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Tracking fintech, banking & financial services innovations since 1994
There’s no denying that challenger banks are one of the hottest things in fintech right now. The coronavirus has accelerated the need for a purely digital banking solution and this boost in demand has spurred an increase in the number of players in the space.
The newest challenger bank to enter the ring is Intuit-owned QuickBooks. The 28-year-old company is launching a business bank account called QuickBooks Cash. The new account will be promoted to QuickBooks’ existing user base of over seven million small businesses. The accounts boast a business bank account, debit card, an envelope budgeting tool, and cash flow management tools that work seamlessly with QuickBooks existing products, including payroll, payments, and accounting tools.
“QuickBooks Cash delivers what current business accounts don’t — a banking experience that enables small businesses to accept payments, pay teams and vendors — with automatic reconciliation for easy financial management,” said Rania Succar, Senior Vice President of QuickBooks Capital and Payments at Intuit. “Combining QuickBooks Cash with the powerful insights and financial management platform powered by QuickBooks, we are building a tool that accelerates the growth of small businesses. Companies that have more working capital can take advantage of more opportunities.”
QuickBooks Cash accounts will be backed by FDIC-insured Green Dot Bank and feature no balance requirements, a high-yield interest rate of 1%, billpay capability, cash flow planning tools, and more. Unlike most challenger banks which offer unlimited free ATM withdrawals, however, QuickBooks only allows four free withdrawals per month.
The new account, along with the corresponding tools, will roll out over the course of the next several weeks.
The number of women in technology in general, and fintech in specific, is growing. That’s the good news.
As Julie Bort and Rachel Sandler wrote in their 2018 feature on female engineers for Business Insider, “for all the arm waving about the lack of women in STEM professions, the truth is, there are some powerful role-model female engineers having fabulous careers and creating tech used by millions, if not billions of people everyday.”
A report from consulting firm Korn Ferry supports this. The study, conducted last year and looking at the top 1,000 U.S. companies by revenue, noted an increase of 2% in the number of women who held the role of CIO or CTO last year. “The industry with the highest percentage of women CIOs/CTOs,” the report noted “is financial at 25%.”
By comparison, the number of women fulfilling the role of Chief Technology Officer within the tech industry remains fewer, maybe even far fewer, than you might suspect. By industry, Korn Ferry ranked technology behind financial, healthcare, retail, and consumer, besting only the services industry.
Women like Padmasree Warrior, who served as Cisco Systems’ CTO between 2007 and 2015 and, before that, as CTO for Motorola for four years, have been among the relatively few women at the top tier of technology leadership – especially at the largest tech companies. Elissa Murphy, at GoDaddy, Selina Tobaccowala at SurveyMonkey, and Raji Arasu at StubHub are just a few of the female CTOs in charge of technology at some of our economy’s newer, most innovative companies.
Turning to fintech – and our own experience at Finovate – a woman like Pamela Rice comes to mind. The former Senior Vice President of Technology at OnDeck who represented the company at our developers conference FinDEVr, Rice is currently Chief Technology Officer for Earnest. The San Francisco, California-based company she joined in 2019 provides consumer financing options for underbanked populations including recent college graduates. Last summer, she participated in a company-hosted, Tech Meet-Up on Diversity and Inclusion, sharing her thoughts on the value of making diversity “part of the DNA of everything you do.”
We took a look at how the fintech industry was faring in terms of female representation at the CTO level. There is still a great deal of progress to be made. Here is a sample of the women who are increasingly providing technical leadership for fintechs large and small.
Marianna Tessel – Intuit – With more than 20 years experience as a VP of Engineering for companies like Ariba, Docker, and VMWare, Tessel took the helm as Intuit’s Chief Technology Officer in January 2019.
Educated at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and the Weizmann Institute of Science – and having served as a captain in the Israeli Army – Tessel was praised by new Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi as a “transformational change agent” who has created “an engineering culture that has accelerated innovation.”
At Intuit, Tessel is responsible for leading the company’s product engineering, data science, information technology, and information security teams around the world. She first joined Intuit in 2017, leading product development for the firm’s Small Business and Self-Employed Group, including the company’s QuickBooks product family.
Rija Javed – MarketFinance (formerly MarketInvoice) – After more than four years as an engineer for Wealthfront, including roles as Director and Senior Director, Javed joined U.K.-based MarketFinance as the company’s Chief Technology Officer in 2018. This made her one of the first female fintech CTOs in the country.
“Having Rija on board underlines our focus on hiring the best talent and building innovative technology to deliver business finance solutions,” MarketFinance CEO and Co-founder Anil Stocker said. “It’s the foundation we’ll use to help thousands of business(es) access funding quickly and easily.”
While at the Wealthfront, Javed built the company’s first mobile app. Transitioning to the company’s investment products platform, she helped scale Wealthfront’s offerings including the development of a new brokerage and banking platform. With degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto, Javed is also a mentor for the New York Academy of Sciences.
Ekate Kuznetsova – Token Transit – Sometimes the only way for a woman to make sure that there’s a woman’s place at the tech table is to build the table herself. That’s the approach of Kuznetsova, who parlayed her experience in software engineering at Akamai and Google into launching a fintech startup of her own. Token Transit, for which Kuznetsova is founder, CEO, and Chief Technology Officer, provides mobile ticketing and payment verification solutions for public transportation.
Launched in 2016 and available in more than 75 cities in the U.S. and Canada, Token Transit enables people to pay for fares and passes with their credit, debit, or commuter benefits card and provides them with a digital ticket that is stored on their smartphone.
Kuznetsova earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studied Mathematics and Computer Science.
While the ranks of female CTOs in fintech remains modest, it should be mentioned that there are women – from VPs of Engineering to Chief Scientists – who are not only currently leading tech teams, but also are likely among the CTOs of tomorrow. For a peek at one shortlist, check out Angie Chang’s spotlight on 21 female executives who could become one of the Fortune 100’s next CTOs.
Know a woman who’s driving technology innovation at one of your favorite fintechs? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org!
How’s $7 billion for good karma? One of Finovate’s earliest alumsCredit Karma is reportedly the target of what would be Intuit’s biggest acquisition to date. According to The Wall Street Journal, the cash and stock deal could be announced as early as Monday.
Credit Karma will continue to function as an independent company with founder and CEO Kenneth Lin at the helm. The acquisition gives Intuit, maker of online tax filing service TurboTax, another contact point with the online personal finance world. Credit Karma provides its members with access to their credit scores and borrowing histories, helps them monitor their accounts for security breaches and, perhaps most relevantly, has offered a free online tax preparation service since 2017.
If the deal holds up, Intuit will be paying a significant premium for Credit Karma. The personal financial wellness company was last valued at $4 billion, based on a 2018 private market transaction.
The victory may have been especially sweet for Sonect, whose Best of Show award-winning demo was also the company’s Finovate debut. The Switzerland-based start-up offers what it calls “the world’s first social cash network” that enables consumers to access cash without having to visit a bank branch or ATM. Sonect offers merchants the ability to grow their business via increased traffic and gives financial institutions a way to extend their ATM networks without the cost of additional hardware.
The Best of Show win was also a first for Horizn. The company, which made its Finovate debut three years ago at FinovateEurope, offers a platform that helps employees and customers maximize the opportunities of digitized financial services. Horizn uses simulator microlearning, as well as gamification and advanced analytics, to promote digital adoption across channels.
And last but not least, a special tip of the hat to Dorsum, Glia, iProov, and W.UP, all of whom won Best of Show honors at FinovateEurope for a second year in a row.
Here’s a round up of recent news from our Finovate alumni.
Larkyenters reseller agreement with Access Softek.
Bison Bank in Lisbon, Portugal selects PSD2-ready software from ndigit.
OurCrowdexpands focus on growing early stage tech companies.
Finovate Alum Features and Profiles
eToro’s Evolution – Social trading and investment platform eToro has never been one to stand still for very long. The company’s development cycle is fast enough to make even the most sprightly fintech jealous.
Lending Club Snaps Up Radius Bank for $185 Million – When Lending Club was founded in 2007, the startup aimed to serve as a place to help borrowers avoid dealing with banks. In a somewhat ironic move today, that same startup is becoming a bank itself.
California-based Intuit partnered with P2P lending company Lending Club and roboadvisor Wealthfront this week. These partnerships are fueled by Intuit-owned Turbox, leveraging the more than 80,000 data fields on the TurboTax return, including income, employment, housing, etc. With one click, TurboTax users can save time during LendingClub’s loan application process by importing their data. Similarly, shared TurboTax and Wealthfront clients can open an account much faster and receive more personalized financial advice based on their tax return data.
Lending Club noted the capability will do more than just speed up the application process. Cole Gillespie, Vice President and Head of Business Development at LendingClub, said that the TurboTax data will “unlock the access to credit for customers that ordinarily we might not be able to serve… this partnership is a step in leveraging alternative data sources to help us increase the speed and access to credit.”
Andy Rachleff, CEO of Wealthfront said that partnering with a company like Intuit is “a dream come true.” He explained, “They don’t just pay lip service to caring about the client. They constantly challenge themselves to provide more value. Integrating with TurboTax data that customers agree to provide will allow Wealthfront to continue to raise the bar on what it means to deliver accessible, convenient, and deeply personalized financial planning. We can’t wait to do more together.”
Intuit is also leveraging the data to pre-fill applications within PFM platform, Mint; financial recommendations site, Turbo; and existing external Intuit partners. By combining household data to give lenders a view of shared household income, credit score, and debt, Intuit offers a fuller picture of total borrowing and savings power. The company estimates pre-qualification leveraging TurboTax data generates a conversion rate of up to 9x in offer performance.
“With more than 25 million users and rich insights into their financial profile, Mint and Turbo are uniquely positioned to deliver value to both consumers and strategic partners,” said Varun Krishna, VP of product management for Intuit’s Consumer Division. “Using machine learning, we are able to provide consumers a comprehensive view of their finances and highlight relevant opportunities to save time and money and generate unique value to our partners.”
Best known for its Quickbooks accounting software, Intuit most recently demoed at FinovateFall 2009. The company has 20 locations across 9 countries and employs 9,000 people. Founded in 1983, Intuit went public 10 years later and today has a market capitalization of $54.6 billion.
Founded in 2006, Lending Club demoed at FinovateSpring 2009 and at the inaugural Finovate in 2007. Earlier this summer, the company appointed Ronnie Momen as Chief Lending Officer. Lending Club went public in 2015 and today the company’s market capitalization sits at $1.54 billion.
Wealthfront debuted as KaChing at FinovateSpring 2009. The company began 2018 by landing $75 million in funding, bringing its total raised to $205 million. A few weeks later, the company launched a home ownership planning tool.
Cloud-based payment platform Dream Payments has teamed up with Quickbooks, and First Data’s Clover to bring QuickBooks capabilities to U.S. merchants this week.
This comes three months after Dream Payments first initiated a partnership with First Data last year, launching the Dream Payments POS for merchants using First Data’s Clover. It also follows Dream Payments’ successful pilot of a QuickBooks integration in Canada.
The partnership will allow Dream Payments’ business clients using any POS device in Clover’s line to sync with QuickBooks. After a purchase, QuickBooks will automatically and in real time record the sale, update inventory, collect and close invoices, and import sales tax.
CEO of Dream Payments Brent Ho-Young said that the integration will help businesses succeed. He added that, by combining QuickBooks and Clover in the Dream Payments POS, “we’re unlocking the cloud and simplifying the most complex aspects of running a successful business — customer experience, payments and accounting. Now businesses of any size can access a powerful commerce platform that traditionally only the largest retailers could afford.”
Founded in 2014 and with operations in Stamford, Connecticut, Dream Payments helps small businesses accept all payments, including chip cards, contactless cards, and mobile wallets. In addition to ties with Quickbooks and First Data, the company also counts TD Merchant Solutions and Chase Paymentech in its partnership ecosystem.
At FinovateSpring 2015, Dream Payments debuted its mobile POS device. Last fall, the company partnered with IBM to leverage its cloud and security capabilities. Dream Payments has raised $14.9 million. Brent Ho-Young is CEO.