Can a company from the once-bankrupt city of Detroit, best known as the Motor City, successfully re-train its sights from cars onto the world of financial technology, a.k.a. "fintech"? Detroit-based financial news and data company Benzinga is banking on it (pun intended).
Related: Fintech, The Wake Up Call For Banks
“The Benzinga Fintech Awards are where we celebrate innovation in financial technology. A whole new generation is starting to manage their money and wants to do that in ways finance has never thought of,” explains Benzinga CEO Jason Raznick. “Our goal with the awards is to impact people’s lives and change investing for the better.”
Finalists for the Benzinga Fintech Awards have been recognized by their peers as innovators. To achieve that status, candidate companies needed 200 social mentions by their peers and colleagues during the awards entry process.
I spoke with five of the companies being honored May 24 in New York, to gain a front-row seat to who’s who in fintech. Here are profiles of these five companies Benzinga believes will better America's investing future:
Headquarters: Chatham, NJ
Leadership: Robert Cortright, CEO, and Michael Dugan, CFO
DriveWealth has created an investing ecosystem which allows people worldwide to invest in powerful U.S. financial products. As emerging market investors look for a safe place to invest, and as our society continues to rely more on technology, the company is giving people the means to fit investing into their lifestyles.
“DriveWealth gives around-the-world access to U.S. stock markets through our B2B partnerships, as well as through our proprietary Passport investing app," explains CEO Robert Cortright. "We recently released real-time fractional-share portfolio-building, which allows individuals to invest in terms of dollars, not shares. Building long-term wealth by investing in terms of dollar amounts they can afford, investors can own the brands that matter to them.”
DriveWealth’s goal this year is to reach three-quarters of a billion people through its global partnerships, providing these people access to the U.S. stock markets. Partnering with Benzinga aids customers in making informed investing decisions, Cortright says.
Headquarters: San Francisco, Calif.
Leadership: Jack Kokko, co-founder and chief executive officer, and Raj Neervannan, co-founder and chief technical officer
AlphaSense is a financial search engine, known as the “Google for financial services." It indexes millions of documents on global companies and helps clients find hidden information on any company in seconds.
“AlphaSense provides intelligent search and alerting capabilities across a vast library of research documents, including company filings and transcripts, presentations, real-time news, press releases, Wall Street investment research, as well as clients’ internal content," says CEO Jack Kokko.
The result, he says, is an "information edge," which enables customers to "find what others miss." AlphaSense just raised $33 million in capital which, Kokko says, will be used to "further entrench AlphaSense as the de facto search engine for knowledge professionals within financial services."
Related: Five Fintech Startups To Watch
Headquarters: New York City
Leadership: Glenn Goldman, chief executive officer
Credibly, founded in 2010, is an online lending platform that delivers a broad range of short- and long-term capital to satisfy the small and medium-sized business (SMB) credit spectrum.
“Credibly is a best-in-class online small business lending platform leveraging data science and analytics to improve the speed, cost and choice of capital available to SMBs across the United States,” says Credibly CEO Glenn Goldman. This year, he says, Credibly is seeing big milestones, including the announcement of a $70 million credit facility with SunTrust Bank and the launch of its first-term loan, with rates starting in the single digits for prime borrowers.
On the horizon are such offerings as an enhanced digital-user experience, additional funding products to address the entire small business credit-risk spectrum and exclusive bank and tech partnerships to reduce the cost of SMB capital and educate borrowers on their business credit health.
4. TD Ameritrade
Headquarters: Omaha, Neb.
Leadership: Fred Tomczyk, chief executive officer
TD Ameritrade is an online broker for stock, option, futures, forex trading, long-term investing and retirement planning.
“TD Ameritrade is the U.S. leader in online trading and offers innovative mobile, desktop and web-based trading solutions to over six million retail investors," says Nicole Sherrod, managing director of trading at TD Ameritrade. Additionally, TD Ameritrade Institutional is helping independent registered investment advisors serve the best interests of its clients, Sherrod says. She adds: “Our primary mandate is to level the playing field for the individual investor," via high-level technology and content.
Headquarters: New York City
Leadership: Andrew Chanin, chief executive officer
PureFunds recognizes “the changes afoot in the financial industry,” and as such was motivated to create the world's first Mobile Payments Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) (IPAY), focusing on mobile, electronic and digital payment and transaction companies, says Andrew Chanin, CEO.
PureFunds has a current suite of six ETFs, Chanin explains, adding: "We strive to grow our current suite of thematic technology focused ETFs while we continue to provide the market with exposure to in-demand industries."
Says Chanin: “PureFunds is thrilled to participate at the Benzinga Fintech Awards, as we both share a passion for, and recognition of, the increasingly important and disruptive potential of the fintech industry.”