Tearsheet announced the winners of the 2021 Embedded Awards yesterday at its The Big Bank Theory Conference. Close to 1000 attendees witnessed a celebration of the some of the best work in embedded finance. Tearsheet’s Embedded Awards are the financial industry’s top awards program focused on embedded finance and the platformification of financial services.
Best Overall Embedded Platform: Marqeta
It was a busy year for the modern card issuer. From IPO to scaling growth in a red hot space, Marqeta was named the Best Overall Embedded Platform by Tearsheet this year.
Marqeta works with many of today’s most innovative brands such as Square, Google, Klarna, DoorDash, and J.P.Morgan, to build and deploy products on its platform. Marqeta’s platform enables consumers faster access to their funds and is empowering businesses to bring new payment use cases to the market. In 2021, Marqeta released its credit card issuing platform, rounding out its card issuing capabilities and allowing it to power any card type - debit, prepaid, and credit.
Best Example of Customer Implementation of Embedded Finance: Bond and Squire
Squire is a barbershop management and point of sale system software used by thousands of barber shops across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Working with embedded finance platform Bond, Squire introduced Squire Card, a debit card that seamlessly integrates into the mobile app, in August 2021. Squire Card allows barbers to get paid by customers faster, pay bills and track expenses easier, and withdraw funds based on future bookings.
Built directly into Squire’s mobile app, Squire Card allows barbershop owners to immediately transfer funds from their account to their employees, so a barber can walk out of the store with money instantly available on the card. Shop owners can also use Squire Card for purchases for their store or to pay bills, such as rent. Similarly, barbers can pay their shop owners for the monthly use of their chair via Squire Card’s integration into the same app barbers use to schedule appointments with clients and accept payments from them.
Best New Product (for brands): TreviPay
TreviPay is a global financial technology company that offers embedded payments for multiple channels in today’s digital, global B2B commerce.
In August 2021, TreviPay announced the release of its one-click mobile payments app for B2B buyers. The TreviPay mobile app allows merchants to offer a mobile app payment experience to their pre-approved B2B credit customers. This allows buyers to access their buy-now-pay-later (BNPL)/trade financing in-store via an intuitive mobile app, eliminating the need and fraud risk of issuing multiple credit cards to numerous purchasers within the organization.
Leveraging TreviPay’s new white label app, its clients can offer B2B buyers a digital payment experience and BNPL flexibility similar to the B2C purchasing experiences many people have grown to prefer. In one click, B2B customers can access their pre-authorized credit line by generating a unique code to be scanned at point-of-sale. Purchase details/terms are then stored in the app’s purchase history and sent directly to the buyers’ company, offering buyers the same immediate gratification as a contactless B2C transaction.
Best Card Issuing Platform: Deserve
Deserve provides a library of APIs and SDKs to its Credit Card as a Service Platform that allows other companies to quickly set up Branded Credit Card Programs and embed the credit card experience from application to customer self service, within their existing mobile application and website customer UX.
Launching Branded Credit Card Programs with legacy players can take two years, while Deserve is able to launch these programs in about six months. Sallie Mae, M1, BlockFi, OppFi, Seneca Women, Notre Dame cards, and others are leveraging Deserve’s modern platform to offer an embedded and seamless credit card experience to customers and members.
Additionally, earlier this year, Marqeta announced a partnership with Deserve to expand into the consumer credit card market and help other brands launch credit card programs.
Best Payments as a Service Platform: Extend
Extend addresses the $1.6 trillion U.S. corporate card industry with technology designed to ease payments and transactions for a variety of businesses, including legal firms, fintech companies, online lenders, banks, rideshare startups, production studios, and others.
Extend offers two main products: an app for businesses that want to instantly give their employees and contractors a secure means of payment, and a suite of APIs for incumbents and startups to leverage virtual credit cards.
To date, Extend has partnered and integrated with Mastercard, Visa, and most recently American Express. Extend is also in-market with a number of banks, including Silicon Valley Bank, City National Bank, and Comdata. By partnering with major processors and networks, Extend delivers modern card services on existing payment rails.
Best New Product (for platforms): Piermont Bank
Piermont Bank’s BancFi is a proprietary commercial lending platform for fintechs and their end users. Typical commercial credit underwriting is based on two years of tax returns demonstrating positive EBITDA, if not actual profits. Piermont spent more than a year engineering a credit risk management process that identifies the strongest fintech players without relying on traditional profitability metrics.
BancFi provides a suite of credit products including working capital, warehouse lines, and a deposit-backed lines of credit for fintechs at different stages of growth.
Within three weeks of the product launching, Piermont has a pipeline of fintech companies lined up.
Best New Embedded Platform: Bestow
Bestow is building life insurance infrastructure for the internet, making coverage accessible to millions of underserved families. Its full-stack platform powers an end-to-end customer experience that is 100% online — a first for the life insurance industry.
This year Bestow launched Protect API, a first-of-its-kind, insurance-as-a-service solution that enables fintech partners to directly embed life insurance within their apps or sites, retaining control of the customer experience. Shortly after launching, Bestow announced a partnership with Lemonade. Bestow’s partnership with Lemonade brings 100% digital life insurance powered by Bestow to Lemonade’s one million+ users.
Best Banking as a Service Platform: Treasury Prime
Treasury Prime’s success in the market proves that banks and fintech companies can be aligned and thrive together. Treasury Prime has built a network of community banks that matches fintechs with the right banking partnership to ensure a successful go-to-market. By adding new banking partners to the network, Treasury Prime helps its fintech clients find a home, which means that more fintech projects can launch and more banks can build the infrastructure needed to be a digital first, fintech-friendly bank.
The firm's APIs have created new opportunities for innovative companies to serve the needs of new customer segments, such as: Mythia (a debit card for gamers), Tuvoli (a platform for the private air charter industry), Wagestream (a financial well-being app for workers), ZenBusiness (a guided business formation and growth platform) and Brex (reimagining finance for growing businesses).
Best New Payments as a Service Platform: Ascend
Ascend is a modern insurance payments platform that provides automated all-in-one financing, collections, and payables. Its payments APIs automate insurance payments end-to-end — from online point of sale with buy now, pay later financing to the distribution of commissions and carrier payables.
To date, Ascend has expanded services across all 50 states for commercial and personal lines of insurance. It's partnered with some of the fastest growing insurtechs such as Vouch, NewFront, Lucky Truck, Boost, Counterpart, Player's Health, Steadily, Now Insurance, and others.
In the company's recent seed round, a series of strategic angels with decades of experience in the insurance industry invested, including Joshua Motta, (CEO Coalition), Spike Lipkin, (CEO Newfront Insurance), Gordon Wintrob, (CTO NewFront Insurance), Sam Hodges, (CEO Vouch Insurance), Phillip Naples, (CEO Layr Insurance), Chad Nitschke, (former CEO of Bunker Insurance), Max Mullen and Brandon Leonardo, (coFounders Instacart) & Ben Rubin (co founder/CEO of HouseParty).