Finovate Alumni News


  • Token Forges Strategic Partnership with Envestnet | Yodlee.

Around the web

  • ACI Worldwide to provide “technology backbone” for real-time payments platform designed by Payments Network Malaysia.
  • NCR partners with Samsung to launch new all-in-one POS commerce station, NCR Silver Quantum.
  • Grab chooses TransferTo to deliver real-time digital payments to its drivers in Southeast Asia.
  • Meniga wins London Design Awards for brand design experience.
  • PayPal’s TIO Networks suspends operations to protect TIO’s customers.
  • Kinecta FCU to Offer Mortgage Harmony’s CU RateReset products.
  • App Informers lists Credit Karma and Credit Sesame in list of top 5 Identity Monitoring Apps for 2017.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Why PropTech and MortgageTech Are the Future of Fintech

If this is the first time you’ve heard the term proptech, it won’t be the last. Proptech (also known as real estate tech or REtech) and its subset mortgagetech have been around since 2014. Here’s why 2017 is poised to place proptech among the ranks of wealthtech, insurtech, regtech.

This year has already been favorable to mortgagetech and proptech companies. SoFi, for example, is about to close a massive, $500 million round, its competitor LendingHome topped $1 billion in mortgage loan originations last year, and RealtyShares has seen over $300 million raised on its platform. According to CB Insights, since 2012 the real estate technology sector has closed 817 deals worth $6.4 billion. Of that amount, $2.6 billion closed in 2016 alone, which represents a 40% increase from that sector’s funding in 2015.

In the U.S., there are a handful of reasons 2017 will be favorable to real estate. Interest rates are projected to rise for the second time, millennials are starting to buy their first homes, and investors are looking to diversify out of the volatile stock market. On top of all of this, regulations are slated to loosen under the Trump administration, and changing in regulation brings opportunities for innovation.


The broader category of proptech can be broken down into four basic segments.

1- Mortgagetech
These are mostly B2B companies specifically focused on facilitating part of all of the mortgage application process. They do not lend or service the loan.

2- Digital mortgage lending companies
These online lenders facilitate the mortgage application process and service the loan.

3- Real estate investment tech
Companies in this category are focused on the investment aspect of commercial and residential real estate.

4- Pure property plays
These don’t have a fintech angle but play a role in the broader proptech industry. Since this category is out of scope for this blog, this list only encompasses a fraction of companies in this category. Check out CB Insights’ coverage of commercial real estate technology for more.

What’s ahead in 2017

  • Expect to see more mortgagetech-bank partnerships along the lines of Roostify’s recent deal with JP Morgan Chase. As banks try to gain a competitive edge for market share, more established banks will need to leverage mortgagetech offerings.
  • We’ll see more niche alt-lending solutions such as SoFi that facilitate the application process and save borrowers on closing costs.
  • Expect to see more players offering real estate investment technology, coupled with some consolidation in real estate crowdfunding companies.
  • Outside of fintech, we’ll see more platforms aimed at cutting out the middle person, the realtor; and more business models such as Knock and GoldenKey that make the selling process easier.

You don’t have to take my word for it

We posed the question, How do you see proptech/ mortgagetech growing in 2017? to these Finovate alums working in the space. Here’s how they responded:

BhatRajesh Bhat, CEO and cofounder of Roostify:

“We expect to see further widescale adoption of digital mortgage solutions – to the point where one should expect it to be table stakes in 2018. We should also expect to see more players emerge in the space as investors see larger market adoption and validation.”


Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 9.52.53 AMLinda Schicktanz, Chief Advisor of CK Mack*:

“If there is one area ripe for fintech innovation, it’s real estate investing. Why put 30% down just to gain massive management headaches when you can now invest in rental cashflow online with very similar returns? Fintech and Real Estate are like peanut butter and jelly, they just go together!”

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 8.30.31 AMNima Ghamsari, cofounder and CEO at Blend:

“There is going to be an explosion in the use of data driving the mortgage process in 2017. Both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have announced their data initiatives toward the end of 2016, and lenders are starting to push consumer financial data aggregation into the core components of their customer experiences. This ties in nicely to the industry-wide push forward to a more digital, end-to-end process that started in 2016.”

Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 4.07.54 PMJilliene Helman, CEO at RealtyMogul

“The impact of digital technology on the real estate industry and mortgage technology is still in its infancy, but I see both less experienced and more sophisticated investors, alike, moving toward a process that takes place entirely online. With over $250 million of capital invested and 100,000 registered investors on the platform, is a testament to this change. The more that technology can offer real estate borrowers and lenders transparency, as well as the efficiency of process and convenience, the faster both sides will adapt.”

*Full disclosure: I’m related to Linda Schicktanz. Yup– she’s my mom.

Alt-Branch Banking: Be the Home for the Homeowner (or Renter)

the_wallThe writing is on the wall. The bank branch wall that is. In a world of ubiquitous smartphones, bank branch ROI continues to plummet. That leaves many financial institutions wondering how to replace the branch’s historic role as the center of customer acquisition.

There are many strategies:

  • Substantial digital marketing and sales efforts
  • Relationships with major local employers
  • Lending, and banking, small businesses
  • Leadership in K-12 financial education
  • Affinity programs with local retailers
  • Social media and PR champion

None of those are particularly novel. But one you may not have tried recently is becoming the go-to financial institution in your area for homeowners and apartment renters. Being the local bank that helps people meet one of their top priorities in life, having a roof over their head, puts you in an enviable position.

Again, this is a strategy that goes back decades (e.g., Savings & Loans in the United States, Building Societies in the United Kingdom), but digital technologies open up new avenues of integrating partner services into a cohesive “Home for Homes” strategy:

  • Finding a home/apartment: Integrations with Zillow, Redfin, newcomer Faira (which “wrapped” the Seattle Time Sunday paper this past weekend in 3-full-pages ad)
  • Traditional home financing: Standard and jumbo mortgages, purchase and refi
  • Alt-financing home/apartment (note 1): Rehab loans, crowdfunding integrations, rental-deposit loans, and so on
  • Home/apartment repair loans: Smaller loans, potentially more of “emergency” type
  • Traditional home equity lending: Installment loans, lines of credit, and so on
  • Realtor support: While there is no shortage of independent mortgage brokers working with real estate agents, many (most?) can’t provide a flow of inbound leads to the agents; this is where established FI brands can leverage their standing in the community (within RESPA guidelines, naturally)

After you find a new home buyer/renter/refinancer, the hard part begins. How to convince them you are the long-term home for their home? A novel approach, but one fraught with regulatory/risk/ROI concerns, is the lifetime mortgage, e.g., a mortgage preapproval that moves with you from home to home provided you continue to meet down payment and income requirements (NOT the UK meaning, a reverse mortgage).

While reprising the Third Federal Mortgage Passport might not be possible in the current regulatory environment, there are ways to incent customers to move their other bank accounts (though, thanks to Wells Fargo, you better be super careful with sales incentives).

CFCU Community Credit Union's "First Home Club"
CFCU Community Credit Union’s First Home Club, a down-payment assistance program from the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York.

Here’s a list of perks to offer new homebuyers/renters:

  • Homeowners club with content, discounts and offers
  • Systematic savings program to save for down payment or rental deposits
  • Card rewards geared towards home expenditures
  • Significant interest-rate kicker and/or bonuses on the first few thousand in savings (see CFCU Community Credit Union at right)
  • Simple refi process (see PenFed’s program powered by Mortgage Harmony for example)
  • Reward-point bonuses for home-related purchases on your credit/debit card
  • Homeowner/rental insurance
  • Homeowner repair services with financing discounts (integrate with Thumbtack, Angie’s List, etc.)
  • Energy-conservation services with financing discounts
  • AirBnB integration for renting out home/apartment

Bottom line: No matter how well your branches are doing today, most financial institutions need to pursue viable new-account generation alternatives to make up for falling branch traffic.



  1. findevr-sv16Apartment financing is a relatively new need (see previous post). And the magnitude of it might surprise anyone who hasn’t checked out the urban rental market in recent years.
  2. Looking for more inspiration for your technology stack? Don’t miss our third annual FinDEVr Silicon Valley next week (18/19 Oct).

Alumni News– December 11, 2014

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgMalauzai Software announces launch of its SmartMarketing program to promote mobile banking.
  • Azimo extends £1 money transfer service to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.
  • Information Week takes a look at mobile payment apps including Flint.
  • Mortgage Harmony rebrands as Rate Reset.
  • Contact Solutions, IDology, and Pindrop Security team up to Cut IVR Fraud.
  • Dynamics‘ next-generation credit card features buttons to log-in PIN security code.
  • Lendio CEO explains how his company is fueling the American dream.
  • Prosper comments on Lending Club IPO, expects to top $9 billion in loans this year.
  • PayNearMe partners with Department of Health and Human Services to spread the word about healthcare.
  • Bluefin Payment Systems to provide its PCI-validated Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) Solution to Priority Payment clients.
  • Career Bliss lists PayPal, Intuit, and Google in the top 50 happiest companies in the U.S.
  • Lending Club launches IPO, shares rally 70% in early trading.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Where the Alums Are: A Remembrance of FinovateSpring Past

Thumbnail image for FinovateSpring2014ButtonLogo.jpg

It is hard to believe that it is almost time for FinovateSpring 2014.

There’s still plenty of time for you to get your tickets to our upcoming event in San Jose, California on April 29 and 30. Our final Sneak Peek preview post is up, all the companies who were prepping under the radar are now out of stealth, and we can’t wait for you to see what this year’s spring crop of fintech entrepreneurs and innovators has in store.

Before we do, however, let’s take a moment to take a look back at last year’s FinovateSpring alums. As we scrolled through blog archives, several themes jumped out: the appetite for startups remains as passionate as ever, with three of our Spring 2013 alums being acquired by such financial sector potentates as Intuit and PayPal. And venture capitalists continue to see innovation in this space as a more than worthwhile investment, with 20 separate fundings for Spring 2013 alums

We’ve grouped the achievements into four categories: Exits, Fundings, Awards, and Acquisitions. Enjoy!

  • Jack Henry buys Banno for undisclosed sum
  • The rumors are true: eBay’s PayPal acquires Braintree for $800 million in cash
  • Intuit buys tax planning/preparation specialist GoodApril
  • TaxAct acquires Balance Financial
  • CardFlight secures $1.6 million in seed funding from ff Venture Capital
  • Encap earns seven-figure investment from ProVenture Seed
  • EyeVerify earns $2.3 million in Series A funding
  • Jemstep raises $4.5 million in Series A round
  • Kabbage brings in $270 million in debt financing to provide small businesses with funding of their own
  • Kabbage brings in $75 MIllion in debt financing
  • Leaf raises $20 million from Heartland Payment Systems
  • Alternative lender LendUp raises $14 million in new funding
  • D3 Banking creator Lodo Software Brings in $3 million
  • Narrative Science secures $11.5 million in Series C funding
  • OpenCoin wins investment from Google Ventures, IDG Capital Partners
  • P2BInvestor raises $1.2 million in Series A round
  • PayNearMe leverages Family Dollar Partnership; raises $20 million
  • PayNearMe raises $10 million in Series D funding, launches Express Merchant Onboarding Option
  • Prestadero raises 5 million pesos ($400,000 USD) in first round of funding
  • Quantopian raises $6.7 million in Series A round
  • Realty Mogul raises $9 million in round led by Canaan Partners
  • SeedInvest raises $2 million in crowdfunded investment campaign
  • SeedInvest Raises $1 million in round Led by Jumpstart New Jersey Angel Network
  • Zooz Closes $2 million Series A round Led by XSeed Capital
  • OpenCoin acquires SimpleHoney
  • Kofax acquires data integration software provider Kapow Technologies
  • NICE to acquire Causata to enhance customer experience management

Inside Mortgage Harmony’s Partnership with PenFed Credit Union


Mortgage banking can be a profitable segment, but shrinking margins, competitive pricing strategies, and lower volumes, it can just as easily be ruthless.

Keith Kelly Mortgage Harmony CEO, Is working on changing this. We caught up with him last week to chat about the recent partnership with Pentagon Federal Credit Union.


The 1.2 million-member-strong credit union opted to white-label the platform for its users, calling it a One Click Rate Reset Protection. 

To check out the user experience for ourselves, Kelly provided us with a link to a test environment (click here to access). Here is what it looked like after we logged in to the “GTE Financial” test environment:


The system shows us the details of our current mortgage, along with what it will look like after the rate is reset.

After opting to reset the loan, the customer is prompted to sign the new document using DocuSign:


Once the signature is confirmed, the site notifies the consumer that the process was successful and informs them when the new rate will take effect.

The Virginia-based company has been busy after the successful implementation of the One-Click Rate Change product with PenFed.

What’s next?
When asked what is next for Mortgage Harmony, CEO Kelly replied that the company is working on a product for auto loans, and plans to go live with the new product with an existing partner this year. What’s more, the company is in the middle of a funding round, which it hopes to close later this year. Check out it’s AngelList site here.

Watch Mortgage Harmony’s demo of its HarmonyLoan product that it debuted at FinovateSpring 2013.

Finovate Alumni News– January 9, 2014

  • Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgGartner’s Web Access Management Marketscope Report gives Ping Identity a positive rating.
  • Moven, LendUp, Kabbage, and Xero are featured in a Wall Street Journal article on alternative lenders and social media.
  • CAN Capital raises $33 million from Meritech Capital, Accel Partners.
  • PenFed is now offering Mortgage Harmony’s One Click rate reset protection.
  • Lighter Capital closes 39th financing with Influence Technologies.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Mortgage Harmony Presents HarmonyLoan Central with Loan Retention Software

Thumbnail image for MortgageHarmonyLogo.jpgThis post is part of our live coverage of FinovateSpring 2013.

Targeting mortgage, auto, student, and commercial loans, Mortgage Harmony is coming to the stage with their HarmonyLoan technology.
“HarmonyLoan Central is the client-branded, consumer web-interface for borrowers to access their HarmonyLoan. The Loan Retention Software (LRS) eliminates a traditional refinance. With one click and an e-signature, a borrower resets their rate, incurring zero closing costs, with no credit check, or underwriting, all in minutes. The FI has no back office processing costs, increases retention, at a premium yield. The servicer reduces portfolio churn, and the originator creates a recurring revenue stream. In other words, everyone wins.”
Product Launched: September 2012
HQ Location: McLean, Virginia
Company Founded: December 2008
Metrics: More than $1.5 million raised; 8 employees; 12 customers
Twitter: @harmonyloan
Presenting Keith Kelly (CEO) and Ray Crosier (President)


Finovate Alumni News– April 23, 2013

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  • Executive Magazine profiles TransferWise and talks Middle East expansion.
  • Reference Data Review takes a look at Fenergo’s efforts to make compliance easier and more efficient.
  • ACI Worldwide announces Universal Payments Platform.
  • TransferWise wins Estonia’s “Best E-Service” contest.
  • Joe Brancucci, CEO of GTE Financial joins Mortgage Harmony Advisory Board.
  • Keith Kelly, Mortgage Harmony CEO, awarded a Tech All-Star Award by Mortgage Banking Magazine. Check out Mortgage Harmony’s live demo at FinovateSpring.
  • Ping Identity named 2013 Top Workplace by The Denver Post for second consecutive year.
  • SecureKey named Top Growth Company in 2013 Branham300 list of Top 10 Growth Companies.
  • Global Security Services Company selects Kofax to automate accounts payable operations in Latin America. Check out Kofax at FinovateSpring.
  • ProfitStars wins 2013 Payments System Awards from NACHA – the Electronic Payments Association.
  • ACI Worldwide’s Architech Mobile Banking provides PFM, integrated bill payment and account-to-account transfers to iOS, Android smartphones.
  • Azimo wins SWIFT Innotribe challenge; advances to finals at Sibos 2013 in Dubai.
  • peerTransfer now serving more than 300 colleges and universities, has partnered with 48 new educational institutions during the first quarter of 2013.
  • Zooz closes $2 million Series A round led by XSeed Capital. See Zooz in action at FinovateSpring in May.
  • GeoComply and Locaid team up to bring geolocation services to mobile and Internet gaming industry. See Locaid demo at FinovateSpring in May.
  • Innov8social interviews Julia Streuli, head of communications for Bright Funds. Join Bright Funds in San Francisco for FinovateSpring.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Six Finovate Alumni Among American Banker’s Top 10 Tech

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgMore than half of the companies recently highlighted in American Banker‘s “Top 10 Tech Companies to Watch” are Finovate Alumni.

Below are the six companies featured in the article, along with a link to their most recent appearance and product demo at Finovate.
Read the full article from American Banker here.

Finovate Alumni News– December 3, 2012

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  • American Banker lists Andera, Banno, BillFloat, BillGuard, Mortgage Harmony, and Lighter Capital as top 10 tech companies to watch in 2013.
  • ZDNet reports UBank gears up for mobile banking site with beta program.
  • Frost & Sullivan recognizes Virtual Piggy with the 2012 Global Frost & Sullivan Award for Entrepreneurial Company of the Year.
  • ProfitStars adds new protections against malware.
  • Sybase 365 and Globe Telecom partner to launch LTE roaming service with China Mobile.
This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Mortgage Harmony’s Solution Gives FIs a Mortgage Interface for Their Borrowers


Then, Mortgage Harmony took the stage with HarmonyLoan Central:

“HarmonyLoan Central is a client-branded web-interface for borrowers to access their HarmonyLoan. The product eliminates the need for the traditional refinance. 

With a single click of the button, a borrower can reset their mortgage rate with no fees, appraisal, credit check, underwriting, and no new amortization schedule. The financial institution eliminates back office processing costs and increases loan retention, all at a premium yield. The servicer reduces portfolio churn, and the loan originator creates a recurring revenue stream via our patented compensation method. In other words, everyone wins.”

Product Launched: December 2010
HQ Location: McLean, VA
Company Founded: December 2008
Metrics: Over $1.1M raised, 7 employees, 12 customers
Twitter: @harmonyloan
Finovate demo (demo video will be posted next week)
Introducing Keith Kelly (CEO) and Ray Crosier (President)