Where Are They Now? A Look at FinovateSpring 2015 Best of Show Winners


FinovateSpring is quickly approaching. This year’s show, May 10 & 11 in San Jose, California, will be our biggest show yet with 72 winning ideas pitched to more than 1,500 fintech execs. Pick up your ticket to save your seat. While we’re eager to see this year’s demos, we wanted to reflect on the successes of last year’s Best of Show winners (in alphabetic order):

Alpha Payments Cloud

HQ: Singapore
Founded: 2012
Total funding: $12 million


May 2015 demo: Alpha Payments Cloud showed AlphaHub, its omnichannel solution-access platform that helps banks, merchants, MSPs, and ISOs gain access to any solution provider in the world. (Demo video)

Partnerships, presentations, and product offerings since August 2015:


HQ: Broomfield, Colorado
Founded: 2002


May 2015 demo: Avoka showed Transact for Financial Services, which combines social, cloud services, and crowdsourcing into the world’s fastest credit card application. (Demo video)

Partnerships, presentations, and product offerings since September 2015:


HQ: Las Vegas, Nevada
Founded: 2015
Funding: $300,000


May 2015 demo: MoneyAmigo debuted its new platform that brings financial services to the underbanked and underserved, delivering traditional banking products in an innovative way. (Demo video)

Activities and media coverage since May 2015:


HQ: New York, New York
Founded: 2011
Funding: $24.4 million


May 2015 demo: Moven introduced its Financial Health Platform that provides real-time, contextualized notifications and interactions that create “gamified money moments.” (Demo video)

Media coverage and new product features since October 2015:

NAMU Systems

HQ: Mahwah, New Jersey
Founded: 2014
Funding: $200,000


May 2015 demo: Namu debuted its Joyful Banking which uses new and intelligent behavior modeling to focus on customer behavior and digital experiences to create a new standard in mobile banking. (Demo video)

Namu’s awards and press coverage in 2015:


HQ: Durham, North Carolina
Founded: 2007
Funding: $2 million


May 2015 demo: Shoeboxed launched Receipt Capture for Banks solution which boosts the functionality of online and mobile banking apps while providing fraud protection. (Demo video)

Shoeboxed recently received media buzz for its product update and corporate move last year:


HQ: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Founded: 2012
Funding: $6.63 million


May 2015 demo: Stratos debuted its dynamic Stratos Bluetooth Connected Card and Digital Card Issuance Platform that analyzes card usage trends and interactively engages card members. (Demo video)

Awards and activities:

Finovate’s 2015 Best of Show Winners Give Something to Tweet About


2015 was quite a year for the 800+ Finovate alumni. From acquisitions to IPOs, and everything in between, there was plenty to tweet about. Here are the highlights from the 2015 Best of Show winners:

FinovateEurope 2015

Avoka demoed a three-minute loan application that delivers a fast onboarding experience.

CoinJar showed a technology that enables consumers to buy, sell, and use digital and traditional forms of currency any way they choose, from dollars to bitcoins.

ebankIT demoed its omnichannel and social banking solution that maximizes interaction between FIs and clients.

eToro showed its innovations in social trading and investing for generation Y.

Jumio demoed credentials-management technology Netverify that turns mobile devices into ID document-scanning terminals.

mBank & i3D demoed their interactive, digital retail-branch concept.

Meniga showed off Market Match, its transaction-data analytics and enrichment engine.

FinovateSpring 2015

Alpha Payments Cloud demoed AlphaHub, its omnichannel access platform that helps banks, merchants, MSPs, and ISOs gain access to any solution provider in the world.

Avoka (see above)

Money Amigo showed technology that brings financial services to the underbanked and underserved, delivering traditional banking products in an innovative way.

Moven launched Moven Financial Health Platform that provides real-time contextualized notifications and interactions that create “gamified money moments.”

NAMU Systems demoed “Joyful Banking” which uses new and intelligent behavior modeling to focus on customer behavior and digital experiences to create a new standard in mobile banking.

Shoeboxed.com showcased its Receipt Capture for Banks, a solution that boosts functionality of online and mobile banking apps while providing fraud protection.

Stratos demonstrated its dynamic Stratos Bluetooth-connected card and digital card issuance platform that analyzes card-usage trends and interactively engages card members.

FinovateFall 2015

Blockstack.io launched technology that enables financial services and other enterprises to set up and build applications on a private, hosted blockchain.

Dyme showcased its innovative method for helping people start a savings habit and fund their lifestyle using text messaging.

Dynamics demoed fully programmable interfaces (stripe, EMV, NFC) for use in next-generation payment cards.

Finanteq launched its SuperWallet that helps banks take full advantage of their potential by integrating m-commerce and remote services with mobile banking.

Hedgeable: demoed its private banking platform for millennials.

HelloWallet showed its Retirement Explorer solution, an approachable and actionable online planning tool that helps employees model and work toward specific retirement outcomes.

SaleMove demoed its Engagement Platform and Omnicall technologies that enable online consumers to engage live with businesses as if they were face-to-face.

Soundpays showed its app that recognizes ultrasonic and sonic waveforms even in extremely noisy environments.

Want to see more award-winning demos of the newest fintech ideas? Pick up your ticket FinovateEurope 2016 and we’ll see you in London.

2015: A Year in Finovate Alumni Mergers and Acquisitions


2015 was another big year for mergers and acquisitions in the fintech industry. And whether they were the acquirer or the acquired, Finovate alums were very much a part of the M&A action.

Because terms of many deals were undisclosed, it is difficult to get a precise number on how much money was spent acquiring some of fintech’s most promising startups this year. But looking just at those acquisitions for which figures were available, we can see that 2015 was a banner year in M&A (more than $7 billion) — and that’s just counting alums.

So from the $5 billion deal between FIS and Sungard to the “alum-acquires-alum” mergers of September 2015, let’s take a closer look at some of the major unions of the year that featured Finovate alums.











If you’re a Finovate alum whose merger we’ve missed or acquisition we’ve overlooked, let us know. Send us an email at research@finovate.com.

Ciright One Purchases Stratos Card


While we were reading yesterday’s news that Bluetooth-connected payment card startup Stratos had been forced to shut down because a recent round of funding fell through, another plan for the company’s future was in the works.

This morning we learned Stratos signed an agreement to sell to Ciright One; terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Stratos co-founder Thiago Olson told TechCrunch that Stratos will continue to function as normal and plans to reinstate customer support in the next few weeks.

The Stratos card consolidates payment and membership cards into a single card with a rewrite-able magstripe. Users select one of three buttons on the card to transact with their top three cards, and access additional cards by activating a Bluetooth connection between the card and their smartphone. At FinovateSpring 2015, Stratos debuted a Digital Card Issuance platform that digitizes the card-fulfillment system by enabling users to download and use a virtual credit card within minutes of being approved.

Pennsylvania-based Ciright One is an active acquirer of Finovate alums. The company purchased GoNow Technologies (FinovateSpring 2013 demo) in September 2015 and last week launched The One, a smart card similar to the Stratos card.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “2015: A Year in Finovate Alumni Mergers and Acquisitions”

Around the web

  • TechTarget interviews Vantiv CSO Kim Jones on “creating a culture of security.”
  • Moneystream announces plans to close its doors in February 2016.
  • Nostrum Group earns a spot in Deloitte 2015 Technology Fast 500 for the EMEA region.
  • Zopa CEO Jaidev Janardana explains why 2016 will be the year P2P lending hits the mainstream.
  • Holvi is featured in this look at the top 10 startups in Finland.
  • TopFunded interviews BankersLab CEO Michelle Katics. See BankersLab at FinovateEurope 2016 in London in February 2016.
  • Credit Karma wins a spot on Fast Company’s 2015 Silicon Valley “Nice” list.
  • Emerging Prairie looks at how a local RIA is integrating Motif Investing into his business.
  • SwipeStox launches new features. Check out SwipeStox at FinovateEurope 2016.
  • Personal Capital Debuts First eBook: A Better Financial Life.
  • Backbase awarded accolades in Gartner report, Critical Capabilities for Horizontal Portals. Backbase will demo at FinovateEurope 2016.

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.



Finovate Alums Earn Spots Among UBS Future of Finance Finalists

UBS_logo_FutureofFinanceSayPay Technologies, Stratos, and Wealthforge will compete for top honors at the UBS Future of Finance Challenge on 10/December in Zurich. The three will join nine other finalists vying for $50,000, 300+ hours of mentoring, and the opportunity to develop their technology in a UBS innovation center.


(Click image to watch video)

The Future of Finance Challenge had more than 600 applicants. Regional Finals were held this month in Zurich, London, Singapore, and New York. To be eligible, entrants must not have received a Series A or total funding of more than $10 million. Solutions presented could be an idea, concept, or a functional demo and needed to either “focus directly on, or have a potential connection or application with, banking and financial services.”

SayPay-logo-noshadowsAll three Finovate alums reaching the finals made their Finovate debuts at FinovateSpring 2015 in San Jose. SayPay Technologies, a finalist from the Singapore round, will go into the finals with its Customer Authentication Experience. SayPay CEO Steve Hoffman said, “The distinguished panel of UBS judges was quick to recognize how SayPay transforms fragmented current authentication solutions into a seamless, enjoyable customer interaction with their financial institutions.” SayPay was founded in February 2014 and is headquartered in Pleasanton, California. The company launched its BillPay and Secure Web Sign-In at FinovateSpring 2015 in May.

Stratos_logo_snaggitfromboxStratos presented its wallet-simplifying, Bluetooth Connected Card with enhanced security, and emerged from the same New York round as fellow Finovate alum, Wealthforge. Stratos demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2015 in May. It was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Thiago Olsen is CEO.

WealthForge logo copyWealthforge impressed UBS judges with its automated, integrated risk management solution for issuers and intermediaries. Mat Dellorso, CEO and co-founder, wrote at his company’s blog: “With the WealthForge Invest Button, anyone raising private capital can take advantage of an intuitive, modern approach to managing the process of raising more capital in less time.” Wealthforge was founded in 2011 and is based in Richmond, Virginia. Wealthforge gave Finovate audiences a look at the Invest Button during its demo at FinovateSpring 2015.

Also competing in the New York round were Finovate alums, MaxMyInterest and Coinalytics. FinovateEurope 2015 veteran CashSentinel represented Finovate alums in the Zurich round.

Joining SayPay Technologies, Stratos, and Wealthforge in Zurich will be:

European fintech fans! Join us in February as Finovate returns to London for FinovateEurope 2016. For more information, and to save your spot, visit our FinovateEurope page.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “Blooom Wins Grant from LaunchKC”
  • “FinDEVr San Francisco 2015 Presenters All Mapped Out

Around the web

  • SumUp launches mobile payments service in Sweden.
  • Stratos launches EMV Chip Connected Payment Cards in Q4 2015.
  • Ferguson Federal, $57 million in assets, hires Insuritas to launch insurance agency.
  • Kony helps ORNL FCU deliver customized mobile app experiences to its members.
  • OnDeck partners with Association for Enterprise Opportunity to facilitate up to $10 million in small-business loans.
  • Tradeshift unveils new e-procurement solution, Tradeshift Buy.
  • Aerospike releases version 3.6 of its NoSQL operational database. See Aerospike’s presentation at FinDEVr next week.
  • TechCrunch: Klarna adds American Express as a partner. Come watch American Express’ presentation at FinDEVr.

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

  • “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.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “CoverHound Completes $33 Million Series C”
  • “Trading Ticket Picks Up $4 Million in Seed Funding from Citi, Valar Ventures”

Around the web

  • Engage Financial Technology, formerly OnBudget, powers BBVA’s new ClearSpend mobile budgeting app.
  • Eastern Bank to pilot Stratos partner program.
  • PYMNTS considers BlueVine’s approach to factoring.
  • CellTrust named a finalist for Arizona Technology Council’s 2015 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Awards.
  • SecureKey brings its SecureKey Concierge authentication and ID verification service to the U.S.
  • Temenos executive James Redfern joins eWise as Global Head of Sales.
  • Geezeo unveils new API website with revised REST API and .NET SDK.
  • ShopKeep acquires Ambur, an mPOS software specialist.
  • TIO Networks forms TIO Telecom Solutions, a new division focused on the needs of network operators.
  • ThreatMetrix experiences 50% increase in mobile volume since Sep 2014.
  • Kanto X hits $2+ billion in currency-exchange transactions.
  • Check Point and AirWatch partner to secure the future of the mobile enterprise.
  • 7-Eleven and PayNearMe launch PayNearMe Bill Pay app, a full-service bill-payment center.

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

  • edo Interactive brings its card-linking technology to the Rewards Network.
  • ZenPayroll changes its name to “Gusto,” adds health care and worker’s compensation to its services.
  • Boku partners with Japan’s Ueshima Coffee Company to allow customers to top up coffee cards using their mobile phones.
  • Cachet Financial Solutions receives approval from its issuing bank and MasterCard to offer Select Mobile Money for corporate clients.
  • KPMG and Matchi form alliance to enhance access to financial innovation.
  • Radius Bank partners with Prosper to direct customers interested in personal loans to the marketplace lender and receive referral fees.
  • Eastern Bank to pilot Stratos partner program.
  • Handpoint receives undisclosed investment from Icelandic VCs Eyrir Sprotar and Frumtak to fuel U.S. expansion.
  • WePay launches ACH-transfer capability to expand its payment-type platforms offered to customers.

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 Debuts: A Look at Stratos’ Digital Card Issuance Platform


Remember what iPods did for your CD collection? Stratos is doing that for your wallet. That is, the startup takes the information stored on multiple cards, makes it digital, and stores it on a single card.

The Stratos card is a battery-powered, Bluetooth-connected payment, rewards, and access card that—combined with the customer-facing mobile app and backend analytic capabilities for card issuers—offers a holistic solution.

Company facts:

  • Raised more than $7 million
  • 50+ employees
  • Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Stratos card began shipping April 2015
  • The card’s non-rechargeable battery lasts two years

For end consumers: the Stratos card

The Stratos card ships with a Square-like dongle (see image below).


Before using the card, the customer loads all of the existing cards in their wallet onto the Stratos platform (the video below offers a glimpse at the user experience). In order to do this, the user opens the Stratos app, swipes all of their magstripe cards through the dongle, and the Stratos app gathers all of the card data.

Consumers use the Stratos card as they would use any of the cards listed below. Stratos works with all types of cards:

  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Gift card
  • ATM card
  • Loyalty/rewards card
  • Membership/ authorization card
  • Gym access card

The card holds the user’s top-three cards, which they chose by selecting one of three touch sensors on the front to reprogram the magnetic stripe on the back.

To change one or more of their top-three cards, the user needs their smartphone nearby. With their phone in Bluetooth range (3 feet), the user unlocks the card by double tapping it. On their phone, the user receives a push notification that lists which three cards are active on their Stratos card. When they open the app, they use a drag-and-drop interface to swap out and manage their cards (see screenshot below).


For card issuers: digital card-issuance platform

The Digital Card Issuance Platform replaces the physical fulfillment process by issuing a fully digital card, thereby removing the need for card issuers to mail plastic cards to their customers, sending customers a new card instantly. Additionally, the Digital Card Issuance Platform offers analytics about how customers are using their cards.

As a part of this platform, card issuers use a merchant’s geolocation to send the customer a push notification when they prepare to make a purchase. The notification alerts the customer of an incentive to open a credit account with the merchant. For example, while the customer is waiting in line to purchase a new suit at Nordstrom, they double tap their Stratos card to pay, and see a push notification that informs them they can save 15% on their purchase if they open a Nordstrom credit card. To accept the offer, the customer swipes right on the notification, selects Confirm, and double taps their Stratos card. Stratos automatically loads their new Nordstrom credit card into their wallet.

The digital card-issuance platform is relatively frictionless, since it doesn’t require the user to fill out forms or even digitally sign paperwork. The system simply relies on the customers’ identity information that is already on file with Stratos.

Stratos also offers co-branded partnerships that offer issuers control over card branding. It even enables the issuer to set their card as the default payment mechanism. For more visibility into how and where customers use their cards, Stratos provides back-end tools and dashboards to show metrics on how users favor the issuer’s card over others and track virtual top-of-wallet metrics.


To keep things secure, Stratos employs bank-level encryption, and the app never displays card numbers. To view their card information within the Stratos app, users authenticate via a passcode or Touch ID.

To secure the physical card, users set parameters to disable the card if it’s stolen or lost.

What’s next

The startup is hard at work on version 2 of its card, which includes an EMV-capable version to comply with the coming liability shift this October. Also in the works is NFC payment capability and fingerprint authentication directly on the card.

Stratos plans to make the second version available internationally, as well.

Check out the video of Stratos’ live demo at FinovateSpring 2015.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Klarna Hires former American Express Exec as New CCO
  • Knox Payments Offers Free, Premium Options and Easier API Integration
  • Finovate Debuts: A Look at Stratos’ Digital Card Issuance Platform

Around the web

  • PYMNTS.com looks at the launch of MasterCard’s MasterPass in Belgium.
  • Benzinga’s Jim Probasco interviews AlphaClone CEO Maz Jadallah on “investing like a hedge-fund billionaire.”
  • Adhil Shetty, founder and CEO of BankBazaar.com, comments on handling finances after a job loss in The Economic Times.
  • RIA Biz features BrightScope and its new plan to provide mutual fund data with the launch of Fund Pages.
  • SunGuard chooses Heckyl Technologies to provide sentiment and real-time news analysis for its MarketMap terminal.
  • A look at fintech innovation in Poland features mBank.
  • Management Today profiles Zopa CEO Giles Andrews.
  • Interxion partners with Microsoft Azure to enable users to connect directly to Microsoft Azure in the data center over a secure, high-performance private network.

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.