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CEO Brett King and Moven announce a $12 million series B!

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CEO Brett King and Moven announce a $12 million series B!


Breaking Banks host and Founder/CEO of digital only neo-bank Moven, Brett King scores a $12 million funding round for Moven.  This follows and $8million funding round last July that was led by Sberbank-owned SBT with support from Route 66, Standard Bank and Anthemis, topping up a $2.4 million seed round in 2012.

News of the latest deal was announced at an Innotribe conference session and confirmed in a tweet sent from the international Sibos conference in Singapore by Moven founder and digital evangelist Brett King.

Moven initially pitched itself as a mobile-based alternative to traditional banks in its home market of the US but has taken a more cooperative approach in other markets, inking licensing deals with TD Bank in Canada and WestPac in New Zealand.

In May, it sealed an alliance with Accenture to develop and sell digital tools to financial services firms around the world. Moven says that the partnership has already yielded a contract win with one unnamed bank.


Women in Fintech Series: Deanna Oppenheimer

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Women in Fintech Series: Deanna Oppenheimer


Breaking Banks and Finextra continue their series of Women in FinTech with the illustrious Deanna Oppenheimer.

Very few have made as big a splash in the financial industry as Deanna Oppenheimer,  Known for having a customer centric vision of banking, and welcoming the new players and innovation in the financial services field, Deanna founded Cameoworks LLC, a retail and financial services advisory firm that helps startups in FinTech find their footing and meet up with the global players that can help make their ideas a reality.   She is uniquely qualified as someone  with an unusual combination of banking, retail, innovation, brand, and communication skills.

From 2005 to 2012, Deanna worked at Barclays PLC, where she transformed the Global Retail and Business Banking divisions.  Initially, her position was chief executive of U.K. Retail and Business Banking, with 30,000 employees serving 15 million customers through contact centers, online and mobile banking and 1700 branches.  In 2009, she became vice chair of Global Retail Banking, sharing best practices across Europe and Africa. In 2010, she added the role of chief executive of Europe Retail and Business Banking, helping to stabilize the business lines during the Euro crisis. Customer satisfaction improved from last-place among U.K. banks to first-place under her leadership.

Previous to Barclays, Deanna was employed, from 1985 to 2005, at Washington Mutual, Inc., the largest savings and loan institution in the U.S.  She was marketing director and, later, president of Consumer Banking, where she helped transform the lender from a regional to a national player. During her tenure, Washington Mutual, Inc. was named Best Retail Bank in the Americas by Lafferty International and Top 40 Store Concepts in the World by Retail Industry Leaders Association.

In 2007, Deanna was named Britain’s Business Communicator of the Year and in October 2010 was voted American Banker magazine’s Second Most Powerful Woman in Banking. Her previous corporate board experiences include non-executive director roles at Catellus, a leading U.S. development company, and Plum Creek Timber, the largest private landowner in the U.S.  In November 2014, Deanna was voted one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s Women of Influence, an annual award given to women leaders who have an enormous impact on the community.

Her non-executive director board roles include Tesco PLC, where she chairs the remuneration committee,  Tesco Bank, AXA Group, NCR Corporation, and The Joshua Green Corporation.  Additionally,  she is a senior advisor to Bain Consulting, Brooks Running,  Anthemis Group and Finsphere.

Deanna lives in Seattle with her husband and they have two adult children. She graduated with honors from the University of Puget Sound in Washington State; she is past chair of trustees for Puget Sound and a recipient of the Ernest T. Stewart National Award for university volunteers.  She also has attended the Executive Education program of the Kellogg School of Management.

Catch Deanna’s interview with Liz Lumley of Finextra on Breaking Banks– Customer Relations: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Ripple Labs Raises Massive $28 Million Series A Round

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Ripple Labs Raises Massive $28 Million Series A Round


Co- Produced by Ian Kar at FinTechToday and Breaking Banks:

Ripple Labs, the innovative startup focusing on the distributed ledger and supports of the popular Ripple protocol, has raised a $28 million Series A round, the company announced in a press release today.

There are a number of interesting participants in the round, including IDG Capital Partners, the venture capital divisions of CME Group and Seagate Technology, Yahoo! cofounder Jerry Yang’s AME Cloud Ventures, and ChinaRock Capital Management. Smaller participants in the round include Bitcoin Opportunity Corp., Core Innovation Capital, Route 66 Venture, RRE Ventures, and others.

According to the press release, the mixed group of investors is intentional, they “supports the vision for Ripple to enable an Internet of Value (IoV) by powering the real-time, secure settlement of funds for banks and multi-national companies worldwide.” Not only are these investors involved in banking, but also have experience as market makers (an arbitrage service for market liquidity), corporate finance, and other potential uses for the Ripple protocol, like forex.

“Our mission is to modernize decades-old payments infrastructure with IP-based technology so value moves around the world as freely, easily, securely and transparently as information on the web today,” said Ripple Labs CEO and co-founder Chris Larsen. “Financial institutions, market makers and corporations are laying the foundation for this Internet of Value, contributing and providing liquidity for global payments. With investors like CME Group and Seagate joining the fold, we’re well positioned to accelerate adoption amongst these key customers.”

Li Feng, partner at IDG Capital Partners, will be joining Ripple’s Board of Directors, along with Baidu, Tencent, Xiaomi, and CreditEase.

What Is Ripple Labs?

Ripple Labs uses a distributed, open source, ledger to carry out secure, instant, and nearly free transactions around the world. It supports its native currency, Ripples (XRP), but also fiat currency, cryptocurrency, and other units of value like frequent flier miles.

Because of the different units of values supported and the instant global transfers, the Ripple protocol has a ton of potential in the eyes of entrepreneurs and investors. For instance, users can use the protocol to sell frequent flier miles for dollars or bitcoin; send money to family across the world instantly and for free, which is quite a painful process; and easily and quickly turn fiat currencies into cryptocurrencies, and vice versa. There are a few of high profile startups operating on the Ripple protocol as well, including Epiphyte — a startup that creates enterprise software solutions for financial institutions to securely integrate with cryptofinancial networks and one of the winners of the 2014 Innotribe Startup Challenge.

While Ripple Labs has seen a plethora of praise over the past few years — including a spot on the coveted 50 Smartest Companies list by MIT Technology Review and praise from members of the St. Louis Federal Reserve — the company came under some regulatory heat recently. FinCEN, a bureau of the Treasury Department and the federal body that regulates virtual currency, fined Ripple Labs $700,000 for violating the Bank Secrecy Act. CoinDesk has more details here, but, primarily, Ripple Labs failed to register as a money services business before selling XRP, which cause the company to not properly implement anti-money laundering procedures. However, FinCen and Ripple Labs announced a settlement, which includes the fine and other stipulations, including biannual compliance audits through 2020.

Women in FinTech Series- Amy Nauiokas, President of Anthemis

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Women in FinTech Series-  Amy Nauiokas, President of Anthemis


Breaking Banks and Finextra continue their series on Women in Fintech, profiling Amy Nauiokas, President of Anthemis.

Amy Nauiokas is so accomplished in so many different interests, it is hard to believe how down to earth she is.

She is Founder and President of Anthemis Group SA and Founder and CEO of Archer Gray, LLC a media production, financing and venture investment company. She is a visionary executive, venture capitalist and producer; a recognized leader in innovation, strategic management and results across a variety markets and industries.

As a venture capitalist, Amy identifies and invests in early stage technology companies focused on the disruption of media, financial services and marketplaces. Her early investments include Zoopla, the UK’s leading property research website, Climate Corporation, which was acquired by Monsanto in October 2013 for $930m, and Simple, which was acquired by BBVA in February 2014 for $117m.

As a producer, Amy has achieved considerable commercial and creative success. Projects include the Broadway musical Once, winner of 8 Tony Awards, the 2014 Sundance Film Festival selection Little Accidents, the 2013 Sundance Film Festival selection The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete, and the 2015 Sundance Film Festival selections Diary of a Teenage Girl and Ten Thousands Saints.
Amy was previously CEO and Managing Director of Barclays Stockbrokers, the UK’s largest electronic retail broker with £10 billion assets under management. Before joining Barclays, Amy was Senior Managing Director and Partner at Cantor Fitzgerald.
Amy is a member of the New Markets Women’s Advisory Board at Credit Suisse, a Board Observer for SeedInvest, the leading equity-based crowd-funding platform and a Board Member of Smart Pension LP and media platform We are Colony.

Catch Amy’s interview with Elizabeth Lumley of Finextra on Breaking Banks- Smarter Bank.

Women in Fintech Series: Kitty Parry, Founder of the Social Media Charter

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Women in Fintech Series: Kitty Parry, Founder of the Social Media Charter


Breaking Banks and Finextra continue their series on Women in Fintech with a profile of Kitty Parry, Founder and CEO of the Social Media Charter.

Kitty is recognized as one of the UK’s most up and coming female entrepreneurs. She has most recently been named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum at Davos (2014), shortlisted as the Communications Professional of the Year (2013), selected as a finalist as ‘Young Business Woman of the Year’ by the Network She Awards and is one of Britain’s top three PR professionals (2009). Kitty is also founder of the Accelerating Change Network (ACN) (2011), member of the UN Media Coalition and mentor to the Cherie Blair foundation.

Please catch Kitty’s interview on the March 12 episode of Breaking Banks and read the interview here:

FINEXTRA: Give us a rundown of what Social Media Charter is?

KITTY: We are trying to set the standard for compliant social media and this has come about because many financial institutions want to do social media, but are afraid to because of the compliance risks and reputation risks. So we put heads of compliance and heads of digital in a room together with the FCA on Nov 2013 (the day of the Twitter IPO) and out of that came the Charter – which is a set of principals which outlines what compliant social media is for financial services. From that we developed language – both legal-ese and layman’s language and we gave that to the FCA and that has been the bedrock for our process moving forward.

FINEXTRA: Is this a social media charter for the UK or can it be applied globally?

KITTY: Initially, for the UK. We want to get this right in the UK first. But we have used Finra and the SEC and the European directives to develop our guidelines – we will become global very quickly. Obviously, many of the companies we work with IN the UK are global institutions. If you tweet in the UK and you are going to be read by the SEC, you need to be very careful.

FINEXTRA: You mentioned the FCA and Finra and regulations – do you think a lot of bank hide behind regulations? Do you think a lot of banks claim that regulations stop them using social media effectively?

KITTY: The need for regulations, especially over the past ten years is important. It makes us as customers and clients feel safe that we are being conversed with in a manner that is fair. The issue lies where the industry doesn’t know where to interpret the regulation. And that is what we are trying to do now – pulling the industry together so we can interpret it and learn from different best practices and problems to make sure that the future is much brighter than it has been for financial services to date.

FINEXTRA: Although social media is global – are there any compliance issues unique to the UK market that global banks should be aware of?

KITTY: The policy based approach of the FCA and London means that there are many different interpretations of the rules. While social media is media neutral – we will be seeing guidance later on this year 2015 – social media managers still aren’t sure how certain aspects will play out. We are setting standards on what social media compliance looks like – proper archiving; assuring employees are trained and know what they are doing on social media; hat product information should look like and making sure it is fair compliant and so on.

FINEXTRA: How do you advise compliance officers?

KITTY: Initially we go in with an audit – which is 170 questions – which runs from the CRO, COO, head of HR etc…We assess the company, look through all the policies and social media practices and then pull together a report. That report gets pulled together with intelligence from lawyers, communications experts, and social media experts. From that we then do the training – again done by barristers – throughout and learning continuously throughout the business.

FINEXTRA: Which banks do social media correctly?

KITTY: One firm that have done it, as almost an extension of their customer service to date, and done very well, is First Direct. They deserve to be praised for how they run their social media. They are an example of being human on social media – they do it in a natural manner – they put a human face in front of the brand. It makes customers feel confident that there are real people inside that institution.

FINEXTRA: I am glad you mentioned First Direct, because I feel that they saw social media a communication channel , rather than an ‘alternative’ communication channel – do you think that mind set is still prevalent at banks – that social media is an ‘alternative’ channel?

KITTY: Our line is social media is to email what email was to fax. That is what of the most terrifying phrases that came out of Davos. Many CEOs hear it and realise it is increasing in prevalence, but don’t understand A: Why this is happening? or B. Is this long term?

Now obviously it is. And it is not just a communication channel, it is far more valuable as a listening tool – understanding what customers want. Focus groups are so specific and so often biased. Social media is honest and real and allows firms to create innovative products rather than products that are ‘suitable’.

FINEXTRA: What has been your biggest lesson?

KITTY: The biggest lesson is not to give up. In America you are celebrated when you fail a business because that is half of the learning curve – you fail and you build you fail and you build, etc… In the UK it is much more frowned upon. The biggest lesson is just to keep going. Or just call it a day, and at the end of the day, you get up the next day and keep going.
It is the hard graft that pays off.

FINEXTRA: What was Davos like?

KITTY: From an outside view it can look like a lot of people, with a lot of money coming together and having parties – it is far from that. It is a celebration of those who work very hard. There is never a time of the day where you wouldn’t talk about work. And it isn’t frowned upon because everyone out there is trying to help each other. That is what the World Economic Forum have done very well. They have really tried to focus on people working together and helping each other.

FINEXTRA: What was the conversation like at Davos?

KITTY: We have a really interesting panel called ‘social media friend or foe’. The outcome of that was not whether [social media] is a ‘friend or foe’ but that it is happening and we need to move forward further conversations, particularly with the disruptive finance group at the WEF. Whilst last year many of the of the delegates we rather fearful of [disruptive finance] – this year it is being embraced and understood particularly as it is beginning to take significant margins off of big corporates.

FINEXTRA: What advice would you give to an entrepreneur?

KITTY: I will never make a decision unless I have all the information at my fingertips. Fact gathering, not anecdotes, so you can make a real decision not an emotional decision. In financial services we are going to see more technology changes in the next five years than in the past 20 years.

Women in Fintech: Claire Cockerton, CEO of Innovate Finance

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Women in Fintech: Claire Cockerton, CEO of Innovate Finance


Breaking Banks Women in Fintech Series continues this week.   Elizabeth Lumley, Multi-media and Special Products editor at FInextra interviews Claire Cockerton, CEO of Innovate Finance about the exploding Fintech scene in the UK and how a Canadian architect and entrepreneur uses her skills to become one of the biggest proponents of technology driven change in financial services and a champion of London as a fintech world capital.

Women in FinTech: Clare Flynn Levy, founder and CEO of Essentia Analytics

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Women in FinTech: Clare Flynn Levy, founder and CEO of Essentia Analytics


If you go to as many conferences as I do in the financial services and technology space (or FinTech for the hashtag friendly) you are used to bumping into the same people over and over again. You are also familiar with looking out into the sea the exhibition hall, and rows of the plenary sessions to be met with a recurring sight. Waves of dark suits worn by middle aged men. It’s financial services, with a tech edge – the alpha males of the alpha male dominated industries – what are ya going to do, right?

But my thoughts have always been, although women as indeed outnumbered in the industry (I just need to look at Finextra’s audience demographics to see that) that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a huge number of smart, hardworking, innovative thinkers in this space – who happen to be female – and aren’t getting the exposure they deserve. Their voices are being drowned out by the waves upon on waves of ‘men in dark suits’. (Who by the way, are wonderful people when you get to know them on an individual basis 😉

I had been chatting with a few people in the industry about doing some sort of ‘Women in FinTech’ series over at Finextra, either as videos or blogs. As luck would have it, Brett King gave me a call a few weeks ago offering a chance to run such a series on his VoiceAmerica Radio Show, Breaking Banks profiling interesting women making waves of their own in the FinTech space. Bring it on, I thought.

Many in this industry harp on about ‘disruption’. Well, in financial services and tech – there is nothing more disruptive than a female voice. So every month in my blog pages, we will be profiling an awesome ‘Woman in FinTech’.

To kick off our first Breaking Banks/Finextra Women in FinTech series, I sat down with Essentia Analytics founder and CEO Clare Fynn Levy. You can listen to the series on Breaking Banks now.

You can read a transcript of the highlights of my interview below or you can listen to the full interview now.

Clare Flynn Levey, CEO and Founder of Essentia Analytics ‘A Fitbit for Fund Managers’

Finextra: For the sake of our audience, what does Essentia Analytics do?

Clare: We make software that helps investment professionals understand their own behaviour patterns so they can see where their strengths and where their weaknesses lie. So they can focus on more of what they are good at and less of what they are not.

The end game is to make more money.

Finextra: What was your lightbulb moment?

Clare: The seeds were planted when I was a fund manager myself. I was a long only tech manager during the internet bubble and then I was long short tech hedge fund manager during the burst of that bubble. It was really fun on the way up, less so on the way down. I went from, everything I touch turns to gold to nothing I do seems to be making a difference and it was really confusing.

I had a strong view on where my competitive advantage lay and yet it wasn’t showing up in the data on my performance. Really what I needed was more date, rather than just a measure of the outcome. I needed to be able to dig deeper into where I was adding value and how I was adding value and whether my investment process was working.

Finextra: How is Essentia Analytics different from other decision support tools?

Clare: Traditional decision support tools monitor data from outside – what other people are doing. We look inward. If your bad habits or lack of self-awareness are causing you to not maximise your own skills or engage in investment decisions that are inefficient, than no amount of outside data will help you.

We look at what aspect of the decision process are adding or destroying value. Why did you make this decision or why did you decide to not buy this particular stock?

A bit like a Fitbit for fund managers.

Finextra: Is fund management behind the curve?

Clare: Yes, I think the enterprise in general has been behind the curve. There hasn’t been a demand from fund management, who work to long term mandates where there hasn’t been a treat. Only recently have we seen a tipping point. For example, there have been some press concerning hedge funds not performing, especially in regards to fees.

Finextra: When will there be a tipping point for behavioural analytics to go mainstream in enterprise environments?

Clare: When actual individuals are being empowered by the data and it is not used as stick to beat them with or to sell advertising. We all have a huge amount of data collected about us and we are not getting the benefit of that data.

This industry is very concerned with compliance. People are frightened about having data collected about then. But they see how it would benefit them, things will change.

Finextra: What surprised you most about becoming an entrepreneur?

Clare: Running a tech start up is an emotional roller-coaster. I was aware of that, but knowing it and loving it are two different things. But there are a lot of high highs, so I am having a lot of fun with it.

People are approaching us, to work with us. It is not just about money. And in the fund management industry that is a change. Money is part of it, but it is about the intellectual challenge. To change the world for the better.

Finextra: What have been your biggest challenges?

Clare: Funding the biz model is harder than we thought it would be – as provider of a software as a service enterprise offering. That early stage fund raising is so different from the investment world I come from. What we are doing that not something that the average generalist will understand. They get the concept, but they can’t related to it.

Finextra: What advice would you give a FinTech start-up?

Clare: The best thing we did was that we started the company with a client on day one. We were ready to go to clients who has an interest in behavioural analytics. They provided us with a certain level of legitimacy from day one.

Upcoming interviews will include Innovate Finance CEO Claire Cockerton and Kitty Parry, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Social Media Charter.

View the official article at Finextra.

Traditional Banks are Doomed: Brett King

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Traditional Banks are Doomed: Brett King


Automation and robots are replacing real human interaction and Millennials don’t care. At least that’s what Brett King, best-selling futurist and creator of Moven, a mobile banking app says.

According to King, any bank or institution that requires a signature at all is in trouble with the younger generation. “All of the basic services [young people] use today simply don’t require a signature for opening an account – Facebook, Google, iTunes, Snapchat, Instagram, Mobile Phone Accounts, etc.” he writes.

Behavior around banking is changing, King tells Yahoo Finance. The way we pay for things and the way we interact with those around us and our money are changing because of a modality shift brought on by the smartphone. He believes that the physical bank branch might soon be gone.

Still, Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Aaron Task points out, people want to go see and touch their bank and money to know its real. “There is a psychology to this,” says King. People do chose banks based on how close a branch is to their office or home. “The only problem is when you ask people [why they chose a bank] and you see what they’re actually doing, you might find two different things,” he says. People just aren’t visiting bank branches anymore.

“It’s very rare for us to need to visit a bank branch.  We can deposit our checks on our phones.  We can send money electronically instantly,” he says, and while “there is a psychology that if something goes wrong people want to go and speak to someone to get their money,” it’s a hangover from the depression days when people were less trusting of large, faceless institutions.

For Millennials, it’s just about utility, according to King. “It’s about how well it works.  Does it work for my friends and in the social circles that I frequent? Can I get paid?  And can I use it online and in a store?”

Human service used to be a differentiator because it was better, says King, but we’re now realizing that with technologies like IBM’s Watson that a human experience isn’t always better—even in banking.

Customers on average are now visiting banks 85% less than they did in 1995, but for every Starbucks in the U.S., there are nine bank branches, and they cost billions to maintain. Big banks like Lloyds and Citibank are responding by announcing the reduction of branches. Britain’s Standard Chartered announced plans to close 100 branches on Tuesday.

“This doesn’t mean that branches will disappear,” warns King, “but our reliance on them in terms of the relationship and the way we interact with the bank is definitely going to change and minimize.”

See the original article posting at Yahoo Finance 


Learn more about Brett King’s radio show Breaking Banks which is about the massive upheaval facing the banking industry today as a result of loss of trust, rapid consumer behavior shift, massive technological change and increasing government scrutiny.

In 1472 Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena opened its first branch. Since then “the bank” has been at the center of the way individuals in the community did banking – whether saving money, moving money around or requesting credit. Breaking Banks is a show exploring how banking is rapidly being disrupted and how context and digital are becoming the new drivers of banking experiences.

Will banking start to disappear from a traditional storefront? Is the end-game of technology like mobile and social media just making banking part of everyday experiences, whether that is buying a home, buying a car, traveling, shopping or funding our children’s education? The possibility that banking is no longer a place you go to, but just something that you do has become very real. Tune in for episodes on Demand.

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