Finovate Alumni News

Around the web

  • Move Your Business to the United States podcast features Aire CEO Aneesh Varma.
  • SumUp partners with donation software company to help charities to go contactless for Christmas.
  • TransferWise partners with Visa to enable real-time transfers to debit cards.

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.

Blockchain-Based Payments and Rebooting the Financial System

Paystand CEO Jeremy Almond knows a thing or two about business payments. Since co-founding the company in 2013, Almond has implemented numerous improvements to the company’s payments engine, taking full advantage of the blockchain.

Among Paystand’s most recent debuts are the company’s 2018 launch of a blockchain that ensures payment, storing an immutable record of every transaction the company processes. Earlier this year, Paystand launched the Assurety-as-a-Service API that leverages the company’s blockchain to prevent fraud. Paystand also unveiled Automated Receivables, a tool that leverages the blockchain to automate invoice collection.

Almond is a 15-year veteran of the tech industry, having served as a serial entrepreneur, startup advisor, and occasional investor. Almond helped co-found Paystand in 2013 and has since been at the helm of the company as CEO. We caught up with him in an interview earlier this month.

Finovate: What is Paystand and how does it differ from other online payment gateways?

Jeremy Almond: Paystand is a commercial payments platform that automates the entire cash cycle, from invoicing to reconciliation, to make payments an easy, effortless experience.

Today’s financial system is plagued by costly fees, inefficiencies, and paper-driven processes. We believe this broken system is holding businesses back, so we created Paystand to eliminate fees and build the payment framework for the digital era.

Much the same way that Netflix came along and completely re-thought consumption of media or how Tesla has come to market with not just a new vehicle but a business model and mission focused on energy independence, Paystand differentiates itself with its Payments-as-a-Service model. The outdated, inefficient, fee-based approach to commercial payments and money movement no longer makes sense. Instead of taking a cut from every customer sale, our customers pay a flat monthly rate to use our payment software. Essentially, it is unlimited “consumption” for payments with predictable costs. This means that as our customers’ businesses grow, their profits increase instead of their fees.

We’ve also built the most complete digital payment network available to businesses. Using the Paystand Bank Network, customers can move money electronically without paying any fees. It’s the industry’s first zero-cost rail, and the easiest way for businesses to get paid today. It’s also the only blockchain-based payments infrastructure that has been tested at scale with millions of transactions and enterprise volume.

Finovate: You’re a startup investor yourself. How does that influence how you’ve built Paystand?

Almond: Most venture-backed startups fail, especially the high-potential ones. Everyone is hungry to find the next Uber or Facebook, so it’s easier than ever to start a company and get funded. But building a startup that lasts isn’t easy. I think many founders underestimate that and end up spending their time and resources chasing quick exits and unicorn status.

That’s why we do things completely different at Paystand. We’re focused on building a sustainable business that solves real, meaningful problems. There’s a certain business pacing you have to keep up to attract the right investors and gather momentum around your vision. So driving that kind of sustainable growth is our top priority.

Over time, I believe we’re going to see a shift away from companies constantly raising equity to this sustainable growth approach. If you look at the market today, especially after Zoom’s IPO, there’s a real appetite for businesses with a clear path to profitability.

In many ways, being an investor has been an advantage to building Paystand.

Finovate: Tell us about Paystand’s new Fintech Advisory Council launched earlier this year. What was the impetus for this?

Almond: The need for the Fintech Advisory Council really came from our growth. We’ve nearly tripled our revenue this year, which is more than an 8x increase since raising our Series A round. So we built the advisory council to help us scale our product innovation and better meet this demand.

We didn’t make the appointments lightly. These are people who are literally the top of the top for financial services and B2B fintech. CheckFree founder Pete Kight, for example, made it possible to pay bills online with your bank account. Other advisors include the former president of Bill.com and the former president of PayPal. Having these pioneers on our side, guiding us, is going to be a massive value ad as we build the next chapter in commercial finance.

This is a huge mission we’re talking about — rebooting the financial system. Our Fintech Advisory Council is going to help us make that happen.

Finovate: Paystand recently surpassed 100,000 businesses using its platform. What new features does Paystand have in the works to garner its next 100,000 users?

Almond: Although we recently surpassed 100,000 businesses using the platform, we know we’re still just scratching the surface. There are over 6 million B2B companies in the United States alone. And 18 trillion dollars still moves between businesses via paper check every year in this country. That’s a staggering figure. Those businesses need a modern payment solution that doesn’t penalize growth via more and higher fees. So, we’re focused on continuing to deliver the best payment solutions to that market with our core payment platform. We plan on deepening our integrations and relationships with core systems of record like NetSuite to further provide seamless automation of accounts receivable workflows.

At the same time, we’re continuing to build innovative products to enable automation and reduce friction for the entire downstream network involved in payments. We recently launched Autopilot, our receivables automation product that helps companies reduce DSO, decrease late payments, and improve the customer payment experience. And our newly launched Payment Portal gives all of their downstream payers an intuitive interface to view their payments, payer history, and access our payment platform.

Every day, more businesses are making the shift to a more open, inclusive commercial payments infrastructure and are rejecting the outdated, fee-based model that no longer makes sense. We’re proud to help them on their journey.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Pendleton Community Bank Signs 3E Software’s Teslar for Automation.
  • Coinbase’s Coinbase Pro Goes Mobile.

Around the web

  • Paystand surpasses 100,000 businesses on its network.
  • Swaper celebrates its third birthday.

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.

PayStand Leverages the Blockchain to Document Proof-of-Action

No blockchain experience? No problem.

Business payments platform PayStand is launching what it’s calling Assurety-as-a-Service, which is exactly what it sounds like. The new API allows businesses with no prior blockchain experience to verify any event, action, or identity in real-time by creating a record that is notarized on the blockchain.

To picture what this looks like, imagine having a frictionless notary public that can scale; notarizing an unlimited number of documents. In a blog post detailing the API, PayStand illustrates a multitude of use cases across a variety of industries. In the insurance industry, for example, businesses can track the exchange of high-value assets and use an automated collections process to settle a claim more efficiently. And businesses in the real estate vertical can record, track, and transfer land titles, property deeds, and liens, and ensure all documents are accurate and verifiable.

The solution levels the blockchain playing field by not requiring businesses to have any prior experience with the enabling technology. “Assurety-as-a-Service lets businesses skip the steep learning curve and start using blockchain right now,” said PayStand CEO Jeremy Almond. “Any developer can use our API and spin up their own blockchain app in minutes,” added Omar Baqueiro, Director of Product and Engineering.

The Assurety-as-a-Service API helps businesses deploy applications that prevent fraud by leveraging PayStand’s hybrid blockchain to document proof-of-action without allowing anyone to edit the record. The tool offers the accountability of a public blockchain while providing data privacy of a private blockchain. As Baqueiro phrased it, Assurety-as-a-Service “combin[es] the advantages of a trustless, decentralized, immutable public chain with the privacy and security expected of enterprise-level solutions.”

Today’s development comes after the company’s 2018 launch of a blockchain that ensures payment, adding security to the PayStand Bank Network. On that blockchain is stored an immutable record of every transaction the company processes.

PayStand showcased at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2014. Earlier this year the company launched a service that uses the blockchain to automate invoice collection. Businesses can integrate the tool, Automated Receivables, into their existing customer payments infrastructure.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • PayStand Leverages the Blockchain to Document Proof-of-Action.
  • DriveWealth Powers Commission-Free Trading for Revolut Cardholders.

Around the web

  • Columbia Bank to leverage nCino’s Bank Operating System.
  • Fast Company highlights Lighter Capital as a competitor to Clearbanc.
  • Ezbob wins the Best Fintech Partnership category for its Smart Onboarding Engine in this year’s Banker’s Tech Projects Awards.

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.

PayStand Unveils Automated Receivables Product

Business payments platform PayStand shipped its newest product this week, PayStand Automated Receivables. The new tool leverages the blockchain to automate invoice collection.

Jeremy Almond, CEO and co-founder of PayStand said the new solution is “by far the number one thing our customers have asked for over the past 12 months.” He added, “In keeping with our core principle of removing friction from commercial payments, PayStand Automated Receivables creates a seamless, intuitive, automated collections and payment experience for corporate finance and for customers.”

The new tool allows businesses to build digital payments options into their existing customer payments infrastructure. By leveraging AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics, PayStand replaces manual receivables collection processes that require employees to hunt down customer payments via phone or email.

In addition to a smoother payments collection process, PayStand also offers a better user experience. The company referred to the new interface as a “Venmo-like B2B payment and collections process,” highlighting the personalization and efficiency of the new tool.

Founded in 2013, PayStand showcased at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2014. Last June, the company expanded operations to Canada and, in August, integrated with fellow Finovate alum and cloud accounting firm Xero.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Virtual Card Platform Extend Raises $11 Million. See the company demo its technology live at FinovateSpring in San Francisco in May.
  • PayStand Unveils Automated Receivables Product.

Around the web

  • Lendio franchise opens in Phoenix.
  • Check Point partners with Google’s Cloud Identity to improve zero trust cloud access.
  • Coinbase introduces crypto Visa debit card for U.K. customers via partnership with Apto Payments.
  • Sberbank acquires majority stake in biometrics company Speech Technology Center.
  • Aite Group recognizes Featurespace as “Best in Class” in its latest report on fraud and advanced machine learning platform vendors.

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

On Finovate.com

Around the web

  • Jack Henry & Associates named a top workplace by The San Diego Union-Tribune.
  • Raketech partners with Trustly for in-banner Pay N Play technology.
  • First Data launches Clover Mini and Clover Flex in Argentina.
  • Banco Original chooses FICO to launch digital platform.

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 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.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Nigerian online accounting services specialist Accounteer announces plans to open new office in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • First Bank of Nigeria awards more than $14,000 in cash prizes to winners of its hackathon competition.
  • Absa Group of South Africa adds new functionality to its mobile app.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Tinkoff Bank launches Tinkoff Junior mobile app for children and teenagers.
  • Sberbank unveils its new Payment Schedules solution, enabling users to configure the interface of Sberbank Business Online into an event feed format.
  • Top ten Ukrainian bank, First Ukrainian International Bank (FUIB) to offer banking services via messaging apps Viber and Telegram – with Facebook Messenger to be added by the end of the year.
  • Emerging Europe features Lithuania as “China’s fintech gateway to Europe.”
  • Polish vendor finance specialist LeaseLink joins loan syndication platform, Mintos.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • The UAE’s Anglo-Gulf Trade Bank, a digitally-enabled trade bank, is announced, with operations to begin in early 2019.
  • TradeArabia looks at how fintech can help enhance trade in the Middle East.
  • Bahrain Fintech Bay launches Global Islamic & Sustainable Fintech Center (GISFC).

Central and South Asia

  • Bengaluru-based ClearTax India raises $54.6 million ($4 billion INR) in new funding.
  • Tez Financial Services, Pakistan’s first fully digital non-bank microfinance company, announces picking up $1.1 million in seed funding in a round led by Omidyar Network.
  • India’s Utkarsh Small Finance Bank (USFB) goes live with UP Retail Payments from ACI Worldwide.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • PayStand expands operations to Mexico, forms regional partnership with StartupGDL.
  • Fidor and GFT extend partnership to the Americas markets.
  • Argentine fintech Ualá picks up $34 million investment from Goldman Sachs.

Asia-Pacific

  • Hong Kong-based mobile current account solution for the underbanked, Neat, raises $3 million in funding.
  • Accenture partners with Siam Commercial Bank’s fintech subsidiary, Digital Ventures, to co-launch blockchain trade solution. See Siam Commercial Bank at FinovateAsia in Hong Kong next week.
  • Indonesia’s OnlinePajak, a tax app provider, announced a $25 million investment in a round led by Warburg Pincus.
  • Fintech Futures takes a look at the “fintech battle” between China and the West.

Top image designed by Freepik

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

Around the web

  • iSignthis announces its Tier 1 JCB card acquiring service is now live in the EU/EEA.
  • CallVU to provide advanced biometric authentication technology to international credit card provider.
  • Jumio reports sales growth of 130% year over year for the first three quarters of 2018.
  • Capsilon teams up with Home Point Financial to streamline loan process.
  • The latest upgrade of SecureSafe features desktop encryption. In German.
  • NICE Actimize launches X-Sight, a financial crime risk management platform-as-a-service solution.
  • Alloy and Socure partner to automate digital identity verification and onboarding for financial institutions.
  • PayStand expands operations to Mexico, forms regional partnership with StartupGDL.
  • Tinkoff Bank adds 26 new currencies for its Black Card customers.
  • Identitii launches Overlay+ to enable Know Your Transaction. 
  • Jack Henry & Associates acquires BOLTS Technologies for its digital account opening 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.

PayStand Announces Integration with Xero

Business financial management just got a lot easier for small businesses. B2B payments platform Paystand is teaming up with Xero to enable the cloud accounting firm’s customers to accept bank and card payments directly in sales orders and invoices. This will give Xero users a seamless, automated way to capture payments and reconcile them directly into their accounting systems. Paystand’s Xero plug-in, now available at the Xero Marketplace, will accelerate time to cash and help save SMEs money.

“Our goal is to transform commercial finance by automating the enterprise cash life cycle,” Paystand CEO Jeremy Almond said. He called the partnership “another step closer toward a frictionless payments infrastructure.” Paystand’s Xero plug-in provides support for ACH and Smart ACH/eCheck bank payments, as well as both debit and credit card payments – the only one of Xero’s plug-ins to do so.

The integration enables customers to make digital payments within the invoice which, once cleared, are reconciled in real-time. Payment information is tokenized and encrypted. And because the data is “saved without being visible”, the solution provides both security and seamless future transactions for the customer.

Blockchain-based B2B payments innovator PayStand participated in our developers conference FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2014. CEO Almond led a presentation titled Comparing the Strengths and Weaknesses of Different Payment Types, which looked at the relative advantages and disadvantages of card networks, eChecks/ACH, and digital currencies as payment options.

Last month, Paystand reported that it would participate in the fintech accelerator, Commerce.Innovated. In June, the company announced that it was expanding to Canada. Named one of The Silicon Review’s 50 Smartest Companies for 2017 at the beginning of the year, Paystand has raised more than $8 million in funding. The company includes BlueRun Ventures and LEAP Global Partners among its investors. Paystand was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Scotts Valley, California.

Cloud accounting platform provider Xero also participated in our Silicon Valley developers conference in 2014. The company’s Head of U.S. Partnerships, David Pollack, presented Building an API-Driven Ecosystem for Small Business, and led a workshop and discussion on how Xero has grown its marketplace to more than 300 integrated applications. The company previously demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2011.

Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Xero made headlines earlier this month with its acquisition of paperless accounting firm, Hubdoc, and the news that it would partner with U.K.-based GoCardless. In July, Xero announced a strategic alliance with fellow Finovate alum Gusto, an innovator in payroll, benefits, and HR management technology. A publicly traded company on the Australian Stock Exchange under the ticker “XRO”, Xero has a market capitalization of $3.7 billion (AUD$5 billion). Rod Drury is CEO.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Feedzai Brings Automated Machine Learning to the Fraud Fight.
  • DriveWealth and Bambu Join Forces on Roboadvisory Tool.

Around the web

  • Your Legacy Federal Credit Union to deploy core account processing technology from Fiserv.
  • CYBG (Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank) partners with The ID Co. to integrate DirectID into CYBG’s B mobile banking app.
  • Coinbase unveils crypto plugin to make it easier for e-commerce merchants to accept cryptocurrency payments.
  • Bloomberg: Quantopian makes $50 million allocation to one of its quants.
  • OurCrowd named Most Active Venture Investor in Israel by PitchBook.
  • Jack Henry & Associates and Mastercard deliver Priceless Surprises campaign to 1.8 million cardholders.

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.