The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup shines a light on the latest job moves, funding successes and fintech partnerships.
Digital advice provider Ignition Advice has unveiled Paul McMahon as non-executive director for Ignition Advice UK Limited. Ignition was recently appointed by UK wealth manager M&G Wealth for delivery of its digital advice offering for its advisers and customers. Earlier this year, Russell Scrimshaw also joined Ignition as deputy chairman and non-executive director.
Meanwhile, United Fintech is expanding into the US with the appointment of Mark Lawrence from Goldman Sachs as director and head of Americas. Lawrence will help scale and distribute the fintech firms acquired by United Fintech. He will also play a role in assessing potential fintech acquisitions.
Shane Evans is the first president of MX, the financial data expert. In the expanded role, Evans will oversee the company’s sales, partner, marketing, customer success, as well as advocacy organisations. He joined MX in 2019 as the company’s first chief revenue officer.
Online mortgage broker Mojo Mortgages has appointed Cassie Stephenson as its new director of mortgages. The move follows her role at online broker Habito as VP operations, as well as previous spells at Atom Bank, Tesco Bank and Lloyds.
Fintech Payfare has hired Kamran Haidari as chief technology officer and Braulio Lam as chief product officer. In addition, Brian Miller will transition from his dual CTO/COO role to COO. Payfare has plans to expand instant access to earnings and financial inclusion for workers in North America and around the world.
Finally, BharatPe, India’s financial services company for merchants, has unveiled Amit Jain as its chief risk officer. He is the third addition to BharatPe’s executive team in 2021. BharatPe says the appointment will help the company build a high quality book at scale.
Partnerships and collaborations
Bank Jago, an Indonesia-listed bank, has selected Mambu’s SaaS banking platform as its technology foundation. It is the first organisation to benefit from the recently announced strategic partnership between Mambu and Google Cloud.
The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts and Emaar Properties have signed a cooperation agreement to promote the wills service provided by the UAE’s first English-language common law court. Video conferencing registrations add an additional layer of digital access to the current virtual registry for wills.
The Financial Intelligence Unit of the United Arab Emirates (UAE FIU) has signed two separate aggreements with the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) and the FRC of the Federal Republic of Somalia to exchange knowledge on AML/CFT.
Meanwhile, IDnow, the platform-as-a-service provider, is supporting AUDI AG with a digital solution for identity verification. The new ‘Audi on demand Subscribe’ subscription model lets customers digitally rent an Audi for up to 12 months. IDnow’s AutoIdent checks a customer’s ID and driving licence data for authenticity.
Global AI-powered credit decision platform provider Scienaptic AI has deployed its platform at Northern Credit Union. The deployment will enhance Northern Credit Union’s access to credit for its current members and more potential members without increasing risk.
Funding and investments
Urban Company, a tech-enabled home services marketplace, has raised series F funding of $255million. The round was led by Prosus Ventures, Dragoneer and Wellington Management, with additional participation from Vy Capital, Tiger Global and Steadview.
Meanwhile, network security firm SAM Seamless Network has raised $2million in series B funding to accelerate growth. The funding will also enable the expansion of its security reach to securing 10 million networks and 500 million devices by the end of 2021.
Divido, a whitelabel platform for retail finance, has also raised a series B funding round securing $30million. It will fuel international expansion, while continuing to build out its platform for lenders and merchants. The round was led by global banks HSBC and ING, with further participation from Sony Innovation Fund by IGV, SBI Investment, OCS, Global Brain and DG Daiwa Ventures. Existing investors DN Capital, Dawn Capital, IQ Capital and Amex Ventures also took part.
zVendo, an Egyptian e-commerce SaaS solution provider, has closed a pre-series A funding round from Mobica and Gratus Holding. The startup aims to use the funds to support its regional expansion as well as platform enhancements.
Plus, Karachi-based fintech startup Abhi has raised $2million in a seed round led by VEF and Sarmayacar. The round also featured investment from Village Global, i2i Ventures, Zayn Capital and Portman Hill. Abhi provides employee salary advances based on accrued wages.
Finally, there’s funding success for Ziina, the UAE’s first peer-to-peer payment application. The $7.5million round, led by Avenir Growth Capital and Class 5 Global, will help the company launch its new wallet service and fuel its expansion into Saudi Arabia. Earlier this year, Ziina was accepted into Y-Combinator’s three-month accelerator programme.
Launches and branding
E-grocery startup Yeepeey has launched with the promise to change the way consumers shop and save on groceries in Dubai. As well as shopping and paying for goods at grocery stores and supermarkets, Yeepeey also shows in-store promotions and discounts.
Saudi National Bank (SNB) has unveiled its new logo and brand identity. The announcement, alongside a new slogan ‘Together, we build tomorrow’, follows the execution of Saudi Arabia’s largest merger between the National Commercial Bank and Samba Financial Group. Headquarters have also been established in Riyadh.
Payments platform Adyen has expanded its local acquiring services to include the United Arab Emirates. Among the first merchants benefitting from Adyen’s acquiring offering are Foodics, Fabergé and HMSHost International. Adyen’s entry to the UAE is supported via its partnership with Network International.
Rapyd, the global fintech-as-a-service company, has launched its venture capital arm, Rapyd Ventures. The fund will focus on early-stage startups and be led by new MD Joel Yarbrough, Rapyd’s VP of Asia Pacific. In addition to capital, Rapyd Ventures will provide strategic advice and collaboration opportunities aimed to accelerate the growth of their portfolio companies.
European branded payments company Recharge.com has launched its services in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Recharge.com will provide a one-stop-shop marketplace for various categories of branded payments, including call credit, data bundles, shopping, entertainment, gaming and prepaid money.
SurePay, the confirmation of payee provider, is celebrating its growth trajectory performing more than 3.5 billion checks since launch in 2016. It boasts the checks have led to an 81 per cent fraud reduction in payments and a 67 per cent drop in misdirected payments. The company has plans to expand into Europe.
Meanwhile, the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) has welcomed the latest cohort of the FinTech Master’s programme. The scheme is a collaboration with long-standing partner Strathclyde Business School. Students representing senior executives in the public and private sector were introduced to the programme.
Fintech firm Zaggle has organised a vaccination drive for its employees and startup ecosystem in Hyderabad. The company has already vaccinated more than 1000 employees of various startups and will continue the drive in the upcoming weeks to inoculate 25,000 employees of the the startup ecosystem.
The Arab Financial Inclusion Innovation Prize is inviting innovators to take part in a Q&A discussion on Thursday 10 June. The AFIIP was established in 2018 to put financial inclusion at the centre of innovation in the Arab world. Applications for the prize will close on 25 June.
Global professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) has released its latest UAE Banking Pulse for Q1 2021. The report highlights that the top 10 UAE banks started the year with an aggregate net income increase of 85 per cent. However, loan and advances continued to contract with a 0.7 per cent decrease in fiscal first-quarter while deposits increased to 1.2 per cent, after declining in Q4 2020.