Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Fintech digital crowdsourcing platform, Fintech Galaxy, honors leaders of MENA’s fintech industry at its FinX – Excellence in Fintech awards.
  • Entrepreneur magazine looks at how recent investment trends are impacting the growth of fintech in the MENA region.
  • ADGM announces partnership with Bahrain’s central bank to encourage innovation in financial services in both the UAE and Bahrain.

Central and South Asia

  • Bangladeshi sales automation and credit assessment firm ShopUp picks up $1.62 million in seed round led by Omidyar Network.
  • Kazakhstan’s Bank CentreCredit buys 111 ATMs with integrated security and monitoring technology from BS/2.
  • TechCrunch interviews ZestMoney CEO Lizzie Chapman on the building a fintech startup in India.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Decision Report features Finn AI in a look at how chatbots are revolutionizing the financial sector. In Portuguese.
  • Banco Ficensa of Honduras goes live with new core banking technology from e-IBS.
  • Brazil’s Banco Bradesco partners with Japan’s MUFG Bank to develop Ripple-based cross-border payments service.


  • Singapore’s Grab raises $50 million in new funding from Thailand-based Kasikornbank; unveils co-branded mobile wallet, GrabPay by KBank.
  • Courtesy of a joint venture with China’s LianLian, American Express becomes the first foreign card scheme to gain direct access to China’s payment card market.
  • Ondot Systems announces new end-to-end digital card services platform for Asian banks.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Kenyan fintech startup Pezesha unveils financial education academy to help educate would-be borrowers.
  • Rand Merchant Investment Holding (RMI) via AlphaCode, awards R16 million to eight South African fintech startups.
  • Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo urges the nation’s banks to make reforms in order to “cope” with what he called “a quick convergence between technology and financial products.”

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Tinkoff Mobile extends service to seven additional areas of Russia including Smolensk and the Republic of Mordovia.
  • Czech Republic’s Moneta embraces cloud-based banking with test of automatic application deployment in the AWS environment.
  • Russian microfinance company MFC Zaymer joins automated P2P platform,

Top image designed by Freepik

Ondot Lands Strategic Investment from Citi Ventures

A strategic investment from Citi Ventures announced today will help power international growth for mobile payment services specialist Ondot.

“As we steadily march toward high-frequency, invisible and autonomous payments, consumers increasingly expect detailed information about their transactions,” Ondot CEO Vaduvur Bharghavan said. “Bringing together details such as real-time transaction authorizations, proximity controls, merchant specifications, and applying machine learning on historical data helps consumers have more control over their cards and delivers a premium cardholder experience.”

The amount of the funding was not disclosed. Prior to today’s news, the company reportedly had raised $51 million in equity financing.

Ondot offers banks and credit unions technology that enables them to provide their customers with solutions to better manage and control their card payments. The company’s real-time, API-based platform and mobile app provide an end-to-end digital payment card services experience that ranges from bot-assisted digital acquisition and instant activation to geolocation-based contextual alerts and messaging. Ondot’s technology gives payment cards a “digital voice,” supported by a three-way interaction between the card issuer, the card holder, and the merchant.

“Consumers want to be able to manage their financial lives anywhere and at any time, and their expectations for a seamless experience will continue to evolve,” Citi Ventures’ co-head of venture investing Ramneek Gupta said. “Ondot meets this demand by providing innovative solutions that enable increased access and control of financial information, so we are thrilled to invest.”

Ondot’s strategic investment comes as the company announced a partnership with Mexico’s INVEX. The collaboration will enable INVEX to leverage Ondot’s digital acquisition and instant issuance technology to provide the country’s first “Instant Card.” Integrated with Ondot’s technology, INVEX’s Digital Card Services solution will also feature mobile product presentment and selection, as well as built-in card controls and alerts.

“Nowadays, credit card customers and digitally savvy generations, seek simplicity and immediate financial solutions through 100% digital channels,” Jean Marc Mercier, INVEX’s Managing Director for Consumer Banking and Payments, said. He added that INVEX was “committed to consolidate our position as a player at the forefront of the Mexican consumer and payments market, providing solutions that meet these expectations.”

Santa Clara, California-based Ondot Systems demonstrated its Digital Card mobile app at FinovateSpring 2018. The company also participated in our inaugural FinovateMiddleEast conference earlier this year, winning Best of Show honors for a live demo of its card control technology. More than 3,000 banks and credit unions around the world use Ondot’s white label apps, including the premier credit union services organization in the U.S., PSCU, which announced a partnership with Ondot in August.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Open Bank Project Collaborates with Open Source Software Company Red Hat.
  • Ondot Lands Strategic Investment from Citi Ventures.
  • Experian, FICO, and Finicity Launch the UltraFICO Score.

Around the web

  • Bloomberg TV features Best of Show winner Bumped.
  • Envestnet | Yodlee launches new suite of developer tools.
  • ThreatMetrix partners with SAS, bringing digital identity intelligence to machine learning to help creditors fight identity fraud.
  • Finastra introduces its cloud-based instant payments offering for SMEs.
  • Sberbank inks Memorandum of Understanding with SWIFT.
  • Artivest appoints new Chief Compliance Officer, Kamal Jafarnia.
  • Featurespace unveils its ARIC White Label solution for advanced fraud and risk prevention.
  • Finextra: Fidor and GFT extend partnership to the Americas markets.
  • Kony acquires innovation subsidiary of Umpqua Bank.
  • Finextra: NTT Data plans pan-Asian federated trade information platform based on blockchain.
  • SuperMoney surpasses $1 billion in financing requests
  • Bluefin and TokenEx partner to strengthen payment security with PCI-validated P2PE and omni-channel tokenization.
  • launches KYC / AML identity verification solution and ID document verification solution.

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.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Dynamics’ Battery-Powered Cards Hit Japan.
  • Q2 to Acquire Cloud Lending Solutions.
  • Onfido Helps TransferGo Onboard New Users Faster.

Around the web

  • OnDeck reports record net income for second quarter, credits asset growth and margin expansion.
  • Outsystems announces record-breaking quarter across all key business metrics, including a 63% gain in annual recurring revenue for Q2.
  • Varo Money to deploy Temenos’ T24 core banking system.
  • Ondot partners with PSCU, the premier payments credit union service organization to provide its card alerts and controls technology.
  • partners with Carhartt to help employees pay down student debt.
  • App Annie selected for JMP’s Hot 100 Best Privately Held Software Companies of 2018.

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.

Ondot Introduces Digital Card Services Platform

Winner of Best of Show awards at FinovateSpring and FinovateMiddleEast, Ondot Systems has launched its digital card services platform. The new offering provides card issuers with full digital card life-cycle management – from initial invitation through secure payments – in a single platform.

“In a digital-first world where payments are becoming invisible and consumers expect instant gratification, card issuers must attract, acquire, and empower consumers with personalized digital experience,” Sung-Wook Han, CTO for Ondot, explained. “Ondot provides a comprehensive set of services around the ‘digitized card,’ integrating into existing mobile apps, card management systems, and authorization platforms.”

Ondot CEO Vaduvur Bharghavan demonstrating the Ondot Digital Card Mobile App at FinovateSpring 2018.

Ondot’s latest solution takes advantage of social networking and bot technology to enhance the customer acquisition, application, and KYC processes. Approved cardholders get instant digital card issuance with dynamic security codes (CVV2) to support secure e-commerce, and the ability to make in-app push provisions to digital wallets. Ondot also brings to bear its innovations in card control technology, enabling cardholders to control how and when their cards can be used. Cardholders can also set spending limits, location parameters, and allow or block transactions with specific merchants.

Ondot’s latest offering can be integrated into current mobile banking apps via APIs/SDKs, or accessed as a white label mobile app with customized branding. The platform supports credit, debit, and prepaid cards, including Visa, Mastercard and private label cards.

Headquartered in Santa Clara, California, and having offices in Bangalore, India, Ondot Systems made its Finovate debut in 2014. At the event, the company won Best of Show for a live demonstration of its Mobile Card Services solution. More recently, Ondot participated in our inaugural FinovateMiddleEast conference in February, demoing its Digital Card Mobile App. The company followed its Best of Show winning demonstration with news that it was bringing Mobile Card Services to customers in Asia.

Last month, Ondot celebrated a major milestone by having 3,000 financial institutions offer mobile card controls powered by its technology. Founded in 2011, the company has raised $28 million in funding. Vaduvur Bharghavan is CEO.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Risk Ident to Help Universum Protect Retailers from Fraud.
  • Dorsum Unveils My Wealth Mobile App.
  • Ondot Introduces Digital Card Services Platform.

Around the web

  • NuData Security named a “Top 100 in Tech” by Business in Vancouver.
  • ThetaRay wins ATMIA’s Next Generation ATM Security Award.
  • to power student loan repayment benefits for Hulu employees.
  • Standard Chartered Bank announces intentions to apply for the virtual banking license.
  • is Amazon Alexa-Certified for Financial Institutions.
  • Flywire and UnionPay Partner to Take the Cost Out of Cross-Border Payments from China.
  • Yoyo introduces quarterly tracker to monitor customer activity in closed catering environments.
  • U.K.-based Business Leader magazine features Wealthify and YellowDog among its 32 South West Tech Businesses That Are Shaping the Future spotlight.
  • Unblu opens offices in London.

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.

Finovate Alumni News


  • Gusto Launching its Own Yelp for Accountants.
  • Fintonic Bolsters Platform’s Loan Options with BBVA Partnership.

Around the web

  • Multiple-time Best of Show winner Ondot Systems launches its digital card services platform.
  • Thomson Reuters and ICAP announce five-year extension of their partnership.
  • TransferWise lands its first big European bank customer with new agreement with France’s BPCE Group.
  • NY Times features Unison’s approach to shared equity home ownership investment
  • Taulia has record $4.5bn First Quarter.
  • Cardlytics refinances credit facilities with Square 1 Bank.
  • Ripple to give $50 million to universities including Princeton, MIT, and UCL for blockchain research.
  • Foothills Credit Union selects Digital Onboarding for new member onboarding technology.

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.

Finovate Alumni News


  • eToro Launches Cryptocurrency Exchange, Expands to U.S.
  • Tradeshift’s Tradeshift Pay to Free Up $9 Trillion in Cash Trapped in Accounts Receivable.
  • International Invoicing Platform from Flywire Emerges from Beta.

Around the web

  • Compass Plus adds interchange functionality to its open development payments platform, TranzAxis.
  • Finastra names Jim Fiesel Managing Director of Capital Markets and Lending Sales for the Americas.
  • eToro to incorporate in Gibraltar to take advantage of new DLT regulatory framework.
  • Neener Analytics completes proof of concept with one of Mexico’s largest credit card issuers.
  • Multiple-time Best of Show winner Ondot Systems announces more than  3,000 financial institutions are offering mobile card controls powered by its technology.

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.


Ondot to Bring its Mobile Card Controls Technology to Asia

Ondot Systems has followed up its Best of Show winning demo from FinovateMiddleEast last month with news that the company is expanding to reach even more customers around the world. The company’s Mobile Card Services solution, a white-label product that gives cardholders control over their payment cards and provides issuers with opportunities to create personalized journeys for their customers, will soon be available to FIs and customers in Asia.

“The payment landscape is evolving rapidly in emerging markets like ASEAN. Banks can provide a holistic experience to consumers and deliver new products and services over legacy systems in a cost-effective and timely manner using new micro-service platforms,” said Ian Guy Gillard, CIO of Bangkok Bank. “Partners like Ondot enable banks to stay as innovation leaders while bringing in the best of fintech into banking, Gillard said. Bangkok Bank is the biggest commercial bank in Thailand, and is one of the largest banks in Southeast Asia.

Millions of users at 3,000 banks and credit unions around the world rely on Ondot’s card controls technology to manage when, where, and how their cards are used. Banks typically have seen increased card usage by 23%, fraud costs reduced by 25%, and false declines lowered by 16% within a year of integrating Ondot’s technology. In addition to Card Control, Ondot’s consumer facing product line includes Card Connect, guided self-service for card management including transaction and fraud alerts and dispute initiation; Card Assist, which provides contextual advice and messaging based on location, preferences, and purchase history, and Fone Pay, which provides instant digital card issuance and provisioning cards into phone wallets.

Administrators get access to data insights from the platform including enhanced merchant and transaction information that leverages both crowdsourced data enrichment and user activity, as well as a consumer services platform to support rapid development and deployment of services on legacy systems.

“We use our own personal experiences and needs as cardholders to drive the product innovation,” EVP for Ondot Systems Rachna Ahlawat said. “I travel a lot – I want a solution that knows where I am so my card works around me, prompts me to customize my preferences, detects when I am back home, and helps me categorize transactions – a personal assistant that anticipates my actions and solves a need.”

Ahlawat also pointed out an example of the kind of circumstance that cardholders experience that Ondot’s technology helps them manage. “(If) if I get a transaction alert for a purchase I did not attempt, I want to initiate a dispute instantly. This action usually shuts off the card in the bank systems, but I don’t want to be left without a payment card to use till I reach home. With Ondot’s safe mode card controls, we can enable this capability – converting an unpleasant event into a positive experience for the cardholder by combining security and convenience.”

Founded in 2011 and headquartered in San Jose, California, Ondot Systems demonstrated its Card Control technology at the inaugural FinovateMiddleEast in February, winning Best of Show. The company followed this with an appearance the following month at FinovateEurope, where CEO and co-founder Vaduvur Bharghavan demonstrated how the technology leverages the smartphone to give cardholders a “remote control” over their credit and debit cards. Videos from both events will be available soon.

FinovateMiddleEast Best of Show Winners Announced!


The votes have been counted and the winners of the first FinovateMiddleEast Best of Show competition have been selected.

Congratulations are due to all of the companies that presented their latest fintech innovations live on stage this week. From wealth management and lending to innovative approaches to making payments faster, more efficient, and more secure, what makes Finovate such a great opportunity for fintech professionals is the breadth and variety of technologies on display.

And while we love seeing which companies – new or old, local or global – are the ones that have developed solutions that capture the imagination of our knowledgeable fintech audience, we always maintain that the value of our Finovate demos lies in the diversity of approaches taken by different creative, insightful entrepreneurs and engineers solving real world problems for individuals, consumers, SMEs, corporations, and even governments all over the globe.

That said, there are always a handful of demos that stand out to our attendees – and these are the innovations we highlight with our Best of Show awards. So with no further ado, let’s take a look at the companies taking home Best of Show trophies for their demos this week at FinovateMiddleEast 2018 (in alphabetic order):

APPICS for its next-generation, rewards-based, social media app that enables people to connect with one another around the globe and leverages blockchain technology to turn social media “likes” into currency. Video.

Electronic IDentification for its VideoID solution which combines video streaming, advanced machine learning, and AI to remotely identify customers in seconds from any device and over any channel. Video.



Ondot Systems for its card control technology that empowers card holders to “remote control” their credit and debit cards from a smartphone app. Video.

Our first foray to the Middle East has been a huge success for us. We’ve both seen and learned a great deal about the kind of fintech innovations that are making it easier for those living in the MENA region to have safer, more transparent, and – hopefully – more prosperous financial lives.

We want to thank our sponsors and partners – especially the UAE Ministry of Finance, which was indispensable in helping make FinovateMiddleEast happen. We had a wonderful time bringing our fintech conference to Dubai for the first time and are looking forward to coming back soon. Remember to follow us on Twitter @Finovate, as well as here on the Finovate blog to keep up with the latest in fintech news from the Middle East and elsewhere around the world.

To see all of the demo videos from FinovateMiddleEast, visit our video archives.

Notes on methodology:
1. Only audience members NOT associated with demoing companies were eligible to vote. Finovate employees did not vote.
2. Attendees were encouraged to note their favorites during each day. At the end of the last demo, they chose their three favorites.
3. The exact written instructions given to attendees: “Please rate (the companies) on the basis of demo quality and potential impact of the innovation demoed.”
4. The three companies appearing on the highest percentage of submitted ballots were named “Best of Show.”
5. Go here for a list of previous Best of Show winners through 2014. Best of Show winners from our 2015 through 2017 conferences are below:
FinovateEurope 2015
FinovateSpring 2015
FinovateFall 2015
FinovateEurope 2016
FinovateSpring 2016
FinovateFall 2016
FinovateAsia 2016
FinovateEurope 2017
FinovateSpring 2017
FinovateFall 2017
FinovateAsia 2017