WorkFusion Launches AI Digital Worker Isaac to Enhance Transaction Monitoring for Banks

  • AI digital workforce solution provider for banks and FIs, WorkFusion unveiled its latest digital worker, an AI transaction monitoring investigator called Isaac.
  • Isaac manages transaction monitoring alerts. The technology routes alerts to human investigators or closes them if they are determined to be non-suspicious.
  • WorkFusion demoed its technology at FinovateFall in 2014.

WorkFusion, an AI digital workforce solution provider for FIs, has launched its latest digital worker, an AI Transaction Monitoring Investigator called Isaac. The new offering leverages machine learning to enhance transaction monitoring alert management. By orchestrating alerts – working first-level alerts, auto-escalating alerts that might require investigation, and auto-closing non-suspicious alerts, Isaac enables anti-fraud analysts to focus on the more complex, higher risk fraud incidents.

“Our new AI Digital Worker, Isaac, reduces the alert review burden by helping to identify which alerts need to be escalated for further review and auto-closes those that it deems as non-suspicious,” WorkFusion VP of Financial Crime Art Mueller said. “Because Isaac creates an easy-to-read dossier with a supporting narrative and documentation, analysts move from authors of reports to editors – saving their time to work on higher-risk and higher value investigations.”

Isaac helps FIs manage transaction monitoring alerts. The technology automates transaction monitoring alert reviews and appropriately routes them to a human investigator, when necessary. If Isaac determines the alerts are not suspicious, it automatically closes them. Additionally, Isaac creates a dossier for each decision with a human-readable justification and supporting documentation. The technology is particularly helpful with transaction monitoring instances that produce a large number of alerts. These scenarios can include structuring, excessive fund transfers, unexpected account activity, as well as other high-risk factors. Note that Isaac is not a transaction monitoring tool itself, and does not initiate alerts on its own.

Headquartered in 2010 and founded in New York, WorkFusion demoed its Active-Learning Automation solution at FinovateFall 2014. Today, the company offers an AI-powered digital workforce that supports teams in operations such as anti-money laundering (AML), sanctions, customer onboarding, Know Your Customer (KYC), and customer service. WorkFusion’s solutions are not bots. Instead, the company’s digital workers leverage a combination of process knowledge and technologies – including AI, machine learning, intelligent document processing, and robotic process automation (RPA) – in order to complete jobs rather than merely rule-based tasks.

This summer the Bank of Asia announced that it would deploy WorkFusion’s AI Digital Worker, Evelyn, as part of its enhanced client onboarding experience. Evelyn provides negative news screening, a component of the KYC process that is especially helpful in combating money laundering, as WorkFusion CEO Adam Famularo explained.

“Adverse media monitoring is one of the most effective tools banks and financial institutions have to protect against money laundering,” Famularo said. “However, there are many news articles, most of which are irrelevant false positive, which consume a lot of time. By automating this laborious task, Bank of Asia will reduce its new client onboarding time and ensure a more positive customer experience.”

Photo by Alex Knight

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Coinbase Earns License from the Monetary Authority of Singapore

  • Coinbase has obtained a Major Payment Institution license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore that allows the company to offer digital payment token services to its retail and commercial users in Singapore. 
  • The official license comes a year after the Monetary Authority of Singapore granted Coinbase initial approval last October.
  • Coinbase has recently invested heavily in Singapore by launching new region-specific products, boosting relationships with regional groups, and hiring and training at its Singapore tech hub.

Digital currency platform Coinbase announced this week that Coinbase Singapore has obtained a Major Payment Institution (MPI) license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

With its MPI license in Singapore, Coinbase can now offer digital payment token services to its retail and commercial users in the country. Today’s announcement comes a year after the MAS granted Coinbase initial approval for the license last October.

As crypto tolerance and acceptance has developed across the globe in recent years, Singapore has proven an important region for expansion for Coinbase. As the company’s blog states, “… we’ve identified Singapore as a vital market for Coinbase. The nation’s progressive economic strategies and approach to regulation sync well with our global mission and objectives.”

Along with its new MPI license in the region, Coinbase has recently released products tailored specifically for Singapore, to include the addition of new funding options for users. Earlier this year, the company launched the ability for retail customers to fund their accounts using PayNow and FAST bank transfers. Coinbase also introduced no-fee USDC purchases with the Singapore dollar (SGD).

Coinbase has made other investments in Singapore, as well. The company has increased training and hiring at its Singapore tech hub and sparked relationships with industry associations including ACCESS, the Singapore Fintech Association, and the Blockchain Association of Singapore. Additionally, Coinbase’s venture arm has made 15 investments in the region.

“The newly acquired license is not only a validation of Coinbase’s operations but also represents a promise and responsibility to the growing crypto and Web3 community in Singapore,” Coinbase said in its blog post, adding, “As we look ahead, we are enthusiastic about further contributing to and growing alongside the crypto and Web3 community in Singapore.”

This positive news comes after a spate of negative press for Coinbase in recent months. In June, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged the U.S.-based company for operating as an unregistered securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency; and for failing to register the offer and sale of its crypto asset staking-as-a-service program. That accusation came after company CEO Brian Armstrong petitioned the SEC for clear rules and regulations surrounding crypto.

Founded in 2012, Coinbase currently sees $92 billion in quarterly volume traded and has $128 billion in assets on its platform. The company went public in 2021 and now trades on the NASDAQ under the ticker COIN with a current market capitalization of $18 billion.

Photo by Pixabay

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A Highlight of Hispanic-Founded Fintechs

To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, we wanted to recognize some of the contributions Hispanic entrepreneurs have made in the fintech industry. From the start, Hispanic professionals have played a pivotal role in shaping fintech by using their creativity and unique perspective to build and improve solutions that truly make a difference for both retail and commercial users.

Below is a selection of Hispanic-founded fintech companies that continue to make a transformative impact in the worlds of banking and fintech. Join us in celebrating diversity, inclusion, and the achievements from these individuals during this month of recognition and reflection. Please note that this is simply a conversation starter and is not an all-inclusive list of Hispanic-founded fintechs.


Securitize enables digital securities, which are easier to own, simpler to manage, and faster to trade.
Founders: Carlos Domingo, Jamie H. Finn, Shay Finkelstein, and Tal Elyashiv


PayJoy is a consumer financing company that allows consumers to buy a smartphone on credit and pay it off in installments.
Founders: Doug Ricket, Gib Lopez, Mark Heynen, and Tom Ricket


Finix develops a payment processing platform for businesses.
Founders: Richie Serna and Sean Donovan


Petal offers three Visa credit card products for underserved consumers.
Founders: Andrew Endicott, David Ehrich, Jack Arenas, and Jason Rosen


Flywire is a global payments enablement and software company that simplifies complex payments for its clients and their customers.
Founder: Iker Marcaide


Octane offers access to instant financing to fuel their customers lifestyles.
Founders: Andre Gregori, Jason Guss, Mark Davidson, Mark Garro, and Michael Fanfant


Origin is a financial planning platform that manages compensation, benefits, and personal finances for employees.
Founders: João de Paula and Matt Watson


Oportun is a digital banking platform that puts its 1.9 million members’ financial goals within reach.
Founders: Gabriel Manjarrez and James Gutierrez


Brex is a global spend platform with corporate cards, expense management, reimbursements, and billpay.
Founders: Henrique Dubugras and Pedro Franceschi

Camino Financial

Camino Financial is an online finance company that offers business loans and wealth-building solutions to help small businesses grow.
Founders: Kenneth Salas and Sean Salas


Ontop offers streamlined payroll, onboarding, and smooth payments for international teams.
Founders: Julian Torres and Santiago Aparicio


Papaya develops technology designed to simplify bill payment for consumers.
Founders: Jason Meltzer and Patrick Kann

Snowball Wealth

Snowball Wealth offers a mobile app designed to help users tackle debt and build generational wealth.
Founders: Pamela Martinez, Pearl Chan, and Tanya Menendez


Paystand is a cloud-based billing and payment platform for B2B companies.
Founders: Jeremy Almond and Scott Campbell


Listo offers insurance and loans via retail and mobile experiences.
Founders: Alan Chiu and Sam Ulloa


Ripio is a bitcoin and digital payments company that provides electronic payment solutions for businesses in Latin America.
Founders: Luciana Gruszeczka, Mugur Marculescu, and Sebastian Serrano


InvestCloud is a global company specializing in digital platforms that enable the development of financial solutions.
Founders: Colin Close, John Wise, Julian Bowden, Michael A. Smith, Vincent Sos, and Yaela Shamberg

Novel Capital

Novel Capital provides revenue-based financing to B2B companies.
Founders: Carlos Antequera and Keith Harrington


Flow offers an open architecture that connects investment managers with their limited partners and service providers.
Founders: Adrian Ortiz, Brendan Marshall


Milo is reimagining the way crypto and global consumers access credit and financial solutions.
Founder: Josip Rupena


Traive is a lending platform that connects lenders to farmers to provide financial products and services for the agricultural supply chain.
Founders: Aline Pezente and Fabricio Pezente


Finally helps small and medium-sized businesses automate their accounting and finances.
Founders: Edwin Mejia, Felix Rodriguez, and Glennys Rodriguez


Alvva offers credit-building loans to pay for immigration expenses.
Founders: Jorge Gonzalez and Sergio Torres


Portabl offers identity-powered user experiences via a single API. 
Founder: Nate Soffio

Onyx Private

Onyx offers a modern private bank for the new generation.
Founders: Douglas Lopes, Tiago Passinato, and Victor Santos


SMBX is a funding portal and public marketplace for issuing and buying U.S. small business bonds.
Founders: Benjamin James Lozano, Bhavish Balhotra, Gabrielle Katsnelson, and Jackie Chan

Zoe Financial

Zoe Financial helps its clients find and hire their ideal financial advisor.
Founder: Andres Garcia Amaya


OKY is building technologies that help immigrants to improve their lives by connecting families and sending value home efficiently.
Founders: Alejandro Miron, Estuardo Figueroa, Santiago Rossi, and Victor Unda


Caplight is a platform that enables institutional investors to buy and sell derivatives of private equity.
Founders: Javier Avalos, Justin Moore


Aeropay enables businesses to accept compliant, digital payments.
Founder: Daniel Muller

Flourish FI

Flourish FI is a financial wellness and engagement platform for financial institutions.
Founders: Jessica Eting, Pedro Moura


Capchase provides financial solutions to startups by allowing access to funds as they grow.
Founders: Ignacio Moreno Pubul, Luis Basagoiti Marqués, Miguel Fernandez, and Przemek Gotfryd


Chargezoom is a B2B integrated payments platform.
Founders: Matt Dubois and Miguel Avellan


Chipper is a student loan app that helps users lower payments, qualify for forgiveness, and chip away debt faster.
Founder: Tony Aguilar


Ease is a corporate card and practice operations software for private practices.
Founders: Mario Amaro and Miles Montes

Photo by fauxels

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Finovate Global Lithuania: The Rise of Regtech in One of the Europe’s Most Dynamic Fintech Hubs

Lithuania is one of those countries that punches above its weight in terms of fintech innovation. With a population of less than three million, the country boasts more than 260 fintech companies. It is the largest fintech hub in the EU when it comes to licensed companies. These fintechs, numbering nearly 150, represent the majority of fintechs in the country and are licensed e-money institutions, payment institutions, or specialized banks.

Some of the more widely known Lithuanian fintechs include account-to-account infrastructure company kevin and e-money institution Paysera. Revolut Bank is licensed and regulated by the Bank of Lithuania, the country’s central bank.

Given the country’s strength as a fintech hub, it is no surprise that Lithuania holds its own on the regtech front as well. Two of the country’s more active regtechs are AMLYZE, an automated transaction monitoring and risk assessment solution provider that raised $1 million in funding back in May, and identity verification and fraud prevention company iDenfy. Both companies made significant partnership announcements in recent days.

Lithuanian identity verification and fraud prevention company iDenfy will help ECNG Digital, a virtual currency exchange and payment services firm, enhance its onboarding process. The partnership will enable ECNG Digital to deploy a variety of customized identity verification procedures via a KYC solution that combines high accuracy and an optimized user experience. These procedures range from validating government-issued identification documents to live selfie detection to cross-referencing databases. Additionally, iDenfy’s in-house KYC specialists will provide real-time verifications to enhance the accuracy of the technology.

“In the realm of virtual currency exchange and payment services, the real challenge lies in balancing fraud prevention with swift identity verification,” iDenfy CEO Domantas Ciulde said. “Our mission is to guide ECNG Digital on this path, ensuring precision while accelerating understanding.”

ECNG Digital is not the only company turning to iDenfy for identity verification. German online marketplace Quoka and iDenfy also have announced a partnership this week. iDenfy’s verification technology will help Quoka manage its sizable volume of ID verifications, leveraging both biometrics and document recognition.

Headquartered in Kaunas, Lithuania, iDenfy was founded in 2017.

Lithuanian credit union group KREDA has selected Lithuanian regtech AMLYZ as its compliance software partner. The organization is one of the largest credit union organizations in the country and has 14 member institutions. KREDA will leverage AMLYZE’s transaction monitoring technology as part of a modernization of its compliance standards. The technology will also help KREDA with customer risk assessment, case management, and sanctions screening.

AMLYZE CEO and co-founder Gabrielius Bilkštys said the partnership represented the company’s “commitment to helping organizations like KREDA navigate the complex current regulatory landscape, detect financial crime, and ensure the highest standards of compliance.” Founded in 2018, KREDA has $528 million (€0.5 billion) in assets under management.

AMLYZE also recently announced that it was working with Estonian core banking provider Tuum. The two firms have forged a strategic partnership that will give banks and other financial institutions access to “out-of-the-box” compliance that is integrated into Tuum’s core banking, payments, and card modules. Tuum VP of Global Strategic Partnerships Jean Souto said that the collaboration would allow “banks and financial institutions to free themselves from the burden of legacy applications so they can respond quickly to market challenges and new opportunities whilst ensuring compliance with increasingly evolving stringent regulations.”

Founded in 2019, AMLYZE is headquartered in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mexican neobank Albo secured $40 million in Series C funding.
  • Issuer-processor Paymentology teamed up with Colombia-based expense management firm Tuily to bring Apple Pay to the company’s SME customers.
  • Uruguay-based digital payments company dLocal announced a pause in its expansion plans.


  • Cross-border payments infrastructure network Thunes expanded its Acceptance network to five markets in southeast Asia: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.
  • Currencycloud announced that it has more than tripled its Chinese customer growth rate across the Asia-Pacific since opening its regional headquarters in 2021.
  • Wealth app Sharesies teamed up with New Zealand-based Maori fintech starup BlinkPay.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South Africa-based Ukheshe partnered with Xion Global to enable crypto payments on its Scan to Pay app.
  • Nigerian wealth management platform Risevest has acquired digital trading platform Chaka.
  • Revio, a fintech headquartered in South Africa that specializes in payment orchestration, secured $5.2 million in seed funding.

Central and Eastern Europe

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • U.K.-based TangoPay partnered with Israel-based transaction monitoring specialist ThetaRay
  • Israeli-fintech Earnix introduced new Chief Technology Officer Erez Barak.
  • UAE’s Neopay announced a partnership with Alipay+.

Central and Southern Asia

Photo by Natallia Photo

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Global Corporate Treasury Services Provider Neo Tops $10.5 Billion In Accounts Cleared

  • Neo, an international corporate treasury services provider, has cleared more than $10.5 billion (€10 billion) in its corporate multi-currency accounts since 2020.
  • Founded in 2017, the company has grown from a FX hedging platform to a one-stop-shop to help corporates better manage cross-border transactions.
  • Neo made its Finovate debut at FinovateEurope in 2019.

International treasury services provider Neo announced today that it has cleared more than $10.5 billion (€10 billion) via its corporate multi-currency accounts since their launch three years ago. This includes a doubling of its cleared volume in less than a year, as its accounts for corporate treasurers reached $5.3 billion (€5 billion) already in 2023.

Neo CEO and co-founder Laurent Descout said that reaching the milestone was a testament to the scalability of the company’s core banking system technology. He called Neo’s innovation “machine-tooled to satisfy the growing complexity faced by international treasury teams.”

The new milestone also affirms Neo’s commitment to helping corporate treasurers navigate a global B2B cross-border payments market that is expected to top $250 trillion by 2027. This is based on estimates from the Bank of England. But it is not the size of the market alone that makes international corporate treasury operations a challenge. Growth into new markets also means securing different accounts for each new country or currency. For many corporate banks, opening an international bank account is a cumbersome and time-consuming process. Add to this the fact that many firms are unable to secure the international accounts they seek and those that do often deal with significant operational inefficiencies, including a lack of support from cross-border payment specialists.

“Accessing multi-currency accounts has literally become impossible for too many corporates across many different industries,” Descout said.

To this end, Neo offers a platform that enables businesses to set up an international account with their own multi-currency International Bank Account Number (IBAN). This will allow them to manage cash flows with supply chains, hedge FX exposure, and access transaction data from a single location. Companies can also leverage virtual wallets to allow them to make and receive payments in more than 25 different currencies. In addition to transparent and competitive pricing, Neo also offers professional support from a team of international payments specialists.

Founded in 2017 and headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, Neo made its Finovate debut at FinovateEurope 2019. From its origins as an FX hedging platform, Neo today provides treasury management services to more than 400 corporates across 28 countries. The company delivers payments in 100+ countries, and reaches 8,000+ banks via its Bank Identification Code (BIC) on the Swift network.

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric

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Lloyds Bank Taps Visa for Virtual Card Solution

  • Lloyds Bank has partnered with Visa to leverage the payment firm’s Visa Commercial Pay virtual card program.
  • Visa Commercial Pay is available to Lloyds Bank’s business customers.
  • The new tool aims to help businesses control spending, reconcile invoices, and report on expenditures.

In a world where digital banking reigns supreme, digital payment tools are king. That’s likely the motivation behind Lloyds Bank’s recent deal with Visa. The U.K.-based bank has tapped the U.S. payments giant to power its new virtual card solution.

Lloyds Bank’s is launching a new virtual card tool for businesses, Visa Commercial Pay, and is the first bank to launch Visa Commercial Pay in the U.K. The new tool aims to help small businesses to enterprises solve their purchasing and administrative challenges. For example, the solution can help them control spending, reconcile invoices, and report on expenditures.

“Visa Commercial Pay is a next generation payment platform that provides the technology to help businesses simplify and streamline the way they make payments, all in a secure and controlled way,” said Visa Managing Director, U.K. & Ireland Mandy Lamb. “We’re delighted to launch this in the U.K. in partnership with Lloyds Bank, delivering seamless payment experiences for U.K. businesses.”

Visa Commercial Pay works like most typical virtual cards in that it instantly issues virtual card numbers to businesses and their employees, allowing them to make card-not-present purchases right away. Employees can request a single or multi-use card number through their employer’s existing approval workflow and reference fields.

Employers have the option to issue cards individually or by batch and can manage spending via controls based on location, time, purchaser, and merchant.

“We’ve worked hard to create a solution that offers a secure, simplified process that enables businesses to pay their suppliers earlier while protecting their working capital,” said Lloyds Bank Head of Commercial Cards James Sykes.

Virtual card issuance has seen a spike amongst business users in the past few years. Not only has their utility increased with the rise of the digital economy, but the security of the cards has also proven a key benefit. That’s because many cards are issued for one-time or limited use, which reduces the risk for fraud and unauthorized transactions. Additionally, the control, visibility, and reporting capabilities the cards offer employers makes virtual cards a clear choice, especially among small businesses with limited resources.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

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Discover Bank’s $36 Million Fund to Transform Financial Health in Delaware’s Fintech Ecosystem

This is a sponsored blog post by Delaware Prosperity Partnership

A new Discover Bank fund aims to increase financial health throughout Delaware while enriching the state’s innovation ecosystem and enhancing Delaware’s reputation as a hub for banking and financial services.

The Discover Financial Health Improvement Fund will support startups and early-stage technology companies that are developing solutions to improve the financial well-being of low- and moderate-income residents, communities, and small businesses statewide. Discover Bank has made an initial capital commitment of $36 million to the Fund, which was announced in June and launches this month.

“We continually explore innovative ways to support our communities in which we operate, and the initial portfolio companies in the Discover Financial Health Improvement Fund have developed technologies that improve the financial health of people with modest means and provide tools to support small businesses growth,” said Matthew Parks, Vice President of Discover Bank. “It is our expectation that these technologies can both be profitable and beneficial to the community.”

By creating a framework to drive capital investments to fintech startups, the Fund ultimately seeks to ensure that affordable and relevant financial products and services are useful and accessible to unserved and underserved individuals and small businesses. Clients for these offerings include the unbanked and the underbanked and those with low credit scores, low savings rates and/or high borrowing costs.

The mission-driven initiative is a collaboration between Discover Bank, the Financial Health Network, ResilienceVC, and Delaware-based Chartline Capital. The Financial Health Network, a leading authority in its field, will help evaluate startups for their potential impact on financial-health improvement. ResilienceVC, a seed-stage domestically focused venture firm investing in embedded fintech startups, will manage Discover’s earlier-stage investments.

Venture capital firm Chartline Capital Partners was formed under the principle that entrepreneurship and venture capital can be leveraged to improve the world. The firm invests in high-growth business-to-business technology companies serving core industries after they have started scaling their go-to-market and helps founders and management teams accelerate growth. Chartline will manage Discover’s later-stage investments.

“Throughout time, new technologies have made people’s lives better,” said Ben duPont, Chartline co-founder and Managing Director. “Chartline is honored to partner with Discover to invest in companies leveraging new financial technologies to improve the lives of low- and moderate-income people, communities and small businesses.”

The Fund has a priority focus on investing in fintech startups that are willing to operate out of the new Financial Technology Building on the STAR Campus of the University of Delaware in Newark. Fund support will then seek to spread to companies that may be located throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Companies outside the region are still eligible for funding, but the venture must be focused on materially improving financial health for consumers and small businesses throughout the State of Delaware and/or the surrounding mid-Atlantic region. Any venture focused on improving financial health – regardless of its product or service’s delivery format or specific financial topic addressed – may apply for funding.

By boosting individual startups, the Discover Financial Health Improvement Fund also will bolster Delaware’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. According to Noah Olson, Director of Innovation at statewide economic development organization Delaware Prosperity Partnership, a legacy strength in financial services, coupled with a nurturing environment for business growth, makes Delaware a great place to grow a fintech company.

“Discover, a global company with a major footprint here in Delaware, is leading by example with this new fund,” Olson said. “Adding further investment resources to a growing startup ecosystem will be beneficial for the state, as well as for the portfolio companies who are focused on financial health improvement.”

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FinovateFall 2023 in 1,224 Photos

FinovateFall 2023 concluded earlier this month, but that doesn’t mean that the excitement has died down. The three-day event was packed with valuable content, meaningful conversations, a reunion of familiar faces, and new connections.

And while speakers and attendees were busy talking and learning about all things fintech and banking, Finovate’s photographer was capturing the event in 1,224 pictures.

We’ve culled a handful of highlights that help summarize FinovateFall via pictures. If you’re looking for a content summary, check out David’s piece titled, FinovateFall 2023: AI, the Fintechification of Everything, and Why Boring is the New Black.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic during his keynote: ChatGPT, Generative AI & The Future For Humanity

Jacqueline Baker, Author of The Unexpected Leader – Discovering the Leader Within You, during her book signing.

FinovateFall 2023 Best of Show Award winners (from left to right)- Mahalo Banking, Trust & Will, Wysh, Debbie,, and Chimney

Women in Fintech panel conversation moderated by Michelle Tran with Akita Somani, Brandis DeSimone, Baanu Ratneswaran, Trish Costello, and Karen Yankovich

Investor All Stars panel, moderated by Ope Runseewe, with Lindsay Fitzgerald, Alexa von Tobel, Matt Harris, and Kabir Kumar

You can view the entire photo album on Finovate’s Flickr page.

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Invstr Launches Parent-Permissioned Kids Investing Tool

  • Invstr launched Investr Jr., a digital bank and investing account for users under the age of 18.
  • When they are ready to invest, child users can send their investment proposals to the adult on the account, who can approve or decline the request.
  • The new Investr Jr. accounts cost $6.25 to $7.99 per month.

Kids want to do everything their parents do, so why not let them invest… with a little help, of course. Digital banking and investment app Invstr launched Invstr Jr. this week. Invstr Jr. is a custodial account to help users under the age of 18 learn how to earn, invest, and manage their finances.

When parents open an Invstr Jr. account for their child, they can schedule monthly deposits and set allowances for completing goals. Each account, offered by Vast Bank, features a checking and savings account, a debit card, a brokerage account with commission-free fractional investing, and a crypto account. When they are ready to invest, the child user can send investment proposals to the adult, who has the option to approve or decline the requests.

“At Invstr we believe that you’re never too young to start investing,” said Invstr CEO Kerim Derhalli. “We believe everyone can be an investor and can learn to invest in the same way that we learn to play a sport or a musical instrument. Investing is increasingly being recognized as a key life skill. We have made it fun and social for people to build experience and confidence safely and to learn good money habits.”

Invstr Jr. is also focused on bridging the financial health knowledge gap that young users face. Children can receive rewards for completing gamified learning modules in the Invstr Academy. And because many kids learn by doing, Invstr Jr. offers a Fantasy Finance game that allows users to manage a $1 million risk-free, virtual portfolio and create leagues to compete with friends. Within their league, players will see a leaderboard and statistics, and can chat or direct message other users or their adult.

Invstr Jr. accounts, which cost $6.25 to $7.99 per month, can include up to four kids and will have access to Invstr Pro. This solution offers the member tools to find the best investments and provides daily feedback on their portfolio risk and returns, their progress as an investor, and a personal Invstr Score.

The company’s new custodial investment account competes with Acorns, which offers Acorns Early at $5 per month, and with Greenlight, which offers investing tools within its account, that costs $4.99 per month.

U.K.-based Invstr was founded in 2013 to democratize finance. The company’s app has been downloaded more than one and a half million times in over 200 countries.

Photo by Julia M Cameron

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Credibly Teams Up with Green Dot to Bring Better Banking Services to SMEs

  • SME lending platform Credibly has partnered with Green Dot to add small business banking services to its offering.
  • The new solution, Credibly Business Banking, will help SMEs improve cash flow and secure capital easier and faster.
  • Green Dot made its Finovate debut in 2013. The company has managed more than 67 million accounts to date.

SME lending platform Credibly is adding small business banking services to its offering. Powered by Green Dot’s banking-as-a-service platform, Credibly Business Banking will enhance the banking experience for small and medium-sized businesses with improved cash flow management and faster access to financing.

Access to capital and better managing cash flow are two critical challenges for small businesses. The number of new small businesses continues to rebound in the wake of the pandemic, with small business applications in the U.S. up more than 40% from pre-pandemic levels. Unfortunately, many of these small businesses struggle to secure the financing they need to grow. Goldman Sachs revealed that more than 75% of small business owners surveyed in their 10,000 Small Businesses Voices Initiative cited access to capital as a main concern.

The hurdles are greater for those small businesses that do not have a business bank account. A Nav survey discovered that 70% of small business owners without a business bank account were rejected for loans within the past two years.

Credibly Business Banking is a response to these challenges, according to Credibly founder and co-CEO Ryan Rosett. “With a business checking account, customers will have faster and easier access to the cash, credit, and capital they need to run and grow their business,” Rosett said. The new account also features online mobile banking, fast account set-up, overdraft protection, no fees for eligible deposits, and access to a nationwide ATM network.

Founded in 2010, Credibly has facilitated more than $2 billion in financing to 30,000+ small and medium-sized businesses. Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, the company has raised more than $82 million in total funding. Credibly Business Banking is one of a number of new products for small businesses the company has on its roadmap.

“The demand for seamless, accessible and intuitive financial tools for businesses remains on the rise,” Rosett said, “and we are thrilled to partner with Green Dot to add small business banking to complement our lending solutions.”

Founded in 1999, Green Dot has been a Finovate alum since 2013. The firm has managed 67 million accounts to date, providing banking services such as online bank accounts, debit cards, and credit solutions, as well as deposits and transfers. Green Dot has leveraged its embedded finance capabilities to enable partners from Apple to Walmart to embed scalable banking solutions into their offerings.

Newsweek named Green Dot one of its “Most Trustworthy Companies in America” earlier this year. Publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker GDOT, the Austin, Texas-based company has a market capitalization of $719 million.

Photo by Trac Vu

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Optimize Onboarding to Maximize Revenue

Upcoming Finovate webinar, in collaboration with Trulioo, on Tue 31 Oct, 2023, 3pm GMT / 10am ET

Markets around the world have shifted from a growth-at-all-costs mentality to a more targeted approach that emphasizes onboarding the right customers while decreasing acquisition costs. But costs alone don’t tell the whole story. Successful customer onboarding strategies take into account risk tolerance, user experience, abandonment rates, operational costs, and the lifetime value of a good customer.

In this webinar, we’ll share how some of the world’s leading fintechs have optimized their onboarding to realize double-digit verification rate increases in key markets, improve onboarding rates, and gain significant operational savings.

Zac Cohen from Trulioo will share firsthand insights, including:

  • Key strategies to immediately optimize onboarding
  • How analytics changes the game for consumer and business verification
  • Real-world examples of how optimization can improve performance, speed, and the customer experience

Efficiencies deployed only during lean times can lead to short-term gains. But optimization with an eye toward the future can drive a long-term competitive advantage. Join us to learn how – register now >>

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Can’t join us live? Register now, and we’ll send you the recording. 

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Ocrolus Enhances its Mortgagetech

Financial document automation platform Ocrolus has proven its technology as a useful tool in the mortgage industry. The New York-based company is augmenting its reputation today, after announcing this morning it has enhanced its dashboard for mortgage lenders.

The new capability enables both wholesale and direct mortgage lenders to enhance their loan origination workflow. It also automates complex income calculations for both traditional and self-employed borrowers, including those with non-traditional employment, multiple borrowers, or several employers. 

“Manual document processing and income analysis create a bottle neck in the origination process,” said Ocrolus COO Vik Dua. “With Ocrolus’ enhanced mortgage offering, we’re empowering lenders with accurate document analysis to help reduce processing time, mitigate risk, and maximize profit margin on every single loan. We provide lenders with a highly flexible and scalable back office so they can focus on their core business.”

Significant to the enhancement is the combination of three of Ocrolus’ tools: Classify, which enables lenders to speed up processing time with automated document indexing; Capture, which combines AI computer vision and human validation to extract key information from documents with over 99% accuracy; and Analyze, which enables lenders to streamline income calculation for both traditionally and self-employed borrowers with automated, transparent and flexible worksheets.

The technology also has positive implications for borrowers as it offers an objective and standardized approach to evaluating income and supports streamlined communication channels between the borrower and the lender.

Ocrolus was founded in 2014 and has gone on to raise $127 million for its AI-powered document automation platform. The company, which demoed its technology earlier this month at FinovateFall 2023 and won Best of Show honors at FinovateFall 2021, counts PayPal, Brex, SoFi, and Plaid among its clients.

Photo by RDNE Stock project

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Atomic, PayLink, and the Consumer-Centric Transformation of Financial Services

What is the future of open banking in the U.S.? Today, financial connectivity innovator Atomic launched PayLink, a new suite of solutions that streamline payment switching for consumers.

The new offering provides for an improved user experience for financial services consumers. It is also a big step towards helping banks and other financial institutions align themselves with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s goals with regards to open banking.

We talked with Andrea Martone, Head of Product for Atomic, to learn more about PayLink, and the drive toward a more open banking system in the U.S.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and founded in 2019, Atomic made its Finovate debut two years ago at FinovateFall 2021. Jordan Wright is co-founder and CEO.

Congratulations on the launch of PayLink. Tell us more about this new suite of products.

Andrea Martone: Thank you! We’re thrilled about the launch of PayLink. We’ve taken our expertise in building user-permissioned connectivity for sharing and updating data and expanded it to merchant accounts, streaming services, and recurring bill providers, enabling consumers to seamlessly update their payment methods on file and retrieve information on upcoming payments. Building PayLink was a natural next step on our journey towards helping consumers update their primary banking relationship as it helps overcome a major point of friction in the process. To build it, we leveraged our cutting-edge TrueAuth technology that allows users to authenticate directly on their devices, without ever sharing login credentials.  

For our readers who are new to Atomic, can you tell us a little about the company?

Martone: At Atomic we believe that making it simple for consumers to access, share, and update their financial data is key to unlocking new financial opportunities. By embedding Atomic’s SDK into their online and mobile banking applications, financial institutions can enable consumers to easily update direct deposit instructions, verify income and employment, import W2s and, now, update payment methods on file with merchants without leaving their application. With our solutions, financial institutions help grow new account adoption, qualify borrowers, and streamline tax filing.

Open banking was a major topic of conversation at our FinovateFall conference a few weeks ago. What is your take on the state of open banking in the U.S.? 

Martone: Open banking in the U.S. is at an interesting juncture. With the CFPB taking bold steps in their public commentary, there’s an exciting momentum building around the consumer-centric transformation of financial services. While Europe has been ahead in this race, the U.S. is catching up, and I believe we are headed for an ecosystem that allows for significant innovations to support both consumers and financial institutions. 

One of the issues that came up in our discussion on open banking was the idea that open banking is integrally related to the issue of digital identity. Do you agree? Why is this so and why is it important to keep in mind?

Martone: Digital identity is the backbone of a secure open banking ecosystem. As we democratize access to financial data, establishing secure, verifiable digital identities becomes crucial. It’s not just about sharing data, but ensuring that the right data gets shared with the right entities for the right purposes – securely. Our TrueAuth technology, for example, is designed to enhance credential security while empowering consumers.

The CFPB is working on regulations that could impact personal data rights. What are your thoughts on these potential regulations and their impact on companies in the open banking space – as well as the impact on consumer adoption of open banking? 

Martone: I view the CFPB’s focus on personal data rights as a necessary step toward fostering a fair, transparent financial ecosystem. Giving consumers greater portability over their financial data opens the door for increased innovation and competition in the financial services space. However, it also creates a wider surface area for exploitation and misuse of data, as well. As a result, regulations will need to set the standards that ensure consumer privacy and data security and, in turn, build consumer trust. For companies evolving into the open banking space, this is an opportunity to align their products with consumer-centric values, which I believe will accelerate consumer adoption and loyalty in the long run.

Atomic is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. We’ve seen a surprising number of innovative fintechs headquartered in Utah. What is it like to be a tech startup in the Beehive State?  

Martone: Being headquartered in Utah has been fantastic for us. The state offers a thriving tech scene, a highly skilled workforce, and a business-friendly environment. We also have a dynamic team located throughout the country, which ensures that we comprise a diverse workforce. 

What can we expect to see from Atomic over the next few months and into next year?

Martone: We have a busy roadmap ahead! You can expect to see more advanced features being rolled into PayLink, further strengthening its capabilities. You will also see us double-down on our strengths in expanding connectivity where it can benefit consumers to access, share, and update data in secure, transparent, and reliable ways to expand their financial opportunities. Key to this is continuing to advance our authentication methods, including our TrueAuth technology. Additionally, we’ll be focusing on strategic partnerships to widen our reach. Our aim is to continue leading the charge in making open banking a tangible, beneficial reality for all. 

Photo by Stephen Leonardi

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MoneyGram to Launch Non-Custodial Digital Wallet

  • MoneyGram is launching a non-custodial digital wallet.
  • The wallet will help users move funds from fiat to digital currency and back again.
  • MoneyGram is leveraging the Stellar Development Foundation’s open-source public blockchain Stellar for the launch.

When you think of the top crypto players in fintech, MoneyGram may not come to mind. However, the 83-year-old company continues to position itself at the forefront of the crypto space. As evidence of this, MoneyGram unveiled its non-custodial digital wallet today.

MoneyGram will launch the non-custodial digital wallet in the first quarter of next year. The wallet will help MoneyGram users leverage stablecoins to move funds from fiat to digital currency and back again. The new wallet will effectively serve as a bridge between international money transfers and blockchain payments.

With the non-custodial digital wallet, users will be able to cash out their digital asset holdings at physical MoneyGram locations, making their funds more liquid than before. The wallet, which will leverage MoneyGram’s compliance screening capabilities, will also offer account-to-account money transfers, allowing users to send digital assets to other users in the wallet.

The wallet leverages MoneyGram’s partnership with the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF), the organization behind open-source public blockchain Stellar that allows money to be tokenized and transferred globally. MoneyGram and SDF originally partnered in October of last year, when the two piloted the cash-to-crypto functionality.

“Through the services we provide in partnership with SDF, MoneyGram has made strides to create equitable access to the global financial system, having become the single largest fiat on and off-ramp provider offering blockchain access worldwide,” said MoneyGram CEO Alex Holmes.

The “non-custodial” element of MoneyGram’s wallet is notable because it will offer users control over their own private keys, which can offer more security. And because users don’t rely on a third party to manage their funds, they are less dependent on centralized institutions, which makes the wallet more decentralized, and ultimately offers a higher level of anonymity because they don’t need to provide personal information when creating or using the wallet.

After its launch, MoneyGram’s non-custodial digital wallet will be fee-free until June of 2024. The company also notes plans to expand the wallet’s capabilities with new features next year.

MoneyGram first launched its fiat on-and-off-ramp service for digital wallets in 2022 and has since expanded the service to eight digital wallets on the Stellar blockchain. Today, consumers can cash-out in 180+ countries and cash-in in 30+ countries around the world. 

Photo by Jonathan Borba

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Goalsetter Lands $1 Million Plus a New Partnership with MSU FCU’s Reseda Group

  • Goalsetter has partnered with MSU Federal Credit Union’s (MSUFCU’s) Reseda Group this week.
  • As part of the partnership, Reseda Group has invested $1 million in Goalsetter, bringing its total funding to $20.5 million.
  • MSUFCU will white label Goalsetter’s youth banking platform for its members and will deploy the company’s classroom curriculum across local communities.

MSU Federal Credit Union’s (MSUFCU’s) Reseda Group is taking a step toward helping members and their families create better financial futures. The group announced today it has partnered with financial literacy platform Goalsetter.

The aim of the partnership is to help members and their families build better spending, saving, and investing habits. To accomplish this, Reseda Group will offer Goalsetter’s financial education tools and resources to members and their families.

There are three significant pieces to note from today’s deal. First, Reseda Group invested $1 million in Goalsetter, boosting the New York-based company’s total funding to $20.5 million. President and CEO of Reseda Group and MSUFCU April Clobes said that Reseda Group invested in Goalsetter because it is the “best solution for credit unions that want to attract and retain the next generation of members.” She added that integrating Goalsetter’s offerings can help credit unions “increase brand affinity with Gen Z members, deposits, and overall membership numbers.”

The second big piece for Goalsetter is that MSUFCU has agreed to white label Goalsetter’s youth banking platform for its members. Thirdly, MSUFCU will deploy the Goalsetter’s classroom curriculum in local school systems and community organizations across its branch locations.

“The award-winning, proven Goalsetter platform focuses on providing financial tools, education, and innovative financial wellness content built around pop culture, memes, GIFs, and game-based learning that resonates with young consumers. It will enable MSUFCU to effectively engage with younger consumers and provide them with the personalized services they seek,” said Goalsetter CEO Tanya Van Court. “We are proud to bring these solutions to the MSUFCU member community alongside Reseda Group, an organization that has been instrumental in the growth and ongoing success of the Goalsetter platform.”

Goalsetter was founded in 2016 and helps families offer their kids a NCUA-insured savings account where they can receive allowance, a Mastercard debit card with parental controls, game-based financial education quizzes, and more.

Goalsetter fits into the same category as Greenlight, which facilitates banking services through Community Federal Savings Bank, and GoHenry, which was acquired by Acorns earlier this year.

Photo by Skitterphoto

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Seven Stories: Greg Palmer and the Finovate Podcast’s Summer Series

It’s been a busy summer for Finovate VP Greg Palmer and the Finovate Podcast. If you’ve missed an episode or two, now is a great time to join Greg and his guests as they talk about some of the most pressing issues in fintech today.

From the challenge of optimizing the customer experience to strategies to make fintech-bank partnerships thrive, the Finovate podcast is a great source for insightful conversation on the key trends and opportunities in our industry.

Greg Palmer talks with Rachel Lyubovitzky, CEO and Chairwoman of Setuply, on transforming new clients into brand champions with seamless onboarding. Episode 188.

Greg Palmer interviews Kevin Brown, CMO and Head of Corporate Development at Onbe, on the importance of an excellent payments experience on customer retention and growth. Episode 187.

Greg Palmer explores alternatives to equity-based growth models and the broader fintech ecosystem with Neil Kenley, Principal with Vistara Growth. Episode 186.

Greg Palmer and Elizabeth McClusky, Director at TruStage Ventures, discuss the fintech funding landscape with a focus on DEI initiatives and credit unions. Episode 185.

Greg Palmer interviews Bryon Guerra and Herb Berkley of Lone Star National Bank on tech priorities, tips for engaging with banks, and how to make a partnership work. Episode 184.

Greg Palmer interviews Manas Chawla, CEO of London Politica, on geopolitical risk and fintech. Episode 183.

Greg Palmer talks with Luke Williams, Author of Disrupt, about the strategy behind innovation. Episode 182.

Photo by Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz

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Backbase and FrankieOne Announce Strategic Partnership to Enhance Digital Onboarding

  • Engagement banking innovator Backbase has teamed up with identity verification and fraud prevention company FrankieOne.
  • The strategic partnership will combine the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform with FrankieOne’s identity verification solutions.
  • A four-time Finovate Best of Show winner, Backbase most recently demoed its technology at FinovateFall 2021.

Engagement banking firm Backbase has forged a strategic partnership with identity verification and fraud prevention platform FrankieOne. The two companies will work together to help banks and credit unions in Australia and New Zealand onboard customers faster and more securely. The collaboration blends Backbase’s personalized banking experience platform with FrankieOne’s identity verification solutions to make it easier for customers to seamlessly and safely access digital financial services.

Courtesy of the partnership, users of Backbase’s Engagement Banking platform will be able to access a variety of KYC, AML, biometric verification, transaction monitoring, fraud detection, and compliance capabilities from a curated roster of providers. Additionally, the recent launch of Backbase’s Engagement Banking Cloud (EBC) will give its strategic partners – like FrankieOne – a single platform that supports the full customer lifecycle.

“This partnership reinforces Backbase’s global commitment to enhancing our offering and meeting the needs of financial institutions across the region,” Backbase Director of Global Head of Fintech-As-a-Service Mayank Somaiya said. “These partnerships allow us to accelerate the integration of best-in-class capabilities into the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform.”

Backbase’s announcement comes just a few days after the company reported that it was working with Judo Bank. The Australian challenger bank, launched in 2016, selected Backbase’s Engagement Banking Platform earlier this month. In August, the Amsterdam-based fintech announced partnerships with business and IT consulting company Valleysoft and fellow Finovate alum SavvyMoney. Founded in 2003, the four-time Finovate Best of Show winner most recently demoed its technology at FinovateFall 2021. At the conference, Backbase introduced its customer onboarding solution. This technology consolidates customer finances through direct deposit, billpay auto linking, and debit card account opening.

Onboarding and fraud platform FrankieOne was founded in 2017 by Simon Costello (CEO) and Aaron Chipper (CTO). The company leverages more than 350 data sources to enable businesses to quickly and securely onboard more customers. Headquartered in Australia, FrankieOne notes that its customers see a 11% uplift in match rates after transitioning to FrankieOne.

Photo by Catarina Sousa

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Finovate Global Austria: BehaviorQuant Leverages Predictive Knowledge to Enhance the Investment Process

What do you as an investor know about the people who manage your money? If your answer to this question is “not very much,” then imagine the challenge of banks and other financial institutions who invest millions of dollars with hundreds, if not thousands of investment professionals.

This is an underdiscussed problem in the investment world: the lack of systematic knowledge about the individuals and teams making investment decisions for millions of individuals, families, and organizations. This can lead to underperformance in terms of investments, as well as inefficient financial advisory.

To this end, we caught up with Thomas Oberlechner, CEO and founder of BehaviorQuant. The company he founded in 2018 gives financial institutions predictive information about the people behind investment decisions. BehaviorQuant leverages behavioral science, machine learning, and automation to learn and analyze the behavior of investment professionals and teams – as well as customers. The insights derived from BehaviorQuant’s automated survey technology enables fund managers to improve their performance and better customize their services to their customers.

Headquartered in Vienna, Austria, BehaviorQuant demoed its technology at FinovateEurope earlier this year.

What problem does BehaviorQuant solve and who does it solve it for?

Thomas Oberlechner: We developed BehaviorQuant because every financial decision is ultimately made by a person or a team. BehaviorQuant solves a core problem that underlies the entire investment industry: we don’t have systematic knowledge about the people and teams behind investment decisions. And that’s true for financial professionals and clients alike.

Financial players – for example, banks, funds, financial advisors – are used to having access to vast amounts of financial data and information. But without BehaviorQuant, they don’t have systematic knowledge and data about the people and teams behind this data.  Yet it is the people and teams behind the visible financial results that play the key role in investing. You can see this everywhere — in the performance of investment teams, in the selection of fund managers, in the efficiency and success of wealth advisors.

For example, in our research we found that 37% of the performance of top decision makers at world-leading financial institutions is based on their behavioral characteristics. However, there is no product to easily measure and quantify the behavioral characteristics of decision-makers. This lack of insight into the behavioral aspects and decision-making tendencies leads to underperformance of asset managers, missed profit opportunities for investors, unrecognized fund manager selection risks, costly staffing mistakes, and churn among dissatisfied clients.

How does BehaviorQuant solve this problem better than other companies?

Oberlechner: Our behavioral finance technology combines the highest level of expertise in behavioral science, personality and decision research with machine learning. For the first time ever, we are capturing the people and teams behind the visible investment decisions. And we give our customers predictive knowledge about themselves and about others – about their own investment teams, about the fund managers they allocate their money to, about their clients. Our solutions solve three distinct problems: first, they help asset managers to improve their performance; second, they help allocators choose the best fund managers; and third, they enable advisors to tailor their advice highly efficiently to each individual client.

As we all know and often forget, markets are made up of people. And financial decision makers have very different ways of processing information, personalities, values, goals, and decision paths. Before BehaviorQuant, there was no systematic knowledge of these aspects. But it is exactly these aspects that are critical to how successfully you steer your course through the rough waters of financial risks and returns.

So BehaviorQuant enables you to efficiently personalize your client advice, optimize your investment decisions, and avoid invisible risks in capital allocation and manager selection.

Regardless of how experienced you are as a financial professional, you will always benefit from a system that gives you systematic, quantitative knowledge about people. Our clients receive predictive knowledge about asset managers, investment teams, and clients. And they make far better decisions — whether they want to interact more effectively with their clients, optimize their team’s decision-making, hire promising professionals, or select compatible external fund managers. BehaviorQuant effortlessly makes them a master of these tasks.

Who are BehaviorQuant’s primary customers. How do you reach them?

Oberlechner: The lack of knowledge about the actual decision makers is pervasive, and it affects three kinds of financial companies in particular. These companies are also our main customers. First, we work with financial companies and asset managers who actively invest in the markets and who want to optimize the returns they generate by improving their own decision processes. Second, we work with family offices and other allocators who use BehaviorQuant to evaluate and select fund managers. And thirdly, we cater to banks and investment advisors who want to excel in advising their clients. They want to advise in a highly personalized way that is truly aligned with their clients.

How do we reach these customers? We’re proud that our first clients found us, not the other way around. Of course, in the meantime, we have grown our sales and marketing team and expanded our outreach efforts by maintaining an active presence on social and other media and attending of relevant conferences — like Finovate. And we’re finding that word of mouth from customers who love our solutions is increasingly supporting our efforts to win new customers.

Can you tell us about a favorite implementation or deployment of your technology?

Oberlechner: We have been receiving enthusiastic feedback from users on both sides of the Atlantic. It makes me and the team happy when they tell us that BehaviorQuant should be a mandatory tool in any decision-making process, when they emphasize how BehaviorQuant’s solutions help them to make better decisions in a systematic and sustainable way, and when they express their enthusiasm about how it helps them deepen their customer relationships.

But my personal favourite deployment of our technology is something that has only very recently come to market. It allows us to impact many more customers without them having to contact our friendly sales team first. Just in time for the 2023 fall season, we’ve introduced an all-new, self-service option for our financial and wealth advisors. They can now effortlessly get detailed information on our website and actively try out BQ Advisory. Then they can purchase single product uses for their work with clients. They can do this directly on the website, on a credit-by-credit basis. This self-service option and the ability to join on a credit basis alongside our attractive licensing offerings have made the of BQ Advisory much easier, especially for the many independent advisors who advise a limited number of clients. And it’s also great for advisors in large institutions who use us already and now want to easily show their colleagues what BehaviorQuant can do.

What in your background gave you the confident to respond to this challenge?

Oberlechner: I was initially trained as a clinical psychologist in Vienna and always have been fascinated by the differences between people and the way they make decisions. As a university professor for many years, I have focused on how people actually make financial decisions — and the fact that we are all different financial decision makers. I have been fortunate to work with dozens of the world’s leading financial institutions for my research, from Goldman Sachs to Merrill Lynch to UBS. My female cofounder, Dr. Gerlinde Berghofer, and I both have PhDs and strong backgrounds in behavioral science. We have spent years doing research at Harvard, MIT, and Columbia University. We have worked with and studied hundreds and thousands of investment decision makers, from top fund managers to banks, advisors, and financial clients. From academia, we moved first to Silicon Valley and now to Vienna to translate this research into turnkey behavioral technologies for investment professionals.

Our solutions are therefore based on our many years of scientific work with many of the world’s leading investment institutions. And we have gone to great lengths to empirically test their benefits. For example, we have systematically tested the predictive power of BQ Performance with professional portfolio decision makers. While their average annual performance was about 10%, the annual performance of those whom the system predicted would outperform was more than twice as high. To give another example, in a comprehensive study of wealth advisory clients, BQ Advisory identified clients at risk of churn with 90% accuracy. Compare this to the 50% accuracy without BehaviorQuant!

Left to right: Dr. Thomas Oberlechner (CEO, Founder) and Gerlinde Berghofer (COO, Co-founder) of BehaviorQuant at FinovateEurope 2023.

What is the fintech ecosystem like in Austria?  What is the relationship between techs, fintechs, and traditional financial services companies?

Oberlechner: Austria and Vienna have proven to be a fertile breeding ground for the specific type of fintech that BehaviorQuant offers. Vienna historically has played a large role in the sciences that generate a better understanding of individual and collective behavior, from Freud’s psychoanalysis to the Austrian School of Economics. After spending many years in San Francisco developing fintech, we felt very fortunate that the Austrian government offered us a generous grant to bring BehaviorQuant here. 

I would describe the fintech industry as friendly and highly innovative, with some already well-known international players with roots in Austria like n26 and Bitpanda. Collaboration between traditional financial institutions and fintech startups has been a major driver of innovation in the Austrian market. Established banks are turning to fintech partnerships to expand their service offerings, improve the customer experience, and stay competitive in the digital age. Vienna has become a bit of a fintech hotspot, attracting both local and international talent and investment. Fintech companies benefit from Vienna’s consistently high rankings in international surveys of capitals’ attractiveness. The city offers an ecosystem of co-working spaces, incubators, and accelerators that foster collaboration and help fintech startups succeed.

At BehaviorQuant, we maintain close personal relationships with many of Austria’s “traditional” financial firms and banks, and we also have a very active bridge to the U.S. based on our history and our strong network on both the East and West coasts.

You demoed at FinovateEurope in London earlier this year How was that experience?

Oberlechner: Wow! We are absolutely thrilled by the incredible response we’ve received for our products! The interest and the number of new connections we’ve made were really overwhelming. We received amazing support from the organizers throughout the conference, as well as during in the preparation stage for our participation and presentation. The feedback from participants gave us an incredible boost of confidence and motivation. Thanks again to the team for a great and wonderfully rewarding experience!

What are your goals for BehaviorQuant and what can we expect in the months to come?

Oberlechner: Our goal with BehaviorQuant is simple: we want financial decision makers around the globe to become better decision-makers though our systematic behavioral data and decision support. And we want to become the world’s leading provider of predictive behavioral data for financial professionals and investment companies.

I briefly mentioned that we recently launched a self-service payment option for our advisory solution. In the coming months, exciting new self-service options are in the queue for the analysis of financial professionals with BQ Performance. This will allow individual investment professionals to easily get started with a comprehensive analysis of their personal untapped performance potential, as well as possible behavioral bias and performance blockers — before using it in the wider context, for example, with their entire team or company. So stay tuned for our upcoming releases!

Photo by Alesia Kozik

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Union Credit Announces Collaboration with Your Money Further

  • Credit union marketplace Union Credit has announced a collaboration with financial resource network Your Money Further.
  • The partnership will enable users of Your Money Further to access the Union Credit Marketplace of pre-approved financing offers.
  • Union Credit made its Finovate debut earlier this month at FinovateFall.

Fresh of its debut at FinovateFall in New York last week, marketplace for credit unions Union Credit has announced a collaboration with financial resource network Your Money Further.

“This collaboration with Your Money Further demonstrates our commitment to expanding our reach to communities and creating a level playing field for credit unions, while also empowering consumers to accomplish their financial goals,” Union Credit Chief Revenue Officer and co-founder Barry Kirby said.

A CU Awareness company, Your Money Further helps consumers find the credit union that best suits their needs. Courtesy of the firm’s collaboration with Union Credit, credit unions in Your Money Further’s network will be able to access the Union Credit Marketplace. This will give the more than 12 million consumers who visit Your Money Further every year access to financing options from nearly 300 credit unions that are now eligible to join.

“Union Credit’s marketplace … (provides) our users wth firm, pre-approved offers of credit,” CU Awareness Executive Director Chris Lorence said in a statement, “eliminating the hassle and guesswork that comes with applying for a loan and empowering consumers to take commands of their finances.” Lorence added that the rising interest rate environment was a challenge that was making consumers increasingly anxious about their financial decision-making.

Union Credit gives consumers access to one-click credit offers embedded in their daily activities. The company’s marketplace enables credit unions to enter new markets both at the front end of purchases as well as part of a financing experience. Additionally, the marketplace gives credit unions the opportunity to boost loan volume and brand-awareness. Your Money Further users will be able to compare and choose offers and rates for home purchasing, equity loans and personal loans, and refinancing, as well as new and used auto loans – all from local credit unions looking to serve new credit-worthy members.

“Your Money Further is dedicated to empowering consumers to make financial decisions with confidence,” Lorence said, “and we’re here to help them learn more about the unique benefits of joining a credit union.”

CU Awareness is a subsidiary of Credit Union National Association (CUNA). Recall that CUNA announced just last month that it would merge with the other major credit union organization in the U.S., the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU).

Headquartered in Santa Rosa, California and founded in 2022, Union Credit demoed its Always Approved Marketplace at FinovateFall 2023 this month. The startup has more than 130 million consumers in its publisher network and approved loan offers can be activated within 90 seconds. There is no cost to credit unions for participating in Union Credit’s marketplace. Co-founder Dave Buerger is Union Credit’s CEO.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

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iProov Integration Brings Liveness Detection to Ping Identity’s DaVinci Platform

  • iProov and Ping Identity announced a partnership that will bring liveness detection to Ping Identity’s DaVinci digital identity verification platform.
  • Liveness detection is a key component of facial biometric authentication to ensure that the person seeking access is both the right person and a real person.
  • Both iProov and Ping Identity are Finovate alums. iProov has won Finovate Best of Show awards on three separate occasions.

A new integration between fellow Finovate alums iProov and Ping Identity will enable users of Ping Identity’s DaVinci platform to deploy facial biometrics and liveness detection as part of their digital identity verification processes.

Per the partnership, iProov will deliver a DaVinci connector that integrates with its iProov Biometric Solution Suite. This will enable businesses and organizations to deploy technologies like liveness detection as part of their identity access and customer identity access management processes. Liveness detection is a key feature of facial biometric verification and authentication. It ensures that the individual seeking access is both the right person and a real person – not the product of spoofing techniques used by fraudsters and cybercriminals, techniques that range from simple photographs to deepfakes created by Generative AI.

iProov’s biometric verification solutions have been deployed by organizations from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to UBS Group AG.

“Many organizations across the globe are already using iProov facial biometric technology to verify the online identity of citizens, workforces, and customers more securely and effortlessly than ever before,” iProov Chief Product and Innovation Officer Joe Palmer said. “Partnering with Ping Identity will help us to expand our reach even further and we’re delighted to be bringing this integration to PingOne DaVinci.”

A Finovate alum since 2017, iProov has earned Finovate Best of Show awards on three separate occasions. The company most recently demoed its technology at FinovateEurope in 2021. At the conference, iProov showed how its Flexible Authentication solution combined two of the company’s innovations – Genuine Presence Assurance and Liveness Assurance – to ensure that organizations apply the appropriate level of verification for a given situation.

Founded in 2003 and headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Ping Identity made its Finovate debut in 2012. The company’s PingOne DaVinci solution is a vendor-agnostic, no-code, identity orchestration service. DaVinci streamlines the process of integrating and deploying identity verification solutions from a variety of vendors. The solution currently has more than 100 out-of-the-box connectors to services ranging from identity to automation.

Earlier this week, Ping Identity launched its PingOne for Customers Passwordless solution. The new offering helps companies migrate toward a secure, seamless, password-free digital experience for their customers.

Photo by cottonbro studio

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