Last Week in Fintech
There’s never a dull day in the fintech space, and it can be hard to keep up with this buzzing industry. Thankfully, we can help keep you updated! Here are the top three recent developments that fintech entrepreneurs need to be aware of:
1. Fintech Startup Plaid Technologies Rakes in $44 Million
Plaid Technologies is a California-based company that helps connect a range of financial technology companies with their users’ bank accounts. Last week, Plaid raised an impressive $44 million in a Series B funding round led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from NEA. The company has now raised almost $60 million in funding to date.
This latest investment is great news for not only Plaid, but also applications like Venmo, Betterment, Gusto and TransferWise that use Plaid’s software to access and check their users’ bank account data.
CEO and co-founder Zach Perret said in a statement, “The pace of innovation in financial services is just starting to ramp up, and we’re excited to collaborate with financial institutions, incumbents and new startups to build the tools that consumers and businesses need to live better financial lives. As the platform upon which thousands of applications are now built, we’re excited to use this new capital to continue to scale our operations.”
Plaid plans to use these new funds to enhance its products, grow its team and expand globally.
2. Toyota Financial Services Joins the R3 Consortium
Last week, Toyota Financial Services became the first automotive financial services provider to join the innovative R3 consortium. Toyota will be joining over 40 of the world’s largest financial institutions to design, test and apply distributed and shared ledger-inspired technologies to global financial markets.
The R3 team collaborates with consortium members on research, design and engineering to leverage distributed and shared ledger technology to meet various banking requirements.
“Toyota Financial Services is excited to join the R3 consortium to advance the use of distributed ledger technology in finance. We believe this technology will ultimately lower costs, increase efficiency and make auto finance more transparent for our customers,” says Chris Ballinger, CFO and global chief officer of strategic innovation at Toyota.
CEO of R3 David Rutter adds, “We are delighted to welcome Toyota Financial Services to our ever-growing network of non-bank institutions. Distributed and shared ledger-inspired technology holds the potential to revolutionize the infrastructure used by all participants in financial markets.”
3. U.S. Fintech Startup Kabbage Pairs Up with Scotiabank to Provide Business Loans
We’ve seen an increased number of collaborations between traditional banks and fintech startups recently. Well, Scotiabank is the latest bank to pair up with a fintech venture, in order to enhance its digital offerings.
U.S. online lender Kabbage will partner with Scotiabank to offer small business loans to the bank’s existing customers. Starting in July 2016, Scotiabank’s customers—in Canada and Mexico—will be able to apply for business loans of up to $100,000 using Kabbage’s technology-driven platform. The bank plans to expand the service to all Canadians by 2017. It also hopes to launch in Colombia, Chile and Peru soon after.
Kabbage helps banks by providing them with valuable lending data. Its technology uses data analytics to determine a borrower’s creditworthiness almost instantly. This removes the need for unnecessary paperwork and delays.
Last Week in Digital Health
Not to be left behind, the digital health space also saw some exciting developments last week. Here are the top three updates from health tech, especially curated for digital health entrepreneurs:
1. IBM Watson Health Advances Medical Imaging Collaborative
Last week, the digital health industry buzzed with tech giant IBM’s announcement that it had recruited 16 healthcare entities to form a new Watson Health medical imaging collaborative.
This global collaborative of medical centers, radiology labs and other healthcare institutes aims to advance cognitive imaging in a wide range of healthcare segments, from eye care to the treatment of brain diseases.
The founding members of the collaborative include Agfa HealthCare, Anne Arundel Medical Center, Baptist Health South Florida, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Radiology Associates of South Florida, Sheridan Healthcare, UC San Diego Health and Merge Healthcare.
The group plans to use Watson to analyze previously “invisible” imaging data, found in radiology and pathology reports and other unstructured data sources.
“There is strong potential for systems like Watson to help to make radiologists more productive, diagnoses more accurate, decisions more sound and costs more manageable,” says Nadim Michel Daher, a medical imaging and informatics analyst for Frost & Sullivan. “This is the type of collaborative initiative needed to produce the real-world evidence and examples to advance the field of medical imaging, and address patient care needs across large and growing disease states,” he adds.
In its announcement last Wednesday, IBM cited a study suggesting that the U.S. wastes more than $1 trillion in inadequate, unnecessary, uncoordinated and inefficient health care. Technologies like Watson can play a big role in turning such numbers around.
2. Iggbo Scores $13 Million to Scale On-Demand Blood Draws
Last week, health tech startup Iggbo raised $13 million in a Series A funding round led by Heritage Group. Prior to this investment, this Virginia-based company had already raised $6 million across various seed rounds.
Iggbo has developed a technology-enabled network for facilitating on-demand blood draws. The company aims to organize and manage the entire laboratory test collection process in an efficient manner. Iggbo helps connect small labs and independent technicians with existing health systems.
The Iggbo network already has over 8,000 phlebotomists, in 120 U.S. cities, who perform fixed and on-demand blood draws at locations chosen by patients and their healthcare providers. Text, e-mail and phone reminders are sent out to ensure that patients don’t miss appointments. Moreover, digital technology is used to track samples, so that there is no chance of misplacement.
“We’re not reinventing how you actually draw blood, but the actual process and the efficiency of that, is what we do,” says Iggbo CEO and president Nuno Valentine. “What we have innovated is how labs go to market, how they get consistent quality across the country, how they disseminate their information,” he adds.
3. Nokia Technologies Moves into Regulated Clinical Devices
Last month, Nokia made forays into health care with its acquisition of connected health company Withings. Well, this tech company seems to have lofty ambitions in other segments of health care as well!
Last week, Nokia announced its plans to partner with Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) and the University of Helsinki to develop remote patient-monitoring solutions. The first project under this collaboration will launch this quarter. Notably, this is the first move that Nokia has made into the regulated clinical device space.
Cedric Hutchings, vice president of digital health at Nokia Technologies and former Withings CEO, said in a statement, “I’m excited about our collaboration with HUS, as it will help us extend our span of care from everyday health and wellness devices to clinical solutions that help improve patient/physician interaction, while informing our continued research and development in the clinical space.”
While Nokia did not delve into too many details, it is likely that the department of neurology at HUS—widely known for its acute stroke care—will be the focus area for this collaboration. High blood pressure is considered the key risk factor for a stroke, and blood pressure monitoring devices are already a major part of the technology that Nokia acquired when it bought Withings.
“At HUS, we see tremendous value in collaborating with innovative companies like Nokia to help the development of research-based knowledge into technologies that can drive more effective, personalized care for our patients,” says Dr. Nina Forss, head of the department of neurology.
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