Spring 2016 Startups
The startups in the spring 2016 cohort of Bank Innovation INV are:
The companies, chosen after a comprehensive review process that involved INV’s partners, touch on a broad array of profound trends in the fintech space, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain-based security and advanced app development. INV is a global, virtual accelerator — which is what allows INV to host companies in the spring cohort from not just Silicon Valley, but New York, Atlanta, London and Israel. The startups will be mentored by INV partners, which include Fiserv, US Bank, and BB&T Corp.
Here are details on our startups:
As banks, credit unions and other financial services companies go digital, they are compelled to stay in touch with their customers. They participate in transaction flows and interact with customers regularly — but what can they learn from these interactions? Can the FIs predict the financial needs and cater to those in a structured manner? These questions lie at the heart of CrossCues’ offerings.
Founded just last November, CrossCues’s objective is to help FIs understand their customers’ financial needs in a timely manner, and enable them to respond in a structured and consistent way across the organization. The problem the company is solving is to help FIs understand, target, engage and anticipate the consumers and businesses they serve. Further, CrossCues enables these FIs to identify actionable insights and establish relevant and consistent response across their teams.
The startup’s platform observes transaction patterns, digital behavior and public information of customers and employs machine learning to establish actionable intelligent and learned measures like changes in purchasing behavior, direct deposits, employment, etc. Using these measures, branches, call centers and account management teams within FIs can improve customer health, loyalty and engagement, while maintaining/improving their efficiency. Atlanta-based CrossCues’s initial focus is to track and improve customer success, personalize marketing and digital servicing.
Dyme, founded in 2014 and based in San Francisco, turns spenders into savers using text messaging and unique tone/voice. This is text banking 2.0 and it eclipses the variations on automatic savings that other startups are pursuing. Dyme engages millennials and allows them to save (or redirect money) in around 10 seconds per transaction. Dyme offers next-generation text banking — a proven channel for customer usage and applicable across a wide breadth of financial services products.
GoldBean is an “investing for beginners” platform that gets people started with their first portfolio. The company converts credit card statements into adept portfolio advice. It’s a modern, data-driven take on the Peter Lynch motto “invest in what you know.” The GoldBean mission is to educate and empower its clients to be confident, self-directed investors. GoldBean, founded last September and based in New York, is an SEC-registered investment whose advice is algorithmically-based. Users can also find education and access to low-cost trades on its website.
There are plenty of services for the already-wealthy, and for confident investors, but for people looking to build their confidence, knowledge and, eventually, their sense of equity, there is a lack of simple, low-cost, education-first advisory services. GoldBean is currently in open beta, optimizing its product with active clients and as a low-cost employee benefit. It is also in the process of licensing its product as a white-label solution.
Building an investing platform for beginners is no small feat, and GoldBean is certainly addressing a great pressure point for many — and one yet to be addressed by the well-known investments startups to date.
Hermetic can convert password login to speedy two-factor login without the need for backend integration. The Hermetic Vault brings secure credential storage to any app on any device, simplifying authentication and privacy control for users and service providers alike. Sensitive user credentials like private keys, passwords, or payment card information are kept on device, easily accessible to their owners with just a 4-digit PIN, swipe pattern or fingerprint. Yet, these elements remain secure against brute force attacks, server hacking, and physical access attacks.
Hermetic’s system employs multiple lightweight servers which support instant vault unlock via a secure protocol. These servers are deployed at separate locations, so there is no way to unlock a vault without them. The vault unlock protocol, which involves several servers simultaneously, can only succeed if initiated with the correct access code. Servers themselves have “zero-knowledge,” which means they are never exposed to information about end users, their devices, vault contents, or vault access codes. Yet, they can identify attempts to repeatedly guess a vault’s access code, and block the attackers.
Hermetic’s protocol utilizes an advanced cryptographic threshold scheme, which ensures that vault unlock can only succeed if a sufficient number (the threshold) of servers are available. The scheme guarantees that attackers who obtain device state would be unable to learn anything useful about the vault contents or access code unless they also gain control of at least t servers, where t is the threshold. Moreover, even controlling all servers will yield no information about the vault contents or access code to anyone who does not control the device. Hence the multiplicity of servers guarantees high resistance to hacking, and the redundancy of servers (i.e. existence of more than t servers) provides high availability in face of faults, network partitions, and disasters.
In sum, Israel-based Hermetic’s distributed vault is an interesting take on the password problem — secure credential storage with a strong mobile bent. The company is a graduate of Citi Israel’s accelerator and was founded in 2013.
The SPARE. mobile network simplifies safe access for consumers to their money by employing a unique security system to create convenient access to your cash that is less expensive and much safer than third-party ATM’s. This “B2B2C” Virtual ATM Network Merchants creates an alternative to machine dispensing cash, without the need for ATMs on property and consumers and getting cash-back with their mobile device.
SPARE., based in Santa Monica, Calif., allows consumers to use their mobile device to request cash, locate the closest SPARE. merchant who can provide that cash, request the cash needed, and provide it on demand — without the need for elusive ATMs.
The trick is that SPARE. turns businesses into cash-dispensers, obviating the need for third-party ATM’s, which carry those hefty fees. Merchants end up recognizing additional revenue & increased foot traffic by giving out cash on demand. There is no need for expensive, unsecured, outdated and unsightly ATM’s in their place of business, anymore.
This disruption of the ATM networks has profound implications for the flow of capital and commerce. SPARE. has the potentially to completely recast how cash is accessed on a global basis.