This Tuesday’s The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup shines a light on the latest partnerships, appointments and funding rounds.
James Hicks has joined Nets Group as chief strategic partnerships officer for its merchant services division. He was previously EVP of global acceptance and solutions at Mastercard and most recently founded the payments firm Kegaska Group. Hicks will enhance relationships, processes and solutions of Nets, as well as its key strategic partners.
Khurram Shroff has joined Canada-based iMining Blockchain and Cryptocurrency as chairman of the board. He boasts more than 10 years of experience in the blockchain industry holding key positions in organisations across the Middle East and Canada. He will contribute to iMining’s growth and the next cycle of its global expansion.
Meanwhile, Bank Negara Malaysia has appointed Encik Abd. Rahman Abu Bakar as assistant governor. He will oversee areas of human capital. Rahman takes over from Encik Mohd Adhari Belal Din, who is leaving the Bank on 11 May 2021 following 14 years of service.
Cleantech firm Airly has hired Jonathan Gartside as chief operating officer. While Rishi Stocker is appointed commercial advisor. Airly, which recently raised $5.3million in VC funding, has plans to hire 35 staff including a UK-based head of sales as it scales operations.
Vikas Saxena is on the move to Insigneo, the Miami-based investment advisory firm. As the company’s new head of technology and innovation, he will take charge of its existing and future technology ecosystem. In his new role Vikas will also lead the firm’s innovation committee.
Bahrain FinTech Bay has unveiled Bader Sater as its new chief operating officer as well as Suzy Al Zeerah as chief partnerships officer. Prior to joining FinTech Bay, Satar ran Bahrain’s first cloud acceleration programme built in partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS). While Al Zeerah headed the regional marketing for an IoT hardware accelerator based in Bahrain.
Cyptocurrency platform Gemini has unveiled a cryptocurrency rewards credit card in a partnership with Mastercard and WebBank. Since it was first introduced in early 2021, the Gemini Credit Card has amassed more than 140,000 people on its waiting list. The card launches this summer.
Digital transformation firm GFT and Vodeno have teamed up to accelerate clients’ digital transition to new cloud-native technologies. In a multi-year, global strategic partnership, GFT will support the cloud-based banking-as-a-service provider’s expansion with development, QA testing and implementation services.
Virgin Money has added fintech partner Trade Ledger to its new business banking proposition. Trade Ledger, which specialises in data-driven lending technology, says the partnership will help to get capital to the businesses who really need it at a critical time.
Paysafe has signed a multi-year global agreement with Amazon Web Services to drive innovation in digital commerce. The real-time transactional processing powered by AWS will allow merchants to offer a frictionless customer experience at the point of sale. Paysafe’s plan is to deliver new, innovative products and features into the marketplace twice as fast as before as well as to expand its geographical footprint.
Meanwhile, EML Payments has partnered with open banking firm Frollo. Their joint mission is to ‘remove friction, help consumers feel better about money and help fintechs drive this revolution to scale quickly and globally’. The EML Nuapay product suite will gives clients the ability to choose between a no-code, low code and fully customisable API solution.
Tinkoff Group has acquired a majority stake in Beskontakt LLC, the developer of Koshelek digital wallet. The Koshelek app aggregates bank cards, loyalty and discount cards, and coupons. As part of its partnership with Tinkoff, Koshelek will begin integrating ‘user-friendly financial instruments’ into its service offering.
Research and insight
The committee responsible for monitoring and maintaining financial stability in Indonesia has given the thumbs up despite recent upheavals. According to the Financial System Stability Committee or KSSK, financial system stability in the first quarter of 2021 remained in normal conditions despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Funding and investments
Paxos, the regulated blockchain infrastructure platform, has closed a $300million Series D round of funding. Oak HC/FT led the round, with participation from previous investors Declaration Partners, PayPal Ventures, Mithril Capital, Senator Investment Group, Liberty City Ventures as well as WestCap. Paxos will continue investing in the development of enterprise-grade infrastructure while deepening its commitment to regulation, reliability and security.
Algebra Intelligence, the Jordanian AI-driven energy monitoring solutions startup, has closed a $310,000 pre-seed funding round. Algebra Intelligence’s first product, TaQTaK offers real-time plant monitoring, proactive notifications, predictive maintenance, as well as ticketing and reporting solutions.
Sequoia Capital India has further invested in Indonesian robo-advisor app Bibit. The $65million growth round also included participation from Prosus Ventures, Tencent, Harvard Management Company, as well as AC Ventures and East Ventures. It brings Bibit’s total funding to $110million.
Cloud-native payments company Gr4vy has closed a Series A funding round of $11.1million, led by Nyca Partners. Other investors included Activant Capital, Global Founders Capital and Firestartr, bringing its total funding to $12.2million. The company, founded by former Paypal executives and fintech veterans, has also announced the launch of a payment orchestration platform (POP) that leverages the power of the cloud.
Mogo, the digital payments, company, has purchased 146 Ether (ETH) at an average price $2,780. Mogo recently announced the sale of its investment in Vena Solutions for $4.7million in proceeds. The company has already invested in Bitcoin and plans to invest up to five per cent of its cash and investment portfolio value in cryptocurrencies.
Dubai-based cryptocurrency platform BitOasis has gained regulatory approval from the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). BitOasis is now authorised to operate a regulated multilateral trading facility and custody platform for virtual assets. It is gearing up to launch the first licensed crypto exchange in the Middle East.
Andra Public Relations is holding its 8th virtual edition of its fintech series on 6 May. The ‘Financial Inclusion: the way forward’ event is powered by Kuwait Finance House-Bahrain and will host thought leaders and experts from fintech corporates, in addition to financial and educational institutions.
Fintech insurance specialist Elmore Insurance Brokers (Elmore) has been awarded the Queen’s Award For Enterprise in International Trade. The Queens award is in recognition of the company’s accelerated international income growth since 2017. Elmore is approaching 400 businesses and encompasses both multinationals and fast growth SMEs.
The Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange (DGCX) has received a permit from the Israel Securities Authority. The move allows the DGCX Group to introduce its products and services within Israel as it aims to expand its role as a leading Middle East exchange for trading of derivatives.
Razer Fintech and IDEMIA have scooped the Singapore Business Review (SBR) Technology Excellence Award for ‘Fintech Payment Cards’. The LED-enabled Razer Card is the first of its kind in Singapore. It can be used to make payments at any VISA-accepting merchants. It is also linked to Razer Fintech’s e-wallet platform for virtual payments.
Nominations are now open for the 18th annual IDC FinTech Rankings and 7th annual IDC FinTech Rankings Real Results 2021. The vendor ranking within the financial services industry is based on calendar year-end revenues and the percentage of revenues attributed to financial services. Deadline for submission is 1 July 2021.
In conjunction with the Africa FinTech Network (AFN), the Mauritius Africa FinTech Hub (MAFH) has unveiled the third Africa Fintech Festival. Previously in Nigeria and Uganda, the third festival will be in Mauritius with the theme FinTech, Sustainability and Innovation – The power trio to fast-forward Africa’s growth“. It takes place as a fully virtual event in June, with a hybrid version in October.
Venture capital firm IOSG Ventures has launched a new kickstarter programme. The initiative will provide mentorship and capital to early-stage developers in the Web3 ecosystem. Applicants who pass the screening will also receive between $10,000 and $100,000 funding support. The programme is in partnership with DeFi Alliance, NEAR, Synthetix, 1inch Network and imToken.