Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • WealthForge to Raise $2.5 Million in New Convertible Note Offering

Around the web

  • Green Dot unveils Visa credit card for thin-file consumers.
  • First National Bank of Pennsylvania upgrades its mobile banking and payments platform from Fiserv to enable debit card management.
  • Martech Advisor interviews Radius CEO and co-founder Darian Shirazi.
  • PYMNTS.com talks with Hyperwallet VP Tomas Likar about the challenge of payments in the on-demand workforce. See Hyperwallet at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016, October 18 & 19.
  • Radius announces the Radius Customer Exchange (RCX), a solution to advance co-marketing for B2B marketers.

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

  • Interactions Garners $56 Million in its Largest Funding Round Yet
  • Automobile Title Lending Platform Finova Financial Raises $52.5 Million
  • Check out this week’s FinDEVr APIntelligence.

Around the web

  • Kontomatik’s Konstantin Rabin shares his thoughts on successful lending in The Paypers.
  • Forbes features Jon Stein, Betterment CEO and cofounder.
  • San Diego Business Journal names eMoney Advisor one of the “Best Places to Work in San Diego.”
  • Envestnet | Yodlee launches Transaction Data Enrichment to offer transparency into transactions.
  • TradeRiver Finance reaches milestone of lending GBP100 million to U.K. businesses.
  • Portland Business Journal takes a look inside Simple’s new office.

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

  • MoneyHub Teams Up with Unbiased to Help People Manage their Finances
  • Expensify Unveils ReceiptBurner and Price-to-Beat
  • Finovate Debuts: Walletron Helps Brands Build a Presence in Digital Wallets

Around the web

  • Concur to deploy SilverRail API to enable European travelers to search, plan, and schedule travel by rail.
  • CSI globalVCard moves global partnership-operations team to Dallas; Nan Dawson promoted to SVP of partnership operations.
  • Lending Club announces new Chief Capital Officer, Patrick Dunne.
  • CoinTelegraph names Braintree, Chain, and Ripple as three companies that will shape the future of money.
  • Sberbank Capitalizes On Pokémon Go Marketing Opportunity
  • Over the last year, 50 new customers added Guardian Analytics Wire to protect their customers from the Business Email Compromise scam.
  • Simple celebrates its 7th anniversary, now with 300,000 customers and a little over 300 staff.

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.

The Art of Mobile Banking Engagement

Customer engagement word cloudIt’s been fascinating to watch mobile banking take hold. The path has been much the same as online (desktop) banking a decade earlier, but at about double the pace (at least in the parts of the world that are highly banked).

Modern online banking started 21 years ago this month, when Wells Fargo began web banking in May 1995. It took 12 years before Mint came along and made it all look good and introduced the masses to more advanced concepts such as account aggregation, goal-oriented online budgeting, and expense tracking.

Mobile banking, which got its start in the post-iPhone App Store era (2008), took only about five years before it was “Minted” by Simple and then others. And in fewer than eight years mobile banking is already far better than desktop by almost every measure. From touchID access, to location awareness, to that very useful camera for depositing checks, there is just no way desktop online banking can compete.

But we have just barely scratched the surface of its biggest advantage: the always-on, always-with-you benefits. Account and transaction security is one of the first features having huge impact both on consumers (peace of mind, less hassle) and financial institutions (fewer false negatives, lower fraud costs, less customer-service expense).

Another area where huge benefits exist? Proactive communications about finances. Simple, Moven and Capital One’s Level Money are on the forefront with tools that help mobile customers know where they stand BEFORE they drop another $12 for a fancy cocktail or $35 on Uber.

And while monitoring spending in real-time has big theoretical benefits, it’s universally loathed by most consumers as the ultimate buzz-kill, kind of like having your parents hovering over you at point of sale. A more exciting always-on benefit is guidance to achieve bigger aspirations, like replacing your aging vehicle, trading up from your dinky apartment, or buying a house.

Take home buying. Many of our readers have been through this multiple times. But do you remember how little you knew about it back in the day? It’s a daunting task today even forHip_Pocket_Art0 the financially savvy.

That’s why I love tools that help people understand all aspects of the home-buying process: the mortgage, the purchase, and dealing with all of the ancillary expenses. We’ve seen a number of companies working on various aspects of the mortgage process. And next week at FinovateSpring, you’ll be treated to demos by two of the new breed of mortgage startups: Blend Labs which powers mortgage processing on the back-end and Roostify which helps consumers through the process.

And as luck would have it, last week Mark Zmarzly from Hip Pocket visited Seattle to present at a CU event, and was able to spare a few minutes to meet me for coffee. Mark wowed the crowd when he demo’d at FinovateSpring last year. Hip Pocket’s first product is a mobile app that allows anyone to input mortgage rate and monthly payment to see how their company stacks up against its peers (see inset).

The Hip Pocket mortgage app is a compelling value-prop for users, and potentially a great lead-gen tool for banks and credit unions. While Hip Pocket has had some great traction since then, it is still looking for additional seed funding to build more tools and fine-tune its customer-acquisition model. Hip Pocket is in a sweet part of the market—mobile mortgage (MoMo)—and is at a point in their company arc where relatively small dollars can make a big impact. They are a great candidate for “bank strategic seed funding.”

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “Malauzai Launches New Version of Banking Software”

Around the web

  • Aurionpro integrates ValidSoft voice biometrics as an authentication layer.
  • Arroweye Solutions to provide digital on-demand prepaid cards for Marqeta.
  • Blackhawk Network acquires Extrameasures, a prepaid consumer promotions and incentives company.
  • PayPal’s Braintree Authorization launches to bring its payments platform to more merchants, service providers.
  • The Financial Brand looks at the breakdown of Simple’s customer numbers.
  • Avoka and eSignLive partner to enable 100% digital customer acquisition.
  • Wealthfront 3.0 features a new dashboard; software and API integrations with Coinbase, Venmo, and Lending Club.
  • Texas Dow Employees CU, Thrivent FCU, and Neighbors FCU go live with core processing platform from Fiserv.
  • FIS gains accreditation to provide access to faster payments.
  • Markit unveils new Common Reporting Standard (CRS) solution for tax residency identification and due diligence.

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.

Telling Personal Stories via Bank Transaction History

 

paper receipt pile

One of the initial aims of personal financial management (PFM) was making sense out of your spending. For a variety of reasons, most consumers view that as just too much work for too little in return. But, since the launch of Mint nine years ago, much progress has been made on that value equation. Thanks to mobile technologies and various APIs, tracking is easier as well as more data rich, resulting in output that is much more useful.

For example, Simple’s Safe to Spend predicts when you will run out of cash with virtually no user input. It’s a great benefit for numbers-oriented customers who already pay close attention to their balances. But what about the other 90% of the world? Can PFM services deliver value for those that will never appreciate an animated graphic of their 10-year moving average of Starbucks purchases?

I believe the answer is yes.

PFM services need to broaden their role and help customers track their “financial stories.” Think about it. Unless you are an obsessive Facebook/Instagram/Foursquare poster, where else can you look back and find out where you ate last year in San Diego, what souvenirs you brought back for the kids, and which car rental company you want to avoid next time?

All that info, and much more, is locked away in your credit/debit card transaction history. Just being able to search your transactions helps tremendously (thanks, Mint). But what if you had ready access to all the information on your receipt? Then you could see not only where you ate, but also which entree you loved (since you would have made a note on the receipt at the time).

Currently, integration with camera phones, such as that offered by Expensify, do this for highly motivated users, such as those with a large financial incentive to track their reimbursable expenses. But what about everyone else?

That’s where startups—such as Finovate alums Ready Receipts, Shoeboxed, Xpenditure, as well as dozens of PFM providers and mobile payment specialists—come into play. They are devoted to getting the transaction detail on receipts aggregated into a single, easily accessible source.

piper_home

We recently met another startup that seems to have good traction solving this problem (and happens to count Expensify as an investor), Washington D.C.-based Piper. Most of our conversation was off the record, but I love what they are doing, working with the POS players to reach critical mass in a difficult two-sided market—one in which retailers don’t want to spend money on enhanced receipts unless there are users, and users won’t bother unless they see a sizable number of receipts available.

Piper has also narrowed in on a business model that charges fees to the portion of the ecosystem that stands to gain the most from better receipt management; namely, the merchants, card issuers, and transaction acquirers who benefit massively from the 30% reduction in chargebacks that the system has proven in early tests.

I look forward to the time when Piper and the others have changed the PFM story.

——

Note: Y Combinator’s latest batch (W16), debuting this month, contains another receipt provider worth watching, FlexReceipts

Open API! Shamir Karkal to Head BBVA’s New Developer Platform

BBVA_API_Market_homepage_Feb2016

Former CFO and co-founder of Simple, Shamir Karkal, has joined BBVA in a new role: head of Open APIs.

In a blog post discussing the move, Karkal described his vision for BBVA’s Open APIs to Amazon Web Services, using the concept of an “AWS of banking.” Pointing out that Amazon had built “the world’s fastest-growing technology business” in AWS by granting third-party access to its platform, Karkal posted:

BBVA has a huge opportunity to do the same—open up our core platform and services—and in turn enabling others to build companies on top of these and thereby helping us build a new business.

BBVA_ShamirKarkalKarkal credits BBVA’s current initiatives in this direction, both its Open Talent hackathons and collaborations with companies like Dwolla. To get the Open APIs project underway, BBVA has set up a closed group of partners to build new applications before opening up the project to outside developers. Check out BBVA’s invite-only Alpha.

Karkal co-founded Simple in 2010 along with CEO Josh Reich and CTO Alex Payne. The company, which previewed its technology as Bank Simple at FinovateFall 2011, was acquired by BBVA in February 2014. Prior to Simple, Karkal was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. With a background in software engineering, he has an MBA in Finance from the Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.

Known as one of the more technically innovative banks in Europe, BBVA was founded in 1857 and is headquartered in Madrid, Spain. The company has more than 117,000 employees in more than 30 countries, and more than 47 million customers. At FinovateEurope 2013, BBVA demonstrated Stockbuzz, its stock market sentiment-analysis technology.

 

FinDEVr APIntelligence

FinDEVrNY16-V2(wdate)We’re taking our FinDEVr developer showcase to New York on March 29 & 30, 2016. Register by Friday to save on early bird price and lock in your spot.

Developer news

  • American Banker: BBVA rehires a co-founder of Simple to build open APIs.

The latest from FinDEVr San Francisco 2015 presenters

  • Ingo Money partners with PayPal, adds instant check-splitting.
  • PayPal unveils carrier partnerships and NFC payment capability.
  • Modo Payments closes $2 million in funding.
  • PayPal unveils redesign of its Android and iOS mobile apps.
  • Envestnet | Yodlee teams up with South African API marketplace, Limitless.

Alumni updates

  • Bluefin Payment Systems and Worldnet partner for PCI-Validated P2PE on the Worldnet Payment Platform.
  • Xero teams up with Google; bringing gmail and Google Apps for Work to its platform.
  • FirstBank to deploy multi-factor authentication technology, Transakt, from Entersekt.

Stay current on daily news from the fintech developer community! Follow FinDEVr on Twitter.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “Tink to Test PFM App with 10,000 ABN AMRO Customers”
  • “Bizfi Closes on $65 Million in Debt Financing”
  • “Nous Closes In On £350,000 Fundraising Goal” [Update: Nous Exceeds Original Goal, Raises $750,000].

Around the web

  • “TIS Closes 550,000 Euro Deal with Leading German Health Insurance Provider”
  • Trustly partners with payment solution iDEAL in the Netherlands.
  • TechCrunch looks at OnDeck and the future of alt-lending.
  • USA Today features how Simple is a different type of bank.
  • TechCrunch considers how TransferWise is a better way to send remittances.

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

20 Alums Make the First Forbes Fintech 50

ForbesFintech502015

There’s more to the Forbes Fintech 50 list than just an awesome logo featuring George Washington wearing wrap-around shades. Forbes compiled the list by soliciting information from 300 startups, then interviewing more than 150 CEOs, founders, and industry experts. To make the cut, companies were required to have operations in the U.S. and a viable product.*

Simply put, Forbes describes the companies on the list as “small firms destined to have a big impact on your financial future and possibly upend your portfolio.”

This year, 20 Finovate and FinDEVr alums made the cut:

Algomi

  • Founded: 2012
  • HQ: London
  • Funding: $30 million
  • Customers: 14 large banks and 140 buy-side firms
  • FinovateFall 2014 demo

Betterment

Braintree

Chain

Credit Karma

HelloWallet

  • Founded: 2009
  • HQ: Washington, D.C.
  • Exit: Purchased by Morningstar in 2014 for $52.5 million
  • FinovateFall 2015 demo

Kensho

LearnVest

  • Founded: 2009
  • HQ: New York City, New York
  • Exit: Purchased by Northwestern Mutual in 2015 for $250+ million
  • FinovateFall 2013 demo

Motif

Personal Capital

Plaid

Prosper

Quantopian

Ripple

Simple

TransferWise

TrueAccord

Vouch

Wealthfront

Xignite


*While the list excludes financial giants, Forbes included startups acquired by larger companies but operating independently.

Marketing Minute: Optimizing Emails for the Small Screen

Recent email marketing research found that two-thirds of Americans regularly check email via smartphone and a significant number of total opens (as high as 70%) are now opened on a mobile device. Since most emails that look good on mobile look fine on a desktop (but NOT vice versa), you can pretty much disregard the desktop when creating a design template for your email alerts and marketing messages.

Here’s a few examples from my inbox during the past few weeks. Both Capital One and BBVA’s Simple use appropriate font size and a good mobile layout. Simple does an especially good job at grabbing attention with a small animation at the top of the message. In comparison, the BankDirect pitch is not well optimized for mobile, though it’s readable if you work at it. But it does nothing to grab your attention visually.

——–

Bank email samples (viewed on iPhone 6)

First: Business Savings account promo from Capital One
Easy to read opening line and big Open Now buttons on first screen and below the fold

Second: BankDirect to American AAdvantage mileage club members
Harder to read the small type, and call-to-action is below the fold

Third: Simple announces its 100%-no-fee policy change
Grabs attention with small animated graphic at top with big “Hi FirstName” visible on first screen. The remainder of message is in a font easily read on a mobile phone:

capitalone_email bankdirect_americanair_email simple_email2

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “From API to UX/UI: A Preview of FinDEVr 2015

Around the web

  • Stratos wins Fast Company’s Innovation by Design Award, the company’s third product award.
  • Business Insider ranks Algomi, Currency Cloud, eToro, Nutmeg, Zopa, and TransferWise among top fintech companies in Britain.
  • Concur integrates with GigSky to enable travelers to access the internet while traveling.
  • Dwolla expands its credit services to include instant money transfers among friends and family.
  • Let’s Talk Payments lists 25 top alternative lending startups including OnDeck, Street Shares, Zopa, and Lending Club.
  • Xero previews two new features—billable expenses and invoice reminders—for small-business users of its platform.
  • peerTransfer announces U.S., Europe expansion; rebrands as Flywire.
  • TSYS to expand its Enterprise Tokenization technology to support Android Pay.
  • Red Giant launches its Red Giant Family Plan to offer families a way to manage daily spending.
  • iSignThis‘ KYC services now satisfy U.S. anti-money laundering requirements.
  • PayPal explains its recently launched API Transactions Dashboard.
  • BehavioSec joins PwC’s Accelerator Programme.
  • Lending Club’s Carrie Dolan named one of American Banker’s 2015 Most Powerful Women in Finance.
  • Personal Capital appoints Mark Goines as CMO.
  • Matt Compton becomes COO of Simple, which has tripled its staff to 300 employees from February 2014.
  • TechCrunch features Lending Club’s coming-of-age story.

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.