Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • “Andreessen Horowitz Leads $25 Million Investment in Quantopian
  • “Finovate Debuts: GoodData Helps Banks Put Their Data to Work”
  • “Nutmeg Spices Things Up with New $37 Million Investment”

Around the web

  • FinDEVr alum Smart Token Chain completes first smart token transfer via Ripple network.
  • From apps to APIs: Dwolla rebrands as platform.
  • PwC unveils Vulcan Digital Asset Services, a suite of digital currency solutions including digital wallets and international payment processing.
  • Entersekt to power mobile app security for FirstBank.
  • CoverHound partners with Metromile to offer more coverage options for auto and property insurance.
  • WealthForge exceeds $250M in transactions completed on platform.
  • Kabbage hires chief technology officer and chief data officer.
  • AutoGravity to power digital car sales and finance app for Fletcher Jones Motorcars.
  • Visa Developer Challenge winner Corezoid earns recognition at Money 20/20 Hackathon.

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: RegTech Reality Check, Blockchain Bandwagon, and IBM’s New Wallet

makecompliancegreatagain_redhat

Hat, courtesy of Alloy, a customer-onboarding specialist that debuted at FinDEVr in October.

The dream of RegTech is alive at Finovate

Deloitte recently asked what we should make of regtech in a new report titled, “RegTech is the new FinTech: How agile regulatory technology is helping firms better understand and manage their risks.” To the extent that regtech represents technologies, strategies, and solutions designed to help firms better meet regulatory obligations, remain compliant, and/or secure their processes, there may be less new here than meets the eye. Compared to insurtech, regtech firms have been prominent players in the fintech firmament for years.

To its credit, Deloitte is aware of the “old-is-new-again” aspect of regtech. The report notes that “while the name is new, the marriage of technology and regulation to address regulatory challenges has existed for some time with varying degrees of success.”

Indeed. Consider companies like Gremln (F14), which demonstrated a social media platform specifically for regulated industries, and Finect (F13), which unveiled a compliant communication platform for financial professionals. Qumram (F16) provides software that helps ensure complaint communication by recording digital interactions from web, social, and mobile channels.

My Virtual Strongbox (F14) introduced the kind of secure document-storage technology that can help FIs better manage customer documentation. Global Debt Registry, another F14 presenter, provides compliance and risk-management solutions to the account-management industry. OutsideIQ (F16) enables FIs to uncover regulatory risk using a combination of machine learning and human analysis. FundAmerica (F15), arguably one of the most explicitly regtech companies to demo at Finovate, provides crowdfunding platforms with APIs for a wide variety of “mission-critical, back-end regulatory requirements.”

Additionally, there are a sizeable number of credit risk analysis innovators such as QCR (F15), CreditHQ (F16), and FICO (FD16); companies like Avalara (FD15) that help merchants recognize and satisfy sales-tax requirements (or by that token, even a VATBox (F15) that helps recover VAT fees for international travelers); and cloud-based auditing technologies like those available from Auvenir (F16), whose identity as a fintech company was a topic of our deliberations.

And all of this is to say nothing of the even larger number of security and authentication specialists whose technologies—at least by Deloitte’s definition—can be considered regtech. Note that Deloitte’s Ireland-based rundown of regtech companies includes Finovate alum Trustev (F14), whose online ID-verification technology is very much in the same category as dozens of other security, authentication, verification, anti-fraud innovators.

The question as to whether regtech as a “thing” (as the millennials say) can be separated from the broader fintech discussion is likely more of a marketing decision than anything else. Clearly regtech has the ranks; the issue is to what degree does distinguishing them as a type of innovator apart from the larger fintech world make it easier for these companies to attract top talent, develop necessary solutions, and raise the capital to drive and grow their businesses. From the perspective of fintech in general—and Finovate/FinDEVr in specific—we’re happier having regtech innovating from “inside the tent,” as opposed to being outside the tent trying to find a way in.

See also:

Blockchain bandwagon

Two more major players jumped on the blockchain bandwagon. IBM (FD16) showed its Hyperledger at FinDEVr last week and Visa (FD14) announced its cross-border payment system built on blockchain-like distributed ledgers, an apparent challenge to Swift. The technology is powered by Chain (FD15) which counts Visa, Capital One (FD15) and Citibank as investors. According to Javelin Strategy, banks will invest $1 billion this year in blockchain initiatives.

Mobile payments gets another huge player

Speaking of IBM, one of the more surprising announcements at Money2020 was the launch of IBM Pay, a private-label mobile payments and POS system. Details are sketchy, but in the IBM video below, it appears to be a Starbucks-like QR code system. It’s part of IBM’s Watson Commerce initiative.

Fintech Favorites

Blockchain

  • Visa (FD14) partners with blockchain innovator Chain (FD15) to develop a “near real-time,” high value, fund-transfer system between banks and corporate customers called Visa B2B Connect. The technology is expected to pilot in 2017 and could add much needed transparency and security, as well as speed, to B2B payments.
  • Five banks including Credit Suisse, Barclays, and Citi announce successful test of smart contract prototype developed by blockchain startup, Axoni. The project specifically tested ways to manage and synchronize single stock, index, and portfolio swaps.

Go East, Young Developer

  • Mizuho announces new innovation lab in Tokyo supported by Mitsubishi Estate and Dentsu. Remember that Finovate is headed to Hong Kong on 8 November for FinovateAsia 2016. Check out our FinovateAsia information page for details.

Payments

  • CVS Pharmacy launches mobile payment technology CVS Pay nationwide. The technology, part of CVS’s mobile app, incorporates payment, prescription pickup, and the pharmacy’s loyalty program.
  • Ingo Money unveils its Instant Payments, a white-label, API-based, push payments technology. According to Ingo founder and CEO Drew Edwards, the solution “makes it easy for any company to implement push payments quickly and begin originating real-time, guaranteed payments to any customer or employee within their own proprietary user flows and branded experience.”
  • Australia introduces the New Payment Platform (NPP), a version of the U.K.’s Faster Payments service. The real-time bank transfer service that works with just a phone number or an email address is expected to debut in 2017.
  • Android Pay goes live at more than 5,000 retail locations in Hong Kong, including 7-Eleven, McDonalds, and Circle K. The technology also supports gift and loyalty cards.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

Around the web

  • Visa builds new blockchain payments platform, Visa B2B Connect, in partnership with Chain.
  • Wipro to acquire cloud services firm, Appirio, for $500 million.
  • Open source subscription billing and payments platform, Kill Bill, integrates with Dwolla.
  • Revolut wins Best New Customer Facing Innovation at Emerging Payments Awards 2016.

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: P2P, EMV, NFC, NLP…. OMG

A look at the trending topics of the past two weeks, co-authored by Finovate’s research analysts David Penn and Julie (Schicktanz) Muhn.

Big handshakes

Cardtronics acquires DirectCash Payments

In a $460 million deal, Texas-based ATM operator Cardtronics has acquired Canada-based DirectCash Payments. The deal is expected to help Cardtronics expand into Canada and the United Kingdom. DirectCash Payments has 25,000 ATMs around the globe, primarily in Australia, Canada, and the U.K. Once the deal closes in Q1 of 2017, it will boost Cardtronics’ network to 225,000 ATMs across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

Jack Henry & Associates (F10) teams up with Visa (F10)

In a new partnership, Jack Henry & Associates has integrated with Visa to allow customers to send P2P payments directly to a recipient’s Visa debit card. This eliminates the need for a recipient to provide their account and routing number to the sender. With increased competition in the P2P payments industry (PayPal/Venmo (FDNY 16), Square Cash, Zello), banks are feeling pressure to compete by offering faster delivery of funds. The partnership enables banks to offer funds-transfers a day sooner, or even same-day. Jack Henry began offering P2P payment capability in 2005 and expects the new method to boost usage.

Sberbank (F16) and MasterCard (F11) partner to launch ApplePay in Russia

Starting this week, Mastercard cardholders in Russia can now pay using ApplePay, thanks to a new partnership between Russian bank Sberbank and Mastercard. In a statement, the bank’s Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board, Alexander Torbakhov, said, “Apple Pay is driving the popularization of contactless payments in Russia and globally. Many of Sberbank clients actively use new technologies, and an increasing number of them will prefer cash-free and contactless payment using their smartphones.”

This is the Russian bank’s second big move this week. On Monday the company inked a partnership with Hyperledger to begin working on the Hyperledger Project.

PayPal (F11) and Vodafone partner for in-store NFC mobile payments

Acting on a partnership it first initiated in February, PayPal partnered with Vodafone to enable U.K. users to make NFC payments from their PayPal accounts using their Android phones. The agreement enables consumers to make transactions of up to £30 ($36.60) at 400,000 retail locations. For more expensive purchases, Vodafone Pay users can use their Vodafone wallet (launched in 2013), which requires a PIN.

The NFC payment capability with Vodafone was piloted in Spain. PayPal also has agreements in place with other global telcos, including America Movil, Telcel, and Claro.

Regulation

Happy birthday, U.S. EMV.
It’s been one year since EMV regulation in the United States was placed into effect. If you live in America, you’ve likely noticed that adoption is low. In fact, according to a recent report from Mastercard, 88% of consumers have been issued chip cards, but only 33% of merchant locations accept them.

Mobile POS company CardFlight (F13) released data on EMV usage in the U.S. over the course of the year and found:

  • 78% of cards now contain EMV chips, up from 46% in October 2015
  • American Express leads the way in EMV card issuance, with 96% of their cards now EMV-enabled
  • Mastercard is the runner-up: 71% of cards issued contain an EMV chip

Check out CardFlight’s full EMV report here.

Though usage remains low, Mastercard reported this week that it has seen an overall decrease in fraud since the EMV change. The company reports that between April 2015 and April 2016, retailers who have transitioned to EMV experienced a 54% decrease in counterfeit fraud.

Ready, set, ACH
As of September 30, a new rule from NACHA requires all banks to process incoming same-day ACH credits. Most ACH payments are currently settled on the next business day: the new rule-change offers originators the option to send an ACH transaction to any recipient account for same-day processing. NACHA has imposed a same-day fee on every same-day ACH transaction to help financial institutions receiving the funds to recover the cost to enable same-day ACH. Phase two of NACHA’s Same-day ACH initiative will take effect 15 Sept 2017.

Capital One integration with Amazon Echo
Capital One integration with Amazon Echo

Technologies: AI, chatbots, and natural language processing (NLP)

The industry-wide obsession with chatbots continues. Finovate last month showcased a dozen variants on the chatbot theme. One of our newer alums, Personetics (F16), is even holding a Chatbot Bootcamp next month in San Francisco. And our chatbot-banking post in March is our fourth most-read. But the bigger conversation is around natural language processing (NLP) and how it can be used to retrieve information and perform tasks. A new report from Juniper Research estimated that NLP would drive $2.1 TRILLION in annual purchases via mobile five years from now (2021).

The tech world is in a tizzy over Amazon’s Alexa capabilities. We showcased two demos of her at FinovateFall from BankJoy (F16 demo) and FIS (F09) (F16 demo). Capital One is the only bank with a live Alexa integration (called “Skill”), but Lloyds Bank put together a proof of concept this spring. There are currently 2,904 skills listed in the unofficial Alexa database, but very little in the financial realm. Expect to see much more activity as financial institutions and fintech companies develop applications using Amazon’s Alexa and the new Google Assistant.

Sibos 2016 celebrates the blockchain

The annual Sibos 2016 conference in Geneva took place at the end of September—between the last Fintech Trending meeting and this one. Organized by SWIFT, Sibos is considered to be the world’s premier financial services event covering areas such as payments, securities, cash management, and trade.

So what was big at Sibos 2016 this year? The blockchain. 2016 was the first year that Sibos dedicated a track “exclusively to distributed ledger” technology. And the event’s startup-industry challenge was all about how to use the blockchain in the securities industry. The three startups that won the challenge will develop PoCs using technologies like smart contracts (SmartContract), distributed ledgers (Rise Financial Technologies), and open-source blockchain platforms (Coin Sciences).

Some have ascertained the irony in SWIFT’s embrace of the blockchain: Its $6 billion payment-messaging service is one of the technologies “widely perceived to be at risk for disintermediation” by blockchain technology. And indeed, companies like Finovate alum Ripple (F13) have made great strides in helping FIs like Bank of America, Santander, and Royal Bank of Canada use distributed-ledger technology to provide a global blockchain-payments network with “near-instant” settlement. Interestingly, Ripple recently hired former SWIFT board member Marcus Treacher as its new global head of strategic accounts. Treacher told CoinDesk in September that SWIFT was the “de facto way everyone moves money through countries.” And cross-border payment is something he specifically believes Ripple “can do better.”

  • Global Banks Partner to Form Blockchain Payments Network—CoinDesk
  • Sibos 2016: Innotribe Industry Challenge—results—Banking Technology

Speaking of blockchain, a number of companies with blockchain and distributed-ledger technologies will be presenting at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley, next week. These companies include PwC, which will present its blockchain-as-a-service technology to improve trade finance, and IBM with its hyperledger implementation in the cloud that helps manage and test blockchain-dev projects. Also on hand will be distributed database specialists Aerospike (FD16) and Cognitect (FD16).

InsurTech rising

From FT Partners recent report on the boom in insurance-technology innovation, to InsurTech Rising’s event, Informa, to launch on 21 Oct, this area of financial technology is garnering increasing attention.

Why? As FT Partners pointed out in their 247-page report, the insurance industry is one of the areas of finance that so far has been least affected by the technological disruption nearly commonplace elsewhere. The insurance industry is a multitrillion dollar business; property and casualty insurers alone generated more than $64 billion in net income in 2014. And it sits at the nexus between the drive to better engage customers (is there anything enjoyable about insurance from a consumer perspective) and the need to accommodate complex and shifting regulatory landscapes (something the rest of finance is becoming increasingly familiar with).

What are the focuses of insurtech? Most technology innovation in the area revolves around trends in distribution and administration: data and analytics, and marketing and customer engagement. This includes everything from the kinds of products offered to consumers, such as micro-insurance, to using mobile channels and interactive technologies to make insurance products easier to understand, choose from, and purchase.

How are industry players responding and what to watch for? From partnering with innovative startups to acquisitions, incumbent insurance firms are increasingly aware of the challenge. FT Partners reports that more than 40% of traditional insurers surveyed by Ptolemus Consulting said they were planning to “acquire, or have already acquired, innovative startups to help them expand their digital capabilities” and more than half say they have already invested in social media, data mining, and predictive modeling. Nearly 70% have embraced mobile technology.

  • Wave Mechanics: FT Partners Report Highlights Trends Driving Rise of Insurtech—Finovate
  • Prepare for the InsurTech Wave: Overview of Key Insurance Technology Trends—FT Partners
  • Informa’s FinTech Futures Hosts InsurTech Rising (pending)—Finovate

——
Note: Finovate alums have the year of their first appearance listed after their name. For example, FIS first appeared at Finovate in 2009, so there is a (F09) after their name, with a link to that first demo.

Fintech Favorites

Featured

  • U.K.-based challenger bank Atom opens to the public. The bank’s iPhone and iPad app is built on the Unity gaming platform and is the only way to access the mobile-only bank. Atom has a customer service team equipped with AI and machine learning, and has bolstered its security using voice and face biometric login. Atom Bank is the first of a handful of U.K. challenger banks set to launch this year, including Mondo, Starling Bank, and Tandem. Atom is headquartered in Durham and is already valued at almost $190 million. Check out Business Insider’s coverage.

Deals

  • Akamai (FEU 15) acquires Soha Systems, which offers secure access as a service for enterprises. This matches well with Akamai’s aim to offer cloud-based services to enterprises, and places it in a good position for a potential acquisition. See our coverage.
  • Jack Henry & Associates (FF 15) collaborates with Visa (FDSV 14) to accelerate P2P payments to debit cards. This may help banks compete with other services that have sped up settlement times, such as Zelle (formerly clearXchange) and Venmo (FS 13). See the press release.

Milestones

  • IBM (FF 16) announced a $200 million investment for a new global headquarters for its Watson IoT business. The headquarters will be located in Munich and is one of IBM’s largest-ever investments in Europe. This move is part of a $3 billion initiative to bring Watson’s computing expertise into the world of IoT. See IBM at FinDEVr Silicon Valley, 18/19 Oct 2016. See VentureBeat’s coverage here.
  • Banking Technology reported that Misys (FEU 15) is preparing to issue an IPO in Nov 2016 with a $6.9 billion float. Advisory firm Moelis will be overseeing the move. Misys was delisted from the London Stock Exchange in 2012 when it merged with Turaz. Misys CEO Nadeem Sayed says going public is a “logical step in our evolution.” See Banking Technology’s coverage.
  • Aire (FEU 15) raised $2 million. Along with the funding announcement, the alternative credit-scoring platform announced it is now authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the U.K.’s financial regulator. This places it on a more level playing field to compete with the big three credit bureaus. See our coverage.

Tech

  • Thomson Reuters (FF 12) unveils blockchain-dev platform, BlockOne ID. Built for Ethereum, BlockOne ID is an experimental framework in which app owners can manage access to their blockchain contracts in a controlled environment. See Banking Tech’s coverage.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Darwinex Unveils Mobile App for Android
  • Two P2P Sharing Economy Players Team Up–Airbnb and Zopa

Around the web

  • Fidor Bank teams up with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank to launch first community-based digital bank in the region.
  • Bank of Ireland to deploy UniversalSuite core banking solution from Temenos.
  • Jack Henry & Associates collaborates with Visa to accelerate P2P payments to debit cards.
  • Sberbank and MasterCard launch Apple Pay on Russian market.
  • Bluefin Announces Issuance of Patent on Decryption as a Service.
  • Eurogiro and TransferTo join forces to link mobile money with 500,000 bank and postal branches.
  • PayPal promotes Braintree’s William Ready to chief operating officer.
  • Commercial Bank of Texas hires Insuritas to launch insurance agency.
  • Cachet Partners with Viamericas to Provide Mobile International Money Transfers

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.

Four Fintech Companies in Forbes 100 Most Innovative Public Companies

forbes innovators list

We love seeing alums called out in the numerous “most innovative” articles. Usually, those skew to young private startups. But the recent Forbes list of innovators, limited to large public companies (minimum market cap = $10 billion, with 7 years of public ownership), didn’t disappoint. Four financial technology companies made the top-100 list, and all four have appeared on the Finovate stage. Interestingly, financial services firms are excluded by Forbes on the grounds that they “have no measurable investment in R&D.” (I am sure many readers would argue that point).

Here are the financial fab-four in order of their finish (the innovation premium is the extra value investors place on their growth vs. their enterprise value, methodology):

Note: Experian will be showing its latest tech at Finovate this week as well (sneak peek)

Mastercard Says “Me Too” to Visa’s PayPal Partnership

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 7.54.52 AM

Just over a month after PayPal signed a partnership with Visa, the online money-transfer company has inked a deal with Mastercard.

The terms of today’s agreement with Mastercard are similar to those PayPal laid out with Visa:

  • Mastercard will be clearly presented as a payment option within the PayPal app
  • Users will be able to set Mastercard as their preferred payment method
  • Mastercard will help PayPal boost its presence at the point-of-sale (POS)
  • Mastercard’s Masterpass will be available as a payment option for merchants using Braintree
  • Venmo users can withdraw their Venmo balance using Mastercard Send

Also similar to the Visa deal, PayPal will receive volume incentives and will not be charged a digital wallet-operator fee for using Masterpass.

PayPal spun off from parent company eBay last year and has since been focused on growing its presence at the brick-and-mortar POS to help it compete with the growing number of mobile-wallet apps. The company’s recent partnerships with Visa and Mastercard are expected to spur growth in this area.

PayPal debuted Instant Account Creation at FinovateEurope 2012. Justin Woo, the company’s Braintree developer evangelist, presented at FinDEVr New York 2016. Visa has also presented at FinDEVr: M. Tad Tilahun, VP of product development, and M. Tad Tilahun and Alan Johnson, senior director/digital developed markets, presented at FinDEVr San Francisco 2014. Visa previously appeared at FinovateSpring 2010, where it demoed a tool to help consumers collect and organize products. At FinovateFall 2014, Mastercard took the stage to launch Mastercard Pay with Rewards, a solution that allows cardholders to redeem points at the point-of-sale. The company showed off its Developer Zone at FinDEVr San Francisco 2014.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • FinovateFall: Mapping the Future of Fintech Today
  • Payworks Raises $4.5 Million Series A
  • Mastercard Says “Me Too” to Visa’s PayPal Partnership

Around the web

  • Top Image Systems Signs Two Accounts Payable Automation Deals Valued at Over $480,000
  • EU-based mobile payments company SumUp achieves profitability.
  • Let’s Talk Payments interviews Boku CEO Jon Prideaux.
  • ACI Worldwide brings UP Retail Payments to Erste Bank Hungary.
  • Braintree to offer Visa Checkout.
  • ayondo relaunches website with new design and features to improve trading experience.
  • TransferWise announces tripling of revenues in first public annual report.

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.