In The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup we shine a light on recent fintech stories from around the world. As well as Egyptian fintech startup NowPay‘s funding success, we also hear about a new tool aimed at improving the handling of personal data across the Middle East.
Funding, investments and acquisitions
Cairo-based financial wellness startup NowPay has raised $2.1million in seed investment. In addition to deepening the platform’s capabilities, the fund will also be used for team expansion and to establish a MENA footprint. Investors include: BECO Capital, 500 Startups, Plug and Play, 4dx Ventures, MSA Capital, EFG-EV Fintech and Ebtikar. Angel investors Quirky Ventures, Gehan Fathi, and Rolaco also participated in the round.
Salesforce has announced its second impact fund will invest in companies ‘solving the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges’. As well as supporting the development of digital transformation solutions, Salesforce says the $100million fund will help ‘improve the state of the world’.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank intends to purchase rival lender Samba Financial Group in a $14.8billion deal. If the merger wins regulatory approvals, it will become the kingdom’s largest bank.
Kirsten Wolberg, chief technology and operations officer at DocuSign joins the board of Duco as a non-executive director. Duco, a provider of data integrity and reconciliation services, says Wolberg’s product and technology expertise, as well as her growth experience, will strengthen its strategic position and technology leadership.
KESHO appoints Bill Hall in order to continue its growth in the credit union sector of the UK and Ireland. KESHO is the credit union business of Omnio, the banking-as-a-service fintech. Hall joins as a strategic advisor to enhance and widen the availability of responsible and fair lending.
OakNorth has hired Jeremiah Norton to its advisory board to drive the growth of the Oak North’s credit science suite of applications. Prior to this, Jeremiah Norton was a board member at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) agency.
Christophe Bodin is the new chief revenue officer for fintech and payments unicorn Tradeshift. In addition to overseeing all customer-facing segments across Tradeshift’s enterprise SaaS business, Bodin is also responsible for scaling revenue and refining go-to-market strategy during planned growth and expansion.
Eigen Technologies, the global provider of natural language processing technology, has unveiled Spyros Karageorgis as its first chief financial officer. In addition, it has appointed Tony Ehrens as its new chief revenue officer.
Yorkshire Building Society has created two new director roles to support its ongoing investment in digital. Ben Sampson is named director of digital programmes and Mark Brayton is director of marketing and digital channels.
Finally, fintech startup GammaRey has added business intelligence strategist Kimberly Nasief to its board of directors.
Partnerships and collaborations
Regtech firm RiskCapCom and blockchain innovator Apollo Fintech say their new partnership will ‘strengthen financial systems, reduce bureaucracies, increase compliance quality and strengthen economies’. The companies are working on an integrated platform of compliance and blockchain/cryptocurrency technology. As well as an ‘e-payment sandbox licence application in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Pakistan and other nation’.
Brokers at Primis Mortgage Network can now access Landbay’s range of buy-to-let mortgage products following a partnership deal. Landbay is a lending platform with funds originating from institutional investors.
Lifestyle banking provider Nuclei has hooked up with experiences platform Headout in order to provide events & experiences booking facilities on digital banking platforms. They say the partnership helps banks in the Middle East and Asia offer customers the ability to book events via mobile banking apps.
Mastercard and Marqeta have expanded their strategic global partnership. Beginning in Asia Pacific, the two companies will expand their collaboration into multiple new geographies. In addition, Mastercard will help expedite the card-issuing platform’s international expansion by streamlining its global network certification process.
PwC Middle East has collaborated with the Dubai International Financial Centre to launch a data privacy assessment tool. The online self-assessment uses business intelligence and data visualisation to help organisations take control of their data privacy risks.
Companies can now apply to a digital sandbox initiative between City of London Corporation and the Financial Conduct Authority. The pair say the pilot will help innovative firms make the crucial jump from idea to solution, as well as assist new propositions. The focus is on finding products to tackle coronavirus challenges.
Meanwhile, football manager Jose Mourinho is a new brand ambassador for XTB. The FX & CFD broker says its new global branding campaign ‘Be like José’ addresses the similarities between challenges faced by investors every day and those faced by a football manager.
And, AREA 2071, the innovation ecosystem of Dubai Future Foundation, has launched three micro-credit projects with startups alongside its partner Procter & Gamble’s i-Dubai Lab. The technology startups chosen to launch pilots include Next Billion, SwipeZoom and Hello Gold.
Our partnership with AREA 2071 enables us to take full advantage of the latest technologies from across the world. This supports our vision for financial inclusion for small-scale retailers.