Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • AutoGravity Partners with Global Lending Services.
  • SelfScore Rebrands as Deserve, Closes on $12 Million in Funding.
  • Credit Sesame Raises More than $42 Million, Unveils Robo Advisor for Credit.

Around the web

  • Avoka extends strategic partnership with Mitek for digital identity verification solutions.
  • Commercial loan origination, CRM are among the new features in Baker Hill NextGen solution.
  • OnDeck partners with Ingo Money and Visa to provide loans to SMEs via debit card.
  • Westpac NZ to transition to real-time banking platform from ACI Worldwide.
  • Regions Bank to add P2P payment and account-to-account transfer solutions from Fiserv.
  • iSignthis announces new agreement with Omnislots.com operator, Dialinvest.
  • Payment Ninja to launch in the U.S. in November.
  • ThreatMetrix and ID.me partner to deliver ID verification for government and commercial digital services
  • Russian bank Lipetskcombank implements new mobile banking app built on Tranzware Mobile Banking from Compass Plus.
  • Accenture and nCino expand alliance to accelerate digital transformation within top U.S. banks
  • Symbiont joins Wall Street Blockchain Alliance as corporate member.
  • Envestnet | Yodlee to integrate risk insight solutions with Fannie Mae’s Ddsktop underwriter validation Service.

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

  • Efigence Teams Up with Alior Bank, Telekom Romania to Help Launch Telekom Banking.
  • Mastercard Takes Blockchain Mainstream with API.
  • Zighra Launches Flagship Continuous Authentication Product.
  • Stash Reveals Plans to Launch Mobile-First Banking Service.

Around the web

  • Latvian Bank Citadele secures mobile and online banking with VASCO’s DIGIPASS for Apps and CRONTO
  • Azimo’s momentum continues with triple-digit growth.
  • Visa to offer ThreatMetrix technologies through its Visa ID Intelligence platform.
  • Lendio joins lending platform association.
  • Dream Payments unveils its point of sale solution for First Data’s Clover merchants.

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

  • BankBazaar Receives $30 Million in Funding Round Led by Experian.
  • Feedzai Secures $50 Million in New Funding.
  • BlueVine Lands $130 Million in Debt Financing.
  • Sensibill Brings Receipt Management to Royal Bank of Scotland’s Business Banking Customers.

Around the web

  • Entersekt hires Sherif Samy as SVP for North American operations.
  • Visa and Billtrust team up to streamline B2B payment reconciliation and support automation of virtual card payments.
  • PayPal announces Vemno is now payment option at more than two million U.S. retailers.
  • Narrative Science wins Microsoft Office 2017 App Award for Best Business Value.
  • TransCard partners with ExpenseAnywhere to Deliver Automated Payment Process Management 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

  • Responsive Tiles from Geezeo Help Banks Build Personalized Digital Experiences.
  • Accenture Acquires Verax to Boost Canadian Operations.
  • Urban FT Bids to Acquire Digiliti Money [UPDATE: Bid Rejected]

Around the web

  • Let’s Talk Payments interviews David Vélez, founder of Nubank.
  • Visa to encourage Australian banks to embrace biometric authentication in new security roadmap.
  • InComm buys distribution rights to American Express’ prepaid reloadable and gift card business in the U.S.
  • Flywire Simplifies Compliance with New Cross-Border Education Payment Requirements in Ireland.

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.

Klarna Earns Strategic Investment from Visa

“My, what a fine, new banking license you have there, Klarna!”

We don’t know if Klarna’s decision to obtain a banking license played a role in Visa’s decision to invest an undisclosed amount in the Swedish payments innovator. But the announcement today that Visa has bought a small stake in Klarna is a big vote of confidence in the company’s apparent determination to diversify its business into other areas, such as card services.

For Visa, the Klarna investment is part of its strategy to open up its ecosystem and support companies that are innovating to make the payment experience more rewarding for consumers around the world. Visa EVP for Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, Jim McCarthy praised Klarna’s proven “expertise in consumer credit and online purchasing” and said the two companies “share a vision for how today’s online and mobile commerce experiences can be as simple as they are in the real world.” Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski called the partnership a “natural fit” and added that it would enable Klarna to bolster its “global presence and product portfolio.”

The funding for Klarna is the third investment in the company this year. Earlier this month, Klarna announced that Brightfolk, a firm held by Anders Holch Povlsen, owner of European fashion giant, BESTSELLER, had acquired a strategic stake in the company. The 10% equity investment was valued at $225 million given Klarna’s valuation of $2.25 billion. And in March, the company raised $5 million (KR46 million) from Nordic early-stage, venture capital firm Creandum. Klarna has raised more than $375 million in total funding.

Founded in 2005 in Stockholm, Sweden and now headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Klarna demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2012. The company serves more than 60 million customers and 70,000 retailers in Europe and North America. TechCrunch’s coverage of today’s Visa investment notes that as of 2016 Klarna was processing 400,000 transactions daily, and generated revenues of $318 million in 2015. TechCrunch also reports that Klarna’s transaction growth is up 50% year-over-year in 2016, and that 17,000 new merchants were added in the last quarter.

Visa demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2010. In 2014, the company’s Visa Developers Program presented The Future of Commerce, a look at how to connect with Visa’s networking using open APIs and SDKs, and led workshops on API-less web, Android SDK, and Apple Pay integration.

PayPal’s Venmo Goes Head-to-Head with Zelle, Square Cash, and… Amazon

PayPal EVP and COO Bill Ready recently reminisced how, in 1998, the company launched its first product, one that allowed users to beam money from one Palm Pilot to another. While the hardware has changed, the “beaming money” idea remains the same. In this race to real-time payments, the San Jose-based company announced this week that it has leveraged the partnerships it formed last year with Visa and Mastercard to offer users faster payments.

The new service will allow PayPal and Venmo users to send funds in minutes instead of the two-to-three day timeframe that is typical with most ACH transfers. Expediting funds will come at a cost, however. Users can expect to pay $0.25 per transaction if they want to send funds in real-time (or up to 30 minutes in some cases). The functionality is already available for select PayPal users and will be available for all U.S. PayPal users with eligible Visa and Mastercard debit cards “over the coming weeks and months” and available to Venmo users later this summer.

Zelle

When compared to Zelle, which runs on its former namesake, the clearXchange network, PayPal’s instant payment option is certainly more expensive than Zelle’s free option. PayPal’s advantage over Zelle is that it offers a standalone mobile and web app, while Zelle– as a bank-owned payments app– is more confined. While there are rumors Zelle plans to launch a standalone app, for now it must be hosted within a bank’s website or mobile app. It is worth noting, however, that PayPal’s model isn’t the same as Zelle’s, which is strictly a payment rails network among a group of banks.

Square Cash

Because of this, it is more fitting to compare PayPal’s offering to Square cash, which offers P2P money transfers and holds a user’s balance until they “cash out” or transfer it back into their checking account. Square also offers an instant money transfer feature, for which it charges a one percent fee.

Amazon

It is also worth watching Amazon in this space. The online retail giant made a move earlier this month to encourage its Prime members to hold a balance in their prepaid Amazon account by offering 2 percent cash back on purchases using their Amazon account balance. Similar to PayPal and Square Cash, Amazon does not pay interest on users’ balances, and thus stands to profit from the cash (which, by the way, cannot be transferred back to a user’s account– it must be used on an Amazon purchase). Of course, Amazon’s balance option is just a glorified gift card (for now). However, if enough users are compelled by the 2% cash back offer, we can expect to see the online retailer debut more banking features, stepping on banks’ toes and into territory PayPal has held for almost 20 years.

PayPal’s Braintree recently presented at FinDEVr New York 2016. The company also showcased its Instant Account Creation feature at FinovateFall 2012. Mastercard and Visa both presented at the first FinDEVr, held in San Francisco in 2014, where Mastercard showed off its Developer Zone and Visa demonstrated its API-less web integration and SDK web integration.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Meniga Scores $8 Million to Help Banks Leverage their Data.

Around the web

  • Visa Checkout achieves 20 million enrolled accounts milestone.
  • Kreditech adds two new independent board members.
  • Tradeshift unveils major platform update, Magellan 1.
  • Kofax launches cloud-based document capture and invoicing solution, ReadSoft Online R9.
  • Mitek announces reaching $1 trillion deposit milestone for its Mobile Deposit solution.
  • OutSystems picks up SOC 2 Type 1 attestation report affirming quality of company’s internal controls and processes. Check out the company’s presentation from FinDEVr  2017 New York.
  • NIBC Direct partners with AdviceRobo to help it pro-actively flag mortgage clients that could fall into default.
  • Blackhawk Network Launches Website for Reward Prepaid Cards in Canada

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.

FinDEVr APIntelligence

We saw some great stuff at FinDEVr New York last week; stay tuned for videos of the live presentations! If you missed out, check out FinDEVr London on June 12 & 13 during London Tech Week. Register today and save big time.

On FinDEVr.com

Alumni updates

  • FinDEVr New York newcomer Fiserv announces enhancements to its real-time, loan servicing solution, LoanServ.
  • Swiss financial sector infrastructure operator SIX partners with IBM Watson to build cyber-security hub.
  • PYMNTS.com looks at speculation that Kabbage may acquire OnDeck.
  • BBVA among the latest companies to join Hyperledger.
  • MasterCard introduces new fraud detection solution, Decision Intelligence.
  • Credit Donkey lists StockTwitsDriveWealth, and Personal Capital among its Best Investing Apps of 2017.
  • Forrester recognizes FinDEVr newcomer Outsystems as a leader in low-code development platforms.
  • E-commerce services from Vantiv achieve Oracle Validate Integration. Video of Vantiv’s FinDEVr 2017 New York presentation will be available soon.
  • VISA to enable electronic business payments for SME clients of B2B electronic invoicing network, Viewpost.
  • Fiserv reports nearly 30 banks and CUs deployed its digital banking technology in 2016, taking the total number of FIs using its online banking solutions to 3,500.

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

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • A Look at the Savings Tech Horizon: Crowdfunded Savings with Spiff and InSpirAVE.
  • LendingTree Launches Student Loan Comparison Tool.
  • Check out this week’s FinDEVr APIntelligence.
  • A Look at the Savings Tech Horizon: Advice-Only with Hellowallet and  Wealth Wizards.

Around the web

  • Malauzai Software launches Fingerprint Authentication and Touch ID technology for Android 7.0 this year.
  • VISA to enable electronic business payments for SME clients of B2B electronic invoicing network, Viewpost.
  • Fiserv reports nearly 30 banks and CUs deployed its digital banking technology in 2016, taking the total number of FIs using its online banking solutions to 3,500.
  • PurePoint launch leverages Zenmonics’ channelUNITED.
  • Bitpesa partners with Bitbond to financially assist SMEs.

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.

Fintech Trending: Blockchain Building Blocks for 2017

Photo via Good Free Photos
Photo via Good Free Photos

What blockchain trends from 2016 are worth watching for follow-through in 2017? Here are five blockchain players to keep an eye on as the new year begins.

IBM: Something Old, Something New, Something Blue

It is remarkable that a company that is more than 100 years old (“International Business Machines”) is one of the leading innovators when it comes to the blockchain. But IBM (FD16) began 2016 by introducing its strategy to offer cloud-based products and services for business via blockchain technology. IBM’s “blockchain-as-a-service” strategy incorporates many of the company’s core technology projects including its Watson Internet of Things platform and its development lab, Bluemix Garage – as well as its core IT system for global banks, IBM z System. IBM’s blockchain strategy also includes its participation in the open source, Linux-driven Hyperledger Project (demonstrated at FinDEVr). Just this week, a commodity trading and agribusiness software provider, The Seam, that has “cleared or processed” $7 billion, announced it would be joining IBM’s blockchain consortium.

Blockchain_IBM

IBM is not the only major technology company to pursue the blockchain-as-a-service model. Microsoft, which launched a blockchain sandbox in October 2015, partnered with Ethereum collective, ConsenSys to give its enterprise clients access to an Ethereum blockchain-as-a-service network. This will enable business users of Microsoft’s Azure to easily build and deploy “private and semi-private or consortium blockchain networks.” Note also that Microsoft partnered with AMIS to launch Asia’s first blockchain consortium in December.

That said, IBM distinguishes itself from Microsoft’s efforts by being fairly IBM-centric in its offering. Jerry Cuomo, IBM VP of blockchain technology, told CoinDesk: “What we’re doing is we’re picking a specific fabric and a specific point of view. We’re not interested in any fabric,” Cuomo explained, “we’re interested in one that can support business applications. We’re a bit more opinionated on what fabric is needed.”

International Business Machines, indeed.

And when it comes to ascertaining the appetite for blockchain, IBM has done its homework. In a survey of 200 banks, IBM learned that 65% of respondents “plan to have projects in production” in the next three years. Areas of focus include clearing and settlement, wholesale payments, equity and debt issuance, and reference data. Respondents to a different survey of 200 global FIs revealed that 14% planned to deploy commercial blockchain products in 2017.

Ripple Rolls On with Big Investment, New CEO

Among blockchain startups, Ripple (FS13) has been a key player in helping FIs leverage its technology to build blockchain networks. The company announced a partnership with leading corporate Nordic bank SEB late in 2016 to build an “internal, closed blockchain” that will enable the bank to transfer money in real time between accounts in New York and Stockholm. Ripple is also involved in India’s Axis Bank and it plans to use Ripple’s network for real-time settlement of cross-border transactions.

Blockchain_Ripple

2016 was a major year for Ripple. The company announced a number of new additions – including Santander, UBS, CIBC, and Standard Chartered – to its global network. Ripple’s network now includes 15 of the top 50 global banks as well as “10 banks in commercial deal phases, and over 30 bank pilots completed.” Ripple’s digital currency, XRP, was part of blockchain consortium, R3’s 12-bank cross-border payments trial in October. The company picked up $55 million in Series B funding in September, taking Ripple’s total capital to more than $93 million. Ripple also appointed a new CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, who has previously served as the company’s president and COO.

“The continued growth of the Ripple network represents a major endorsement of our open approach to connecting the world’s bank and their customers,” Ripple co-founder and former CEO Chris Larsen said. Larsen, who will transition to the role of Ripple chairman of the board at the beginning of 2017, added: “Together we are building a modern payments system to enable new economic opportunities and the seamless flow of value around the world.”

R3: Are Blockchain-Curious Banks Stronger Together?

One way to measure the progress of blockchain technology is by keeping track of the comings (and goings) of members of R3, the world’s largest blockchain-based cooperative. Founded in 2014 and with more than 70 of the world’s largest FIs onboard, R3 is designed to conduct research on and promote the use of blockchain technology in financial services. R3’s biggest contribution to date is Corda, an open-source distributed ledger platform that, while maintaining many of the characteristics of blockchain technology, is not – technically speaking – a blockchain.

Blockchain_R3

Unfortunately, many of the headlines R3 made in 2016 involved a handful of founding members – including Morgan Stanley, Santander, and Goldman Sachs – leaving the cooperative. Specific reasons for leaving the group were typically not provided, though each bank made it clear that the decision was not a reflection on their interest in blockchain technology. Many observers have speculated that the timing of the departures was related to issues surrounding R3’s fundraising efforts, as well as concerns about the growth of the cooperative itself (currently at more than 70 members). Speaking to the departures at Disrupt London in December, R3 founder and CEO David Rutter pointed to the difficulty of “meet(ing) everyone’s criteria” in an organization the size of R3. To the fundraising concerns, Rutter affirmed R3’s “very good progress” toward completing a $150 million funding round.

Beyond the Banks: Card Companies, Payments and Blockchain

One interesting place to keep an eye on for blockchain-related developments in 2017 is among non-bank financial players like the card companies. Visa (FD14), for example, unveiled a blockchain based payments platform, Visa B2B Connect, in partnership with Chain (FD15) in 2016. The technology, designed to provide “near real-time transactions” for high value international payments, will undergo testing this year.

Meanwhile, Mastercard (F14; FD14) has responded to its rival’s challenge by adding blockchain-based APIs to its app developer’s platform, MasterCard Developers. The APIs include a Blockchain Core API, a Smart Contracts API, and a Fast Pay Network API. Mastercard says its APIs, among other things, will help developers build tools to take counterparty risk and costs from transaction flow, as well as improve processing audibility and client privacy.

Is a Bull Market in Bitcoin a Boon for the Blockchain?

With bitcoin closing 2016 with a return to its highest level in years, it is little surprise the cryptocurrency is finding its way into the hearts and minds of investors seeking uncorrelated assets to diversify their portfolios. In “Bitcoin Investing: Where Wall Street and Silicon Valley Meet,” Chris Burniske and Adam White make the case for bitcoin as an asset class for long-term investors based on the currency’s declining volatility, reward-vs-risk, and lack of correlation with most other markets including gold, U.S. real estate, and U.S. equities since 2011. Whether growing interest in bitcoin ends up contributing to (or at least correlating with) increased interest in the technology that makes the digital currency possible will be one of the big questions of 2017, as well.