Finablr Takes Majority Stake in Digital Gifting Innovator Swych

Global payments and foreign exchange solution platform, Finablr, has boosted its stake in – and become a majority shareholder of – digital gifting platform, Swych. The investment adds to Swych’s Series B round, and will enable the company to reach a broader international audience via Finablr’s 160+ country network.

“At Finablr, we facilitate access for consumers and businesses to the digital economy,” Finablr CEO and Executive Director Promoth Manghat explained. He praised Swych for its “distinctive business proposition that complements the services offered by the Finablr network brands.” Those brands include UAE Exchange, Xpress Money, Unimoni, Remit2India, and Ditto.

The partnership will be managed by Swych Blockchain Labs, a Swych subsidiary built to develop and incubate blockchain, payments, digital wallet, and cross border e-commerce solutions. This will enable the two firms to offer Swych’s instant, secure, personalized digital gift and incentive solutions to consumers and businesses globally.

“The presence of Finablr network companies in key international markets with millions of consumers has the potential to greatly accelerate Swych’s mission,”  Swych CEO and founder Deepak Jain said. “Finablr network brands’ entrepreneurial culture combined with its focus on innovation and strong team is highly synergistic with our own core values at Swych. This investment is a testament to the robustness of our business model and will be invaluable as we look to take digital gifting to global audiences.”

Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Plano, Texas, Swych demonstrated its blockchain-based, digital gift card platform at FinovateSpring 2016, winning Best of Show. The company returned to the Finovate stage earlier this year for FinovateSpring. Last month, Swych announced an agreement in which its digital gift card technology will power Travelex Pay, a cashless spending solution from Travelex hosted within messaging app WeChat. In August, the company reported that it was leveraging its acquisition of GiftCardsIndia to bring its blockchain-based gifting solutions to international markets.

Swych has 50,000 registered users in the United States and 100,000 users in India. With total global revenues near $20 million, the company reports more than 50 corporate customers “and growing.”

Credit Karma Acquires Noddle to Launch in the U.K.

Just a month after unveiling its new auto insurance tool, financial health company Credit Karma announced it is once again expanding– this time across country borders.

Prompting this move is the San Francisco-based company’s acquisition of Noddle, a startup headquartered in the U.K. that offers users free access to their credit report. Credit Karma made the purchase from TransUnion, which received Noddle as a part of its purchase of CallCredit for $1.4 billion in April of this year. The financial terms of the agreement are not disclosed but it appears to be purely cash-based; TransUnion is not taking any stake in Credit Karma. The deal is expected to close later this year or early next year.

“Noddle’s similar mission and history as the first provider of free credit information in the U.K. made this a clear decision for Credit Karma,” said Credit Karma’s VP of International, Valerie Wagoner. “We’re confident our depth of experience working across data providers along with banks and lenders will accelerate the number of services we provide to help consumers make the most of their money.”

Noddle’s 35+ employees will join the Credit Karma workforce of more than 700. Credit Karma has “immediate plans” to expand its team in the U.K., and aims to “more than double” the U.K. team– which will be based in London and Leeds– over the next year. The acquisition includes Noddle’s employees, technology, and clients– more than 4 million of them. This number boosts Credit Karma’s existing North American user base which currently sits at more than 85 million members.

Founded in 2007, Credit Karma CEO Ken Lin demonstrated the company’s platform at FinovateSpring 2009, when the company had just five employees. Since then, Credit Karma has finalized five acquisitions, making today’s purchase of Noddle its sixth. After receiving a $500 million secondary investment round in March, the company boosted its valuation to $4 billion.

Fiserv Finalizes Acquisition of Elan Financial Services’ Debit Processing Solutions

Fiserv wrapped up some important business today. The Wisconsin-based financial services company finalized its acquisition of debit processing technology from U.S. Bank’s Elan Financial Services; a deal Fiserv first announced in September. Terms of the acquisition, which does not include the Elan credit card issuing and corporate payments businesses, were undisclosed.

Fiserv will benefit from Elan’s debit card processing, ATM Managed Services, and MoneyPass network. MoneyPass is the second largest fee-free network in the U.S., offering users access to more than 33,000 ATMs across the nation.

On the other side of the table, Fiserv will offer Elan clients services including risk management solutions, access to the Accel debit payments network, and enhanced debit platform capabilities. As Tim Welsh, vice chairman of Consumer Banking Sales and Support at U.S. Bank explained, “Our customers will now benefit from the long-term commitment Fiserv has for this business and its clients and U.S. Bank will benefit as we continue to reinvest in our core businesses.”

President and CEO of Fiserv, Jeffery Yabuki, said, “This acquisition expands our capabilities and provides additional expertise, which together should enhance the value we provide our clients.”

Fiserv recently appeared on the FinovateSpring 2018 stage alongside Samsung SDS, where the two showcased how Samsung SDS integrates its biometric authentication and collaboration solutions into Fiserv’s Commercial Center: Security (CC:S) to create a more secure and convenient digital banking experience. Earlier this fall, Fiserv launched a new digital origination solution, Originate.

NTT DATA Services to Acquire Sierra Systems

Consulting and software development firm NTT Data announced it is bolstering its presence in Canada this week with the pending acquisition of IT services and consulting firm Sierra Systems.

Terms of the deal were undisclosed but NTT Data anticipates the acquisition will offer the Tokyo-based company a “significant” presence in Canada. Sierra Systems, which was founded in 1966, also comes with brand reputation and client relationships in addition to new talent in areas such as Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, and ServiceNow.

“Sierra Systems’ reputation as a trusted advisor in Canada is evidenced by the strength of their client relationships, many of which have spanned decades,” said Bob Pryor, CEO of NTT DATA Services. “With the addition of Sierra Systems’ talented team, we’ll expand our ability to deliver innovation and business outcomes to clients in Canada and extend our North American delivery capabilities. Growth prospects are very strong in Canada, so this is an attractive market as we continue to grow globally.”

Sierra Systems’ 700 Canada-based employees will join the NTT Data team. The transaction is expected to close later this year.

Founded in 1988, NTT Data went public in 1995. The company has 110,000+ employees across Japan, the Americas, EMEA, APAC, and China. Earlier this year, the company acquired DevOps firms MagenTys to complement its existing digital transformation capabilities. At FinovateSpring earlier this year, NTT Data demoed Tready, a social community investment platform.

DoubleNet Pay Acquired by Benefits Provider Purchasing Power

Financial wellness platform DoubleNet Pay announced this week it has agreed to be acquired by Purchasing Power, an Atlanta-based voluntary benefit provider for employers. The financial terms of the deal, which closed on September 28, were not disclosed.

DoubleNet Pay was founded in 2013 on the principle of paying yourself first. The company’s platform helped users account for bills and savings goals before using their income on discretionary spending. Every time its users received a paycheck, DoubleNet Pay automatically separated the funds into three different accounts– savings, bills, and spending– to help users achieve financial freedom.

Purchasing Power, however, was most interested in DoubleNet Pay’s Workplace offering, a feature for businesses to help their employees gain financial security. As Richard Carrano, Purchasing Power CEO, explained, “This investment enables us to take a significant next step in our mission to provide expanded financial wellness products and services that will fill gaps not addressed by traditional employee benefit providers.” Purchasing Power will rebrand the service to fit into its existing offerings.

“We are excited that the DoubleNet Pay platform will be able to help Purchasing Power’s millions of eligible employees set proactive short-term savings goals and take care of monthly bill obligations automatically,” said Brian Cosgray, founder and CEO of DoubleNet Pay. “We have known the Purchasing Power leadership team for many years and are impressed with its passion for helping to improve the financial well-being of their customers.”

At FinovateSpring 2015, DoubleNetPay showed off how it takes the stress out of personal financial management. Last year, the Georgia-based company partnered with T. Rowe Price to integrate its online cash flow management tool into T. Rowe Price’s Retire With Confidence Program. Before its exit, the company had raised $4 million from Fuqua Investments and TTV Capital.

Cryptocurrency Firm Circle to Acquire SeedInvest

Goldman Sachs-backed cryptocurrency start-up Circle will acquire SeedInvest, an equity crowdfunding platform and broker-dealer, reports Antony Peyton of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

The firm said this acquisition will accelerate its plans for a token marketplace that enables businesses and individuals to raise capital and interact with investors using open crypto rails and infrastructure.

This acquisition and planned new offerings are subject to the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) approval. Financial details have not been disclosed.

Headquartered in New York City, SeedInvest has the “largest” equity crowdfunding platform in the country. To date, SeedInvest has helped hundreds of start-ups raise capital online and has a network of over 200,000 investors.

In addition, the company has generated triple-digit annual revenue growth while reaching profitability.

Circle said the SeedInvest product includes capabilities needed for executing regulated crowdfunding, such as start-up due diligence, securities issuance, investor accreditation, payments, and securities custody.

With the merger and approval from regulators, these capabilities will be expanded to support crypto-denominated investments including using fiat stablecoins such as USDC, as well as issuing and offering tokenised securities.

SeedInvest will add 30 team members to Circle’s New York location.

Founded in 2012 by Ryan Feit and James Han, SeedInvest demonstrated its equity-based, crowdfunding platform at FinovateSpring 2013. During the demo, Feit and Han highlighted a number of key features of the platform, including its due diligence dashboard, virtual boardroom, and its Simple Invest technology which provides an instant identity check, legal document execution, and streamlined funds transfer.

Prior to the company’s acquisition, SeedInvest had raised $11.4 million in capital. Avenue A Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Scout Ventures, and Jumpstart New Jersey Angel Network are among the firm’s previous investors.

Infosys to Acquire Fluido for $76 Million

International technology firm Infosys announced this week it has acquired cloud advisory and consulting services company Fluido for $76 million. This marks Infosys’ second acquisition this year, following its purchase of WONGDOODY in April.

Fluido’s excels as one of the largest and oldest platinum consulting partners for Salesforce in Europe and is also an authorized Salesforce training delivery partner in the Nordic region. India-based Infosys anticipates the buy will boost its reputation as a Salesforce enterprise cloud services provider.

Infosys will benefit from more than just Fluido’s Salesforce expertise, however. The company will also receive more recognition across the Nordic region, given Fluido’s offices in Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Slovakia, as well as tap into Fluido’s established client base across the region.

In the press release Ravi Kumar, president and deputy COO at Infosys, said, “Fluido will be an important addition to the Infosys family, bringing a unique combination of market presence, deep salesforce expertise, agile delivery, and training, that combined with our existing capabilities will help companies reimagine and transform their businesses. This acquisition also aligns to our efforts to invest in local capabilities in the regions in which we operate.”

Fluido’s clients will also benefit from the deal. As the company’s founder and CEO, Kai Mäkelä explained, “With Infosys we will now be able to provide truly global scalable services while maintaining the close relationship with our customers. With digital experience playing a key role in customer success, we are excited to have the opportunity to work with Infosys to help Fluido customers change the way they connect with their customers.”

The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019.

Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a subsidiary of Infosys, showcased EdgeVerve Blockchain Framework for Financial Services at FinovateEurope 2017. At the start of 2018 Infosys teamed up with Tradeshift to help clients digitize supply chain management. Last month, the Australian Military Bank became the first bank in Australia to go live with Infosys’ Finacle solution.

Chain Rebrands to Interstellar Following Acquisition

Earlier this year, we reported that cryptographic ledger company Chain was in talks to be acquired by blockchain technology platform Stellar. Today, Chain announced that the deal has been finalized, and that it is retiring the Chain brand and rebranding to Interstellar.

Interstellar brings Chain together with Lightyear, which Stellar launched in 2017 to design and develop the Stellar protocol and create an open source reference for the Stellar network. Interstellar leverages Lightyear’s functionality and blends it with Chain’s enterprise products and customer base. Combined the two companies offer a platform that makes it easier for large enterprises to build on Stellar.

Adam Ludwin, who has served as CEO of Chain since the company’s launch in 2014, will transition to the role of Interstellar CEO. “Chain has admired Stellar for years, and from day one we’ve shared their goal of enabling financial assets to move seamlessly over the internet,” said Ludwin. “Chain has worked from inside the enterprise while Stellar has focused on the network between organizations. As a single team we will have a complete view and set of capabilities to make value-over-IP a reality.”

Chain’s product offerings will become part of Interstellar’s product portfolio. The portfolio will also include StellarX, a marketplace where users can trade assets on Stellar.

Interstellar will be headquartered in San Francisco with offices in New York and San Francisco. The new organization will employ 60 people. Jed McCaleb, founder of Stellar, will serve as Interstellar CTO.

Ludwin showcased at FinDEVr San Francisco 2015, where he gave a presentation titled, The Blockchain Is Eating Financial Services. Earlier this year, Forbes listed Chain on its Fintech 50 roster that highlights the top private fintechs that have operations, customers, or impact in the U.S. Before its acquisition, Chain had raised more than $43 million from notable investors including Khosla Ventures, RRE Ventures, Nasdaq, Visa, Citi Ventures, and Thrive Capital.

Shoeboxed Acquired by Earth Class Mail

Receipt and business card digitization company Shoeboxed unboxed some major news today. The North Carolina-based company sold to Earth Class Mail, after having raised $2.5 million since it was founded in 2007. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2004, Earth Class Mail offers a postal mail scanning and forwarding service to help businesses and frequent travelers clear paper clutter. The Texas-based company receives, processes, and digitizes clients’ paper mail. It then enables users to view, access, search, and share the cloud-hosted, digitized versions. After processing the paper copies, Earth Class Mail either stores physical copies on premise or shreds the paper, if the client prefers. Additionally, Earth Class Mail leverages integrations with third parties to automate actions required. For example, if the piece of mail is an invoice, it will send it to Bill.com or sync it to cloud storage. The company will even deposit a check on the user’s behalf.

With the acquisition of Shoeboxed, Earth Class Mail will help users get rid of another source of pesky paper– receipts.  Another benefit Earth Class Mail gains with the acquisition are Shoeboxed one million customers in 90 countries, half of which are small businesses in the U.S.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Shoeboxed CEO and co-founder Tobias Walter said, “The combined power of our two companies will be a massive shift for small businesses to finally become paperless and say goodbye to old workflows that cost them hours of their productivity. I could not be happier with the new home we found for the company, the team and our customers!”

At FinovateSpring 2015, Shoeboxed won Best of Show for demonstrating how banks can leverage the company’s receipt capture platform. In the demo, Walter showcased how banks can use Shoeboxed to help clients view line item data from email receipts, receive reminders about product return deadlines, product recall information, and more. Last August, the company launched Fetch, an “expense-report-free” expense reporting solution for small businesses.

Credit Karma Buys Mortgage Platform Company

Consumer credit monitoring and financial health company Credit Karma is furthering its reach into the real estate sector this week with the acquisition of mortgagetech startup Approved.

In a blog post yesterday, Approved Founder and CEO Andy Taylor announced that Credit Karma had acquired the three-year-old startup for an undisclosed amount. “Working with Credit Karma gives us the resources and immediate scale to accelerate our mission-driven work, reaching significantly more homebuyers than we could have imagined when we started,” Taylor said.

Credit Karma, which previously offered a basic mortgage comparison tool, is bolstering its capabilities with Approved at a time when many Millennials are beginning to purchase their own homes. As the company’s Chief Product Officer Nikhyl Singhal explained in an interview with TechCrunch, “As we’ve expanded, you’ve seen us move from credit cards as a way to help members with that part of their life to first personal loans to auto — meaning auto loans, auto insurance,” he said. “Today, we’re really talking more publicly about mortgage. Mortgage being for many of our members the most important financial decision they’ll make.”

Having facilitated almost $5 billion in loan originations, Approved was launched in 2015 by Taylor and co-founder Navtej Sadhal. The two met while working at RedFin, where they realized a need for disruption in the back-end of the mortgage process, where inefficiencies such as fax machines are still prevalent. Taylor vowed to stay true to Approve’s humble roots, adding, “We can’t wait to reveal what we’re working on next.”

Credit Karma already hosts many financial tools such as credit monitoring, tax filing, and credit card comparisons. By adding a more robust mortgage platform to this list, the company is creating a more sticky ecosystem with which to hook its 80 million users, half of which are Millennials.

At FinovateSpring 2009, Credit Karma CEO Ken Lin demonstrated the company’s platform, which offers free credit reports from Equifax and TransUnion, and seeks to serve as a hub for users to monitor their financial health. The company has facilitated the origination of more than $40 billion in credit products since it was founded in 2007. Earlier this year, the company teamed up with SpyCloud to help users determine if their data is being used on the dark web. Check out our recent interview with Colleen McCreary, Credit Karma’s first Chief People Officer.