This Tuesday’s The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup sees deVere E-Money appoint Dimitris Litsikakis as the company’s new CEO. While Bitpanda hires Irina Nicoleta Scarlat to new chief growth officer role.
Product updates and launches
Cash management specialist Loomis UK and NatWest have rolled out their Same Day Credit solution nationwide following a successful pilot. It lets British businesses deposit cash returns and receive credit to their account without leaving their premises.
Clearpay, the buy now, pay later payment specialists, has launched a new loyalty programme, Pulse Rewards. The programme encourages responsible spending, by offering benefits to customers who make on-time payments.
Meanwhile, Aqarchain is set to launch the first UAE homegrown end to end blockchain platform for tokenisation of the real-estate market built on Tezos Blockchain. In addition, Aqarchain is launching its native utility token AQR which can be utilised for DeFi staking as well as earning rewards.
UK-based cryptocurrency exchange coinpass has launched its new flagship crypto trading platform. The new platform, coinpass Trade, lets users trade crypto with a cryptocurrency exchange listed on the FCA temporary crypto-asset business register.
Fintech startup Centime has unveiled a Cloud-based cash flow control solution for SMBs. Using AI and machine learning, the platform monitors and forecasts cash flows. It is now available to select customers through an early access programme.
Trading and investing platform Capital.com has launched a new account where customers can trade and invest in global stocks without paying any commission. It is currently available to clients in the UK, France and Germany but will be rolled out across other European countries.
Digital finance platform Oxygen has recently unveiled Elements, a programme offering loyalty and savings features to debit cardholders. Tiered into four levels – Earth, Water, Air and Fire – the programme lets customers choose from an escalating menu of annual perks and benefits.
IBC Group is ending Bitcoin and Ethereum mining in China. It will move staff to UAE, Canada, USA, Kazakhstan, Iceland, as well as various South American countries. The move is in response to the recent crackdown on cryptocurrency mining in China.
““We believe that while the Chinese crackdown is a temporary inconvenience, the diversified location of mining facilities is great news for the rest of the world.”
YouGotaGift, an e-gift card distribution platform in the Middle East, has received the region’s first PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance certification for e-gift cards.The PCI-DSS accreditation ensures that customers using Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and other cards are assured of secure transactions.
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the international financial hub in the MEASA region, has introduced new intellectual property (IP) regulations. The regulations outline the process and requirements for filing intellectual property infringement complaints, inspections and investigations in connection with violations of the IP Law.
The Build for Bahrain Acceleration Program has closed with three winning teams completing a three-month incubation period at Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB). The programme received more than 150 applications. It launched to nurture startups that offer tech-powered solutions to current challenges.
Paytech firm Nexi has strengthened its partnership with fintech Izicap. Specifically, Izicap’s app will be installed by default on Nexi’s SmartPOS supplied to restaurants, bars, retail, food, clothing and personal care stores.
Apollo and Motive Partners form strategic partnership in order to capitalise on fintech transformation. The partnership aims to enhance investment opportunities for clients as well as accelerate growth of both platforms. Apollo will also acquire up to a 24.9 per cent minority stake in Motive’s management company. While Apollo and its affiliates will become limited partners in Motive managed vehicles.
The ai Corporation, an FCA approved expert in payments, fraud and risk management, and the University of Southampton (UoS), have announced a two-year extension of their research partnership. They will focus on improving ai’s fraud tools, including automation tool aiAutoPilot MLTM.
Cardlay, the Danish fintech, has collaborated with SAP Concur, the travel, expense and invoice management solution provider. The integration is designed to allow banks to issue and manage virtual payment cards for their corporate card holders.
There’s also a partnership for banking platform Modularbank and IT services firm Trifork. The collaboration will strengthen both companies’ banking and fintech offerings. Prior to this integration partnership, Trifork and Modularbank previously worked together on several customer cases.
Minted, a UK-based gold investment platform, has teamed up with LUX Rewards. The partnership with the rewards scheme for restaurants and retailers follows the launch of the fintech’s gold-as-a-service API. According to Minted, it also has plans to integrate its gold buying platform into other apps with further partnerships with challenger banks and pension providers on the way.
Talon, the e-sports platform in Asia, has partnered with Yieldly.Finance, the decentralised finance ecosystem built on the Algorand blockchain. Talon will create educational and exclusive content for Yieldy. In addition, Talon will also arrange localised e-sports activations for fans, designed around Yieldly’s products.
Fibank has provided its Mastercard cardholders with the option to make payments using Fitbit smartwatches. Following the partnership, Fibank says it is the only bank in Bulgaria to offer its customers the mobile payments ApplePay, GPay, GarminPay and Fitbit.
LTUMUS, the exchange-traded fund specialist, has partnered with data analytics firm Alveo. They bring together ULTUMUS’s global ETF and index managed data service and Alveo’s data mastering solution Prime. The partnership will enable Alveo’s customers to integrate index and ETF information more quickly, while helping ULTUMUS’s clients to enhance their data mastering and data integration capabilities.
Global market conditions will remain supportive for sukuk issuance in second-half 2021, with low interest rates and abundant liquidity, said S&P Global Ratings in a new report. Most Islamic finance countries will continue vaccinating their populations and oil prices will stabilise at about $65 per barrel for 2021.
Mergers and acquistions
Rapyd, the fintech as a service company, has entered into an agreement with Arion Bank to acquire Valitor. The acquisition of the Icelandic payments company for $100million follows Rapyd’s recent financing round. The deal complements Rapyd’s existing payment capabilities throughout Europe, as well as enhances its issuing portfolio.
Billhop, the Swedish payment platform, has unveiled two new executive management team hires. Tashi Gauffin is chief commercial officer while Niklas Bothén is chief operations officer. The pair will play an integral role in further consolidating the company’s expansion across Europe.
Taulia, the fintech provider of working capital solutions, has appointed Ali Ansari as director for global supply chain and payables solutions. His appointment coincides with Taulia’s expansion into both China and Singapore, as well as the launch of a new inventory management solution.
Meanwhile, United Trust Bank has named James Masters as chief technology officer. Most recently, he was the global head of corporate technology for Schroders Investment Management. Masters is tasked with further developing the bank’s digital strategy and IT infrastructure.
Bitpanda, the digital investment platform, has appointed Irina Nicoleta Scarlat to the new role of chief growth officer. Prior to joining Bitpanda, she led Revolut‘s global growth department, as well as Uber‘s marketing efforts in Romania.
While, deVere Group has unveiled Dimitris Litsikakis as its new CEO to lead its electronic money brand deVere E-Money. He takes over from Nigel Green, the founder and CEO of the deVere Group of companies. Mr Green retains 100 per cent of the shares and remains on the board of deVere E-Money.
Finally, Prime Trust, the one-stop shop for financial infrastructure for fintech innovators, has named Mike Smith as chief operating officer. It has also appointed several former officials of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to its regulatory and compliance team: Jeff Tsai, Dana Dobi and Liz Teifer.
Funding and investments
AREX Markets, the data-driven fintech firm, has secured €8.8million in a Series A funding round. Mosaic Ventures and LocalGlobe led the round, joining existing investors Lifeline Ventures as well as angel investor Richard Laxer. AREX will use the funding to accelerate its rollout in the UK and Spain.
Insurtech Bequest has announced a £1.7million investment as well as the launch of its life insurance offering. Led by Kuvi Capital, alongside Clocktower Ventures and Form Ventures, the funding will be used to supercharge its growth and help Bequest’s aim to become the ‘all-of-life platform for the millennial generation’.