A constant movement toward partnerships is always present in financial services. But with companies all over the space wanting to add new kinds of financial services to their platforms, it’s creating a challenging problem.
“It’s hard to do that at scale, considering how fractured [the ecosystem] is,” said Phillip Rosen, founder of Even Financial.
"It used to be a bank had everything a consumer needed. Those components are breaking up. They’re going direct to consumer via mobile apps."
This has created a complex set of relationships dealing with a highly regulated, sensitive set of consumer data, Rosen said. It's challenging to generate profitable accounts in such an environment "without a platform in the middle," he said.
Rosen made the comment at the 2019 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards held last week in New York City in a fireside chat with Benzinga CEO Jason Raznick.
Even Financial's Beginnings
Even was born out of the observation that there was no technology facilitating these service offerings between firms, Rosen said — for example, a 401(k) provider that wants to offer more services to clients as alternatives to borrowing against their account or taking early withdrawals.
Rosen was previously a co-founder at Orchard Platform, a lending platform acquired by Kabbage in 2018.
"We started Even because of learnings we had at Orchard, which was there were all these signals we found that we could use to optimize our purchase of debt that were really powerful at generating alpha. But it wasn’t available to us. We needed someone to plug into those data streams."
The notion was to create a platform that sits between the consumer and financial services companies, gather that data and make it actionable, he said.
So far they’ve found success, raising $50 million from both venture investors and traditional financial institutions. And Rosen doesn’t see this trend of financial services firms wanting to partner up slowing down any time soon.
“The overall narrative of partnership in financial services isn’t going anywhere. It’s accelerating. We believe we can be a cornerstone of the ecosystem.”
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