Juul To Adopt More Stringent Anti-Youth Checks

https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2019/juul-to-adopt-more-stringent-anti-youth-checks/
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Juul, one of the most popular e-cigarette brands in the U.S., will be adopting a new age verification system to curb underage smoking, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. 

The company is going to offer upwards of $100 million in incentives for retail stores to adopt the new system, which will block the purchase of a Juul until an appropriate age is confirmed. Customers will need to present a valid form of identification, which could include a driver’s license or another form of verified government-sanctioned identification. 

Juul said that it had 40,000 stores agreeing to the system.

The issue of teen smoking is a contentious one, and Juul has often been in the center of the debate because of its sales of fruity flavors that ostensibly attract youths. The Food and Drug Administration called out famous retailers like Walmart recently over the sale of tobacco products to underage people. 

Walmart responded by halting the sale of fruity flavors of electronic cigarettes, and retailer Rite Aid stopped selling e-cigarettes altogether.

Juul is the market leader in the space, and it sold upwards of 12 million devices and 390 million refill pods in the first half of August alone. The company works with around 125,000 stores in the U.S., and it’s in talks about potentially opening its own branded store. 

The company stopped selling fruity flavors like mango and kiwi in retail stores, but it does sell them online. The company said it will stop working with stores that don’t adopt its new age verification system by 2021. 

Chief Executive Kevin Burns said that the new system “basically takes the burden off the clerk.”

“It’s likely that this will cut down on illegal sales directly to minors,” said Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. “But that’s always only been a small part of the overall problem. If you make a product that is highly attractive to kids…then they will get it.”

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Latest Insights: 

The August 2019 Payments And The Platform Economy Playbook, aims to help platform payments decision-makers identify and manage the risks and rewards inherent in optimizing their operations and navigating real-time challenges.

https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2019/juul-to-adopt-more-stringent-anti-youth-checks/

Meniga Appoints Arpit Kaushik as New Chief Operating Officer

https://thefintechtimes.com/meniga-arpit-kaushik/
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Meniga, a provider of digital banking solutions, has announced the appointment of Arpit Kaushik as new Chief Operating Officer. 

Based out of Meniga’s London office, Arpit will be responsible for engineering, professional services, infrastructure services, global sales and operations. 

For the past decade, Arpit has been building and developing high performance teams within the technology sector in senior roles including Digital General Manager, Banking & Capital Markets at DXC Technology, General Manager and Global Client Partner at Wipro, and Sales Director at Oracle.

Joining Meniga, he brings significant experience of working closely with large corporations and banks to help them implement digital solutions aimed at improving customer experience and increasing engagement.

“I look forward to shaping the future direction of the company and continuing on its mission to help people across the globe lead better financial lives.” 

Arpit comments: “I’ve been impressed with how the past decade has seen Meniga transform the way their banking clients engage with customers. I’m joining the company at a really exciting time, when major banks are truly starting to understand the need for specialised solution providers like Meniga, to ensure the success of their change and digital transformation agendas. Working together with Georg and the committed Meniga team I look forward to shaping the future direction of the company and continuing on its mission to help people across the globe lead better financial lives.” 

Arpit’s appointment comes amid a successful year of international expansion and growth for Meniga. In January 2019, the company acquired Swedish rewards-platform Wrapp, and earlier this summer it opened offices in Barcelona and Singapore to further consolidate its position as a leading global provider of digital banking solutions. This month, Meniga also appointed Åsa Bengter, as VP of Rewards and Country Manager for Sweden, and Ólafur Óskar Egilsson as new VP of Product.

Georg Ludviksson, CEO and co-founder at Meniga, comments: “We’re really pleased to have Arpit on board. He has a wealth of experience from the IT and financial services industries and a unique understanding of design and innovation, which will be invaluable to our sustained growth. His track record of efficiently managing teams will be instrumental to expanding our global footprint, and helping an ever-growing number of clients personalise their digital banking offering.”

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https://thefintechtimes.com/meniga-arpit-kaushik/

Democrat candidate Andrew Yang endorses blockchain for voting

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/democrat-candidate-andrew-yang-endorses-blockchain-for-voting/
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Democrat candidate Andrew Yang endorses blockchain for voting

Image via iStock.com

Andrew Yang, a current candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has officially endorsed blockchain technology. He states on his website that voting should be done via mobile device with verification through blockchain.

The goal of this policy would be to help boost voter turnout by making it easier to vote as well as providing a more secure voting method than traditional voting machines.

“It’s ridiculous that in 2020 we are still standing in line for hours to vote in antiquated voting booths. It is 100% technically possible to have fraud-proof voting on our mobile phones today using the blockchain,” Yang said on his campaign website. “This would revolutionize true democracy and increase participation to include all Americans — those without smartphones could use the legacy system and lines would be very short.”


Topics: Blockchain, Regulatory Issues


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https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/democrat-candidate-andrew-yang-endorses-blockchain-for-voting/

US District Court rules Craig Wright must forfeit 50% of bitcoin holdings

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/us-district-court-rules-craig-wright-must-forfeit-50-of-bitcoin-holdings/
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A U.S. Southern District of Florida court has ordered that tech mogul and self-proclaimed “creator of bitcoin” Craig Wright must cede 50% of his bitcoin holdings mined prior to 2014  and intellectual property to Ira Kleiman, the wife of his deceased business partner David Kleiman, according to a court filing.

Wright claims that David Kleiman transferred his bitcoin and intellectual property to him. The court, however, found that Wright submitted false testimony as part of an effort to “impede discover into his bitcoin holdings.”

“Dr. Wright and David Kleiman entered into a 50/50 partnership to develop Bitcoin intellectual property and to mine bitcoin,” Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart said in the filing. “Any Bitcoin-related intellectual property developed by Dr. Wright prior to David Kleiman’s death was property of the partnership, all bitcoin mined by Dr. Wright prior to David Kleiman’s death (the partnership’s bitcoin) was property of the partnership when mined; and plaintiffs presently retain an ownership interest in the partnership’s bitcoin, and any assets traceable to them.”


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https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/us-district-court-rules-craig-wright-must-forfeit-50-of-bitcoin-holdings/

Square faces patent infringement suit over card reader technology

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/square-faces-patent-infringement-suit-over-card-reader-technology/
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Square faces patent infringement suit over card reader technology

Square Inc. is facing a patent infringement lawsuit by Anywhere Commerce Inc., a Fresno, California-based firm that claims the payments giant infringed upon its mPOS technology, according to a press release from lawyers representing Anywhere Commerce. 

Lawyers for Anywhere Commerce allege in a federal patent suit filed July 26 in California that Square knowingly infringed upon Anywhere Commerce’s technology, which involved payment card reading devices tethered to a smartphone or tablet. 

“Square simply took that same technology for itself, becoming one of the largest and most famous companies in the world by falsely holding itself out as the originator of technology allowing the use of smartphones and tablets to accept credit card payments,” Oliver Griffin, lead attorney for the firm of Kutak Rock, which represents Anywhere Commerce, said in the release.  

The suit asks the court to find that Square acted in a “willful, wanton and deliberate” matter and seeks treble damages. 

Square respects valid intellectual property rights of others, but will defend itself vigorously against baseless suits such as as this one,” a company spokesperson told Mobile Payments Today via email. 

Griffin was not immediately available for comment. 

Cover image courtesy of Square.
 

 


 


Topics: Mobile Payments, Regulatory Issues, Transaction Processing

Companies: Square


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https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/square-faces-patent-infringement-suit-over-card-reader-technology/

Always something new to learn under the insurance sun

https://dailyfintech.com/2019/08/29/always-something-new-to-learn-under-the-insurance-sun/
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Aerial view of Riyadh City, the capital of Saudi Arabia

TLDR     For the common good the policyholders will corporate with each other.

The contribution of the policyholders is considered donations.

To help those who need assistance, all their policyholders will pay their share.

The liabilities are shared according to the pooling system of the community and losses are divided.

According to compensation and subscription, there is no uncertainty.  

Takaful meaning

So many interesting things to see within news feeds, and always too much to keep track of within InsurTech.  When I came across this news piece, “InsurTech to drive sector growth in UAE”, (penned by Sandhya DMello ),   I just had to dig in and see what the Khaleej Times (KT) was referring to.  When is the last time you read about insurance happenings in the GCC, ( not including tensions, shipping issues, etc.), and what do you know about insurance in the region?

Ms. DMello summarized well some efforts underway within UAE to embrace InsurTech- albeit predominant efforts in the region began only within the last year.  If one considers that fintech’s stepchild, InsurTech, has gained traction in other areas of the globe since 2015-ish, it can be said that ‘defined’ innovation efforts in the GCC are a little late to the InsurTech dance.  But that’s not a bad thing.

The KT article included the apt observations of three InsurTech advocates, one of whom is Sridhar Subbaraman, founder and owner of Oasis Insurance Group.  Mr. Subbaraman, a veteran of the insurance world for some decades, acknowledged that:

“The real InsurTech penetration has commenced only from the beginning of 2019 through www.insureatoasis.com with regard to sales and distribution and as recently as last week, five insurance companies[1] have agreed to secure their recoveries through a blockchain launched by another start up, Addenda[2].”

UAE and elsewhere in the region (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman) are no newcomers to technology innovation, as the respective countries/kingdoms are fully embracing technological advancements, and sovereign wealth funds (regional and global- see the region’s participation in the Softbank funds) are able supporters of regulatory and institutional innovation.  There also is the growing recognition that, “Businesses should look at technology as an enabler, as one of the key factors that drives growth.[3]”  Hmm…reads like #innovatefromthecustomerbackwards, a favorite hash of the Insurance Elephant.

A look at Oasis Insurance and its operations in the UAE provides some clarity in how the firm sees innovation taking hold in the region:

  • Develop and be part of an insurance supply chain ecosystem
  • Enable real time digital distribution
  • Leverage experience to create a digital platform with direct connection to a panel of participating insurers (of which the firm has nine collaborating carriers)
  • Complete the development in a financially sustainable form without significant debt or losses (profitable bootstrapping?)
  • Use of open APIs (application programming interface) allowing ease of connections with legacy systems

Sounds somewhat familiar to InsurTech observers, doesn’t it?  In the instance of Oasis and its partner carriers there will be wider choice for customers, ease of price comparison, and low CAC involving a healthy number of customers.

And don’t be fooled by what thinking might be of the size of the insurance market- the transition is underway or potential in markets such as:

  • United Arab Emirates- GWP (2017) of 44.8 Billion AED, ($12.19 Bn US)
  • Bahrain- GWP (2017) 268 Million BD, ($712.8 Mn US)
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia- GWP 36.5 Billion SR, ($9.7 Bn US)

And is being implemented within markets where parallel traditional insurance carriers operate alongside P2P/mutual Takaful[4] carriers within government regulations and Shari ‘A oversight.  Not too bad of a start.

Mr. Subbaraman fully expects in H1 2020 there will be not only more insurance companies adopting digital distribution strategies, but also more insurance products available to compete, including micro-policies and parametric cover, and more ‘Middle Government’ initiatives for startups, including www.fintech.difc.ae (Dubai International Financial Centre, DIFC), www.fintech.adgm.com (Abu Dhabi Global Markets- Innovation Hub), and Mohamed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund- www.mbrif.ae .  And not to be left behind, fintech sandboxes have been created within the KSA and UAE.

So, not new steps within the region per InsurTech history found elsewhere, but adaptation of innovation per the expectations of the business and culture of the region.  Opportunity for digital growth, customer ease of access, and expansion of products available to the population.  Something new under the Mid-East insurance sun.

[1] Watania Takaful, Noor Takaful, Al Wabtha Insurance, Aman Insurance, and Oriental Insurance.

[2] CEO Walid Daniel Dib

[3] Dr. Ann Jacob, COO of IRIS Health Services

[4] “Takaful concept is a cooperation between policyholders, who make a contribution which is based on donation to a specific fund which covers the occurrence of potential risks.   The fund is managed by the company (Takaful Operator) in return of consideration (fees/Wakala)”  What is Takaful?

Patrick Kelahan is a CX, engineering & insurance professional, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners. He also serves the insurance and Fintech world as the ‘Insurance Elephant’.

I have no positions or commercial relationships with the companies or people mentioned. I am not receiving compensation for this post.

Subscribe by email to join the other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research).

https://dailyfintech.com/2019/08/29/always-something-new-to-learn-under-the-insurance-sun/

Temenos Buys Kony to Boost its Digital Front Office Technology for Banks

https://finovate.com/temenos-buys-kony-to-boost-its-digital-front-office-technology-for-banks/
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Less than a month after securing a $37 million debt financing from BMO’s Technology, Innovation Banking Group, mobile application development platform Kony is back in the fintech headlines with even bigger news: the company has agreed to be acquired by digital banking technology giant and fellow Finovate alum Temenos for $559 million.

The acquisition will bolster Temenos’ ability to compete in the digital front office solutions market, specifically strengthening the company’s Infinity offering – which currently has more than 500 banking customers and is widely recognized as a leading technology by industry analysts from Forrester and Gartner. Kony Chairman and CEO Thomas Hogan will serve as President of Temenos North America, post-acquisition, and will join the company’s Executive Committee.

“The power of the Temenos portfolio, combined with Kony’s digital banking applications and multi-experience development platform, will bring the industry’s most robust suite of applications for delivering service, value, and efficiencies from the digital edge to the modern core,” Hogan said. “The strength, scale, and commitment of Temenos will also help protect and extend our market-leading innovation.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed by Q4 2019, and is subject to standard regulatory approvals.

Calling Kony the #1 SaaS digital banking company in the U.S., Temenos CEO Max Chuard highlighted the synergisms between Kony and his company. “We are acquiring a digital front office product that has already been successful in the U.S. market and is connected to most third party cores,” Chuard said. “We are also adding a significant amount of exciting functionality and ease of generating customer journeys and experiences that will accelerate Temenos Infinity, providing banks in both North America and internationally with an unrivaled customer experience and omnichannel banking product.”

A long-time Finovate alum, Kony first demonstrated its technology at FinovateFall 2010, and returned to the Finovate stage two years ago for FinovateFall 2017 to present its retail banking solution. Founded in 2007 and based in Austin, Texas, Kony launched its Conversational AI DevKit earlier this month to enable businesses to deploy new technologies to improve customer engagement. In May, Kony announced that its Quantum digital experience development platform would power the new CareLogic mobile app from Qualifacts, and unveiled a new partnership with multiple Finovate Best of Show winner and fellow alum, MX.

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Temenos demonstrated its Connect Mobile Banking solution at FinovateEurope 2015. The company is also an alum of our developers conference, having presented its B2B Financial Marketplace at FinDEVr Silicon Valley – also in 2015. More than 3,000 banks in 150+ countries – including 41 of the top 50 banks – rely on Temenos’ banking technology to process the daily transactions and interactions of more than 500 million banking customers.

Kony is the second major acquisition by Temenos this year. In July, the company announced that it was purchasing explainable AI innovator Logical Glue and will integrate the company’s Machine-Learning-as-a-Service technology into its cloud-native banking solution. Aside from acquisitions, Temenos has been on an energetic partner-making pace, working with IIG Bank, who agreed to use the company’s Infinity digital front office platform earlier this month; as well as teaming up with FIs like Israeli bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, New Zealand’s TSB Bank, and Pakistan’s Bank of Khyber.

https://finovate.com/temenos-buys-kony-to-boost-its-digital-front-office-technology-for-banks/

From Start-up to Scale-up: Token Introduces New CEO Todd Clyde

https://finovate.com/from-start-up-to-scale-up-token-introduces-new-ceo-todd-clyde/
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The promotion of Chief Operating Officer Todd Clyde to the top job at Token marks the open banking technology provider’s transition “from start-up to scale-up,” the company noted in a statement today.

“Token has grown from an idea formed in the basement of Stanford into a commercially viable, leading fintech poised to change financial services forever,” founder and now-former CEO Steve Kirsch said. Kirsch, who introduced the company to fintech audiences at FinovateSpring in 2015, will assume the role of Chief Innovation Officer and focus on developing Token’s product roadmap. Featured prominently on that map is the company’s digital money business, including its digital currency for banks, Token X.

“Open banking is a huge opportunity for banks and fintechs across the world and Token has delivered a product with solid market fit,” Kirsch said.

New Token CEO Todd Clyde

With more than 30 years of experience in the enterprise and financial software business – including 12 years at Accenture – Clyde was responsible for all of Token’s commercial and financial operations during his three-year tenure as the company’s COO. In his new role as CEO, Clyde will drive the company’s open banking business worldwide, and build on a year that has seen Token forge partnerships with institutions like TurkishBank UK, Estonia’s Tallinn Business Bank, Sberbank Croatia, Omnio Group, Khaleeji Commercial Bank of Bahrain, and U.K. challenger bank Tandem.

“Open banking is already enabling the next generation of digital financial services,” Clyde said. “It’s one of the biggest disruptions to hit the payments and banking industries in decades.” He praised Token for “providing the infrastructure to power these services, at this crucial time.”

With more than 4,000 connected banks, Token offers financial institutions a single API and Smart Token technology that provides an easy route to PSD2 compliance, as well as a way to make multi-banking available to their customers. Merchants can leverage Token’s technology to connect directly to customer bank accounts, enabling direct payments and lowering costs.

Clyde is the second big C-level change for Token in 2019. The company began the year by hiring 15-year technology and payments veteran Gaurav Kohli as its new Chief Technology Officer. Kohli was previously VP of Product Development, Architecture, and Platform Engineering at Visa where he oversaw merchant and acquirer processing.

This summer, Token was honored at the second annual PayTech Awards, taking home the top prize for Best Consumer Payments Initiative. In March, the company announced a collaboration with Konsentus to launch a fast PSD2 compliance solution that combines a PSD2 API with automated third party provider verification.

Token has raised $32 million in funding – including more than $16 million raised in June in a round led by Opera Tech Ventures. Founded in 2015 and based in San Francisco, California, the company made its most recent Finovate appearance at FinovateEurope 2017.

https://finovate.com/from-start-up-to-scale-up-token-introduces-new-ceo-todd-clyde/

Payments firm Marqeta to add 175 jobs to boost global presence

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/payments/payments-firm-marqeta-to-add-175-jobs-to-boost-global-presence/
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Fresh off a $260 million Series E funding round, card issuing and processing startup Marqeta is building its team as it expands to new geographies. The Oakland-based company plans to add 175 jobs this year, bringing its total to 400 employees by 2020, CEO Jason Gardner said on Wednesday.

Gardner told Bank Innovation that Marqeta will grow its team in the U.K. and Germany and will build a physical presence in new areas for expansion, including Asia, South America and Latin America. Areas of focus will include engineering; product and business development; legal; operations; program management; and marketing. The company, which is valued at more than $2 billion, also will add a chief marketing officer next week.

“The hiring is just reflecting our business growth — it’s reflecting the demand for our products,” Gardner said. “Modern card issuing is a global phenomenon.”

Though Marqeta will continue to hire in the San Francisco Bay area, it’s looking to expand its presence owing to its worldwide customer base and fierce competition for labor in the Bay Area, Gardner noted. Over the past year, the company moved from a traditional office setup to a distributed work model to make it easier to integrate a globally dispersed workforce. “We’re going to find people first and offices second versus the way this traditionally has been done, which is to find an office and then staff it,” he said.

See also: Inside Marqeta, the payments engine behind the challenger banks

Marqeta draws its talent pool from fields outside financial services, a deliberate approach to infuse outside thinking into a firm that prides itself on its brain trust of “payments nerds,” according to Gardner. Recent hires include chief people officer Barbie Brewer, the former vice president of talent at Netflix; chief legal officer Seth Weissman, a former executive vice president at SolarCity; and senior vice president of operations Fiona Taylor, who previously was a senior vice president at Tesla.

“I like hiring people who don’t carry the baggage of an industry,” said Gardner. “When they come in from another industry, they think very differently about how to solve problems.”

Among the new positions posted, Marqeta is looking for a senior product manager for digital banks, a nod to Marqeta’s growing challenger bank clientele. “In the world of digital banking, we’re just scratching the surface,” Gardner said. “We’re seeing many amazing brands from N26 and Square Cash to Revolut and Monzo. We’re seeing digital banking, or the new banking phenomenon, happening around the world, and there’s a lot more to invest in with regard to product.”

Marqeta, which was established in 2010, currently counts large fintech companies among its clients, including payments firm Square and lenders Affirm and Kabbage. Its digital banking solution, which rolled out in April, lets clients build, test and refine new features in a developer sandbox; it supports France-based digital bank Morning and Switzerland-based YAPEAL.

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/payments/payments-firm-marqeta-to-add-175-jobs-to-boost-global-presence/

HT Mobile Apps Acquires Hip Pocket

https://finovate.com/ht-mobile-apps-acquires-hip-pocket/
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If you try to access Hip Pocket’s website today, you’ll be redirected to this site: htmobileapps.com/products/hippocket/. That’s because mortgage rate comparison site Hip Pocket has officially been acquired by HT Mobile Apps (HTMA).

Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Hip Pocket is a six-year-old fintech that aims to help consumers compare mortgage, auto loans, and retirement products on their bank’s website. The solution also gives banks a personalized way to engage their clients.

Founded by Mark Zmarzly in 2013, the company has raised over $250,000 across three rounds of funding. At FinovateSpring 2015, Hip Pocket demoed its mortgage comparison site. Two years later, the company graduated from Point of Light accelerator and that same year the company spun out Hip Money, a savings app that specifically targets millennials.

Kathleen Craig, Founder and CEO of HTMA said, “Hip Pocket is a great complement to our range of products. Each of our products empower customers to grow their knowledge of personal finances while also helping financial institutions provide better digital offerings and develop more meaningful relationships with their customers. We are excited to acquire this innovative technology.”

“Kathleen and I have known each other for years and always looked for ways to help each other’s companies,” said Zmarzly. “As we talked more, it became obvious that we could raise the level of impact for banks and customers by working together.”

The acquiring party, HTMA, is a Michigan-based fintech that offers a suite of solutions for banks and credit unions. The company also offers Plinqit, a savings management app; as well as Banker Jr. and Member Jr., apps that teach financial literacy to young clients.

This deal comes at a time when merger and acquisition activity is booming within fintech. So far this year, Finovate alums have inked 32 M&A deals, including the mega-merger announced today between Kony and Temenos. We laid out why all of this M&A is good for fintech in a blog post published this June.

https://finovate.com/ht-mobile-apps-acquires-hip-pocket/

Breach At Cybersecurity Firm Imperva Exposes User Data

https://www.pymnts.com/news/security-and-risk/2019/breach-at-cybersecurity-firm-imperva-exposes-user-data/
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California-based Imperva, a principal cybersecurity provider that works to prevent website breaches, has said it was hacked, The Next Web reported on Wednesday (Aug. 28).

The popular security vendor said its cloud-based firewall product exposed user data online, including email addresses, passwords, API keys and SSL certificates. The hack affects customers using the Cloud Web Application Firewall (WAF) product.

Formerly known as Incapsula, the Cloud WAF analyzes requests coming into applications, and flags or blocks suspicious and malicious activity.

The hackers could possibly intercept and divert a client’s web traffic, according to the report. The company is instructing customers to change passwords, and has also now instituted a 90-day password expiration policy.

Imperva hasn’t said when the leak took place nor has it shared any information as to how the breach happened. It’s also not clear if the exposed data was accessed by other third parties. The company said it is working with forensics experts.

Imperva said in a blog post on its website that it learned about the exposure via a third party on Aug. 20. The affected customer database, however, contained old Incapsula records that only go up to Sept. 15, 2017.

“We profoundly regret that this incident occurred and will continue to share updates going forward,” Imperva said in its blog post. “In addition, we will share learnings and new best practices that may come from our investigation and enhanced security measures with the broader industry. Imperva will not let up on our efforts to provide the very best tools and services to keep our customers and their customers safe.

The company also said, “We continue to investigate this incident around the clock and have stood up a global, cross-functional team.”

Private equity firm Thoma Bravo bought Imperva earlier this year for $2.1 billion, extending its portfolio to DigiCert, Imprivata, Barracuda Networks, LogRhythm, McAfee and Veracode.

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Latest Insights: 

The August 2019 Payments And The Platform Economy Playbook, aims to help platform payments decision-makers identify and manage the risks and rewards inherent in optimizing their operations and navigating real-time challenges.

https://www.pymnts.com/news/security-and-risk/2019/breach-at-cybersecurity-firm-imperva-exposes-user-data/

DefenseStorm Launches New Fraud Monitoring Solution

https://finovate.com/defensestorm-launches-new-fraud-monitoring-solution/
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Cloud cybersecurity specialist DefenseStorm announced the launch of its latest anti-fraud solution, DefenseStorm FI CyberFraud, this week. FI CyberFraud is designed to spot fraud risks in banking apps as well as identify potentially fraudulent activity in computer systems. The solution leverages designated specialists who work in collaboration with the institution to manage alerts, help in fraud investigations, and serve as an extension of the institution’s own internal operations, fraud, and IT teams.

“Until now, no solution has provided specific monitoring capabilities related to data and application protection, coupled with the ability to correlate events across data, applications, and server/network/workstation events,” DefenseStorm CEO Harold Brewer said. “DefenseStorm FI CyberFraud has the potential to reduce fraud-related costs, improve the financial institution’s risk management posture, and drive cost efficiency related to the required monitoring of cyber activities.”

More specifically, FI CyberFraud analyzes and correlates data from all electronic delivery systems to spot potentially fraudulent behavior and monitors and audits access and configuration changes to both core and ancillary systems such as data warehouses. The technology also tracks transaction activity and databases for atypical usage patterns. DefenseStorm will demonstrate its new solution at the upcoming CUNA Operations and Member Experience Council and Technology Council Conference in Chicago next month.

The new product announcement from DefenseStorm comes just one month after the company picked up a major investment of $15 million in a round led by Georgian Partners. The funding took the company’s total capital to more than $29 million. Also in July, DefenseStorm teamed up with digital banking provider Apiture to offer cloud-based cybersecurity and cybercompliance solutions to its 500+ community bank and credit union partners. This spring, DefenseStorm announced a collaboration with Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union (HTFCU) to help the 50,000-member institution more proactively manage cybercrime risk.

Named a Top 40 Innovative Technology Company by the Technology Association of Georgia at the beginning of the year, DefenseStorm was founded in 2014 in Seattle as Praesidio. The company changed its name to DefenseStorm two years later, and expanded its operations from Seattle, Washington, where it still maintains an office, to Alpharetta, Georgia, where the company is currently headquartered.

DefenseStorm demonstrated PatternScout, its anomaly detection engine, at FinovateSpring 2017. PatternScout uses machine learning to identify potentially fraudulent activity in networks, and provides automated alerts to enable IT professionals and operations teams to stop cyberattacks before they spread.

https://finovate.com/defensestorm-launches-new-fraud-monitoring-solution/

Trends at FinovateFall: The Big, the Small, and the Surprises

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FinovateFall is happening in less than a month, and we’re taking a look at the fintech trends that will grace the stage over the course of the three-day show.

This year’s word cloud of themes hints at the major points the demoing companies will showcase on September 23 and 24, and leads us to the topics of discussion we’ll see on stage during the panels and keynote discussions on September 25. Register in advance to secure your seat at the show.

I’ve broken down this year’s trends into three groups; the big, the small, and the surprising:

The big trends

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
This is a trend that needs no introduction or explanation. We’ve seen AI come out on top as the largest trend in every Finovate conference this year, and next month’s show will be no different.

Data
Data is a necessary component behind two of this year’s hottest trends– AI and machine learning. And since banks have an overload of data that gets larger by the minute, the way that they manage data is just as important as how they use it.

Compliance
Buried within the regtech subsector of fintech, compliance is one of those topics that no one wants to think about but everyone needs to have a plan for. And these days, compliance is no longer just for banks. With bank-fintech partnerships on the rise, fintechs are increasingly expected to play by the rules, too.

Small but mighty trends

Chatbots
Chatbots may not dominate the conversation at FinovateFall this year but that doesn’t mean people won’t be talking about them. Customer experience is top on the minds of both banks and fintechs alike, and having a chatbot can ease a lot of headaches associated with taking care of customers, including lowering costs, offering the ability to scale, and providing a mobile-first solution.

Customer service
In many ways, 2019 is the era of the customer in fintech. We’ve seen both banks and startups throughout the industry refocus their solutions not only to attain new customers, but also to retain existing ones. As these efforts come to a head, investment in customer service solutions is at an all-time high.

Investing
Investment technologies experienced their hey-day in 2015, when the use of AI was in its infancy and new robo-advisors were launching every week. Now, after much consolidation, investing technology is making a comeback with more sophisticated AI advancements.

Surprising trends

IoT devices
Fintech may be all about technology, but the application of IoT devices has been slow to take off. Applications for Google Glass failed to prove valuable and the growth of Fitbit Pay remained stagnant. Today, not many new players in fintech have come forward.

Mobile wallets
Technology that was the hype of 2011, mobile wallets, are everywhere and no where. A lot of players offer them, including PayPal, Square, and most alt-banking services providers. However, mobile wallets have faded into the background of fintech hype as they have transitioned into a necessity for many players.

Insurtech
Unlike the previous two trends, insurtech is surprising not because it appears in the word cloud of trends we’ll see at FinovateFall, but because it appears to be such a small fraction compared to the size of other trends. The U.S. has never had a large number of insurtech players, especially compared to the U.K., but insurance is widely used across the country. Perhaps 2020 will mark the year of insurtechs in the U.S.

https://finovate.com/trends-at-finovatefall-the-big-the-small-and-the-surprises/

Galileo changes name to reflect fintech reach beyond payment processing

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/galileo-changes-name-to-reflect-fintech-reach-beyond-payment-processing/
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Galileo Processing Inc., a Salt Lake City-based technology firm behind major fintech providers, said it has changed its name to Galileo Financial Technologies Inc., but will continue to operate informally under the name Galileo. 

Fintechs ranging from Chime, RobinHood, Varo and Transferwise all use Galileo technology to power their payments, banking, money transfer, lending or related businesses. 

“What we bring to our fintech, financial institution or investment firm clients goes far beyond processing,” Clay Wilkes, CEO of Galileo, said in a company release. “The small but meaningful change to our legal name more accurately captures the capabilities of our sophisticated payments platform, including the power, speed and simplicity of our open APIs and the full stack support for the functionality that must sit behind efficient and secure financial services.”

In May, the company announced plans with Carson Group for a white label app for wealthy investors. Wilkes previously spoke to Mobile Payments Today about its open APIs. 


 


Topics: Mobile Banking, Mobile Payments, Money Transfer / P2P, Technology Providers

Companies: Galileo Processing


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Malware Discovered In Popular Doc Scanning App CamScanner 

https://www.pymnts.com/news/security-and-risk/2019/malware-discovered-in-popular-doc-scanning-app-camscanner/
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Kaspersky Lab researchers said they found malware in CamScanner, an app that has 100 million downloads in the Google Play Store, according to reports

The computer security company said the malware pushes ads and downloads things without a user’s permission. The issue affects Android devices.

The researchers said they become aware of the problem after they heard about suspicious behavior from the app, following a deluge of bad reviews for it. 

“CamScanner was actually a legitimate app, with no malicious intentions whatsoever, for quite some time,” Kaspersky noted. “It used ads for monetization and even allowed in-app purchases. However, at some point, that changed, and recent versions of the app shipped with an advertising library containing a malicious module.”

The malicious module is a trojan dropper, which means it will extract and run a secondary component inside the app. This particular one is called Trojan-Dropper.AndroidOS.Necro.n, and it can be used to further infect a user’s device. 

“The above-described Trojan-Dropper.AndroidOS.Necro.n functions carry out the main task of the malware: to download and launch a payload from malicious servers,” the researchers said. “As a result, the owners of the module can use an infected device to their benefit in any way they see fit, from showing the victim intrusive advertising to stealing money from their mobile account by charging paid subscriptions.”

Google removed the app listing after the news of the malware was reported, but Kaspersky said the latest CamScanner update removed the malicious code. The issue illustrates the problem that Google has policing apps in the Play Store.

Many app developers who want to hide malware inside of apps can put the bad code behind encryption barriers so that Google won’t see it when vetting the app.

Google has removed hundreds of thousands of harmful apps, but it seems that some bad ones still slip through the cracks. 

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Latest Insights: 

The August 2019 Payments And The Platform Economy Playbook, aims to help platform payments decision-makers identify and manage the risks and rewards inherent in optimizing their operations and navigating real-time challenges.

https://www.pymnts.com/news/security-and-risk/2019/malware-discovered-in-popular-doc-scanning-app-camscanner/

Grab to invest $500M in Vietnam to boost payments, mobility, last-mile delivery

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Grab to invest $500M in Vietnam to boost payments, mobility, last-mile delivery

Grab plans to spend $500 million to boost its food delivery, payments and ride-sharing busineses.

Grab Holdings, the Southeast Asian ride sharing, food delivery and payments app, is investing $500 million over a five-year period in Vietnam, part of a massive plan to grow the country’s digital economy and increase the level of financial inclusion among workers.

The funding will be used to expand Grab’s transport, food and payments business in Vietnam, and explore new opportunities in fintech, mobility solutions and the logistics industry. 

Grab, which has operated in the country since 2014, has grown into the leading super app in Vietnam. Grab Food has 300,000 daily orders and Grab drivers have earned more than $1 billion, while its payments partner, called Moca, has grown into one of the nation’s largest mobile payment apps. 

“We will use the investment to roll out new services in the country, such as ticketing, groceries and multi-modal solutions, and scale our transport and food business and increase the adoption of cashless payments via our partner Moca,” a spokesman told Mobile Payments Today via email. “Our investment in new mobility solutions, fintech and logistics, would either involve investing in startups holding those core competencies or investing in the development of promising solutions and services for the country.”

As part of the announcement, Grab said it will partner with Sovico Group, a Vietnamese conglomerate, to invest in logistics and mobility in order to grow first and last-mile delivery in Vietnam.

The announcement comes one month after Grab announced a similar $2 billion investment in Indonesia using funding from SoftBank. 

Cover photo: Courtesy of Grab

 


Topics: Financial News, In-App Payments, Mobile Apps, Mobile/Digital Wallet, Region: APAC, Restaurants, Venture Capital

Companies: Grab


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Varo Money launches overdraft free mobile checking option

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Varo Money Inc., a San Francisco-based mobile banking app, announced that its checking accounts will include no-fee overdraft options for customers that meet certain conditions. 

Varo is allowing customers to overdraft their accounts up to $50 if they use direct deposit for payroll or government checks of $1,000 or more per month. Customers must also make at least five debit card purchases per month.

Varo CEO Colin Walsh pointed out that financial institutions generated more than $34.5 billion in 2018, with the vast majority of customers not being able to afford the charges. 

“We understand that having a safety net to pay bills and stretching a paycheck is important,” Walsh said in a company release. “We built a way for people to do that safely without having to tap credit cards.”

The company commissioned a study by a firm called Qualtrics, which shows that four of every 10 millennials overdrew their accounts in 2018, with 41% of those surveyed paying more than $100 in fees last year. 

A 2018 study from Varo showed that six of 10 people in the same age group didn’t have $500 in emergency savings in the bank. 

Varo earlier this year announced an APY of 2.8%, claiming it was the highest savings rate in the industry.

Image courtesy of Varo Money.


Topics: Mobile Apps, Mobile Banking, Regulatory Issues

Companies: Varo Money, Inc.


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The Journey Of The Stroopwafel To Starbucks’ Shelves

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Starting a business out of an Ivy League dorm room is far from a rare story in the world of American entrepreneurship in the last several decades. Arguably some of the Ivy League’s most successful students over the last 20 years have been dropouts.

Still, when people think of businesses founded in dorm rooms, they tend to think of things like software development, which is about properly sized for a small environment with good internet access but limited amenities otherwise. A food business, on the other hand, seems more of a stretch.

And yet that is more or less what Rip Pruisken did when he founded Rip Van Wafels nearly a decade ago out of his dorm room at Brown University. Pruisken is the son of two Dutch physicists and found himself bitten by the entrepreneurial bug late in his college career. But he didn’t know what exactly he wanted to go into business doing, until a bit of chance snacking put him on the path to his innovation “ah-ha moment.”

What he discovered, or more accurately remembered, was the stroopwafel, a common Dutch treat made from two thin waffle pastries melded together with a syrup center. Stroopwafels were available on every corner in his home city of Amsterdam, but were more or less unheard of in Providence, Rhode Island — which meant no matter how many he brought back with him, they were always devoured in short order by his American friends. He realized he just might be on to a product ready to expand into a new market.

“I literally started making them in my dorm in college, and started selling them on campus during my junior year of college,” Pruisken told TechCrunch of Rip Van Wafels’ early days.  The brand stayed on campus for two years building its market and establishing its name.

The company was originally called Van Wafels — and might well still be but for the cease-and-desist letter that showed up from frozen food maker Van’s, which among other products sells waffles. A Brown professor suggested the name Rip Van Wafels, and Pruisken liked that so much that he not only changed the name of the business — he actually changed his own first name from Abhishek to Rip.

Rip Van Wafels’ migration from the campus started in 2012-2013 when the company realized that an unexpected bit of demographic was showing up in its customer data. A local tech company (founded by two former Brown students) could not get enough stroopwafels.

“We realized we found this insight that one of our customers in the northeast was a tech company, and we talked to them and they said that it was the perfect treat that was an alternative to a candy bar,” he said, noting that the latest iteration of the snack contains just nine grams of sugar, down from the first commercial batch’s 14 grams.

“We’re seeing whether we can retain the taste making this delicious product without all the sugar,” Pruisken said.

Realizing that the market for such a snack was wider and different than they’d imagined, Pruisken set out on the road to attempt to sell his product at every tech company that would let him through the front door. A lot of cold calls and unannounced house visits later, Rip Van Wafels found their way into dozens of tech company kitchens in the San Francisco bay area powered by the unceasing hunger of tech workers for a high-flavor snack that is relatively low in sugar and calories.

The pattern at those firms, Pruisken said, was pretty consistent. They’d try a case of the product out on a provision basis, and before long one case would become two. Then 10. Then 20.

Today Rip Van Wafels remains a darling in tech firms’ mini-kitchens, but is also on the shelves at 12,000 Starbucks locations. It is also available for sale at Whole Foods.

Going forward, the firm has two goals, Pruisken said. The first, he said, is to continue improving its stroopwafel.

“We have been reinventing our product every two years,” he said. “We are trying to make our product healthier while providing this very indulgent taste.”

The second goal, he said, is thinking bigger than the stroopwafel — and into the wider world of snack development. Snacking, according to Pruisken, shouldn’t be a shameful habit, but a fun experience built around eating something that tastes good without being terrible for you.

——————————–

Latest Insights: 

The August 2019 Payments And The Platform Economy Playbook, aims to help platform payments decision-makers identify and manage the risks and rewards inherent in optimizing their operations and navigating real-time challenges.

https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2019/the-journey-of-the-stroopwafel-to-starbucks-shelves/

Grab to invest $500M in Vietnam to boost payments, mobility, last-mile delivery

Grab to invest $500M in Vietnam to boost payments, mobility, last-mile delivery

Grab plans to spend $500 million to boost its food delivery, payments and ride-sharing busineses.

Grab Holdings, the Southeast Asian ride sharing, food delivery and payments app, is investing $500 million over a five-year period in Vietnam, part of a massive plan to grow the country’s digital economy and increase the level of financial inclusion among workers.

The funding will be used to expand Grab’s transport, food and payments business in Vietnam, and explore new opportunities in fintech, mobility solutions and the logistics industry. 

Grab, which has operated in the country since 2014, has grown into the leading super app in Vietnam. Grab Food has 300,000 daily orders and Grab drivers have earned more than $1 billion, while its payments partner, called Moca, has grown into one of the nation’s largest mobile payment apps. 

“We will use the investment to roll out new services in the country, such as ticketing, groceries and multi-modal solutions, and scale our transport and food business and increase the adoption of cashless payments via our partner Moca,” a spokesman told Mobile Payments Today via email. “Our investment in new mobility solutions, fintech and logistics, would either involve investing in startups holding those core competencies or investing in the development of promising solutions and services for the country.”

As part of the announcement, Grab said it will partner with Sovico Group, a Vietnamese conglomerate, to invest in logistics and mobility in order to grow first and last-mile delivery in Vietnam.

The announcement comes one month after Grab announced a similar $2 billion investment in Indonesia using funding from SoftBank. 

Cover photo: Courtesy of Grab

 


Topics: Financial News, In-App Payments, Mobile Apps, Mobile/Digital Wallet, Region: APAC, Restaurants, Venture Capital

Companies: Grab


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Fintech Abu Dhabi Announces New Tour Dates As Its Search For Global Fintech Talent Continues

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FinTech Abu Dhabi, MENA’s leading FinTech festival, hosted by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the award-winning international financial centre, is pleased to announce that its global FinTech tour will be reaching even more cities ahead of the main event in Abu Dhabi in October 2019.

The FinTechAD Tour, which is co-organised by the ADGM and Unbound, is visiting global financial hubs to identify the most exciting FinTech start-ups and talent in the world today. New tour dates have been added to the global itinerary including:

  • Frankfurt, 9th September
  • Milan, 10th September
  • Luxembourg, 12th September
  • Amman, 15th September
  • Cairo, 16th September
  • Riyadh, 17th September
  • Casablanca, 19th September

The winners of each leg of the FinTechAD Tour will form part of the FinTech 50 which includes pitching their solutions to an international audience of financial institutions, regulators, corporates and media at ADGM’s flagship event in October (21-23) – FinTech Abu Dhabi (FinTechAD). FinTech 50 firms can also enter the FinTechAD Innovation Challenge where FinTech firms are selected to solve real industry issues and problem statements affecting Abu Dhabi and the region. Selected winners of the FinTechAD Innovation Challenge will also benefit from the opportunity to relocate their business to Abu Dhabi and qualify for various entrepreneur support programmes, funding schemes, and collaborative projects with corporate champions to scale and deploy their solutions out of Hub71 – the tech hub in ADGM.

The winners of the completed FinTechAD Tour stages to date, who have secured their places at the FinTech Abu Dhabi Festival are:

Europe:

  • UK: StepLadder– a collaborative digital savings tool that allows member users to save as a group towards their property deposit

Middle East and Africa :

  • Rwanda: Akokanya– an online ticketing platform for event management and Exuus – a FinTech start up that leverages the power of collective saving and credit scoring models to achieve financial inclusion

Asia :

  • China: Joint Winners: Swiftpass & Allinpay. Swiftpass is a one-stop service to meet the diversified, multi-scenario, multi-terminal payment needs of customers by aggregating international payment methods. Allinpay offers a payment solution designed to aggregate the majority of online and offline payments tools and services
  • Singapore: Deepscope– an AI and machine learning tool that analyses the entire stock market to deliver quality stocks for investors, brokers and funds

Central Asia :

  • Azerbaijan: Cryptoyote– an AI-powered platform for cryptocurrency traders
  • Georgia: CNICK –The first smart wooden ring to replace the need to carry multiple plastic cards for access, payments and loyalty programmes
  • Uzbekistan, Mayasoft –Mayasoft provided Microsoft’s international certificate training under a corporate and an individual title
  • Kazakhstan, Joint Winners: Biometric & Lending Star. Biometric’s cash microfinance business targets developing countries with low credit card penetration, whilst Lending Star aims to change the world of business financing by creating a financial marketplace for small and medium businesses

Throughout August and September, new tour dates announced include: Frankfurt, Milan, Luxembourg, Riyadh and Casablanca. Ultimately, the tour will visit 18 cities across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. 

Startups who attend FinTech Abu Dhabi can apply to become part of the FinTech 50 – a global network that provides leaders with a lasting community to connect with investors and partners. Further information and the chance to register can be found at www.fintechabudhabi.com. Recognising the leading emerging financial technology talent from around the world, FinTech Abu Dhabi will be the place to meet with pioneers building the future of financial technologies, whilst providing government, corporate partners and investors with a marketplace to collaborate and unlock growth.

Wai Lum Kwok, Senior Executive Director (Capital Markets), Financial Services Regulatory Authority of ADGM said:

“ADGM is excited that FinTech AD Tour has been gaining strong traction and support globally and in the various cities. The calibre of participating FinTech companies and entrepreneurs has been very impressive and it reveals how advanced and innovating the respective FinTech communities are in each city that we have toured. 

FinTech Abu Dhabi Tour is an integral component of FinTech Abu Dhabi Festival. As an International Financial Centre and a FinTech Hub in MENA, ADGM is committed to do what it takes to nurture emerging tech and FinTech enterprises to thrive and grow locally in Abu Dhabi and globally. We look forward to meeting up with more FinTechs in the new cities soon.”

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