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AI Lender Upstart Raises $50M and Announces New Bank Partnerships

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Upstart, the leading artificial intelligence (AI) lending platform, today announced a $50M equity investment from Progressive Investment Company Inc., Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, and First National Bank of Omaha.

Upstart has raised more than $160M since inception and has more than $100M in cash and equity capital on hand. Additionally, Upstart will be the newest offering in the Progressive portfolio of Advantage Products, which are third-party products offered to meet consumers’ changing needs. Upstart loans will be available through www.progressive.com in the near future.

“We started on this journey because credit is not just a cornerstone of our economy but a fundamental ingredient in the lives of Americans,” said Dave Girouard, Upstart co-founder and CEO and former president of Google Enterprise. “For hundreds of years, credit has represented opportunity and mobility for those seeking what’s next in their lives. Whether it’s to learn a new skill, to relocate to a new city, to start a new business, or to buy a new home or car, the price of credit is the price of opportunity and mobility. It’s the price of what’s next.”

Upstart co-founder Paul Gu added, “Credit is generally overpriced and unfairly distributed, because it relies on techniques developed before the advent of modern computing. But technology and data science, in the form of AI, have the opportunity to change all of that.”

After more than $3.3B in loans originated in the last five years, Upstart has demonstrated loss rates less than half those of peer platforms for borrowers with similar FICO scores. Furthermore, a study comparing Upstart’s model to those of several large U.S. banks showed that Upstart could cut their loan losses by three-quarters or almost triple their approval rates.*

Thus far in 2019, more than 60% of Upstart originations were entirely automated and approved in real time, an unprecedented feat in installment lending. On the back of strong unit economics and exceptional credit performance, Upstart grew revenues by about 80% in 2018 and reached profitability in the second half of the year.

Upstart’s business is designed not to compete with banks but to partner with them. Upstart launched its first partnerships with Customers Bank and its BankMobile division. Today, the company announced it has signed “Powered by Upstart” partnership agreements with First National Bank of Omaha, First Federal Bank of Kansas City and Accion Chicago. With Powered by Upstart, banks and other lenders can leverage Upstart’s AI platform in the form of a white-labeled lending application to power their own lending programs. The Powered by Upstart platform allows banks and other lenders to enforce their own credit policy and lending terms while benefiting from Upstart’s patent-pending risk modeling and automation.

“We chose to partner with Upstart because their approach to modernizing lending is well aligned with FNBO’s focus on a customer-centric experience,” said Marc Butterfield, senior vice president of enterprise digital solutions and emerging business at First National Bank of Omaha. “Upstart’s AI/ML-based pricing engine and automation will allow us to profitably serve a broader set of customers, within a great digital onboarding experience, than we could before.”

“Our mission at First Federal Bank of Kansas City is to help people build a better financial future,” said J.R. Buckner, president and CEO of First Federal Bank of Kansas City. “Fulfilling this mission means we must find innovative new ways to more effectively engage with current and prospective customers. Our partnership with Upstart is a key part of this strategy and will allow us to extend our products and services to a broader customer base that is more digitally savvy.”

“Accion Chicago’s mission is to help neighborhood entrepreneurs grow, which is why we provide our low-cost microloans to minority- and women-owned businesses who create jobs and wealth in underserved communities throughout Illinois and Indiana,” said Brad McConnell, CEO of Accion Chicago. “We believe that partnering with Upstart is the most creative, careful, and cost-effective way to lend to these inspirational small business owners that other lenders overlook.”

While personal loans are the fastest growing segment of credit, they’re far from the largest. With this equity round completed, Upstart expects to expand its AI platform to other types of credit. The company recently launched the first ever Upstart-powered credit cards with Customers Bank’s BankMobile division. Upstart partnered with BankMobile to develop two credit cards: the BankMobile Classic Mastercard and the BankMobile Rewards Mastercard, both available now via online application.

“We were excited to partner with Upstart as their vision of making credit more accessible aligns with our focus on low-cost banking services to low/middle-income Americans who have been left behind by the high-fee model of ‘traditional’ banks,” stated Luvleen Sidhu, Co-Founder, President and Chief Strategy Officer at BankMobile. “Upstart’s focus on automating the customer experience combined with their modeling capabilities further our goal of adding breadth to our growing banking products and services available to our customer base.”

Upstart CEO Dave Girouard will be on stage with Marc Butterfield, SVP from First National Bank of Omaha, at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9 at LendIt Fintech USA 2019, taking place in San Francisco, California.

 

SOURCE Upstart

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Hyperledger-based token Metacoin to list on its first global cryptocurrency exchange, Liquid

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Global cryptocurrency platform Liquid.com (“Liquid”) will be listing Metacoin (MTC), the world’s first Hyperledger-based token, for secondary trading.

Metacoin is a project focused on expanding the blockchain ecosystem by solving fundamental issues that the traditional cryptocurrency has yet to overcome such as scalability and security. Released as a mainnet platform in 2018 as the first commercialised mainnet based on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric, Metacoin currently boasts several key projects such as:

Several notable Dapps are also currently being built on the Metacoin platform such as:

  • Play bits (https://playbits.io/), a powerful blockchain gaming platform,
  • Coldbank (https://www.coldbank.io), a custodian service that aims to provide a high level of security on IBM’s LinuxONE
  • Autosdaq (https://autosdaq.com/) an exchange that seeks to create an ecosystem where mobility-related products and services can be used with cryptocurrency.

Jay Baek, V.P. of INBLOCK said, “We’re excited about the listing of Metacoin on Liquid. As one of the largest, most secure and reputable exchanges globally, Liquid will offer best-in-class security to anyone looking to trade and hold MTC. More importantly, being listed on a major exchange is aligned with our mission of creating new value through collaborations with other companies and business support.”

Metacoin aims to solve two fundamental issues in blockchain technology — scalability and security — by implementing its node into LinuxONE. By doing so, Metacoin is not only able to further secure and protect users’ data but handle millions of transactions per second in a safe and secure manner.

“We are delighted to be the first global cryptocurrency exchange to add Metacoin to our offering of digital assets on Liquid, and also be the first exchange to be able to support projects built on Hyperledger,” said Mike Kayamori, CEO and co-founder of Liquid. “The ability to support Hyperledger-based projects is certainly an important step towards our mission of providing liquidity to the crypto economy.”

Hyperledger is an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. Hosted by the Linux Foundation, it is a global collaboration that includes leaders in finance, banking, Internet of Things, supply chains, manufacturing and Technology. Hyperledger Fabric currently supports distributed ledger solutions for a wide range of industries and maximises the confidentiality, resilience and flexibility of blockchain solutions through its modular architecture.

To celebrate the listing of Metacoin on Liquid, the Liquid and Metacoin teams have decided to provide a 1% bonus for anyone who deposits more than 1,000 MTC and a 3% bonus for anyone who deposits more than 30,000 MTC on Liquid. Liquid and Metacoin will also host a Trading Competition that rewards 1,000 MTC to the top 100 users in trading volume at the end of the campaign. More details will be shared soon. For the latest updates, follow Liquid on Twitter at @liquid_global

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Inaugural SFF x SWITCH sees over 60,000 participants from 140 countries; event to return on 9-13 November 2020

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The Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) and the Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH) concluded its combined week-long event on 15 November 2019, which attracted more than 60,000 participants from 140 countries. The event also saw a record 569 speakers, close to 1,000 exhibitors[1] and 41 international pavilions.

SFF x SWITCH will return next year from 9 to 13 November 2020. It will build on the energy, ideas and partnerships established this year, to further strengthen the ecosystem for FinTech and deep tech in Singapore and the region.

Key Announcements

In line with the theme of Sustainability and Climate Change, Minister Ong Ye Kung unveiled the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)’s green finance action plan to strengthen green financing capabilities in Singapore and announced the launch of a US$2 billion Green Investments Programme, among other initiatives under the action plan.

DPM Heng Swee Keat unveiled Singapore’s National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy in his keynote speech, and highlighted a new framework, Veritas, introduced by MAS to promote the responsible adoption of AI in the financial sector. He also announced the expansion of the Global Innovation Alliance (GIA) network to include London, and the launch of the Open Innovation Network (OIN)[2] by Enterprise Singapore and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to promote open innovation across sectors.

International Cooperation

Under the GIA, Enterprise Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with UK-based accelerator IoT Tribe, to facilitate two-way innovation and business partnerships.

It also inked MOUs with three new partners — DayDayUp (Beijing), Plug and Play Asia Pacific (Jakarta) and Leave a Nest (Tokyo) — to run GIA programmes in their respective markets.

MAS and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) jointly launched the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Singapore, to foster innovation and greater collaboration among the central banking community globally. The opening of the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Singapore marks BIS’ first expansion of its global footprint in 17 years.

MAS also established partnerships with financial authorities in Canada and France, to strengthen cooperation in FinTech[3] and cybersecurity respectively, and welcomed Banque de France (BDF)’s opening of an overseas office in Singapore in early 2020.

Industry Partnerships

SFF x SWITCH 2019 saw new partnerships as well as progress in ongoing initiatives with the industry.

  • Project Ubin[4] Phase 5, a collaboration among MAS, the financial industry, and the blockchain ecosystem, saw the successful development of a blockchain-based prototype that enables payments to be carried out in different currencies on the same network.
  • Business sans Borders (BSB)[5], which was launched by MAS and IMDA in 2018, has successfully completed its Phase One Proof of Concept and will proceed with the Phase Two Pilot in 1H 2020.
  • MAS, Deloitte and S&P Global Market Intelligence have jointly developed a prototype for an industry-wide FinTech Research Platform to help investors and financial institutions connect with FinTech start-ups that they can partner with or invest in.
  • Enterprise Singapore launched the inaugural Sustainability Open Innovation Challenge in partnership with corporates and government agencies to tackle problem statements spanning sustainability themes in resource efficiency, zero waste, green transport and sustainable built environment.
  • As part of efforts towards sustainable growth, the National Research Foundation launched the Singapore Battery Consortium to support industry-academia collaboration in cutting-edge battery technologies, bringing companies and researchers together to develop better battery products that serve market needs.

2019 Event Highlights

SFF x SWITCH celebrated the winning solutions of the Global FinTech HackceleratorFinTech Awards[6] and SLINGSHOT 2019[7] respectively. Following vibrant demo and pitching sessions where FinTech and tech startups presented their solutions to industry panels of judges, three winners emerged from the Global FinTech Hackcelerator, while there were 12 winners each from the FinTech Awards and SLINGSHOT 2019.

SFF x SWITCH concluded the week with the Innovation Lab Crawl and Industry Events (14-15  November), which saw over 20,000 visitors across over 50 innovation labs and more than 30 workshops and networking events held around Singapore. The SFF x SWITCH organising team thanks all our partners and attendees for making this year’s event a big success. We look forward to continued collaboration with the industry to bring about an even more exciting and impactful event next year.

 

SOURCE Monetary Authority of Singapore

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Experian brings world-class technology conference to Singapore with inaugural VISION2020 Asia Pacific

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Experian, the world leader in information services, announced today that the inaugural Asia Pacific edition of its signature Vision Conference will be coming to Singapore next year. VISION2020 Asia Pacific (APAC) will be held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Singapore on 5th and 6th February 2020.

For the past 38 years, Experian’s Vision conference in North America has been connecting business leaders to innovative ideas and solutions to help them target new markets, grow their customer bases, and reduce fraud. The event has also hosted world-renowned keynote speakers including Apple’s co-founder, Steve Wozniak, former US president, Bill Clinton, and five-time NBA champion, Kobe Bryant.

Next year, under the theme “Future favours the BOLD – Innovating for tomorrow”, VISION2020 APAC is where leading minds from the banking and fintech industries will converge to examine how companies can navigate the next phase of digital finance and build a BOLD future powered by data, technology, and analytics.

A thought leadership platform dedicated to the most salient business developments, VISION2020 APAC will shine a spotlight on major shifts that are reshaping the region and the significant growth opportunity that lies with the application of data assets today, to enable the provision of better services. Curated sessions on topics such as Fraud and Open Banking — two of the six conference themes — will help business executives gain a better understanding of the new banking paradigm that is ushering in the next phase of consumer finance in Asia Pacific.

The conference will also feature a dedicated space for technology showcase, where attendees can discover the latest solutions from Experian’s X Labs innovation hub. Built to address customer pain points, X Labs is home to some of Experian’s most cutting-edge technologies for Open Banking, Agriculture, Alternative Data Scoring, Predictive Analytics, and more.

Ben Elliott, Chief Executive Officer, Experian Asia Pacific, said: “We are delighted to bring our flagship conference to Asia Pacific, a fast-growing market with access to an amount of data unrivalled in size. VISION2020 APAC will catalyse important conversations around the unprecedented business opportunities offered by the data economy through sessions on Open Data, Autonomous Analytics, and Alternative Data. We look forward to inspiring our customers, partners, and industry luminaries to take on a bold approach as we navigate through these exciting times together as a region.”

Attendees can expect unparalleled networking potential and learning opportunities with a two-day programme featuring expert presentations, technical workshops, innovation showcases, and panel discussions led by the top minds of the industry.

The speaker line-up features some 50 industry experts and leaders including senior representatives from ANZ Bank, Boston Consulting Group, IDC Financial Insights, Open Bank, WeLab and many more. Notable thought leaders such as Alex Manson, Global Head, SC Ventures; Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer, Monetary Authority of SingaporeSteve Leonard, Founding CEO of SG Innovate; and Malcolm Rodrigues, CEO & co-founder, MyRepublic, will also be speaking at the event.

Sharing the stage with the distinguished guest speakers is Experian’s team of senior global executives including Brian Cassin, Group CEO; Ben Elliott, CEO, Asia PacificAlex Lintner, Group President, Consumer Information Services; and David Britton, Vice President, Industry Solutions, Global Fraud and Identity.

In addition, attendees will also hear from guest speakers including Lewis Hamilton, five-time Formula One world champion, and Sachin Tendulkar, former international cricketer considered as one of the greatest batsmen in sport’s history.

Visit the official VISION2020 APAC website for the latest updates on the conference and use the hashtag #ExperianVision2020APAC to join the conversation on LinkedIn. Register by 30 November to enjoy early-bird rates at USD1,295. This conference is also supported by the Singapore Exhibition & Convention Bureau, a part of Singapore Tourism Board.

 

SOURCE Experian

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