Nigerian Fintechs Near $400m Week; Ant Financial Eyes License in Singapore

The nearly-$400 million poured into fintech companies in Nigeria alone this week is being remarked upon as a testament to the growing investor interest in sub-Saharan Africa. The three recipients of the new capital in recent days are OPay ($120 million), Interswitch ($200 million), and PalmPay ($40 million). The investors include Sequoia Capital China and SoftBank Ventures Asia, as well as China’s Transsion and Visa.

For comparison, African fintechs raised $357 million in all of 2018, according to a 2019 report from the GSM Association, The Mobile Economy, Sub-Saharan Africa. Quoted in the Financial Times on the week’s funding news, Guaranty Trust Bank chief executive Segun Agbaje credited the payments industry for the surge in investment, calling the growth in the sector “probably like no other on the continent.”

Finovate made its African debut last year in Cape Town, South Africa. For an in-depth look at recent trends in African fintech, check out Jonathan Gregson’s “Africa’s Fintech Makeover.”

China’s impact on international fintech is also evident in the news that Ant Financial is considering applying for a virtual banking license in Singapore. Successfully securing such a license would enable Ant Financial to compete against Chinese incumbents like DBS Group Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ant Financial secured a license to operate a digital wallet in Hong Kong last year.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazil’s digital bank Neon raises $94 million in round led by General Atlantic and Brazil Banco Votorantim.
  • Biz Latin Hub’s Craig Dempsey makes the case for Mexico as the fintech sector to watch in 2020.
  • Mexican non-bank wallet service Todito Cash inks partnerships with four financial payment solutions companies.


  • Ant Financial may be one the hunt for a Singaporean virtual banking license, reports Bloomberg, following the online finance titan’s recent scoring of a license to operate a digital wallet in Hong Kong.
  • InstaReM rebrands as Nium, announces cross border payments partnership with Cambodian banking group, PhillipBank.
  • Indonesia’s biggest banking group, Bank Mandiri will use the Avaloq’s Banking Suite to run its wealth management division, which has $14 billion in assets under management.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Nigeria’s OPay raises $120 million in new funding. The investment adds to the $50 million the mobile payments service raised in June.
  • Asilimia, a Kenya-based fintech that helps SMEs access more efficient mobile payment solutions, secures $350,000 in funding.
  • South African digital commerce fintech Vectra wins Seedstars Cape Town competition.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Revolut reaches 250,000 users in Hungary and reports an 8x gain in monthly transaction volume since the beginning of the year.
  • Latvia-based, P2P lending platform TWINO surpasses €1 billion euros in originated loans.
  • Tradeshift moves Bucharest team to larger office in Tower Center, announces plans to hire more staff next year.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • A partnership between BPC and WeNet will bring a new instant payments system to Yemen.
  • ZagTrader wins full certification for its market making technology from Bourse Kuwait.
  • In partnership with the Dubai Financial Services Authority, Wethaq pilots Sukuk issuance on its securities market infrastructure.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Perfios, a fintech software company based in Bengaluru, raises $50 million from Warburg Pincus and Bessemer Venture Partners.
  • Pakistan’s Askari Bank selects Finastra’s trade finance solution.
  • CredoLabNeener Analytics, and Vymo win finalist spots in the India FinTech Forum’s IFTA 2019 awards.

Tyro Payments Preps for IPO

Australian paytech Tyro Payments is vying to float on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in an initial public offering (IPO) which is projected to raise up to $173.23 million (AUD 252.7 million), reports Ruby Hinchliffe of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the 2003-founded firm, which said it’s Australia’s fifth-largest payments provider, is pursuing a $1 billion valuation too.

Targeting small and medium-sized businesses, Tyro offers an electronic funds transfer point of sale (EFTPOS) service, as well delivering online payments, business bank accounts and business loans.

The plan to float on the ASX comes after six listings on it were aborted last month, suggesting Australia’s IPO market is not easy to break into. Reuters puts this down to investors demanding lower prices to protect themselves against the possibility of post-float losses.

With a price range of $1.70 to $1.87 per share, the paytech said its focus still “remains firmly on challenging the status quo” for its merchants.

Despite net losses of $18.6 million in the last fiscal year, existing investors, including Tiger Global, TDM Growth Partners, Telstra’s CEO David Thodey and Australian billionaire, Mike Cannon-Brookes, will wait until Tyro’s 2020 financial reports before selling any shares.

Thodey, who is also Tyro’s chairman, said he’s delighted to be able to invite new shareholders. “We [can] build upon our solid foundation to pursue an exciting growth strategy,” he added in a statement.

Tyro Payments demonstrated its Smart Growth Funding financing solution at FinovateSpring 2017. The offering is the first lending solution released by an Australian challenger bank. Tyro provides integrated payment, deposit, and unsecured working capital solutions to SMEs, and partners with more than 200 point of sale providers and cloud-based accounting platform such as fellow Finovate alum Xero.

PayPal Buys Rewards Platform in $4 Billion Deal

Payments titan PayPal is shelling out $4 billion today in a transaction to purchase Honey, an online shopping and rewards platform. The deal is PayPal’s 20th acquisition and closely follows the California-based company’s arrangement with GoPay last month that gives it a 70% ownership in the China-based company.

PayPal, which offers solutions for both end consumers and merchants, will leverage Honey to create a better experience for the end customer while giving its merchant clients a boost through increased sales and customer engagement.

Honey brings with it a network of 30,000 online retailers and 17 million monthly active users. PayPal will be able to engage with these shoppers while they are still at the beginning of their online purchasing experience. Leveraging access PayPal’s 275+ million active customers and network of 24 million merchant accounts, Honey will be able to scale up its user base considerably.

Calling today’s purchase as one of the “most transformative” in the company’s history, PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman went on to praise Honey for its ability to improve the online shopping experience. “The combination of Honey’s complementary consumer products with our platform will significantly enhance our ability to drive engagement and play a more meaningful role in the daily lives of our consumers,” Schulman said. “As a partner of choice for our merchants, this is another way that we can help them build and strengthen their customer relationships, provide personalized offers, and drive incremental sales.”

Logistically, Honey will stay intact, maintaining its headquarters in Los Angeles. The company’s co-founders George Ruan and Ryan Hudson will continue to lead the Honey team, reporting to PayPal’s Senior Vice President John Kunze.

PayPal showcased its Instant Account Creation feature at FinovateFall 2012. The company has a market capitalization of $120 billion.

Pinkaloo Raises $1.25 Million for its Philanthropic Fintech Platform

Pinkaloo revealed this week it has raised $1.25 million in funding for its white label giving platform. Newly-minted Squadra led the round, marking the Baltimore-based venture capital fund’s second-ever investment.

Existing investors and new angel investors also contributed to the round, which brings Pinkaloo’s total funding to $1.8 million when combined with last year’s $550k seed round. The company will use today’s investment to support ongoing pilots with current bank partners, continue product investment, and grow its ADP Marketplace channel partnership to support the workplace version of its giving solution.

Pinkaloo’s Modern Giving solution, which CEO Gideon Taub showcased in a demo that won Best of Show at FinovateFall earlier this year, is a white-label solution that helps banks and credit unions facilitate charitable giving options for their accountholders. Through Modern Giving, users can round up their card purchases to the nearest dollar and donate their spare change, convert rewards points into charitable dollars, and invite friends and family to chip in to crowdfunding campaigns.

“This funding, along with the tractions that we are seeing with banks and the recognition from our Finovate Best of Show Award demonstrate that our product is helping companies drive their business forward,” said Taub. “We’re excited to be able to continue on our mission of helping clients build deeper relationships with their customers, employees, and communities.”

Pinkaloo’s platform echoes a larger philanthropic trend, spawned by end users’ increased interest in charitable giving. Recently, fintechs such as Meniga, Revolut, and Betterment have all launched programs to facilitate donations to humanitarian causes. As a standalone donation facilitation platform, Pinkaloo can help traditional financial institutions compete with fintechs on this level.

Founded in 2017, Pinkaloo has facilitated hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable giving for the end users of its dozens of clients.

Signicat Inks Payments Verification Partnership with Twikey

A new partnership between verified digital identity specialist Signicat and Twikey will make it easier for merchants in Belgium and the Netherlands to accept digitally-signed SEPA e-mandates for recurring purchases. The arrangement will enable firms to reduce costs and improve efficiency by moving away from paper-based SEPA processes.

“By working with Twikey, we can offer a streamlined solution to the market where businesses are able to identify who they are dealing with online, build the mutual trust, and get an e-mandate for ongoing payments with their customers,” Signicat CEO Gunnar Nordseth said.

SEPA mandates provide an authorization that enables merchants to accept future and recurring payments for services such as rent and utilities. While such mandates have historically required consumers to make actual trips to the bank to sign paper authorizations, the partnership between Signicat and Twikey will allow consumers to sign SEPA e-mandates digitally.

Belgium-based Twikey enables businesses to better manage recurring payments to save money and time. Founded in 2013, the company’s technology also helps its customers get 70% to 97% of their invoices to recurrent customers paid in two days or less. Twikey founder Dominique Adriansens pointed to the growth in the company’s digital SEPA mandate business as a key reason for the partnership with Signicat.

“We have already more than 1 million consumers in Belgium and the Netherlands having signed SEPA mandates digitally,” Adriansens said. “In a lot of cases contracts need to be signed upfront and that’s where Signicat comes in.” He praised the company’s experience in deploying digital identity verification in Europe, calling Signicat “the ideal match for assisting companies in search of more digitalization.”

Signicat demonstrated a pair of digital verification solutions – Signicat Assure and Signicat Sign – at FinovateEurope 2017. As of this month, the company offers identity verification in 208 countries using identity document scanning, web-based video interviews, and NFC scanning of passports. Also this month, Signicat partnered with Swisscom Trust Services to integrate qualified e-signatures (QES) into its platform.

In October, Signicat introduced a handful of new platform capabilities, including a new interface and new third party integrations. Over the summer, the company purchased Norwegian digital identity firm, Idfy, one of the fastest growing digital trust companies in the region. Signicant also teamed up with open identity scheme for financial services,, earlier this year, helping streamline onboarding, authentication, and e-signatures for the German digital identity service.

Winner of the bobsguide’s Best Retail Banking System Integration Award – along with Rabobank – Signicat was acquired by Nordic Capital in April. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed. Prior to the acquisition, Signicat had raised $8.8 million in funding.

More Than $1 Billion Raised by 21 Alums in Q3 2019

Finovate alums raised $1.1 billion in funding in the third quarter of 2019. The quarterly total represents a significant rebound over last year’s Q3 sum and is reminiscent of the third quarters from 2017 and 2015 in topping the $1 billion mark.

Previous Quarterly Comparisons

  • Q3 2018: More than $400 million raised by 19 alums
  • Q3 2017: More than $1 billion raised by 31 alums
  • Q3 2016: More than $500 million raised by 30 alums
  • Q3 2015: More than $1 billion raised by 40 alums

As our list of the quarter’s top equity investments below reveals, the $460 million fundraising from Klarna in August represents a significant amount of this year’s Q3 total. The investment, led by Dragoneer Investment Group, gave the Swedish ecommerce innovator a valuation of $5.5 billion and the title of the largest private fintech in Europe.

Also noteworthy was the $200 million raised by San Francisco, California-based payroll, benefits, and HR platform Gusto. Along with a pair of new participants Fidelity and Generation Investment Management, Gusto’s investors boosted the company’s valuation to $3.8 billion in the third quarter. There must be something special about Q3 and Gusto; the company’s previous $140 million in funding led the quarter’s top investments last year.

Top Ten Equity Investments for Q3 2019

  • Klarna: $460 million
  • Gusto: $200 million
  • Trulioo: $53 million
  • Credit Sesame: $43 million
  • Numbrs: $40 million
  • HackerOne: $35.4 million
  • Flybits: $35 million
  • Sezzle: $30 million (IPO)
  • Scalable Capital: $28 million
  • Kyndi: $20 million

Here is our detailed alum funding report for Q3 2019.

July 2019: More than $354 million raised by 10 alums

August 2019: More than $554 million raised by six alums

September 2019: More than $148 million raised by five alums

If you are a Finovate alum that raised money in the third quarter of 2019, and do not see your company listed, please drop us a note at We would love to share the good news! Funding received prior to becoming an alum not included.

How Revolut and Mastercard Are Helping Fintech Do Good

Revolut and Mastercard have teamed up this month to help rebuild schools in Mozambique after they were destroyed by a cyclone this spring. The effort, which is timed with UN’s Universal Children’s Day, aims to raise $207,000 (£160,000) to help get children in Mozambique back to school.

Revolut accountholders are able to show their support by making an in-app donation to Save the Children. Revolut and Mastercard will match donations from Revolut Mastercard customers. The goal is to complete the fundraising by January 2020 so that the schools can be built in time for the school year.

The campaign is made possible by the Donation feature Revolut launched in July. The feel-good feature allows cardholders to set up a recurring payment, make a one-off donation, or round up their purchases to the nearest whole number and donate the spare change. In addition to partnering with Save the Children, Revolut also facilitates donations to WWF and ILGA-Europe.

This campaign is part of a larger philanthropic trend moving through fintech lately. Other fintechs facilitating charity efforts include Meniga, which recently formed a partnership with the UN to allow users to donate their cash-back rewards to fight climate change, and Radius (recently acquired by Kabbage) which launched its Data for Good campaign to help the company’s employees and customers give back to their communities.

Revolut debuted its digital banking technology at FinovateEurope 2015 in London where the company’s CEO and founder Nikolay Storonsky showed off the app’s money transfer capabilities that help users avoid banking fees without actually using a bank.

Last month, Revolut launched in Singapore and announced plans to make its products available in the U.S. in the next couple of months. And in early October the company tapped investment bank JP Morgan to conduct a $500 million funding round and issue it a $1 billion convertible loan. The loan will turn into shares if Revolut receives a U.S. banking license.

Keepabl Partners with ClauseMatch to Boost GDPR Compliance

Privacy-as-a-Service solution provider Keepabl has partnered with regtech company ClauseMatch. The collaboration will enable Keepabl to better manage policies and procedures in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines, as well as with U.K. Privacy in Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR). At the same time, ClauseMatch will use Keepabl’s GDPR SaaS solution to manage its own privacy governance and GDPR obligations.

“Maintaining policies and procedures properly is of major importance for managing your risk and governance – and being able to show good governance is key when you’re winning business or being audited by customer or investors,” Keepabl CEO and founder Robert Baugh explained. “ClauseMatch allows us to organize all of our policies, procedures and controls in a structured manner on a single platform, available for the next review cycle and compliance checks, in an auditable format with all the track records of who did what presented in a complete audit trail.”

ClauseMatch CEO and founder Evgeny Likhoded credited Keepabl’s technology for making ClauseMatch’s privacy governance “simple and efficient.” Headquartered in London and founded in 2012, ClauseMatch provides smart document management, including real-time document collaboration solutions, for banks and other FIs. A member of CB Insights Fintech 250 and an alum of Barclays accelerator program, the company began the year working with another Finovate alum, Revolut, to help the digital bank meet regulatory and compliance requirements as part of its expansion to Singapore.

“We’re delighted to onboard Keepabl onto the ClauseMatch platform to make their policy management collaborative and auditable,” Likhoded said of this week’s alliance. “Our partnership is a great example of mutually beneficial collaboration between two RegTech companies creating a richer ecosystem and greater clarity and value for customers.”

Keepabl demonstrated its GDPR Compliance Platform at FinovateEurope 2019. The technology provides financial institutions with the resources they need – such as Article 30 records, Data Map analysis, Breach Response, and Processor Management – in order to remain compliant with GDPR regulations. Founded in 2017 by a 13+ year veteran implementer of compliance programs for mid-market organizations, Keepabl accounts for the fact that compliance issues like GDPR are typically the responsibility of human resources, marketing or IT teams rather than specialists in privacy issues. To this end, the company offers a cloud-based solution that makes it easier for both large and small FIs to both meet their compliance needs and, importantly, demonstrate their compliant status to partners and regulators alike.

Keepabl’s partnership with ClauseMatch is the London, U.K.-based firm’s latest collaboration this fall. In September, Keepabl announced that data discovery service provider Folding Space would join its Privacy Stack, an initiative launched by Keepabl that helps businesses stay abreast of GDPR compliance and other regtech solutions. Also that month, Keepabl and regtech company Alpha Reply agreed to work together to offer Alpha Reply’s customers a “holistic, practical, and flexible GDPR compliance service.”

ACH Alert Partners with Apiture to Fight Payments Fraud

Multi-payment channel fraud prevention specialist ACH Alert has forged a strategic partnership with digital banking solution provider Apiture. The collaboration will enable Apiture’s 450+ customers to benefit from the combination of ACH Alert’s fraud detection services and Apiture’s online cash management solutions.

“This partnership demonstrates the industry’s need for sufficient fraud prevention tools that can be easily accessed by account holders through their online banking platforms,” ACH Alert CEO Debbie Peace said. “Apiture is already equipping financial institutions with quick and straightforward payment options that their customers crave, so adding our tools into the mix will assist their customers in mitigating the risks associated with electronic payments.”

ACH’s Fraud Prevention HQ platform enables account holders to play a more active role in the fraud fighting effort. The technology allows them to customize actionable alerts and accept or deny suspect transactions in real-time whether they are in the form of ACH, check, or by wire – before funds are withdrawn from the account. ACH Alert also leverages out-of-band verification using voice biometrics for handling high risk transactions.

Named “The Best Solution for Customer Experience” by FinXTech, and recognized by American Banker in its “Best Fintech to Work For” roster this year, Apiture was founded as a joint venture between First Data Corporation (now Fiserv) and Live Oak Bank in 2017. The partnership with ACH Alert will enable FIs using Apiture’s online banking platform to contract for the various fraud detection and prevention services available on ACH Alert’s Fraud Prevention HQ platform. These services include wire transfer protection, as well as credit origination, check, and ACH positive pay. Together, the services give FIs the ability to automate dispute resolution, provide business customers with greater control over the payments they accept, and fight cybercrimes such as account takeover.

“ACH Alert has long provided the industry standard for fraud protection for many of our customers,” Apiture President Chris Cox said. “Formalizing this partnership will enable us to bring a more unified experience to our online banking customers.”

Tennessee-based ACH Alert demonstrated its fraud prevention technology at FinovateSpring 2017. The company began this year with the launch of the latest Payment Data Xchange (PDX) service module for its Fraud Prevention HQ platform. Founded in 2007, ACH Alert was the recipient of the Kevin O’Brien ACH Quality Award in 2012 – the highest award for quality in the ACH Network industry.

Aerospike Raises $32 Million for NoSQL Data Platform

NoSQL data solutions firm Aerospike received $32 million in Series D funding today. The round is the company’s largest investment to date and brings Aerospike’s total funding to $78 million.

Triangle Peak Partners led the round, followed by existing investors NewView Capital Partners, Alsop Louie Partners, and Eastward Capital Partners. Triangle Peak Partners Co-founding Partner Dain DeGroff and NewView Capital Operating Partner Tim Connor will join Aerospike’s Board of Directors.

Aerospike will use the funds to expand its geographic presence into Asia Pacific, develop additional data infrastructure integrations, and grow partnerships. There is no updated valuation for the company, which was valued at $90.8 million in 2017.

“Companies are on a journey to convert unprecedented amounts of data into intelligence and push it from the core to the edge and gain a competitive advantage,” said John Dillon, Aerospike CEO. “Aerospike is the critical real-time data platform in a new stack of technologies underpinning this sea change, and our footprint continues to aggressively expand within enterprises as real-time transactions and analytics become more pervasive and mainstream.”

Founded in 2009, Aerospike delivers a NoSQL database for a range of industries, including advertising, ecommerce, financial services, and telecommunications. The technology stores petabytes of data that can be instantly accessed for real time decisioning.

The company, which counts Adobe, Wayfair, and Verizon Media as clients, has been growing at a rate of more than 50% year-over-year and has maintained a 95% customer retention rate for more than five years.

Aerospike is a five-time participant in our developers conference, having most recently presented at FinDEVr London 2017. During the presentation the company’s CTO and Cofounder, Brian Bulkowski, talked about rapid application design in financial services.

BlueVine Raises $102.5 Million in New Funding

In a Series F round led by ION Crossover Partners, small business banking and financing firm BlueVine has raised $102.5 million in new funding. The investment takes the company’s total equity financing to more than $692 million, and will help the Redwood, California-based fintech scale its end-to-end banking platform, BlueVine Business Banking.

BlueVine will also use the capital to develop integrations with the company’s financing offerings, such as its line of credit, invoice factoring, and term loan products. The investment will support the hiring of additional talent for the company’s engineering, product, and revenue teams, as well.

“This funding further validates our mission and will help democratize true business-grade banking for small businesses who have been underserved for so long,” BlueVine CEO and co-founder Eyal Lifshitz said. He highlighted the company’s BlueVine Business Checking Account, introducedlast month, which offers small businesses an intuitive financial management dashboard and a debit Mastercard, as well as 1% interest on balances and no monthly fees.

“The recent launch of BlueVine Checking demonstrates our commitment to revolutionize banking for small business owners with a full suite of services designed specifically to meet their unique needs,” Lifshitz said.

This week’s funding featured a sizable number of participants, including all of BlueVine’s current investors, as well as new investors MUFG Innovation Partners, O.G. Tech – Eyal Ofer’s VC, Vintage Investment Partners, ION Group, Maor Investments and other private investors. ION Crossover Partners’ Jonathan Kolodny praised the BlueVine for its “track record of success” and the variety of financing solutions it offers small businesses.

“We’ve been following the company closely since its early days,” Kolodny said, “and have witnessed the demand, and frankly the economic need, for BlueVine’s banking services.” He added that BlueVine was poised to “change the way small businesses manage their financial needs today and in the future.”

BlueVine demonstrated its small business financing solutions at FinovateFall 2014. More recently, the company hired former PayPal executive Brad Brodigan as its Chief Commercial Officer, and appointed former Xero VP Herman Man as Chief Product Officer. Over the course of the year, BlueVine has teamed up with a variety of institutions ranging from its collaboration with GovQuote to its partnership with recruitment industry solution provider Bullhorn.

Founded in 2013, BlueVine earned recognition from Growjo this fall as one of the fastest growing startups in California. Since inception, the company has provided more than 20,000 small business owners with access to more than $2.5 billion in financing.

EVERFI and Zelle Partner to Boost Youth Financial Literacy

A new partnership between youth financial literacy technology company EVERFI and Zelle parent Early Warning Services will provide 1,000+ high schools and 50,000 students with free financial education courses.

“Our partnership with Zelle is based on shared principles that we can do more together than alone, especially when it comes to inspiring social change,” EVERFI President of Financial Education Ray Martinez said. “In the past decade, we have seen how education can transform lives. We welcome Zelle to our community of organizations, institutions, and educators to revolutionize the way education is developed and delivered – using today’s technology to connect learning to the real world and equip communities with the skills they need for success in the 21st century.”

EVERFI’s technology enables FIs to offer personalized financial education to their customers, employees, as well as SME and commercial clients via a mobile-first, interactive platform. The on-demand financial education content is organized into short, “micro-learning” modules inside of major topic areas such as banking, retirement planning, homeownership, and investing. EVERFI said it may add topic areas such as student loans and small business information in the future.

This week’s announcement is the latest indication of Zelles’s commitment to financial literacy. The payments company partnered with Stacks House in March in an initiative to boost women’s financial empowerment and independence. Last month, the company introduced its Pay It Safe program to help educate consumers on how to defend themselves against fraud and scams.

“Banking is going through an unprecedented rate of change, improving our lives through speed and convenience, but also introducing a new set of risks for the uninformed,” Early Warning Chief Marketing Officer Rose Corvo said. “We’ve partnered with EVERFI to navigate this change and are committed to making sure the next generation has access to the knowledge to help them understand the impact of technology so they may thrive in this ever-changing landscape.”

EVERFI demonstrated its EVERFI Achieve financial wellness solution at FinovateSpring 2019. Founded in 2008, EVERFI drives social change in a variety of areas – from financial wellness to prescription drug safety to workplace conduct – using its interactive SaaS community engagement platform. With more than 30 million users of the technology to date, EVERFI has raised $251 million in funding from investors including The Rise Fund and TPG Growth, as well as support from Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Named to Deloitte’s 2019 Technology Fast 500 earlier this month, EVERFI acquired U.K.-based social education firm EdComs and announced a digital education partnership with UBS – both in October. Tom Davidson is CEO and co-founder.

Tracking the Trends at FinovateMiddleEast

FinovateMiddleEast begins tomorrow, which means our demoing companies are rehearsing their pitches of the newest technologies they plan to show off on stage.

What’s hot in the MENA region right now? The best way to find that out is to attend FinovateMiddleEast (taking place at the Ritz Carlton DIFC in Dubai November 20 and 21). The second best way is to take a look at the following word cloud that depicts trends from the live demos that will take the stage on the second day of the show.

Aside from the obvious banking trend that appears front and center of the word cloud, the following fintech sub sectors are expected to make a big impact at FinovateMiddleEast this week:

  • Underbanked
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • APIs and SDKs
  • Design

We’re looking forward to starting the conference tomorrow with a keynote presentation from Chris Skinner. For more information about the discussion content, check out our summary of day one: Banking on the Future in the Age of the Customer and day two: Digitization, Disruption, and the Business of Banking; and take a look at our sneak peek series for in-depth information about the live demos. Preps for $100M IPO

Intelligent business payments platform aims to raise $100 million in an initial public offering (IPO), according to a recent filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), reports Ruby Hinchliffe of Fintech Futures, Finovate’s sister publication.

Underwriters listed for’s IPO include Goldman Sachs, Bank of America (BofA) Securities, Jefferies and William Blair. Pricing terms have not yet been shared publicly.

The fintech provides cloud-based software that simplifies, digitizes, and automates back-office financial processes for small and mid-sized businesses (SMB). has customers including company calling service Dialpad, benefits and human resource manager and fellow Finovate alum Gusto, and local professional search engine Thumbtack.

With $347.1 million already in the bank according to Crunchbase, the 2006-founded company has gathered investors such as MasterCard, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and BofA.

Talking about how the procure-to-pay landscape is converging, Mercator Advisory Group’s commercial and enterprise payments director Steve Murphy said: “That’s led technology companies such as to add virtual cards to automate accounts payable for small businesses through partnerships with Amex and Mastercard.”

Set up by PayCycle’s co-founder René Lacerte, now has more than three million members and processes $60 billion in yearly payments, according to its announcement in April 2019 following its most recent funding round of $80 million. demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2012. More recently, the company launched a new suite of solutions for midmarket companies to help them automate their AR/AP processes to boost efficiency. The Palo Alto, California-based company was founded in 2006.

New Experian Credit Solution Brings Enhanced Predictive Performance

Just under a year after launching its Experian Boost credit solution, the global information services company is back with another resource – this time to increase the predictive power of its creditworthiness assessment technology. Experian Lift, announced last week and available to lenders early next year, combines traditional and alternative credit data with trended data assets to build a more complete picture of the consumer’s ability to repay their debts.

Experian Lift was developed in partnership with Experian’s advanced analytic research and development group, Experian DataLabs. The suite of credit score products uses advanced analytics to provide insights into consumer behavior over the most recent 24-month period. The technology leverages alternative data – such as alternative financing information, rental data, and public record information – to provide lenders with a FCRA-regulated analysis of a customer’s creditworthiness. The company noted that Experian Lift improves predictive performance by 23% compared to other scores used to provide underwriting to what it called “credit invisibles.”

Experian Consumer Information Services EVP and Chief Product Officer Greg Wright put Experian Lift in the context of the company’s overall efforts to help creditworthy consumers get the financing they need. “Through Experian Boost, we’re empowering consumers to play an active role in building their credit histories. And, with Experian Lift, we’re empowering lenders to identify consumers who may otherwise be excluded from the traditional credit ecosystem.”

Experian Boost helps consumers increase their FICO scores by allowing Experian to include their positive telecom and utility payment history in its credit analysis. The company said the tool is especially helpful for consumers with thin credit files and credit scores between 580 and 670.

“We are committed to financial inclusion, and Experian Boost is the latest example of our efforts to increase consumer awareness of credit’s impact and value while giving them greater control,” Experian Global CEO Brian Cassin said when the solution was unveiled last December.

Experian demonstrated its cloud-based credit decisioning technology at FinovateFall 2018. The company, founded in 1996 and maintaining headquarters in Dublin, Ireland; Costa Mesa, California; and Nottingham, England, has been active on the international front of late in particular. Experian acquired leading Peruvian credit bureau Sentinel Peru, provided Open Banking solutions to U.K. fintech solution provider incuto, and announced a strategic investment in Indian smart data platform Vserv – all this month.

Experian has a workforce of more than 17,000 across 44 countries and reported fiscal 2019 revenues of $4.9 billion. A member of the FTSE Top 35, Experian is considered one of the top three credit reporting entities along with TransUnion and Equifax.

Visa’s Minority Stake in Interswitch Creates Africa’s Latest Fintech Unicorn

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

FinovateMiddleEast returns to Dubai next week, November 20 and 21. Learn about our Day One and Day Two agendas, our demoing companies, and then visit our FinovateMiddleEast registration page and pick up your ticket today.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Yes Bank launches India’s largest banking developer platform.
  • Pakistan-based digital lending platform Finja closes $3 million convertible note funding round.
  • India’s National Stock Exchange launches an open trading API sandbox.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mastercard partners with Mexico’s weex wallet to offer physical debit cards.
  • Colombian fintech Simetrik inks agreement to serve as payment gateway for Mercado Pago transactions.
  • Brazilian lender Banco Inter unveils new e-commerce app.


  • MoneyGram and Wing partner to launch new mobile wallet in Cambodia.
  • Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) agree to locate the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Singapore.
  • New Hong Kong license in hand, Tencent announces plans to build a blockchain-based digital bank.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Visa acquires minority stake in Nigerian digital payments company Interswitch Group, an investment that takes the African firm’s valuation to $1 billion.
  • South African P2P insurance provider Pineapple wins $1.5 million (R22.5 million) in taking home top prize in the Connecticut Innovations VentureClash 2019 competition.
  • Kenya institutes data protection law to support investment in its technology sector.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Billon, a Polish-British blockchain company, joins initiative with Raiffeisen Bank International to digitize the euro.
  • Trusted identities innovator OneSpan partners with Poland’s Bank Millennium.
  • Visa teams up with Georgian challenger bank Space.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • A new interest-free, credit service, Postpay, goes live in Dubai.
  • Executive Magazine looks at the fintech industry in Lebanon and the role of regulation in stimulating growth.
  • Tunisia announces the digitization of its national currency, the dinar, making the first country to convert a portion of its money supply to digital form.

Top image designed by Freepik

nCino Brings AI to its Bank Operating System with nIQ

Cloud banking leader nCino is enlisting AI in the fight to help financial institutions make better, more informed decisions faster. The Wilmington, North Carolina-based company announced this week the release of nCino IQ (nIQ), a new expansion to its Bank Operating System that works across front, middle, and back office operations, to automate and connect. This not only reduces expensive and error-vulnerable manual data entry, the technology also enables financial institutions to leverage automation and analytics to make data-driven decisions that enhance the customer journey.

“Since its inception, nCino has championed the idea of the agile enterprise, where financial institutions can reduce loan cycle and account opening times by digitizing and automating their processes via our single end-to-end platform,” Chief Product Officer Trisha Price said. “Now, with nIQ, we’re evolving that concept further to the Intelligent Enterprise, where AI is injected into every stage of production and stands at the center of every business line we support.”

nIQ has three main components: nIQ Data Recognition, which automates data extraction; nIQ Insights, which uses predictive analytics to measure and monitor organization-wide performance and risk; and nIQ Digital Assistant, which gives bankers the real-time data they need in order to build personalized experiences. The solution can be used in commercial, small business, and retail banking, as well as for customer engagement.

“With nIQ supercharging their operations,” Price added, “financial institutions can achieve a competitive advantage that allows them to increase savings and, most importantly, make more informed decisions to more effectively and efficiently serve their customers.”

The product news from nCino follows company’s $80 million funding raising – its largest to date – announced last month. The funding, which took nCino’s total capital to more than $213 million, was led by a group investors advised by T. Rowe Price, and featured the participation of existing investor Salesforce Ventures. Also last month, nCino announced a partnership with CNB Bank, a $3.2 billion asset FI based in Pennsylvania, and added David Rudow to its C-suite, appointing the software and technology executive as Chief Financial Officer.

nCino demonstrated its Bank Operating System at FinovateEurope 2017. Founded in 2012, and named to the Forbes Cloud 100, the company partners with more than 250 financial institutions around the world. Pierre Naudé is CEO.

FinovateMiddleEast Sneak Peek: Okanii

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateMiddleEast on November 20 and 21, 2019 in Dubai. Register today and save your spot.

Okanii solves all of the problems of moving value around the world by creating the true internet of value.


  • Cost – Okanii offers a 100x cost reduction that makes $0.01 micro-payments profitable
  • Security – Quantum proof hyper-tokenization, unbreakable, zero fraud
  • Scalability – easily supports all of the worlds’ transactions

Why it’s great
Okanii is the opposite of blockchain. Make payments/ transactions in any asset (181 currencies, stocks, bonds, commodities, real estate) across any use-case (P2P, B2C, B2B), instantly, securely, and at no cost.


Grant Colhoun, CEO
Colhoun is a serial entrepreneur, payments expert, and a recovering investment banker.

FinovateMiddleEast Sneak Peek: fcase

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateMiddleEast on November 20 and 21, 2019 in Dubai. Register today and save your spot.

Fraud prevention has many layers, each with its own view. However, fraudsters attack across all layers. With fcase holistic fraud investigations, you can now manage all fraud from one mission control.


  • Centralized fraud prevention automation
  • Holistic manual fraud investigations
  • Fraud mission control

Why it’s great
Built from the ground up to massively manage your fraud operations from one mission control, fcase is one golden source of fraud data, delivering a reduction in fraud, customer friction and improves efficiency.


Bulent Ozkan, VP

Barry Bowen, Global Head of Sales
Bowen has 25 years of experience building, implementing, and marketing fraud prevention systems.

FinovateMiddleEast Sneak Peek: Circlys

A look at the companies demoing live at FinovateMiddleEast on November 20 and 21, 2019 in Dubai. Register today and save your spot.

Circlys is a social saving plan based on circles model (rotating savings and credit association /committees) with trusted users that have been risk accessed.


  • On-time payment
  • Flexible plans
  • Long term saving benefits
  • Access to liquidity that fits any financial plans

Why it’s great
Circulate with Circlys and according to plan.


Hanan Alanazi, Operations manager

Khaled Hassoun, CEO
Hassoun has eight plus years of experience in tech start-ups in which he undertook multiple roles in managing business aspects.