The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup delivers the latest appointments, partnerships and investment successes from around the world.
Valour, the issuer of digital asset ETPs, has hired Frances Edwards as chief operating officer as the company begins its international expansion beyond the Nordics, starting with additional European markets.
She joins from Blackrock iShares where she held leadership roles across COO and product development functions.
Uphold, the digital money platform, has appointed Stephen McNamara as CEO. In addition, Kevin Sullivan joins as CTO. The new hires will lead Uphold Labs, a crypto skunkworks to source new product ideas and bring them to life. Uphold plans to usher new connectivity with global banks, digital wallets and payment gateways to increase its deposit activity by 16 times in the coming year, as well as expand customer assets.
Capital market technology firm LPA Group has unveiled Nourdine Abderrahmane as a new partner in its Swiss consulting practice. He’s tasked with putting into place robust approaches for reporting and risk management specifically around sustainability and sustainable investing
Leading dispute technology specialist Chargebacks911 and sister brand Fi911 has appointed Brad Dillahunty as executive vice president and chief product officer. He will drive the businesses’ global product development and strengthen operational structures at a time of growth.
Meanwhile, MillTechFX has announced that Vikram Gandhi, a renowned Harvard professor, has invested in the firm and joined its international advisory board. He will assist in expanding MillTechFX’s network of relationships as well as support with the formulation and execution of the firm’s strategy and targets.
Finally, Encompass Corporation, a provider of KYC solutions, has named Nicola Pickering as VP customer success and delivery. She will ensure an evolving list of customers continue to get the best from the company. Pickering replaces Dr Henry Balani who transitions to global head of industry and regulatory affairs.
Funding and investments
Aurelia, which helps businesses automate tasks across third-party financial apps on a single platform, has raised $3million in seed funding. Investors includes Blossom Capital as well as angel investors Guillaume Pousaz through his Zinal Growth investment vehicle and Erez Mathan. The company plans a beta launch in the UK, Romania, Estonia and Germany before the end of the year. It will also further develop its features and expand its team.
Meanwhile, fintech private equity investor AnaCap Financial Partners has invested in WebID, a German digital identification provider. AnaCap will provide significant growth capital and partner with the management team to extend WebID’s product offering to other industries, such as e-government, e-health, e-commerce and e-mobility, as well as support inorganic growth through future acquisitions.
Jeff raises $1.5million seed extension to support rapid growth of its loan brokerage solution for the unbanked in Asia. The investment in the Latvian fintech startup was led by J12 Ventures. iSeed Ventures and Toy Ventures joined the round, as well as existing investors EstBAN and Startup Wise Guys. The funds will be used to scale the team, while supporting faster new market expansion.
Blockchain startup Fluency lands $1.3million funding in order to launch a proprietary CBDC blockchain enterprise platform. It will use the funding to further propel its technology development, as well as increase headcount across its growth department. Fluency has also recently filed for privacy protocol and offline protocol patent protection.
Revaia, formerly known as Gaia Capital Partners, has closed its first growth fund at €250million. It is Europe’s largest female-founded VC fund and one of the largest globally. The portfolio currently consists of 10 investments in European scaleups in the software, consumer, and fintech sectors.
Pezesha, a pan-African fintech company, has closed a seven-figure growth funding round led by GreenHouse Capital (GHC). In addition, Pezesha received on-lending liquidity support from GHC’s sister company Venture Garden Group. The financing will support Pezesha’s growth across Africa and its mission to expand access to affordable working capital for SMEs.
Egypt’s fintech ecosystem MNT-Halan has secured $120million investment from Apis Growth Fund II, Development Partners International and Lorax Capital Partners. In addition, the company also attracted venture capital backing from Middle East Venture Partners, Endeavor Catalyst and DisruptTech. Funding will drive innovation in its technology, product development and cross-border expansion.
Marshmallow has raised $85million as part of its Series B funding round. The raise makes it one of the first UK unicorns to be founded by individuals that are Black, or have Black heritage. Funds will be used to further build brand and market share within motor insurance in the UK and expand across Europe. Prominent backers include Passion Capital, Investec Bank and Scor.
Latin American buy now, pay later company Addi raises $140million. Shortly following its $65million Series B round, it raised another $75million, led by Greycroft. It will use funds to scale its operations in Brazil and Colombia, and expand into Mexico in early 2022. Addi also announced the hire of Niki Sri-Kumar as vice president and general manager.
Meanwhile, proptech firm Homeppl completes $1.4million funding round to expand customer base, drive innovation and support international growth. The new investment follows a string of senior hires and client wins, with major firms including Knight Frank, JLL and Douglas & Gordon now using Homeppl’s technology.
Koyo, a UK based open banking powered consumer lender, has completed a $50million debt and equity raise. Force Over Mass led the Series A funding round with additional participation from Seedcamp, Frontline Ventures and Forward Partners. The company’s vision is to become a world leader in using alternative data to offer competitively priced financial products.
Finally, KLAIM – the UAE-based fintech – has successfully raised a remarkable $1.6million in its latest funding round. The Pre-Series A round was led by Mad’a Investments with additional participation from Arzan Venture Capital and Wealth Well, as well as a follow-up investment from Techstars.
MX, the financial data platform, has teamed up with Payveris, the integrated money movement platform, to improve account connectivity for US fintechs. Following the integration, organisations can deploy intelligent digital payment and money movement services to their customers. They can also utilise the Payveris MoveMoney platform and suite of open APIs, SDK widgets and SSO products.
There’s also a partnership for insurtech Hiro and collaborative finance provider StepLadder. The partnership will offer StepLadder’s members access to Hiro’s smart insurance, and open up further collaboration between the companies in the future. Hiro has also established relationships with smart home vendors including Ring, Philips Hue, Netatmo and Abode.
Payments platform Paysafe has expanded its partnership with Betfred USA Sports. The deal sees Betfred USA Sports plug into the affiliate marketing software of Income Access, Paysafe’s marketing technology and services provider, for the upcoming launch of a multi-state affiliate programnme.
Gr4vy, a cloud-native payments company, has announced two new partnerships with GoCardless and Banked. As part of the agreements, GoCardless and Banked merchants’ customers can take advantage of open banking technology and direct debit payments to deliver more choice at checkout.
Meanwhile, Applied Systems Europe has forged a partnership with Willis Towers Watson to support real-time pricing. Willis Towers Watson’s Radar Live partner programme enables insurers and MGAs to develop their rates, underwriting rules and adjustments, and then deploy them directly to the market in real time.
BankID has implemented cloud authentication and anti-fraud solutions from OneSpan. BankID is a personal electronic ID in a mobile app used to secure citizen identities and complete transactions online. OneSpan helps protect the world from digital fraud by establishing trust in people’s identities, the devices they use and the transactions they execute.
SmartStream Technologies has partnered with BRITech S.A, a provider of end-to-end solutions for buy-side firms in Latin America. As partners, both firms will deploy digital solutions for back-office operations in the investment management ecosystem. Initially starting the partnership to service financial institutions in Brazil, Argentina and Chile, there will be further expansion plans and global initiatives.
Product updates and launches
Matrixport, a digital assets financial services platform, has launched ‘BTC-U Range Sniper’, a first-mover product. It lets participants earn higher returns when the price of Bitcoin moves within a specified range. This options-based product will lets users earn a high annualised yield between six to 200 per cent in either USDT/USDC or BTC.
Kalgera has launched a new platform designed to help banks and financial institutions identify and protect vulnerable customers from financial harm. It integrates with banks’ existing systems to enable them to securely access, filter and evaluate customers’ transaction data using AI and cutting-edge cognitive neuroscience.
Financial comparison website Quotezone.co.uk has introduced a rewards platform, offering cashback or discounts on up to 1,000 retailers. Customers who purchase their policy through Quotezone.co.uk unlock Rewards+ with access to better discounts and bigger savings.
Announcements and company updates
Igloo recently won the Insurtech Initiative of the Year – Singapore award at the 6th Insurance Asia Awards. The award recognises Igloo’s partnership with PhilPacific Insurance Brokers & Inc (Philinsure) in digitalising PhilInsure’s insurance products.
A new multi-million regional data centre is set to be built in the Kingdom of Bahrain to promote collective digital transformation. The Arab League’s Arab Federation for Digital Economy (AFDE) has entered into an agreement with ATDXT LLC, a digital transformation company in the UAE. A main hub in Bahrain will serve all member states of the Arab League.
Fintech Nucleus Commercial Finance has been accredited by the British Business Bank under the government-backed Recovery Loan Scheme. Nucleus will be the first lender to offer interest-only on all RLS term loans. Under the scheme, Nucleus will provide loans from £30,000 to £10million (£30million per group) for SMEs.
Paysafe has launched its new Paysafe Publishers marketplace to help global e-commerce merchants increase customer acquisition and foster new revenue-generating relationships. Paysafe Publishers supports merchants working in financial services, education, nutrition and wellness, sports and fitness, leisure and entertainment, travel and hospitality, and video gaming.
Meanwhile, Nasdaq has launched Nasdaq Data Link, a cloud-based technology platform. It connects the global financial community to the information needed to generate alpha, manage risk and gain transparency into public and private markets. Quandl’s technology serves as the new platform’s underlying infrastructure.