The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup on Tuesday brings you the latest news updates from around the world.
Research and insights
New research from Crypto Head reveals that less than five per cent of crypto entrepreneurs are female. The research also reveals that San Francisco is the crypto company capital of the world, with eight of the 50 companies in the study from the city.
More than 3,000 self-assessment tax returns are expected to be filed on Christmas Day this year, according to tax app untied. Figures also indicate that every day in January between 30,000 and 700,000 people scramble to submit their forms in time.
Financial services organisations are struggling to keep up with digital transformation, according to Dynatrace. It has also found that siloed team culture, manual approaches and increasingly complex tooling in financial IT departments are slowing innovation and making teams more reactive than proactive.
AstroPay, the online payment provider, has further strengthened its partnership with Burnley Football Club by becoming Burnley FC Women’s front of shirt sponsor for the remainder of the 2021/22 season. It has also sponsored the newly installed dugouts at Turf Moor. AstroPay is already the men’s team official sleeve sponsor.
Product news and launches
Swarm Markets GmbH, the degulated decentralised financial infrastructure provider, is to launch a peer-to-peer contract for high value transactions in Q1 2022. The service empowers institutions and professional investors to use a regulated crypto block-trade smart contract in place of over-the-counter trading.
Market leading bridging loan firm SoMo has unveiled plans to launch three new loan products in 2022. These include SoMo Auction with 75 per cent LTV and rates of 0.49 per cent. By the end of this year, SoMo will have lent £190million and paid £15.23million in interest since its inception in 2014.
ADGM-based digital wealth management firm FinaMaze has launched a smartfolio product linked to MENA venture capital funds. Investors can invest from $10,000. It said the first portfolio will be dedicated to a top VC leader in the region.
Fraud elimination platform Vesta, has hired Nick Tosenrude, former GM for fraud detection at Amazon Web Services, as chief product officer. Tostenrude will build and lead a team of customer-focused product managers to identify new business opportunities and expand Vesta’s solutions. Tostenrude will also be responsible for fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration.
There’s also a new chief product officer at global payments processing platform Checkout.com. Taking on the role is Meron Colbeci, the former head of consumer product management at Novi – Meta’s fintech product group. He oversees the company’s product management, product operations and design functions worldwide.
Meniga has appointed Gunter Saurwein as chief operating officer. He is responsible for designing and implementing business operations, establishing policies that promote company culture and vision, and contributing to overall business strategy. Gunter’s appointment comes at the end of a successful year of international expansion and growth for Meniga.
Mergers and acquisitions
Monese, the pan-European fintech, has announced the acquisition of Trezeo, a financial services provider serving independent and self-employed workers. The acquisition, Monese’s first, is part of a wider push at the European fintech to expand its products and services. Trezeo’s co-founder Garrett Cassidy will lead Monese’s credit strategy, while Flavien Charlon will lead credit technology.
Funding and investments
UK insurer Aviva is investing £50million into venture capital funds focused on emerging technology which supports a more sustainable future. It also aims to accelerate the commercialisation of clean growth technologies, create new employment opportunities across the UK and contribute to the UK’s efforts to deliver net zero by 2050.
CIRCA5000, the impact investment app, has closed a £3.7million crowdfunding campaign on CrowdCube. It smashed he company’s target of £1million within 10 minutes. It said the raise will let it expand its team, ramp up customer acquisition and introduce new products like pensions.
Stocktwits, the social platform for investors and traders, has raised $30million in Series B funding. Alameda Research Ventures led the Series B round and was joined by Times Bridge. They join existing investors including True Ventures, Foundry Group, ffVC and Social Leverage. Stocktwits has plans to further develop the platform and expand its product offerings.
Meanwhile, Fuzey has raised a €4million seed round. Fuzey helps service-based SMEs, such as plumbers, electricians and mechanics, manage appointments and streamline payments. It will use this funding to grow its team and expand into new markets across Europe and North America. The round was led by Nordic venture capital firm byFounders, with participation also from Flash Ventures.
Further funding news
Insurtech Broker Insights has raised more than £6million in a Series A funding round led by Mercia. Chroma Ventures, which first backed Broker Insights with seed funding in 2018, made a follow-on investment in this round. The funding will enable further development of Broker Insights’ platform, accelerate its UK growth and its launch in the US. The company also expects to double its headcount in 2022.
Multiverse Computing will receive €12,500,000 as part of the latest funding from the European Innovation Council Accelerator programme. The investment follows Multiverse’s €10,000,000 seed round less than two months ago. Some of the funding will be used to further optimise the company’s Monte Carlo asset valuation engine, as well as derivative evaluation capabilities.
Radiflow, a provider of cybersecurity solutions, has forged new partnerships across Europe in order to meet the demand for increased protections of operational techology facilities. These include solutions providers Capula UK, MMX in the UK, Logitek Spain, Germany’s Performio, Mi-Line Slovenia, as well as Syndis of Iceland.
Nuvei, the global payment technology firm, has entered into a partnership with FTX Trading LTD , operator of FTX.COM, the global cryptocurrency exchange. This partnership with Nuvei will enable FTX to provide its users instant payment solutions for an enhanced customer journey and experience.
Public Mint, the fiat-native public blockchain and frictionless money system, has teamed up with Abra, a wealth management platform. With the Abra partnership, Public Mint users can earn up to 8 per cent annual percentage yield (APY) on their US dollars. Public Mint’s new programme is called EARN.
Meanwhile, fintech Paymerang is using five products from Amazon Web Services (AWS) in its operations and client services to deliver finance automation solutions. Paymerang says it chose AWS because it simplifies and streamlines many time-consuming administrative processes while elevating existing database operations.
China-based acquirer UseePay has partnered with payments security company Netcetera. The solution is now supporting multiple schemes, including Discover Diners, American Express, Visa and Mastercard. UseePay was looking for a 3DS server to ensure the security of international transactions.
Astra, the automation platform for money movement, has launched a card-to-card instant payment API through a strategic partnership with Cross River Bank. Astra is providing the critical infrastructure that enables fintech developers to fund accounts and facilitate deposits via the debit card payment rails.
Finally, finova has been selected to provide the software that will power Standard Life Home Finance’s (SLHF) move into the UK equity release market, following a tender process. SLHF started lending in November with finova’s solution delivered in full within eight months.