NuCypher and Sureify Earn Finalist Spots at Startup Battlefield, MetLife’s Collab

NuCypher and Sureify Earn Finalist Spots at Startup Battlefield, MetLife’s Collab

A quote from famous Brazilian jiu-jitsu master Rickson Gracie reminds us: “Sometimes you don’t have to win. You cannot win. But that has nothing to do with losing.”

Those words are worth keeping in mind as we give a tip of the hat to a pair of Finovate/FinDEVr alums that competed in the finals in a pair of startup competitions this week.

The first salute goes to NuCypher. Based out of San Francisco, California, and founded in 2015, NuCypher earned a finalist spot in TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2017’s Startup Battlefield. One of five finalists from a field of 19, NuCypher competed against Collider, Domuso, Sunrise Health, and eventual winner RecordGram for a prize of $50,000 and the “coveted Disrupt Cup.” The judging panel consisted of representatives from RRE Ventures, Oak HC/FT, BBG Ventures, Insight Venture Partners, Girls Who Code, and TechCrunch.

With a platform that provides security and encryption for big data, NuCypher made its FinDEVr debut at FinDEVr 2017 New York. At the event, NuCypher CTO Michael Egorov led a presentation called “Truly Secure Big Data and Cloud Environments,” which investigated the challenge of transferring big data storage and computation to the cloud while keeping encryption keys on premise. The company was named to the top 20 most promising Hadoop solution providers in 2017 by CIO Review in February, and will present its latest technology at FinDEVr 2017 London in June. Learn more about the company via our exclusive interviews with NuCypher CEO MacLane Wilkison and CTO Egorov.

Our second salute goes to Sureify. The insurtech pioneer was one of eight finalists competing in the new startup engagement program, collab, developed by MetLife’s Singapore-based LumenLab. The startups – Capability, Democrance, Digital Fineprint, Flamingo, Good Parents, Shift Technology, and winning company, Uniphore – were selected out of an applicant pool of more than 135 from more than 34 countries. The finalists gave 30-minute pitches in front of senior MetLife executives for the chance to win a $100,000 contract and have their solution implemented in MetLife.

With origins as a provider of unbiased, third-party educational material on insurance for consumers, Sureify grew its offerings by developing its own consumer life insurance product that linked premiums to a healthy lifestyle. The company now provides a variety of customer engagement solutions for insurers that leverage mobile apps, health devices, and wellness programs. Called the “ of Insurance Engagement” by The Digital Insurer and listed by Let’s Talk Payments in its roundup of revolutionary insurtech startups, Sureify demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2014. Dustin Yoder is CEO.

Finovate Alumni News


  • NuCypher and Sureify Earn Finalist Spots at Startup Battlefield, MetLife’s Collab.

Around the web

  • Mobile identity scoring innovator Juvo appoints Prosper president Ron Suber as strategic advisor.
  • BBVA unveils new chatbot providing basic financial information over Facebook and Telegram.
  • IBM opens the doors on its Blockchain Founder Accelerator program for blockchain startups.
  • Spanish tax agency, AEAT, certifies Comarch’s Accounts Payable solution.
  • Puget Sound Business Journal Features Lighter Capital.
  • NuCypher wins finalist spot at Disrupt NY 2017’s Startup Battlefield.

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


  • “Fintech Favorites: Blockchain, the Banks, and the Underbanked”
  • Brings Connectaclick to Ecuador’s Banco Pichincha.

Around the web

  • Swiss fintech innovator Net Guardians to deploy its security solution, FraudGuardian, with National Bank of Malawi.
  • iSignthis partners with Leverate Financial Services, providing the online FX and CFD broker with its full Paydentity solution.
  • YourStory profiles Finovate newcomer MarketsMojo and its plan to make equity investing mainstream.
  • Frankfurter Allgemeine features Fintura in a look at the fintech scene in Frankfurt.
  • True Potential wins approval as workplace pension adviser from The Pensions Regulator.
  • PayPal reports mobile shopping represented a third of sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
  • Lighter Capital named the fastest growing private tech company in Washington state.
  • LTP lists BankBazaar, CoverHound, InforcePRO, and Sureify on its list of revolutionary insuretech startups.

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.

Wave Mechanics: FT Partners Report Highlights Trends Driving Rise of Insurtech

Wave Mechanics: FT Partners Report Highlights Trends Driving Rise of Insurtech


“Insurtech” isn’t about providing financial assistance to distracted gamers who injure themselves playing Pokemon Go (though there is that). It’s a growing, thriving aspect of financial technology that is becoming a category of its own, apart from the world of payments, robo-advisers, and PFM that characterizes much of what we call “fintech.”

The new report just released from FT Partners (and available for free download) helps financial services execs better understand the rise of insurance technology. Prepare for the Insurtech Wave: Overview of Key Insurance Technology Trends is a 247-page research report that details trends in insurance distribution and administration, data and analytics; and sales, marketing, and engagement; and puts into context the opportunities from the “new technologies and transformative business models” that are “targeting all areas of the multi-trillion dollar global industry.”


A few key metrics from the report:

  • Total premiums for all insurance sectors in 2015: $2.0 trillion
  • More than 6,000 insurance companies in the U.S. employ more than 2.5 million.
  • Property and casualty (P&C) insurers generated $64 billion in net income in 2014. Life and health insurance companies generated $38 billion.

What makes insurtech especially interesting is where it sits at the nexus of the pace of technological innovation and the reality of an ever-evolving regulatory landscape. Prepare for the Insurtech Wave reveals an industry responding to this challenge in a variety of ways from starting ventures arms to teaming up with startups tackling key pain-points, as well as those best poised to take advantage of new technologies such as the internet of things. This, the report notes, has “huge implications across the insurance value chain.”

The report highlights the “disruptors” of insurtech, a group of 40 startups that includes Finovate alums CoverHound and Sureify, as well as what it calls “established tech-enabled companies” such as insurance-software developers Ebix and even 3D aerial measurement services and reports startup from Seattle, EagleView Technologies. Also listed are major recent insurtech M&A and financing transactions such as the $500 million raised by Zenefits and the $160 million to Clover.


Prepare for the Wave underscores the importance of convenience, speed, and transparency for the modern insurance consumer, encouraging the industry to embrace multi-channel engagement and new products like micro insurance. The report also looks at the role of the insurance agent, noting that a growing preference for insurance-shopping online—61% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 54 say they would purchase life insurance online in a recent PwC poll—is one of many factors likely to undermine one of the industry’s historically most relied-upon distribution channels. “At a time when life insurance ownership is plummeting,” the report reads, quoting the PwC poll, “life insurers are waking up to an inconvenient truth: Decades of relying on an agency-distribution system have left them woefully unprepared to survive in today’s consumer-driven economy.”


At the same time, the report notes that “the incumbents do not have their heads in the sand.” Note that:

  • Among traditional insurers, 43% are planning to “acquire, or have already acquired, innovative startups to help expand digital capabilities.”
  • More than half have “already invested” in social media, data mining, and predictive modeling
  • Approximately 68% are embracing mobile technology.

Additionally, Ptolemus Consulting is cited for pointing out that insurance companies have “launched nearly 230 telematics programs worldwide, in twice as many countries as two years ago.” Telematics is the intersection of telecommunication and informatics, and is a part of the internet of things (IoT). Specifically, it refers to the collection and transformation of data via sensors in a “connected” vehicle or building for the purpose of risk-assessment. The report concludes with an extensive Selected Transactions section, detailing fundraising, mergers, acquisitions, and other relevant deals involving insurtech companies.

About FT partners

Founded in 2001 by Steve McLaughlin, CEO, Financial Technology Partners is the only investment banking firm dedicated exclusively to financial technology. FT Partners—named Investment Banking Firm of the Year in 2016 and Deal Maker of the Year in 2015—is a long-time sponsor of Finovate events and has offices in San Francisco and New York.

Finovate Alumni News

Around the web:

  • ACI Worldwide helps deliver Domino’s secure, seamless payment experience during SuperBowl Sunday.
  • Britain’s One Financial Markets announces partnership with Swipestox to enable mobile trading. See Swipestox at FinovateEurope 2016.
  • Let’s Talk Payments features Sureify and BankBazaar in a look at insurancetech startups.
  • Wipro wins five-year, IT infrastructure transformation contract with Sweden’s ASSA ABLOY Group.
  • Trade Bank of Iraq forges strategic partnership with Misys.
  • CR2 unveils new logo, new corporate identity.
  • The Telegraph highlights Yoyo, Nutmeg, and True Potential in a column on calculating risk with facial scans.

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– May 23, 2014

  • Finovate-F-Logo.jpgSilicon Republic reports: Disruptive banking service Holvi gets regulatory approval to spread across Europe.
  • Cardlytics named one of the Georgia Fast 40, which honors GA-based companies that sustain growth over a 3 year period.
  • CBS 12 News features Arxan’s security tech.
  • miiCard partners with eMerchantPay to offer merchants a more secure, compliant transaction processing solution.
  • Bank Innovation speculates on potential new features from GoBank.
  • Finovate alums Fenergo and Thomson Reuters win recognition from Inside Reference Data Awards.
  • Virtual Agent Chat takes a look at IntelliResponse’s OFFERS as a form of “just in time marketing.”
  • Bloomberg BusinessWeek sources Scott Goldman, CEO of TextPower, on the eBay data breach.
  • Deutsche Startups interviews Numbrs CEO, Julien Arnold.
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.

Sureify Launches its Unbiased, Simple-to-Understand, Life Insurance Education Solution

Sureify Launches its Unbiased, Simple-to-Understand, Life Insurance Education Solution

This post is part of our live coverage of FinovateSpring 2014.

The only, unbiased, third-party source for life insurance education online, Sureify, is making its way to the Finovate stage next.

“Sureify explains life insurance in a very simple way, gives consumers a free personal plan, and helps consumers take the next step in getting their life insured.
Sureify uses straightforward visuals, text, and videos to explain life insurance in everyday language. Whether a consumer prefers to read, watch a video, or just look at an educational image – Sureify enables consumers to learn the way that they learn best.
A big part of life insurance is understanding how much coverage you need. Within a few clicks, Sureify gives consumers a personal needs assessment, visually shows common life insurance options to explore, and provides a free personal plan to email or download.
Upon understanding what type of insurance you need and how much is desired, Sureify provides consumers with multiple options for next steps and allows them to take practical steps to get covered.”
Presenting: Dustin Yoder (CEO) and Chris Cichon (CMO)

Product Launch: April 2014
Product distribution strategy: Direct to Consumer (B2C), through financial institutions, licensed agents
HQ: San Jose, California
Founded: March 2012
Twitter: @sureify

FinovateSpring 2014 Sneak Peek: Part 6

FinovateSpring 2014 Sneak Peek: Part 6

Thumbnail image for FinovateSpring2014ButtonLogo.jpg

Welcome to the finale of our FinovateSpring 2014 Sneak Peek series. If you’re just joining us, then you might want to check out the previous five installments of our Sneak Peek (see below). There’s no better way to get to know the entrepreneurs and innovators who will be demoing on the Finovate stage on April 29 and 30 in San Jose.

You can find out more about our upcoming event – including our new location and locale – on our FinovateSpring 2014 page here.

Today we wrap up the series with eight more companies, starting with transaction management specialist Avoka and ending with WePay, an innovator in risk analysis for merchants, crowdfunders, and software makers. In between, we’ll talk security and digital currencies, alternative lending and credit decisioning, credit card vaults and Insurance Buying 3.0.


Avoka TransactWEB – an Omni-Channel 2.0 customer transaction experience form the leaders in SmartForm & Transaction Management.
  • Omni-Channel 2.0 – Seamless crossover between channels in a single transaction
  • Integration with ID verification and signature services for maximum convenience
  • All delivered without programming
Why it’s great:
Avoka TransactWEB delivers an Omni-Channel 2.0 experience for account opening, loan origination, etc. without programming.
Phil Copeland, CEO and Co-Founder
Phil is responsible for the company’s business strategy and worldwide operations.
Jeff Kalicki, Account Manager
Jeff is comfortable presenting technology to all levels of business, as well as leading architecture discussions.


Coinbase is a bitcoin wallet and platform where merchants and consumers can transact with the new digital currency bitcoin.
  • The ability to debit customers for a more convenient checkout experience
  • The ability to set individualized merchant permission controls via API keys
  • The ability to use recurring billing
Why it’s great:
Coinbase offers innovative tools that allow merchants to accept bitcoin payments easily and securely.
Roger Gu, Business Development Manager
Roger leads payment partnerships at Coinbase. He previously worked in Strategy and Development at Visa and in Investment Banking at Marcum Cronus. Roger holds an A.B. in Economics from Princeton.
Nahid Samsami, Business Development Manager
Nahid previously worked as a senior product manager at Playdom, acquired by Disney Interactive. She began her career at Bain and Company and holds a degree in Economics from Stanford University.


CUneXus’ unique lending platform integrates at all digital and physical touch points, delivering an omnichannel borrowing experience, proven to significantly increase loan volume and reduce acquisition cost.
  • Customers can easily access loans anytime, anywhere – with no loan application
  • Lenders enjoy increased product penetration, loan volume, and ROI
  • Simple integration with online and mobile banking
Why it’s great:
CUneXus helps lenders drive substantial loan volume, by providing customers a refreshingly simple on-demand borrowing experience across traditional, online, and mobile banking channels.
Dave Buerger, Co-Founder and President
Dave is a finance and marketing visionary who has been recognized by CUNA and CUES for award-winning strategies that have yielded record loan volumes and response rates.
Darin Chong, Co-Founder
Darin is an expert strategist and has been instrumental in the development of the company’s Comprehensive Pre-Screened Lending (CPL) strategy.


OnBudget develops PFM tools, Mobile Apps, and Bank Companion Cards that give banked consumers simple budgeting tools and banks a profitable way to monetize them.
  • Uniquely profitable prepaid product simplifies banked consumers’ budgeting needs
  • Auto learns users’ spending habits, suggests budgets
  • Analyzes spending trends, offers insights/savings opps to help users stay on track
Why it’s great:
OnBudget’s intuitive and interactive solution delights banked consumers by simplifying their budgets. It’s a bank companion card that provides real consumer value at no cost to the consumer.
Jim Collas, President and CEO
Jim is a personal computing pioneer with nearly 30 years of senior exec
utive experience in computers, prepaid cards, and consumer markets. He is a successful entrepreneur and visionary leader.

Spreedly is the independent credit card vault that works with any PCI end point API. We provide all the benefits of tokenization without gateway lock-in.
  • Quickly extend your business to non-gateway end point APS’s (hotel, ticketing, transportation, restaurants)
  • Automatically update lost/expired cards
  • One integration, 60+ gateways, 70+ countries
Why it’s great:
Spreedly gives you all the flexibility of having your own credit card vault without the headache of PCI compliance or building your own integrations.
Justin Benson, CEO
Justin specializes in scaling startups from concept to IPO/acquisition. He’s experienced in driving direct revenue and leveraging partnerships to achieve double-digit SaaS revenue growth.

Sureify educates consumers on their life insurance options, helps them build a plan that’s right for them, and take the next steps to get covered.
  • Learn about life insurance from simple text, visuals, & videos
  • Unbiased, third-party source for life insurance education
  • Define needs and build the right plan for you quickly
Why it’s great:
Sureify is the only unbiased, third-party source for life insurance education online.
Dustin Yoder, VP of Business Development
Dustin leads strategy, product and business development. Loves talking with our customers, prospecting all possible channels, and relationship building in every part of our business.
Chris Cichon, Marketing
Chris drives marketing and customer experiences. Loves digital marketing and growth hacking; dabbles in front-end web development.

True Link protects vulnerable seniors from predatory marketing and fraud.
  • Seniors are victims of $100bn/year in scams
  • Seniors are the largest, fastest growing market in the U.S.
  • True Link is the killer app for the 43 million people caring for their aging parents.
Why it’s great:
Everyone deserves a safe way to spend their money without having to worry about scams, fraud or spending mishaps.
Kai Stinchcombe, Founder and CEO
Kai is a data scientist and entrepreneur who created the True Link Prepaid Visa Card after discovering that his grandmother was the victim of several credit card frauds.

WePay enables marketplaces, crowdfunding sites, and business software makers to offer payment services to their customers without worry about risk or loss.
  • WePay’s Veda risk engine leverages big data to make better decisions
  • WePay’s Innovative Risk API collects risk data from platform partners
  • Veda analyzes social footprint to verify users
Why it’s great:
Through its proprietary Veda social risk engine, WePay gives platforms a flexible payment API that provides a great user experience while still taking on all their fraud risk and compliance burdens.
John Canfield, VP Risk Management
John leads all our risk strategy, processes and tactics at WePay. He holds a Masters and Bachelors in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT and an MBA from Stanford.