Financial institutions are scrambling to keep up with the wealth of new and innovate financial services products that are now available and being developed. As more of these services move online, the ability to offer the latest products, at the right time can be the critical difference for financial institutions in earning a new client or retaining an existing one. However, most financial services firms are a bit slow to offer their entire catalog of services online due to a myriad of reasons and even if they are able to do this, getting it in front of the right consumer, at the right time remains a challenge. Even Financial has developed an API that matches the consumer with the correct services in a seamless and quick real time process that may have taken days if done manually over the phone or in the branch. The API offers direct integrations with dozens of institutions and can also be used to power websites and apps in a flexible and customizable manner, gracefully combining an adtech model to financial services solution.
AlleyWatch chatted with Phillip Rosen about the financials services industry, the startup, future plans, and its newest round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $3 million in a strategic investment round. The round included investments from American Express Ventures, the strategic investment unit of American Express, as well as Plug & Play and Arab Angels.
Tell us about your product or service.
Even Financial powers financial services online. The core of Even’s platform is our industry leading API that matches qualified consumers with the right financial products and services in real-time. Even’s platform provides analytics and insights that enable marketers, financial institutions and other partners to increase customer application volumes and reduce the cost of acquisition. Our integrated platform is used today by some of the leading online financial institutions, as well as an affiliate network of over 150 websites and apps that market personal finance products to consumers.
Finance is slowly and progressively moving online. Financial services that use to be offered together within a branch model are being broken off and offered directly to consumers by specialized companies online. This is great for the consumer, but leads to a complex web of hard to navigate relationships and regulations for websites, app developers and financial service providers – as we have seen with other similar industry transitions, like travel and advertising. Even acts as an intermediary to simplify the ecosystem for all parties.
How is it different?
This is the first API to enable app developers and websites with direct access to often hard to reach financial services. Through a single endpoint they can integrate with dozens of major financial services providers and products. These aren’t display ads, they are direct integrations into the financial service providers themselves, with personalized real-time results. People build sites, tools and apps on top of our API, we also power channels like call centers and point of sale (eg; to finance big purchases).
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
It covers both sides of the online financial services ecosystem. Touchpoints like websites, apps, call centers, point of sale, and the financial institutions. Overall, this is a $2T+ market.
What’s your business model?
Developers and websites don’t pay us anything, in fact we pay them. Financial service providers pay us for access to customers and to ensure compliance across our network. We split these revenues with the app developers and websites. We also recently launched a new model, as an alternative to CPC, called Real-time Pricing (RTP), backed by our data and machine learning, that has had incredible results, increasing monetization for all parties.
What were the considerations when evaluating a strategic investor like American Express Ventures?
We have been building this relationship for a while. Obviously, they are a major financial institution, so we are engaged with them as part of our business. They saw what we’re doing, and they support our vision for providing this essential infrastructure for online financial services. Of course, this sort of backing from a major financial institution really furthers and validates our mission.
What was the funding process like?
There is always a lot of diligence, even more so with a major financial institution. Again, completing this investment with American Express is a testament to the quality and potential of Even’s business.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
You always have to be sure to find the right partners.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
For starters, we are a startup with healthy and growing revenue. As previously mentioned, they also understand and support our vision for our platform, enabling financial services to grow online – for example, immediately we are a major component or owner of scaling affiliate business with compliance and transparency for a number of FSIs, reducing their cost of acquisition while increase monetization.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We will continue to expand our team, our integrations, features, products and services.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
If you do not absolutely have to be here, move somewhere cheaper.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
I really enjoy good sushi. Yasuda is my historical favorite, but recently I’ve really been enjoying Sushi On Jones