The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup on Tuesday sees Funding Circle forge a partnership with Nationwide. While, Coinhako, the Singapore-based crypto platform, has welcomed its first chief information security officer.
Coinme, a US cryptocurrency cash exchange, has hired Tom Davis to serve as the company’s general counsel and corporate secretary. Davis will help guide the company’s international expansion. A former FBI Special Agent, Davis also previously led IBM’s North America Business Unit, focusing on financial crimes insight and regulatory compliance.
Firstup, a SaaS digital employee experience firm, has appointed Nicole Alvino, co-founder and chief strategy officer, as CEO. She takes over from Gary Nakamura. Firstup also welcomes Jialin Zhang to its board of directors. Nakamura steps down after leading the successful merger of SocialChorus and Dynamic Signal to form Firstup.
Coinhako, the Singapore-based crypto platform, has welcomed its first chief information security officer, Pasi Koistinen. Most recently, he served as the strategy lead consultant at Ensign InfoSecurity. Koistinen also co-founded two cybersecurity companies, Cyber Intelligence House and Silverskin Information Security.
Meanwhile, Ignition Advice, a provider of financial advice technology, has appointed Eric Welsby as its new chief commercial officer for Europe. Prior to joining Ignition, Welsby was the global head of product and strategy for Bravura Solutions.
Worldline, the European payments firm, has plans to recruit more than 5,000 experts globally within the coming months. The hires are part of a plan to accelerate its technology transformation as well as accelerate the company’s geographical expansion.
Penfold, the digital pensions platform, has been added to Starling Bank’s Personal Marketplace. Penfold has been available to Starling bank customers since July 2020 but was previously only available to business owners. Starling’s Personal Marketplace links customers to selected third-party products and services.
One Payment Limited, a subsidiary of digital payments group DPO Group, has been granted a licence by the Central Bank of Nigeria. This licence enables the DPO Group to operate as an independent payment solutions services company in Nigeria as it does across over 20 other countries in Africa.
Cross-chain communication infrastructure project Router Protocol has launched its mainnet following a $4million funding round. The mainnet launch is between three blockchains – Polygon, Avalanche and BSC, and plugs into various liquidity venues – primarily DEXes, including Dfyn on Polygon.
MANTL, a digital account opening solution for banks and credit unions, has unveiled a business account opening solution for banks. Business Account Opening by MANTL reimagines account opening across every channel – online, in-branch and in the field – by automating up to 97 per cent of new account application decisions.
Pluto Digital PLC, the crypto tech and operations company, is launching a gaming blockchain and metaverse studio called Emergent Games as part of a joint venture with digital entertainment studio Maze Theory. The aim is to ‘bring free-to-play mechanics to the blockchain gaming space, offering players the option to just play for fun, or engage with the crypto NFT element and earn real money’.
Further company updates
Meanwhile, investment firm Invictus Capital has opened the doors to a new office in Zurich’s financial district. The company plans to rapidly expand its European staff over 2022 at its European HQ in Zurich, where it currently has a staff of 10.
Judopay, the cloud-based payments provider, has launched its next generation technology platform, Shodan, which will help it enable innovations such as Judopay’s payment orchestration. It says the platform, built with a cloud native architecture and automation engineering, enables payment processing with ‘peerless performance and reliability’.
Research and insight
Episode Six, a payments technology company, has released a new study with IDC Financial Insights. The study reveals that 74 per cent of consumer payments will be handled by non-traditional financial service institutions by 2030. That is an increase from 60 per cent in 2020, putting added pressure on incumbents such as banks, insurers and credit unions.
Data released by Yapily, the open banking infrastructure provider, reveals that UK banks have continued to invest in open banking technology as user adoption grows.The data, which analyses the average open banking API response times across 10 of the UK’s top traditional banks, reveals that 100 per cent have improved their response speed between 2020 and 2021, in some cases by up to 37 per cent.
Funding and investments
HackerOne, the hacker-powered security platform, has raised $49million in a Series E funding round. Led by investment firm GP Bullhound, it brings total investment to date to nearly $160million. The company plans to use the funding to invest in research and development and expand go-to-market activities. Existing investors, including Benchmark, NEA, Dragoneer Investment Group Valor Equity Partners, also participated.
UAE-headquartered fintech Qlub has secured a $17 million Seed round, co-led by Cherry Ventures and Point Nine, with participation also from STV, Raed Ventures, Heartcore, Shorooq Partners and FinTech Collective. The funding will drive product development and hiring across tech and product team.
Chinese fintech startup PingPong is considering an initial public offering in Hong Kong to raise $1billion, according to reports. The company collects payments for Chinese firms selling on platforms such as Amazon and Shopify.
Montreal-based fintech TickSmith has bagged a $20million Series A funding round. The company offers a B2B SaaS e-commerce data platform to help prepare, manage, package and monetise data. The investment round, led by Investissement Québec, will help expand sales and marketing, as well as commercialising across new industry segments.
Ayoconnect raises $15million Series B to scale Indonesia’s largest open finance API platform. Tiger Global led the heavily oversubscribed round, joined also by PayU and Alto Partners. The company will use the funds to continue launching new products and increase its capacity so it can absorb accelerating demand.
More investment news
MRHB DeFi, the decentralised finance ecosystem platform focused on ethical, sustainable and halal crypto opportunities, has raised $5.5 million. The ethical startup is backed by investors including Polygon Technology, Sheesha Finance, Australian Gulf Capital, Mozaic and NewTribe Capital. Around 85 per cent of the funds raised came from the MRHB global community.
Meanwhile, online specialist mortgage broker Haysto has received investment from Rishi Khosla OBE and Dr. Steve Garnett. The investment boosts the firm’s plans to empower customers and ‘bring specialist mortgage market to the forefront’.
Voice AI specialist NLX has announced $5million in seed funding. The funding will support the company’s growth as its set to imminently double its customers, revenue and headcount, while helping NLX scale, hire and drive sales. Aquila Capital Partners led the round, joined also by Flying Fish Partners, Sage Venture Partners and JetBlue Technology Ventures.
Finally, Tanzanian fintech startup NALA has raised $10million in funding as it plans expansion across Africa in 2022. The platform allows payments from the UK to Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Ghana. The company plans to be live in 12 African countries by the end of the year, including Nigeria.
Segmint, which offers transaction cleansing and analytics to financial institutions, has forged a partnership with data company Snowflake. This allows the processing of data without moving it between a vendor’s platform and back to the financial institution.
“The power of this partnership allows FI’s in near real-time to best understand their transaction data natively within the Snowflake environment.”
Wise has teamed up with Tencent Financial Technology to enable international money transfers to China through Weixin. Weixin (the Chinese version of WeChat), owned and operated by Tencent, is a leading social platform in China. Wise’s customers will be able to send money from 11 currencies to users of Weixin.
Meanwhile, LUCA Japan, the digital platform for alternative investments, announces a strategic partnership with Xen Capital, the Singapore-based digital platform. It will collaborate with Xen Capital to develop a specialised digital platform for the Japan market as well as to source alternative investment fund opportunities. LUCA Japan aims to soft launch by the end of February.
There’s also a partnership for finance automation firm Paymerang and SIB Fixed Cost Reduction, the spend-management consulting firm. Paymerang and SIB will coordinate efforts to market products and services to each other’s client base. This partnership will also allow mutual clients to streamline business operations and reduce unnecessary costs.
Trustmatic partners with MEP Sistem to bring its identity verification technology to Turkey. This partnership helps Trustmatic better serve its Turkish customers with trusted local support from the IT solutions provider.
InComm Payments has unveiled a partnership with fintech provider Cuentas to distribute tap-and-go transit cards to retailers in New York. The partnership will expand access to transit cards at local bodegas and neighborhood retailers. Transit cards currently support a full-fare, pay-per-ride option, including free transfers.
Phoebus Software Limited (PSL) and Hampshire Trust Bank have renewed their contract which will see the Phoebus solution continue to service the bank’s specialist mortgage and development finance lending propositions. Hampshire Trust Bank chose the Phoebus solution as its core banking platform when it launched in 2014.
Silverlake Axis has announced an expansion of its partnership with Silkbank, a commercial and Islamic bank in Pakistan. Through the latest agreement, Silkbank will upgrade its card management suite to use Silverlake’s latest platform, Symmetri OmniCard V6.
Funding Circle, the online small business lending platform, has teamed up with Nationwide to launch a partnership specifically for improving access to capital and business insurance resources and services for American small business owners. Business owners can apply for funding through Funding Circle and insurance through Nationwide.