Welcome to the latest The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup. Bringing you a selection of industry appointments, partnerships and investment success stories.
UK regional bank Bank North has appointed Deepak Haria and Madis Toomsalu to its board. Haria joins as independent non-executive director and chair of Bank North’s board audit committee. Toomsalu will also join the board as non-executive director. The appointments follow Bank North receiving a licence from Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
It’s all change in cards services at digital bank Chase with a job reshuffle. Allison Beer, previously chief product officer, is the new CEO of card services. Rohan Amin moves from the chief information officer role to chief product officer, as Gill Haus becomes chief information officer.
Binance, the blockchain ecosystem and cryptocurrency infrastructure provider, has welcomed Aron Akbiyikian to its audit and investigations team. His work will focus on identifying bad actors attempting to use Binance’s platform.
Meanwhile Encompass Corporation, the know your customer solutions provider, has appointed Nicola Pickering as VP customer success and delivery. The current head of customer success and delivery, Dr Henry Balani, transitions into the role of global head of industry and regulatory affairs.
Payoneer has unveiled three key appointments aimed at strengthening the company’s leadership team and board. Former chief operating officer Keren Levy is appointed president, while Pamela H Patsley – most recently executive chairman of MoneyGram International – also joins the board. In addition, Payoneer welcomes Arnon Kraft as the company’s new chief operating officer.
Finally, Transact, the mobile-centric campus tech firm, has named Laura Newell McLaughlin as executive vice president for payments. She most recently served as chief of staff to the CEO and led payments strategy. Transact facilitates $45billion in payments annually for tuition, fees, meal plans, retail payments as well as other student expense payments.
Mergers and acquistions
TransUnion has signed a $3.1billion definitive agreement to acquire Neustar, an identity resolution company, to expand its digital identity capabilities. Neustar’s security business, excluded from the transaction, becomes a Golden Gate Capital and GIC portfolio company following the deal.
Fundings and investments
Fintech and BNPL provider DivideBuy has secured a £300mllion investment deal with Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP. Deloitte recently recognised the business as the UK’s fastest growing tech company. More than 500 retailers, including Cloud Nine and Simba Sleep, use DivideBuy’s technology. The investment supports DivideBuy’s growth trajectory.
Australia’s premier digital asset fund, the DNA Tracker Fund, has recorded a 184.35 per cent net return on investment over the nine months since its inception last December. DNA Tracker provides Australian and New Zealand wholesale investors with access to a diversified portfolio of underlying digital assets.
Sproutt, the life insurance company, has raised $26million in a Series B round led by MoreTech Ventures. Additional investment came from Harel Group, The Raptor Group and Falcon Edge Capital, alongside existing investors. The funds will drive Sproutt’s health-incentivising instant-issue life insurance policies direct to customers and agents.
Fintech infrastructure platform Integrated Finance has raised £2million in seed funding in a round led by Octopus Ventures. The investment will be used to significantly increase the company’s product and engineering teams, as well as build its commercial team to support the growth of new and existing customers.
Meanwhile African fintech Wave has raised $200million in a Series A round. It marks the largest-ever Series A funding round for a fintech startup in Africa and values Wave at $1.7billion. Wave becomes a unicorn after investments from Stripe and Sequoia Heritage.
Finally, African fintech platform Finclusion Group has secured $20million in a funding round with fintech debt financing provider Lendable. The partnership will help Finclusion widen its reach in East and South African markets, driving financial inclusivity in segments that have traditionally been underserved.
Partnerships and collaborations
Société Générale Factoring has implemented HPD Lendscape’s technology to develop a bespoke client-facing web portal. The implementation of Lendscape’s APIs lets Société Générale Factoring deliver improved digital client experiences, new products, plus credit and data features. Société Générale Factoring can also take advantage of Lendscape’s capabilities that support supply chain finance onboarding.
Trading platform NAX and SkyBridge Capital have forged a partnership to raise $250million for a fund known as UNLOX that targets spreading blockchain availability to institutions. UNLOX, with SkyBridge’s Anthony Scaramucci as its chairman, will become a core infrastructure to launch at-scale DeFi ventures. The partnership will also accelerate the growth of decentralised applications on Algorand.
Standard Chartered has executed its first green trade finance facility in the UAE to support Amplus Energy Solutions FZE, a subsidiary of Amplus Solar, in its solar generation business. A suite of trade finance products and services reinforce the Bank’s commitment to help clients meet ESG-related sustainability objectives.
There’s also a partnership for e-gifts firm Resal and Mastercard. The agreement is designed to increase promotion campaigns for Mastercard customers in Saudi Arabia. Mastercard users can shop freely from Resal Digital Cards store and explore a collection of more than 400 brands.
Meanwhile Interswitch Group has secured a strategic partnership with Codebase Technologies to accelerate digital banking transformation across Africa. Codebase Technologies’ Digibanc SaaS platform is described as the perfect complement to Interswitch’s existing payments and digital banking offering.
More partnerships and collaborations
Open banking platform TrueLayer has collaborated with online car retailer Cazoo. TrueLayer’s PayDirect platform has been integrated by Cazoo to offer instant payments amid traditional card payments experiencing high failure rates. Cazoo has also implemented instant seller payments, using TrueLayer’s open banking platform.
Pagero, the Cloud-based invoicing platform, has plumped for CloudTrade’s Gramatica technology to power its Pagero Data Extraction (PDE) service. PDE helps organisations automate inbound order and invoice processing. Gramatica guarantees 100 per cent accurate data extraction and drives supplier adoption rates of 80 to 90 per cent.
BNP Paribas has adopted Bloomberg analytics solutions for its mortgage trading business. Bloomberg’s data provides the retail bank with reliable risk and attribution models. Research and risk professionals can access mortgage functionality via desktop-based tools, including a programmatic API.
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is hosting a series of events dedicated to blockchain this week. DIFC Blockchain Week aims to help accelerate the UAE’s digital economy as well as demonstrate its commitment to drive the future of finance.
Euromoney has recognised Santander as the World’s Best Bank for Financial Inclusion in its Global Awards for Excellence 2021. The magazine distinguished Santander’s efforts to financially empower individuals and entrepreneurs through a range of programmes in Latin America, Europe and the US, as well as the work Santander has done to help the elderly adopt digital channels through the pandemic.
There’s also good news for banking software firm Temenos – named a leader in two key reports, The Forrester Wave: Digital Banking Engagement Platforms and Digital Banking Engagement Hubs evaluations for Q3 2021. Temenos ranked highest in the strategy category in both evaluations. Temenos attributes its ‘leader status’ to its explainable AI technology and micro apps architecture.
Eurowag, the pan-European integrated payments and mobility platform, has announced its intention to undertake an initial public offering (IPO). Eurowag said it is poised for a period of rapid growth and is committed to improving the profitability of fleets, the wellbeing of drivers, as well as reducing the industry’s carbon footprint.
Other industry news
El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender got off to a rocky start. Citizens were offered a digital wallet called Chivo for handling US dollar and bitcoin transactions. But the government was forced to take the wallet offline for hours as a crush of sign-ups overloaded its servers. Critics also warned that adopting cryptocurrency as legal tender risks economic stability and personal finances.
Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP) was inundated with requests to licence fintech, blockchain and crypto related companies. But, after studying submissions, SRTIP chose OODLE Market Place, the distributed ledger technology company, as the first blockchain based company to set up.
Finally, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Reserve Bank of India have unveiled plans to link Singapore’s PayNow and India’s Unified Payments Interface real-time payment systems by July 2022. They say the link between the two systems paves the way for establishing more comprehensive digital connectivity and interoperability between the two countries.