Cambridge Analytica email chain with Facebook sheds new light on data misuse scandal

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser has released new documents today that suggest Facebook accepted only a simple acknowledgment on email from the firm that it had deleted data associated with 87 million Facebook users’ profiles.

The data was improperly obtained in 2014 by researchers with access to Facebook’s developer platform who were being paid by Cambridge Analytica to obtain and process social media users’ information for the purpose of targeting political ads.

In December 2015 a Guardian article about Cambridge academic Dr Aleksandr Spectre (Kogan) outlined how he had acquired the Facebook profiles for research, and that Cambridge Analytica had improperly acquired that data.

In subsequent Washington Senate hearings into the scandal, Mark Zuckerburg apologized for having failed to check that Cambridge Analytica had deleted the information.

At the time he said: “When we heard back from Cambridge Analytica that they had told us that they weren’t using the data and deleted it, we considered it a closed case. In retrospect, that was clearly a mistake. We shouldn’t have taken their word for it. We’ve updated our policy to make sure we don’t make that mistake again.”

Instead, Facebook let the political consultancy self-certify that it had destroyed the records, which it said had been acquired in violation of the social network’s rules.

Furthermore, for example, in a submission to the UK Parliament, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer said: “In late 2015, when we learned Kogan had shared the data, we immediately banned TIYDL [the personality quiz app used to harvest data] from our platform and demanded that he delete all data he obtained from that app. We also demanded deletion from everyone that Kogan identified as having been passed some data, including Cambridge Analytica, and certification from all parties that the deletion had been completed.”

The information Kaiser releases today appears to show a difference between Schroepfer’s account and what the emails actually say – with Facebook only requesting by email that CA delete the data — and only asking the company to “provide us with confirmation” [i.e. of deletion], with no mention of a specific process of ‘certification’, as Schroepfer later told the UK parliament.

Today Kaiser revealed exclusively to TechCrunch on stage at the WorldWebForum conference in Zurich that the only acknowledgment from Facebook had come in a simple email exchange with Cambridge Analytica executives.

This ’email exchange’ – which TechCrunch has not been able to independently verify at this point – as never previously been published. Kaiser released to TechCrunch what she claims is a copy of the exchange. We have reached out to Facebook for comment.

According to the document passed to us, writing on Dec 17, 2015, Alex Tayler, Chief Data Officer for Cambridge Analytica, allegedly wrote to Facebook executive Allison Hendrix saying:

“I wanted to confirm that following your inquiry, that Facebook is satisfied that CA has not breached it’s terms of service or stolen data on non-consenting individuals. If you are satisfied this matter is resolved, would it please be possible for us to have a statement from Facebook to disseminate through our PR agency? We are still finding some articles repeating the initial false allegations made by the Guardian, and would like to be able to firmly refute them in order to prevent any further reputational damage to our company. Alternatively, if Facebook would like to issue a joint press release, we would welcome the opportunity to do so.”

A day later on 18 December 2015, Hendrix replied:

“Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me last week and providing additional information into Dr. Kogan’s development of the GSR app which was funded by Cambridge Analytica (via SCL Elections). As discussed, we don’t allow any information obtained from Facebook to be purchased or sold, and we have strict friend data policies that prohibit using friend data for any purpose other than improving a person’s experience in your app. From our conversations, it is clear that these policies have been violated.

“You have told us that you received personality score data from Dr. Kogan that was derived from Facebook data, and that those scores were assigned to individuals included in lists that you maintained. Because that data was improperly derived from data obtained from the Facebook Platform, and then transferred to Cambridge Analytica in violation of our terms, we need you to take any and all steps necessary to completely and thoroughly delete that information as well as any data derived from such data, and to provide us with confirmation of the same.

“We need additional information to complete our review. As an initial matter, did you transfer any data you received from Dr. Kogan to any person or entity other than Ted Cruz’s team? Have you made any other use of the data from Dr. Kogan? If there is any additional information of which you think we should be aware, we thank you in advance for providing us with that information and for your help resolving these issues.

“Please respond at your earliest opportunity confirming when you can complete the above request to delete all data (and any derivative data), and providing the additional information I’ve requested above. As mentioned above, our review is not complete; accordingly, we may have additional questions, requests, or requirements going forward, and this email should not be construed as a waiver of any of Facebook’s rights.”

On December 19, 2015, Tayler replied:

“Dear Allison, There are several incorrect statements in your email. First and foremost, Cambridge Analytica has not transferred the data we received from Dr Kogan to Cruz for President, nor to any other party. The only data we share with our clients are lists of contact information, perhaps with a few tags attached, for target audiences we identify for them (e.g. likely donors, persuadable voters), and models that we have produced under their direction. Secondly, Cambridge Analytica did not fund the development of Dr. Kogan’s app. We did not pay GSR for their time or technology, but rather paid the third party (e.g. survey vendor) costs for the surveys they ran. Please note that GSR was
contractually obliged to us to carry out this research with the consent of the survey respondents and in line with the terms of service of their vendors.

“Having made that clear, the model we received from Dr Kogan wasn’t very accurate (in validation experiments we ran, we found his predictions only slightly better than random). For our goal of extrapolating personality scores across our whole database, his model was simply not accurate enough to use as a training set, or to apply it commercially in any other way.

“Nevertheless, we still considered the project a success in that it provided us with a proof of concept for the personality research we have since undertaken internally (which is in no way connected with Facebook). It is these data that we have collected independently of GSR about which we have built our current business offering. For this reason, and in the spirit of the good-faith relationship we would like to maintain with Facebook, we will comply with your request to delete all data we received from Dr Kogan.

“Please let me know what else you require from us as soon as possible. It is a matter of urgency that we make it clear that Cambridge Analytica has not done anything wrong.”

There was then a time-lag probably due to the break for the holidays. On 5 January 2016, Hendrix replied:

“Thank you for your timely and detailed response, and for agreeing to delete any and all data that was derived from the Facebook Platform. Can you let me know how you were storing the data and what you did to delete it?”

On January 6, 2016, Tayler replied, copying in CA CEO Alexander Nix, saying:

“To be clear, we have not yet deleted the data we received from Dr Kogan, but will be happy to do so once Facebook confirms that this will resolve the matter. We are currently storing the data as csv files in an encrypted directory on our file server. When we delete the data we will simply rm -rf the directory.”

Six days later on 12 January, Hendrix:

“As a reminder, you received the data inappropriately and are obligated to delete it. You’ve indicated that you would like to maintain a positive relationship with us. Having one will require deletion of the data. In addition to deleting the data from the directory, can you check to see whether your server has any backups which also contain the data? While we don’t anticipate further issues at this time, we reserve our rights and can make no guarantees.”

On Jan 18, 2016 Tayler replied:

“I can confirm that we have now deleted from our file-server the data we received from Dr Kogan in good faith that this resolves our obligation to Facebook. I also confirm that I have checked that the server contains no backups of that data. Our having deleted the data and cooperated in this matter should not be construed as an admission of any kind of wrongdoing on our part.”

On January 18, 2016, Hendrix replied:

“Thank you, Alex. I will let you know if we have any follow up questions, and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you or your team have any questions on your end. Thanks again. – Ali”

This entire exchange was then forwarded by executives from the N6A PR agency to Cambridge Analytica executives and was, in turn, obtained by Kaiser on 23 January 2016.

Hyundai and Kia put over $110M into UK electric delivery vehicles startup Arrival

Forget the consumer market for electric vehicles. It turns out delivery vehicles could be the ‘Trojan horse’ for electric to really take off.

Korean auto giants Hyundai and Kia put over $110 million in UK startup Arrival, which emerged from relative stealth today. The investment immediately makes Arrival one of Britain’s most valuable startups, valuing it at €3 billion ($3.4 billion), a company spokesperson said. According to the latest research from CB insights, only five other UK startups are worth more than this.

Although a five-year-old London-based company that has about 800 employees across five countries, including Germany, the United States and Russia, Arrival has been cagey about its activity until now.

Their idea is to make electric vehicles at similar costs to traditional fossil fuel vehicles but by drastically cutting costs by using “microfactories” close to major cities for manufacturing.

Its modular “skateboard” platform will allow a range of models to be built on one system and its prototypes are already participating in trials by global delivery companies such as DHL, UPS and Royal Mail.

In a statement Youngcho Chi, Hyundai’s president and chief innovation officer said: “”This investment is part of an open innovation strategy pursued by Hyundai and Kia”

Hyundai is understood to be investing $35 billion in autonomous driving and electric cars.

Last year Hyundai announced a $35 billion commitment to develop self-driving technology and electric vehicles. As part of that, it wants to release 23 types of electric vehicles by 2025. Last week, it unveiled a flying taxi concept with Uber at the CES tech conference in Las Vegas.

Eddy Travels closes pre-seed round led by Techstars to scale its AI travel assistant

Eddy Travels, an AI-powered travel assistant bot which can understand text and voice messages, has closed a pre-seed round of around $500,000 led by Techstars Toronto, Practica Capital and Open Circle Capital VC funds from Lithuania, with angel investors from the US, Canada, UK.

Launched a year ago in November 2018, Eddy Travels claims to have over 100,000 users worldwide.

Travelers can send voice and text messages to the Eddy Travels bot and get personalized suggestions for the best flights. Because of this ease of use, it now gets 40,000 flight searches per month – tiny compared to the major travels portals, but no bad for a bot which is available on Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Rakuten Viber, Line, and Slack chat apps.

The team is now looking to expand into accommodation, car rentals and other travel services. Eddy Travels search is powered by partnerships with Skyscanner and Emirates Airline.

The founders are from Lithuania: Edmundas Balcikonis, CEO, (previously founded and led as CEO TrackDuck startup, acquired by Invision), Pranas Kiziela, and Adomas Baltagalvis. The company HQ is in Toronto, Canada.

Instreamatic signs deals to allow people to talk to adverts on streaming services like an Alexa

Most in tech would agree that following the launch of Alexa and Google Home devices the ‘Voice Era’ is here. Voice assistant usage is at 3.3 billion right now; by 2020 half of all searches are expected to be done via voice. And with younger generations growing up on voice (55% of teens use voice search daily now), there’s no turning back.

As we’ve reported, the voice-based ad market will grow to $19 billion in the U.S. by 2022, growing the market share from the $17 billion audio ad market and the $57 billion programmatic ad market.

That means that voice shopping is also set to explode, with the volume of voice-based spending growing twenty-fold over the next few years due to voice-based virtual assistant penetration, as well as the rapid consumer adoption of home-based smart speakers, the expansion of smart homes and the growing integration of virtual assistants into cars.

That, combined with the popularity of digital media – streaming music, podcasts, etc – has created greenfield opportunities for better brand engagement through audio. But brands have struggled to catch up, and there has not been many ways to capitalise on this.

So a team of people who co-founded and worked at Zvuk, a leading music streaming service in Eastern Europe, quickly understood why there is not a single profitable music streaming company in the world: subscription rates are low and advertisers are not excited about audio ads, due to the measurement challenges and intrusive ad experience.

So, they decided to create SF-based company Instreamatic, a startup which allows people to talk at adverts they see and get an AI-driven voice response, just as you might talk to an Alexa device. 

Thus, the AI powering Instreamatic’s voice-driven ads can interpret and anticipate the intent of a user’s words (and do so in the user’s natural language, so robotic “yes” and “no” responses aren’t needed). That means Instreamatic enables brands which advertise through digital audio channels (streaming music apps, podcasts, etc) to now have interactive (and continuous) voice dialogues with consumers.

Yes, it means you can talk to an advert like it was an Alexa.
 
Instead of an audio ad playing to a listener as a one-way communication (like every T.V. and radio ad before it), brands can now reach and engage with consumers by having voice-interactive conversations. Brands using Instreamatic can also continue conversations with consumers across channels and audio publishers – so fresh ad content is tailored to the full history of each listener’s past engagements and responses.

An advantage of the platform is that people can use their voice to set their advertising preferences. So, when a person says ‘I don’t want to hear about it ever again,’ brands can optimize their marketing strategy either by stopping all remarketing campaigns across all digital media channels targeted to that person, or by optimizing the communication strategy to offer something else instead of the product that was rejected. If the listener expressed interest or no interest, Instreamatic would know that and tailor future ads to match past engagement – providing a continuous dialogue with the user.

Its competitor is AdsWizz which allows users to shake their phones when they are interested in an ad. This effectively allows users to “click” when the audio ad is playing in the background. One of their recent case studies reported that shaking provided 3.95% interaction rates.
 
By contrast, Instreamatic’s voice dialogue marketing platform allows people to talk to audio advertising, skipping irrelevant ads and engaging in interesting ones. Their recent case study claimed a much higher 13.2% voice engagement rate this way.
 
The business model is thus: when advertisers buy voice dialogue ads on its ad exchange, it takes a commission from that ad spend. Publishers, brands and adtech companies can license the technology and Instreamatic charges them a licensing fee based on usage.

Instreamatic has now partnered with Gaana, India’s largest music and content streaming service, to integrate Instreamatic into Gaana’s platform. It’s also partnered with Triton Digital, a service provider to the audio streaming and podcast industry.

This follows similar deals with Pandora, Jacapps, Airkast,
and SurferNETWORK.

All these partnerships means the company can now reach 120 million monthly active users in the United States, 30M in Europe and 150 million in Asia.

Thet company is headquartered in San Francisco and London with a development team in Moscow and features Stas Tushinskiy as CEO and co-founder. Tushinskiy reated the digital audio advertising market in Russia prior to relocating to the U.S. with Instreamatic. International Business Development head and co-founder Simon Dunlop previously founded Bookmate, a subscription-based reading and audiobook platform, and DITelegraph Moscow Tech Hub, and Zvuk.

Mental health startup eQuoo joins UK’s NHS app library, closes in on seed round

UK-based mental health startup eQuoo has become the only game in the UK’s National Health Service App Library and is set to shortly close it’s seed funding round. The app is an emotional fitness game that aims to teach healthy psychological skills.

The NHS announcement means a UK doctor can now formally refer eQuoo to their patients to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

The app has also now achieved a top rating at ORCHA, the leading health app assessment platform and now has clients including Barmer, the largest insurance company in Germany.

Founder and CEO Silja Litvin says she created the startup because of the mental health crisis. “While working in an NHS Trust for eating and mood disorders I was dismayed about the fact that many of our young clients had to wait months to see us for a measly 6 sessions. Psychologists are not scalable, but apps are, so I decided to make an app. After developing PsycApps, an evidence-based anti-depression app I learned the hard way that mental health apps all struggle with drop off rates of up to 90% in week 1, so we pivoted towards gamification with the launch of eQuoo, as casual games can have a positive mental health effect and intrinsically get players to stick to them.”

A spokesperson for the NHS said: “Approximately 58% GPs across England now have the ability to refer patients directly to Equoo, as its now live on the EMIS App Library. The EMIS App Library is powered by IQVIA’s AppScript® platform, which enables clinical users of the EMIS Web clinical system to find and recommend high quality digital health apps to their patients via text or email, directly from their existing workflow. All apps listed on the platform (including Equoo) have been evaluated under NHS Digital’s digital assessment questions (DAQ) and assessed for their clinical safety, data protection, security and usability.”

Earlier this year the startup also gained scientific backing for its app, Going through a “three arm”, five-week-long, randomized control trial with over 350 participants, with Bosch UK. By contrast Woebot, a highly lauded mental health chatbot startup, went through only a two-week trial with 70 participants.

Results showed “statistically significant increases in wellbeing metrics” and a significant decrease in anxiety when using the app over a timeframe of five weeks.

French startup EfficientIP secures $11M from Jolt Capital to fight DDoS attacks

French startup, EfficientIP, a network security and automation specialist, has secured an $11 million Series B investment from Jolt Capital in Paris. The investment will drive international expansion.

EfficientIP’s software discovers the DNS issues which are the primary cause of DDoS attacks. These are typically the largest types of attacks.

It’s platform is designed to make the IP infrastructure foundation more reliable, agile and secure.

David Williamson, CEO of EfficientIP commented, “Today’s investment will enable us to accelerate our expansion on a global scale. The market opportunity for DDI solutions is growing, and we look forward to capitalizing by increasing our sales force to meet current demand, and driving further innovation that really matters to continue satisfying tomorrow’s customer needs. Given Jolt Capital’s strong record in scaling tech companies globally, they are the ideal partner to support this growth phase.”

EfficientIP will also now enhance its ecosystem partnerships with companies like Cisco, VMware and ServiceNow.

It competes with US firms like Infoblox ($740m valuation and raised $120m) and BlueCat (also Series B) and new player NS1 ($78m Series C).

Guillaume Girard, a Partner at Jolt Capital, commented: “We’ve been tracking EfficientIP for some time, and have been impressed with their continued ability to deliver on ambitious growth plans. EfficientIP fits perfectly in our target scope, combining deeptech assets enabling leading-edge solutions and a highly motivated top-tier team in a market which is expanding quickly. Given its increasing market footprint with Fortune 500 customers, EfficientIP is well poised for strong growth.”

Be in the TechCrunch End Of Year Review for Europe

TechCrunch is running an end-of-year review for the European tech startup industry.

We’d love your input on the feature! We’d like to know what particular topics really resonated with you in 2019 and what your predictions are for 2020.

Fill in the survey here.

Please give us your thoughts in the survey below. The more ‘raw’, unfiltered or ‘blunt’ your responses the better! Everything you write will be considered to be on the record, unless you specify something in particular.

We’d like responses from founders and investors.

* The Deadline is 11pm December 13*

Alas, we cannot guarantee your contribution will be in the final articles (there will be more than one), but if you DON’T participate then you definitely won’t be.

You can edit your responses.

As “stimulus” here are some previous surveys we’ve run in cities/regions in Europe, but you do not have to follow these slavishly. These are just for ideas:Nordics, Paris, Berlin, London.

* AGAIN: The Deadline is 11pm December 13*

Fill in the survey here.

Ada Ventures launches with a $34M fund aimed at super-charging diverse global founders

According to Atomico’s recent “State of European Tech, 2019” – widely considered by the European tech industry to be a reliable annual study – at present, 92 in every 100 dollars invested in Europe goes to all-male teams, 83% founders are white, 82% are university educated, in the UK, a quarter of investment committees saw no female founders in 2017 (British Business Bank) and 72% of VC funding is invested in London alone (London & Partners and Pitchbook, 2018).

As you can see, that is a massive problem for the future of diversity in the European tech industry.

At the same time, there are now multiple studies showing that not only is diversity a key component of success for any start-up, but that diverse founders are underrepresented, and yet afford a huge investment opportunity. If confirmation bias among people who all went to the same school and have the same background slowly kills new takes on innovation, where then will the new solutions to the world’s problems come from?

London-based Ada Ventures (named after Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer) which launched quietly earlier this year, has now announced that it aims to address this problem with a new $34m (£27m) fund, designed as a “first-cheque” seed fund.

The firm says it’s “on a mission to make venture capital truly accessible to the best talent in the UK & Europe, regardless of race, gender or background.”

At TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin today, founding partners Francesca Warner and Matt Penneycard will be discussing with me live on stage how they raised the fund and how they will put this into practice.

The background to the fund is interesting both in its aims and in the context of Brexit.

Many VC firms in the UK have been previously part-funded by the European Investment Fund.

Effectively, in this context, the UK’s ‘sovereign fund’ – the British Business Bank – will cornerstone the fund through its Enterprise Capital Funds (ECF) program, which supports new and emerging VC fund managers who target the early stage equity gap.

Other investors include global funds such as US-based Blue Sky Capital and Dubai-based Rasmala alongside individuals from across the global tech ecosystem, plus a roster of star-power in terms of European players.

It includes TransferWise co-founder Taavet Henrikus, Supercell’s co-founders, Backstage Capital’s Arlan Hamilton. The fund is also backed by leading figures from industry such as Dame Cilla Snowball,  Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini and later stage funds Atomico and Inovia Capital.
 
So what’s the deal?

Well, as they put it, it’s the fund’s aim to have the most diverse pipeline, and portfolio, of any fund in Europe.

Ada says that they will look to invest a £500,000 first cheque – which comes post-initial product but pre-larger seed round – and reserve roughly half the fund for follow-on investments.
 
The aim is to make around 30 investments in companies targeting what they call “globally significant problems”, but here’s the rub: particularly for groups that are normally overlooked by VC. That includes ageing populations, women, and young people under 20. Key sectors they are after include healthcare, consumer and the future of work.
 
Another aspect of this launch is that the founding partners, Francesca Warner and Matt Penneycard have in fact worked around each other together for four years, at various places, including Downing Ventures, Seraphim Capital and Techstars.

And there’s a deep hinterland in this subject. Warner is the co-founder of non-profit Diversity VC, which was among one of the first initiatives in Europe to directly address the diversity gap between VC and normally overlooked founding teams.

Commenting on the launch, Warner said: “Having worked in Venture for the last four years, and through co-founding Diversity VC, I’ve seen how structurally narrowly-focused the industry is, investing in the same founders building products and services for the same customers. This is a huge missed opportunity. Ada Ventures is here to change that. We’ve redesigned our funnel of opportunities… Fundamentally, Ada Ventures is about true inclusion, and we will invest in anyone, no matter what they look like and where they come from.” 

The investment strategy is reflected in the fact that Ada has invested in what it claims is the world’s first flushable sanitary pads.

Polipop co-founder and CEO Olivia Ahn said: “We approached many investors to support Polipop. As a FemTech company with a strong sustainability mission, we found investors were hesitant in an unfamiliar market. From the first meeting with Ada, it was clear that Check and Matt were different. They were not only fantastic advocates for the FemTech space but also for female and minority founders.”

The British Business Bank’s research into VC and Female Founders found that for every £1 of VC investment in the UK, all-female founder teams get less than 1p, all-male founder teams get 89p, and mixed-gender teams 10p.

Ken Cooper, managing director of Venture Solutions at the BBB said: “Ada Ventures is an important step in the right direction for the UK Venture Capital ecosystem, with a fund focused on democratizing VC investment regardless of gender, race, background, or location.”
 
Commenting on the launch of Ada’s first fund, Niklas Zennström, founder of Atomico, said: “Entrepreneurs are like athletes and artists; they are randomly distributed all over the world. Ada Ventures has an opportunity to be the fund in Europe for outlier talent, and we are delighted to support them.”

The execution of Ada will also call on a widely distributed network of people feeding the fund’s pipeline.

“Ada Scouts” will be a network of ‘scouts’ which has largely already been built, who will be bringing in opportunities in line with the firm’s investment strategy. They will, says Ada, be incentivized by a finder’s fee and, longer-term, aligned incentive to become investors themselves. Ada says it has in fact already agreed terms on two investments through this network.

Ada’s Scout network will not only reward scouts for surfacing deals, with both an immediate and longer-term incentive but will attempt to make its investments into investors, equipping them with capital, support and resources.
 
Ada launches with 45 scouts already in place, which includes the leaders of Hustle Crew, a for-profit working to make the tech industry more inclusive, Muslamic Makers, a community of Muslims in tech, Yena, the Young Entrepreneurs Networking Association, and YSYS a thriving community of entrepreneurs from a diverse range of backgrounds.
 
It’s a bold vision, but if Ada pulls it off, then it could be a game-changer in the European tech scene.

FintechOS raises $14M help banks launch products as fast as FinTech Startups

Over the last few years, we’ve seen the rise of FinTech startups like N26 and Monzo to challenge the incumbents with new products like challenger banks. But what if the big banks wanted to compete in that game themselves? This is the aim of FintechOS a Romanian startup that actually aims to help incumbents compete in this brave new, competitive, world.

FintechOS allows banks and insurance companies to act and react faster than the new upstarts on the scene with plug and play products. 

It’s announcing today that it has secured $14 million (£10.7 million) in a Series A investment led by the Digital East Fund of Earlybird Venture Capital and OTB Ventures, with participation from existing investors Gapminder Ventures and Launchub.

The additional capital will be used to continue the growth and expansion across Europe, and to expand into South East Asia and the US.

FintechOS’s technology platform lets traditional banks and insurance companies adapt to rapidly changing customer expectations, and match the speed and flexibility of Fintech startups with personalized products and services, in weeks rather than months or years.

The banks and insurance companies can then launch multi-cloud SaaS deployments, transitioning to the cloud and on-premises deployments, working alongside the existing technology infrastructure. It now has existing partnerships with Microsoft, EY, Deloitte, Publicis Sapient and CapGemini allow deployment in multiple markets.

Started in 2017 by serial entrepreneurs Teodor Blidarus and Sergiu Negut, the company now has customers in more than 20 countries across three continents.

Teo Blidarus, CEO and Co-Founder of FintechOS, commented: “Our disruptive approach is customer, not technology-driven. We created FintechOS to transform the financial industry, empowering banks and insurance companies to act and react faster than fintech startups,
to create a smarter, slicker customer experience.”

Dan Lupu, Partner at Earlybird, said: “FintechOS is a pioneer in a booming market, with a vision to transform the way financial institutions react to market and regulatory changes. We are proud to become part of a journey that will shape the future of financial services.”

FintechOS raises $14M help banks launch products as fast as FinTech Startups

Over the last few years, we’ve seen the rise of FinTech startups like N26 and Monzo to challenge the incumbents with new products like challenger banks. But what if the big banks wanted to compete in that game themselves? This is the aim of FintechOS a Romanian startup that actually aims to help incumbents compete in this brave new, competitive, world.

FintechOS allows banks and insurance companies to act and react faster than the new upstarts on the scene with plug and play products. 

It’s announcing today that it has secured $14 million (£10.7 million) in a Series A investment led by the Digital East Fund of Earlybird Venture Capital and OTB Ventures, with participation from existing investors Gapminder Ventures and Launchub.

The additional capital will be used to continue the growth and expansion across Europe, and to expand into South East Asia and the US.

FintechOS’s technology platform lets traditional banks and insurance companies adapt to rapidly changing customer expectations, and match the speed and flexibility of Fintech startups with personalized products and services, in weeks rather than months or years.

The banks and insurance companies can then launch multi-cloud SaaS deployments, transitioning to the cloud and on-premises deployments, working alongside the existing technology infrastructure. It now has existing partnerships with Microsoft, EY, Deloitte, Publicis Sapient and CapGemini allow deployment in multiple markets.

Started in 2017 by serial entrepreneurs Teodor Blidarus and Sergiu Negut, the company now has customers in more than 20 countries across three continents.

Teo Blidarus, CEO and Co-Founder of FintechOS, commented: “Our disruptive approach is customer, not technology-driven. We created FintechOS to transform the financial industry, empowering banks and insurance companies to act and react faster than fintech startups,
to create a smarter, slicker customer experience.”

Dan Lupu, Partner at Earlybird, said: “FintechOS is a pioneer in a booming market, with a vision to transform the way financial institutions react to market and regulatory changes. We are proud to become part of a journey that will shape the future of financial services.”