This Tuesday, the Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup takes a look at the latest global fintech stories. Rho Technologies has raised $15million, while Icon hires Alastair Brown.
Global payment provider Icon Solutions appoints former RBS International Banking CIO Alastair Brown to its board of directors. He is currently executive chairman at DTSQUARED and also serves as a board advisor to SaaScada.
Fintech expert Spiros Margaris has joined the advisory board of Zurich-based securitisation startup Gentwo. As a ‘thought leader’ for the company, Margais will ‘propose new business approaches’ as well as help it advance internationally.
interactive investor, the UK investment platform, has unveiled two appointments to boost its investment governance. Merryn Somerset Webb has joined its investment governance committee while Charles Cade has joined the executive investment selection committee.
Open banking provider TrueLayer has appointed Jamie Morton as UK country manager. Morton joins TrueLayer from financing platform Vendigo. TrueLayer says Morton’s experience in marketplaces and eCommerce platforms will be vital to its growth in those verticals and will also have significant impact on its business in ‘2021 and beyond’.
Cirrus has expanded its executive team in order to ‘support market demand and organisational growth’. The cloud-based document management firm has hired Alex Dean as national sales director. John DeMoss also joined the company recently as chief strategy officer.
Finally, senior credit and banking expert Dominique Fraisse joins credit and political risk insurance platform Dialogue as non-executive chairman. Fraisse recently retired as global head of energy and natural resources at French corporate and investment bank Natixis.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Payment technology firm FortisPay has acquired Swype at Work. It also entered into a long-term strategic partnership with Net at Work, an affiliate company of Swype. The acquisition will allow FortisPay to expand its offerings into new B2B and middle markets throughout North America.
IT security company Utimaco has snapped up MYHSM, the payment hardware security module as a service provider. It said the acquisition will fast-forward its cloud and as-a-service offering for the retail, banking and financial services industries.
Shopping rewards company Global Savings Group (GSG) is acquiring German cashback platform operator Shoop. The acquisition aligns GSG and Shoop’s shared vision to create ‘rewarding moments for people and empower them to make the best shopping decisions in a smart and enjoyable way’.
Meanwhile, Silverfleet Capital‘s portfolio company Collectia completes acquisition of German debt collection form Dr. Duve Inkasso GmbH (DDI). Silverfleet says the purchase gives Collectia access to ‘attractive new segments’ and ‘increases its penetration in one of its core European markets’.
Funding and Investments
Norwegian Block Exchange (NBX) has secured a NOK60million investment. NBX says the funding will put it in the position to develop its trading platform for cryptocurrencies and digital assets, as well as new products related to banking and e-money licences.
Fintech Paysera has raised its authorised capital from €3million up to €7million. The capital was raised from the accumulated profit. Paysera is currently the largest electronic money institution in Lithuania by the number of payment transactions.
Meanwhile, fintech Rho Technologies has raised $15million in a Series A round led by M13 Ventures. The company will use the proceeds to further expand its team-oriented commercial banking platform, starting with the launch of Rho AP. Rho AP expands on the core banking platform, by enabling companies to run full accounts payable lifecycles right within Rho.
Longevitytech.fund has joined data-driven risk firm Vesttoo as a shareholder through an equity investment. Using AI and machine learning stochastic algorithms, Vesttoo creates highly accurate risk models and forecasts.
London-based Insurtech startup Humn.ai has secured funding from Shell Ventures in order to accelerate expansion. Over the last year, Humn has secured an insurance licence from the Financial Conduct Authority and insurance capacity with delegated underwriting authority.
Partnerships and Collaborations
Fintech platform Supply@ME Capital (SYME) has signed a co-operation agreement with Lenovo Financial Services in the META region. SYME says the agreement helps it move a step closer towards its goal of becoming a global inventory monetisation provider.
Tradetech innovator Ovamba Solutions and financial services provider Singularity Finance have partnered to deliver financial inclusion and growth capital to small and growing businesses in Egypt. The partnership gives Singularity the rights to sell Ovamba’s digital solutions to banks, microfinance institutions and other alternative providers of trade finance.
Phos and Mastercard have extended their partnership to expand coverage of contactless card transactions. By downloading Tap on Phone, SMEs can turn any near-field communications-enabled android mobile device into a PoS, accepting contactless payments from debit or credit cards, mobile wallets and wearables.
Archax, the forthcoming FCA regulated digital securities exchange, has today announced a partnership with MOSS, a global leader in environmental programmes. Archax plans to launch later this year with a focus on institutions and professional investors, as well as all types of digital assets globally.
Meanwhile, analytics software firm FICO has announced that Yapi Kredi, one of the largest private banks in Turkey, will use its tools to manage analytics models. The Turkish bank will use FICO Decision Central to govern all kinds of analytical and decision assets.
Finally, Germany-based accounting app Sorted is teaming up with Salt Edge to get instant access to open banking data. Sorted accounting app helps freelancers to take control of their taxes and significantly reduce their accounting expenses.
Industry News and Updates
Nisbah Capital, the blockchain subsidiary of Saudi Arabia-based Taibah Valley, will join the Tezos ecosystem as a corporate baker, the first in the Middle East region. It also has added the Tezos blockchain to its blockchain lab projects.
SAMA, the Saudi Central Bank, has issued an Open Banking policy listing the objectives and benefits of it for the local financial sector. The move is part of a series of different initiatives that SAMA has introduced over the last three years to help create and grow a fintech ecosystem in the Kingdom.
Meanwhile, Vacuumlabs has strengthened its commitment to the Asia market with the launch of new regional headquarters in Hong Kong. Michael Bruck will lead Vaccumlabs’ Hong Kong office – growing sales and partnerships, and providing better support to partners.
Global re/insurance outsourcing and consulting specialist Pro has opened an office in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The office will offer services across Pro’s underwriting, claims, technical accounting, auditing and outsourcing verticals.
Dubai fintech Sarwa is expanding to Saudi Arabia after receiving a fintech experimental permit from Saudi’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA).
“When we received the call that we got the licence, we were very excited to introduce Saudi to Sarwa and to long-term, simple, affordable, and smart investments that we are all about.”
Finally, improving relations Between Qatar and other GCC Countries could be positive for Qatari insurers says S&P Global Ratings. Over time, Qatari insurers are likely to benefit from more regional travel, tourism, and possibly trade. Which could lead to an increase in insurable risks and consequently premium income.
Product and Service Launches
Emirates NBD introduces contactless ID verification to open new accounts. New customers of Emirates NBD can now have their identity documents verified using contactless NFC technology when opening a bank account via the bank’s mobile banking app.
RGAX – the digital innovation subsidiary of Reinsurance Group of America – has launched a cloud-based underwriting engine called UWPal. UWPal leverages Pandora, the digital platform of fintech solutions developer OPAL IS. According to RGAX, many start-ups and digital distributors want to tap into complementary digital underwriting services so that they can focus on their core proposition.
Telos, the public blockchain network, has introduced a new way to bring liquidity and added value to the TLOS ecosystem. The Telos Uniswap Liquidity Implementation Plan (TULIP) is a sequence of liquidity events leading to a variety of deep liquidity opportunities for Telos. December saw Telos celebrate its second birthday.
EQUOS, the cryptocurrency exchange of Diginex, has launched a Bitcoin Perpetual Futures Contract. Diginex says it is the first in a product suite that will offer investors more dynamic hedging tools and fairer liquidation. The product is designed to ensure that traders and institutional investors can always benefit from transparent and fair market conditions.
Finally, brothers Danny and Lee Dunne have unveiled a new fintech startup that aims to help the most vulnerable in society. Payments company Payaro will automatically support good causes. Whenever a customer buys anything using a credit or debit card, a small fee is charged to the business owner. Currently, a portion of that fee will be automatically donated to charity Buddy Bag Foundation.