Enjoy the latest fintech headlines from around the world in this Thursday’s The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup. Zalando’s Barbara Daliri is on the move to crypto-currency exchange Bitstamp, while African fintech Moove raises $23million in Series A funding.
Cryptocurrency exchange platform ABCC Exchange has announced a strategic partnership with Circle Pay. This partnership will enable experienced and novice traders to transfer fiat funds via wire transfer and card payments. Users will also receive stable coin USD Coin at a 1:1 conversion rate in Ethereum.
It’s a ‘match’ for AC Milan and cryptocurrency trading platform BitMEX. The pair have kicked off a multi-year partnership – the BitMEX brand will feature on the sleeve of both the men’s and women’s team playing kit in all competitions, and on the sleeve of the Rossoneri’s e-sports team AQM.
While, AI-powered credit decision platform provider Scienaptic AI reveals that InRoads Credit Union has chosen to implement the company’s platform to enhance its credit decisioning and underwriting capabilities for new and prospective members.
Timo, Vietnam’s first digital bank, has partnered with SaaS banking platform Mambu. Timo says the collaboration with Mambu, as well as AWS, enables the bank to ‘reap the benefits of a range of best-for-purpose technologies’.
TNM Mpamba, a mobile money provider in Malawi, has teamed up with Mastercard. A Mastercard virtual payment solution will let TNM Mpamba mobile money wallet customers make safe local and international e-commerce transactions. To boost financial literacy, TNM Mpamba and Mastercard have also collaborated with the National Bank of Malawi to contextualise and adapt key information for the Malawian market.
iDenfy, the global identity verification service, has unveiled a partnership with Sparlay. The peer-to-peer sports betting platform will be able to ensure that only users that are in legal territories will be able to deposit money and wager real funds in the application.
Backbase has supported real estate financing leader pbb Deutsche Pfandbriefbank (pbb) with its new client portal. Powered by the digital banking technology provider’s Engagement Banking platform, the portal digitises the interface between the bank and its clients.
Bank of Ghana has also unveiled a partnership with Giesecke+Devrient (G+D) to pilot a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in Ghana. The digital Cedi, or ‘e-Cedi’, is intended to complement and serve as a digital alternative to physical cash. It also aims to facilitate payments without a bank account, contract, or smartphone.
The California FAIR Plan Association has partnered with Zesty.ai to better assess wildfire risk using aerial imagery and artificial intelligence. Under a five-year agreement, FAIR Plan will use Zesty.ai’s Z-FIRE model to measure and price wildfire risk at the individual property level.
Meanwhile, African microinsurance fintech aYo Holdings has partnered with telecoms firm MTN, as well as Sanlam Life, to introduce insurance products in Côte d’Ivoire. It is estimated that less than two per cent of the Ivorian population currently has insurance.
Finally, Estonian-based LHV Bank has chosen Nets Group to deliver issuing and acquiring services. The extension of their long-term partnership adds new issuing services for LHV’s British subsidiary, LHV UK Limited. Nets will continue to deliver full acquiring services for LHV in Estonia.
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) board has unveiled F. Christopher Calabia as its upcoming new CEO. He succeeds Bryan Stirewalt on 1 October 2021. Calabia joins the DFSA from a senior advisory position at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Encompass Corporation, a provider of KYC solutions, has appointed Michael Horsnell as business development director. He has previously held senior roles at Citi, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS Investment Bank, while prior to Encompass he was global head of PEP, KYC & financial crime exits at Barclays.
Meanwhile, Ontario Systems, a provider of enterprise workflow automation software for revenue recovery, hires Raj Sethuraman as chief technology officer. He takes the helm of product engineering and software development activities for all offerings within the company’s portfolio.
SchemeServe, a cloud-based provider of insurance software for intermediaries, has appointed Lisa Price as business development manager. She will bring insurance insight and understanding in supporting clients with their digital transformation strategies.
SteelEye, the compliance technology and data analytics firm, has appointed Philip Lemmon as commercial director. His arrival follows shortly after SteelEye announced plans to expand into North America. SteelEye hopes to benefit from Lemmon’s ‘detailed knowledge of front-office technology and trade surveillance tools’.
While Amin Dabit has joined the leadership team of Alto Solutions as chief operating officer. Dabit will spearhead strategy development as well as the execution and scaling of the business during its current phase of rapid growth. Alto also recently closed a $17million Series A funding round led by Unusual Ventures.
Also on the move is Chirag Patel – named CEO of Paysafe‘s global Digital Wallets business. He joins Paysafe from Santander Group where he was global head of payment. Patel replaces former Digital Wallets CEO, Lorenzo Pellegrino, who moves to a strategic advisory role at Skrill Limited.
Barbara Daliri has joined crypto-currency exchange Bitstamp as its first chief growth officer. She will lead its sustainable global growth approach, as well as support an increase in customer engagement across all key markets. Bitstamp has celebrated its 10th birthday this year with other high-profile hires including US CEO Bobby Zagotta, Mel Tsiaprazis as chief commercial officer and Jean-Baptiste Graftieaux as MD for Europe.
Commercial motor insurance provider Zego has bolstered its engineering team – adding its 100th engineer. In addition, Zego is also hiring across all other departments and geographical locations. It also recently hired Julien Carmona (ex-AXA and Setoo) as head of sales for France. The recruitment drive follows Zego’s $150million Series C round of funding which saw it become the UK’s first insurtech unicorn.
Meanwhile, CrossTower, the crypto investment and trading firm, has named Cory Thackeray as chief financial officer. He will be responsible for managing CrossTower’s finance functions and capital structure. His appointment follows recent senior hires of Greg Bunn as chief strategy officer and Jeffrey Blockinger as chief legal officer, while Bryan Christian is global head of exchange.
Finally, Subhash V Thakrar joins the advisory board of investment network JPIN VCATS. The ex-chairman of the London Chamber of Commerce joins the mission to provide cross-investment and support for startups in Britain and India.
Mergers and acquistions
abrdn has acquired Exo Investing from London-based fintech Nucoro. Following the deal, expected to complete in Q4 2021, abrdn plans to offer 24/7 digital wealth management via an app. Exo Investing offers artificial intelligence powered investment technology.
Funding and investment
FalconX, a digital assets and cryptocurrency financial services firm, has secured $210millon in funding. Led by Altimeter Capital, B Capital Group, Sapphire Ventures and Tiger Global with additional participation from Amex Ventures and Mirae Asset. FalconX plans to unveil several new product offerings in the coming months, as well as explore strategic acquisitions and hire talent globally.
Mortgage broker Tembo Money has unveiled a £2.5million fundraise, backed by Aviva and Nationwide. The capital, which follows Tembo’s official launch in June 2021, will drive the expansion of the London-based fintech’s offering.
There’s also good news for Salad Money as Fair4All Finance makes a £5million five-year investment in the affordable lender. It’s the third significant investment from Fair4All Finance’s Affordable Credit Scale Up Programme. It wants to increase the supply of fair and affordable credit for people in financially vulnerable circumstances.
Israeli startup Edge Gaming has raised $2million to develop an academy platform for e-sports clubs and gamers. Leading the round are AnD Ventures and Stardom Ventures. Prior to raising the round, the firm has been part of the IDCX Studio accelerator programme.
More funding news
Meanwhile, African fintech Moove has raised $23million in Series A funding. It will use the funding to build a full-service mobility fintech that ‘democratises vehicle ownership across Africa’. The round was led by Speedinvest and Left Lane Capital, with participation also from DCM, Clocktower Technology Ventures, thelatest.ventures, LocalGlobe, Tekton, FJ Labs and Palm Drive Capital. Roka Works, KAAF Investments, Spartech Ventures, Class 5 Global and Emso Asset Management also joined the round.
Manchester venture capital investor Praetura Ventures has attracted a £15million commitment from British Business Investments. Capital will be deployed alongside Praetura’s Enterprise Investment Scheme funds and angel investors to back early-stage businesses across multiple sectors.
Appital, the equity capital marketplace, has secured a £2.5million investment from Frontline Ventures, as well as angel investors. The investment will accelerate the development of Appital’s technology infrastructure, integration with market leading financial institutions as well as technology vendors and enable the expansion of its engineering team.
Announcements and other updates
Emirates Islamic has secured two awards at the World Finance Islamic Finance Awards 2021, recognising the bank’s excellence in products and service. As well as the ‘Best Islamic Bank in Customer Experience, UAE, 2020’ award, the bank also won the accolade of ‘Best Credit Card in the UAE’ for its co-branded credit card with Emirates Skywards.
Socure, a provider of digital ID verification solutions, is celebrating after achieving record financial results – a 126 per cent year-over-year recurring revenue growth. Bookings also accelerated 220 per cent compared to the first half of last year. Socure was also recently named in two categories in the Forbes Fintech 50 List 2021.
Vertex, a global provider of tax technology solutions, has introduced the Vertex Cloud VAT Compliance solution to support the changing tax environment across Europe. Plus, other countries that require the digitalisation of value-added tax and goods and services tax. The solution features rule-based data quality and validation tools, as well as workflow automation that maximises data and return accuracy.