The world seems to spin faster at the holidays. Weeks and hours whirl away, and there always seems to be something going on. This time of year has been no different for these seven startups, all of which have launched new products and features, fielded new investor funding, upped the security ante and, in the spirit of the holidays, generally worked toward payments peace on Earth.
This startup team activated its new payments feature on Garmin’s vívoactive 3 smartwatch on Friday, Nov. 17. NXT-ID noted the FitPay contactless payments platform, which powers transactions via Garmin’s combination smartwatch and fitness tracker, represents the first successful commercialization of a payment feature on a wearable by a third-party provider. After all, existing “Pays” tend to be proprietary capabilities that developers do not make available to outside original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
NXT-ID and FitPay are also working on a smart strap for analog watch faces by Wearatec, and some smart key fobs enabling users to make payments, log onto network-based computers, start vehicles and unlock the doors to homes, apartments and cars.
Why can’t all these payment platforms just get along? Startup nanopay believes the fragmentation of payments infrastructure is creating a disjointed end user experience within individual countries, let alone in cross-border transactions.
nanopay aims to simplify cross-border transactions for banks and, by extension, for customers by integrating with each country’s payments rails so any in-country bank can send money to any bank in other countries. So far, nanopay has integrated with the rails in Canada and India, with its sights on the U.S. Two new executives will push this expansion forward: chief risk officer Amir Sunderji, formerly of YapStone, Fiserv and CashEdge, and chief revenue officer Nilesh Dusane, formerly of Ripple.
There’s more to cross-border payments than payments. There are pieces before and after the remittance that Tipalti believes must be rolled into any solution aiming to facilitate cross-border commerce.
That’s why the startup added multi-entity capabilities this month to better serve customers with cross-border needs or those who may grow to an international scale in the future. As companies grow, they often acquire other companies, get acquired by companies or branch off into sub-brands serving various functions in different places. Those sub-brands may need to file separate reports and show entity-specific data during audits. This can become even more complex and unwieldy when international elements are introduced. To serve the entity as a whole, Tipalti is making a point of serving each part.
Judging by the startup’s name, it’s no surprise that Emailage is leveraging customer email addresses as it investigates transaction risk factors. Now, the firm is also using phone data to provide an even richer risk assessment — and relaying that data back to retailers so they can also leverage it.
Phone data was already on file and used for digital identity verification, but Emailage is now also studying mobile IP address, phone ownership, service carrier and the location where the device is typically used to determine whether a transaction may be fraudulent. The startup rolled out this enhanced security offering in September so merchants would be able to take advantage of it for the holidays, a time when heightened transaction volume and velocity can make it easier to overlook fraud attempts.
Amaryllis had a whirlwind month that included closing a significant round of financing (on top of its ongoing Series A funding round), making two strategic hires, connecting with industry professionals through the startup’s first digital CEO Chat and making an appearance at Money 20/20.
The tech startup builds modular solutions for payment facilitators and merchant acquirers. It also serves an advisory role for clients to help them develop a strategic vision before deciding whether partnering with Amaryllis will be the best move for their companies. With the new funding and executives on board, Amaryllis hopes to grow beyond “startup” status and take its brand to the next level in 2018 with a national and global vision.
In the Asian Pacific region, traditional financial institutions are getting a boost from Jewel Paymentech as the startup leverages artificial intelligence to help acquirers onboard merchants faster and more securely — just like the nimble FinTechs that are giving those banks a run for their money.
The new offering is comprised of three Jewel products rolled into one: Capture, which optimizes the due diligence portion of onboarding by enabling self-signup; risk management, which analyzes social posts about a merchant to determine whether it’s a smart asset to take on; and the transaction control ability enabled by data analytics to block fraud across channels in real time.