SoFi Launches Social Trading Investing Platform

SoFi has spent the past few years broadening its focus. What launched as an alternative lending company has emerged as a platform that provides a deeper breadth of banking services including insurance, checking accounts, credit score monitoring, investing, estate planning, and small business financing.

After building all of these tools, SoFi began focusing on building something different– community. The fintech offers a membership program with a range of perks including career coaching and financial planning.

Today, the company is leveraging its community in the launch of social trading and investing features. The new capabilities allow users to share their investment portfolios and discover and follow the holdings, watchlists, and activity of fellow members who opt in to the feature.

“According to SoFi’s research, about 70% of SoFi Invest member respondents indicated that they regularly (at least weekly) discuss their investments with family members, peers, or colleagues,” said SoFi CEO Anthony Noto. “Our new social investing features not only help us live up to our name of Social Finance, but provide ways for investors to see specifically what members on the platform are doing with their investment decisions, discover new investment ideas, and see how they stack up in their investing performance. Given the importance of investing early and consistently, we are thrilled to be able to provide a more informative, engaging, interactive mobile investing experience rooted in building better investing habits.”

To encourage social interaction, SoFi’s new tools allows users to comment on and react to the others’ trades and compare their performance on dynamic leaderboard.

For privacy purposes, participation is optional and members are not automatically enrolled. Additionally, the amounts of investment portfolios are hidden from other users.

If you’ve studied fintech for any length of time this should sound familiar. U.K.-based eToro launched its CopyTrading platform in 2011. This social investing platform is different from SoFi’s in that it pays top investors when others copy their trades.


Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash

Finovate Alums Earn Spots in CNBC’s 2020 Disruptor 50

Six companies that have demonstrated their fintech innovations on the Finovate stage have been recognized this year by CNBC as part of their Disruptor 50 roster for 2020.

This year’s list, the eighth in the series, is marked by the high number of billion-dollar companies, or “unicorns.” Fully 36 of the firms in the 2020 CNBC Disruptor 50 have reached or surpassed the $1 billion valuation mark. Combined, the 50 companies have raised more than $74 billion in VC funding and achieved an implied market valuation of almost $277 billion.

The companies making the cut range in industry from cybersecurity and healthcare IT to education and, of course, fintech. In fact, the top-ranked company in the 2020 Disruptor 50 is none other than Stripe, the $36 billion payments platform founded in 2010. Stripe earned a #13 ranking in last year’s Disruptor 50 roster, and likely owes its first place appearance this year to a major $600 million funding raising – the company’s largest to date – and the economic and social consequences of the global health crisis.

“With many people throughout the world under lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” CNBC’s capsule on the company noted, “the move to shopping online has never been greater. That’s good news for digital payments platform Stripe.”

Stripe was not the only fintech to earn high marks from the 2020 Disruptor 50’s methodology. In addition to the half dozen Finovate alums below, some of the other fintechs on this year’s roster include:

  • Virtual bank WeLab (Hong Kong)
  • Digital mortgage company Better.com (New York City)
  • “Buy now pay later” e-commerce company Affirm (San Francisco, California)
  • Challenger bank Chime (San Francisco, California)
  • Banking app Dave (Los Angeles, California)
  • Microfinancier TALA (Santa Monica, California)
  • Trading and investing platform Robinhood (Menlo Park, California)

Also earning spots in this year’s list were a pair of insurtech companies, Lemonade and Root Insurance, as well as cybersecurity and biometric authentication firms SentinelOne and CLEAR, respectively.

Here’s a look at the Finovate alums that made this year’s list.

#5 Klarna

  • Founded: 2005
  • Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden
  • CEO: Sebastian Siemiakowski
  • Valuation: $5.5 billion
  • Previous ranking: #8 in 2016

#8 SoFi

  • Founded: 2011
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • CEO: Antony Noto
  • Valuation: $4.8 billion
  • Previous ranking: #26 in 2019

#24 Kabbage

  • Founded: 2009
  • Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia
  • CEO: Rob Frohwein
  • Valuation: $1.1 billion
  • Previous ranking: #14 in 2019

#27 Trulioo

  • Founded: 2011
  • Headquarters: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • CEO: Steve Munford
  • Valuation: N.A.
  • Previous ranking: #37 in 2017

#28 Ripple

  • Founded: 2012
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • CEO: Brad Garlinghouse
  • Valuation: $10 billion
  • Previous ranking: First appearance

#33 Marqeta

  • Founded: 2010
  • Headquarters: Oakland, California
  • CEO: Jason Gardner
  • Valuation: $4.3 billion
  • Previous ranking: First appearance

Photo by Malte Luk from Pexels

Samsung and SoFi Team Up to Offer Debit Card

Alternative finance solutions provider SoFi and Samsung’s Samsung Pay joined forces this week to launch a debit card.

The two have spent the last year collaborating to make a mobile-first money management platform with its own debit card and cash management account.

The initiative is part of Samsung’s broader Samsung Pay mobile payments platform that the company launched in 2015. Samsung’s mobile payments platform uses built-in magnetic secure transmission technology (MST) and NFC functionality to enable users to make contactless payments.

“Our vision is to help consumers better manage their money so that they can achieve their dreams and goals,” said Sang Ahn, Vice President and GM of Samsung Pay, North America Service Business, Samsung Electronics in a blog post. “Now more than ever, mobile financial services and money management tools will play an even bigger role in our daily lives while also opening up new possibilities.”

Specific details about the card are still pending.

The new debit card offering will provide Samsung with a unique way to compete with Apple’s Apple credit card. Compared to Apple’s credit card, however, Samsung’s debit card product sounds more sticky. That’s because budgeting and cash management features built into the app will encourage users to spend more time in Samsung’s app and will keep the company’s debit card– along with its mobile payments service– top-of-mind for consumers.

Samsung’s announcement also comes shortly after news leaked that Google has its own debit card in the works. The debit card will work in conjunction with the Google Pay app.

Samsung’s timing on the launch is fairly ideal, despite the global economic crisis. The coronavirus has turned consumers’ attention toward their finances. Because of this, many banks are seeing record downloads of and engagement with their mobile banking tools. This shift to digital, combined with the new low-touch economy when it comes to everyday payments, provides an ideal environment to launch a contactless payment option.

Despite these conditions, the challenger banking space is becoming increasingly crowded in the U.S. However, Samsung’s choice to partner with an existing player instead of creating a product from scratch is a favorable one.

SoFi Inks Agreement to Acquire Galileo Financial Technologies

Photo by James Frid from Pexels

In a cash and stock deal valued at $1.2 billion, online lender and personal finance innovator SoFi has agreed to acquire financial services API and payments platform, Galileo Financial Technologies.

Galileo enables companies to build innovative consumer and B2B fintech services via its suite of open APIs. The company’s technology powers a variety of functions including:

  • account set-up
  • funding
  • direct deposit
  • ACH transfer
  • IVR
  • early paycheck deposit
  • billpay
  • transaction notifications
  • check balance
  • point of sale authorizations

Galileo processed $53+ billion in annualized payment volume in March of this year, more than doubling its September 2019 tally of $26 billion. Notably, SoFi and Galileo are already quite familiar with each other; SoFi’s Sofi Money solution is currently integrated with Galileo’s payments platform and leverages a number of the platform’s account and events functionalities.

Together, the two companies will further combine their efforts to create value for customers of both firms, who will benefit from a feature set that enables them to participate in the transition from “physical-only to a multi-channel digital and physical platform.”

“SoFi has established itself as a leader in the fintech sector, providing our more than one million members a full array of financial products to help them get their money right,” SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said. He credited SoFi’s members for motivating the company to continue innovating, and for encouraging “bigger, bolder, and more expansive” thinking. “Together with Galileo, we will partner to build on our companies’ strengths to drive even greater financial technology innovation, making those products and services available to both current and future partners.”

Galileo will operate as an independent subsidiary of SoFi, post-acquisition, with Galileo CEO Clay Wilkes remaining on board to continue leading the company. Praising SoFi’s suite of solutions for borrowing, saving, spending, and investing, Wilkes said, “these are products that many of our leading fintech clients are asking for. Distributing products through our enterprise class API is the vision behind this combination. I think it’s very powerful.”

SoFi made its Finovate debut in 2017, partnering with Quovo to present How Quovo and SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley. The company, based in San Francisco, California and founded in 2011, has raised $2.5 billion in funding, earning a valuation of $4.3 billion as of May of last year.

SoFi Secures The Bancorp as Debit Card Issuer

Financial services startup SoFi is partnering with The Bancorp to serve as the company’s backend banking provider and card issuer for SoFi Money.

The company launched SoFi Money last year to serve as an alternative banking product. SoFi’s challenger bank features include spending and budgeting tools, billpay, remote deposit capture, peer-to-peer payments, and a high interest cash management account.

Accountholders also have access to SoFi’s flagship borrowing products such as student loan refinancing, private student loans, personal loans, and home loans. As a competitive edge, SoFi also offers member benefits such as career coaching and VIP access to the SoFi Stadium, courtesy of last month’s partnership with Mastercard.

A rendering of the SoFi Stadium, set to open this summer in Inglewood, CA

The Bancorp is one of the top private-label debit and prepaid card issuers in the U.S. for Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and UnionPay. The company has more than 75 million prepaid cards in distribution and processes 1.1 billion transactions each year.

“As a true pioneer in the fintech space, SoFi has been setting and surpassing industry standards by providing outstanding products and services to its members,” said Damian Kozlowski, President and CEO of The Bancorp. “We are incredibly proud to be selected as a key partner that will support SoFi’s mission to deliver innovative products and services to new and existing members.”

SoFi Teams Up with Mastercard to Boost Benefits for Members

Photo by Jill Wellington from Pexels

Courtesy of a new partnership with Mastercard, SoFi members will have access to a new range of products and in-person experiences – including a new fan experience for visitors at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California. SoFi will develop these offerings by leveraging Mastercard’s payments network, which will also serve as the exclusive card network for SoFi’s to-be-released credit card.

“Our mission at SoFi is to help our members achieve financial independence to realize their ambitions,” SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said. “In order to do so, we must build products and services that help our members ‘Get Their Money Right’.”

The partnership between SoFi and Mastercard will bring new member benefits to users of the SoFi Money debit card, which enables users to make transactions from their SoFi Money cash management account, launched last February. Cardholders will now benefit from cashback rewards, complimentary cell phone insurance, discounted airport concierge services, as well as other perks thanks to the Mastercard relationship.

“It is imperative that our partners are leaders in technological innovation, security, and enhanced benefits,” Noto said, “and Mastercard is an industry leader across all of those areas.”

SoFi, in collaboration with Quovo, participated in our developers conference, FinDEVr New York, in 2017. Together, the companies’ presentation “How Quovo and SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication” demonstrated how the integration of Quovo’s Authentication API supports the secure and streamlined authentication of financial accounts.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, and founded in 2011, SoFi currently has 900,000+ members who rely on the firm’s growing array of solutions for borrowing, saving, spending, and investing. SoFi has raised $2.5 billion in funding – including a May 2019 investment of $500 million in a round led by Qatar Investment Authority – and has a valuation of more than $4.8 billion.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Zopa Raises $182 Million En Route to Full Bank Launch
  • Banks Shift to Automation in 2020

Around the web

  • Fenergo teams up with PwC to provide KYC compliance and client onboarding as managed services.
  • SumUp forges partnership with German fintech Penta which will offer the company’s card reader to its customers.
  • Personetics joins Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN) Global Startups Program.
  • Temenos inks partnership with Egyptian National Post Organization.
  • Maybank Group, the fourth largest bank by assets in Southeast Asia, goes live with Avaloq’s banking suite.
  • Installment payment specialist Splitit partners with smart bed solution provider ReST.
  • SoFi scores New York BitLicense, which will permit the company to offer crytocurrency trading services in the state.
  • Jack Henry to provide a comprehensive technology upgrade, including deployment of its SilverLake core system, for Parkside Financial Bank & Trust.

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

  • TSYS Unveils New Authentication Solution
  • Dorsum Builds Wealth Management Platform for BNP Paribas in Poland.

Around the web

  • Plaid discloses role of Visa and Mastercard as strategic investors in its $250 million Series C round from December.
  • iSignthis secures patent from European Patent Office for PSD2, SCA, and KYC.
  • SoFi inks 20-year arrangement for exclusive naming rights for the new Sofi Stadium where National Football League teams the Los Angeles Chargers and the Los Angeles Rams play.
  • Payoneer amps up cybersecurity efforts to significantly reduce phishing attempts.
  • Larky launches its nudge code library to bundle geo-location and engagement technology directly into mobile banking apps.
  • Spreedly launches Spreedly 3DS2 to help execute 3DS2-compliant transactions across multi-gateway environments.
  • BNP Paribas Bank Polska to implement Dorsum’s wealth management 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.

Qatar Backs SoFi; Ripple Powers Cross-Border Payments in Brazil

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

  • SoFi announces $500 million investment led by Qatar.
  • Emirates NBD to leverage technology from Amazon Web Services to build an AI-enabled “bank of the future”.
  • New partnership between Turkey’s Isbank and Yandex.Checkout to support transactions in rubles for Russians shopping online in Turkey.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Strands strikes digital banking deal with India’s Tech Mahindra.
  • BankBazaar to offer financing options for customers of furniture and home products marketplace Pepperfry.
  • Amitabh Kant, CEO of Niti Aayog, a premier think tank of the Indian government, sees a $31 billion Indian fintech market by 2020.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazilian exchange brokerage, Frente Corretora de Cambio, goes live with cross-border remittance solution powered by Ripple technology.
  • World Finance features Sao Paulo among its Top 5 Emerging Fintech Hubs.
  • IMFBlog looks at how fintech can lower remittance costs in Latin America.

Asia-Pacific

  • The central bank of Indonesia, Bank Indonesia, unveils its Quick Response Indonesia Standard (QRIS), a new QR code system.
  • Mastercard and UOB partner to introduce the UOB Retail Business Metal Card designed for APAC SMEs.
  • B2B cross border payments company TransferMate picks up payment license in Singapore.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Ghana’s ARB Apex Bank reups with Temenos.
  • Titan Trust Bank of Nigeria chooses Oracle FSS for its core and digital banking technology.
  • CNBCAfrica profiles South African payments and merchant acquiring solutions provider Crossfin.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Lithuania fintech Paysera goes live in Romania.
  • Polish “credit of fintech-as-a-service” innovator Symmetrical.ai raises $1.5 million (€1.3m) in funding.
  • Billon Solutions and Microsoft announce partnership with the University of Warsaw to develop academic use cases for DLT technology.

Top image designed by Freepik

SoFi Announces $500 Million Investment Led by Qatar

In a round led by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), personal finance solution provider SoFi has raised more than $500 million in equity funding. The new capital gives the San Francisco, California-based company a valuation of $4.3 billion, and will drive investment, the company said in its press release, in continued innovation and growth. SoFi’s total capital now stands at $2.3 billion.

QIA CEO Mansoor Al-Mahmoud highlighted SoFi’s long-term vision, which has enabled the company to evolve into a major personal finance platform for both lending and wealth management. “We strongly believe in SoFi’s approach, and their dedication to build a transformational financial platform that is rapidly disrupting consumer finance,” he said.

In his statement, SoFi CEO Anthony Noto underscored the company’s transformation, as well. “Over the last year, we’ve worked aggressively to grow SoFi from a desktop lending business to a broad-based, mobile-first financial platform enabling members to borrow, save, spend, invest, and protect their money,” Noto said.

With more than 700,000 members and 7.5+ million registered users, SoFi offers a variety of personal finance solutions in lending and wealth management. These include the company’s student loan refinancing and mortgages offerings, as well as newer products like SoFi Invest and SofiMoney.

SoFi Invest, launched at the beginning of the year, is a stock and ETF trading and investing platform that also allows for automated investing. SoFi Money combines the best of checking and savings accounts into a single account with a 2.25% APY and an app to facilitate mobile spending, saving, and payment.

Earlier this month, SoFi announced that it was introducing an exchange-traded fund based on the gig economy, GIGE. The actively managed fund – run by Toroso Investments – enables investors to participate in the stock market gains of companies like eBay, Lyft, Square, and Twitter. In April, the company teamed up with Lemonade and Root to add to its insurance offerings.

SoFi, in partnership with Quovo, participated in our developers conference, FinDEVr New York 2017. At the event, the two companies led a presentation, How Quovo and SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication, which won the duo a Favorite FinDEVr Alum award. SoFi was founded in 2011.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • SoFi Announces $500 Million Investment Led by Qatar.

Around the web

  • Trustly launches automated invoice payment solution, Pay Your Invoice.
  • PayPal reaches $10 billion in small business loans issued via its business financing offerings.
  • Mastercard and UOB partner to introduce the UOB Retail Business Metal Card designed for APAC SMEs.
  • Kofax launches its Intelligent Automation software platform.
  • Brazilian exchange brokerage, Frente Corretora de Cambio, goes live with cross-border remittance solution powered by Ripple technology.
  • Fenergo unveils a new suite of CLM tools, Digital Client Orchestration.
  • Trulioo named best identity verification and authentication solution at 2019 CNP Expo.
  • KyckGlobal partners with InComm to provide same-day pay to gig workers.
  • Sam Kilmer offers 3 takeaways of FinovateSpring 2019 in 3 minutes.

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

  • Twisto Closes $15.7 Million Capital Raise.
  • FinovateSpring Best of Show Winners Announced.
  • Welcome to FinovateSpring’s Conference Day.

Around the web

  • ID.me launches discounts for new affinity groups: nurses, age segments, and alumni.
  • TechCrunch: SoFi launches Gig-focused ETF.
  • Ayondo inks deal to sell UK unit for £5.7m.
  • Cornèr and NDGIT partner to provide direct access to third-party service providers under PSD2 regulation.

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.