018 compared to the same quarter last year. The company also expanded its availability to 22 states and appointed Cari Jacobs as CMO.

Munnypot Picks Up Investment from Livingbridge

Robo advisory platform Munnypot began the month announcing a new relationship with business process management specialist Capita. Now the U.K.-based FinovateMiddleEast alum is ending the month with news of a major new investment from private equity firm, Livingbridge.

The amount of the investment was not disclosed. Livingbridge typically invests equity of as much as $6.6 million (£5 million). Munnypot said it will use the funds to further develop its robo advisory solution.

“We are delighted with Livingbridge’s investment which will enable us to scale up our business and further develop our offer for consumers,” Munnypot CEO Andrew Fay said.

Munnypot CEO demonstrating the company’s robo advisor platform at FinovateMiddleEast 2018.

Munnypot provides automated financial investment services for as little as £25 a month and/or a single £250 investment. The platform leverages chatbot technology to encourage investors to maximize annual ISA allowances, and monitors fund performance against goal-based objectives. If performance is out of line, Munnypot automatically suggests alternatives for the investor to consider.

“We are excited to be supporting Munnypot in the early stages of their development,” Livingbridge investment director Steve Cordiner said. “The robo advisor sector has grown quickly in recent years and Munnypot has a strong proposition; delivering low cost and affordable advice to consumers.”

Munnypot’s funding news comes just weeks after the company announced a strategic “scaling” partnership with Capita, which took a minority stake in the robo advisor. Via this partnership, Munnypot will help Capita develop solutions for wealth management companies. Earlier this year, Munnypot reported that it would power the robo advisor platform for Jyske Bank in Denmark. The deal represented the company’s first European white label partnership.

“We know, first hand, the time and resources required to build a robust online investment advice proposition,” Fay said in a statement accompanying the partnership announcement. “For most firms, partnering is the best and most efficient route to developing an innovative, client-engaging service.”

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Crawley, U.K., Munnypot demonstrated its goal-based, online investment advice solution at the inaugural FinovateMiddleEast conference earlier this year. Unlike many robo advisors that seek customers from among the mass affluent, Munnypot is designed for those who traditionally have not been able to access financial advice, as well as investors looking for a cost-competitive alternative to other advisory services.

Newchip Lands $2 Million in Seed Funding

For its first round of funding, investment marketplace Newchip has closed on a $2 million Seed round this week. Participating in the round are JadeValue Fintech, Yeoman’s Capital, Spunik ATX, Youbi Capital, and Polymath.

“We’re very excited about the funding partnerships we’ve accomplished and the value those investors bring to the company. We started Newchip with a dream to open up access to investments for both entrepreneurs and investors and now, with the closing of our seed funding round, we can achieve what we set out to do,” said Ryan Rafols, founder and CEO of Newchip.

Founded in 2016, Newchip’s marketplace allows users to invest in opportunities they care about for as little as $100. The low minimum investment, combined with Newchip’s varying investment marketplace, allow investors to curate a diversified portfolio. Some of the investment types include small business, pre-IPO companies, high growth startups, blockchain, and real estate.

Since launch, the Austin-based company has built its user base to 50,000 individuals. This success is thanks in part to Newchip’s popularity in the Apple app store, where the app recently reached the top 100 list for finance. The app is currently ranked #1 for startup investing, and is in the top 10 for fundraising and stock market investing.

Newchip debuted its investment app at FinovateSpring 2017. In April, the company began offering security token-based offerings and blockchain powered companies in its marketplace.

P2Binvestor Earns $17+ Million in Funding

Peer-to-peer crowdlending platform P2Binvestor (P2Bi) received more than $17 million in combined debt and equity funding this week. The debt investment come from more than 20 participants, all sourced from the P2Bi marketplace that consists of banks, private investors, and institutional investors. The equity funds come from Angel investors.

The Colorado-based startup has not disclosed the breakdown of debt vs. equity but we estimate around $13.4 million of the total is debt and about $3.6 million is equity. This is based on P2Bi’s report that today’s investment is its fourth round of equity funding, bringing its total equity raised to $13 million. While the company did not comment on its total funding, Crunchbase estimates P2Bi’s combined debt and equity at $33.76 million.

P2Bi will use the funds to power its new bank partnership program. Launched last year, the bank partnership program offers access to working capital to small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) who don’t qualify for traditional financing. It not only allows banks to invest in local businesses, but also helps them tap into a new asset class. Under the partnership, banks will front 50% of the capital with a senior secured position. P2Bi’s base of private investors will provide the remaining half of the capital and businesses will receive the funds with a blended interest rate of 8% to 12%. New Resource Bank, which began piloting the bank partnership program last October, has already closed seven loans worth over $16 million.

“Over the course of the past few months, P2Bi has focused on building a new partnership model with community banks that is proving to be very successful,” said Krista Morgan, CEO and cofounder of P2Binvestor. “Growing businesses love the idea that we can graduate them to cheaper financing without the hassle of switching, and banks love that they can be the first lender to a growing business building a valuable, long-term relationship. This raise enables us to onboard new banks into the program.”

Founded in 2012, P2Bi debuted at FinovateSpring 2013 and showcased its borrower application and loan management platform at FinovateFall 2014. Earlier this spring, MonJa featured Morgan in an interview and last fall the company made Credit Donkey’s list of Best Finance Technology.

SmartAsset Scoops Up $28 Million in New Funding

New York-based fintech SmartAsset, which provides personalized, automated financial solutions, has raised $28 million in new funding. The Series C round takes the company’s total equity capital to more than $51 million and featured the participation of Focus Financial Partners, Javeline Venture Partners, TTV Capital, IA Capital, and Citi Ventures, as well as other investors.

The company will use the investment to build its audience as well as expand its platform to help more people improve their finances and connect with qualified personal financial advisors.

“This investment will accelerate our mission of becoming the web’s premier resource for personal finance tools and content,” SmartAsset CEO and co-founder Michael Carvin said. “In doing so, SmartAsset will become the largest marketplace for investors trying to find financial advisors and advisors trying to meet new prospective clients.”

More than 45 million people use SmartAsset’s personal finance information and online resources every month. The company’s automated financial modeling software, demonstrated live at FinovateSpring, powers SmartAsset’s tools, financial calculators, and data-driven research and content to give consumers information on personal finance topics ranging from planning for a first-time home purchase or saving for retirement.

SmartAsset also helps individuals find the right financial advisor based on their specific needs. By answering a series of questions – your location, your preferred retirement timeline, how you currently manage your money, and so on – SmartAsset can assess the individual’s general investment preferences and goals and provide up to three recommendations for financial advisors. All of SmartAssets’ recommended advisors are carefully vetted and registered with the SEC or appropriate state regulator.

A finalist for the 2018 Benzinga Fintech Awards, SmartAsset announced a partnership with CRM software provider Wealthbox in April to integrate its SmartAdvisor lead generation solution into the Wealthbox platform. In February, SmartAsset teamed up with America Saves and the American Savings Education Council to promote positive savings behavior during America Saves Week.