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Fintech Focus Roundup For November 7, 2020

Renato Capelj
·9 min read
Fintech Header
Fintech Header

Quantopian Joins Robinhood To Unlock Finance

The Nitty-Gritty: Founded in 2011 to inspire and unlock access to algorithmic investing, Quantopian’s co-founder and CTO John Fawcett released a blog post on his team’s intent to integrate with commission-free broker Robinhood.

“The Quantopian team is joining Robinhood to continue to pursue our passion for opening access to markets and democratizing the financial system,” he said. “Quantopian has always stood for greater access and deeper education, so we are fundamentally aligned with Robinhood’s mission to democratize finance for all.”

The development comes after the firm raised nearly $50 million in funds with participation from some well-known investors including Point72 Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Anthemis Group, among others. The company used the funds to spur the development of algorithmically-driven strategies that minimize risk through a combination of long and short positions.

After mixed success evaluating new opportunities to derive alpha as well as provide value to participating creators and investors, the firm decided it will retire its community and related services on Nov. 14, 2020.

Fintech Awards Finalist: Wilshire Phoenix

About Wilshire Phoenix: Founded in 2018, Wilshire Phoenix is a fintech specializing in investor experiences. The company is at the forefront of financial innovation, tracking and analyzing shifting financial landscapes to develop products for the various challenges investors face.

Core Product: Wilshire Phoenix allows investors exposure to emerging market trends not traditionally covered by existing products.

The company’s core product portfolio consists of the following funds which are currently in registration with the SEC:

  • wShares Enhanced Gold Trust

  • wShares Bitcoin Commodity Trust

Innovation Outlook: Going forward, Wilshire Phoenix looks to be on the front lines of innovation in the ETF and index fund space. It will accomplish this by expanding its wShares product offering through proprietary methodologies.

“Launching wShares is a testament to all the hard work that our team has devoted over the past few years,” said managing partner William Herrmann. “We’re now one step closer to bringing our products to market. We thrive on pushing boundaries and will continue to do so. Investors deserve better access to differentiated strategies.”

Fintech Awards Finalist: Accern

About Accern: Founded in 2014, Accern specializes in AI workflows for enterprises. The company is a pioneer in the no-code industry, allowing leading organizations, such as Allianz SE, IBM Corporation, and Jefferies Financial Group, the ability to build and deploy AI solutions with ease.

Core Product: Accern comes as a holistic solution for scaling AI adoption in tech-focused organizations.

The company’s core product portfolio consists of solutions catered to the following industries:

  • Asset Managers: Uncover ideas, accelerate portfolio intelligence, and manage risk.

  • Asset Owners: Perform due diligence, monitor external investments, and manage risk.

  • Wealth Managers: Provide client-specific advice and product recommendations.

  • Quantitative Managers: Create alternative data sets, and construct investment signals.

  • Private Markets: Screening, enhanced due diligence, and monitor portfolio companies.

  • Insurance: Detect fraud, improve underwriting and distribution, and automate claims.

  • Banking: Improve lending decisions, increase coverage, and manage risk.

Innovation Outlook: Going forward, Accern looks to be on the front lines of innovation in AI-driven workflows for enterprises. It will accomplish this through a focus on scale and know-how.

“Our plan is to continue to innovate our product and to provide the best no-code AI platform to asset management, insurance, and banking sectors. We will also be expanding into other sectors like healthcare and technology later,” said co-founder and CEO Kumesh Aroomoogan.

Fintech Awards Sponsor: Envestnet | Yodlee

About Envestnet | Yodlee: Envestnet | Yodlee is the leading data aggregation and analytics platform enabling innovation and insights for financial service providers. Envestnet | Yodlee has proudly fueled digital financial innovation for more than 20 years and partners with more than 1,400 financial institutions and FinTechs to help consumers achieve better financial lives.

Core Product: Envestnet | Yodlee comes as a provider of personal financial management, payments, and customer acquisition solutions, allowing organizations to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

The company’s core product portfolio consists of data, apps, and API solutions for the following industries:

  • FinTech

  • Wealth Management

  • Financial Wellness

  • Retail and Open Banking

  • Payments

Innovation Outlook: Going forward, Envestnet | Yodlee looks to be on the front lines of innovation in the fintech space. It will accomplish this by exploiting disruptive technologies to deliver on feedback-driven initiatives.

"The innovations we continue to develop at Envestnet, which are driven by feedback from our advisor partners, each play a role in streamlining the user experience—and improving outcomes for clients—across our ecosystem," said Stuart DePina, President of Envestnet. "These product enhancements further simplify workflows for advisors to make it easier for them to deliver financial wellness to more people."

Fintech Awards Finalist: ViewTrade

About ViewTrade: Founded more than 20 years ago, ViewTrade Holding Corporation, through its subsidiaries, ViewTrade Securities and Orbis Systems, is helping financial firms accelerate innovation. Global fintech firms, startups, banks, broker-dealers, and advisors look to ViewTrade to achieve their business vision of enabling investors a convenient and streamlined way to trade in U.S. equity markets.

Core Product: ViewTrade has developed technology that reduces implementation time and lowers costs to help financial firms focus on their clients' experience.

Firms can choose which cloud-based APIs and services to integrate selecting from a growing number of offerings:

  • Account onboarding

  • Digital KYC and AML checks

  • Electronic capture of ID cards

  • Electronic agreements

  • Electronic W-8 BEN form processing

  • Real-time bank account linking

  • Cross-border funding APIs

  • Fractional share trading

  • Robo allocations

  • Market insight, news, research, and data

Innovation Outlook: Going forward, ViewTrade looks to be on the front lines of financial services innovation. It will accomplish this through a focus on technology.

“Over the last 20 years, ViewTrade has provided solutions to help banks, broker-dealers, advisors, and fintech firms spanning 4 continents achieve success offering their customers access to the U.S. markets,” said Jody Giraldo, Director of Institutional Sales at ViewTrade Securities.

“Through our ever-expanding suite of APIs, regulatory technology (regtech), trading technology and service options, we can assist your firm in exploring new revenue generating opportunities, and we can help your firm stay compliant with IRS, FINRA and SEC regulations so you can focus on your business growth.”

Fintech Awards Finalist: Dama Financial

About ViewTrade: Founded in 2016, Dama Financial is a fintech specializing in secure banking for cash-intensive businesses. More specifically, the company is a financial services provider in the FDIC-insured banking space, allowing cannabis businesses access to flexible merchant processing, payments, and cash management solutions.

Core Product: Dama Financial comes as a holistic solution for compliant cannabis banking, allowing customers holistic access to electronic cannabis and hemp trading, invoicing and payments tech, and premier business banking.

The company’s core product portfolio consists of the following products:

  • Premier: Full-suite of banking products for cannabis-related companies.

  • CashToTax: A secure and convenient way to make electronic tax payments.

  • Paytender: Scan-and-go payments with one-day settlements.

  • Invoices: Send and track invoices and accept payments from partners.

  • Trading: Make cash or ACH payments for cannabis orders on online markets.

Innovation Outlook: Going forward, Dama Financial looks to be on the front lines of innovation in the cannabis banking space. It will accomplish this through tech innovation and partnerships.

“We are creating the comprehensive critical financial architecture to empower the cannabis industry to operate as if it were a non-cannabis related industry. We’re providing access to solutions which CRBs desperately need. And, we continue to evolve by creating new products and services by listening to our customers and the industry at large and build solutions for their financial needs, which is both exciting and invigorating,” said CRO Eric Kaufman.

Disrupting The $60B Bottled Water Industry

What Happened: Boxed Water Is Better, a sustainable packaged water alternative available nationwide and online, released a life cycle study conducted by Anthesis Group on Oct. 27 that compares the environmental impacts of plastic, aluminum and Boxed Water containers.

What Is Boxed Water: Boxed Water, a Michigan-based firm co-founded in 2009 by Benjamin Gott, provides a better alternative, CMO Robert Koenen told Benzinga. The company is best known for its purified water in 92% plant-based sustainable packaging.

“10 years ago, this company was founded by a couple of millennials who saw plastic everywhere, and they thought there must be a better way,” the CMO said.

“So, we’re taking on big soda because they’re the ones producing up to 69 billion bottles every year right now, 90% of which go to landfills or oceans.”

Raising Awareness For Criminal Justice Reform

What Happened: A growing genre in podcasting is true crime, which brings to life the motivations and back stories of gruesome crimes.

Benzinga chatted with Talia Goetting, co-host of "Crimes & Consequences," to discuss the genre of true crime — and how she’s helping make an impact on the criminal justice system, while keeping listeners entertained.

Platform To Make An Impact: Many times, the podcast examines cases of wrongful conviction, helping bring to light systemic issues in criminal justice and the struggles ex-prisoners face reintegrating into society.

For example, in one episode, "Crimes & Consequences" detailed the brutal rape and attempted murder of a Michigan woman.

One of the men involved in the case was found innocent, but failed to regain the confidence and trust of his peers.

The man listened to the podcast and contacted Goetting.

“I got an email from him saying that he listened to our podcast episode on his story and he loved it. He never had somebody that supported him [and] that most people thought he got out on a technicality, even though he was found to be completely innocent,” she said.

Since the encounter, "Crimes & Consequences" increased its focus on cases involving wrongful convictions, suggesting the podcast does a good job of getting listeners engaged in justice reform.

“It’s a huge problem in the United States and we’re starting to focus a little bit more on exoneration cases because there are wrongful convictions happening every day in America,” Goetting said.

It's a systemic issue, she said, with bias among police and prosecutors.

Though Goetting said modern innovations like DNA technology reduce the number of wrongful convictions, it’s education that matters most to create systemic justice reform.

“If you can get the public to be aware of the problems, that puts pressure on the rest of the system to make changes, so we’re trying to bring awareness to that.”

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