Wired Money Pitch Room, session two (Wired UK)

Wired Money Pitch Room session two
Wired Money Pitch Room session twoKadhim Shubber / Wired

A world without passwords, money management and foreign exchange
were the main themes in session two of Wired Money’s startup pitch

“The mission is to kill the pin and the password,” declared
InAuth Executive Vice President Ed Hodges, kicking off the

InAuth is a mobile and browser malware and fraud detection
company that uses contextual data about how a device is used in
order to detect whether or not it is being used by its actual

For example, if a device isn’t moving, as it would when a person
is holding it and accessing an app, that’s a potential red flag
that it’s not being used legitimately.

Hodges was dismissive about biometric technology, suggesting
it’s simply another potential security weak point: “We just assume
[biometric data] is all compromised already effectively.”

The three-year-old company is based in Venice Beach and
currently works with “four of the ten largest banks in the US and a
very large payment provider,” said Hodges, who added InAuth
recently acquired its first client in the UK.

Up next was Join SAM, a business that effectively provides
banking services for kids with the aim of “giving children the
opportunity to save money, earn money and learn about money,” said
cofounder Graham Thomas.

“Banks aren’t going to provide the solutions. If they were they
would have done years ago,” he said, arguing there is a real need
for money services that are designed with children at the centre of
the user experience.

Launched in 2013, the business now counts 5,000 families as
customers in the UK, Thomas said.

The focus moved to money transfer across borders as Kantox CEO
Philippe Gelis took to the stage.

“Transferwise is for consumers, Kantox is the same thing for
business,” he said.

Kantox has 600 corporate clients in Europe and has transacted
over $600 million in 25 different currencies to-date, he said, with
$21 million the largest single trade.

“Fintech is really changing this space,” he said. “You have
companies feeling comfortable trading $21 million in a single trade
with a fintech company instead of a bank.”

Peer-to-peer foreign exchange platform Midpoint were next to
pitch, with CEO John Booth explaining the company, first founded in
1998, isn’t starting up so much as relaunching.

“All we’re doing is providing an information exchange. We don’t
warehouse any currency,” he said.

At the moment the company provides only five currency pairs but
is expanding to ten over the next year.

Money management was the focus of the next pitch from
Edinburgh-based startup Money Dashboard. By pulling together
information from a user’s numerous and fragmented bank accounts and
credit cards, the app aims to “remove stress and be more confident
with your money,” said founder Gavin Littlejohn.

Launched in 2011, the app now receives over 1,000 downloads
every day, said Littlejohn. As well as collating information, it
also acts as a “dynamic budgeting tool” that helps you budget
future spending.

The app is free-to-use and the company’s future monetising
strategy could include offering secondary products and services
“from vouchers for groceries to new savings products”.

User experience was the focus of the next pitch from PixelPin, a
new type of authentication that replaces text passwords with a
photo-based login system. Instead of a string of text, users touch
specific points on a photo in sequence to gain access to their

“Our aim in life is to do away with passwords. We want to
revolutionise the way people log into mobile devices,” said
PixelPin Business Development Executive Juhi Gore.

PixelPin users reset less often than password users and
voluntarily changed their sequence of points more often than people
change their passwords, said Gore.

Founded in 2011, PixelPin has received funding from Seedrs and
more recently the UK government’s Technology Strategy Board.

Online investment club QVentures was up next, with managing
partner Lex Deak describing the business’ mission as “connecting
smart money with the most promising early stage opportunities”.

The exclusive investment club has a total membership cap of
1,000 and has so far funded five companies to the tune of £5
million. The club charges a fee of 5 percent and includes Jeff Lynn
of Seedrs and Michael Acton Smith of Mind Candy as founding

Focussing on quality people is core to QVentures’ philosophy
said Deak.

“There are no experts really. The numbers are there to stress
out entrepreneurs and to demonstrate fiscal competency. You go with
the people for the most part in early stage ventures. That’s what
we try to do,” he said.

The final pitch was from RateSetter, a peer-to-peer lender which
is “now the biggest in the UK based on the amount that we’re
lending,” according to COO Peter Behrens.

“[But] we’re the little guy in terms of the coverage we get
because frankly we’re crap at marketing,” explained Behrens.

Despite that, however, the company has shown the potential for
peer-to-peer lending, he argued, pointing to their financing of
Giff Gaff mobile contract loans.

“Peer-to-peer can be an alternative finance construct. It can
get into the places the banking sector can’t. [The Giff Gaff deal]
would have been too small for the banks,” he said.

That’s all from session two. Coverage of session three is coming

You can follow all of the presentations at Wired Money

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Source: wired.co.uk

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