Gusto and Xero Announce Strategic Alliance

A newly announced strategic alliance between payroll, benefits, and HR technology specialist Gusto and cloud accounting innovator Xero will bolster growth for Gusto, enable Xero to provide full-service payroll in all 50 U.S. states, and put competitors like Intuit and ADP on notice that a rival has arrived.

“We first began our partnership with Xero five years ago and, since then, they have quickly become one of the most popular integrations with Gusto,” Lexi Reese, Chief Operations Officer for Gusto, said. “We are confident that together we can help business owners manage the back-office complexities that can distract them from growing their companies.”

The strategic alliance will involve a deeper technical integration of the two platforms that is expected to be completed by early 2019. The new seamless experience for SME owners and accountants will provide a single sign-on enabling access to Gusto accounts using Xero credentials, automatically updated cash flow management, and the ability to provide permissions to trusted third parties such as outside accountants.

Other benefits include access to Xero’s business task automation, and a shared ledger that provides a real-time view into business data and cash flow.

“We’re partnering with Gusto because we have a shared vision for building innovative new solutions that help small businesses and accountants thrive in the new economy,” President of Xero Americas Keri Gohman said. “We’re both born-in-the-cloud companies working to build software that makes complicated business tasks more simple and human. By joining forces, we can help more small businesses and accountants find long-term success.”

San Francisco, California-based Gusto has raised $170 million in funding. and its investors include Kleiner Perkins, General Catalyst, GV, Emergence Capital Partners, CapitalG, and Ribbit Capital. The company, which demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2014 as ZenPayroll, rebranded as Gusto in the fall of 2015. The rebrand included an expansion of the company’s services to include both health benefits and workers compensation management.

Last month, Gusto launched Flexible Pay, which enables workers to get paid on a day other than their regularly scheduled payday. Also in June, Gusto introduced its Partner Directory. Dubbed “Yelp for Accountants,” the directory is designed to help SMEs find the right accounting talent for their business. In addition to launching a freemium option this spring, the company began the year forging a partnership with accounting software provider Aplos.

Xero announced an integration with BBVA’s API Market for small businesses earlier this month. In June, the company introduced its Connected Accounting technology that automatically categorizes accounting data to give businesses insights that can help them better manage their finances. Back in February , Xero inked a partnership with IT management solutions provider Kaseya and announced ACH integration with Stripe

Headquartered in Wellington, New Zealand, Xero demonstrated the Business Identification feature of its online accounting system at FinovateSpring 2011. Founded in 2006, the company is publicly traded on the Australian Stock Exchange under the ticker XRO, and has a market capitalization of $3.7 billion (AUD$5 billion).

Socure Unveils Digital Identity Bot Aida

 

Socure, a New York-based company that provides predictive analytics for digital identity verification, has launched a new solution this week. Aida (Authentic Identity Agent) is a new identity verification bot that can be deployed to validate authenticity in online transactions. Aida is named after the world’s first computer scientist, Ada Lovelace, and leverages AI to process billions of on- and offline datapoints to provide real-time digital identification.

“Socure is solving the single most difficult problem in identity verification,” Socure’s founder and chief strategy officer Sunil Madhu said, “validating a person that’s never done business with an organization before.” Criticizing traditional methods of verifying identity in the digital world as “a miserable failure,” Madhu praised both Aida’s speed and accuracy.

“Aida can assess in real-time and with unprecedented levels of reliability, whether a digital identity is authentic, synthetic, or has been stolen by performing beyond-human analysis at machine speed,” he explained. “Aida essentially lives every minute of every day to verify identities and fight fraud.”

Socure founder and Chief Strategy Officer Sunil Madhu demonstrating the Socure ID+ platform at FinovateFall 2017.

Part of the company Socure ID+ identity verification platform, Aida combines AI, unsupervised machine learning, and clustering algorithms to provide a continuous loop of data ingestion, normalization, and evaluation from sources such as credit bureaus, social networks, and email history. Aida automatically builds explainable, transparent machine learning models in hours, and conducts predictive analytics on real-time transactions to determine which should be accepted automatically and which should be flagged for manual review by a human fraud analyst.

Named to Red Herring’s Top 100 in North America earlier this month, Socure announced in June that two of the top five U.S. banks (and three of the top ten) are using its technology. This spring, the company appointed Tom Thimot as its new CEO, with Socure founder and former CEO Madhu transitioning to the Chief Strategy Officer role.

Founded in 2012, Socure demonstrated its verification platform at FinovateFall 2017 last year. The company has raised nearly $32 million in funding, and includes Commerce Ventures, Flint Capital, and ff Venture Capital among its investors.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Socure Unveils Digital Identity Bot Aida.

Around the world

  • PayStand teams up with Silicon Valley Bank and First Data in fintech accelerator, Commerce, Innovated.
  • Hydrogen launches Hydro mobile app, a security and identity management app that leverages the public blockchain.
  • India’s self-driving mobility platform Zoomcar partners with identity verification specialist Onfido.

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.

The ID Co. Unveils Open Banking API Platform

It’s Open Banking Season in the U.K. And this makes this week’s launch of The ID Co.’s Open Banking API platform especially timely. The new solution enables business customers to use The ID Co.’s DirectID user verification technology to access open banking services with live connections to all major U.K. banks.

These connections provide access to institutions including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Group, Santander, The Royal Bank of Scotland, and Nationwide. Digital banks like Starling and Monzo are supported, as well.

“Open banking in the U.K. represents a huge opportunity for not only businesses but consumers to benefit from,” The ID Co. CEO and founder James Varga said. “We are passionate to enable our customers to take advantage of the Open Banking opportunity and help them unlock the true value of Open Banking. After all, it’s not just about the raw data – it’s what you do with it that counts.”

DirectID provides businesses with a plug and play, identity and bank data service that is designed to increase conversions, reduce risk, and save time and money. The solution features tools for income verification and underwriting, and verifies account information with instant access to digital bank statements. DirectID also includes a complete AML compliance and KYC verification process, and real-time assessments of credit risk exposure.

CTO for The ID Co. Scott Leckie called completion of the open banking integrations “an exciting step” and added that support for additional U.K. banks – as well as support for new Open Banking V2 data blocks and new products and services leveraging bank data – are forthcoming in the next few months.

DirectID is currently live with leading lenders, FIs, and fintechs in the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands. As miicard, the company demonstrated its identity-as-a-service technology at FinovateFall 2013. Last month, The ID Co. was granted FCA Authorization as Open Banking AISP in the U.K. market, and announced at the time that “key Open Banking customers and platform enhancements” would be added to the platform soon.

An inaugural member of the fintech accelerator, SixThirty, the Edinburgh, Scotland-based firm has raised more than $9 million in funding. The ID Co.’s customers include OakNorth Bank, Navient, and fellow Finovate alum Prosper.

P2Binvestor Teams Up with Amalgamated Bank to Help SMEs Get Funded

New partnership. More deals. Bigger financing opportunities for small businesses.

That’s the plan for online SME lender P2Binvestor (P2Bi) and Amalgamated Bank, a socially responsible bank headquartered in New York. By working together, P2Bi and Amalgamated Bank will be able to provide more financing with less risk to early-stage SMEs that have traditionally struggled to secure credit.

“Our partnership with Amalgamated Bank signifies another important step in further validating our Bank Partnership Program,” CEO and co-founder of P2Bi Krista Morgan said. “Our technology, combined with Amalgamated’s record of success, allows us to provide affordable, scalable financing options to up and coming brands across the country. In addition, we’re proud to partner with a socially responsible company that shares similar values not only with us, but with many of our clients.”

Working with P2Bi will enable the $4+ billion bank to expand its loan portfolio and fund more emerging, socially responsible commercial and industrial businesses. P2Bi benefits from access to those businesses currently doing business with the bank. For SMEs, P2Bi’s lower rates on its lines of credit provide affordable, flexible financing on a platform that is easy to use.

“Amalgamated is dedicated to developing innovative and tailored banking and financing solutions for mission-driven organizations and companies who are working to make a positive impact in our society,” President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank, Keith Mestrich said. “By partnering with P2Bi, Amalgamated is able to help these businesses access capital they might not have otherwise had access to – and in turn grow their business and their impact.”

The new relationship with Amalgamated is a function of P2Bi’s partnership program, launched last year. The program enables banks to finance SMEs, taking a 50%, senior secured position, with P2Bi’s investors providing the other half of the funding. Interest rates range from 8% to 12% on asset-backed lines of credit from $500,000 to $10 million.

P2Bi demonstrated its P2B crowdlending platform at FinovateFall 2014. Last month, the company raised more than $17 million in combined debt and equity funding, taking P2Bi’s combined overall funding to $33.76 million. Earlier this year, American Banker took a look at how another FI, New Resource Bank, was leveraging its partnership with P2Binvestor to reach SME clients in San Francisco. P2Binvestor was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Denver, Colorado.

OnDeck Scores $93 Million in Two Credit Facilities

Online small business lender OnDeck closed a pair of revolving credit facilities this week. The $93 million in asset-backed funds come from Credit Suisse, which contributed $55 million (AUD 75 million) to go to small businesses in Australia, and Crédit Agricole, which contributed $38 million (CAD50 million) for small business loans to Canadians.

“Securing cost-effective facilities that provide committed funding to support the loan growth of our international businesses reflects another step forward in the execution of our financing strategy,” said Ken Brause, Chief Financial Officer at OnDeck. “These two transactions provide additional capacity to support small businesses in Australia and Canada and help them to achieve their goals.”

OnDeck will use the Credit Suisse facility to refinance its loan book at a lower rate and to fund future small business loan originations. OnDeck will service the loans, which it will extend to OnDeck Australia and OnDeck Canada subsidiaries. The funds are expected to promote small business growth in Australia and Canada by burgeoning the amount of working capital available.

Both loans carry an initial weighted average interest rate of 5.6%. The Credit Suisse loan will mature in June 2020 while Crédit Agricole’s matures in June 2021. These credit facilities make a total of four funding events that the New York-based company has received this year, following a $100 million revolving credit facility and a $225 million securitization, both received in April.

Founded in 2007, OnDeck leverages its OnDeck Score that uses advanced analytics to make real-time lending decisions and deliver funds to small businesses in as little as 24 hours. Since launch, the company has deployed $8+ billion to customers in 700 different industries across the United States, Canada, and Australia. OnDeck demoed at FinovateSpring 2012 and gave a presentation at our developers conference, FinDEVr New York 2016.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • OnDeck Scores $93 Million in Two Credit Facilities.
  • P2Binvestor Teams Up with Amalgamated Bank to Help SMEs Get Funded.
  • The ID Co. Unveils Open Banking API Platform.

Around the web

  • Carte Wealth Management to deploy advisor engagement platform powered by BlueRush.
  • CREALOGIX wins Best Web Front End Solution at the 2018 Systems in the City Awards for fintech in banking and wealth management.
  • Technology from Cognizant and Temenos helps Julius Baer complete core banking modernization.
  • Coinbase correction: No SEC approval received for acquisitions.
  • BehavioSec’s behavioral biometrics platform fulfills critical requirements achieving Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) compliance.
  • Roostify partners with Colonial National Mortgage to provide customers with a simple and intuitive online mortgage experience.

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.

FundAmerica Acquired by Prime Trust

From “key vendor” to acquirer, Prime Trust has just purchased crowdfunding regtech specialist FundAmerica. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In an email, FundAmerica CEO Scott Purcell emphasized the deep relationship between the two companies (Purcell is CEO of both firms and is Chief Trust Officer of Prime Trust). He wrote “Prime Trust (is) developing a massive amount of proprietary software on top of FundAmerica’s code-base, so the acquisition is symbiotic for everyone involved.”

FundAmerica builds SEC-compliant solutions for technology-based securities offerings. The company’s platform provides AML screening and bad actor checks, payment acceptance solutions for both fiat and cryptocurrencies, online investing, escrow management, and broker-dealer compliance and syndication tools. To date, FundAmerica has raised more than $750 million from 150,000 investors in more than 1,000 offerings.

Prime Trust is a blockchain-driven trust company that sees itself disrupting the traditional trust industry in the same way PayPal disrupted merchant processing. The firm serves as a custodian and trustee for personal and corporate trusts, as well as for crowdfunding platforms. It holds cash and non-cash assets including stocks, bonds, and cryptocurrencies.

Combining the two companies provides capital markets participants with a one-stop-shop in terms of both regulatory and custodial services. And Purcell pledged that there would be no disruption for clients and partners of FundAmerica or Prime Trust. “The APIs, the technology, and the services all continue without interruption,” Purcell wrote. “They will just get better and better.”

He added, “The important thing is that Prime Trust and FundAmerica are now unified and even better positioned to deliver best-in-class technology, compliance, trust, and custodial services to everyone involved in online capital markets; including ICOs and SCOs.”

Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, FundAmerica demonstrated its API for crowdfunding platform compliance at FinovateSpring 2015. Previous to its acquisition, the company had raised $2.3 million in funding.

Algomi Picks Up Investment from Euroclear

Fixed income liquidity matching innovator Algomi is the recipient of new funding courtesy of an investment from Euroclear Information Services (EIS). Existing investors Euronext, AllianceBernstein, and S&P Global also participated. The exact amount of the funding was undisclosed; the company’s previous total capital stood at $14 million.

“Our investment in Algomi is driven by client demand to access untapped liquidity pools,” Euroclear CEO Peter Holder said. “This venture represents an opportunity to transform our data into an asset to increase transparency and provide a substantial boost for global fixed income markets.”

Algomi’s fundraising comes just a month after the company appointed a new CEO, Scott Eaton, who was formerly EMEA COO at MarketAxess. In a statement, Eaton praised Euroclear as a “partner who understands the value of information and the importance of improving liquidity in the fixed income market.”

The investment will enable EIS to improve liquidity in the global fixed income market by leveraging Algomi’s bond liquidity matching system to make information about specific bond holdings available anonymously. Counterparties can use Algomi’s data aggregation tool, ALFA, to access Euronext’s Synapse Multilateral Trading Facility to query and trade these securities.

Writing about the funding news, Algomi Head of Marketing and Communications Tim Binnington noted this would help increase both trading opportunities and transaction volume in the more illiquid fixed income products, including corporate and government bonds. Algomi acquired ALFA from AllianceBernstein last May in a deal that gave AllianceBernstein an undisclosed, minority stake in the company.

Founded in 2012, Algomi demonstrated Honeycomb, its buy-side GUI at FinovateFall 2014. This spring, the company was included in the Tech Tour Growth 50 – its third year in a row making the list of top European private technology companies with a valuation of less than $1 billion. In 2017, Algomi was named to CB Insights’ Fintech 250 roster.

Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World

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.

Asia-Pacific

  • Chinese fintech solutions provider Pintec files $70 million IPO.
  • Shwe Rural and Urban Development Bank in Myanmar partners with JMR Infotech to better scale its online services.
  • Hong Kong banks team up to launch blockchain-based trade finance platform.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • The Fintech Association of Nigeria celebrates its first anniversary.
  • Disrupt Africa looks at a pair of investments in Nigerian fintechs: CowryWise and Bitcoin Africa.
  • SophiaTX and South Africa’s ArkTree announce new strategic alliance to expand the global reach of blockchain technology

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Hungarian bank MKB, the fourth largest commercial bank in the country, deploys Oracle Flexcube to streamline operations.
  • Open banking platform innovator Token announces that its technology has been implemented by Sberbank in Slovenia.
  • Israel-based cashless payments solution and management platform Nayax opens office in Lithuania.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Jihad Azour, Director of IMF Middle East and Central Asia, delivers a speech at the Arab Economic Forum in Lebanon: Promoting the Inclusive Growth Agenda in the Arab Region.
  • Saudi Arabia grants its first set of fintech licenses to a pair of Saudi crowdfunding platforms, Manafa Capital and Scopeer.
  • Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) notes a strong start in 2018 with the number of active registered companies climbing by 8%.

Central and South Asia

  • Study from JP Morgan looks at the untapped opportunities in the Indian fintech space.
  • FSS introduces FSS eFinclusiv, a financial inclusion solution geared toward serving the underbanked in India.
  • Russia’s National Settlement Depository to connect Kyrgyzstan’s Bank of Asia to SWIFT.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • El Cronista interviews Rafael Hernandez, senior partner of fintech at Village Capital, on business opportunities in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In Spanish.
  • Brazilian online broker Toro Investmentos begins operation this week.
  • Bank of Asia goes live as the first digital bank in the British Virgin Islands.

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