Atlanta based Vennfi, a financial technology company for tax-exempt payments, announced that it closed a pre-seed funding round of $1.1M, composed of a diverse set of seasoned private investors. It will use the investment to expand the platform’s capabilities and increase its growth.
The company’s flagship platform Charityvest offers individuals and businesses free tax-deductible charitable giving funds. Users can donate cash or stock to their fund, make donations to any of the 1.4M nonprofits in the U.S., and keep track of all of their giving activity with a single consolidated tax receipt. The experience has been called “Venmo for charitable giving.” Since launching in December 2019, Charityvest has facilitated giving to over 300 nonprofits and received nearly $2M in charitable contributions from donors.
Charityvest uses donor-advised funds (DAFs), which have traditionally been marketed to wealthy donors. The platform has dramatically reduced the complexity and cost of DAFs and can offer its funds with no fees or minimums.
Unique aspects of Charityvest are that 100% of donated funds go to charities, and any organization can receive funds with no setup or contract.
Charityvest’s mission is to enable generosity through technology. It aims to foster habits of intentional giving among donors, which has been shown in numerous studies to increase positive psychological effects and decrease anxiety and depression.
In addition to providing charitable giving funds to individuals or families, the company plans to grow by providing businesses the ability to sponsor tax-advantaged charitable giving funds for employees and provide churches with a free digital solution to collect donations from members.
The venture was first envisioned by Stephen Kump at Yale University in 2016 where he was an MBA student at the time. “My wife and I made a commitment to give a percentage of our income away and we wanted a donor-advised fund to manage it, but the fees and experience of traditional funds didn’t make sense for us or our friends,” said Kump, the venture’s CEO. Instead of collecting fees, Charityvest invests aggregated account balances in low-risk investment vehicles, like a bank. It can create positive economics this way due to its efficient, scalable technology.
Stephen is joined by co-founders Jon Koon, CTO, and Ashby Foltz, COO, who have added experience in consumer software development and financial technology products, respectively.
Two family offices were the largest investors in the funding round, each of them founded by successful technology entrepreneurs. One of them is His Fund, founded by former Convergint Technologies entrepreneur Greg Lernihan. “We believe Charityvest will shift the economics of giving and we’re excited to come alongside this team to execute on this vision,” said Tom Lernihan, who manages the venture portfolio for His Fund.
This News has been Published in Partnership with PR Newswire
Design Your IFRS 17 Roadmap Today with This Guide
IFRS 17 contains the International Accounting Standards Board’s guidelines on recognizing, measuring, presenting, and disclosing insuring contracts. It is a set of principles that insurers should follow in order to faithfully represent their contracts and reflect their real-time financial position, financial performance, and cash flow to regulators. The standard is set to come into effect by January 1, 2023. A good question that insurers should ask themselves is if they’re ready to comply with IFRS 17 and what the organization’s overall plan will be for its implementation.
Are you getting the jitters on behalf of your own insurance organization? If so, that’s perfectly understandable given how complex and exhaustive the IFRS 17 rollout will be. But you and your colleagues will have a much easier time if you have a roadmap in place for adopting the IFRS 17 standard. With that in mind, here’s a list of five key steps that you can take. Include these in your roadmap to ensure smooth sailing in your IFRS 17 compliance journey.
Assess the Potential Impact of IFRS 17 on Your Insurance Organization
The first step is to determine what your insurance organization can stand to achieve in your IFRS 17 implementation. In truth, you can go beyond compliance for its own sake. For example, there’s a lot of potential to strengthen your foundations for regulatory reporting not only for IFRS 17, but for related standards like the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles’ (GAAP) Long Duration Targeted Improvements, or LDTI.
Make sure to sit down with other stakeholders from your actuarial, accounting, IT, and risk teams to set your expectations for the IFRS 17 rollout. Next, draft a set of organization-wide objectives pertaining to IFRS 17 and pinpoint which policies and processes will be affected once you start your compliance journey. Knowing how your process of managing insurance contracts will change, as well as what difficulties to anticipate, will give your organization focus during your IFRS 17 adoption.
Conduct a Gap Analysis Before Rolling Out New IFRS 17 Technologies and Protocols
Second, you must be able to survey how technologically and operationally prepared your firm is to adopt IFRS 17. You will need to document the gaps and make a comprehensive list of business requirements for IFRS 17 compliance. For example, should a new regulatory reporting software need to be onboarded, it’s important that all these issues are on paper.
Remember, too, that gaps may exist among your staff—both with regard to their knowledge of IFRS 17, and how separate teams should work together to hit the same compliance targets. In this vein, the first thing you can do is conduct user training for all new technologies and protocols that you’ll be onboarding. Then, have your firm’s actuarial and accounting teams touch base with each other, delineate their roles for IFRS 17 compliance, and prepare to work using a consolidated system. The fewer silos these teams encounter while they’re making their calculations, the smoother things will be for everyone.
Review Your Book Before Choosing the Right IFRS 17 Measurement Method
The third step is to review your book of business and find the right way to reclassify your contracts in accordance with IFRS 17. Get up to date with the information in your book and assess how you will go about your contract classification.
The provisions in IFRS 17 introduce three measurement methods: the general measurement or building book approach, the premium allocation approach, and the variable fee approach. Do the groundwork for your IFRS 17 compliance efforts by revisiting your contracts and deciding on the model that best applies to you.
Upgrade Your Insurance Data Management Solution for Easier Compliance to IFRS 17
A large part of the challenge of adhering to IFRS 17 is fulfilling the exhaustive data requirements needed for the correct measurement, presentation, and disclosure of your insurance contracts. You may already have an inkling that you’ll have huge volumes of contract-related data to account for when you start your IFRS 17 adoption. It will really be in your best interest to invest in a dedicated compliance solution that will afford you better data architecture, aggregation, and analysis for your compliance.
A dedicated solution will improve your calculation capabilities at the granular level, thus allowing you to come up with accurate projections for your cash flow and to adjust to risk in real-time.
Update Your Models and Your Accounting Ledger to Reflect the Changes from IFRS 17
Eventually, it will be time to utilize your new actuarial models to arrive at IFRS 17-ready measurements. This will be your cue to reexamine your cash flow models and see if they’re aligned with the IFRS 17 grouping requirements for contracts, or if they need updating.
You will also need to do the tedious but necessary work of updating your accounting ledger and making sure it’s properly integrated with your new IFRS 17 system and new actuarial models. It’s only after this is done that you’ll come up with the actual cash flows, expected future cash flows, and risk adjustment information that are needed for your IFRS 17 compliance.
There are a lot of big changes that your insurance organization will have to reckon with come the deadline for IFRS 17 implementation. But perhaps change shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. IFRS 17 will shift your organization’s accounting approach to something less “black box” and more transparent. Following the standard may also help you develop a more risk-sensitive temperament when managing your insurance contracts—which is something you’ll need in these volatile times.
Kasisto Launches Cloud Based Intelligent Digital Assistant KAI Express
KAI Express offers a proven, pre-trained, and pre-configured digital assistant experience designed to be deployed in just 30 days, and delivered with an industry first reassurance program
Kasisto, creators of KAI, the leading digital experience platform for the financial services industry, has launched KAI Express, which includes everything financial institutions need to rapidly deploy an intelligent digital assistant, also referred to as a virtual assistant – to their customers. KAI Express comes pre-trained and fluent in banking on day one, delivered via the cloud, and ready to engage in banking conversations that surprise and delight customers from the moment they experience it.
An industry first within the conversational AI market, KAI Express is also delivered with a results acceleration reassurance program, which means “peace of mind” for financial institutions who deploy it. The program comes with an important “money back” guarantee; if after 90 days the bank or credit union is not satisfied with the rapid deployment experience and business outcomes delivered by KAI Express, they can end their subscription.
“KAI Express breaks new ground by delivering a proven cloud based, economical, and scalable intelligent digital assistant experience that guarantees superior customer satisfaction as well as a high level of call containment and user engagement,” says Zor Gorelov, CEO & Co-Founder of Kasisto. “The reassurance guarantee is essentially a ‘love it or leave’ proposition and a first for our industry. Kasisto is confident that customers will be overjoyed with KAI Express, and we are standing behind our offering in this very meaningful way, thus reassuring the industry that KAI Express is a game changer in terms of the digital assistant experience and how quickly it can deliver results to banking customers across the industry.”
KAI Express leverages thousands of KAI’s pre-built conversational banking experiences, pre-trained on tens of millions of customer utterances, and pre-configured with best practices. Battle tested in production deployments over the past 8 years, they are designed to service banking customers’ needs and instantaneously respond to customer inquiries. Through its turnkey and fully hosted SaaS based model, KAI Express is able to be rapidly deployed and fully available to banking customers in as little as 30 days.
KAI Express is built on KAI, which has a proven track record of being deployed quickly and efficiently. This was recently experienced by TD Bank, who launched their KAI powered digital assistant in just three weeks, during the height of the pandemic. Their digital assistant was able to help customers gain immediate access to answers about relief programs and information about their personal finances and has served more than 3 million U.S. customer interactions since its launch. This achievement was recently recognized by Celent who awarded TD Bank the Celent Model Bank 2021 for “Supporting Customers in the Pandemic”.
“Using KAI Express technology, we were able to accelerate the launch of our Virtual Assistant in our U.S. mobile app. Congratulations to everyone involved in helping to support our customers with new innovations at such a critical time,” said Rizwan Khalfan, Chief Digital and Payments Officer, TD Bank Group.
“Intelligent digital assistants are an increasingly important component of a bank’s customer engagement portfolio,” says Bob Meara, senior analyst at Celent. “Historically, standing up a viable IDA was a heavy lift for many institutions. Kasisto wisely offers an out-of-the-box starting point that leverages the many common customer intents its ML-based models have refined across its broad client base.”
KAI is the leading digital experience platform for the financial services industry. Kasisto’s customers include J.P. Morgan, Westpac, Standard Chartered, TD, Manulife Bank, and credit unions such as Fairwinds and Excite – and many more. These financial institutions chose KAI for its proven track record to drive business results while improving customer experiences. The platform is engaging with millions of consumers around the world, all the time, across multiple channels, in different languages, and is optimized for performance, scalability, security, and compliance. KAI is built with the deepest Conversational AI portfolio in the industry. Kasisto is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Silicon Valley and Singapore. Kasisto Singapore Pte Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kasisto.
EasyEuro announced the launch of its digital wallet
EasyEuro announced today the launch of its digital Wallet, called OuiTrust. OuiTrust aims to serve millions of European SMEs, traders and freelancers bringing them new levels of payment efficiency to global trade.
The EU is one of the world’s largest trading block, and SMEs are the backbone of the trade-driven EU economy, accounting for 99.8% of numbers of enterprises.
However, SMEs are largely underserved by traditional banking services since they are not a priority for them and are saddled with products and services that often vastly fall short of customer expectations. The areas of payment, money transfer and currency exchange still remain time-consuming, leaving the customer demand for digital mobility, cheap and fast banking services unmet.
OuiTrust empowers SMEs with a complete new set of banking services, including collection, payment, low-cost currency exchange, customized card issuing. It provides users with a multi-currency account to send and receive payments in the currency of their choice (support more than 30 currencies and local settlement in 20 currencies).
It also supports SEPA, SEPA INSTANT, Faster Payments and SWIFT. Customers can apply for a MasterCard linked with their OuiTrust wallet that can be used worldwide. The OuiTrust digital wallet supports most major payment acquiring methods such as Visa, MasterCard, WeChat Pay, Alipay and UnionPay and allows customers to benefit from quick and simple remittance and favorable exchange rates which can be locked in during the trading process to avoid any currency fluctuations.
These features aiming at covering every SME merchants’ transaction needs allowing SMEs to spend more time on running their businesses by making transactions easier and cheaper.
Under the COVID-19 pandemic, the global economy has accelerated its pace for digitization, and contactless financial services. OuiTrust has acquired over 50,000 customers during the year and has grown it’s transaction volumes in 2020 by multiple folds compare to that of 2019.
OuiTrust’s team is led by Dr. Ryan Li and comprised of a group of highly experienced industry veterans formerly worked at BNP, HSBC, RBS and Weston Union. The technology team is led by the ex-Chief Architect of Huawei Mobile Money, who was responsible for deployment of M-Pesa, bKash, TCash, etc.
OuiTrust operates under Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license authorized by the UK FCA and is granted a conditional EMI license in 2020 by l’Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de résolution (ACPR), Banque de France.
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