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Visa (NYSE:V) has announced a partnership with NovoPayment, a leading enabler of digital financial and transactional services, to facilitate the implementation of payment solutions for Business to Business (B2B) transactions in Latin America and the Caribbean. The companies will work in three key B2B areas: solutions for the business traveler, solutions for accounts payables and receivables; and accelerating Visa’s bank clients go-to-market strategies.

The first project under the new partnership has launched in Colombia, where Visa, NovoPayment and a local bank are enabling real-time payments in the urban delivery sector through a suite of APIs that provide courier fleets the ability to electronically procure goods from merchants on behalf of customers through dynamically created and loaded Visa accounts. This new model, integrated by NovoPayment’s platform, gives urban delivery businesses greater operational agility and scalability in a fast-growing and digitally-driven category.

Another project advancing under this new partnership, aims at simplifying the payment of independent drivers in the expanding urban mobility and shared transportation sector. Under this model, drivers will use Visa accounts to efficiently receive payment for services rendered and to manage day-to-day expenses.

Through the integration with Visa’s platforms and API’s, this partnership with NovoPayment offers Visa clients –  banks, merchants and acquirers – new payment functionalities and the ability to accelerate the adoption of electronic payments in the region.

“Through our open collaboration strategy, we partner with fintechs in the region to accelerate the adoption of new technological capabilities that complement our payment functionalities and those of our bank and merchant partners,” said Allen Cueli, Vice President of Product Solutions and New Enablers. This is the first initiative resulting from a broader partnership with NovoPayment, focused on the deployment of a number of projects including prepaid enablement, API integration as well as B2B solutions,” he concluded.

The partnership with NovoPayment aligns with Visa’s overall objective to move businesses and consumers from cash to digital forms of payment. For Visa, a culture that relies less on cash provides more convenience, more security and ease of use, which translates into faster growth and greater efficiency compared to cumbersome and expensive cash handling processes.

“We work to expand the use of electronic payments across the region, to improve people’s daily lives and help businesses increase sales and operate more efficiently,” said Diego Rodriguez, Vice President Business Solutions Visa Latin America and the Caribbean. “These projects with NovoPayment allow us to extend our reach and presence in the region, through different business models, facilitating payments amongst businesses and creating frictionless business-to-business interactions,” he added.

“Ultimately, by integrating our APIs and collaborating more closely, we are able to help others deliver better customer experiences and create new value chains free of traditional bottlenecks, while capturing new money and data flows,” said Anabel Perez, CEO of NovoPayment. “Our most recent project in Colombia is a great example of the kind of interoperability and structure required in today’s platform-driven businesses and a hint of what is possible in the future,” she added.

The combined proficiencies of both companies, along with their reach, will accelerate the development and diversity of Latin America’s payments ecosystem.

 

LatAm may be one of the fastest growing markets for companies like Uber, AirBnB and Instacart-type delivery companies, but don’t expect that rapid expansion to reach its full potential if drivers, hosts and end customers can’t have the full user experiences that made them earth-shattering. The same goes for Amazon, Alibaba and other international digital-natives looking to turn LatAm’s huge urban centers into major growth markets.

Yes, LatAm e-commerce and m-commerce are accelerating, driven by gig and shared economy players and others who demand more agile, open and fast-scaling financial services. But, those digital-native companies are built on interconnected platforms that consume financial services very differently from traditional corporate customers.

Information Asymmetry

As these companies and others engage LatAm markets, they become intimately familiar with the region’s payments pains and the drag that they (and cash) can put on scalability. More to the point, current legacy financial infrastructures present a kind of information asymmetry that threatens growth.

Maybe that’s not news, or that LatAm’s legacy core banking and payments infrastructures lack sufficient interoperability and are transforming too slowly to meet the demand for a new breed of mobile and digital transactions. However, what’s less appreciated is how that lack of flexibility is becoming a growing problem for bankers wanting to gain and retain relationships with corporate innovators and SMEs “going digital native” across almost every industry.

The Business Banker’s Dilemma

Evidence increasingly reveals that these companies are quick to change banks if they can’t get the services they wantFor example, in a recent transaction banking survey by Ovum, 80 percent of respondents in countries without real-time payment infrastructures said they have considered moving main banking relations in the past year.

The question becomes this: How do banks, financial institutions and others leverage their existing technology while simultaneously gaining the agility they need to win and keep business in the emerging and inevitable digital economy?

Embracing Open

At NovoPayment, we decided to embrace the open API movement and invested in a bank-agnostic, multi-country developer portal, making over 30 of our most important pieces of software available for free for others to experiment. We went against a long and now outdated tradition in technology and financial services of being closed and guarded, and instead opened doors that others could walk through to build on our IP and help them (and us) to further monetize our investment, without sacrificing security or compliance. What was a radical idea just two years ago, seems today – against the backdrop of open banking and broader IT trends — a rather practical move.

The Reasons Why

The idea behind the Developer Hub is to enable banks, financial institutions and Fintech’s of all sizes to better attend to their corporate customers through the kind of integration and orchestration they actually need to serve today and tomorrow’s end customers.

By lowering barriers to test concepts and deploy them on solid foundations, we accelerate not only innovation, but also the expansion and diversity of the ecosystems that we can all be a part of.

Of more immediate importance, we accelerate time to revenue for all parties which is critical for skeptical banks making their first forays into these kinds of partnerships and for whom “quick wins” and proofs of concept are critical, but is also very attractive for agile startups who by their natures must be fast and frugal with their resources.

In short, we believe the time has come for organizations across the region to concern themselves with understanding the open API movement, for the sake of their customers and other stakeholders. Our advice: make the necessary organizational and technological investments to open.

Today’s disruptors and tomorrow’s market leading companies will run on interoperable cloud platforms that talk to one another in real-time. It’s a world based on open APIs, middleware and business rules — and a world you can join more easily than you realize.

To learn more, we invite you to visit our Developer Hub and join our community at Developer.NovoPayment.com.

NovoPayment, a leading enabler of digital financial and transactional services throughout the Americas, today announced the launch of its Developer Hub, the first bank-agnostic application protocol interface (API) portal of its kind offering resources to software developers seeking payment and financial service related APIs to build new solutions, enhance existing products and accelerate their initiatives. The portal’s current 37 APIs address a diverse range of Latin American geographies and verticals including banking, service organizations, insurance, urban delivery and transportation, and travel.

With the launch of its Developer Hub, NovoPayment is releasing a number of powerful APIs including those aimed at Account Creation (individuals, enterprise, merchants, corresponding agents); Cash Transfers (cash-in and cash-out, P2P [peer-to-peer], cash disbursements and collections); Account Inquiries (account balance, recent transactions, transaction history, transactions by category, agent commission history) and Customer Support Tools (account/card verification, blocking and replacement, report lost or stolen card, automated support).

“We’re proud to be joining the open API movement and to do our part in enabling banks, financial institutions, fintechs and others in the developer community to deploy next-generation financial services and enhanced customer experiences (CX),” said NovoPayment CEO, Anabel Perez. “These tools and others to come will help enable and accelerate the digital transformation of financial services in the Americas, providing a new means for organizations to extend their digital ecosystems, positively impact their customer’s value chains and overcome many common transactional bottlenecks,” she added.

Key features and differentiators of the hub include:

The company announced that its APIs are currently available in a sandbox mode for the purpose of testing and experimentation prior to deploying in a production environment. According to the company, additional APIs will be released in the coming weeks. Interested parties are invited to visit developer.novopayment.com and request a free tour in English or Spanish.

NovoPayment, a leading financial technology service provider and member of the Endeavor network, has earned the honor of the 2017 PayAwards Best in Category in the Outstanding White-Label Platform classification. PayAwards has conferred the most prestigious recognition of excellence in payments technology worldwide for 11 years. The awards are presented annually by Paybefore, whose publications are the leading source of industry information for payments executives.

NovoPayment’s platform was selected as one of three winners in late April by a panel of experts that evaluated a stellar field of global nominees. In June, NovoPayment was awarded Best in Category after voting by the publication’s readers concluded, which was primarily comprised of industry professionals.

“This recognition of NovoPayment is an example of the world-class entrepreneurial and technological talent blossoming in Miami, and why Endeavor’s work is so important,” said Laura Maydón, managing director of Endeavor Miami.

NovoPayment’s CEO, Anabel Perez, was selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in December 2014 at Endeavor’s 56th International Selection Panel, held in Miami, Florida. Since then, Endeavor has supported the company by building an advisory board and facilitating access to senior business leaders with relevant industry experience.

Born of the necessity to solve many of the bottlenecks and technical challenges common to the Americas, NovoPayment’s platform facilitates the creation of new financial services and payment products. The company also provides integration of third-party systems via a secure, bank-grade and highly scalable platform, fully integrated with major ecosystem participants in six Latin American markets.

NovoPayment’s platform has earned the honor of 2017 Pay Awards Best in Category in the Outstanding White-Label Platform classification. Pay Awards has conferred the most prestigious recognition of excellence in payments technology worldwide for 11 years. The awards are presented annually by Paybefore, whose publications are the leading source of industry information for payments executives.

NovoPayment’s bank-grade platform was selected as one of three winners in late April by an expert judging panel that evaluated a stellar field of global nominees, and in June was conferred the title of Best in Class after the close of voting by the publication’s readers, mainly comprised of industry professionals.

“We’re truly honored to receive the best in category distinction and are grateful to Paybefore, the judges, and Paybefore readers for their consideration,” said Anabel Perez, CEO of NovoPayment, whose multi-country, multi-currency, multi-tenant and bank agnostic platform offers clients faster deployment, lower capital expense, greater scalability and resiliency.

Born of the need to solve many of the bottlenecks and technical challenges common to the Americas, NovoPayment’s platform facilitates the creation of new financial services and payment products, as well as the integration of third-party systems via a bank-grade, highly scalable, and cost-effective subscription model.

Field-tested, the platform is differentiated in the market by its product maturity (supports 72 branded programs representing more than two million accounts), it’s turnkey solutions (from program design to post-sales services), integration (host of APIs, web services, and proprietary interfaces), flexibility (various program types and languages), scalability and security (stringent bank-grade security protocols and certifications).

Paybefore judges have selected NovoPayment’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) a 2017 Pay Awards winner, in the Outstanding White-Label Platform category. For 11 years, Pay Awards has conferred the most prestigious recognition of excellence in payments technology worldwide. The awards are presented annually by Paybefore, whose publications are the leading source of industry information for payments executives.

“We’re delighted to have our platform recognized by the industry and are grateful to the judges and many clients and developers that have chosen our white-label offering for faster deployment, lower capital expense, greater scalability and resiliency,” said Anabel Perez, CEO of NovoPayment.

NovoPayment Platform as a Service was selected by an expert judging panel that evaluated a stellar field of global nominees.

“As our industry changes, we remain committed to honoring innovation and excellence. Among the big themes in this year’s competition were solutions tailored to specific B2B, health care, T&E and cross-border payment needs,” says Loraine DeBonis, Paybefore editor-in-chief and chair of the judging panels.

“We also saw a remarkable number of consumer-focused solutions with ingenious approaches to savings and incentives that are making a difference in people’s lives. We’re proud to recognize NovoPayment for its contributions in propelling the industry forward.”

Born of the need to solve many of the bottlenecks and technical challenges common to the Americas, NovoPayment’s PaaS facilitates the creation of new financial services and payment products, as well as the integration of third-party systems via a bank-grade, highly scalable, and cost-effective subscription model.

NovoPayment’s Platform as a Service will now vie for Best-in-Category distinction, which will be announced in Pay News the week of June 12. Visitors to Paybefore.com will have a chance to vote on Best in Category through May 31. The outcome of this vote will be combined with the judges’ picks to determine Best-in-Category honorees, all of which will be profiled in the Pay Magazine – Awards Issue.

NovoPayment, Latin America’s leading fintech firm and a frontrunner in enabling payments and financial services innovation throughout the Americas, today announced the availability of Facebook Messenger integration within its platform, allowing their clients — including banks, financial institutions, retailers, and travel organizations — to quickly deploy engaging applications and services on the popular social network.

According to the company, their new Messenger bot capabilities will allow its clients’ end users to perform automated functions, such as opening accounts, checking balances and transaction histories, making peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, watching tutorial videos and having common help questions answered, within the user-friendly Facebook Messenger app. Organizations working with NovoPayment will now be able to offer a new set of transactional experiences to their customers all while ensuring privacy, security, and compliance.

“By working with Facebook, we’re helping our clients to quickly configure and deploy their own Messenger bots, and are able to accelerate innovation and generate new transaction streams with limited intrusion, creating differentiated and engaging experiences for mobile users across demographic segments,” said NovoPayment’s CEO, Anabel Perez.

Facebook Messenger has grown rapidly since its launch two years ago, reaching one billion users earlier this year, facilitating multiple transactions without sending users to an external website or alternate service delivery channel. In addition, bots support voice-to-text, deliver news and content, updates, confirm reservations, and send receipts, driving personalized, scaled customer experiences.

The International Finance Corporation in Washington, D.C. extended an invitation to NovoPayment’s CEO, Anabel Perez, to join the panelists at their 2016 Fintech CEO Summit. The invitation-only event brought together founders and CEOs of Fintech companies from around the world to discuss current issues, exchange experiences, network, and do business.

NovoPayment participated in the “Banking in the New Age: Deposits” session, focused on different perspectives for deposit-taking. The primary question was, “Is the core architecture of banking changing?” For centuries, banks have intermediated between savers and borrowers. But that may be changing now. Traditionally banks owned direct relationships with their customers and provided customer facing services for all financial products. Consumers basically went to the closest bank branch from their homes or work places to open up a bank account, lend money and make investments into financial products.

The massive adoption of FinTech in recent years by not only existing financial institutions but also many disruptors in the deposit-taking business has resulted in drastic changes in consumer behaviors. Nowadays people face multiple channels of financial transactions and store their values in multiple stored value accounts. Although these new media still utilize traditional bank/payment rails to process payments and store values, we’ve started to see disruptive use cases which could potentially change the dynamics of deposit-taking businesses. During this session, the panelists discussed the future of deposit-taking dynamics and the potential implications.

In Latin America, where NovoPayment is focused, we see a lot of opportunities, the strong influence of trends from the U.S. and Europe, but also recognize a different picture. It is a less evolved marketplace, which moves slower, and requires a more hands-on investment of time and resources to integrate and innovate. There are also many markets, each with different local networks, standards, laws, and regulatory entities.

Furthermore, in Latin America, we don’t see core banking as really changing or the ultimate role of banks as being under threat. Banks are unique, highly regulated institutions in terms of their role and abilities. What we see instead is innovation around the core, an opportunity to enable banks and others to innovate and integrate more quickly and securely. In our region, we think true deposits will ultimately reside in financial institutions (e.g. pool accounts), but the future is in new cash-in/cash-out methods, integrating, and closing gaps. We must recognize the importance of stored value as well established vehicle with a lower cost of maintenance than a traditional deposit account. In this region, reloading networks in deposit-taking and the integration with ATM networks and global acceptance networks (MC/Visa) is extremely important.

Wall Street may be the center of U.S. finance, but when it comes to the technology that makes the money flow, South Florida quickly is becoming a player.

PsychSignal provides real-time social data for quantitative hedge funds seeking an edge. The Miami Beach startup, founded by James Crane-Baker, created a natural language processing engine that scans social media posts related to stock prices. Its technology parses millions of online conversations every day — including emotions — and then translates its findings into a numerical value designed to reflect traders’ bullish or bearish moods about specific stocks and other securities.

NovoPayment’s founder and CEO Anabel Pérez launched NovoPayment in 2004 and has built it into a sizable venture that helps banks, retailers and the travel industry address payment bottlenecks common to Latin America, such as converting cash payments to digital, creating alternatives to credit-based payments, and interconnecting disparate systems and networks. Headquartered on Brickell with 280 full-time employees throughout the region, NovoPayment now works in five countries, with plans to expand into Chile.

ClassWallet offers a digital wallet and e-commerce platform for school systems to disburse and track funds. Through ClassWallet, administrations, parents and vendors connect with teachers to fund supplies, technology and even field trips in a cashless, trackable process. Founder Jamie Rosenberg said ClassWallet’s user base grew over 400 percent last year and the platform is used by the Chicago, Newark and Broward school districts, among others. Rosenberg is no stranger to tackling school-funding issues. His first venture, AdoptAClassroom.org, launched in 1998, is considered the internet’s first crowdfunding site.

These young South Florida companies are in the red-hot fintech, or financial technology, sector. Mobile payments, Bitcoin technology, personal finance management, lending and crowdfunding are just a few of the flavors of South Florida fintech. While growth in the number of startups is difficult to quantify because startups launch, pivot and fail rapidly, South Florida programs to help fintech entrepreneurs have reported strong and growing interest.

As the homegrown technology conference eMerge Americas launches its third annual event Monday, fintech startups and early stage companies will vie for investor attention along with hundreds of others from various industries.

In South Florida and around the world, the fintech sector is gaining favor among investors as technology innovation ignites opportunities to expand financial access to those without bank accounts, ease mobile commerce, reduce fraud, save money for consumers and help them manage their finances.

South Florida’s bustling banking sector, both domestic and international, and its gateway connection with the Americas make it a natural place for fintech to flourish, say entrepreneurs and experts.

“Miami is the ideal place to converge and build out ideas that can export out into the region and still have the option of keeping [the firms] in the U.S.,” said Ray Ruga, founder of Fintech Americas, which runs a conference and programs connecting banks with fintech innovators. “Miami, as a financial center for the Americas, is an ideal location for developing fintech.”

Wayniloans, which is part of the Venture Hive accelerator in downtown Miami, is a peer-to-peer lending platform based on blockchain technology, the technology that underpins the digital currency Bitcoin for the Latin American and U.S. Hispanic market. To bring access to credit for the unbanked and underbanked, Wayniloans makes financial solutions more efficient and transparent for borrowers and lenders, said Matias Wohlgemuth, Wayniloans’ CEO for the U.S.

Datil provides e-billing, accounting and payment tools for the more than 13 million micro and small merchants in Latin America. “We partner with banks such as Banco Pacífico in Ecuador to offer customized financial services, including loans and merchant accounts, based on their Datil profile,” said Eduardo Raad, Datil’s CEO, which is also part of Venture Hive’s accelerator.

Then there’s YellowPepper, a Miami-based mobile payment and mobile banking company focused on the Latin America market. Last year, YellowPepper raised $19 million in venture capital for a total of $34 million; recently it launched a number of mobile payment applications based on its proprietary Yepex platform in Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador.

“We’re adding new banks and merchants all the time. In Colombia, we have [enabled] about 145,000 merchants — about half of the country,” CEO Serge Elkiner said. “In Ecuador, we already have about 10,000 merchants enabled. And we have 150,000 users in both countries.”

YellowPepper, with about 65 employees globally, is just getting started in Mexico but has already enabled 30,000 merchants with a plan to have 150,000 on the platform by September, he said. The company is planning to enter Peru this year.

“If you work with Latin America, Miami is definitely a key geographical location. … All of the headquarters for the region for every large bank, VISA, Mastercard, AmEx, everything is in Miami,” said Elkiner. “If I was developing a fintech company in the U.S., I’m not sure I would be in Miami.”

Nationally and globally, however, fintech has been hot. Venture funding in the U.S. fintech industry reached $21.6 billion last year, the highest level since 2000, according to the Wall Street Journal and its Dow Jones VentureSource research.

CB Insights, a data analytics research firm focused on private companies, said 894 ventures capitalists were active in the fintech sector last year, up from 223 in 2010. CB Insights also analyzed where top venture capitalists in fintech are placing their bets: payments, personal finance management and lending.

But recently, there are signals the fintech explosion may be slowing. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that in the fourth quarter of last year, venture funding into fintech startups fell by 20 percent in dollars and 11 percent in the number of deals. Of course, investment in the broader sector is swooning, too. Stock prices for LendingClub and On Deck Capital are down in 2016; LoanDepot and Elevate Credit postponed IPOs in the last six months.

But that slowdown could be shortlived. For example, a January report by Autonomous Research, an independent financial services research firm, estimated that digital lenders would together triple to about $100 billion in loans globally by 2020 — amounting to 10 percent of the total market for small business and consumer loans. More than 2,000 firms globally now compete in digital lending. The authors said they expect some fallout — some will fail and others will be acquired by traditional financial services firms.

To be sure, fintech brings its own set of challenges. Fintech companies generally work in regulated industries; in Latin America for instance, each country has its own regulatory system, Ruga said.

“The Americas continues to be an under-appreciated opportunity in fintech. It’s a difficult region and it is viewed as forbidding — you almost have to redo your plan for each market — and that makes it challenging. But the fact that 50 percent-plus of the population is unbanked, there’s $1.6 trillion in GDP, more than 550 million people, 60-70 percent smartphone adoption — all of the elements are in place,” he said. “It’s where the opportunity lies.”

Payments, lending and electronic wealth management — known as robo-advisory — offer big opportunities in the region, Ruga said. “Most of these fintech companies are coming at this to disrupt and take business away from the banks. But the big thing that these young companies need is money and scale.”

Some are partnering with banks, which get the agility of the innovation, while the innovator gets the clients of the bank, Ruga said. “If they can split revenue, it is a win-win.”

There are challenges domestically, too. Crane-Baker said his PsychSignal team worked more than three years developing the technology and platform before rolling it out in 2014. The chief challenge, Crane-Baker said, is the need to move slowly to establish credibility.

“Fintech is a special fickle beast. You are not going to get overnight successes. We do the opposite of what most startups do,” said Crane-Baker, referring to the oft-quoted “fake it till you make it” advice to move fast and try things before investing a great deal in the technology.

“We’ve moved very slowly and deliberately to establish a reputation. We don’t monkey around. If you do that … you will get caught with your pants down.”

PsychSignal’s first client was a large hedge fund that used PsychSignal’s data for about nine months and then became an investor in the company. “That’s the greatest endorsement,” Crane-Baker said.

Miami makes sense as a base, he said, because of the presence of wealth. In fact, PsychSignal’s competitor, iSentium, has an office here, as does BattleFin, which run events and competitions for quantitative traders and big data.

“Miami seems to be shaping up to be a hotbed of financial data startups,” said Crane-Baker, who was a successful Wall Street trader in the ’90s before he got the itch to start a tech company. “New York’s expensive. You can build your technology down here, the weather’s awesome and there are a lot of people who are involved in finance. Our chief quantitative scientist is down here.”

Finding the talent base locally is harder here than in California or New York, said Marcos Cordero, CEO of Gradvisor, a college-savings platform offered to employers as an employee benefit. “But I also think Miami has developed a very supportive technology community where here you can gain access to a lot of individuals that provide mentorship, guidance and connections,” he said. “My love for Miami and everything that it has to offer outweighs the challenges of starting a domestically focused fintech company here.”

Meanwhile, local entrepreneurship programs aim to accelerate promising South Florida fintech companies as part of broader regional efforts to support and nurture entrepreneurship and technology innovation.

Recently launched is Miami Fintech Forum, an initiative led by Citi and entrepreneurship support and funding organization Village Capital and Florida International University. Eleven financial technology startups were selected to participate in a yearlong program, which will include education, mentorship from the Small Business Development Center at FIU and experts from Citi and Village Capital and access to capital.

The program kicked off in February with a full-day pitch event that included coaching. Winners were VestMunity, a newly launched real estate crowdfunding platform founded by local entrepreneur Yemani Mason, and DocuVital, which focuses on end-of-life planning; each received a $10,000 grant. Other fintech companies participating in the program are FlyScan, Gradvisor, MedXoom, Mosaic Money, OneCloud, Qbit Solutions, RNKR.io, Tip N’ Go and Settleitsoft, a Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge finalist this year.

At the Forum’s inaugural event, Natalie Abatemarco, managing director of Citi Community Development and Inclusive Finance division, said Citi’s partnership with Village Capital will open other doors for these companies. The program aims to level the playing field for entrepreneurs in underserved communities, she said. “We want to help businesses to scale and help get communities the resources they need in order to survive, to thrive and really revitalize,” she said.

Citi has also been holding regular fintech meetups in Miami and has held past Citi Mobile Challenge contests here.

Another local initiative is designed to link fintech innovators and the local banking industry. Called Fintech Americas, the organization holds an annual conference, scheduled for September, and a series of events, said Ruga, whose company produces the conference.

“We’ve evolved the program … to helping smaller banks transition into fintech-like companies that can compete moving forward,” he said. That includes helping them learn how to partner with fintech disruptors. “We’re in the midst of a massive industry transformation and all the players are going to need to adapt to a new and different reality.”

Fintech is a key focus of Venture Hive. The downtown Miami-based entrepreneurship education company runs a technology startup accelerator that focuses on industries tied most closely with South Florida’s economy. Fintech was added in 2014 by popular demand, said Venture Hive founder Susan Amat.

Fintech companies Wayniloans, DocuVital and Datil as well as Quotanda, Waleteros and Moocho call Venture Hive home, Amat said. Some of Venture Hive’s fintech companies are focused on the unbanked, remittances and other financial solutions. Miami’s diverse population, financial services industry and geography offer access to LatAm and U.S. opportunities, she said.

“Part of the challenge for South Florida is if you are doing a [business-to-consumer] play, you need a lot of marketing money to roll out. That’s an issue,” Amat said. “But we have companies that are able to do that. … For companies that want to partner with banks and do the B2B route, Miami is the obvious place for them.”

For South Florida to become the hub for fintech for the Americas, financial institutions need to change their internal cultures to be agile so they can integrate new solutions, Amat said. “Then they need to come to the table and try new things and offer pilots to startups, creating trust. It’s not about hackathons or competitions — just give startups the opportunity to have a happy client.”

Pérez of NovoPayment, who was chosen as an Endeavor entrepreneur in 2014, thinks the emerging fintech industry here needs to be promoted by community leaders and that there needs to be more collaboration with the universities and closer ties with Silicon Valley. But more importantly, companies here need to continue to work hard and produce success stories.

“There’s no magic solution, there’s no shortcut to succeed,” Pérez said. “We need to work hard and deliver.”

Financial technology startups are launching solutions for mobile payments, lending, bitcoin and more in South Florida

Endeavor Miami announced today that Anabel Perez, Co-founder of NovoPayment and Kairos Founder, Brian Brackeen, are the latest additions to its portfolio of selected Endeavor Entrepreneurs; they join six other previously selected Miami entrepreneurs. The new additions were chosen by panelists at Endeavor Global’s 56th International Selection Panel (“ISP”), which was held in Miami from December 8-10th.

The three Miami entrepreneurs join a total of 40 high-impact entrepreneurs representing 22 companies in 13 countries, who were also selected at this panel. To celebrate the incoming entrepreneurs, Endeavor Miami hosted an event at the New World Center last night, bringing together all ISP participants, Endeavor Miami entrepreneurs, Board Members, mentors, as well as top leaders from the Miami community.

NovoPayment connects banked and unbanked individuals with multiple institutions across the Americas. It provides consumers with increased access to cashless payments, and provides companies with the infrastructure to deploy their own prepaid and mobile wallet programs. “Endeavor Miami mentors have really challenged me to think bigger,” said Anabel Perez, and “I’m thrilled to be recognized as an Endeavor Entrepreneur”.

“I’ve been pursuing the opportunity to be part of this selected group of high-impact entrepreneurs and I’m thrilled not only to make it big but also to build Miami”, said Brian Brackeen. Kairos provides clients with an affordable facial recognition API that allows them to recognize individuals in an easy, secure, and accurate way. Kairos’ 2D to 3D facial recognition software verifies peoples’ identities with 99% accuracy.

Endeavor Miami board members and mentors are really active helping entrepreneurs strive. During this ISP, Board Members Maurice Ferré, Sean Wolfington, Andres Moreno, and Ernest Bachrach along with Endeavor Miami mentors Gustavo Cisneros, Jocelyn Cortez-Young, Daniel Heise, and Lisa Raggiri, participated as panelists interviewing entrepreneurs from 15 countries of the Endeavor world.

Endeavor Miami Co-Chair, Adriana Cisneros, who participated as an observer said: “We’re excited to close this year with two more companies – which along with the other six companies we had already selected, will play an important role representing Miami and building its entrepreneurial community”.

Endeavor’s International Selection Panel is the culmination of a rigorous selection process, where panels composed of top business leaders interview candidates about their businesses, high-impact leadership potential, and timing. In order for an entrepreneur to be selected, they must receive unanimous vote from all six panelists.

Endeavor Miami launched its operations on September 2013 with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and a very active local board of business leaders, each of whom believes that high-impact entrepreneurship can transform Miami.

“The strength of ideas and enterprise in Miami continues to grow—both within the city and beyond its borders,” said Matt Haggman Knight Foundation program director for Miami. “These new additions to Endeavor’s global network, along with those selected previously, reveal this potential and provide a view into the future of Miami as a high-impact innovation hub.”

Endeavor Entrepreneurs receive targeted services including mentorship, access to capital, access to markets, as well as access to talent. For more information on Endeavor Miami or to nominate entrepreneurs, please visit www.endeavormiami.org.

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