The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup takes a look at the latest international fintech stories. ZEN and Currencycloud forge a partnership, Monevo hires a new innovation officer, while NymCard raises $7.6million.
Funding and investments
Ben has raised $2.5million in a round led by Cherry Ventures and Seedcamp, with participation from angel investors, including Paul Forster of Indeed.com and Taavet Hinrikus of Transferwise. Other investors include Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas of Index Ventures, Philip Reynolds of Workday and Matt Robinson of Nested salo. Ben’s software platform enables SMEs to offer personalised benefits to employees.
Storfund has secured £26.5million capital from the private debt team of Swiss bank Union Bancaire Privée (UBP) and private investors. The fintech aims to provide $1billion of cash advances to e-commerce merchants selling on Amazon and other European, American and Asian marketplaces.
NymCard, the Abu Dhabi-based banking as a service provider, has announced a $7.6million Series A funding round. Led by Shorooq Partners, as well as OTF Jasoor Ventures and VentureSouq, the round brings its total funds raised to $12million. The funding will support the growth of NymCard within the MENA region.
Startup FOODICS raises $20million in Series B funding round led by Sanabil Investments. The new investment will help the payment and retail management platform accelerate its international expansion, as well as expand its fintech offering.
There’s more funding news from Israel-based venture capital investment firm FinTLV. FinTLV is a $120million fund focussed primarily on global growth-stage insurtech and fintech companies.
Meanwhile, fintech firm SESAMm has concluded a Series B funding round for more than €7.5million. The round was led by the fintech VC fund of NewAlpha Asset Management and global investment firm The Carlyle Group.
Berlin-based insurtech startup INZMO has raised €3.1million in seed funding. Change Ventures led the round, along with Swiss insurance giants Helvetia. The money will help double its headcount and scale – and takes the total raised by INZMO to €5.2million. The company has also launched Germany’s first fully digital rental deposit guarantee service.
Payments startup Fast has scooped $102million in Series B funding led by Stripe. Additional participation from Index Ventures, Susa Ventures, Sugar Capital and Jaren Glover brings total funding to $124million Fast will use the funds to help hire and continue to scale their products and upcoming features.
Finally, behavioural security platform CybSafe has secured a £5.6million Series A1 round. IQ Capital, Hannover Digital Investments GmbH (HDI Group) and B8 Ventures took part. The investment will enhance go-to-market capability, in addition to deepening technology and research capability.
Announcements and updates
Bank bunq has set a new target of planting 10 million trees in 12 months following the success of its tree-planting scheme. As part of the latest updates to its app, bunq has introduced a ‘gift tree planting for besties’ option, as well as budgeting tools and store loyalty cards.
The Central Bank of Bahrain‘s electronic know-your-customer (eKYC) platform is now successfully integrated with financial institutions in the Kingdom. Launched in 2019, the digital platform is integrated in core banking systems and smart phone applications, including Bahrain Islamic Bank.
Fintech entrepreneur Deborah Harris, founder of Australia’s The Grow CFO Co is named runner up in the global Wealth Dynamics Masters programme from Entrepreneurs Institute. The annual masters programme is attended by global entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, UK blockchain startup Nuggets has become a member of ID2020, a global alliance aiming to create universal digital identities for everyone. The Alliance of public and private sector organisations promotes a common commitment to good ID for all.
Finally, fintech Metapraxis is expanding into Asia following an investment and partnership with AVANT, the Japan-based technology business. Metapraxis will work with AVANT to develop the Japanese version of Empower, Metapraxis’ financial analytics platform.
On the move
Bank of England‘s Cordelia Kafetz joins Starling Bank as head of financial risk. After more than 15 years at the Bank of England, Cordelia Kafetz has departed her role as leader of the Bank’s payments policy team.
Mambu, the SaaS banking platform, has appointed Langley Eide as chief financial officer to drive the company’s growth strategy. Eide previously worked at Morgan Stanley, ServiceNow, Alteryx and Kespry.
Google Wallet co-founder Brian Brinkley is now CEO of QRails, the cloud-based, open API issuer processor. Gerard Griffin, co-founder of QRails and CEO since July 2019, will take on the role of chairman.
While, Galileo has hired Archana (Archie) Puri as its first chief product officer. The former PayPal executive will be in charge of the development, maintenance and execution of the global payments platform’s new and existing products.
Fintech phos has strengthened its senior team with the appointment of Kristiyan Shahinyan as chief technology officer. Prior to this role, Shahinyan spent 10 years at computer software firm ComSoft.
Meanwhile, Exizent – the platform for professionals involved with managing the bereavement process – has appointed John Catnach as chief technology officer. Catnach was previously vice president and product manager for JP Morgan’s private cloud platform.
Finally, Monevo – Europe’s largest personal credit platform – has hired Lee Stretton as chief innovation officer. Most recently, Stretton’s role was managing director of fintech Raisin. He will play a key role in supporting Monevo’s growth and long-term success.
Mastercard has launched its Global Cyber Forward programme in partnership with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The partnership is designed to boost cyber readiness and resilience across the financial industry. DIFC is home to more than 2,500 financial related companies, including 17 of the world’s top 20 banks and 240 fintech and innovation companies.
Capco, the global management and technology consultancy, has hooked up with Envizage, the London-based analytics software provider. The pair will look to drive a step-change in financial planning, customer personalisation and cross-selling opportunities for their mutual clients.
Challenger digital banking app Dozens has partnered with open banking provider Bud ‘to give customers a complete view of their present financial situation across the different institutions that they already have accounts with’. Additionally, ClearBank – the cloud-based clearing bank – has announced it will help Dozens upgrade its current account offering.
Trading platforms Digital Vega and Spark Systems have joined forces to offer a new foreign exchange trading platform.The partnership will see a technology platform for trading the full suite of FX products: options, spot, forwards, swaps and NDFs.
“As Singapore strengthens its position as APAC’s trading hub and FX trading continues to grow, we are seeing significant interest from financial institutions in the region for a holistic trading solution.”
Fintech ZEN and cross-border payments platform Currencycloud are working together to simplify online shopping and revolutionise digital payments. ZEN’s solution, with Currencycloud as its trusted technology partner, is now available in 32 countries in Europe.
Meanwhile, global biometrics firm Onfido has hooked up with payment provider MANGOPAY to simplify user onboarding and unify its know-your-customer (KYC) processes.
Finally, Mastercard in South Asia has signed a partnership agreement with payments firm Sokin to provide its fixed-price payment services in India, Sri Lanka Bangladesh, Nepal and the Maldives. It was revealed in November that Sokin will be a Mastercard principal member and card issuer for Singapore. And, the two companies have since forged a partnership in Europe and the UK.