CTO Talk with Eugene Marinelli of Blend

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Mortgage technology company Blend recently showcased its home loan origination platform at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016. The company’s CTO and co-founder, Eugene Marinelli, presented Blend’s data-driven mortgage on stage along with Nivi Jayasekar, the company’s Software Engineering Lead.screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-8-24-07-am

We recently followed up with Marinelli (pictured right) with a written interview to get a better grasp on the tech side of Blend. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon in both computer science and engineering, Marinelli has worked at top tech companies including Google, Apple, and Palantir.

FinDEVr: Where did you start your career and how did you gain experience needed to run the tech side of Blend?

Marinelli: I became interested in programming in high school and went on to study Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon, with summer internships at Google and Apple. After graduation, I joined Palantir as a software engineer, working on Palantir’s financial analysis product with a focus on the Hedgehog programming language. During this time, I teamed up with a world-class engineering team and learned the foundations of building a product. Additionally, I was exposed to the pain from using archaic technology in the mortgage industry.

FinDEVr: What has been the most important technological development in the mortgage lending in the past few years, and how has it influenced Blend’s strategy?

Marinelli: New financial data APIs have made it possible to digitize most of the mortgage application process. This drove our decision to expand our focus beyond lender-facing functionality to include a borrower-facing one. Lenders have also become more interested in providing a modern borrower experience and are much more open to using cloud-based systems. Ultimately, this has allowed us to build our platform using the latest technology in a highly iterative way.

FinDEVr: What is the most difficult aspect of Blend from a compliance standpoint and how do you simplify it for developers and lenders building with Blend?

Marinelli: Each lender has its own compliance policies and procedures based on its unique business model and risk philosophy. Accordingly, we receive disparate requests for functionality and features that create complexities for a single code base. This can make it difficult to codify the product in a way that neatly balances compliance with the user experience. Moreover, regulations apply to nearly all aspects of the UI, so it’s difficult to limit the scope of changes that must be validated for compliance. We address this by making sure that all borrower-facing UI changes are specced in detail and reviewed by our in-house compliance counsel (and often our customers). In addition, where needed, we support configurability for a better lender and borrower experience.

FinDEVr: What do developers (builders themselves–not necessarily end clients) love most about Blend’s API?

Marinelli: We’ve designed the API from the beginning in a RESTful style, making it fairly intuitive to the caller. The endpoints are also designed in a generic/flexible way, making them suitable for both programmatic integrations and UI. We’ve also built security, roles, and permissions into the API, making it easy to use and extend the API in a secure way.

FinDEVr: Aside from the major players, what company do you admire for its approach to technology?

Marinelli: We mostly emulate the technology practices of more established tech companies, but we’ve taken inspiration from Stripe’s API as well as Github’s release process. However, I really admire Blend’s approach to technology the most.


Watch as Eugene Marinelli, CTO & Co-Founder and Nivi Jayasekar, Software Engineering Lead, present Blend at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016.

Curious about what Blend offers on the front-end? Check out our interview with Blend CEO Nima Ghamsari after the company’s FinovateSpring 2016 demo in San Jose.

Personal Capital’s Growth Leads to Additional $25 Million in Funding

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Digital advisory service and wealth management firm Personal Capital is closing out 2016 by adding another $25 million to the $75 million in equity investment the company took home from IGM Financial in May. Today’s funding was part of a contingency from investor IGM Financial that stated Personal Capital had to reach a certain growth milestone by Q2 of 2017. Since the California-based company exceeded the specified growth target, the funds were distributed early, just in time for the new year. This closes Personal Capital’s Series E round, increases its 2016 funding to $100 million, and boosts its total funding to just over $175 million.

“IGM Financial has been a great investor,” said Bill Harris, CEO of Personal Capital. “Over the past six months, we’ve been able to grow marketing, staffing, and offerings to our users and clients. With the final $25 million in investment secured, we look forward to seeing even more growth as we help more families manage their financial lives.” The company used the initial $75 million to increase its marketing efforts and hire new staff across its offices in San Carlos, San Francisco, and Denver.

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Above: Personal Capital’s Ravi Gundlapalli (Director of Engineering, Frontend) and Ehsan Lavassani (Founding Engineer and Chief Engineering Officer) presenting at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016

The new investment lifts Personal Capital’s valuation to around $500 million. That’s double what the company’s valuation was after its Series D funding round closed in 2014 and $200 million shy of competitors’ valuations. Betterment and Wealthfront (pure roboadvisory plays), as well as SigFig (a hybrid roboadvisor) each have valuations of $700 million.

In addition to the funding from IGM Financial, Personal Capital has received a $25 million line of credit from Silicon Valley Bank. With regard to the credit, Mike Armsby, CFO of Personal Capital says it will help the company “spur rapid growth in the New Year.”

Personal Capital delivers financial planning and investment portfolio management services. The company combines high tech with high touch by blending a non-biased, algorithmic investing approach and conversations with real, human advisors via video chat. Personal Capital has added $1.5 billion in AUM in 2016. This represents 80% growth in less than 12 months and brings the company’s total AUM to $3.4 billion. In addition, Personal Capital offers a free, account aggregation tool to help its 1.3 million registered users view all of their accounts in one place.

Personal Capital most recently presented at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016, where the company’s founding Engineer and Chief Engineering Officer, Ehsan Lavassani, talked about data-driven account opening. At FinovateSpring 2014, CEO Bill Harris and Chief Product Officer Jim Del Favero debuted One Click Investment Proposals.

FinDEVr APIntelligence

FDNY17_EventLogo_v1(wdate)FinDEVr Silicon Valley was a success! Tickets for upcoming FinDEVr London and FinDEVr New York are at their lowest prices now. Register today for London or New York to save your spot!

Dev news

  • Check out LTP’s list of 88 international startup accelerators, incubators & innovation labs nurturing fintech innovators

The latest from FinDEVr Silicon Valley presenters

  • Expensify exclusively endorsed by the world’s leading accounting body.
  • Envestnet | Yodlee integrates with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Financials.
  • ACI Worldwide named “frontrunner service provider” for EBA instant credit transfer scheme.
  • Xero interviews David Barrett, CEO and founder of Expensify.
  • Hyperwallet begins 24/7 support amidst launch of new Austin contact center.

Alumni updates

  • FinDEVr alum Braintree introduces commerce infrastructure tools.
  • InComm partners with Wakefern Food Corp. to expand gift card programs.
  • OnDeck announces new $200 million revolving credit facility with Credit Suisse.
  • Finicity Scores $42 Million Series B in Round Led by Experian.
  • The Beast Apps introduces comprehensive MiFID II compliance-integration solution, Minotaur.

Stay current on daily news from the fintech developer community! Follow FinDEVr on Twitter.

FinDEVr Flashbacks: Full Presentation Videos Now Live

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It’s FinDEVr Silicon Valley like you’ve never seen it before– on video! If you missed out on last month’s conference and want to catch the latest in fintech developer trends– or if you just want to re-live the moments from the show– you’re in luck.

All of the presentation videos from the conference are available for free on FinDEVr.com. Not sure where to start? Take a peek at these award winning companies:

Tuesday crowd favorite: MX


Wednesday crowd favorite: OCR Labs


Media favorite: 1787fp


Favorite alum: Lleida.net


Favorite debut: WiseBanyan


Favorite established company: IBM


Favorite startup: Alloy

We’ll see you next year or at FinDEVr New York on March 21 & 22, 2017!

FinDEVr APIntelligence

FinDEVr Silicon ValleyFDNY17_EventLogo_v1(wdate) was a success! Tickets for FinDEVr London and FinDEVr New York are at their lowest prices now. Register today for London or New York to save your spot!

On FinDEVr.com:

The latest from FinDEVr Silicon Valley presenters

  • BBVA chooses Amazon Web Services as its preferred cloud infrastructure services provider.
  • Extended partnership makes Yodlee’s data aggregation available via Backbase’s Open Banking Marketplace.
  • Hyperwallet announces support for real-time, push-to-card payments solution,Visa Direct.
  • Full Envestnet | Yodlee Integration Give Advisors Big Picture View of Client Finances.
  • Modo to give the Bank of America access to its COIN Operated Digital Payments Hub.
  • Expensify launches direct integration with Zenefits.

Alumni updates

  • InComm launches new brand of solutions for cash-based consumers, VanillaDirect.
  • Temenos launches Digital Engagement modules to offer real-time customer marketing and engagement.
  • Bluefin Payment Systems launches cloud-based hosting option for its DecryptxPCI-validated P2PE product through Amazon Web Services.
  • Intuit expands partnership with PayPal to provide QuickBooks Online customers with a new way of accepting payments via PayPal.
  • Chain launches open source edition of its distributed ledger, Chain Core Developer Edition.
  • Avoka earns a pair of “XCelent Awards” for service and breadth of functionality from Celent.
  • Trulioo announced that its GlobalGateway platform now reaches 60 countries.
  • On Deck Capital and Kabbage agree to disclose SMB loan pricing

Stay current on daily news from the fintech developer community! Follow FinDEVr on Twitter.

FinDEVr Silicon Valley in Photos and the Press

bbvafdsv16BBVA’s Shamir Karkal and Diego Blanco presenting the bank’s API Market

We had so much fun last week at FinDEVr Silicon Valley in Santa Clara that we could do it all over again this week!

Presenting companies brought their A-Game; showing off their tech in unique and thought-provoking ways. And with presentations on two stages at once, we saw double the innovation over the course of the two-day show. Videos of the live presentations will be available in a few weeks on FinDEVr.com. For now, here are a handful of pictures:

The Twitter conversation was unlike any we’ve seen at FinDEVr in the past. Check out our Techs on Twitter post, as well as other media coverage from the October 18 & 19 show:

I Programmer
Bedrock Topper For SQLite
by Kay Ewbank

Let’s Talk Payments
FinDEVr 2016: What’s Hot in FinTech?

Smartwave blog
Smartwave at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016

And we may take fintech seriously, but we’re also pretty serious about having a good time. Foosball, corn hole, and giant Jenga were among the favorite games at the event. Here’s @miss__Haley beating me at a game.

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Once again, thanks to all who blogged, tweeted, and attended to make this event a success. We’ll see you in New York in the spring of 2017!

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Welcome to Day 2 of FinDEVr Silicon Valley

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We had a blast yesterday at FinDEVr Silicon Valley here in Santa Clara! We saw dozens of presentations showing off cutting edge fintech and we’re ready for more.

Today’s registration opens at 9AM with continental breakfast, so grab a coffee and prepare for the day. If still you need a ticket, day-2 tickets are available at the registration desk or online.

Both tracks of presentations begin at 10AM. Here’s what today’s lineup looks like:

Time

The Attic

The Garage

10:05 Totum Wealth OCR Labs
10:25 Aerospike PwC
10:40 Coffee Break Coffee Break
11:10 BBVA Blend
11:30 ACI Worldwide Lleida.net
11:50 Exeria Smartwave
12:05 Lunch Lunch
1:00 WiseBanyan DefenseStorm
1:20 Sindeo Tango Card
1:40 Finaeos Wisdom Design Associates
2:00 Castle ABBYY
2:15 Coffee Break Coffee Break
2:45 Wootrader BankGuard
3:05 Digital Business Art Marqeta
The final networking session with open bar and appetizers will begin after the last demo and will go until to 5PM to give you the opportunity to grab a drink and chat with presenters at their booths.
Thanks to everyone for a great first day of FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016. We’re looking forward to a successful second day of the event!

FinDEVr Countdown: We’re One Day Away!

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Our developer show that’s more than a year in the making, FinDEVr Silicon Valley, is just one day away and there’s a lot to be excited about. Aside from watching dozens of companies show off the tools and code they’ve built, we’ll have plenty of networking breaks full of opportunities. We’ve added some fun twists this year; expect to make connections during a game of foosball or chat over a latte from the espresso cart or a beer from the bar. There’s still time to get in on the action, so register today and don’t miss out.

And while there will be plenty of fun, it’s the content we’re really looking forward to. Check out this word cloud for an overview of what you can expect to see on stage over the course of the two-day event:

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Here’s a quick recap of the last-minute details:

Where

We outgrew last year’s event space, so FinDEVr will be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center (directions).

When

Registration opens at 9AM and the presentations will begin at 10AM. Check out the full roster and presenter lineup to plan your schedule.

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Presenters

The presenting companies will be showing tech from a variety of fields within fintech. Check out our FinDEVr Preview blog series to see which sessions pique your interest.

Mobile app

The FinDEVr Silicon Valley mobile app is powered by Bizzabo. Download Bizzabo in the app store (Android & iOS), search FinDEVr and join the community to connect with other attendees, follow along with the agenda, read more about the presenters and vote for your favorite presentation.

Still have questions? Check out the FAQ section on our website or email siliconvalley@findevr.com.

See you at FinDEVr!

FinDEVr Preview: Aerospike

FinDEVrSV16-withdateFinDEVr Previews highlight companies presenting new developer tools, platforms, and integrations at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016, October 18 & 19. Tickets are on sale now. Visit our registration page and save your spot today.

Retail banks face challenges integrating sophisticated technologies, especially those that are internet-sourced. This tech from Aerospike introduces valuable capabilities, including languages, application frameworks, APIs, data management, and NoSQL databases. In this talk, the company will share real-world examples of adapting these internet-sourced technologies to fit older order management and address-book systems like Hogan.

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Why it’s a must-see
Want to take advantage of internet-sourced technologies but don’t know where to start? Learn how existing fintech companies use these technologies to provide access to more data (petabytes) and support agile, innovative algorithms and libraries, and glean some inspiration for your next project.


Check out more of today’s FinDEVr Previews:

FinDEVr Preview: Tango Card

FinDEVrSV16-withdateFinDEVr Previews highlight companies presenting new developer tools, platforms, and integrations at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2016, October 18 & 19. Tickets are on sale now. Visit our registration page and save your spot today.

Tango Card is presenting its Rewards-as-a-Service API designed to deliver digital rewards, like e-gift cards, instantly. The company has multiple methods to support the integration of a rewards program, including an e-gift card catalog, into your app or platform.

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Why it’s a must see
If you have a need for e-gift cards as incentives, rewards, or for payment distribution – this is the API and Tango Card is the company that will do the job for you.


Check out more of today’s FinDEVr Previews