The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup on Tuesday 16 August serves up a selection of fintech updates from around the world.
Fiat Republic, the banking-as-a-service (BaaS) platform has appointed Dagmar van Ravenswaay Claasen and Koenraad Dom as non-executive directors. They will provide support and guidance as Fiat Republic focuses on expanding its strategic partnerships with both crypto providers and tier one banks.
Binance, the crypto and blockchain infrastructure provider, has named Hannes Wessels as country head of South Africa to drive its business operations in the region. Wessels brings with him over 10 years of experience in the finance sector and is the previous head of global banking for South Africa at HSBC.
Cornerstone FS plc, the cloud-based provider of international payment, currency risk management and electronic account services to SMEs, has unveiled James Hickman as their upcoming CEO. He is currently serving out his notice with his current employer, fire.com.
Meanwhile, Vicky Sanders has joined OpenFin as chief digital officer. The appointment follows ING Ventures’ $10million investment in the operating system of enterprise productivity. Sanders will be key in driving forward digital optimisation efforts for end-users across the company’s ecosystem.
Standard Chartered Bank has named Manpreet Gill as chief investment officer, Africa, Middle East & Europe. Based out of Dubai, Gill will continue reporting to Steve Brice, group chief investment officer. His appointment is in addition to his current role as head of the CIO Office’s Fixed Income, Currency & Commodity Strategy.
Mergers and acquisitions
SeedBlink, the European co-investment platform in tech startups, has completed the acquisition of Symbid, the investment crowdfunding platforms. The deal accelerates SeedBlink coverage as a pan-European player, broadening its geographic footprint in the CEE and Benelux. It also supports its mission to consolidate and build the equity investment infrastructure for European tech companies at all stages.
Cartlow, the reverse logistics platform in the region, has announced its acquisition of Melltoo, the classified platform for second-hand items. In line with the acquisition, Melltoo customers are automatically redirected to Cartlow’s platform.
Private equity firm NorthEdge has supported quality assurance and testing firm Testronic, part of the Catalis Group, to complete two new acquisitions. Testronic has acquired Check Disc Labs (CDL) and Giant Interactive, representing the third and fourth acquisitions for Catalis Group since NorthEdge’s investment into the firm in 2020.
Technology infrastructure and services provider Liquid Intelligent Technologies has finalised its 100% acquisition and delisting of Telrad, an Israeli-based technology company. Telrad has a significant presence in 13 countries across the Middle East, South America, United Sates, Eastern Europe and Asia.
Funding and investments
Biza.io, a Australian Consumer Data Right (CDR) expert, has raised $7.5million in a Series A funding round led by OIF Ventures and Jelix Ventures. Biza.io helps banks, financial institutions, energy retailers and data economy participants navigate the regulated CDR ecosystem, and comply and innovate within the Australian data sharing landscape.
Dukkantek, the UAE store management platform, announces a $10million pre-series A funding round as it powers the digital ecosystem for 13 million SMB retailers across the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia. The funding will provide further access to global expansion, improve the platform’s technology stack and hire the best talent in the region.
Verdant Capital has made its first investment in Watu Credit Uganda Limited. The investment of $7million will help Watu expand its footprint of two-wheeler financing throughout the country. In addition, Watu is expected to benefit from initiatives supported by the Fund’s technical assistance facility.
BankiFi, a provider of embedded banking solutions, has secured £4million of additional investment to continue its global expansion, with a focus on North America following the recent establishment of a US sales office. This funding is led by Praetura Ventures.
Murasaki, a game studio building decentralised games on the blockchain, has closed a €1.5million seed round led by Incubate Fund. Murasaki’s Cyberstella, an NFT-focused game with a new take on the play and earn model, is set for release in early 2023.
Ocrolus, the document and data analysis platform, is working with Lendflow to improve access to credit for small businesses. Ocrolus provides Lendflow with insights into a borrower’s cash flow to determine where a loan application should be routed within its lender network.
Mastercard has signed a three-year partnership agreement with the Saudi Esports Federation as an official sponsor of Gamers8, the gaming and esports event worldwide. Catering to Saudi Arabia’s thriving gaming community, Mastercard will curate a diverse range of priceless experiences for gamers and fans.
Retirement specialist Just Group has become the first provider in the retirement income sector to partner with Comentis. Comentis’ innovative digital cognitive assessment engine will help Just Group proactively identify ‘at risk’ customers through a clinically developed, online process.
Alaan, a UAE-based corporate spend-management fintech, announced the launch of an industry-first business cashback card. The startup previously had raised $2.5million in seed funding and built a platform enabling businesses to spend through modern corporate cards and automated invoice payments. Business customers using Alaan cards get up to two per cent of their spending in cash back.
ZorroSign, a multi-chain blockchain-based digital signature solutions provider, has launched its next-generation platform that seeks to upgrade its user experience and user interface with new features, security, compliance and system updates for its UAE and global subscribers.