Zeta and Featurespace Partner to Combine Card Processing with Fraud Detection

  • Zeta and Featurespace are partnering to create a solution that combines credit card processing and fraud detection.
  • The new offering will be made available to U.S. credit card issuers.
  • The solution will be available out-of-the-box and will enable issuers to test and launch features in days, rather than weeks or months.

Modern core banking technology provider Zeta and fraud prevention company Featurespace are joining forces today. Under the partnership, the two are offering U.S. credit card issuers a solution that combines credit card processing and fraud detection.

Zeta was founded in 2015 to offer modern card processing for banks and embeddable banking for fintechs. The company’s Tachyon Credit offers banks modern credit card programs and spending tools to help boost engagement, increase scale, and decrease fraud. Additionally, Zeta enables fintechs to offer their own credit cards with spending controls and multi-factor authentication.

Zeta CEO and Co-founder Bhavin Turakhia described the company’s issuer clients as “demanding,” and said the company is enabling issuers to iterate on their credit card products faster to test and launch features in a matter of days. “With this solution available out-of-the-box to our clients,” said Turakhia, “their credit card holders will be protected against existing and future fraud attempts seamlessly while reducing the number of genuine transactions declined.”

U.K.-based Featurespace will offer its fraud detection engine that combines AI, behavioral networks, and rules-based decisioning to help organizations identify fraud without negatively impacting the customer experience. Featurespace’s flagship solution, the ARIC Risk Hub, secures more than 50 billion transactions per year across 500 million consumers located in 180 countries.

Combined, the two companies will unlock a range of capabilities for credit card issuers, including out-of-the-box availability, pre-built workflows, real-time transaction authorization, custom decision rules based on risk scores, real-time access to all transaction fraud events, and more.

Zeta was voted Best of Show at FinovateWest Digital 2020 and has more than 1700 employees and contractors located across the U.S., U.K., Middle East, and Asia. The company’s 35+ customers have issued more than 15 million cards on its platform. The California-based company has raised $280 million and last year was valued at around $1.5 million.

Featurespace has more than 70 clients, including HSBC, TSYS, Worldpay, RBS NatWest Group, Danske Bank, ClearBank, and more. Founded in 2005 by a university professor and his PhD student, Featurespace has raised $108 million, including its most recent investment of $37 million received in 2020.

“The partnership between Zeta and Featurespace brings together two of the most capable solutions across the industry in each’s segments,” said Carolyn Homberger, President of Americas at Featurespace. “We are very impressed with the way Zeta is rethinking the issuer processing stack from the ground up, utilizing modern and flexible architecture to provide outstanding new capabilities to Issuers. We’re extremely excited to bring our joint solution to market in the U.S.”

Photo by Joshua Woroniecki


Omnichannel Payments Provider Qolo Inks Partnership with PayQuicker

  • Qolo announced a partnership with payouts company PayQuicker.
  • The partnership will combine PayQuicker’s Payouts OS platform with Qolo’s card issuing and payments technology.
  • Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Qolo made its Finovate debut at FinovateFalll 2022.

Omnichannel payments and card issuing processor Qolo has teamed up with global payouts company PayQuicker. The partnership will combine PayQuicker’s Payouts OS platform with Qolo’s card issuing and payments technology. This will enable PayQuicker to issue a more advanced suite of card products, as well as make multi-channel payouts to help its corporate customers meet a wide range of payout needs.

“We chose Qolo as an issuing-processing partner because they offer the most modern, scalable, and flexible platform that will enable us to bring unique and differentiated payment solutions to our customers,” PayQuicker President Charles Rosenblatt said.

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Qolo made its Finovate debut at FinovateFall 2022 in New York. At the conference, Qolo demoed its Companion Core, which offers banks low-cost, fintech functionality that runs in tandem with their existing system. Via a single API set, Qolo provides direct access to all payment rails and account types and offers program management, processing, and platform licensing, as well as acquiring, card and non-card payments, and account solutions.

“Qolo and PayQuicker are aligned in our vision to bring the best payments offerings to market,” Qolo CEO Patricia Montesi said. “We are thrilled to work with them and help power their innovative consumer and commercial programs.”

Founded in 2018, Qolo began the year with news that the company had processed more than $1 billion in total payouts in Q4 of 2022. Qolo has raised $19 million in funding, most recently securing $15 million in a Series A round led by The Raptor Group. The investment, in August 2021, came in the wake of a tripling of Qolo’s staff, as well as a pair of C-suite hires, and the launch of a beta version of its Qolo Accelerator program.

“We experienced strong investor interest fueled by our unique value proposition and rapid pace of customer acquisition,” Montesi said when the funding was announced. “The current fintech climate is driving massive growth, and Qolo’s 100% cloud-native omnichannel offering is perfectly positioned to meet the demand. And we have yet to see a payments model we can’t power.”

Photo by Kelly


Three Takeaways from FinovateEurope 2023


There is a challenge when it comes to writing about an event like FinovateEurope when you’re busy covering live demos, hosting on-stage fireside chats, and conducting off-stage video interviews. On the one hand, there’s a lot you’re going to hear and see. On the other hand, however, there’s a lot you’re going to miss, as well.

With that in mind, my apologies if I overlooked your favorite demo or keynote presentation in this “day-after” review of what I found most memorable at FinovateEurope. Better still, drop us a line and let us know just what kind of magic moment you had at our annual European fintech conference in London last week. We’d love to hear what you think!

Bringing the “E” the “S” and the “G” to the ESG Party

The maturation of the ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) movement in fintech and financial services was on display as early as rehearsal day (the day before FinovateEurope officially opens when demoing companies practice their presentations on stage). It was impressive to see the number of companies that were offering solutions to make it easier for banks and FIs to leverage technology to better track their – and their customers’ – carbon footprint. Innovators like Connect Earth were among the most prominent. But companies like Storied Data, Topicus/Fyndoo, and OpenFinance also made it a point to show how their technologies gave institutions often granular insights into not just their environmental impact, but also into ways to minimize it.

From the main stage, ESG was also a theme that speakers returned to – often emphasizing the importance of connecting the “S” or “social” component of ESG with the “E” or “environmental” component. Sanghamitra Karra, who runs the Inclusive Ventures Lab at Morgan Stanley, reminded attendees during her Wednesday morning Fireside Chat that those who live in the most economically and socially underserved conditions in society are often those who are the most vulnerable to the challenges of climate change.

And in the wake of the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) crisis, it is easy to see how “G” or “governance” has become an increasingly important issue for those who work for and rely on fintechs and financial services organizations. While some critics were busy trying to blame SVB’s woes on “wokeness”, or an inappropriately intense focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, other more astute observers noted that Silicon Valley Bank, for example, did not have a Chief Risk Officer for much of 2022.

Crypto Still Out in the Cold

As the crypto winter slowly metastasizes into what FinovateEurope 2023 keynote speaker Steven Van Belleghem referred to as a “crypto ice age,” it was probably no surprise that the number of demoing companies boasting their cryptocurrency bonafides at FinovateEurope this year was low.

That doesn’t mean that there was zero discussion of cryptocurrencies at FinovateEurope this year. But what it does mean is that there has been a reckoning during which it looks as if digital assets like Bitcoin and ethereum will have to take a backseat while those innovating with the underlying blockchain technology search for better use cases.

Fortunately, there is a precedent for the path cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology may be forced to pursue over the next 5-10 years. In the same way that it took almost a decade for the promises of the dot.com era to be realized, so too may a few dark years for crypto be just what the industry needs in order to figure out how its technology can be best used in order to solve real world challenges. Beware of solutions in search of a problem, Van Belleghem warned from the FinovateEurope stage last week. And while he was talking about enabling technologies writ large – from embedded finance to the metaverse – those innovating in the cryptocurrency/blockchain space would do well to heed his advice.

CX as the Killer App

Whether the task was right-sizing the responsibilities that financial institutions have to ESG concerns, or understanding that building new products alone is not enough to help people solve problems, the solution offered was both consistent and clear: focus on the customer.

Want to improve your carbon footprint – or help your customers do so? Make it easier for customers to access the data and insights they need in order to make the changes they are often eager to make? Want to see more innovative technologies in the hands of more consumers? Make interfaces more intuitive, more seamless, and with greater interconnectivity and interoperability. Think more fintechs should be using your tools and platforms? Leverage low- and no-code building blocks to enable innovators with more modest technical resources to be as creative as larger, better resourced firms.

It has been a cliche in fintech and financial services that “every year is the year of the customer.” But at this moment of retrenchment – with fintech funding down, crypto crashing, and new enabling technologies still en route to proving their true utility – keeping the customer’s needs top of mind might be the best strategy for weathering the current storm and emerging unscathed when the clouds finally do part.

Fintech 2023: Don’t Call it a Comeback

From the crypto crash and subsequent crypto ice age to the Silicon Valley Bank crisis, there has been a headline sense that fintech may be entering a slowdown period. Very little of this was in evidence at FinovateEurope this year. Chris Skinner reminded us that great things often emerge from the rubble of dashed dreams. Hundreds of fintech and financial services professionals braved the turbulent winds at Heathrow airport (as well as a tube strike) to mix, mingle, and talk shop as our return to live events continues.

The desire to innovate in our industry remains strong. And with a focus on improving the lives of everyday customers – from individuals and families to businesses small and large – we are optimistic that fintech’s best, most productive days, are still to come.

Photo by Drew Powell


FinGoal Secures New Funding in Round Led by Naples Technology Ventures

  • Banking and insights platform FinGoal announced a new investment this week. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.
  • The funding round was led by existing investor Naples Technology Ventures (NTV).
  • FinGoal won Best of Show at FinovateSpring 2022 for its Aggregator Switch Kit, developed in partnership with fellow Finovate alum Envestnet | Yodlee.

Digital banking and personal finance insights platform FinGoal secured new funding this week. The Boulder, Colorado-based fintech announced that it has closed an investment round led by existing investor Naples Technology Ventures (NTV). The amount of the funding was not immediately disclosed.

“We believe FinGoal’s offering is a game changer in the banking and finance space,” NTV Managing Partner Mike Abbaei said. “Their platform will be a thriving success in the new digital world.”

This week’s funding marks the second time NTV has backed FinGoal. The company first invested in FinGoal in early 2022.

A specialist in enabling greater personalization in banking, FinGoal helps financial institutions understand where their customers are spending their money. These insights not only help FIs learn which banking products and services to offer their customers. This analysis also informs banks and other financial institutions on how best to market new offerings to their customers, as well.

“A business owner isn’t shopping for a business payments product – they want a way to better serve their customers and reduce costs,” FinGoal CEO David Nohe said. “Knowing what is really happening in the lives of customers allows FIs to do more with the account holders they already have.”

Making its Finovate debut in 2021, FinGoal returned to the Finovate stage less than a year later, securing a Best of Show award for its Aggregator Switch Kit that makes it easier for developers to quickly and easily transition away from their current data aggregator. The solution was developed in partnership with fellow Finovate alum Envestnet | Yodlee and provides a translation layer API that enables engineering teams to switch to Envestnet | Yodlee’s enrichment and make their first API call soon afterwards.

“Before today, switching aggregator was a pain in the butt,” FinGoal’s VP of Product Ariam Sium said from the FinovateSpring stage last May. “It took a lot of time and put a lot of product road maps at risk. At FinGoal, we believe that the best data made available through reliable and safe infrastructure is key to the future of financial services. That’s why we’re going to show you how to switch aggregators in minutes.”

Learn more about FinGoal in our podcast interview with Finovate VP Greg Palmer and FinGoal’s Sium.

Photo by Pixabay


India’s PhonePe Receives $200 Investment from Walmart

  • PhonePe raised $200 million from Walmart.
  • With this latest tranche, the India-based company maintains its $12 billion valuation.
  • The new investment brings PhonePe’s total funding to $650 million.

Just one month after raising $100 million, India-based PhonePe announced it closed a $200 million investment. With the new round, PhonePe’s pre-money valuation remains flat at $12 billion.

Today’s investment boosts the payments application expert’s total funding to $650 million, placing it more than halfway to reaching its $1 billion capital raise target. In its announcement today, PhonePe noted that it is expecting further progress toward the $1 billion goal, saying it is expecting more funding “in due course.”

PhonePe will use today’s funds to build and scale new businesses including insurance, wealth management, lending, stockbroking, Open Network for Digital Commerce-based shopping, and account aggregators. The investment will also help PhonePe grow UPI payments in India, including UPI lite and Credit on UPI. “We are excited about the next phase of our growth as we build new offerings for Indian consumers and merchants, along with enabling financial inclusion across the nation,” said PhonePe Founder and CEO Sameer Nigam.

“We are excited about PhonePe’s future and have confidence in how it continues to expand its offerings and provide access to financial services for Indians at scale,” said Walmart International President and CEO Judith McKenna. “India is one of the world’s most digital, dynamic and fastest growing economies, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to continue to support PhonePe.”

PhonePe was founded in 2015 and was acquired by Walmart-owned Flipkart in 2016. The company counts around 450 million registered users, a total that accounts for nearly one in three adult Indians. In 2017, PhonePe began offering investing tools, mutual fund products, and insurance tools.


Stripe Lands $6.5 Billion in Funding at $50 Billion Valuation

  • Stripe received $6.5 billion in Series I funding, along with an updated valuation of $50 billion.
  • The $50 billion valuation is almost half of the company’s peak valuation of $95 billion received in 2021.
  • Today’s investment will not be used to fuel company growth, but will instead be used to provide liquidity to employees and address employee equity awards withholding tax obligations.

Stripe announced a $6.5 billion Series I funding round today. Alongside the financing round, the payments processing company also unveiled an updated valuation.

The investment comes from existing Stripe shareholders– including Andreessen Horowitz, Baillie Gifford, Founders Fund, General Catalyst, MSD Partners, and Thrive Capital. New investors GIC, Goldman Sachs Asset and Wealth Management, and Temasek also contributed to the round, which boosts Stripe’s total funding to $8.7 billion.

Stripe also unveiled that it is now valued at $50 billion. This number is notably lower than the company’s peak. Stripe’s valuation rose to $95 billion in March of 2021, making it the most valuable U.S. startup. In July of 2022, the company’s valuation began tipping downward to $74 billion, and earlier this year, TechCrunch reported that Stripe was valued at $63 billion.

Unlike most venture funding rounds, however, today’s investment will not be used to fuel company growth. Instead, as Stripe notes in its announcement, “The funds raised will be used to provide liquidity to current and former employees and address employee withholding tax obligations related to equity awards.” This liquidity will offset the issuance of today’s round’s new shares, and therefore will not result in a reduction of the percentage of ownership that current investors hold in the company.

Founded in 2010, Stripe processes hundreds of billions of dollars each year and offers a range of products– including a suite of global payments solutions, banking-as-a-service offerings, and revenue and financial management tools.

Photo by Jonathan Borba


GPT-4 Has Arrived. Here Are 6 Things You Should Know about the New Iteration.


If you need a break from bank failure news, here’s something refreshing. OpenAI’s GPT-4 was released yesterday. The new model is the successor to GPT-3.5-turbo and promises to produce “safer” and “more useful” responses. But what does that mean exactly? And how do the two models compare?

We’ve broken down six things to know about GPT-4.

Processes both image and text input

GPT-4 accepts images as inputs and can analyze the contents of an image alongside text. As an example, users can upload a picture of a group of ingredients and ask the model what recipe they can make using the ingredients in the picture. Additionally, visually impaired users can screenshot a cluttered website and ask GPT-4 to decipher and summarize the text. Unlike DALL-E 2, however GPT-4 cannot generate images.

For banks and fintechs, GPT-4’s image processing could prove useful for helping customers who get stuck during the onboarding process. The bot could help decipher screenshots of the user experience and provide a walk-through for confused customers.

Less likely to respond to inappropriate requests

According to OpenAI, GPT-4 is 82% less likely than GPT-3.5 to respond to disallowed content. It is also 40% more likely to produce factual responses than GPT-3.5.

For the financial services industry, it means using GPT-4 to power a chatbot is less risky than before. The new model is less susceptible to ethical and security risks.

Handles around 25,000 words per query

OpenAI doesn’t measure its inputs and outputs in word count or character count. Rather, it measures text based on units called tokens. While the word-to-token ratio is not straightforward, OpenAI estimates that GPT-4 can handle around 25,000 words per query, compared to GPT-3.5-turbo’s capacity of 3,000 words per query.

This increase enables users to carry on extended conversations, create long form content, search text, and analyze documents. For banks and fintechs, the increased character limit could prove useful when searching and analyzing documents for underwriting purposes. It could also be used to flag compliance errors and fraud.

Performs higher on academic tests

While ChatGPT scored in the 10th percentile on the Uniform BAR Exam, GPT-4 scored in the 90th percentile. Additionally, GPT-4 did well on other standardized tests, including the LSAT, GRE, and some of the AP tests.

While this specific capability won’t come in handy for banks, it signifies something important. It highlights the AI’s ability to retain and reproduce structured knowledge.

Already in-use

While GPT-4 was just released yesterday, it is already being employed by a handful of organizations. Microsoft, for example has been using GPT-4 to power its Bing chatbot since it launched in February. Be My Eyes, a technology platform that helps users who are blind or have low vision, is using the new model to analyze images.

The model is also being used in the financial services sector. Stripe is currently using GPT-4 to streamline its user experience and combat fraud. And J.P. Morgan is leveraging GPT-4 to organize its knowledge base. “You essentially have the knowledge of the most knowledgeable person in Wealth Management—instantly. We believe that is a transformative capability for our company,” said Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Head of Analytics, Data & Innovation Jeff McMillan.

Still messes up

One very human-like aspect of OpenAI’s GPT-4 is that it makes mistakes. In fact, OpenAI’s technical report about GPT-4 says that the model is sometimes “confidently wrong in its predictions.”

The New York Times provides a good example of this in its recent piece, 10 Ways GPT-4 Is Impressive but Still Flawed. The article describes a user who asked GPT-4 to help him learn the basics of the Spanish language. In its response, GPT-4 offered a handful of inaccuracies, including telling the user that “gracias” was pronounced like “grassy ass.”

Photo by BoliviaInteligente on Unsplash


FinovateEurope 2023 Best of Show Winners Announced


Winds of more than 60 mph tossing 787s around like paper planes. A wave of multi-industry strikes sending parents, patients, and passengers scrambling to reroute plans and rearrange schedules. There is no doubt that the attendees of FinovateEurope 2023 have had more than their fair share of challenges to make it to the Intercontinental O2 this year.

But make it they have – and we are all the better for it. Now, with the votes tallied from those undaunted delegates, we are happy to reveal the names of the companies that have earned Finovate’s most coveted prize: Best of Show.

10x Banking for its technology that enables banks to move from monolithic to next-generation core banking solutions with its cloud native SaaS core banking platform Supercore.

FinTech Insights by Scientia for its competitive analysis tool for banks and fintechs that offers all the data companies need to outsmart the competition.

NayaOne for its technology that enables institutions to 10x their digital transformation with single-key access to 200+ fintechs to discover, evaluate, and scale new solutions to production.

TAZI AI for its technology that empowers experts and data scientists to create, update, and deploy ML models with a no-code platform, making smart decisions in dynamic environments.

Your Juno for its solution that engages more than 50,000 users around financial education.

We congratulate this year’s winners – as well as all of our demoing companies – for taking to the Finovate stage to show us their latest fintech innovations. And, of course, a hearty thanks to our sponsors, our partners, and – perhaps most of all – our attendees whose attention, participation, and appreciation make our annual European fintech conference such a joy to host. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

Notes on methodology:
1. Only audience members NOT associated with demoing companies were eligible to vote. Finovate employees did not vote.
2. Attendees were encouraged to note their favorites during each day. At the end of the last demo, they chose their three favorites.
3. The exact written instructions given to attendees: “Please rate (the companies) on the basis of demo quality and potential impact of the innovation demoed.”
4. The five companies appearing on the highest percentage of submitted ballots were named “Best of Show.”
5. Go here for a list of previous Best of Show winners through 2014. Best of Show winners from our 2015 through 2022 conferences are below:
FinovateEurope 2015
FinovateSpring 2015
FinovateFall 2015
FinovateEurope 2016
FinovateSpring 2016
FinovateFall 2016
FinovateAsia 2016
FinovateEurope 2017
FinovateSpring 2017
FinovateFall 2017
FinovateAsia 2017
FinovateMiddleEast 2018
FinovateEurope 2018
FinovateSpring 2018
FinovateFall 2018
FinovateAsia 2018
FinovateAfrica 2018
FinovateEurope 2019
FinovateSpring 2019
FinovateFall 2019
FinovateAsia 2019
FinovateMiddleEast 2019
FinovateEurope 2020
FinovateFall 2020
FinovateWest 2020
FinovateEurope 2021
FinovateSpring 2021
FinovateFall 2021
FinovateEurope 2022
FinovateSpring 2022
FinovateFall 2022


Sezzle Revisits Plan to Publicly List in the U.S.

  • Sezzle announced plans to publicly list on the Nasdaq by the end of September.
  • The company will continue to sell common stock on the Australian Stock Exchange.
  • The news comes two years after Sezzle’s original announcement of plans to publicly list in the U.S.

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) technology provider Sezzle announced on Monday it plans to list publicly in the U.S. on the Nasdaq, while continuing to sell common stock on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

The Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company originally listed on the ASX in 2019 using Chess Depositary Interests (CDIs), which are traded on the ASX to allow non-Australian companies to list their shares on the exchange. Prior to listing on the Nasdaq, Sezzle plans to remove the Foreign Ownership Restricted on United States Person Prohibited tag from the CDIs to allow participation from U.S. investors.

“A listing on the Nasdaq is a natural evolution for Sezzle given the company is already filing the necessary reports with the SEC,” said Sezzle Chairman and CEO Charlie Youakim. “Although we are not seeking to raise capital as part of the Nasdaq listing, we are excited to expand the universe of potential investors to the United States.”

Sezzle plans to list in the U.S. no later than the end of September 2023.

Avid fintech nerds may have a sense of déjà vu reading Sezzle’s headline today. In fact, it echoes a news post we published in 2021: Sezzle Plans to File for U.S. IPO. According to that release, “Plans for the public listing are still in early stages. Details, such as the timing, price, and use, have not been revealed.” Sezzle’s release today revisits the plan for a U.S. IPO, but with more concrete details.

Sezzle was founded in 2016 and the company’s growth ballooned alongside the increasing interest in BNPL in 2020. In turning its focus from growth to profitability, Sezzle has made significant cost-saving efforts, including exiting a handful of foreign markets and cutting 20% of its North American workforce. Last February, we reported that fellow BNPL player Zip planned to acquire Sezzle. The deal was terminated in July in light of macroeconomic and market conditions.

Photo by cottonbro studio


Acquisition of Delaware’s Digital-First Fair Square Filling Consumer Credit Card Gap for Industry Leader Ally Financial


This is a sponsored blog post by Delaware Prosperity Partnership

Delaware’s status as a hub for financial services dates back to the early 1980s, when state leaders enacted the Financial Center Development Act to welcome out-of-state banks and attract new investments. Today, financial services is the state’s largest traded sector. In Wilmington alone, nearly 170,000 financial services professionals work for venerable institutions like Bank of America, Barclays and Capital One and newer firms like College Ave Student Loans, Marlette Funding and PayPal, among many others. Another 100,000 technology experts are employed in the city’s metropolitan labor market.

With that amount of fintech expertise, it made sense for Rob Habgood and his team – all veterans of the Delaware credit card industry themselves – to launch Fair Square Financial (now part of Ally Financial Inc.) in Wilmington in 2016.

“There’s a very deep talent pool here in Delaware,” said Habgood, head of Ally Credit Card and former CEO of Fair Square. “There is more credit card talent here in Wilmington, Delaware, than any other place on the planet.”

Fair Square was created as a customer-centric, digital-first credit card company and quickly became known for its competitive brand of transparent and low-fee Ollo products.

What sets the Ollo (now Ally) card apart in a state known for credit cards is its digital-first strategy. Customers do everything from applying for a card to making payments and servicing their accounts online and via the mobile app. On the back end, machine learning models and advanced analytics drive decisions from targeted underwriting to customer management and collections, with teams all working hand-in-hand to execute a strategic plan in an open-plan fintech space.

By the time it was acquired by leading full-service digital bank Ally in 2021, the entrepreneurial, stand-alone business was operating in a lean, effective and successful manner with fewer than 100 Wilmington employees serving 693,000 customers around the world. The new Ally Credit Card headquarters remain in Wilmington, and operations there are growing.

“Ally’s strong nationwide brand allows us to go after more aggressive growth and compete effectively across the full spectrum of customers. We’re going to be growing pretty rapidly here and welcoming high-quality people to continue to build our team,” Habgood said.

In 2022, Ally announced it was investing $520,000 to renovate 22,000 square feet of the Wilmington site and adding up to 150 positions – which will increase employment there by up to 200% – through 2025. Supporting the company’s investment in this expansion are a $20,000 Capital Expenditure Grant and a $2.64 million Jobs Performance Grant from the Delaware Strategic Fund.

Hiring is across the board, from marketing and product personnel to data scientists with credit card experience in analytics, risk, compliance, operations and project management. Many of those whom Ally hopes to welcome already live in Delaware or the surrounding area, but more and more talent looking for a great place to live, work and play are discovering Delaware’s advantages.

Habgood, himself, moved to Delaware in 2011. “We enjoy a high quality of life here in Delaware,” he said. “We not only have access to major metro areas, but to beaches and beautiful countryside — and to great schools.”

“Delaware is a great place to live — a great place geographically — I couldn’t speak more highly of it,” he said.


APEXX Global Raises $25 Million to Expand into North America

  • APEXX Global has raised $25 million in a Series B round.
  • The funds come from existing investors Forward Partners, Alliance, and MMC Ventures.
  • APEXX Global will use the new investment to expand further into North America and to boost product development.

Global payment solutions company APEXX Global has raised $25 million in Series B funding. The investment, which comes from Forward Partners, Alliance, and MMC Ventures, brings APEXX’s total amount raised to $37.1 million.

“I’m delighted to announce that we have successfully closed our Series B funding round,” said APEXX Global Co-founder and CEO Peter Keenan. “Since day one we’ve been laser-focused on our mission to build the world’s leading payment orchestration platform and deliver clear benefits to merchants. We‘ve seen strong growth across international markets, delivering significant cost savings and transaction conversion benefits. We look forward to using these funds to further consolidate our position in driving the future of global payments.”

APEXX Global, which currently holds offices in New York, London, and India, plans to use the funds to expand further into North America via its New York office. The company will also leverage the investment to boost product development.

APEXX offers a payment orchestration layer to help merchants optimize their payment stack. The company’s payment gateway enhances the global payment processing experience by processing payments locally to help circumvent foreign exchange fees on cross-border transactions.

In addition to traditional payment methods, APEXX enables businesses to offer alternative payment methods to their end customers. The company currently partners with more than 120 alternative payment methods, including Apple Pay, Klarna, Alipay, and PayPal. Allowing users to pay using their preferred method not only enhances the user experience, but it also has the potential to increase sales.

“We’ve seen good momentum in terms of customer growth, and we are delighted to continue to back Peter and his talented team as they work with merchants to rethink payments and save money,” said MMC Ventures Chairman and Co-founder Alan Morgan. With today’s agreement, Morgan will also take a seat on APEXX’s board of directors.

Photo by Monstera


PayTech Awards 2023 Now Open for Nominations


This highly acclaimed awards program, now in its sixth year, has been supporting, celebrating and recognizing excellence in the use of IT in the finance and payments industry worldwide.

PayTech Awards are open to banks and financial institutions, paytech software and services providers, and individuals and teams working in the payments industry across the globe.

Click here to start your nomination.

PayTech Project Awards are open to banks and financial institutions to enter:

  • Best PayTech Overhaul – Back Office
  • Best PayTech Overhaul – Front Office
  • Best New Payments Brand
  • Best Use of Tech in Consumer Payments
  • Best Use of Tech in Business Payments
  • Best Consumer Cards Initiative
  • Best SME Cards Initiative
  • Best Corporate Cards Initiative
  • Best Mobile Payments for Consumers Initiative
  • Best Mobile Payments for SMEs Initiative
  • Best Mobile Payments for Corporates Initiative
  • Best User/Customer Experience Initiative – Consumer Payments
  • Best User/Customer Experience Initiative – Business Payments
  • Best Bank & PayTech Partnership
  • Best Contribution to Economic Mobility in Payments
  • Top Innovation in Payments
  • Best Use of Tech in Combatting Fraud
  • Best Use of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
  • Best Use of Data
  • Best Green Initiative
  • PayTech for Good

Excellence In Tech Awards gives recognition to tech service and software providers:

  • Best Retail Payments System
  • Best Business Payments System
  • Best Spend Management System
  • Tech of the Future
  • PayTech Start-up of the Year
  • PayTech For Good

Leadership Awards are open to individuals or teams to enter:

  • Woman in PayTech – Bank/Financial Institution
  • Woman in PayTech – Software & Services Provider
  • PayTech Leadership – Bank/Financial Institution
  • PayTech Leadership – Software & Services Provider
  • Rising PayTech Star – Bank/Financial Institution
  • Rising PayTech Star – Software & Services Provider
  • PayTech Team of the Year – Bank/Financial Institution
  • PayTech Team of the Year – Software & Services Provider

Click here for more information on the nomination process and to enter the awards

Nominations close on Friday, 17 March 2023.

The awards ceremony will be held at the beautiful Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London on 30 June 2023. We look forward to seeing you there!


Jonathan Alloy on the State of Digital Banking


Jonathan Alloy is a seasoned financial services professional with years of experience in the sector. He formerly served as Vice President of Design Thinking at Credit Suisse, where he was responsible for driving innovation and fostering a culture of human-centered design across the organization. Today, he is Vice President for Customer Experience and Innovation Consulting at Publicis Sapient.

Last fall, Jonathan Alloy and Steven Ramirez, CEO of Beyond the Arc, sat down to discuss the current state of digital banking. Here are some highlights from their conversation.

When it comes to partnerships, how does a fintech work with a bank to get a solution in front of customers?

Jonathan Alloy: Fintechs, or any new entrant into the banking industry, really need to understand that banks have two separate departments at the highest level. There’s a group that likes risk– that’s the front office, the people who take deposits, make loans, and trade securities– they thrive on correctly evaluating risk.

The back office, by contrast, thrives on minimizing risk. They’re looking for reasons to say no to protect the bank’s integrity, its reputation, its cybersecurity, and its trust with customers. They’re going to say no to things, even if they’re innovative, because it violates a policy that they’re incentivized by the bank to uphold. Maybe [the solution being offered] is only available in the cloud and the bank only allows things that are on-prem. That’s a very common example. So when you’re developing a solution, you have to understand the risk profile of who in the bank has the authority to say yes.

What is it about digital banking that excites you?

Alloy: I think the biggest opportunity right now in some ways remains where it was 20 years ago. [This opportunity] is increasingly being where the customer is. This enables us to deliver financial services when, where, and how they want to consume, not just how we want to provide it. And that’s an important distinction.

Whether [you deliver] through mobile payments, through white labeling, whatever the case may be– it’s a matter of getting out in front of the traditional banking silos, breaking down the walls we have internally, and getting it out in the world to understand it from [the customer’s] point of view.

When we look at the world through the eyes of how customers want to make purchases, payments, take out loans, and invest for retirement, we’re going to learn things that we don’t get if we stay in our silos.

Any tips for banks that want to think like a customer?

Alloy: The number one best thing I could encourage everybody to do is go shopping yourself. So you’re CEOs, your CXOs, your executive team, your management team, your middle managers, your front line employees– everybody should be required to go out, and from another bank that’s not you, as well as you, sign up for a new checking account, get a debit card and a credit card, take out a loan, buy a car– whatever your personal financial needs are. Think about, “was this experience enjoyable or tolerable?” In most cases, what we find, is that for most people, banking is barely tolerable. So when somebody comes along with an innovative new idea or a new approach that makes it just that much more better, they’re going to win great[er] share.

Hear more from Jonathan Alloy in the full conversation.

Photo by Andrew Neel


Showcasing FinovateEurope’s Center Stage Speakers on International Women’s Day


Last week, to kick off Women’s History Month, we highlighted the women who will be representing their companies on Day One at FinovateEurope on March 14 next week in London.

Today, on International Women’s Day, we would like to introduce you to the women who will be taking center stage with keynote addresses, fireside chats, and more on Day Two of FinovateEurope.

Head of Omnichannel Experience at Curinos, Panelist. Meet at the Cafe.

Senior Research Analyst at Omdia. Panelist. Analyst All-Stars.

Chief of Staff to the CEO at bunq. Guest. Fireside Chat.

Chair of the Board at Innovate Finance. Moderator. Power Panel on the Fintech Ecosystem and Strategic Partnerships.

Chief Client Officer and Managing Director at Raisin. Panelist. Power Panel on the Fintech Ecosystem and Strategic Partnerships.

Senior Research Fellow, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University. Guest. Out of the Box Fireside Chat on Transhumanism.

EMEA Head of Multicultural Strategy and Multicultural Innovation Lab, Morgan Stanley. Guest. Fireside Chat: Why Diversity Matters.

Head of Change Optimization at Lloyds Banking Group. Panelist. Power Panel on Digital Transformation.

Founder at Daylight Robbery. Speaker. Quick Fire Keynote on Bitcoin and Digital Assets.

Founding Partner at Sie Ventures. Moderator. Investor All-Stars.

Partner at Portage Ventures. Panelist. Investor All-Stars.

Tickets for FinovateEurope are still on sale. Visit our FinovateEurope hub and save your spot today.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk


Who’s Demoing at FinovateSpring this May?


Hot on the heels of FinovateEurope next week is our West Coast flagship event, FinovateSpring, this May. Dozens of companies will demo, and we’re excited to unveil 50% of the lineup today.

With Finovate’s lucky number seven in mind, here are more details about these early selections:

  • 60% taking the Finovate stage for the first time
  • 50% featuring female founders, CEOs, or C-level executives
  • 60% introducing new technology to the market
  • 96% founded in the last 10 years
  • 60% founded in the last 5 years
  • 70% headquartered in diverse locations
  • 100% innovating to advance the audience’s business goals

New companies are announced weekly — stay tuned to the website for the latest additions. And if you’re interested in demoing, joining the Startup Booster program, or sponsoring, get in touch at spring@finovate.com.


Fintech is a People Business: Making Connections and Networking Done Right at FinovateEurope


FinovateEurope 2023 begins next week, March 14 through March 15, at the Intercontinental O2 in London, U.K. Tickets are on sale now. Visit our FinovateEurope hub today and secure your spot!

This year’s annual European fintech conference is on track to be even bigger than last year’s event. What’s more, we have all of the top 20 EU banks confirmed to attend. This is a big step for FinovateEurope. But it’s an even bigger opportunity for attendees seeking meaningful, quality connections with representatives of some of the most important financial institutions on the continent and in the world.

Making meaningful connections

At FinovateEurope, you will be a part of a global audience of more than 1,000 senior attendees from across the fintech industry. More than 50% of FinovateEurope’s attendees are from financial institutions. These include both senior innovators from fintechs, as well as senior decision-makers from trailblazing financial institutions. Here’s a word cloud of who they are and what matters to them.

If these sound like the kinds of people and trends that can help make a difference in how you do business, then join us next week at the Intercontinental O2, March 14 and March 15.

Making it happen with networking done right

Knowing that all the right people are in the room is one thing. Getting a quality conversation with them is another. At FinovateEurope, we’re here to help.

To start, we’ll open up our networking app days before you travel to the event. This will give you the opportunity to not just create your profile, but also to start learning more about your fellow attendees, and pre-arranging your highest priority meetings. Leverage our ConnectMe app to build your contact list and send messages via the app’s live chat feature. And when the conference ends, you will be able to download your contact list to keep in touch with new friends and continue those valuable conversations.

Here’s a look at how to make the best use out of the ConnectMe app for FinovateEurope.

With four hours of dedicated networking time on Tuesday and another two and a half hours on Wednesday, FinovateEurope treats fintech like the people business it is. We’ll help you get connected and stay connected to the people who matter most to you and your organization.

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator


Digital Banking Solutions Provider Bankjoy Secures New Funding

  • Bankjoy, a Michigan-based digital banking solutions provider, has secured new funding. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.
  • The round was led by credit union service organization (CUSO) Curql Collective and featured participation by current and prospective credit union clients of Bankjoy.
  • Bankjoy made its most recent Finovate appearance at FinovateFall last September.

Digital banking solutions provider Bankjoy announced a new investment round led by credit union service organization, Curql Collective. The amount of the funding was not immediately disclosed. In addition to Curql, a number of Bankjoy’s current and prospective credit union clients also participated in the round. Among these investors were AEA Credit Union, Community Wide Federal Credit Union, and Statewide Federal Credit Union.

“We are thrilled to bring Curql on as an investor as Bankjoy continues to grow, as this latest round of funding will allow us to pursue new opportunities to redefine the digital banking experience and help more community financial institutions thrive in an increasingly competitive environment,” BankJoy CEO Michael Duncan said.

A Finovate alum since 2016, Bankjoy most recently demonstrated its technology at FinovateFall last September. At the conference, the Detroit, Michigan-based company showcased its business banking platform that makes it easier and more cost-effective for FIs to deliver digital banking technology to their banking customers. The platform provides a single portal for multiple business accounts, as well as the ability to manage multiple users, control permissions, send transfers to multiple recipients, and more. The Bankjoy Business Banking Platform features more than 60 integrations with core banking platforms and other third-party vendors.

“We build all of our products in-house,” Duncan said at the beginning of his FinovateFall demo in 2022, “because we believe that’s the best way for us to deliver the most seamless, and the most beautiful, and the most visually consistent digital experience across all these channels.”

Bankjoy’s funding news comes a little over a month after the company launched its Online Account Opening 2.0 solution. The new offering enables financial institutions to quickly and seamlessly onboard new customers. The process takes 90 seconds, including ID upload and a selfie match, to ensure a secure and efficient experience for members and clients. The company ended last year having inked deals with a trio of credit unions – Mobility CU of Irving, Texas ($350 million in assets); Lafayette FCU of Rockville, Maryland ($1.6 billion in assets); and SIU CU of Carbondale, Illinois ($465 million in assets).

“Over the last 12 months, 43 percent of small businesses have increased their use of online banking services via computers or tablets, and 40 percent used more mobile banking services, according to Ernst & Young data,” Duncan said. “Clearly, a majority of businesses now expect to be able to engage with their financial institutions through digital channels and this is what Bankjoy’s business banking platform was designed to solve.”

We featured Michael Duncan in our look at black and African American Finovate alums as part of our Black Heritage Month commemoration in February.

Photo by Andre Furtado


Data Fabric or Data Mesh: Can Financial Services Firms Benefit from Both?


This is a sponsored blog post by Saurav Gupta, Sales Engineer, InterSystems

Financial services organizations are awash with data, and there’s a clear appetite in the sector to make use of it for a wide variety of initiatives, including analytics on real-time transactional data and reducing customer churn. But doing so requires putting the right data management architecture in place. That is rarely easy. Over the years, organizations have tried different ways to deliver consistent views of enterprise data to support their business needs but rapid changes in the demands of what their IT infrastructure and data environments need to deliver, like the implementation of data lakes and data warehouses, mean that challenges still remain.

While data within financial services organizations is often siloed and difficult to access and consume, we are now seeing the emergence of new approaches to data management that can overcome these challenges. Two of the most promising: data fabric and data mesh, are designed to help organisations leverage maximum business value from their data and existing data infrastructure.

There are many similarities between the two approaches. Both allow the data to remain stored in place at the source – a key differentiator over legacy systems that require data to be copied and moved using batch processes.

In addition, both a data fabric and a data mesh connect disparate data and applications, including on-premises, from partners, and in the public cloud, to discover, connect, integrate, transform, analyze, manage, and utilize them. By leveraging these capabilities, both approaches enable the business to meet business goals quickly and efficiently.

Despite the parallels between the two, there are also some important differences to consider here, which highlight why they are complementary rather than interchangeable. With a data fabric, the metadata, governance, and semantics are managed centrally. This structure is more frequently encountered in financial services companies that employ a Chief Data Officer that takes a top-down approach to data management.

The latest iteration, smart data fabrics, build on the data fabric foundation and incorporate a wide range of analytics capabilities, including data exploration, business intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning directly within the fabric itself. For financial services, this means there is an ability to perform analytics on real-time event and transactional data, without impacting the performance of the transactional system. Organizations can move away from querying on offline or intraday numbers, to making decisions in the moment with real-time insights.

A data mesh, on the other hand, enables local domain teams to own the delivery of data products based on the premise that they are closer to their data and understand it better. It’s supported by an architecture that leverages a domain-oriented, self-serve design, enabling local teams to discover, understand, trust, and use data to inform decisions and initiatives and develop and deploy data products and applications.

One key difference between the two is that a data mesh allows data governance to be defined and managed at the source systems (endpoints), while a data fabric provides an overarching fabric that includes governance, lineage, security, etc., applied and managed centrally, for example, by the CDO. Looking at this in practical terms, a data mesh may be appropriate for situations where there are data sovereignty concerns, whereas a data fabric may be the right approach where the office of the CDO is defining an organizational taxonomy with access privileges.

These points of differentiation highlight the fact that the two approaches are not mutually exclusive – far from it. In fact, when it comes to determining which type of architecture to use, the selection is dependent upon the business use case. If the senior team wants to have an enterprise view of their data assets with enterprise level governance, for example, they will likely choose to implement an enterprise data fabric. If the organization wants to empower certain trusted parts of the enterprise with the flexibility to create and manage their own applications to speed innovation and digital transformation initiatives, or if data sovereignty issues are of concern, a data mesh may be an appropriate component of their overall architecture.

However, it’s equally true that, in the right circumstances, the two approaches can, and often do, work together positively to achieve positive outcomes. As one of our major financial services customers puts it: “Fabric and mesh share the same goal of easy access to data, and under the right circumstances can in fact be complementary approaches.”

The reality is that data fabric architectures can co-exist with data mesh initiatives where it makes sense, such as in large organizations that must manage campaign data locally within regions.

One example where a data fabric and a data mesh work simultaneously can be seen in the demands of a large multinational wealth management firm with customer 360 initiatives.

In this use case, the company’s overall data strategy is managed centrally (data fabric), but sovereignty issues over data retention and processing are present in certain countries where local marketing campaigns are being executed. Allied to this, there is specific local knowledge of the customers in the regions, which informs variations in local campaign management. These variations are dealt with by the regional, country, or local IT teams (data mesh).

These kinds of practical examples of how data mesh and data fabric can work together to deliver tangible business benefits are ultimately far more illuminating than the debate about the respective merits of each approach.

It’s all about how the approaches can help in streamlining and simplifying business architectures so that organizations can focus on leveraging their data in meaningful ways that deliver tangible business value. Over time, we would expect to see further evolution of the two approaches with data mesh innovations in areas like domain-oriented data ownership coming together with the increasingly mature data fabric architecture. All the time though, the pragmatic focus must remain on what this combination of capabilities delivers to the bottom line. For too many organizations, data infrastructure is still seen as a cost center, but these new paradigms are paving the way for a new understanding of its value, allowing it to be appreciated in a new light as a profit center that contributes its own substantial value to the business.


Modern Treasury Unveils Global ACH Payment Tool

  • Modern Payments and Silicon Valley Bank partnered to launch a cross-border money movement tool called Global ACH.
  • Global ACH leverages local payment rails to enable mutual clients to send cross-border payments.
  • Global ACH differs from SWIFT in that it is less expensive and works better for fast, one-off transactions.

Payment operations platform Modern Treasury has teamed up with Silicon Valley Bank to create a new cross-border payments solution. Global ACH, the new tool, will allow mutual clients to send cross-border payments via local payment rails.

The goal of Global ACH is to provide users an option other than the SWIFT network to send payments internationally. Global ACH enables customers to automate international payments using the local payment rails– equivalent to ACH and RTP– in each country. Leveraging local rails promotes efficiency and helps to lower the costs associated with cross-border payments.

“Payments are in the midst of a massive transformation, and it’s critical that we support our customers with an international footprint in the same way we support them domestically,” said Modern Treasury CEO and Co-founder Dimitri Dadiomov. “Global ACH means providing customers with more choice, greater efficiency, and lower costs. We’re happy to work with Silicon Valley Bank to bring this capability to our mutual clients to help them scale.”

Potential use cases for Global ACH include:

  • Marketplaces that pay out users and suppliers in international markets
  • Shipping and logistics firms that disburse funds to vendors and suppliers abroad
  • Financial services such as payroll and lenders sending funds to international recipients
  • Companies that need to pay large numbers of international suppliers and contractors
  • Software providers offering accounts payable services for clients paying out globally or facilitating remittances

Today’s partnership builds on an existing relationship between Modern Treasury and Silicon Valley Bank. The two currently offer international payment capabilities using the SWIFT network. SWIFT differs from Global ACH in that it works well for fast, one-off international payments. SWIFT is also more expensive than Global ACH. This is why the two anticipate Global ACH to be more popular for companies with recurring international payments and smaller value payouts.

“We are always looking to enhance the payments experience for our fast-growing and innovative clients, many of whom have, or plan to have, an international presence,” said Silicon Valley Bank Head of Payments Kathleen Pierce-Gilmore. “By bringing together the power of SVB’s Global ACH capabilities and the strength of Modern Treasury’s platform, we will enable more of our mutual clients to move money faster, with real-time data visibility and more efficient workflows.”

Founded in 2018, Modern Payments offers APIs to automate money movement while providing control over fund flows with approval workflows, notifications, reporting, and more. The company has raised $183 million and is headquartered in California.

Photo by Pixabay


Natural Language Analytics Innovator SESAMm Locks in $37 Million in New Funding

  • Paris-based natural language analytics data provider SESAMm raised $37 million (€35 million) in Series B2 funding this week.
  • The company will use the investment to grow its workforce and fuel global expansion.
  • A Best of Show winner at FinovateEurope 2022, SESAMm culls billions of web articles and other content to provide organizations and businesses with sentiment and ESG data on public and private companies.

Natural language analytics data provider SESAMm has raised $37 million (€35 million) in Series B2 funding. The investment will help accelerate the Paris, France-based company’s growth and plans for global expansion. SESAMm also will use the capital to add to its workforce in sustainability, technology, sales, and marketing.

“We are happy and grateful to close this €35 million Series B2 round to continue our growth journey and expand to new international markets such as Singapore,” SESAMm CEO and co-founder Sylvain Forté said. “Raising a significant amount during challenging market conditions highlights the relevancy of SESAMm’s focus on two key trends: AI and sustainability. In turn, these tools enable organizations to make better decisions and fill the data gaps, particularly in ESG, on both public and private companies.”

SESAMm’s funding comes almost a year after it won Best of Show at FinovateEurope in London for the live demo its TextReveal solution. Powered by SESAMm’s natural language processing engine, the platform analyzes over 20 billion web articles and messages to deliver daily sentiment and ESG data. The company serves top private equity firms, hedge funds, and other asset management companies, as well as both small and large corporations, with services ranging from controversy detection and private equity due diligence to ESG and SDG sentiment scores and suppliers monitoring.

This week’s round was co-led by deep tech VC firm Elaia and BNP Paribas’ venture capital arm, Opera Tech Ventures. The funding takes SESAMm’s total equity funding to $53 million (€50 million). Also participating were asset manager Unigestion, Raiffeisen Bank International’s venture capital arm Elevator Ventures, AFG Partners, and CEGEE Capital. Investors in SESAMm’s previous Series B1 round, including Carlyle and New Alpha Asset Management, also participated.

Founded in 2014, SESAMm finished last year as the recipient of the Real Deals ESG Tech Award, which recognizes both demonstrated customer and revenue growth, as well as the impact of the recipient’s work on businesses and clients. In November, SESAMm announced a partnership with EthiFinance to help the European risk analysis and ESG rating specialist launch its EthiMonitor solution. The technology provides ESG controversy analysis “for any SME universe.” Also late last year, SESAMm teamed up with South Korea-based Kyobo AXA Investment Managers to develop machine learning models based on SESAMm’s NLP alternative data.

Photo by Pixabay