Finovate Alumni News– December 5, 2011

  • Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Finovate-F-Logo.jpgFox Business News recommends banking with Simple as a way to counter bank fees.
  • The Sacramento Bee reports SafetyPay expands to U.S. marketplace in the airline & travel payments industries.
  • GeekWire reports Lighter Capital awards undisclosed amount of cash to HireAHelper.
  • Barganeering looks at what sets Personal Capital apart from Mint.com.
  • Business Insider explores the differences between SecondMarket and SharesPost.
  • Sun Life partners with Kony on claims mobile app.
  • Weemba adds 3 financial institutions to its network of lenders.
  • Two credit unions deploy Credit Karma’s tools on their online banking platforms.
  • GoalMine to launch holiday gift card trade-in service.
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– December 2, 2011

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  • MasterCard and mFoundry executives discuss partnership.
  • The Silicon Prairie names Dwolla number 1 startup in DesMoines, looks for a number 2 startup following the “Dwolla-trajectory.”
  • Simple is slowly sending out a few dozen invites at a time.
  • Prosper announces its support of UK P2P Finance Association.
  • The Social Lending Network shows off Lending Club’s Trading Platform.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek lists Expensify as an app that lets you work like an executive.
  • peerTransfer partners with Nelnet Business Solutions, provider of campus commerce services.
  • Boku, SecondMarket, & Lending Club listed in Forbes Top 20 Private Companies.
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– November 22, 2011

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  • Richard Branson follows in the footsteps of Simple by avoiding the word ‘bank’ when naming his newly acquired FI.
  • Alkami wins VC backing for online banking technology.
  • Check Point Software Technologies acquires risk management company.
  • HelloWallet’s iPhone app helps make budgeting advice more relevant.
  • Equifax partners with data quality and management company Ixsight.
  • Xero makes receiving overpayments and prepayments easier.
  • Credit Union Times reports Geezeo adds four credit union clients for its PFM.
  • Venture Studio interviews Alexa Von Tobel, LearnVest CEO, about how she started her business.
  • The Social Lending Network looks at Prosper’s top P2P lenders.
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– November 10, 2011

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  • FeeFighters shares its web traffic spikes from being in TechCrunch articles.
  • Monitise launches mobile checkout service.
  • Fox Business News mentions how Tyfone is helping to retrofit cellphones with NFC capability.
  • Reuters reports how Lending Club uses consumer sentiment towards banks as an opportunity.
  • Striata selected by Securitas, a growing security company in South Africa, to provide eBilling & ePayment to customers.
  • ThreatMetrix deploys multi-layered data encryption architecture in new release of Cloud-Based Fraud Prevention Platform.
  • Iowa-based UNI CU and W.Va-based WV United FCU sign on for Dwolla’s FiSync.
  • MyBankTracker compares Offermatic to Groupon and Womply.
  • Linkable Networks (formerly Clovr Media) partners with 24/7 Real Media to tap into card linked offers.
  • Wade Arnold, T8 Webware CEO, is selected for The Courier’s Class of 2011 20 Under 40 award.
  • Bill.com’s paperless bill management wins silver award.
  • Simple explains its new “Simple” name.
  • DoughMain launches financial education game Sand Dollar City.
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– November 9, 2011

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  • Read Write Web argues the mobile payments capital of the US is Des Moines, IA thanks to Dwolla.
  • Fox Business News reports GoalMine seeks to level the investing field.
  • PayPal updates its Android app with support for NFC payments.
  • eWise hires Alexandre Gonthier, former Boku CTO, as new CEO.
  • Lendio makes its business loan matching service free.
  • Finextra reports Intuit partners with AT&T to take on Square in the emerging mobile card processing market.
  • Xero updates its app: increases speed and improves UI.
  • Business Insider lists Dwolla and Simple as 2 of 20 most innovative startups in tech.
  • Billeo launches ShopSmart to bring consumers relevant discounts.
  • Zecco hosts $500 sweepstakes.
  • miiCard gives first 10,000 users free accounts for life.
  • Netbanker: Top 10 Reasons Why BankSimple Dropped the Bank.
  • Expensify creates four pricing plans.
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.

Top 10 Reasons Why BankSimple Dropped the Bank

Simple login area

When I started my company in 1994, I was told by the state that I couldn’t have “bank” in the name unless I was one. So one of the first questions I asked BankSimple founder Josh Reich early last year was how they were getting past that issue. He said it was not a problem since BankSimple was just a brand name. The company name was, and still is, Simple Finance Technology Corp.

So evidently, the startup wasn’t forced to change. That got me to thinking about why they moved away from BankSimple, which is a great description of their initial product set. Here is what I came up with.

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Top 10 Reason for Changing the Name from BankSimple to Simple
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10. While it may be OK in the United States for a non-bank to use “bank” in a brand name, that may not be the case in other markets the startup hopes to eventually conquer

9. There’s been lots of bank bashing the last few years; so it avoids negative connotations

8. One word names are cooler than two-word mashups

7. It allows them to move into other less “bankish” areas such as payments and offers

6. It allows them to partner with credit unions, card companies, and other non-bank financial companies

5. Can add any other word to “simple” to create great product names, e.g., “Simple Billpay”

4. The generic word, beginning with S, is being used by the highest-valued fintech startup in the world, Square

3. Much easier to riff off of “simple” for killer taglines (see login screen above)

2. They don’t have to worry about anyone saying “occupy simple”

And the most important reason (drum roll):

1. Tweets can have 4 more characters (ba dump bump)

Yes, BankSimple made a good strategic move, though I’ll miss the old name, which had a nice oxymoron-ish quality to it.

BankSimple Launches to the Public, Changes its Name to Simple

SimpleLogo.jpgThis morning, BankSimple made two big announcements.

1) It opened its service to a select group of non-employee customers for the first time:

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“We want to understand what works for them and what can be improved. We also want to learn how our customers prefer to reach us so that we can intelligently grow our customer relations team. Using this feedback, we’ll rework and revise; the experience we’re launching today will continuously evolve.”
2) It changed its name to Simple
(Simple.com). This is a logical move because the word “bank” was a misnomer. In fact, Simple is not a bank, but a consumer-facing product that partners with chartered banks that hold your money in FDIC-insured products:
“Simple is a better representation of what we aspire to. It releases us from the constraints of an industry in desperate need of innovation.”

SimpleNewScreenshot.jpg

To learn more about Simple, watch its FinovateFall 2011 demo.

New Online Banking Report Published: True Virtual Banking Has Arrived

image I still remember the day in early 1999 when I met with Elon Musk and his 3-person team in a borrowed conference room in Palo Alto. They were plotting the complete and total disruption of the banking industry and fully expected to be one of the largest five U.S. banks by now.

The startup was named X.com and its original business plan was to acquire one or more existing banks to provide the credibility, and deposit insurance, of a traditional bank. While I was in awe of their ambition, I thought the plan had a flaw. I told them they’d be better off staying virtual, with no bank ownership slowing down their decision making and ability to take risks.

I’ll never know if they would have listened to me, because soon thereafter X.com began experimenting with P2P payments via email, and they saw that it was going to be huge. So they jettisoned banking, merged with PayPal, and the rest is history.

Why the reminiscing? That was the last attempt by a major tech startup to take on the U.S. retail banking industry via virtual channels (note 1).

Fast-forward to 2011: At this year’s FinovateFall, we saw the launch of not one, but two well-funded attempts at disrupting the incumbents. One through debit/checking/savings and the other through wealth management:

  • BankSimple: DNA from Twitter, analytics, and consulting
  • Personal Capital : DNA from Intuit, PayPal, Everbank and Fidelity Investments

Both companies are what I call True Virtual Financial Institutions, meaning they are complete front-ends to your money, including transaction capabilities and customer service, but they outsource the actual holding of customer funds to fully-regulated partners which pass FDIC/SIPA protections. This allows the newcomers to focus on user experience and service while moving much faster without the regulatory friction experienced by traditional financial institutions.

Others well-known companies using virtual models: Betterment (also profiled in the report), iBankUp.com (Plastyc) and Perkstreet.

Note to bankers: True virtual banking needn’t be limited to tech startups. These techniques can be employed by traditional companies to expand beyond regional or industry boundaries. The report outlines seven models for doing just that.

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About the report
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True Virtual Banking Has Arrived (link)
BankSimple, Personal Capital, Betterment and others go branchless,
paperless and “bank-less”

Author: Jim Bruene, Editor & Founder

Published: 1 Nov 2011

Length: 48 pages

Cost: No extra charge to OBR subscribers, $395 for others here

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Notes:
1. I should add that Lending Club, Prosper, Zopa qualify as major entrants bound on disrupting banking from the lending side.
2. BankSimple, Betterment, Personal Capital and Plastyc FinovateFall 2011 demo videos are available here.

Finovate Alumni Website Traffic in September

Each month we survey the Web-traffic performance of Finovate alums using data from Web-analytics company Compete.
Out of 268 alumni, 80 had more than 10,000 unique U.S. visitors in September 2011 and are included in the tables below. Of those, 33 (41%) had more visitors in September than August. Year-over-year, 42 (52%) had traffic increases.
Private Companies
  • Seeking Alpha and Cortera had the highest traffic in September with 2.1 and 2.0 million unique visitors, respectively. Cortera also had the highest increase in number of unique year-over-year visits with over 1.5 more visits in 2011 than in 2010.
  • Kabbage had the highest percentage growth year-over-year, up 280x.
  • Weemba saw the highest monthly growth percentage with more than 7.5 times the number of unique visitors in September compared to August.
  • SmartCredit.com had the highest increase in number of unique year-over-year visitors, growing by 126,000.
PrivateWebTrafficSeptember2.jpg
Source: Compete.com retrieved the week of October 26, 2011
 
1) The previous month recorded was August 2011
2) Sears Credit Score is powered by CreditKarma.com
3) Truaxis was formerly BillShrink
4) Kasasa is powered by BancVue
Public companies
 
  • CheckFree had the highest percentage growth year-over-year, with over 7 times the number of visitors this year than last year.
  • Intuit had a notable increase in number of unique, year-over-year visitors, increasing by 300,000 visits.
  • Check Point had the highest month-over-month percent growth, with 41% more visitors in September than in August.
PublicWebTrafficSeptember2.jpgSource: Compete.com retrieved the week of October 26, 2011

1) The previous month recorded was July 2011.
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Notes:
1. We reviewed 268 Finovate alumni. Only those with at least 10,000 unique visitors in July are listed.
3. NM = not measurable
4. t= tie
5. Compete estimates online visitors based on the activity of a panel of more than 2 million U.S. Internet users. It is only an estimate of traffic and may undercount at-work usage.

Finovate Alumni News– October 31, 2011

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  • Prosper.com creates account enhancements for investors.
  • Bank Technology News looks at Pageonce’s decision to add a bill pay service.
  • PSFK gives a sneak peek of BankSimple’s mobile app.
  • CNN Tech discusses the differences between Intuit’s Quicken and Mint.com.
  • Clairmail announces a record increase in cumulative mobile banking transactions.
  • ReadyForZero now supports auto loans, mortgages, and student loans.
  • The Des Moines Register looks at how Dwolla & T8 Webware contribute to Des Moines’s startup culture.
  • Benzinga looks at DoughMain’s family finance tool.
  • CU Times examines the usage of Mint.com’s iPad app.
  • The Republic examines LearnVest’s budgeting and advice platform.
  • Mint.com explores its history as an infographic and includes being a two-time Finovate Best of Show Winner.
  • Intuit receives two prestigious awards for social customer support, engagement.
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.