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Tracking fintech, banking & financial services innovations since 1994
For a year that began with Visa’s headline-making acquisition of Plaid, it seems almost poetic that near 2020’s midway mark, Mastercard would make a major fintech bid of its own.
The company has agreed to acquire Finicity, a real-time financial data and analytics provider and long-time Finovate alum, in a deal valued at nearly $1 billion. This figure represents a combination of the $825 million purchase price of the Salt Lake City, Utah fintech, as well as a potential earn-out for Finicity’s existing shareholders – subject to the company meeting certain performance targets.
“Since our founding, Nick Thomas and I have focused on developing industry-leading technology and building an organization that empowers consumers and organizations to better understand, manage, and use their financial data to improve their financial lives,” Finicity co-founder and CEO Steve Smith said. “Enabling people to access and control their data, while ensuring best practices to protect that data, will continue to drive tremendous innovation that increases financial literacy, inclusion, and health. This partnership with Mastercard helps us accelerate this mission globally.”
Mastercard President Michael Miebach cited open banking as one of the reasons for the company’s interest in Finicity. Referring to open banking as both a “growing global trend” and a “strategically important space,” Miebach praised Finicity’s ability to leverage open banking APIs to enable financial data and insights to streamline lending and mortgage processes, account-based payment initiation, and other PFM services. He also credited the company for its focus on the data rights of the consumer.
“(Finicity) shares our commitment to consumer-centric data practices, ensuring consumers have a say in how and where their information should be used,” Miebach said.
Founded in 2000, Finicity provides financial data APIs, credit decisioning tools, and financial wellness solutions that help financial institutions and fintechs better serve their customers. The company’s technology helps power solutions like ExperianBoost and Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans. Named a Best Place to Work in Fintech by American Banker for the last three consecutive years, Finicity began 2020 partnering with SaaS-based marketing automation, CRM, and POS solution provider for banks and mortgage companies, Volly.
Mastercardannounced a partnership with Samsung’s security platform, Samsung Knox today in a move that will serve to foster digital inclusion across emerging markets.
“This partnership with Mastercard is our way of making that future available to everyone by helping to close the digital divide, especially in emerging economies and countries,” explained KC Choi, executive vice president of Global Mobile B2B at Samsung.
The two will use Mastercard’s Pay on Demand platform which offers consumers device financing via a pay-as-you-go model. Built by Mastercard Labs, Pay on Demand brings together banks, equipment manufacturers, and telcos to solve issues limiting device financing in underserved markets. The program consists of four components:
A lending marketplace that aggregates lenders who offer affordable device financing
Samsung’s Knox security platform that ensure the safety of consumer data and transactions
Tools that help consumers analyze and build their credit history from usage data
Virtual card numbers that can be used for everyday transactions and to make payments on a device
“At Mastercard, we see a connected world where opportunity and prosperity are possible for everyone, everywhere,” said Jorn Lambert, executive vice president of Digital Solutions at Mastercard. “The Pay on Demand platform enables us to deliver on that vision and foster financial inclusion, giving consumers an opportunity to participate in digital commerce. By combining Samsung’s device management and security expertise with Mastercard’s innovative technology, we are creating an ecosystem that can deliver measurable, positive impact to the communities we serve.”
Pay On Demand will be launched in the Middle East and Africa in early 2020 and will extend to other geographical locations later this year.
Two of the biggest themes in fintech – digital identity and the rise of fintech in Central and Eastern Europe – meet in the latest announcement from biometric authentication specialist and Finovate Best of Show winner iProov. The company’s facial recognition technology now makes it easier for users of SK ID Solutions’ Smart-ID Service in countries like Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to renew their accounts without having to visit a physical bank branch.
“This is a major development for all digital identity providers,” iProov CEO Andrew Bud said. “Estonia has proved, for the first time, that a remote, automated, biometric ID verification service can deliver the highest possible levels of security.”
Recognized as equal to a handwritten signature throughout Europe, Smart-IDs enable users to authenticate themselves and provide permissions online using a smartphone app. iProov’s facial recognition technology adds a three-second scan to compare the image of the user to the image on their presented ID document to help defend against fraud and identity theft.
Smart-ID also leverages NFC-based ReadID document verification technology from InnoValor.
Financial crime risk management innovator Featurespace will be helping Enfuce combat fraud and money laundering courtesy of a newly announced partnership. Enfuce, a financial services firm based in Finland, will use Featurespace’s ARIC Risk Hub to enhance its ability to protect its customers from fraud and financial crime.
“Our clients deserve industry-leading services that allow them to freely and fully concentrate on the success of their core business, without worrying about ever-evolving fraud,” Enfuce co-founder and chair Monika Liikamaa said.
ARIC Risk Hub offers real-time transaction monitoring for fraud and financial crime, enabling institutions to identify and act against anomalous and potentially dangerous behavior as it occurs. The technology also reduces the number of false positives by as much as 70%, keeping anti-fraud processes efficient. Featurespace introduced its fraud-fighting technology to Finovate audiences at FinovateEurope 2016.
Here is a round up of recent news from our Finovate alumni.
Sezzleunveils new logo along with its first annual report.
Flybitsexpands its executive team in New York, Toronto, the U.K., and Dubai.
Yseop and Automation Anywhere join forces to scale intelligent automation.
Lighter Capitalappoints Kevin Fink at CTO and Patricia Elliott as CSO.
InCommlaunches Roblox gift cards in France and Germany.
Finovate Alum Features and Profiles
Revolut’s $500 Million Round Boosts Valuation to $5.5 Billion – Global financial platform Revolut has secured its place as the U.K.’s most valuable fintech.
Dealing with Deepfakes in Fintech – The fintech industry is ripe with security firms, such as iProov, that use AI to combat both video and audio deepfakes with anti-spoofing technologies.
Envestnet | Yodlee Acquires Indian Data Aggregator FinBit.io – Envestnet | Yodlee has acquired another asset in its strategy to further grow and develop its data aggregation and analytics business.
Meet Sonect: Cash Network Builder, Finovate Newcomer, Best of Show Winner – What’s better than having a large pizza with all your favorite toppings delivered to your front door? How about a side order of cash, saving you a trip to the ATM or bank branch?
Azimo Taps Ripple for Cross-Border Payments to the Philippines – Fueling these payment transfers is Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) solution that uses XRP to source liquidity and complete money transfers within three seconds.
Lendio Lands $55 Million to Match Small Businesses with Lenders – The investment more than doubles the company’s previous funding, bringing its total to $108.5 million.
SheerID Expands Identity Marketing Platform – The move enables brands to identify and acquire new customers across the globe.
Russia has a new tech billionaire. The $500 million raised by financial platform Revolut this week not only establishes the U.K.-based business as the country’s most valuable fintech. It also makes its founder and CEO, Moscow-born Nikolay Storonsky, the latest fintech billionaire to come from the Russian Republic.
The investment was led by Technology Crossover Ventures – a U.S. firm – and takes Revolut’s total capital to $836 million. Revolut now sports a valuation of $5.5 billion.
Storonsky’s net worth figure – on paper, at least – is based on a Forbes report from last February in which he noted that his stake in Revolut was being diluted to 30%.
As part of this big week for U.K. fintechs, SME lender iwoca picked up $109 million funding and expansion into Germany. B-Social, a social payments app based in London, raised $10 million ahead of its transformation into a fully-licensed challenger bank later this year. And Azimopartnered with fellow Finovate alum Ripple to facilitate cross-border payments to the Philippines.
This week on Finovate.com, we featured a profile of Innovate Israel founder and CEO Itai Green and his thoughts on open innovation and collaboration between corporates and startups. We also highlighted Finovate newcomer Sonect, a Swiss company that demonstrated its Best of Show winning virtual cash network at FinovateEurope earlier this month.
Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.
Central and Southern Asia
Indian fintech PhoneParLoan announces new investment from accelerator MOX. The amount of the funding was not disclosed.
Bengaluru-based digital billpay company XPay Life goes live in India.
Envestnet | Yodleeacquires Indian data aggregator FinBit.io.
Latin America and the Caribbean
AlphaCredit, a Mexico City-based fintech, raises $125 million in round led by the SoftBank Innovation Fund.
Mexico issues its first license – to NVIO Pagos Mexico – under its new fintech law.
U.S. Bancorp’s merchant acquirer subsidiary, Elavon, sells its Mexican operations to banking group Santander.
AzimotapsRipple for cross-border payments to the Philippines.
Philippines-based Tonik Financial raises $6 million ahead of the launch of its new digital offering.
Malaysia’s biggest telecom, Axiata Group, is the latest company in the country to announce plans to pursue a digital banking license.
South Africa’s Jumo raises $55 million in combined debt and equity funding.
Nigeria’s The Nation looks at how fintech empowers startups.
Kenyan B2B e-commerce platform Sokowatch locks in $14 million Series A funding.
Central and Eastern Europe
Mastercardexpands its partnership with Rakuten Viber to bring P2P payments to Romania.
A new $500 million funding round for Revolutmakes the company’s founder and CEO Nikolay Storonsky Russia’s latest tech billionaire.
Apple Pay goes live in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Middle East and Northern Africa
Kashat, an Egyptian mobile app that offers short-term loans of up to $95 to the underbanked, goes live in Cairo and Alexandria.
Jordanian SME lending marketplace Liwwa raises $5 million in growth funding.
A new agreement between Tencent Holdings and Network International will expand WeChat Pay’s presence in the UAE.
Mastercardannounced today it has received approval from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) to set up a domestic bankcard clearing institution in China. PBOC has given Mastercard, along with its partner NetsUnion Clearing Corp (NUCC), one year to begin clearing activity in China.
This move comes after a long period of restricted payment card operations in China. For the past ten years, foreign payment card companies could only tap into China’s credit card market via partnership with state-run UnionPay.
“China is a vital market for us and we have reiterated our unwavering commitment to helping drive a safer, more inclusive and seamless payments ecosystem for Chinese consumers and businesses,” said Mastercard President and CEO Ajay Banga. “We remain focused on working with the Chinese government and local partners to grow the overall payments infrastructure.”
According to Bloomberg, which estimates the payments market in China to be $27 trillion, the country has 8.2 billion bank cards in circulation 90% of which are debit cards.
Thanks to a recent trade deal with the U.S., China has ended the monopoly of state-run payments and so far has already opened its doors to American Express and PayPal after the payments company took a 70% stake in China-based GoPay.
Courtesy of a new partnership with Mastercard, SoFi members will have access to a new range of products and in-person experiences – including a new fan experience for visitors at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. SoFi will develop these offerings by leveraging Mastercard’s payments network, which will also serve as the exclusive card network for SoFi’s to-be-released credit card.
“Our mission at SoFi is to help our members achieve financial independence to realize their ambitions,” SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said. “In order to do so, we must build products and services that help our members ‘Get Their Money Right’.”
The partnership between SoFi and Mastercard will bring new member benefits to users of the SoFi Money debit card, which enables users to make transactions from their SoFi Money cash management account, launched last February. Cardholders will now benefit from cashback rewards, complimentary cell phone insurance, discounted airport concierge services, as well as other perks thanks to the Mastercard relationship.
“It is imperative that our partners are leaders in technological innovation, security, and enhanced benefits,” Noto said, “and Mastercard is an industry leader across all of those areas.”
SoFi, in collaboration with Quovo, participated in our developers conference, FinDEVr New York, in 2017. Together, the companies’ presentation “How Quovo and SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication” demonstrated how the integration of Quovo’s Authentication API supports the secure and streamlined authentication of financial accounts.
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, and founded in 2011, SoFi currently has 900,000+ members who rely on the firm’s growing array of solutions for borrowing, saving, spending, and investing. SoFi has raised $2.5 billion in funding – including a May 2019 investment of $500 million in a round led by Qatar Investment Authority – and has a valuation of more than $4.8 billion.
Mastercard, the world’s second-largest payment processor, has acquired AI and data analytics solutions company RiskRecon. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The payments giant anticipates the purchase will help its clients defend against cyber threats and data breaches. Ajay Bhalla, president of cyber and intelligence for Mastercard, said that RiskRecon will boost Mastercard’s cyber security solutions. “Through a powerful combination of AI and data-driven advanced technology, RiskRecon offers an exciting opportunity to complement our existing strategy and technology to secure the cyber space,” Bhalla added.
Logistically, RiskRecon will remain in tact. While the Utah-based company is now dedicated to supporting Mastercard solutions, RiskRecon will continue to help other industries such as healthcare and manufacturing protect consumer and payment data, as well as intellectual property.
RiskRecon was founded in 2015 by Eric Blatte and Kelly White, who now serves as the company’s CEO. “By becoming part of their team, we have an opportunity to scale our solution and help companies in new industries and geographies take steps to better manage their cybersecurity risk,” White said.
Prior to today’s acquisition, RiskRecon had raised $40 million in three rounds of funding.
Revolut and Mastercard have teamed up this month to help rebuild schools in Mozambique after they were destroyed by a cyclone this spring. The effort, which is timed with UN’s Universal Children’s Day, aims to raise $207,000 (£160,000) to help get children in Mozambique back to school.
Revolut accountholders are able to show their support by making an in-app donation to Save the Children. Revolut and Mastercard will match donations from Revolut Mastercard customers. The goal is to complete the fundraising by January 2020 so that the schools can be built in time for the school year.
The campaign is made possible by the Donation feature Revolut launched in July. The feel-good feature allows cardholders to set up a recurring payment, make a one-off donation, or round up their purchases to the nearest whole number and donate the spare change. In addition to partnering with Save the Children, Revolut also facilitates donations to WWF and ILGA-Europe.
This campaign is part of a larger philanthropic trend moving through fintech lately. Other fintechs facilitating charity efforts include Meniga, which recently formed a partnership with the UN to allow users to donate their cash-back rewards to fight climate change, and Radius (recently acquired by Kabbage) which launched its Data for Good campaign to help the company’s employees and customers give back to their communities.
Revolut debuted its digital banking technology at FinovateEurope 2015 in London where the company’s CEO and founder Nikolay Storonsky showed off the app’s money transfer capabilities that help users avoid banking fees without actually using a bank.
Last month, Revolut launched in Singapore and announced plans to make its products available in the U.S. in the next couple of months. And in early October the company tapped investment bank JP Morgan to conduct a $500 million funding round and issue it a $1 billion convertible loan. The loan will turn into shares if Revolut receives a U.S. banking license.
As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.