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Tracking fintech, banking & financial services innovations since 1994
Today, as we near the end of our Financial Literacy Month commemoration, we’re highlighting those Best of Show winning fintech innovators and the work they do in making financial education available to a broadening range of communities.
Provo, Utah-based Banzai made its one-and-only Finovate appearance at FinovateFall 2018 in New York. At the event, the company won Best of Show for its offering that helps banks and credit unions boost customer engagement and ROI while providing financial education for their customers and members.
FamZoo demoed its technology on the Finovate stage twice – in 2011 and again in 2013 – winning Best of Show on both occasions. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California and founded in 2006, the two-time Best of Show winner offers a prepaid card and financial education for kids in a single family finance app.
When it comes to financial literacy, companies like Horizn help the financial services community help itself. Making its Finovate debut in 2017, Horizn earned a pair of Best of Show awards in its two most recent appearances in 2020 and 2021. The company offers a platform that helps financial institutions accelerate digital banking knowledge, fluency, and adoption for both customers and employees. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Horizn was founded in 2011.
Not many companies can boast of winning a Finovate Best of Show award in two different decades, but Kasasa (formerly known as BancVue) has done that and then some. The financial and marketing technology provider, based in Austin, Texas, and founded in 2004, won Best of Show in its Finovate debut in 2009. Nearly ten years later, the company picked up its third Best of Show award at FinovateSpring in 2018 (Kasasa also won Best of Show in 2011 in San Francisco). In addition to offering a variety of innovative fintech products – such as its “take-back loan” – Kasasa also launched an online game called MoneyIsland that helps instruct kids on the importance of sound money management.
One of two Best of Show winning Canadian companies with a commitment to financial literacy, Ottawa, Ontario-based Launchfire won Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2019 in its second Finovate appearance. The company specializes in game-based employee and customer engagement for financial institutions. Most notably, Launchfire offers an employee engagement solution, Lemonade, that blends gamification with micro-learning, AI, and “surgical analytics” to educate financial services employees.
Long Game is one of Finovate’s newest alums and one of our more recent Best of Show winners, as well. The company, founded in 2015 and based in San Francisco, California, won Best of Show in its Finovate debut at FinovateFall 2021 last September. Long Game offers a bank-branded mobile app that combines the best practices of prize-linked savings and mobile gaming to help banks and credit unions acquire new customers, increase customer engagement, and boost financial literacy.
Earning a Best of Show award in its Finovate debut at FinovateFall 2019, Zogo Finance leverages behavioral economic research developed at Duke University to help improve financial literacy for young people. The company’s app transforms tricky financial concepts into smaller, easier-to-understand lessons, and offers rewards and incentives to users who complete them. The company announced 31 new financial institution partnerships in Q1 of 2022 alone, bringing its total partnership tally to more than 180 banks and credit unions.
April is financial literacy month. To commemorate the occasion, we’re showcasing a handful (or two!) of Finovate alums that are leveraging technology to lead the fight for financial literacy.
Many of these companies specialize in helping kids and youth learn about savings, investment, credit, and other aspects of personal finance and money management. Others respond to the needs of financial services professionals, ensuring that they are informed and up-to-date on many of the resources and tools available to them to help serve the public. Together, they are a reminder that financial education is in many ways a lifelong pursuit, one that is both necessary and rewarding for younger and older financial services consumers alike.
Fun fact: Companies involved in financial literacy tend to be Finovate fan favorites. Of the 13 alums listed below, more than half won Best of Show awards for their Finovate demos!
Cryptocurrencies have dominated the fintech headlines this week- from Mastercardagreeing to allow merchants to accept payments in cryptocurrencies to BNY Mellon’s announcement that it will begin custody of cryptocurrencies.
Today, after bitcoin reached an all-time high of over $48,000, marketing services company Kasasaunveiled plans to help its bank and credit union clients provide bitcoin wallets to their consumers.
The new capabilities will be powered by a partnership with New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG), a technology and financial services firm dedicated to Bitcoin. The collaboration will help Kasasa’s bank clients stay ahead of the rapidly growing bitcoin adoption.
“Clearly, Bitcoin is here to stay, and consumers are demanding that Bitcoin offerings be made through their trusted financial institutions,” said Kasasa CIO John Waupsh. “With this new partnership, we’re looking across the product and services that Kasasa currently offers, as well as future product and service ideas. With NYDIG we can evaluate new offerings such as a buy-sell-hold wallet while also incorporating Bitcoin into our core rewards business.”
This partnership will be a major selling point for Kasasa, especially as consumer interest in cryptocurrencies rise. According to NYDIG, more than 22% of U.S. adults over the age of 18 own Bitcoin today.
This interest, combined with the creation of formal regulation like the OCC’s recent ruling that banks may use stablecoins for payment facilitation, is bringing cyrptocurrencies into the forefront of banks’ agendas. With today’s partnership, Kasasa is better positioned to help small financial institutions compete with larger players when it comes to cryptocurrencies.
Marketing services company Kasasa is partnering with BSI Financial Services to provide a new mortgage loan product that community banks and credit unions can offer their clients.
The new offering, Kasasa Mortgage, helps small financial institutions compete with large banks by offering a unique loan product. What’s distinctive about Kasasa Mortgage is that it uses the Take-Back concept the company piloted in 2018. Every month the borrower has the option to overpay on their mortgage payment. If, at any time in the future, they need to access cash quickly, they have the option to take back any portion of the overpayment.
Making the new launch possible, BSI Financial will conduct the loan servicing on behalf of community banks and credit unions using the new product, Kasasa Mortgage.
“Through Kasasa’s partnership with BSI Financial, we are enabling a greater number of local financial institutions to help their borrowers better understand their mortgage loan and get out of debt quicker,” said Kasasa’s EVP of Product Management, Chris Cohen. “By offering the most consumer-friendly loan available today, community banks and credit unions can achieve higher yields without the additional risk and maintain their fair share of the market.”
Earlier this month Kasasa improved on its Take Back loan by integrating Carleton’s insurance and debt protection calculations to help tailor loan limits.
It is hard to imagine having a better start to your week than Plaid had seven days ago when the innovative fintech (and Finovate alum) announced that it had agreed to be acquired by Visa for $5.3 billion.
But the €90 million ($100 million) raised by Swedish open banking platform Tink on Monday is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, the funding, which is the company’s largest to date, is a reminder that investment interest in (and funding for) companies dedicated to developing the infrastructure that connects consumers, banks, and the financial technologies is very much in abundance.
“Our aim is to become the preferred pan-European provider of digital banking services and to offer the technology needed for banks, fintechs, and startups to leverage the opportunities of open banking and enable them to successfully develop financial services in the future,” Tink co-founder and CEO Daniel Kjellén said in a statement.
The London-based money transfer firm, founded in 2012, promoted its COO Richard Ambrose to CEO back in August, as Azimo founder Michael Kent took what TechCrunch referred to as a lateral move to become executive chairman. Today, Fintech Futures, Finovate’s sister publication, reports that the company has appointed Dora Ziambra to the post of Chief Operating Officer. Azimo also promoted its head of finance Tatiana Okhotina to the post of Chief Financial Officer.
“We’re fortunate to have the depth of talent to fill these top roles internally,” Ambrose said in a statement. “We’re lucky too that Azimo will continue to benefit from the experience and leadership of these two outstanding women.”
Here’s our weekly roundup of the latest news from our Finovate alumni:
Union Bank to leverage technology from FIS for core banking.
Italy-based CREDEM leveragingWorldline’s Payment and Liquidity Hub software CRISTAL to process Target2 payments
POS software Vend partners with Klarna to offer retailers more flexible payment options.
U.K. food retailer The Co-operative to deployACI Worldwide’s fraud management solution, ReD Shield.
A partnership between TransferGo and Currencycloud will enable the money transfer company to enter 14 new markets.
YellowDogforges reseller agreement with Annex Pro.
Bankable cozies up with Plaid to allow its bank customers to connect with their users’ bank accounts.
Ohpenappoints former Tesla marketing leader Corinne Aaron as new head of marketing.
Segmint to acquire WAND’s Product and Service Taxonomy division.
CuneXuscelebrates 2019 success with a 40% year-over-year increase in consumer reach.
Three Key Lessons We Learned from Plaid – Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Visa is acquiring Plaid for a deal that’s worth $5.3 billion. The fact that they were so widely used at such an early stage is a testament to the quality of their code, but there are also a few key lessons to take away from their success.
ITSCREDIT’s Joao Pinto on the Digital Lending Opportunity – ITSCREDIT is a spinoff from ITSECTOR and is a fairly new player in the digital lending space. In this interview, Pinto talks to us about the digital lending opportunity, how his company fits into the current state of this fintech subsector, and what we can expect to see next.
Kasasa Enhances its Take-Back Loan – Community bank marketing expert Kasasaannounced a partnership with Carleton today in which Kasasa will integrate Carleton’s insurance and debt protection calculations into its Kasasa Loan.
Plinqit Brings Rewards-Powered Financial Literacy to First Community Bank – One day in the distant future, children will be educated in basic financial literacy as readily as they are taught algebra. Until then, solutions like Plinqit from HT Mobile Apps will be valuable tools for credit unions and community banks looking for novel ways to engage and educate their members and customers.
Credit, Data, and Cryptocurrencies: Graychain Rebrands as Credmark – The company that is bringing credit data clarity to the cryptocurrency industry is entering 2020 with a new name.
Tradeshift Lands $240 Million as it Inches Toward Profitability – The San Francisco-based company will use the investment to boost expansion efforts and gear toward a “direct path to profitability in the near future.”
Backbase-as-a-Service Helps Banks Leverage the Cloud to Innovate and Scale – The solution makes the company’s broad portfolio of digital banking offerings available to FIs looking to accelerate their ability to develop and offer new technologies to customers.
Also on Finovate.com
Visa to Acquire Plaid in $5.3 Billion Deal – “Today marks an important milestone for our company and for fintech,” company co-founder and CEO Zach Perret wrote on the Plaid blog earlier today. “What started with two founders building in a cramped conference room has become an incredible network that enables millions of consumers to interact with over 2,500 digital finance products.”
Not Another 2020 Trends Prediction Post (Seriously, It’s Not!) – We’re taking a look at the trends you can expect to see on stage next month at FinovateEurope. To keep things simple this year, we assessed the themes at a very high level and broke them down into three categories: the big, the little, and the trends in-between.
Singapore’s Digital Banking License Space Race Accelerates – Is there anyone out there who is NOT trying to secure a digital banking license in Singapore? The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced last week that has received 21 applications for digital bank licenses.
MogoSpend Offers Credit, Cashback, and Help Reducing Your Carbon Footprint – The new digital spending account from Canadian fintech Mogo does more than help Canadians get control of their finances. The solution also offers cardholders generous cashback rewards and a way to make a positive impact on the environment by reducing their carbon footprint.
Getsafe Expands its Insurtech to the U.K. – If your insurance company is offering you drone insurance, you know it’s not your grandmother’s insurance agency. Germany-based insurtech Getsafe does just that– and the company announced today it is expanding its home contents insurance offering (though, sadly, not its drone insurance offering) to users in the U.K.
Raisin’s New Acquisition Gives Company Access to the U.S. Market – European deposit marketplace Raisin announced today it acquired New York-based Choice Financial Solutions.
French Fintech Lydia Locks in $45 Million – TechCrunch reported this morning that French mobile payment app Lydia has raised $45 million (€40 million) in a round led by Tencent.
Visa’s Tap to Phone Brings Contactless Payments to mPOS – With Visa’sTap to Phone app arriving pre-installed on the new, enterprise grade smartphone from Samsung, a broad range of merchants will have access to yet another way to accept payments from customers.
INTL FCStone Acquires International Bank Transfer Firm – Headquartered in Germany, GIROXX offers international bank transfers and currency hedging. INTL FCStone plans to leverage this technology to expand its current client base to small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Community bank marketing expert Kasasaannounced a partnership with Carleton today in which Kasasa will integrate Carleton’s insurance and debt protection calculations into its Kasasa Loan, a move that will allow it to tailor loan limits.
Headquartered in Indiana, Carleton provides financial calculation software, loan origination compliance support, and document generation software. Through the partnership, Kasasa will enable its clients to add debt protection and credit insurance products to their Kasasa Loan offering.
Kasasa will use Carleton’s CarletonCalcs, which will allow it to tailor limits to each client based on their institutional, state, and federal compliance requirements. “By integrating CarletonCalcs throughout the Kasasa service platform, Carleton will ensure compliant loan computations and precise amortization schedules through Kasasa’s dashboard and mobile app,” said Carleton President and COO Matt Ruszkowski.
“We wanted to ensure the Kasasa Loan added a high level of configurability and compliance support to meet our client’s needs, in addition to providing consumers the greatest flexibility when choosing their loans,” said Chris Cohen, EVP, Product Management for Kasasa.
Kasasa debuted its Kasasa Loan in 2017 and showcased it at FinovateSpring 2018. The concept works similar to a regular loan agreement in which the borrower repays according to a regular payment schedule. However, it is unique because every month the consumer has the option to overpay on their loan repayment and at any time in the future if they need to access cash quickly, they have the option to “take-back” any portion of the overpayment.
Kasasa is an Austin-based company with 450 employees. The company counts 900 community financial institutions as clients.
Lending automation platform CUneXus announced that community banking marketing provider Kasasa has integrated with its cplXpress offering.
Under the agreement, banks can leverage CUneXus’ technology to generate and extend approved offers for multiple loan types, including the Kasasa Loan, which enables borrowers to pay off their loan ahead of time and take back a portion of the funds they’ve paid off if they need it. CUneXus’ cplXpress will allow eligible borrowers to instantly access their Kasasa Loan.
“Our goal is to enable lenders to deliver the simple, personalized, mobile-friendly experience consumers expect,” said Dave Buerger, CEO of CUneXus. “With cplXpress, lenders can let their customers shop, borrow and buy in just seconds–speeding up the process and creating a superior customer experience. We’re extending this service to now include Kasasa Loans, allowing financial institutions to expand their loan options and offer something unique.”
Kasasa showed off its new loan product at FinovateSpring earlier this year. The demo won Best of Show honors. Describing Kasasa Loans, Gabe Krajicek, CEO of Kasasa said, “Designed to meet consumers’ wants and needs, it puts the customer in control.” He added, “By partnering with CUneXus, we’re elevating that experience and providing community financial institutions with an even greater competitive edge. Not only can they talk to consumers about something completely unique – a loan with take-backs – but they can offer a more convenient shopping experience overall through cplXpress.
CUneXus also most recently demoed at FinovateSpring 2018, where Buerger showcased the newest version of cplXpress that offers a more friendly user interface and more scalable SaaS format. Earlier this year, the company was awarded Gold in the Electronic Marketing Category of the MAC Awards. Founded in 2011, CUneXus is headquartered in California.
Kasasa, which was honored on the 2018 IDC Financial Insights FinTech Rankings last month, recently unveiled a new compliance tool, RegGen. The company was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Texas.
The company that began the year offering the only loans with take-backs is now entering the regtech space with its latest compliance tool, RegGen. The solution from multiple Best of Show winner Kasasaenables banks and credit unions to easily create the account holder disclosures and marketing disclaimers that are a required component of the firm’s checking and savings accounts.
All FIs need to do to create the necessary language is respond to a set of simple, set-up questions (nine for marketing products, two for account holder disclosures). Those responses are stored by RegGen and automatically added to the FIs’ disclosure and marketing statements. Banks can use their FIRSTBase credentials to access and download Kasasa’s reference manual which includes instructional videos on how banks can make the most of RegGen’s features.
Calling the current compliance drafting process “research-intensive, time-consuming and expensive” for many FIs, Kasasa CEO Gabe Krajicek said. “With RegGen, our clients’ marketing and compliance professionals have compliance at their fingertips. Now they can create, edit and customize disclosures and disclaimers in minutes rather than hours.”
In its statement, the company also noted that RegGen provides “responsible guidance” but does not replace the guidance from a compliance officer or consultant, or from legal counsel.
Founded in 2005, Kasasa demonstrated its Kasasa Loans product at FinovateSpring 2018, winning its fourth Best of Show award. Earlier this month, the company announced that its Free Kasasa Cash Rewards Checking product was live with Michigan-based Chief Financial Credit Union. Last month, the Austin, Texas-based company announced that its MoneyIsland financial education game (for which Kasasa won Best of Show in 2011) helped ESB Financial to win Honorable Mention at the 2018 National Community Bank Service Awards. And this spring, Kasasa partnered with fellow Finovate alum MicroStrategy, integrating its product research and marketing tools into Kasasa’s business intelligence platform, Insight.