iSignthis and Worldline Finalize Partnership

Digital identity proofing company iSignthis has finalized its partnership with European payments firm Worldline. The two have completed a technical integration that combines iSignthis’ regtech services with Worldline’s acquiring capabilities.

European ecommerce merchants will have access to the new service, ISXPay, that is being marketed and delivered via iSignthis subsidiary, iSignthis eMoney. ISXPay, which will operate under its own eMoney Monetary Financial Institution license to directly contract European merchants, offers services for everything from JCB card acceptance to alternative payment methods for cryptocurrencies.

Merchant clients leveraging ISXPay will have access to Paydentity, a payment authentication suite with Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance that links a person’s identity to a payment, satisfying AML and PSD2 regulations. Via a single integration ISXPay Paydentity merchant clients can leverage identity verification, customer due diligence, and a payments platform across Europe and Australia.

Founded in 2013, iSignthis went public on the Australian Stock Exchange in March 2015 (ASX:ISX). The company presented its platform at FinovateEurope 2015 in London. In 2016, iSignthis partnered with Coinify to help its bitcoin exchange platform meet AML, KYC, and CTF regulations for customer due diligence. In October of last year, the company agreed to power KYC for online gambling site Omnislots.

Worldline went public in 2014 and showcased a connected piggy bank at FinovateEurope 2017. In July of 2017, the company purchased First Data Baltics for $85 million. Last month, Worldline announced plans to recruit more than 1,500 people across the globe to support its growth.

Fintech News from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Designed by Naumaan Hassan

As Finovate prepares for its first conference in the Middle East, here’s a round up of recent fintech news and need-to-knows from the MENA region. Learn more about how to join us in Dubai in February for FinovateMiddleEast.

  • Dubai-based ArabianChain launches cryptocurrency exchange, Palmex.
  • Qatar commits to building fintech hub.
  • UAE-based Noor Bank announces partnership with UB QFPay to offer new mobile payment solution.

MENA Fintech Fact E-commerce and fintech topped tech startup funding for MENA region in 2017, according to a report from Magnitt

  • Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) inks MoU with SWIFT and seven global CSD companies to collaborate on distributed ledger technology projects.
  • Oman’s Bank Nizwa takes to the road to promote its Ladies Banking Account services.
  • Jordan’s InvestBank teams up with F5 Networks to boost cybersecurity protections.

Thought Leadership What is the key for success for technology entrepreneurs innovating in the Middle East? Arabian Business writes “The Middle East is still building towards the right start-up culture.”

  • Gulf News Banking looks at how Dubai is “charting a unique story in fintech.”
  • Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance announces signing of MoU with Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group to promote financial education for Saudi youth.
  • Thomson Reuters’ ZAWYA interviews Ola Doudin, CEO and co-founder of Dubai-area cryptocurrency exchange, BitOasis.

defi SOLUTIONS Lands $55 Million

Loan origination solutions company defi SOLUTIONS just closed on $55 million in funding. The Series C round comes from Bain Capital Ventures, offering social proof along with a stamp of approval for defi’s suite of loan services. This is the Texas-based company’s first round of financing.

The primary capital portion of the investment will be used to accelerate product development, expand resources and facilities, and grow the number of employees by nearly 50% this year.

This comes at a time when there has been significant rise in auto lending, especially to sub-prime borrowers. Simultaneously, however, loan defaults are soaring as a result of hastily made loans. defi helps lenders take advantage of the opportunity while mitigating risk. Additionally, senior principal at Bain Capital Ventures, Brian Goldsmith explained, “defi delivers competitive advantages that enable forward-thinking lenders to own their processes and exceed their business objectives through one holistic platform.” Goldsmith added, “Our team is thrilled to support defi SOLUTIONS’ growth trajectory in a space that is primed to expand and remain competitive with the increased use of new technology.”

Founded in 2012, defi originally offered a flagship auto financing service. Since then, the company has broadened its offerings to include a full suite of configurable Software-as-a-Service loan origination solutions and has experienced a 70+% compounded annual growth rate. Most recently, defi has added a loan management and servicing system, an analytics and reporting system with dashboards for real-time reporting, a direct lending application portal, a digital loan document service with e-signature, and an online auto loan portfolio marketplace.

At FinovateSpring 2014, defi CEO and founder Stephanie Alsbrooks showcased the company’s loan origination solution for auto lenders. Last month, the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship at the SMU Cox School of Business ranked the company number 37 on the top 100 fastest-growing privately-held businesses in the Dallas area.

Finicity’s Mvelopes Introduces Budget Makeover Program

 

What’s old is new again – Mvelopes, the PFM platform from Finicity that uses a digitized version of the time-tested envelope budgeting method to help people improve their saving habits, is launching Budget Makeover. The 10-week crash course in personal finance leverages the same strategies behavior modification strategies used by health and fitness coaches to provide financial education, resources, and a financial plan. Even the length of the program is based on studies from the University of College London that indicate that 66 days is the amount of time needed to permanently develop new habits.

“The coaching aspect of the Mvelopes Budget Makever is unlike anything else offered in the personal finance space,” EVP of Consumer Services for Mvelopes Christopher Tracy said. “It’s a high-touch and highly personalized program that benefits our users with measurable, long-term financial impact.”

During the program, Budget Makeover clients will get an initial financial assessment, seven financial training sessions, daily check-in texts, bi-weekly budget reviews, and a weekly challenge from an Mvelopes-certified financial trainer. Clients will also have access to the Mvelopes app – available in iOS and Android – which provides real-time insights into their personalized budget.

“In the 17-plus years we’ve spent perfecting our budgeting products, we’ve seen that accountability is the single, most important factor in actually developing new behaviors that lead to long-lasting change,” Mvelopes director of financial training Wes Shelnutt said.

To find out more about how to become a part of the Mvelopes Budget Makever, visit www.2018Budget.com.

Created by Finicity in 1999, Mvelopes offers a trio of plans – Basic, Plus, and Complete. Each provides varying levels of service, ranging from auto transaction importing and account balancing monitoring with the Basic plan, to debt assessment and a dedicated personal coach with the Plus and Complete plans. The plans range in cost from $4 a month for Basic, to $19 a month for Plus, to $79 a month for Complete.

Finicity demonstrated its Credit Decisioning platform at FinovateSpring 2017. The solution simplifies access to its Verification of Income (VoI) and Verification of Assets (VoA) reports, making it easier for lenders to quickly verify information on borrowers. The company has also participated in our developer’s conference, discussing The Frictionless Aggregation Experience at FinDEVr New York 2017.

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Finicity has raised more than $50 million in funding, and includes fellow Finovate alum Experian among its investors. Steve Smith is CEO.

ThreatMetrix Teams Up with GlobalOnePay

Authentication and fraud prevention company ThreatMetrix has partnered with GlobalOnePay, a division of Pivotal Payments. ThreatMetrix will power GlobalOnePay’s Sentinel Defend, a fraud detection and scoring engine that protects cross-border transactions.

This will enable Sentinel Defend to leverage ThreatMetrix’s Digital Identity Network, a program that analyzes and scores 100 million transactions per day to reduce fraud by using anonymized data to offer real-time intelligence on a person’s identity. By running in the background, the network offers a user experience with less friction.

The ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network delivers the intelligence needed to safely accept more orders across markets, even where identity verification is challenging,” said Leah Evanski, VP of strategic alliances at ThreatMetrix. “We are proud to work with GlobalOnePay, a company that is dedicated to ensuring their customers can safely and easily grow their business globally.”

Tedd Huff, GlobalOnePay’s VP of Product said that the company’s merchant clients “expect the highest level of card processing security available.” Huff continued, “This is why we look to the most innovative approaches on the market to ensure we stay one step ahead of emerging fraud patterns.”

Founded in 2009, San Jose-based ThreatMetrix offers insights into 1.4 billion anonymized user identities to deliver intelligence for 100 million daily authentication decisions. The company verifies more than 20 billion annual transactions supporting 30,000 websites and 4,500 customers across the globe through its Digital Identity Network, which feeds into ThreatMetrix’s Digital Identity Graph.

Launched at FinovateSpring 2016, the Digital Identity Graph gathers information on billions of transactions collected from tens of thousands of websites to build a user’s digital identity by analyzing connections between the user, their locations, behaviors, and devices. At FinovateSpring 2017, the company’s CTO, Andreas Baumhof, and Sr. Director Product Management, Dean Weinert, launched SmartAuthentication for banks with multiple authentication methods.

Jumio Partners with Byteball to Bring KYC to ICO Issuers

When the gold rush is on, popular wisdom says it is often a better business strategy to sell picks and shovels to the miners than to go into business as a miner oneself. Best of Show winner Jumio is the latest fintech to lend its expertise to the world of cryptocurrencies with its newly-announced partnership with cryptocurrency platform, Byteball.

“ICOs have transformed the financial arena as an alternative means for listing companies to raise funds for development projects or to launch new businesses,” Jumio VP of Product Philipp Pointner said. “However, as they are currently unregulated and, as transactions in cryptocurrencies are, by their nature, anonymous, regulatory bodies are becoming increasingly concerned that they provide an avenue for money laundering and other financial crime.”

Byteball provides a distributed, decentralized platform to give clients launching initial coin offerings (ICOs) security against fraud. The platform will use Jumio’s identity verification solution, Netverify, to help ICO operators ensure the people they are dealing with are who they say they are. Netverify uses both ID Verification and biometric Identity Verification to make the process as friction-free as possible for users, while helping ICO issuers become “proactively compliant” with what the company called “imminent regulatory guidelines.”

“By partnering with Jumio, we bring identity to the distributed ledger, both for ICOs and other financial transactions, creating strong connections between the crypto and the real world,” Byteball founder Tony Churyumoff said. “For end users, we offer them a sovereign identity that is totally private, secure, and incredibly easy to use. For business, it is an opportunity to build applications that leverage the identity layer that were not possible before.”

ICO participants on Byteball’s platform will scan a government-issued ID such as a driver’s license or passport. Once the document is verified – Netverify authenticates in real-time – the participant will submit a live selfie which is analyzed by the platform’s Face Match technology. The combined approach makes sure that the selfie image is a match with the ID document, and that both the selfie and the document are physically present at the time of verification.

Jumio added that it is looking at other ways to collaborate with Byteball in the future, such as providing identity verification for credit card payments and lending.

Founded in 2010 and based in Palo Alto, California, Jumio demonstrated its Netverify Document Verification platform at FinovateSpring 2017. Last month, the company announced a partnership with socially-responsible financial health company Meed to provide identity verification and document verification services. Also in December, Jumio Business Development Manager Gordon Harrison participated in our webinar, Solving the Identity Problem for PSD2 and GDPR.

Jumio has raised more than $55 million in funding, $40 million of which was picked up before the company was acquired by Centana Growth Partners in May 2016. Stephen Stuut is CEO.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Coinbase Brings on Engineering Talent from Memo.AI.
  • ThreatMetrix Teams Up with GlobalOnePay.
  • Jumio Partners with Byteball to Bring KYC to ICO Issuers.

Around the web

  • YellowDog celebrates 3 years, shares how it went from 1 to 17 employees, from £0 to £2.8 million in funding, and 4 awards. YellowDog will demo at FinovateEurope in March.
  • Computer Weekly interviews Tink CEO Daniel Kjellén, one of our featured speakers at FinovateEurope in London.

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.

Coinbase Brings on Engineering Talent from Memo.AI

Last month we reported that digital currency wallet Coinbase had the pedal to the metal to keep up with burgeoning bitcoin demand. This week, it appears the company is furthering its growth goal by acquiring the engineering team at Memo.AI.

Founded in 2016, Memo.AI is a startup that built a bot that turns Slack chats into a searchable knowledge base. The company has stopped accepting new users and will shut down its services on March 16 of this year.

In a blog post announcing the change, Memo.AI founder Mircea Pașoi said, “We’re happy to announce that most of the Memo engineering team will be joining Coinbase, one of the world’s most popular ways to buy and sell cryptocurrencies! We decided to join Coinbase because we’re super excited about the company’s mission of building an open financial system.”

If you’ve been following Coinbase’s success, you can guess that this “aqui-hire” buy is a good move right now. In a blog post earlier this month titled, “Customer support: failure is not an option,” newly-minted Coinbase VP and GM Dan Romero illustrated the company’s recent explosive growth.

In November and December of last year, Coinbase saw transaction volumes grow by almost 3x. Additionally, the company has expanded the capacity of number of peak transactions it can process per hour by 77x and number of customer support agents by almost 9x.

Founded in 2012, Coinbase demoed Instant Exchange at FinovateSpring 2014. Last August, the company became a fintech unicorn after it closed a $100 million round of Series D funding. At that point, Pitchbook estimated Coinbase’s value to be $1.6 billion.

Ledger Raises $75 Million in New Funding

In an oversubscribed Series B round led by Draper Esprit, cryptocurrency and blockchain security firm Ledger has raised $75 million (€61 million) in new funding. The investment takes the company’s total capital to more than $85 million.

“We initially designed our Ledger hardware wallet as an enabler for the blockchain revolution,” Ledger CEO Eric Larcheveque said. “Three years later, and with this Series B, we are reaching a significant milestone in our path to build a technological giant in the promising space of cryptocurrencies.”

Ledger plans to use the funds to scale its operations as demand for cryptocurrency and blockchain related products and services soars. Ledger’s Series B is one of the largest traditional Series B investments into blockchain and cryptocurrency-based technologies (ICOs aside). In addition to Draper Esprit’s backing, the round also featured participation from current investors, CapHorn Invest, GDTRE, and Digital Currency Group. Via the Draper Venture Network funds, Draper Associates, Draper Dragon and Boost VC, FirstMark Capital, Cathay Innovation, and Korelya Capital were also involved in the round.

Draper Esprit CEO Simon Cook called blockchain a truly revolutionary technology, and pointed out that security will be key to the technology’s future. “We believe that Ledger has built the world’s best security platform to manage private keys for all blockchain and crypto asset applications,” Cook said. Adding that Ledger’s technology  provides “security for cryptocurrency far beyond what I get from my bank,” Tim Draper, Founder of DFJ, the Draper Network said, “Ledger lets me take control of my currency rather than having to ask my bank.”

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Paris, France, and San Francisco, Ledger demonstrated Ledger Blue, a multicurrency hardware wallet for cryptocurrencies, at FinovateEurope 2016. Ledger Blue includes a touchscreen for improved UX/UI, but is still small enough to be easily handheld. The hardware wallet can be connected to a laptop, PC, or smartphone via USB or Bluetooth.

Last fall, Ledger announced a collaboration with Intel that enabled it to integrate its Blockchain Open Ledger Operating System (BOLOS) into Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX). Introduced in 2016, BOLOS enables developers to build source code portable native applications around a secure core which both protects the core against application attacks and keeps applications isolated. The company called BOLOS “our way of turning bitcoin hardware wallets into personal security devices.”

ShopKeep Integrates First Data’s Clover POS Technology

Cloud payments and point-of-sale system startup ShopKeep has integrated with the Clover Mini by deepening ties with First Data.

First Data, which acquired Clover in 2013 for its point-of-sale (POS) technology, first strengthened its strategic partnership in February of last year by making ShopKeep’s software available to clients in First Data’s distribution network. Following that move, First Data participated in a strategic investment round in ShopKeep in late 2017.

Adding ShopKeep to the Clover Mini, an all-in-one POS device with an integrated receipt printer, will help streamline merchant operations, improve the customer experience, and expand business intelligence in a secure environment.

Michael DeSimone, CEO of ShopKeep said, “We highly value our partnership with First Data and their continued investment in expanding the capabilities of the Clover platform clearly demonstrates their commitment to U.S. small businesses.”DeSimone added, “We are excited for both our present offering, as well as all future initiatives with First Data and Clover technology.”

And this seems to be just the start of even further integration. ShopKeep, which began selling Clover Mini in December, plans to further expand its partnership with First Data across multiple hardware and payment platforms.

ShopKeep founder Jason Richelson demoed the point-of-sale platform at FinovateSpring 2012. In November of last year, the New York-based company integrated with digital knowledge management company Yext to offer merchants access to the Yext Knowledge Manager directly from the ShopKeep back office interface.