Last Week in Fintech
As expected, the dynamic fintech space saw some new moves, deals and events last week. Do you want to know what developments had the industry buzzing and tweeting? Check out these three big fintech updates:
1. Volante Technologies Launches New Ripple Integration
On June 7, Volante Technologies, provider of software that integrates, processes and executes payments, announced a solution specifically designed to accelerate the process of integrating with Ripple. This will allow for a real-time settlement of cross-border payments for banks, including Santander.
“Volante’s market-leading integration technology is ideally suited to meet the challenge of integrating a bank’s payment systems to the Ripple network. Our aim has been to make integration with Ripple a plug-and-play process,” notes Neil Clarke, market engagement director at Volante.
Nadish Lad, head of Payments Product at Volante, further explains, “The Volante solution will use the bank’s existing payment message standards to communicate with Ripple. Banks will be able to achieve integration without spending the time and effort normally associated with this type of integration work.”
Volante’s new Ripple-integration solution will make easy integration a possibility for banks that are current or future Ripple customers.
2. Insurtech Startup Bunker Bags $2 Million for Summer Launch
Insurance technology—insurtech—is the next frontier in financial technology! Last week, Bunker, a California-based insurance technology startup, raised $2 million in a seed funding round. This round was led by Comcast Ventures and Route 66 Ventures, with participation from Hiscox and American Family Ventures.
Founded in 2015, this insurtech startup is currently focused on changing the way small businesses, working in the “gig” economy, manage insurance. Bunker says it created the “first-ever contract-related insurance marketplace.”
The company intends to use the funds to launch its first product this summer.
3. CB Insights Hosts Future of Fintech Conference
On June 8–9, the CB Insights’ Future of Fintech Conference saw leading fintech startups, investors and financial institutions descend on New York’s Metropolitan Pavilion. The event was also streamed live and watched by audiences around the globe.
The industry’s leading voices—including Pat Grady, general partner at Sequoia Capital; Sean Rowles, chief credit risk officer at Paypal; Luis Valdich, managing director, venture investing at Citi Ventures; and Joel Cutler, managing director and partner at General Catalyst—addressed the various sessions.
Some of the key sessions were Unbundling the Bank: The Biggest Risks Facing Today’s Banks, The Changing Face of Consumer Credit and The Next Billion.
Legendary venture capitalist and co-founder of Union Square Ventures Fred Wilson pointed out that banks are missing opportunities from bitcoin, as they choose to engage in developing their own blockchain, limited to their servers.
Last Week in Digital Health
An equally fast-paced industry, digital health also witnessed key updates last week. We have picked out the top three stories for digital health entrepreneurs:
1. Digital Health Platform Adds $17.7 Million to Its Kitty
Last week, leading digital health benefits platform Jiff announced that it has raised an additional $17.7 million, on top of the $23.5 million it had raised in a series C funding round in 2015.
“Jiff is tackling a massive problem: bringing together all the innovations in digital health that employers may have bought, as well as ones they purchase through Jiff in one coherent place—and driving employees to use them in order to bring down healthcare costs and drive up healthy outcomes,” Derek Newell, CEO of Jiff, said in a statement.
Launch Pad, Total Wellbeing and Enterprise Navigator are three versions of Jiff’s employee engagement platform. While each solution offers a different set of features and services, all three motivate employees to engage their health benefits.
2. Telecom Giant Telenor Launches Digital Health Service in Asia
We’re increasingly seeing digital health investments and deals outside the United States. Last week, a new name made its launch into health care—in Bangladesh. Leading telecom company Telenor has launched Tonic, a mobile-based integrated digital health service. Tonic has rolled out via Telenor-owned Grameenphone, the country’s largest operator, with more than 57 million customers.
Tonic offers a range of services, from basic medical information and instant access to medical advice, to cashback benefits and discounts on key services at hospitals.
“Harnessing technology in order to address basic health challenges is an area of growing interest for Telenor, especially in countries like Bangladesh,” says Sigve Brekke, president and CEO of Telenor Group.
3. Nokia Launches New Withings Smart Scale
Earlier this year, Nokia’s acquisition of device maker Withings was much talked about. Last week, this connected health device company launched a futuristic scale—the Withings Body Cardio.
In addition to their BMI, weight, body composition and standing heart rate, the new scale also shows users their pulse wave velocity (PWV), or “the speed at which heartbeat-generated vibrations spread out along the arterial wall.” This new technology was not present in previous scales. The scale sends data to Withings’ Health Mate app, which allows patients to see their health data, track trends over time and use in-app coaching features to set goals and earn rewards.
“Body Cardio redefines how people use connected scales, providing them with a tool to manage their weight as well as heart health. It is like getting information from your annual physical every day,” says Withings CEO Cedric Hutchings.
Body Cardio will be available at Withings’ online store and select Apple Stores immediately, with further rollouts to additional retailers on July 7. For a glimpse of how Body Cardio works, check out this video:
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