The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup on Thursday 19 November. PensionBee unveils fossil free fund, BondIT and Scorable merge, while Khurram Shroff invests in ETH 2.0.
Open source API management startup Gravitee has hired Rory Blundell as CEO in order to support global expansion. In addition, Nicolas Géraud, co-founder of the French-based company, will take over as COO. Gravitee has also announced v3.4 of its API platform and its expansion into new markets, such as the USA and APAC.
HSBC has created two new senior technology roles to drive forward the bank’s digitalisation and create growth opportunities. Kate Platonova has been promoted internally to chief data and architecture officer, while Catherine Zhou joins as global head of venture, digital innovation and partnerships. The bank also revealed that it saw a 220 per cent increase in mobile payments in the Q2 of 2020.
Perenna, the fixed for life mortgage fintech, has hired Dan Pass as CTO. Previously, Pass worked at Oplo, building automated and fast decisioning lending platforms. Perenna plans to ‘disrupt the UK mortgage market by introducing fixed for life mortgages where the interest rate will remain the same throughout the loan term’.
Fleur Sohtz joins building venture group Team8 as its new chief marketing officer. Sohtz’s appointment follows Team8’s recent expansion into fintech, its venture arm’s launch, and with other new initiatives in the pipeline.
Partnerships and Collaborations
Lifestyle brands Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie have unveiled a partnership with shopping and payments provider Klarna. Klarna will now be available to shoppers in the UK, Germany, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Swedish neobank Northmill Bank is teaming up with open banking platform Tink. Northmill says the collaboration means it can accelerate the development of personal finance management solutions. It will also enable the bank to ‘add another layer of intelligence to its credit assessments’.
Swipen Merchant Services and tech partner Cardstream are providing e-commerce customers the ability to pay via ApplePay. The companies say they expect to see a continued rise in touchless retail shopping and contactless transactions.
Leasing company Zenith has adopted Quotevine’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution Radia. Once fully implemented, Radia will manage all of Zenith’s leasing terms in one place – reducing the time it takes to update terms.
Meanwhile, ESG data science firm RepRisk partners with Apex to provide risk data to private markets. RepRisk’s ESG risk dataset will be combined with Apex’s company disclosure-based ESG ratings to offer 360-degree views of private company holdings.
Investment management firm Perspective Investments has hooked up with fintech Glint Pay in order to offer staff salary payments in gold. In addition, to storing capital in a Glint Pay business account, Perspective Investments will also use Glint Pay’s new peer-to-peer product, Glint It!. This allows customers to instantly send or receive money, including real, spendable gold and other currencies.
Mastercard and Network International are to drive the adoption of commercial payments across the Middle East and Africa. The collaboration includes the upcoming launch of the Commercial Payment Platform in order to pave the way for a streamlined, efficient and more inclusive future.
Funding and Investments
Digital reputation API firm Mati raised $13.5million in Series A funding to build digital reputation tools for the trust economy. This fundraise, led by Tribe Capital, brings total funds raised to date to $18.5million.
FinChatBot, creator of conversational AI solutions, has attracted £1.2million from investors Saviu Ventures, Compass Venture Capital and Kalon Venture Partners. FinChatBot will use the funding primarily to grow its team, as well as expand into the UK, Europe and West Africa.
Dubai-based investment firm IBC Group, chaired by entrepreneur Khurram Shroff, is ploughing $10million worth of Ethereum in support of the upcoming Ethereum 2.0 launch. The investment is in partnership with Canada-based decentralised Ethereum staking network CanETH. The blockchain community considers ETH 2.0 more environment friendly.
French social media app Yubo has completed a Series C funding round of $47.5million. Existing investors Idinvest, Iris Capital, Alven and Sweet Capital led the funding, joined by new investors, including Gaia Capital Partners.
Private equity firm Africa Capital Alliance has invested $20million in Accelerex. The agency banking arm of Accelerex is a major driver of financial inclusion in Nigeria. In addition, Accelerex has also acquired a majority stake in SLS Microfinance Bank.
Fintech PayBy says it has integrated with more than 40,000 point of sale machines at more than 30,000 First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) merchant partners in the UAE. Over the last few months, PayBy has secured partnerships with UAE retailers, including Lulu Group, Al Ain Coop and Jumbo Electronics.
Automated fare collection provider O-CITY plans to drive contactless payments across bus services in Nairobi, Kenya. Up to 10,000 buses will become cashless with O-CITY’s M-Pesa-based ticketing solution.
Canadian fintech provider Ascendant announces expansion into the UK. Ascendant helps clients build business resilience with payment solutions that identify opportunities for increased operational efficiency. The company says it plans to help UK businesses find ‘unrealised operational efficiencies’.
Webull Financial, a leading commission-free online stock trading platform, today announced the addition of cryptocurrency trading to its product offerings through Webull Crypto LLC. They will become one of the very few broker-dealers currently offering crypto trading to customers.
SkyParlour, the Fintech PR agency, has unveiled three new business divisions to help fintechs ‘better express their own purpose’. Furthermore, the agency has also opened a new office space in London, with plans to open an office in New York in January 2021.
Global payments platform Veem has launched Veem Check. US-based users can now issue all of their domestic payments – online, check, or instant deposit – within minutes on the Veem platform.
Smart payments provider Credorax has added Google Pay and Apple Pay to its payment method offering. While, banking platform Curve has also rolled out Google Pay on its platform to 10 more countries in Europe.
Online pension provider PensionBee and Legal & General have created a new fossil fuel free fund to meet customer demand. The plan excludes companies with oil, gas or coal reserves, as well as tobacco companies and manufacturers of controversial weapons.
“Sustainable investing is the future of pensions”
Finally, BondIT, the independent portfolio construction technology provider, and Scorable, a provider of AI-driven credit analysis, have merged. They say the merger will boost digital transformation of fixed-income investing. The combined company will offer a one-stop platform for fixed income asset manager and financial advisors to automate the investment process.