Beyond the Arc is back for Day 2 of the Finovate Spring conference, featuring the latest innovations in financial services and technology. If you missed our commentary on approximately 30 of the most interesting companies in fintech, you can catch up on Day 1 of Finovate. Today I’m joined by William Mills of the William Mills Agency as my co-blogger. Huge kudo’s to Corrie Evanoff who did a wonderful job yesterday at her first Finovate. She kept up with all of the action and shared some excellent insights on Day 1. Look for her commentary marked with her initials, ^CE.
There were several themes in the presentations yesterday. One of the most interesting is that fintech entrepreneurs are rolling out new products, and partnering strategies, for financial institutions. This is in line with what we’ve seen in the industry with the recent acquisition of Simple by BBVA and Banno by Jack Henry.
Also noticeable, in its absence, was the lack of any Personal Financial Management (PFM) product announcements. Back in September, and last year’s Finovate Spring, it seemed like every third company had a PFM product. Perhaps new entrants have been scared off by Money Desktop? They have such a strong product, great user interface, and a growing list of bank clients. MD is not at Finovate this time around, but that just means the next time out will probably hold some great new developments.
As usual, Yodlee has had a strong presence at Finovate. While they are not presenting, they have hosted several events to promote their Yodlee Interactive developer initiatives. You can follow them on Twitter. Yodlee is partnering actively with their network of established FIs, as well as a fast growing cadre of fintech innovators.
Today’s sessions will begin shortly, and we’ll have periodic updates to the blog throughout the day.
Market Prophit is up first. Igor Gonta (CEO)
They are not listed first in schedule so I’m trying to get the information on today’s speaker. The speaker is showing the page for @jimcramer and how their system integrates with Jim’s Twitter feed. What I believe they do is integrate Twitter feeds into their platform to help consumers/traders find/follow and act upon information, the BEST information. Social media sentiment as related to stock performance.
This is the first Finovate Spring that has been held in San Jose vs. San Francisco and I believe we are going to be seeing a lot of newer, even cooler stuff like this during the day.
From their web site “Extracting the market signal from social media noise” http://www.marketprophit.com/about/#sthash.1LRYCb9s.dpuf ^WM
I think it is interesting to see how social media can be leveraged as a source of intelligence for investors. Clearly, crowdsourcing can have benefits and provide the wisdom of the crowd. I do have some concerns about manipulating social media, and hence the value of publicly traded stocks. ^SR
Jumio – Michael Orlando (CSO) and Anthony (SVP)
I’ve seen these this company present before. From their web site: Jumio – Scan and Validate Credit Cards and IDs Jumio is a next-generation payments and ID software-as-a-service company that utilizes proprietary computer vision technology to reduce mobile payment friction and ID fraud.
See your way to more revenue and less fraud with real-time credit card & ID scanning and validation. Integrate Jumio into your mobile app or site. www.jumio.com/
Showing IOS APP. I’m having a problem understanding what this new app does DIFFERENT from what they are currently doing. “If you have forms for a loan we can make it seamless and easier in a mobile environment”. Well, this could be big; we need a lot of new mobile-based approaches to lending/credit. ^WM
Gilad Golan and Emmanuel Marot are showing their web-based LENDING platform as opposed to a TRADING platform. It looks slick; I’m try to understand what makes Lending Robot different than other alternatives. Interesting FAQ on their web site: “Is LendingRobot affiliated with Lending?Club or Prosper?” NO. I guess they get asked this a lot. Is this platform a way for consumers to participate in peer lending? The system is open today. I needs to take more time to study. ^WM
A new platform for replacing the banker’s pitchbook. They claim that a deal pitchbook costs $40,000 to produce, for each book. This is an ipad and browser-based application. The application allows you to drag and drop charts and other elements, to create compelling banking presentations. While this can certainly simplify the process, I’m not sure they have supported the use case persuasively. This is apparently targeted to the investment bankers and commercial bankers in the audience. This product would resonate much more strongly with the New York audience of Finovate Fall. ^SR
Adrian Crockett and Jamie are presenting. They have technology which helps people put together “deal books”. Now, this is something new; I’ve never seen anything quite like this. They are based in NYC. From their web site: Pellucid Analytics is a finance-oriented technology company focused on improving how investment bankers work. ^WM
A marketing solution for attracting small business and merchants. This is based on a database of 42 million businesses, with their technology that enables you to sync with your CRM. Wait! What if bank doesn’t yet have CRM? I know, shocking. The app allows you to create on-the-fly segments of merchants to target. ^SR
Darian Shirazi (CEO) From their web site: The Modern Way to Market to Small Businesses. Unlock your best SMB customer segments. Deploy targeted marketing campaigns and measure your success. http://www.radius.com
Folks, keep on eye on this company. They have raised from Fromation8 (among others). They are a great B2B play to help find and buy small businesses. ^WM
OnBudget – Jim Collas (CEO) and Mike Corrales) VP Marketing
They want you to be able to setup and manage your personal budget. OK, so the first PFM offering of this Finovate show. They believe existing tools are too cumbersome, and not optimized for everyday spend. They offer something “delightfully simple”, with clients in 16 out of top 50 banks. They emphasize the ease of setting up your budget. Mobile app shows you easy to understand overview of how you’re doing. You can setup multiple budgets. ^SR
“Only 1 of 5 adults use PFM”. This LOOKS like a pre-paid card approach to PFM that’s easy for consumers to use. We have an effortless budgeting process.
Showing IOS app. It looks clean and nice. I think Mike is a little nervous (don’t worry Mike, your demo looks very good). You get a notification and the consumer gets to the alert in an overview page that shows consumers that they might be over budget. ^WM
Coinbase – Roger Gu and Nahid Samsam
A bitcoin wallet provider, the first one of the show. No charge-backs, that is an attractive benefit. One of their major partners is Overstock.com, as well as the Sacramento Kings basketball team. Bitcoin transactions are helping to attract new customers to merchants. Coinbase has a merchant dashboard to track their bitcoins. You can set the option of what to do with your bitcoin, including near-immediate conversion into U.S.. dollars. They charge 1% fee for transactions, no monthly or setup fees. They waive first $1 million in bitcoin transactions. They are obviously investing in growing this market. They are reaching out to payment gateway providers. ^SR
I need to study this a bit more; some folks are REALLY big fans of Bitcoin. So far, I see it as an international solution but am not sure of it’s long-term success in the U.S. “Easy way for merchants to use BitCoin. We charge a 1% exchange rate fee BUT free for the first $1,000,000 in BitCoin transactions.” Interesting. “We have 1.2 million consumer wallets” ^WM
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Tactile Finance (Tacfi) – Nicole Hamilton (Founder)New tools for homebuyers, you get a quick snapshot of your financial profile. This is tied to eligibility and qualification, helping to educate the consumer. They calculate the Tacfi Score, to help consumers compare the total cost of mortgage loan options. The platform includes mortgage lenders/brokers who can help to provide tailored support. They provide a white-label option for banks. ^SR
Makes mortgage decisions faster and easier. It’s a very cool mortgage front end for the 21st Century. They have been B2B. They are launching a new product today: tacfi (for consumers I think) “Home financing that you can control”. OK, it looks GREAT and as a consumer I would definitely try it but it kind of looks like they are making an end-run around the FI (sort of like a better LendingTree).
Here’s what they say on their web site.
“CLEAR, TRANSPARENT MORTGAGE SALES SOFTWARE THAT PUTS CONSUMERS IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT”
The ability to show consumers exactly what their mortgage options are, no matter how complex, also allows banks to beat any competition. Consumers who understand options and trust their mortgage loan officers make decisions quicker, leading to faster time-to-close. Providing a framework that removes user error and logs data provides mortgage operations with efficiencies and information previously out of reach.
Our innovative technology speeds sales and reduces risk to banks, loan officers, and consumers. ^WM
ID.me – Blake Hall (CEO) and Mathew Thompson (COO)
Consumer-controlled identity bank. Helps to confirm that a customer is eligible for a particular benefit, for example as a veteran, firefighter, etc. Helps to develop a credential that can be used across a network of merchants. Allowed UnderArmour to offer a special veterans benefit, for example. They are partnering with payment processors, to create a linked identity to manage eligibility for card-based reward offers. Verification at the point of redemption for special offers. Also applicable for mobile wallet providers. ^SR
Identity verification, showing their demo of how they work with Overstock.com. I believe it works; I’m just not sure HOW or WHY their system is better than others. Military/security background. I’ll need to study their model more.
From their web site: ID.me offers businesses a secure, trusted and real-time method for verifying the group associations of their customers online. ID.me’s Single Sign On (SSO) solution enables users to safely and securely manage what data is being shared between ID.me and our partner sites. Using ID.me’s SSO solution, businesses can tailor the user experience on their platform more effectively to offer discounts and other great benefits.
Build something amazing for the military, first responders, or students. ^WM
Spreedly – Justin Benson, CEO and Brendon Pebble, Business DevelopmentTheir pitch is “payments as a platform.” Today, they want to extend beyond payment gateways. They offer an API. Helps merchant avoid creating a secure vault for credit card info, makes it easier for merchants to meet requirements of PCI. ^SR
“We are looking to emulate Stripe and Braintree; we’ve seen a million transactions in first year and have raised $1.5 million in VC.” “We are an API – Payments as a Platform with 61 integrations with 60+ payment gateways.” “PCI compliant”. It looks like they have the ability to put the merchant more in control with information; costs; marketing, and more. I like it. ^WM
Fiserv – Andrew Barnett, Senior Mobile Solutions Consultant; Gregory Jones, User Experience Analyst
They are offering new wearable technology, using Google Glass and Samsung smartwatch. This is the first wearable presentation I’ve seen at Finovate. Instant account balance on Glass, interesting. Geeky cool. Stares at the QR code with Glass, and you tap to confirm. Payment is verified, and confirmation sent to smartwatch. Notification from Mobiliti describes the transaction, and new account balance. They have an alerting engine that can be sent to the watch. You can add a visual “tag” to take a picture, and associate it with the transaction. This could be another channel, based on an established platform from Fiserv. This is an experiment, but it is very compelling– it comes out of their innovation lab. The future of wearables is here! Huge wow factor. ^SR
Fiserv is a giant in the FI industry. I remember when the company formed and they are one of the “big five” of core banking vendors as well as a major payments player. Andrew and Greg are doing a demo using Google Glass as a “mobile payment system.” It’s funny; he’s STARING down the QR code from the Glass for a purchase. It’s a lot of fun; good job on the demo guys. ^WM
Venovate – Michael Raneri, CEO; Thomas Foley, President; Michiel de Boer, Head of Product, UX and Marketing
A marketplace for alternative investments – matchmaking for accredited investors and fundraisers. They provide a standardized way to compare investments. They are FINA-registered and conduct their own due-diligence (on both the investor and the investment). They emphasize the ability to do this online, making it more efficient to raise funds. Reduces time to close from 10 months, down to 10 weeks, according to Venovate. You can invest in Venovate, using their own platform. ^SR
“Venovate supports the entire private market investment process, all on one platform. That’s what makes Venovate the marketplace for smarter alternatives.”
This is a sharp demo but it’s tricky – it looks like they are trying to reach fundraisers, investors and institutions. I liked how they showed a photo of early Microsoft executives and used the example that until years later other people would not have had the opportunity to invest in a start-up like Microsoft.
From their web site: Venovate Marketplace brings together accredited investors and qualified institutions with private-placement business opportunities to make raising capital easier. Venovate facilitates the discovery, evaluation, and purchase of private company stock and other alternative assets.
Target and data breaches mean we need new ways to fight fraud. Enter RippleShot. Profile the merchant, not the consumer. Detect fraud faster. They have a map-based view of potential fraud threats from interactive dashboard. View geography, and then dive into the statistics. Helps to mitigate fraud losses for banks, payment processors, and other players in the industry. ^SR
From their web site: Rippleshot’s big data technology monitors merchants to detect data breaches early, reduce losses from credit card fraud and protect brand reputation.
I like the presentation but again, WHY is Rippleshot better than other providers? What is their “secret sauce” that makes fraud detection better and faster? ^WM
It looks like a web-based planner for financial planners and their clients but I just heard the word app so perhaps they have an end-user app and a financial advisor web platform. We’ll find out. “Managing $500 million in assets and using our system advisors can handle 10 to 15 more clients per month.” I like the demo and the system. ^WM
Best in Show winner from Finovate last year. They are announcing their consumer lending API for small-dollar loans. Target customer is sub-prime with low FICO score. They provide gameified approach to consumer lending, while meeting the needs of the payday loan market. With the API, they offer banks a turnkey solution for banks to operate in this space. They want to mitigate the reputation risk of payday loans, with a more consumer-friendly product. ^SR
They partner with Jumio. Back-end processing for credit card issuance. Mobile AO is their new solution. The customer experience of card issuance can be adapted by the admin super-user. There is a different look and feel for smartphone and tablet. Banks can roll-out new card products with easy to use enablement technology. This is a complete solution for mobile, that allows banks to also sell through this channel. ^SR
Folks, pay attention to these folks. My friend Dinesh sold his new account opening technology company to HFS and recently Charlie Kroll, founder of Andera sold to Bottomline for almost $50 million. I was sorry to see that Charlie is leaving the company he founded but that’s another story, I know Bottomline is a great company too.
Back to Endeavour, this is NEXT GENERATION new account opening system that mobile-focused. I know these folks will do GREAT. ^WMA
Card protection for seniors, to help them avoid scams. TrueLink makes a strong case for the threat to seniors from telemarketers who want to prey on them. With one click, you can set limits on how a credit card can be used. (For example, to block charitable contributions.) Transaction will be declined and the spending control will send an alert to a family member. Protection starts with the customer, not the transaction. They also apply machine learning to make the product more valuable, to detect potential scams. ^SR
I LIKE WHAT THEY ARE DOING. “Actively protect those you love most against fraud and other spending mishaps. “ They are protecting senior citizens (among others) to prevent telemarketing fraudsters from bilking seniors.
I have seen this happen first-hand to a relative and it’s heartbreaking. I am so glad these folks are doing this It’s an EASY, web-based front end to protect seniors. Keep up the great work. ^WM
Private company that just got a ton of VC from some big guns in the VC community. From their web site: “Artivest provides insight and access to exceptional investing. “ Artivest is a trusted platform that carefully curates investing. We provide people with research and access to investment options that normally wouldn’t be open to them, providing better investment experiences without the noise, confusion and tyranny of choice they would otherwise face. Curated Investing: A single source for research, insights and expert guidance that saves you time and effort, and lets you get information exactly when and where you want it.
I think this is a pretty cool way to invest in private equity, especially for organizations that are NOT like KKR. I like it, they seem really smart, their web site is nice, good copy but I think they could do an even better demo since this is a pretty cool system for private equity. ^WM
“Easy-op” is helping to re-imagine your bank’s CRM. Incorporates financial plan scenarios into a customer profile, and then Yesop generates a call script for the financial advisor. After a visit, system helps to generate a meeting report & follow-up. ^SR
I saw Yseop present in the past. “Rekindle your customer relationships by enhancing your current CRM System.”
“Re-Imagine Your CRM” . Natural Query Language helps to generate custom scripts for the call rep based on information from the core system. I think it’s pretty good but I’m not yet blown away. I like the concept as most of my FI call center interactions lately have been terrible. It’s a web-based platform so I assume it can be used on a tablet by a CSR or other FI representative.
From their website: About Yseop Research and development for Yseop’s technology began more than 20 years ago with a team coming from the famous mathematical lab called ENS (Paris, France). Yseop’s disruptive technology has already grown quickly in Europe and more recently in the US, and we currently have clients across a variety of sectors: banking, insurance, healthcare, telecommunications, travel, real estate and e-commerce. Currently, our largest customer is in production with Yseop’s technology for 12,500 sales people and has reported a large increase in productivity and quality of service. ^WM
Partnering with Sprint to power the Boost mobile wallet serving the underbanked. Boost is one of the most popular pre-paid phone brands in the U.S. Users can send money to people in other countries via mobile app, at a very low flat transaction fee. Limited offer: money transfer to 135 countries for no fee. ^SR
I’m sure I’ve seen these folks before. They have a underbanked/unbanked/no bank solution for those folks that don’t have or want a FI (as best as I can understand). They are demonstrating a new program in conjunction with Boost Mobile for the wallet app. Nice UI. Clean, simple, looks easy to use. ^WM
Turn your smartphone into a device for secure authentication. Enables joint account holders to share a login, but authenticate separately. Users can receive alerts and reject transactions before they are completed. Multi-channel approach to authentication. ^SR
It looks very good but in the future it would be great if they did more actual transactions; it’s a great demo but the demo doesn’t look like a REAL transaction. It’s almost too perfect, like a pre-built animation/presentation for the speaker to read a script. I may be mistaken. ^WM
Fair lending analytics and compliance tools to help banks identify the risk, and prevent, pricing policies that could have a discriminatory impact. Lending policies can have unintended consequences, this tool can give you an early warning system. ^SR
Here’s their pitch from their web site: Visible Equity’s loan portfolio analysis is used by hundreds of financial institutions to analyze their data. It’s time to ditch the spreadsheets!
This is important stuff they are doing: creating next generation technology platforms to help FI’s to remain in compliance especially related Fair Lending. “Is there pricing discrimination in a particular class?” It is a nice, clean web-based user interface. It’s not a sexy topic but it’s important. ^WM
Avoka – Phil Copeland, CEO; Jeff Kalicki, Senior Account Executive
Avoka wants to help banks integrate touchpoints and deliver a “omnichannel 2.0” experience. Enable customers to start a loan application on the train to work, and then save & close. At home that night, person can resume the application on their iPad. ^SR
Zumigo – Chirag Bakshi, CEO and Founder; David Pinski, VP Product Management
They have a new relationship with Equifax, to combine mobile identity with easy to use e-commerce, using secure data from your phone. It is not an app, API calls delivers the data with minimal impact on the merchant. Helps to populate mobile/web forms and reduces the need to input tons of data on a mobile device. This all works behind the scenes, so it is a bit hard to demo! ^SR
It looks like a pretty good solution and it seems they are pretty tight with mobile carriers. “No need for an app” (I’m assuming they mean for the consumer). They are announcing today a relationship with Equifax (full disclosure, WMA provides public relations services for Equifax).
I think this means that between the FI and Equifax (and their mobile carriers) means consumers (and merchants) can be protected without having to take overt action; it seems to be behind the scene. ^WM
Red Giant – Robert Sears, CEO; Lindsay Douglass, Project Manager
The company allows you to “lock” your credit card, to prevent unauthorized use. The transaction does not go through unless you approve it. You get a digital receipt for puchases done via mobile app. I think this provides good peace of mind and seems very easy to use. Automatic “geo-fencing”, you leave your home area and your card is locked, until you unlock it. You receive a physical Red Giant card, as well as a virtual digital counterpart. ^SR
OK this might be cool but they are not SHOWING anything. Just a big logo on the screen while they are speaking, OK, NOW they are showing a demo but it doesn’t look like a REAL demo; it appears to be a screen grab of an IOS App.
Now we are finally seeing how it’s used on an iPad and finally a real hands-on demo. It’s slick clean and nice but moving forward I hope they get to the demo faster. I went to their web site and there is very little information to find as information “is by invitation only”. ^WM
New ATM technology developed in the Ukraine, a “topless ATM.” You use your smartphone, instead of a typical keypad to withdraw money. They also have a Google Glass interface for the ATM. Much less expensive, equipment is cheaper to maintain, you don’t use a card. The operating system is Android. The smartphone becomes your personal ATM. ^SR
PrivatBank? It’s a late addition from Eastern Europe, Ukraine. They are taking apart an ATM on stage. Interesting demo; I a wondering what the solution actually is. GREAT use of humor. They call it the “topless ATM” (I’m not making this up). I THINK it is a mobile app that enables a consumer to make an ATM eject cash (no screen or buttons or anything). Nice idea; I have NEVER seen anything like this and it makes sense. Think about it; why press all the buttons on an ATM when you can use your phone to eject cash from a cash machine. Now showing the solution using Google Glass. This MIGHT be best in show. It’s certainly best use of humor. ^WM
Qapital – George Friedman, CEO and Founder; Henrik Wrangel, Chief Product Officer. From Crunchbase: Qapital is a new savings and personal finance app launching in the US and Sweden soon.
Qapital allows you to organize your finances in a single place by connecting to your online accounts. It gives you an instant overview of your finances and empowers you to save on the small stuff so that you can spend on the things that matter most. In addition to its basic finance and budgeting features, Qapital has a unique feature that sets it apart from existing personal finance apps. Namely, it lets you create events for your wallet that actually make saving money engaging and fun.
OK, it’s kind of like a PFM mobile app (I’m assuming with a web interface as well) with “gamification” tied to account aggregation data. ^WM
FinBuddy – Shyam Maddali, CEO and Founder; Baker Nanduru, Co-Founder. Empower retail investors with personalized actionable insights and trusted network of friends & experts to make smarter decisions.
I’m seeing a trend here. This is an app/web site to help investors better manage their stock portfolio. It looks sharp and clean, nice UI. The TREND is it seems like 1/3 the companies presenting are either PFM or stock/investment application platforms. IF I’m right (or even half right) that means there is VC interest in this category: managing money better, easier using mobile apps with a web-based version. ^WM
Nearex – Mayank Sharma, CEO; Arun Tanksali, CTO
Payment solution for micro-merchants, and micro-payments. Hardware that enables simple PIN-less payments with tag and reader that integrates into more robust backend. Affordable solution for very small merchants to start accepting cashless payments. ^SR
This is a new payment/mobile platform. They are just starting the demo now. I THINK it’s a contactless payment platform but I’m not quite getting how to use it. It’s meant for micro merchants. ^WM
Kreditech – Sebastian Diemer, CEO and Founder; Alexander Graubner-Muller, CTO and Founder
Big Data for consumer lending. 5 Billion people around the world don’t have a credit score. They can score customers that don’t have a credit history, incorporating over 10,000 data points including social media, location, and more. They provide accept/reject and recommendation for pricing. Launched in 6 international markets. ^SR
Based in Germany. “Big Data Consumer Lending” 75% of all the people in the world do not have a traditional credit score. We have launched in six markets so far (select countries in Europe and Latin America I think.)
I think these folks solve a BIG need. I think that there are hundreds of millions of people in the world don’t have what we would call a traditional US credit bureau report. I believe their platform uses other sources of data (Facebook, Amazon, LinkedIn, etc.) for a credit decision. This looks cutting edge to me. ^WM
StrategyCorps – Mike Branton, Managing Partner; Dave DeFazio, Partner
Help companies save money with local merchants via mobile. Offers and deals from local and national merchants. Show coupon to the merchant for a discount, and customer can report any customer experience issues. Location awareness generates alerts on your phone. Every time you use a coupon, you enter a contest with a chance to win. ^SR
I saw these folks present at Finovate Fall in New York last fall. “Help customers save money while they are spending it, especially with local merchants.” I REALLY like that part. Their white label mobile banking product is called “BaZing” which is kind of a location-based Groupon integrated with the bank’s core system. They are showing location-based offers/coupons w/o the user having to do anything. BaZing also has an integrated loyalty program. This will be VERY popular with community banks and perhaps community credit unions. ^WM
Pixeliris – Emmanuel Ruiz, CEO and Head of Innovation; Brian Roeten, Senior Project Manager
This is an alternative to NFC, using standard equipment in all mobile phones (even feature phones). Encrypted sounds that are read by a website, this is totally new to me! Multi-layer security protects against phishing. Feature phones can become enabled to work with mobile wallets. ^SR
“Only 15% of mobile phones in the world are RFC-ready.” Man, I thought it would be higher. I think they are getting ready to show a contactless payment via mobile w/o a built in RFC chip.
Showing an older phone with an iPad Safari app, the phone then rings and the SOUND authenticates the phone and the application. It’s pretty cool. It looks like it helps to make a “dumb” phone into a smart device using sonic waves. ^WM
Loyal 3 – Barry Schneider, CEO
They seek to make it easier for consumers to purchase stocks, including IPOs. Loyal 3 helped sell stock for the AMC IPO. They provide an “open prospectus”, curated to provide individual investors with key information. Same price and timing of IPO that institutional investors receive. They are a registered broker-dealer. Interesting offering, but light on actual demo and heavy on packaged video– not very consistent with the core concept of Finovate. Crowdsourcing, but with some level of investor protection. “Allows people to invest in the companies they love.” I’m a huge advocate in brand, and its value, but how important should it be in your investment decision? What can they do to educate investors on financials? ^SR
LOYAL3’s slogan “Investing for All” “Crowdsourcing for IPO’s”. We are a broker/dealer as well as a technology company. Showed AMC demo video. From their web site:
IPOs For All. Sign-up to be notified when initial public offerings are available on LOYAL3
I really like the concept but I’m going to have to study this more. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something quite like it. It’s unique. ^WM