In this Tuesday’s The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup we highlight the latest international fintech updates. SEON teams up with hacker to educate on fraud and SmartSearch unveils ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) checker service.
New products and services
Fraud fighters SEON has joined forces with an active hacker from Anonymous X to launch an education miniseries for merchants and financial institutions. The Anonymous X fraudster will join SEON’s CCO, Jimmy Fong, to discuss techniques used to commit fraud, including who they target and how they imitate internet users.
Klarna UK has launched a campaign to champion consumers who are managing their spending responsibly. This latest campaign follows Klarna’s support for better regulation of the buy now, pay later sector as a means to better protect consumers. It will also challenge common stereotypes.
SH Capital Ltd launches in Dubai to empower SMEs with global banking services. SH Capital is a subsidiary of parent company Stanhope Financial Group, which launched with $3.5million funding in November last year. In December, the group also announced the launch of its EU headquarters in Lithuania.
Anti-money laundering firm SmartSearch has launched a new service to help businesses identify the ultimate beneficial owner of large corporates. It says an increasing numbers of businesses are finding it difficult to identify the UBO of corporate bodies where multiple businesses own shares.
On demand pay platform DailyPay has unveiled CYCLE in order to help professionals handle off-cycle payroll payments. It enables disbursement of electronic off-cycle payroll payments instead of waiting for a paper cheque to be processed, distributed and cashed.
Eigen Technologies, the global document AI provider, has appointed Stefanie Lightman as its new chief marketing officer. She succeeds Emily Ochoa, now Eigen’s chief of staff, and will lead the firm’s global marketing function from New York.
While, payments network PayCargo has appointed Michael White to its board. White has more than 25 years’ experience in the airfreight sector, and has also served on several government and industry committees.
“Michael has been described by many as the ‘e’vangelist for the movement to move to full electronic documents in air transport.”
Aviva has unveiled Ben Luckett as chief innovation officer. The appointment coincides with the UK insurer Aviva’s announcement that it is further investing in fintech and insurtech through a collaboration with venture capital firm Anthemis. Luckett has previously worked at Aviva Ventures, making strategic investments in early-stage businesses.
Sam Ruback joins technology startup Thirdfort as head of legal. Ruback takes responsibility for risk, compliance and regulatory affairs, in addition to feeding into initiatives within the legal market. In the past 10 months, the Thirdfort team has tripled from 15 to 45, and has also attracted seed funding from a high-profile investors.
Mergers and acquisitions
DNA Payments Group (DNA), vertically integrated payments company, has acquired Active Merchant Services (also known as Active Payments). The transaction marks DNA’s third acquisition in the last 14 months with further plans later this year.
The Aryza Group has snapped up HubSolv, its second major acquisition of 2021. Aryza says the acquisition will further strengthen its ‘dominant position within the financial services and insolvency market’. HubSolv has developed a suite of fully automated tools designed to improve case management, customer onboarding and creditor engagement.
Partnerships and collaborations
GrayQuest, India’s leading education fintech company, has collaborated with SBM Bank India, to facilitate access of affordable funds for clients. They say their partnership will help lower bulk education fee payments and boost the ability to facilitate financing for the end consumer.
Meanwhile, digital banking solutions provider Meniga has partnered with global banking firm UniCredit to launch an enhanced version of the Mobilna Banka Go! app in Slovenia. The app follows success for the pair in Serbia, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Digital identity verification provider Blockpass is hooking up with Rocket Vault Finance. Blockpass said it is looking forward to facilitating Rocket Vault’s token sale in February, as well as working together to onboard new customers.
The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) is partnering with Microsoft, as well as innovation platform Plug and Play on a range of initiatives to help entrepreneurs scale their businesses. In addition to these two partnerships, ADIO is also working with ADGM, Hub71, ADQ and Mubadala to continue growing the emirate’s innovation ecosystem.
SaaS banking platform Mambu and Ta3meed announce a strategic partnership to accelerate the development of Islamic fintech in Saudi Arabia. Mambu’s agile core banking technology integrates into Ta3meed’s automated purchase order financing platform.
Payments firm Sokin has chosen cyber AI company Darktrace to provide holistic cybersecurity across all its back-office functions. Sokin will be adopting Darktrace’s Enterprise Immune System for 300 users, which includes full support and back-up services.
Funding and investments
Charity tech startup TapSimple hits £2million in fundraising to help charities transition to cashless during pandemic. Investors include Ecclesiastical, Lord Michael Spencer, Lord Mervyn Davies, Dominic Burke and Anthony Bolton who join previous round investors including NCVO chairman Sir Martyn Lewis.
Global digital securities platform iSTOX has closed its Series A funding round raising $50million. Japan government-backed investors Japan Investment Corporation and Development Bank of Japan Inc have agreed to invest. In addition, existing investors Singapore Exchange, Tokai Tokyo and Hanwha Asset Management have added to their holdings.
“With the new financing, iSTOX will expand our footprint both geographically and in terms of investment offerings.”
Saudi-based fintech startup Hakbah raises $1.2million in seed round. The company was granted a permit by Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) to launch its commercial services in the Kingdom at the end of July 2020. It now aims to speed up its plans in product development, attracting top talents and accelerating marketing efforts.
Swapp, an AI-powered construction planning company, has raised $7million in seed funding, led by Point72 Ventures and Entrée Capital. The investment will support Swapp’s continued market expansion for its construction-planning platform and expand its AI capabilities.
Meanwhile, B2B payments company Melio has raised $110million to expand its offering across the US. The latest funding round, led by Coatue, brings Melio’s total funding in 2020 to $240million, giving it a valuation of $1.3billion. Latest fundraising will support the company in its product offering and expansion during this period of growth.
spiderSilk, a Dubai-based cybersecurity firm specialised in advanced threat detection technology, has successfully raised $2.25milluin in a Pre-Series A funding round. The round was co-led by Global Ventures and STV, alongside several international angel investors.
Announcements and initiatives
Maltese fintech Paymentworld Europe has rebranded to FinXP, following its most profitable year yet. The company has also increased its headcount to 20 employees with new vacancies in the pipeline. In addition to its name change, FinXP has also unveiled a new visual identity and an ‘ambitious growth strategy’.
In another rebrand, Sercle is the new name for Omnio’s interests in the credit union sector, including Kesho. Sercle currently processes products including savings, loans, mortgages, banking and current accounts. A new cloud platform launches in 2021.
UK-based Fintech Paysend has announced its arrival at the 3 million customer milestone, doubling in size since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Started in April 2017 as a digital money transfer platform, Paysend’s growth has become greatly accelerated since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March and has seen its customer base grow from 1.5 million to 3 million users.
“At Paysend we share the vision of creating money for the future, and we do this with unique technology, a global network of partners, and an international team of FinTech experts,” Ronnie Millar, CEO of Paysend said. “The world is facing huge challenges at the moment, and we believe that digital money can help solve many of these issues. We are digital explorers, always looking to find new ways to connect people through technology.”
100x Group, the holding structure for the BitMEX platform, has joined Global Digital Finance (GDF), the industry body championing the adoption of digital finance. As a patron board member, 100x Group will advocate for a ‘more inclusive, empowering and better regulated digital financial system’.
UAE-Israel consortium appoints Moelis & Company to advise on Finablr restructuring. Israel’s Prism Group and Abu Dhabi’s Royal Strategic Partners intends to restart operations and develop a business plan. Finablr is a major provider of cross border financial services in the United Arab Emirates.
Meanwhile, Temenos – the banking software company – has exceeded 60 challenger bank clients. Digital banks including Alba, Alpian, Banco del Sol, Flowe, FlowBank, Lunar, Next Commercial Bank, Pepper, Varo Bank and WeLab Bank all use Temenos’ cloud-native, cloud-agnostic technology.
Finally, Napier, the provider of anti-money laundering solutions, has been selected as the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing technology platform for Australia Post. Australia’s postal business will use Napier’s Intelligent Compliance Platform to ‘supercharge its compliance capabilities’.