The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup on Thursday 6 May. Ripple bolsters its leadership team with Rosie Rios hire, while Railsbank and Yimba get creative with digital card art personalisation service.
Ripple has boosted its leadership team with the addition of Rosa ‘Rosie’ Gumataotao Rios, 43rd Treasurer of the United States, to its board of directors. Meanwhile, Kristina Campbell joins as chief financial officer. Ripple says the pair will be key as it continues its rapid international growth and champions for regulatory clarity in the US.
Fintech firm SmartAsset has unveiled James ‘Jim’ Kennedy as chief compliance officer and director of legal. He will provide support on executive-level legal analysis, while managing all areas related to regulatory compliance. Prior to joining SmartAsset, Kennedy served as the COO/ chief compliance officer for a registered investment adviser.
First Internet Bank has added Samuel Criales, Thomas Hurdman, Laurel McNamara and Ben Woodward to its small business administration lending team as senior business development officers. The Bank says the new additions are proven trusted advisors who can provide expertise in all facets of the SBA lending process.
VoxSmart, the communications surveillance company, has hired former BNP Paribas executive Larry List as head of North America. Additionally, former Traiana executive Scott Feldman is named SVP of operations. The hires follow a $25million growth equity investment from Toscafund to support further expansion and growth into North America.
Capitolis, the SaaS platform for capital markets, has hired James Reilly as its head of equity and total return swaps funding solutions. He will lead the development and execution of a suite of equity financing products. Reilly’s hire follows Capitolis’ recent completion of a $90million Series C funding round.
Meanwhile, Sunwest Bank has welcomed Chris Tillack as its new Utah market area president. Prior to joining Sunwest Bank, Tillack held strategic leadership roles at Wells Fargo Bank and Zions Bank. He will continue enhancing Sunwest’s presence in the Salt Lake City community.
Finally, dispute technology specialist Chargebacks911 and Fi911 has appointed Matt Stein as senior vice president of brand strategy. In his new role, Stein will focus on ensuring a unified brand and marketing strategy across the Chargebacks911 and Fi911 brands.
A US-based investment management company has plumped for Cymptom‘s always-on risk visibility tool for data-driven cyber defence. Cymptom’s data-driven results arm cyber executives with quantified proof where urgent risk exists throughout their hybrid IT environment.
There’s a partnership for Kaspersky and value-added distributor DataGroupIT opening up access to new markets in Nigeria and Ghana for the cybersecurity firm. The agreement sees Kaspersky gain access to new verticals in this region while helping customers build their cybersecurity strategy. It also puts Kaspersky in a position to work with major regulators in the region.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) has teamed up with SWIFT on an initiative to further enhance the speed and transparency of cross-border payments. The integration between the pair includes the ability for a sending bank to track payments in real-time until they are credited to the final beneficiary’s customer account in the UAE.
PBCOM (Philippine Bank of Communications) has partnered with banking software company Temenos to offer digital-first banking services in the Philippines. Supported by the Temenos SaaS solution, PBCOM has become one of the first commercial banks in the Philippines approved by the regulator to host its core banking system in the cloud.
Wipro Enterprises partners with IBSFINtech and an Indian corporate bank in ‘a one-of-a-kind tripartite arrangement’. The collaboration will enable end-to-end automation of Wipro Enterprises’ Treasury function. They say the partnership will play a pivotal role in digitisation of the financial ecosystem in India.
Swiss digital banking alternative CrescoFin has teamed up with Veriff to reduce identity fraud online. As new users sign up to CrescoFin’s app, Veriff’s AI-driven software will check their identity, meeting KYC and AML requirements. Later this year, CrescoFin will launch a full suite of digital banking services around its core savings product.
Meanwhile, Torstone Technology, a SaaS provider of post-trade securities, has partnered with digital asset custody provider Digivault. It will provide Digivault’s clients with enhanced post-trade services while enabling Torstone Technology’s customers access to digital asset custody solutions.
Emirates NBD, a banking group in the MENAT region, has teamed up with Middle East grocery retailer and distributor T. Choithram & Sons. The retailer will pilot the bank’s smartSCF digital supply chain financing platform. Through the smartSCF platform, Choithrams will digitise its payable process across the region, and benefit from improved cash flow and working capital efficiencies.
Blackhawk Network has added payment processing solutions provider B4B Payments to its catalogue of partners. Following the partnership, Blackhawk Network will extend its existing offering of open loop prepaid solutions to multiple regions across Europe. The partnership offers multinational clients a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all their rewards and incentives.
Mobiquity, a full-service digital transformation enabler, has partnered with Kuwait International Bank (KIB). Through their collaboration, KIB is harnessing Mobiquity’s team to help build a new digital-focused bank for its retail and corporate customers. The bank is expected to be available for retail customers by this summer with the migration of KIB’s corporate clients shortly after.
Meanwhile, Metro Bank has extended its strategic partnership with engagement banking technology provider Backbase. It leverages the cloud-native version of Backbase’s platform to support Metro Bank’s business banking customers. The extension comes five years after Backbase and Metro Bank first began their partnership.
Finally, Plaid and Railsbank are teaming up to bring Plaid’s payment initiation API to Railsbank’s customers. They say the partnership is all about making it easier for any company, or brand, to embed finance into their customer journey.
As fintech-powered payments and digital wallets gain prevalence, more companies will seek to leverage the power of APIs through partnerships like Railsbank and Plaid to make it easier to move money online.
Payment provider Klarna has launched in New Zealand with ‘Pay in 4’. Consumers in the country can order online and split their purchases into four interest-free equal payments through via the Klarna app or partner retailers. Klarna launched in Australia last year in partnership with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Foodetective, the platform for restaurant systems and software, has unveiled a new API and interface following $2million in seed funding. Investors include Serge Schoen, Filippo Catalano, Imai Jen La Plante, and Charles Lorenceau. The new version enables F&B businesses to manage, integrate and aggregate their entire tech stack on a single dashboard and operating system.
Railsbank and Yimba are launching a digital card art personalisation service. Consumers will be able to choose from a wide variety of media from sports teams, charities, professional associations and retail brands to personalise their cards. Railsbank is working together with Yimba, Mastercard and Google Pay to bring about this ‘world-first proposition’.
ikigai, the premium fintech app, has launched a new stocks shares ISA. The launch coincides with ikigai’s current crowdfunding campaign where it aims to raise a further £1.2 million. Previously, ikigai raised £2million from private and angel investors in a pre-seed round completed in 2020.
QPS, the Indian card issuance and processing platform, is expanding to Europe with a launch in the UK. The company will invest £10million and create 100 new jobs as part of the launch. QPS has grand plans to target 20 per cent of the market share customers within the first 24 months of operations.
The Financing Facility for Remittances (FFR) of IFAD has announced a second round of national calls to support remittances in Africa. The FFR works to reduce poverty and promote development by leveraging both international and domestic remittances and migrant capital in rural areas of developing countries. The ‘Call for Proposals 2021’ follows one in December 2020, and focuses on Kenya and Uganda.
Fraud prevention firm SEON has opened a new office in Texas. It follows the company’s recent €10million Series A funding round and marks the company’s expansion in the North American market. It also has plans to add strategic new hires to better serve its customers, while ‘removing barriers to fraud prevention around the globe’.
Lanistar, the payment card and account provider, has secured the nod from the FCA to operate as an EMD agent of Modulr in the UK. Lanistar can distribute and redeem electronic money on behalf of the payments as a service API platform. The provider has also revealed plans for an official product launch later this year. Plus, it has also marked its intentions to expand to the EU and Brazil in the summer.
Acuant, the identity platform for fraud prevention and AML compliance, has completed the acquisition of Hello Soda. Hello Soda is a global provider of ID verification and KYC solutions headquartered in the UK with focus on the European and Asian markets. The acquisition follows Acuant’s best quarter in company history.
Funding and investments
Protect4less, a UAE-based insurtech startup, has closed a $1million pre-series A round from a group of family offices and private investors. Protect4less is available in the UAE and wider GCC region, and will soon expand across MENA and South Asia. The funds will fuel its ‘rapid roll-out’ as well as fund the launch of its Fixed4less franchised brand of service centres.
Pakistan-based fintech CreditBook has raised $1.5million in seed funding. The funding round included BitRate VC, VentureSouq, as well as Better Tomorrow Ventures, Ratio Ventures, Quiet Capital, Toy Ventures and i2i Ventures. The firm is also backed by angel investors and leading founders from BukuWarung, Musha Ventures and Rappi.
B-North, the Manchester-based firm building an SME lending bank for the UK, has secured further investment. Raising an additional £560,000, B-North will use the investment to further extend its cash runway. Once licensed, B-North will operate via a UK-wide network of ‘lending pods’ to provide finance dynamically to regional SME businesses.
Stockal, the cross-border investment fintech, has secured another $3million in funding. It brings the total raised to $5million since its launch in January 2020. Stockal has already attracted more than 60,000 users from India, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and eight other countries. It will use the additional funding to target Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Eastern Europe as high-growth markets. The company is also investing heavily in developing its service offering.