Kabbage Acquires Radius, Adding Insights into Millions of SMEs to its Platform

Small business financing company Kabbage has made a purchase that will help it get to know the world of SMEs all the better. In a deal announced today, Kabbage will acquire small business intelligence firm, and fellow Finovate alum, Radius, adding insights from more than 20 million U.S. small businesses to its platform.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Upon the successful closing of the acquisition, Kabbage said in a statement that it will add “nearly 20 team members” from Radius to its offices in San Francisco, including Radius CEO Joel Carusone, to help support the integration of the two platforms and the two companies.

“Data has always been our competitive advantage, and Radius strengthens it by adding millions of new and verified small business insights to our platform,” Kabbage CEO Rob Frohwein said. “These new technology and data-analysis capabilities further differentiate us from other SMB-focused fintech companies as we dramatically expand our product set and service platform to address the unique cash flow needs of small businesses.”

Expressing a “deep respect for Kabbage’s data-driven technology and focus,” Radius’ Carusone highlighted similarities between the two firms. “Our companies have complementary technical architectures and domain experience for decision making,” he said. “With Kabbage, we can build a more sophisticated analytics solution to identify, reach, and serve small businesses.”

San Francisco, California-based Radius was founded in 2009. The company demonstrated its platform at FinovateSpring 2014, showing how it leverages big data to gain insights into more than 27 million small and medium-sized businesses. This information helps FIs find the best customer segments, build efficient and accurate targeted lead lists, and measure the success of marketing campaigns.

Radius began 2019 with the launch of its Data for Good campaign to help the company’s employees and customers give back to their communities. This included credit-backs to the accounts of for-profit companies for any data used to support philanthropic causes. The campaign also featured service donations to nonprofits to enable them to use the Radius’ enterprise customer data platform to reach out to and potentially partner with small businesses.

In May, Radius unveiled a new data stewardship app designed to fix bad, siloed Salesforce data. The new solution enables enterprises to manage data across any Salesforce field based on unified, trusted data. “Existing tools enrich some external data,” Radius CEO Joel Carusone explained, “but what’s missing is an easy-to-use application coupled with a powerful platform that gives users access to data unified across all third-parties and their internal data sets.”

Atlanta, Georgia-based Kabbage made its first appearance on the Finovate stage in 2010, demoing its Kabbage Loan offering at FinovateSpring that year. The company most recently demoed its Kabbage Card, a part of the company’s Kabbage Everywhere product expansion, at FinovateSpring 2015.

Featured in June by CEO World in its look at fintechs that are helping fight for fair lending, Kabbage announced a partnership with online banking platform Azlo in May that would create a new entity, Mission Street Capital, to help small businesses get the financing they need to grow. Kabbage also announced in May that it was teaming up with the BTEA (Building Trades Employers’ Association) in a strategic alliance to help women and minority-owned business enterprise contractors to secure funding for their projects.

With $2.5 billion in funding, Kabbage includes SoftBank Capital, Mohr Davidow Ventures, and BlueRun Ventures among its investors. The company was founded in 2009.

Bazaarvoice Acquires Influenster

Bazaarvoice, a startup that leverages product reviews and user-generated content (UGC) to help banks and retailers find and reach consumers, marked its fifth acquisition this week with the purchase of Influenster. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

The deal offers Bazaarvoice access to the six million community members on Influenster’s product discovery and reviews platform. Combined, these members have written more than 38 million product reviews and create more than 50,000 pieces of content on a daily basis. This network, coupled with Bazaarvoice’s own database of 6,000+ global brand and retailer websites, will offer brands a one-stop shop where they can build customer relationships, create product reviews and UGC strategy, and scale word-of-mouth marketing.

Offering insight into the acquisition decision, Joe Davis, CEO of Bazaarvoice, said, “Influenster’s product sampling and review generation offerings further strengthen our core product ratings and reviews solutions, and their hyper-targeting and gamification capabilities will allow us to better support our customers’ broader marketing initiatives.” He added, “We’re excited to partner with a company that shares our belief in the power of the everyday consumer.”

Before today’s acquisition, Influenster had raised $8 million since it launched nine years ago. Post-acquisition, the company’s founders, Aydin Acar and Elizabeth Scherle, will remain involved in “key functions” at Influenster. The companies have not disclosed the founders’ official roles or titles.

Austin, Texas-based Bazaarvoice, which also has offices in Chicago, London, Munich, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Singapore, and Sydney, is now offering the new integrated platform in North America. The company will launch in Europe this fall and expand to more international locations in 2020.

Bazaarvoice’s other acquisitions include AddStructure in 2018, FeedMagnet in 2014, and Power Reviews and Longboard Media, both in 2012. The company demoed at FinovateSpring 2012.

Temenos Buys Kony to Boost its Digital Front Office Technology for Banks

Less than a month after securing a $37 million debt financing from BMO’s Technology and Innovation Banking Group, mobile application development platform Kony is back in the fintech headlines with even bigger news: the company has agreed to be acquired by digital banking technology giant and fellow Finovate alum Temenos for $559 million and an earn-out of $21 million.

The acquisition will bolster Temenos’ ability to compete in the digital front office solutions market, specifically strengthening the company’s Infinity offering – which currently has more than 500 banking customers and is widely recognized as a leading technology by industry analysts from Forrester and Gartner. Kony Chairman and CEO Thomas Hogan will serve as President of Temenos North America, post-acquisition, and will join the company’s Executive Committee.

“The power of the Temenos portfolio, combined with Kony’s digital banking applications and multi-experience development platform, will bring the industry’s most robust suite of applications for delivering service, value, and efficiencies from the digital edge to the modern core,” Hogan said. “The strength, scale, and commitment of Temenos will also help protect and extend our market-leading innovation.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed by Q4 2019, and is subject to standard regulatory approvals.

Calling Kony the #1 SaaS digital banking company in the U.S., Temenos CEO Max Chuard highlighted the synergies between Kony and his company. “We are acquiring a digital front office product that has already been successful in the U.S. market and is connected to most third party cores,” Chuard said. “We are also adding a significant amount of exciting functionality and ease of generating customer journeys and experiences that will accelerate Temenos Infinity, providing banks in both North America and internationally with an unrivaled customer experience and omnichannel banking product.”

A long-time Finovate alum, Kony first demonstrated its technology at FinovateFall 2010, and returned to the Finovate stage two years ago for FinovateFall 2017 to present its retail banking solution. Founded in 2007 and based in Austin, Texas, Kony launched its Conversational AI DevKit earlier this month to enable businesses to deploy new technologies to improve customer engagement. In May, Kony announced that its Quantum digital experience development platform would power the new CareLogic mobile app from Qualifacts, and unveiled a new partnership with multiple Finovate Best of Show winner and fellow alum, MX.

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Temenos demonstrated its Connect Mobile Banking solution at FinovateEurope 2015. The company is also an alum of our developers conference, having presented its B2B Financial Marketplace at FinDEVr Silicon Valley – also in 2015. More than 3,000 banks in 150+ countries – including 41 of the top 50 banks – rely on Temenos’ banking technology to process the daily transactions and interactions of more than 500 million banking customers.

Kony is the second major acquisition by Temenos this year. In July, the company announced its purchase of explainable AI innovator Logical Glue and plans to integrate the company’s machine-learning-as-a-service technology into its cloud-native banking solution. Aside from acquisitions, Temenos has been on an energetic partner-making pace, working with IIG Bank, who agreed to use the company’s Infinity digital front office platform earlier this month; as well as teaming up with FIs like Israeli bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, New Zealand’s TSB Bank, and Pakistan’s Bank of Khyber.

HT Mobile Apps Acquires Hip Pocket

If you try to access Hip Pocket’s website today, you’ll be redirected to this site: htmobileapps.com/products/hippocket/. That’s because mortgage rate comparison site Hip Pocket has officially been acquired by HT Mobile Apps (HTMA).

Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Hip Pocket is a six-year-old fintech that aims to help consumers compare mortgage, auto loans, and retirement products on their bank’s website. The solution also gives banks a personalized way to engage their clients.

Founded by Mark Zmarzly in 2013, the company has raised over $250,000 across three rounds of funding. At FinovateSpring 2015, Hip Pocket demoed its mortgage comparison site. Two years later, the company graduated from Point of Light accelerator and that same year the company spun out Hip Money, a savings app that specifically targets millennials.

Kathleen Craig, Founder and CEO of HTMA said, “Hip Pocket is a great complement to our range of products. Each of our products empower customers to grow their knowledge of personal finances while also helping financial institutions provide better digital offerings and develop more meaningful relationships with their customers. We are excited to acquire this innovative technology.”

“Kathleen and I have known each other for years and always looked for ways to help each other’s companies,” said Zmarzly. “As we talked more, it became obvious that we could raise the level of impact for banks and customers by working together.”

The acquiring party, HTMA, is a Michigan-based fintech that offers a suite of solutions for banks and credit unions. The company also offers Plinqit, a savings management app; as well as Banker Jr. and Member Jr., apps that teach financial literacy to young clients.

This deal comes at a time when merger and acquisition activity is booming within fintech. So far this year, Finovate alums have inked 32 M&A deals, including the mega-merger announced today between Kony and Temenos. We laid out why all of this M&A is good for fintech in a blog post published this June.

Wealthfront Acquires Financial Planning Startup Grove

Wealthtech firm Wealthfront made its first acquisition today. The California-based company has purchased Grove for an undisclosed amount. Grove is a four year old virtual financial planning and advice company with $4 million in assets under management and is headquartered in California.

Not included in Wealthfront’s purchase are the clients behind Grove’s accounts, which number close to 500. Grove has entered into a strategic agreement with Facet Wealth to offer financial planning to these clients, who will be able to transition to Facet Wealth starting tomorrow. With Facet, clients will receive three check-ins per year, a dedicated financial planner, investment recommendations, and a strategy session for $780 per year plus a set-up fee of $560. Additionally, Facet anticipates that some of Grove’s CFPs and planning employees will transition over to its team.

Wealthfront is making the purchase to bolster its Self-Driving Money vision. Under the new initiative, Wealthfront takes control of the user’s finances by allocating their paycheck once it is deposited into their account. The tool will ensure all bills are paid, deposit the appropriate amount into each savings account, and contribute to the best investments to help the user attain their goals.

Grove Cofounder and CEO Chris Hutchins said, “We’ve always appreciated the role technology and automation can play in scaling quality financial advice. We are dedicated to the vision of Self-Driving Money as we believe it will have a huge impact on how people manage their finances.”

This is Wealthfront’s first reveal of its Self-Driving Money plans. The launch depicts a departure from the high-touch model competitors such as Betterment and Personal Capital have added to their offerings. It shows that, in an era of customer service revolution in fintech, Wealthfront is sticking with its robo roots. If Wealthfront serves as a place where consumers deposit their paycheck, they can gain a better foothold to compete with traditional banks.

Wealthfront debuted as KaChing at FinovateSpring 2009. The company pivoted as Wealthfront in 2015. Last year, Wealthfront unveiled a host of new offerings, including a freemium model, homeownership planning tool, and an integration with TurboTax that leverages user’s data to offer a more personalized experience.

BizEquity Acquired by American City Business Journals

A “significant capital investment” will make BizEquity a part of the country’s biggest publisher of news and information on local businesses. American City Business Journals (ACBJ) announced today that it has acquired a majority stake in the business valuation specialist that will help fuel the company’s growth, as well as add to ACBJ’s own suite of business information services.

ACBJ CEO Whitney Shaw highlighted both points in explaining the reasons for the company’s investment in the businesstech firm. Noting that American City Business Journal’s primary service is delivering business news to people in the communities where those businesses operate, Shaw underscored BizEquity’s contribution to ACBJ’s product line-up. “Through BizEquity, we can enhance our core offering by giving additional, valuable information and insights to businesses of all sizes and to the professionals who serve them,” Shaw said.

BizEquity founder and CEO Michael Carter anticipates leveraging ACBJ’s “coast-to-coast footprint” and presence in 43 American cities to help broaden the market for BizEquity’s technology. “Democratizing business valuation knowledge to the more than 31 million private businesses in North America has been our mission from day one,” Carter said. “No information is more critical to a business owner’s future than knowing what his or her business is worth. BizEquity unlocks that information.”

Post acquisition, Carter will serve as the head of a newly-formed information services group at American City Business Journals, according to reporting in the Philadelphia Business Journal.

BizEquity’s cloud-based technology examines 143 different data points to enable owners and managers to monitor business valuation over time and see what forces make the most impact on value. BizEquity’s valuation service is available via a network of more than 650 financial institutions and 2,500+ advisors, bankers, accountants, and other financial professionals. The company’s partners include firms like Experian, TD Bank, and Mass Mutual Financial Group.

The acquisition news comes just days after the company disclosed a new partnership with UBS. The agreement will enable UBS financial advisors operating in the U.S. to access BizEquity’s database of businesses and valuation information. “Our advisors are constantly looking for new ways to grow their business and expand their reach, particularly in middle-market businesses,” explained James Jack, director of the business owner strategic client segment at UBS Financial Services. “Access to the BizEquity platform will help us to deliver highly tailored advice to our clients.”

BizEquity demonstrated the latest features of its BizEquity One UK platform at FinovateEurope 2015. These enhancements included real-time dynamic valuations updated daily, a powerful new search feature for pre-valued businesses in the U.K., real time advice and alerts, and an updated dashboard that provides an easy-to-understand, infographic-like view of business valuation and KPIs.

Lendio Acquires Billy, Launches Cloud Accounting Software

Small business loan marketplace Lendio is entering into the cloud-based accounting software field with the launch of Sunrise. The new endeavor is the result of the Utah-based company’s just-announced purchase of online bookkeeping startup Billy. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded by Toke Kruse in 2012, Billy aimed to create “hassle-free” finance software for business owners who wanted to focus on their business, not accounting. After the acquisition, Lendio rebranded the Portland, Oregon-based company to Sunrise and pivoted it into a freemium bookkeeping software that offers accounting, cash flow management, and loan and credit information, as well as access to Lendio’s loan marketplace into a single platform.

“We are very excited to announce the acquisition of Billy and the re-brand to Sunrise. The Sunrise platform will bring together previously disparate sources of information for small business owners, such as accounting, loan and credit data,” said Brock Blake, CEO and founder of Lendio. “It’s our goal for Sunrise users to feel more confident in making financial decisions that help their businesses grow.”

The free version of Sunrise offers cash and accrual-based accounting, as well as an invoicing system, estimate creator, and a customer-facing credit card payment portal for billing. Businesses can also sync their financial accounts to categorize and track expenses and income, store receipts, and view profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and other reports such as accounts receivable, customer statements, and more.

A paid subscription, which ranges from $99/ month to $499/ month, enables business owners to automate accounting tasks by outsourcing bookkeeping duties to professionals who use a system to recognize revenue, take care of invoicing, and reconcile books on a monthly basis. The paid version also integrates with Stripe, PayPal, and Square.

Sunrise invoice sample
Sunrise offers invoicing capabilities

Lendio is already working to improve upon Sunrise by building out capabilities such as enhanced loan integration. The company also plans to launch a Sunrise mobile app, add auto categorization, and offer tax software integration.

At FinovateSpring 2011, Lendio showcased its flagship loan marketplace. With an ecosystem of 75+ lenders, the company facilitates an average loan size of around 27,000. Since it was founded in 2011, Lendio has helped close $1.5 billion in financing (half a billion of which closed in the past six months alone) via 70,000 small business loans.

After launching franchising opportunities in 2017, the company announced it would find financing alternatives for small businesses whose loan applications are initially rejected. In a recent interview, when asked “What’s next?” Blake said, “At some point, maybe we’ll either go public or someone will come and give us an offer we can’t refuse. Then, we’ll kind of take a step back and say, ‘Okay, what next?'”

nCino Acquires Analytics and Insights Specialist Visible Equity

Cloud banking innovator nCino is adding the financial analytics and compliance capability of Salt Lake City, Utah-based Visible Equity to its platform. The acquisition, announced last week, brings enhanced portfolio management and analytic insights to nCino’s Bank Operating System, and is designed to help banks and credit unions better manage risk and meet compliance regulations with regard to fair lending.

Calling Visible Equity “a perfect complement to our vision, mission and company culture,” nCino CEO Pierre Naudé put the news in the broader context of nCino’s long-term commitment to “transform” financial services. “We believe this acquisition will further enable us to execute on that mission,” Naudé said, adding that together Visible Equity and nCino will give clients “greater insights, efficiency, and risk management while furthering their customer relationships.”

In their statement, the companies said that they will continue to market their solutions separately, but added “the two platforms will become fully integrated to provide a seamless client and cloud-based experience.”

With more than 850 financial institution customers, Visible Equity provides analytics, data warehousing, and reporting to enable FIs to better identify and manage risk. The company’s technology blends customer data from loans, applications, deposits, marketing and other sources with advanced analytics to empower banks and credit unions to make accurate, data-driven decisions.

Visible Equity CEO and President Brad Hansen called the acquisition by nCino “the right move for us and a natural fit.” He highlighted the two companies’ shared “passion for innovation” and emphasis on customer success. “A key driver of our desire to become a part of the nCino family is their industry-leading Bank Operating System and ability to support a global client base of enterprise, regional, and community financial institutions,” Hansen said.

nCino made its Finovate debut at FinovateEurope 2017, demoing its Bank Operating System. The technology leverages the Salesforce platform to provide financial institutions with an end-to-end, cloud-based banking solution that features CRM, loan origination, workflow, ECM, business intelligence and reporting all in one secure environment. nCino notes that its client institutions on average have experienced 40% decrease in loan closing times, 92% reduction in servicing costs, and 127% increase in account opening completion rates.

Other recent headlines for nCino include the appointment of Andrew Carriline as Strategic Advisor and the opening of a new office in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The company has announced a slew of new partnerships in 2019, teaming up with Westfield Bank and South State Bank in June; collaborating with S&T Bank in May, Navy Federal Credit Union in April, and both Project B-North and St. Louis Bank in March.

Based in Wilmington, North Carolina, nCino has raised more than $133 million in funding from investors including Salesforce Ventures, Wellington Management, and Insight Partners. The company was founded in 2012.

Workday Buys Blockchain-Based Identity Management Innovator Trusted Key

Seattle, Washington-based Trusted Key will bring its innovations in blockchain-based, digital identity management technology to Workday, courtesy of a recently-announced acquisition. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“With our new platform, Workday wants to bring credentials into the digital age,” Workday SVP Jon Ruggiero wrote in a blog post discussing the role of credentialization in identity management. He highlighted the way that blockchain technology can help create “a new form of digital credential – one that puts individuals in control of their data, and is portable, authentic, and secure.”

Trusted Key’s digital identity management technology enables financial institutions to leverage credentialization and tokenization to provide a more seamless and secure authentication experience for users. The platform uses strong cryptography and blockchain technology to convert government-issued identity documents into secure, cryptographic credentials and tokens. These tokens can be used to securely establish identity to access both online assets as well as mobile apps, without relying on passwords. The credentials can also be used to authorize transactions and make digital signatures.

A leading cloud core financial management suite provider, Workday will use blockchain-powered credentialing technology to help companies improve their HR operations to more efficiently verify applicant skills and qualifications, as well as to onboard new workers. As Ruggiero noted, digital credentialing does more than just alleviate an otherwise time-consuming, error-prone manual process. It also makes it easier for firms to respond to a changing workforce that is both “more mobile, distributed, and diverse,” and helps companies in tight labor markets move faster and with less friction to attract and onboard their preferred candidates.

Launched in 2005 and headquartered in Pleasanton, California, Workday was featured this year by Gartner as a leader in cloud core financial management suites. This marked the third year in a row the company has been recognized in the category. With customers ranging from Bank of America and Thomson Reuters to Netflix and Denny’s, Workday has processed more than 100 million credentials and 70 million job applications – as well as employment records, certifications, licenses, and more. The publicly-traded company is listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker WDAY and has a market capitalization of $48 billion. Aneel Bhusri is co-founder and CEO.

Trusted Key demonstrated its Digital Identity Platform at FinovateFall 2017. The company is also an alum of our developers conference, winning a Crowd Favorite award at FinDEVr London 2017 for its presentation, Secure Digital Identity.

Founded in 2016 by Prakash Sundaresan and Amit Mital, Trusted Key picked up $3 million funding last spring. The round, led by Founders Co-Op, took the company’s total equity financing to more than $4 million. Trusted Key is the first exit for Kernel Labs, a Seattle startup studio with a focus on machine learning, computer vision, and security.

Visa Acquires Germany’s POS Payment Gateway Payworks

Visa will create a fully white-labelled omnichannel payment management platform for merchants and acquirers after acquiring Payworks, reports Jane Connolly of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

The news follows a 2018 strategic partnership and investment Visa made in Payworks, a Munich-based provider of next-generation payment gateway software for point of sale (POS).

Visa will integrate its CyberSource digital payment management platform with Payworks’ cloud-based software for in-store payment processing, allowing merchants and acquirers to accept face-to-face transactions across multiple POS terminal types.

The platform will provide a unified payment experience for in-store, in-app and online purchases.

“For the past two years, we have partnered closely with Payworks to deliver cutting-edge integrated commerce solutions for CyberSource’s clients worldwide,” said Carleigh Jaques, SVP, global head of digital merchant products at Visa. “As these solutions become mainstream, aligning more closely with Payworks and combining our businesses is a natural extension of our relationship.”

Christian Deger, CEO and co-founder of Payworks, added: “Integrated commerce is an accelerating opportunity for Payworks and its clients. By combining our POS technology with CyberSource’s digital commerce capabilities, we can bring our joint solution to merchants and acquirers across the globe at an accelerated pace. We are excited about joining the Visa family and integrating our capabilities to deliver innovative, differentiated integrated-commerce solutions.”

Research has shown that creating an omnichannel fulfilment strategy is among the top priorities for 94% of retailers.

Payworks demonstrated its platform at FinovateEurope 2014. Headquartered in Munich and founded in 2012, the company began this year with the launch of the first Android-based smart terminal, which was added to its portfolio of pre-certified payment terminals on its Pulse gateway.

This April, the company extended its partnership with worldwide POS software provider Lightspeed. In May, Payworks inked a deal with Hubtel to give merchants in Ghana and Kenya broader access to Payworks’ all-in-one, Android-based smart terminals.