Symbiont Gains “Strong Partner in Asia” with Investment from Hundson Technologies

The amount of the investment was undisclosed. But blockchain startup and smart contracts specialist, Symbiont has picked up funding from China-based Hundsun Technologies. The investment in Symbiont is the first in the U.S. for the financial services software provider and the company, which is partly-owned by Alibaba founder, Jack Ma, will also add an observer to Symbiont’s board of directors. Symbiont CEO Mark Smith referred to the investment as a “clear vote of confidence for Symbiont” and called Hundsun Technologies a “strong partner in Asia.”

Symbiont’s innovation is a smart contracts platform that enables FIs to develop applications based on distributed ledger technology. Current use cases enabling the issuance, trading, and processing of corporate bonds, syndicated loans, and other low-liquidity financial instruments. Guan Xiaolan, executive president of Hundsun highlighted the company’s “superior, mature, and highly differentiated DLT stack,” as well as the technology’s high level of security. “Its smart contracts have a proven ability to automate complex business logic, such as highly tailored employee compensation waterfalls for private companies,” he added.

Pictured: Symbiont CTO and co-founder Adam Krellenstein during his presentation at FinDEVr New York 2016.

It has been almost a year since the State of Delaware partnered with Symbiont in a project called The Delaware Block Initiative designed to make it easier for state government and businesses to leverage blockchain technology. In an update published as part of the Delaware law series last month, Andrea Tinianow of the Delaware Blockchain Initiative and Caitlin Long of Symbiont noted that the “first milestone of DBI’s roadmap” – deploying distributed ledger technology at the state’s public archives – had been achieved. Underscoring the relevance of this initial effort, the two wrote: “By being the first to adopt the technology, the State will maintain its leadership in corporate registry services.”

Also this spring, Symbiont added Yale University computer science professor, Dr. Zhong Shao, to its Technical Advisory Board, and partnered with commodity services specialist, Orebits, who will use Symbiont’s smart contract technology to further develop their eponymous commodity-backed digital assets. The first digital assets, called “orebits,” were made available on Symbiont’s platform in March.

Symbiont was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in New York. Adam Krellenstein, CTO and co-founder of the company, presented “Distributed Ledgers and Smart Contracts” at FinDEVr New York 2016.

NYMBUS Scores with $16 Million Investment Led by Home Credit Group

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In a round led by Home Credit Group, core banking technology innovator NYMBUS raised $16 million in new capital. The funds build on the $12 million the FinDEVr/Finovate alum raised in the second half of last year, bringing its total capital to $28 million.

NYMBUS executive chairman Scott Killoh pointed to reliance on outmoded legacy core technology as holding back many institutions in the financial services industry. Because of this, he said “tens of thousands of banks and credit unions are not capitalizing on strategic growth opportunities.” The investment from Home Credit Group will help NYMBUS provide FIs with the modular, third-party friendly core banking technology that will enable them to keep pace with the demands of their customers. NYMBUS President David Mitchell called it “helping … implement digital-first strategies in order to drive customer growth and competitive differentiation.”


Pictured: NYMBUS President David Mitchell during his presentation “NYMBUS: The Next Evolution in Core Processing” at FinDEVr New York.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Miami Beach, Florida, NYMBUS presented “The Next Evolution of Core Processing” at FinDEVr New York last year, during which Mitchell explained why the company decided to focus on core processing technology. “If I asked who in this audience has a pager or a Walkman,” Mitchell told the attendees at last year’s event, “not too many people are going to raise their hands. “But community banks right now are on 30-year old, 20-year old technology,” he said. “(It’s) the oldest technology in the world. It’s been lipstick on a pig, mainframes, green screens for 20 or 30 years.”

NYMBUS, in contrast provides an advanced, core processing platform, SmartCore, with a wide variety of APIs, customizable UI, a conversion layer, and an ecosystem of banking apps. The platform keeps all critical banking functions in a single system with a single sign-on and data set. Home Credit International Group Head of Special Projects Miroslav Boublik called NYMBUS “best positioned to stand at the core” of the disruption of the traditional banking model today. “NYMBUS’ technology is both many years ahead of traditional banking system vendors and most viable among emerging (fintech) providers,” Boublik said.

Earlier this month we shared news of the company’s partnership with California’s Kaiperm Diablo FCU to deploy its core banking technology, SmartCore. Kaiperm Diablo’s announcement comes just a few months after Pennsylvania-based CHROME Federal Credit Union reported that it would use SmartCore as part of its goal of transitioning to a digital-first credit union. NYMBUS has also been an active acquirer, buying Sharp BancSystems, KMR, and R.C. Olmstead in the summer of 2016. Also a veteran of Finovate, the company demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2016.

New Investment in Avalara Takes Tax Management Innovator’s Total Funding to More than $300 Million

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[Originally published on] We’re busy working on next month’s FinDEVr Silicon Valley developer’s conference (tickets still available), so we were thrilled to hear news of a major investment in Avalara, one of our FinDEVr alums from last year’s event.

Avalara, an innovator in automated tax management for small businesses, raised $96 million in new funding from a group of investors including Warburg Pincus, Sageview Capital, and Technology Crossover Ventures this week. Moreover, the company hinted that it may be considering an initial public offering in the near future, as well.

Quoted in GeekWire, company CEO Scott McFarlane called the possible IPO a ‘terrific outcome for Avalara someday if all the cards came together.” Avalara will use $50 million of this week’s investment to support acquisitions and growth – particularly its Compliance Cloud platform. The balance will be used to buy back shares from the company’s early investors. “This financing offers some long-term individual shareholders a liquidity event, while enabling more recent institutional investors to increase their stake,” McFarlane said. Avalara’s total capital raised is more than $318 million.


Pictured: Loke Uei Tan discussing Avalara’s APIs during his presentation “The Wacky World of Sales Tax” at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2015.

Justin Sadrian, managing partner at Warburg Pincus, called Avalara “the ideal platform company” his firm seeks for investment. Ned Gilhuly, founding partner at Sageview Capital, praised the automated tax management specialist’s revenue growth since he began investing in Avalara, adding “going forward, we are as bullish as ever on the company’s growth prospects.”

Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Avalara presented “The Wacky World of Sales Tax” at FinDEVr Silicon Valley 2015. Senior Manager for Developer Relations Loke Uei Tan showed how APIs help developers solve the problem of delivering accurate transitional taxes information from more than 12,000 tax jurisdictions in the U.S.

Last month, Avalara added a number of new enhancements to its compliance document management solution, CertCapture. In June, Avalara announced both a new integration with Stripe as well as earning recognition at the American Business Awards. Avalara calculates $100 million in taxes daily, and remitted $14.4 billion in taxes in 2015.

GiftBit, Formerly Kiind, Raises Funds from Founder’s Co-op


GiftBit, which demoed at FinDEVr 2014 as Kiind and renamed itself in January 2015, has raised an undisclosed amount courtesy of an investment from Founder’s Co-op.

Announcing the investment at the Founders’ Co-op blog, Chris DeVore called GiftBit “a super-fun investment to be able to announce” and added that DeVore and his team had been interested  in investing in the company since it participated in the Techstars Seattle 2015 accelerator (which is run by Founders’ Co-op). “We knew we wanted to invest almost from the moment Giftbit arrived in (our) program.”


Pictured: Leif Baradoy, GiftBit CEO and founder, presenting “Making Gifting Easy” at FinDEVr 2014 in San Francisco.

Giftbit is a digital gift card platform that works both online and via an API to provide gift cards from a wide variety of retailers.  Manually select or import names and addresses of recipients, customize the reward or incentive with your own branding and messaging, and then schedule your cards for delivery. The Giftbit platform enables the sender to track e-mail delivery, as well as open and gift-claimed rates. Importantly, Giftbit “regifts” unused rewards and incentives, crediting the card sender’s account.

Since the company’s rebrand as Giftbit (“Giftbit better describes our service: digital gifts,” company CEO and founder Leif Baradoy wrote.), the company has been busy forging technology partnerships such as the deal last spring with Passenger, an online communication technology company. Giftbit’s Rewards Platform was integrated into Passenger’s FUEL Community Engine. GeekWire profiled Giftbit last October in its Startup Spotlight – the same month the company participated in Techstars Seattle Demo Day – and last December, the company was highlighted in Programmable Web’s Daily API RoundUp.

GiftBit is headquartered in the Pacific Northwest. As Kiind, the company presented its APIs that made gifting easy at FinDEVr 2014 in San Francisco.


Blockchain Dev Platform Stratumn Lands $670,000 in Seed Investment


France-based blockchain development platform, Stratumn followed its FinDEVr New York debut last month with news of a £600,000 ($670,000 USD) investment. Led by Otium Venture, the seed round also featured participation from Ledger CEO, Eric Larchevêque, who said Stratumn’s platform would “open up many opportunities for enterprise business process management.”

The fresh capital will be used to increase headcount to 12 employees, as well as finish work on its open standard technology, Chainscript, that builds audit chains for workflows. The funds will also help the company complete its blockchain notary solution, “Fossilizer.” The investment also represents the first successful French fundraising for a bitcoin company.


Pictured: Stratumn CEO Richard Caetano presenting his Chainscript technology and the Stratumn Blockchain Development Platform at FinDEVr New York.

Stratum’s platform enables developers to write, execute, and test complex workflows and business processes using the blockchain, and then provides them with the infrastructure and tools they need to deploy and run these applications. Stratum uses Chainscript, an open JSON specification, to describe each step of the process and provide cryptographically verification. The platform also provides “proof-of-existence” of critical data, notarizing it in the blockchain.

Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Paris, Stratumn made its FinDEVr debut at our New York conference in March. CEO Richard Caetano discussed “Building and Securing Smart Workflow Using Chainscript and the Stratumn Blockchain Development Platform.”

Bluefin Payment Systems Raises $6 Million in Growth Equity Financing


In round led by Napier Park Global Capital and Camden Partners, Bluefin Payment Systems has raised $6 million in growth equity funding.

Calling Bluefin’s technology “the future of safeguarding cardholder data,” Manu S. Rana, Managing Director at Napier Park pointed to opportunities to deploy Bluefin’s solutions in a number of verticals. “Data breaches impacting payment transactions show no signs of slowing down,” Rana said. “Particularly among retail, healthcare, and education enterprises.”


Pictured (left to right): Bluefin Chief of Product Innovation, Ruston Miles, and Chief of Technology, Tim Barnett demonstrating Bluefin’s point-to-point encryption technology at FinDEVr San Francisco 2014.

Bluefin Payment Systems is a specialist in point-to-point encryption (P2PE) for both integrated and stand-alone solutions. The company’s technology has been deployed in call center, kiosk, and mobile environments and has been applied to verticals in education, healthcare, and retail. The first  P2PE provider to become PCI-validated (March 2014), Bluefin encrypts cardholder data on PCI P2PE compliant devices, keeping it from being reachable in a system or network should there be a data breach.

Bluefin CEO John M. Perry credited his company’s investments in products and technology for the company’s growth. “We are providing PCI-validated P2PE to large companies and universities through our gateway while continuing to grow our list of compatible P2PE devices,” Perry said. “There is a tremendous market need for PCI-validated P2PE across every size of business and every vertical.”

In February, partner USAePay deployed Bluefin’s decryption-as-a-service solution, Decryptx to bring point-to-point encryption to merchants like 3DRetro. And in January, Bluefin announced a new partnership with CDE, an audited encryption service organization. This added CDE to Bluefin’s roster of P2PE Key Injection Facilities for PCI-validated P2PE devices, helping Bluefin’s customers and partners adopt the technology. Bluefin added former GlobalCollect CFO, Huib Dekker as its new Chief Financial Officer last December, a few months after Bluefin announced opening a new office in Ireland.

Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Bluefin demonstrated its point-to-point encryption technology at FinDEVr San Francisco 2014.

SnoopWall Boosts Total Capital to More than $5 Million

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SnoopWall has raised more than $5 million to date courtesy of angel investors, Sandhill East from New York and AngelBreakfastClub.

The updated funding news for the New Hampshire-based company comes as Crunchbase reports on an SEC Form D filing from the company that lists a new investment of $1 million.


Pictured (left to right): SnoopWall’s Gary Miliefsky (CEO) and Chris Gauthier (VP of Engineering) demonstrating AppSHIELD SDK at FinDEVr 2015 in San Francisco.

A specialist in counterveillance security software, SnoopWall was recognized by Insight Success magazine as one of the “50 Most Valuable Tech Companies for 2015” and listed by CIO magazine as one of 10 “cloud security startups to watch.” The company has leveraged its patented cloaking technology to develop a range of solutions: NetSHIELD appliances, MobileSHIELD agent, and AppSHIELD SDK, designed to provide security for networks, mobile devices, and apps. The latter technology, AppSHIELD, was demonstrated during Snoopwall’s appearance at FinDEVr 2015, and has been deployed at more than 95 financial institutions.

SnoopWall was founded in 2013 and is based in Nashua, New Hampshire. Gary Miliefsky is CEO.

Thinking about joining us in New York for FinDEVr 2016, March 29 and 30? Tickets to our developer conference are on sale now. So visit our registration page and save your spot today.

Gem Raises $7 Million in Series A

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In a round led by Pelion Venture Partners, blockchain technology specialist and FinDEVr alum Gem raised $7.1 million in funding. Also participating in the Series A were:

  • Amplify.LA
  • Blockchain Capital
  • Danmar Capital
  • Digital Currency Group
  • Drummond Road Capital
  • KEC Ventures
  • RRE Ventures
  • Tamarisk Global
  • Tekton Ventures

Angel investor James Joaquin also participated in the financing, which takes Gem’s total capital to $12 million, according to Crunchbase. Ben Dahl of Pelion Venture Partners and Bitium CEO Scott Kriz will join Gem’s board of directors.


Pictured: Gem CEO and founder, Micah Winkelspecht speaking on “Redefining Banking from the Ground Up” at FinDEVr 2015 in San Francisco.

In a statement at the Gem blog, the company highlighted its vision for distributed ledger technology as part of a:

“‘blockchain economy’ that forms the underlying architecture of our daily lives: from capital markets to patient care, supply chains to logistics, property rights to digital rights management.”

Gem makes it easier for companies to use blockchain technology by turning complex processes into modular, bitcoin APIs and then leveraging its platform to scale and automatically deploy. Gem recently developed a multi-signature bitcoin API for developers, and is currently building a “modular platform for blockchain applications” that has broad use cases for many different industries.

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Venice, California, Gem debuted at FinDEVr 2015.