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.

SoFi Goes InsurTech with Lemonade and Root

Financial services startup SoFi is building out its insurance offerings with the help of two insurtech startups.

The San Francisco-based company teamed up with Lemonade and Root, adding three types of insurance to the company’s existing portfolio. An integration with New York-based Lemonade will provide home and renters insurance, while Ohio-based Root will offer an auto insurance option.

Until this month, SoFi’s insurance offering was limited to life insurance, a product made possible through a partnership the company initiated in 2018 with California-based Ladder.

“Protecting yourself and your assets is a critical and often overlooked piece of your overall financial well-being,” said Anthony Noto, SoFi CEO. “People come to SoFi to get their money right, and we’re pleased to now provide them with more tools to be able to do so by partnering with companies that share our values in ease of use, transparency, and efficiency.”

The new insurance offerings aim to be simple to understand and transparent about pricing and benefits, without agents, middlemen, or phone calls. SoFi said that its client base requested more affordable insurance offerings. Over the past year, the company counted 8,000 conversations between financial planners and under-insured or uninsured clients.

Lemonade uses AI to craft an insurance policy tailored to each customer. With the company’s chatbot interface, users can select and start their coverage in 90 seconds. The charge is structured as a flat fee– homeowners insurance starts at $25 per month and renters insurance starts at $5 per month– and claims are paid in three minutes.

With Root’s auto insurance, drivers can potentially save up to 52% over their current coverage. The company uses data from clients’ smartphones to measure driving behavior and habits, offering better rates to better drivers. “Our priority at Root is to put the power back into consumers’ hands by making auto insurance clear and understandable,” said Alex Timm, Root Insurance co-founder and CEO. “We’re excited to partner with the SoFi team as a means for members to have access to more affordable, accurate and fair auto insurance.”

To boost interest in its existing life insurance product, SoFi announced it is offering $25 for life insurance applicants to invest in stocks, ETFs, or SoFi’s roboadvising. This comes as a response to research findings that indicate that millennials are misinformed about the costs and benefits of life insurance.

Founded in 2011, SoFi offers a range of millennial-focused financial products and resources. SoFi’s addition of the new insurance offerings “fulfills its ability to offer members every financial product they may need at any stage of life.”

At FinDEVr New York 2017, the company gave a presentation in combination with Quovo titled How Quovo and SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication. SoFi has raised $2 billion from 29 investors across 11 rounds of funding.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • SoFi Goes InsurTech with Lemonade and Root.
  • Lending Club Shutters SMB Lending Arm, Redirects Customers to Other Lenders.

Around the web

  • elEconomista interviews Finect’s Antonio Botas (in Spanish).
  • YellowDog partners with DVE Advanced Systems.
  • Ixaris adds new Chief Legal and Compliance Officer Georg von Breven and Commercial Director Sean Ashton.
  • FICO unveils the latest version of its Decision Management Platform, FICO DMP.
  • Visa launches a suite of beta APIs and tools to help developers design and test payment solutions.

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

  • Gusto’s New Deal to Deliver Automated Accounting to Small Businesses.
  • Quadient’s New Launch Accelerates the Insurance Claims Process.
  • AlphaPoint to Power Asset Management Tools for Laureate Digital Securities.

Around the web

  • Pendo Systems appoints Bill Woodley as President and COO.
  • eMoney Advisor launches voice assistant for financial advisors.
  • Ledger to integrate IOTA tokens with its secure hardware cryptocurrency wallets.
  • KPMG names Klarna, Revolut, and SoFi among 25 most innovative Fintech startups in the world.

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

  • BeSmartee Integrates with FormFree’s AccountChek Asset Verification Service.
  • 280 CapMarkets Unveils 280 Advisor Services.
  • Quovo Unveils New Solutions for Loan Originators and Servicers.

Around the web

  • cyberProductivity joins DBS Accelerator in Hong Kong.
  • PayPal, Safaricom, and TransferTo team up to make it easier for Kenyans to transfer money between their M-PESA and PayPal accounts.
  • Former Goldman Sachs executive, Michelle Gill, named new SoFi CFO.
  • Bpm’online partners with ChessIT for smart CRM and business processes.
  • Dwolla enhances Transport Layer Security.
  • Baker Hill updates NextGen Omni-Channel Marketing to include P2P normative analysis to identify the most profitable cross-sell opportunities.

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

Around the web

  • TechCrunch talks with HackerOne CEO Marten Mickos on bug bounties and the value of white hat hackers.
  • Cardlytics bolsters executive ranks with pair of new group presidents: Randall Beard and Shannon Johnson.
  • American Banker interviews new SoFi CEO Anthony Neto.
  • First Data goes live with Clover Mini and Clover Flex smart terminals in Germany and Austria.
  • Chetu earns Best Custom Business Software Developer Award from US Business News.
  • Ivan Nabalon, CEO and founder of Best of Show winning Electronic IDentification discusses the mainstream potential for cryptocurrencies.
  • ChartIQ teams up with Trading Central to provide technical insights and tool to traders.
  • Blockchain healthcare platform HealthCombix partners with NuCypher.

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.

SoFi’s Choice: Former Twitter COO Anthony Noto to Take Helm as New CEO

Social media’s loss is social finance’s big gain.

Anthony Noto, Chief Operating Officer for Twitter, has stepped down from his post at the popular social networking platform. His destination? A job as Chief Executive Officer for lending and wealth management firm, SoFi.

“We are simply thrilled to have found someone of Anthony’s expertise and knowledge to lead SoFi,” interim CEO Tom Hutton said. “The SoFi board unanimously agrees that Anthony’s deep understanding of technology, consumer, and financial businesses make him the perfect fit to be SoFi’s CEO. We could not be more excited to have someone of his caliber on board.”

Starting at Twitter as Chief Financial Officer in 2014, Noto became COO in November 2016. He came to Twitter after serving as co-head of global TMT investment banking at Goldman Sachs, a firm he first joined in 1999, and where he was named partner in 2004. From 2008 to 2010, Noto was CFO for the National Football League. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, and has an MBA from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

“SoFi has a significant opportunity to build on its leadership position in student and personal loans to revolutionize consumer finance and build a next-generation financial services company,” Noto said. “I’m excited to work with Tom and the rest of the SoFi team.”

Noto arrives at a time of significant growth for the company. SoFi announced surpassing $25 billion in funded loans last year, and reported that its student loan refinancing products helped borrowers save more than $2 billion. The company said that in the fourth quarter of 2017 it completed its largest securitizations to date for refinanced student loans ($776 million) and personal loans ($727 million). For the full year, SoFi’s total issuance was $6.9 billion.

A financing innovator, SoFi provides student loan refinancing, as well as mortgages and personal loans. The company looks beyond credit scores and debt-to-income ratios to consider factors such as cashflow, career, and education to offer lower rates to borrowers it refers to as “members.” This underscores another unique aspect of SoFi, which stands for Social Finance. The company proactively supports timely repayment of loans through a variety of tools, resources, and strategies including temporarily suspending payments in the event of job loss.

SoFi also provides wealth management and insurance services. The company’s investment management solution combines both live advisors and automated rebalancing to give investors comprehensive and low-cost advice and support for their long-term financial planning. The company has also partnered with Protective Life to offer life insurance coverage up to $1 million for online applicants and up to $5 million for applicants with a medical exam.

SoFi partnered with Quovo to present How Quovo and SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication at FinDEVr New York 2017, winning the Favorite FinDEVr Alum award. The company has raised more than $2 billion in funding, and has an estimated valuation of $4 billion based on its most recent $500 million fundraising in February 2017.