This Thursday’s latest The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup delivers a healthy dose of fintech updates, including investment news and new hires.
OptioPay has appointed Naser Al-Shraydeh as chief financial officer. He will oversee the strategic financial direction of the business, mainly focusing on further developing business intelligence, performance management, compliance and HR. The German fintech platform recently completed a Series B financing round.
Global fintech Gresham Technologies has unveiled Julian Trostinsky – ex Duco VP – as its new global director of customer success. It follows Gresham’s acquisition of Electra’s data aggregation service and its out-of-the box post-trade capabilities for the buy-side in June.
Meanwhile fintech Acrisure has appointed Lowell Singer as chief financial officer. He joins following 14 years with The Walt Disney Company, where he served as senior vice president of investor relations. Earlier this year, Acrisure announced a capital raise of $3.4billion. The company also expects to grow approximately 50 per cent this year.
Peter George has been appointed managing director for Amazon Payment Services (APS) in MENA. He will lead the team in a period of expansion in the region by developing partnerships, penetrating new markets, as well as enabling the digitisation of businesses across all sectors. Following the appointment, George has reolocated to Dubai.
Veteran retail CEO John Browett has joined home setup service Just Move In as chairman. He previously held CEO roles at Tesco.com, Dixons Retail, Dunelm Group and Monsoon-Accessorize. Browett will help the fintech and home setup service grow its customer base as well as move into new markets beyond the home move.
Finally, Paysafe has appointed Zak Cutler, as CEO, North America iGaming. The newly created executive role forms part of Paysafe’s ongoing strategic focus in the North American iGaming vertical. The company provides 75 per cent of operators in the country with payments or marketing solutions across 16 states.
Hedera Hashgraph, the public network for the decentralised economy, has unveiled Indian Institutes of Technology Madras (IITM) as the newest member of its governing council. The technology university joins a rotating council of up to 39 global organisations that enables the decentralised governance model for the Hedera public ledger.
Microsoft has chosen Spain as the base of operations for its new R&D hub specialised in the application of AI technologies to improve user experience on the web. The facility will be one of eight research centers worldwide and part of Microsoft’s WebXT division.
Meanwhile fintech Routefusion has completed the overhaul of its platform, building a brand new API in GraphQL. GraphQL is a query language and server-side runtime that prioritises giving clients exactly the data they request and no more. The overhaul took Routefusion’s entire engineering team six months to complete.
Payments processor Global Processing Services (GPS) has selected Victoria House in London’s Knowledge Quarter to base its brand-new global headquarters. News of the office move follows a period of significant growth for the global issuer processor. GPS increased its headcount by 44 per cent in 2021, making strategic hires across its London, Newcastle, Dubai, Singapore and Sydney offices. It has partnered with London-based office provider LABS to lease 6,100 square feet of its premises.
Further industry updates
Nucleus Commercial Finance has reached £2billion in lending to SMEs. The milestone follows a year of record growth for the fintech which saw it lend more than £450million to UK businesses in 2020. The implementation of open banking has resulted in the fintech making 90 per cent of application decisions within one hour.
FinTech Australia has released an industry policy document offering guidance to fintechs on best practices for parental leave entitlements. The policy says employers should offer 12 week paid parental leave at full pay, including superannuation. Partners are also entitled to two weeks parental leave at full pay.
Technology companies, including Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft and TikTok have pledged to support Take Five to Stop Fraud, the anti-fraud campaign run by UK Finance. The firms are collectively donating $1million worth of advertising to the campaign. This support flows from the work of a recently established online fraud steering group with representatives from the technology and banking industries and law enforcement.
Temenos and IBM collaborate to accelerate hybrid Cloud adoption in the financial services industry. The Temenos Transact next-generation core banking with Red Hat OpenShift is now on IBM Cloud. Temenos Transact provides a clear modernisation path for banks to adopt a cloud strategy for their core banking systems.
Mergers and acquistions
Access PaySuite (a division of Access UK Ltd) has acquired electronic direct debit provider SmartDebit. Following FCA approval of the deal, Access PaySuite has a customer base of more than 6,500 and processes 82 million transactions annually, with a value in excess of £6.5billion. Access PaySuite will deliver payments through Access Workspace.
Asian esports company Ampverse has announced a strategic majority stake acquisition of esports teams, MiTH (Made in Thailand) and Fullerton Markets. Since Ampverse opened its offices in 2019, it has expanded into multiple markets and now manages nine teams across Asia. Its strategy has been to acquire high potential esports communities across the region.
Funding and investments
SaaS regtech provider PassFort has closed a $16.2million Series A funding round. Led by growth equity fund Level Equity with additional participation from existing investors OpenOcean, Episode 1 and Entrepreneur First. The funds will support PassFort’s global growth plans as well as its ambition to be the category leader in compliance automation for regulated businesses.
Digital Media Nusantara has secured venture financing from Malaysia Debt Ventures Berhad (MDV). The funding will be used to accelerate its mission to become Southeast Asia’s first fintech media firm. Its ecosystem of brands include The ASEAN Post, Reimagining Southeast Asia and Spotlights Labs.
Fintech startup Lightyear has closed an $8.5million funding round. It takes the total raised pre-launch to $10million, following a first funding round of $1.5million from angel investors. The latest topup includes investors Mosaic Ventures, Taavet+Sten, Metaplanet’s Jaan Tallinn and early Monzo backer Eileen Burbidge. Lightyear is now onboarding customers from its waiting list that has been growing since the company came out of stealth mode earlier this summer.
Zafin, the SaaS cloud-native product and pricing platform, has expanded its collaboration with IBM to help financial institutions speed their digital transformations with hybrid cloud. Zafin has joined IBM’s partner ecosystem collaborating on the IBM Cloud for Financial Services to help partners accelerate transactions with financial services institutions.
Halfords has joined forces with charity-backed fintech Wagestream in order to introduce a range of services for colleagues that reduce financial stress and improve financial wellbeing. 10,000 employees at the automotive retailer will get financial education, budgeting and savings, built around flexible pay.
Electronic money institution Nexpay has teamed up with Salt Edge, the open-banking SaaS firm. Nexpay is now running SCA and all authentication processes through apps developed by Salt Edge. The technology uses data encryption and anonymisation during the customer journey.
“We think Salt Edge is providing a much better UX compared to the SMS-based two-factor authentication processes we are replacing.”
Currencycloud, the B2B cross-border payments firm, has partnered with Flutterwave, the African payments technology company. The partnership lets Flutterwave’s merchants send and receive money transfers at a significant scale. It also lets merchants receive payments by channels other than debit card.
Ebury, the transaction platform, has chosen Galvanize’s HighBond platform to unify and streamline its enterprise risk and control management. The platform gives full visibility over risks and controls, and will provide a scalable system without adding cost.
BSO, in partnership with Geneva-based ImpactScope, has become the first connectivity provider to offer clients that trade cryptocurrencies the means to calculate and offset the excess carbon emissions of their operations. BSO’s existing client base has full access to ImpactScope’s suite of solutions.
InComm Payments has expanded its Serve suite of prepaid produts with a ‘Pay As You Go’ Visa prepaid card in the US. The new card enables spending with no monthly charges and only a small fee when a purchase is made. The updated Serve product suite is available online at the newly designed serve.com and at retailers across the country.
Lending bank DF Capital has developed a digital interactive channel for savings customers to self-serve their accounts. The online savings platform has been developed in partnership with ieDigital and is also underpinned by Mambu, the SaaS cloud banking platform. Customers can make instant decisions on various tasks, as well as view balances.
Infura, a ConsenSys company providing blockchain developer tools, has released its Ethereum transaction relaying service, Infura Transactions (ITX). ITX makes sending transactions easier for the developer, such as handling stuck transactions and managing nonces. It also helps prevent fee overpayment when the Ethereum network is significantly congested.
Fintech startup PayBy has launched Send Paylink, a new point of sale feature that enables quicker and easier sales. Using the PayBy POS, merchants can create a payment link to send to customers. When customers receive the link, they can pay through the PayBy app or with their bank card, instead of paying by cash.
Tide, the business financial platform, has launched a new TV and Out Of Home campaign, starring real businesses instead of actors. It aims to highlight how the platform helps founders spend less time on admin and more time to do what they love. 20- and 30-second ads will air across a range of TV channels.
Network International has introduced its N-Genius app to support digital payment acceptance among UAE small businesses. The N-Genius app uses NFC technology to convert an eligible Android smartphone into a mobile contactless payment device, without the need for additional hardware.
Finally, TrueLayer, the open banking platform, has unveiled Payouts, a solution to tackle the issues of slow withdrawals and refunds. Payouts is already being used by TrueLayer clients, including online car retailer Cazoo. The launch of Payouts continues the expansion of TrueLayer’s solution following the launch of PayDirect in January.