The Fintech Times News Roundup
Fintech Latest News Roundup

This Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 22/04

This Thursday’s The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup sees ekko turn to Paynetics UK to power the end-to-end banking service of its new climate friendly business. While UK fintech 3s.money’s latest funding round has led to a business valuation of £40million-plus.

Mergers and acquisitions

Digital adoption platform WalkMe has completed the acquisition of AI search firm Zest (Snow White Labs). Zest will integrate into WalkMe’s desktop product Workstation. In addition, Zest’s CEO & co-founder Idan Yalovich will be joining WalkMe to lead the ongoing development of WalkMe Workstation.

Global technology provider Claranet has snapped up Brazilian cloud specialist Mandic, the latest step in its expansion in the country. With this latest acquisition, Claranet’s Brazilian operation now has more than 450 employees and serves 5,000-plus corporate customers.

Nordic challenger bank Lunar has acquired Swedish lending and savings platform Lendify in order to grow its consumer loan segment. It will also expand its operations in Sweden to strengthen its position as the pan-Nordic leader in digital consumer and SME banking.

Funding and investments

deliveryDeliverect, a Belgian scale-up that connects delivery firms, such as Talabat, Zomato, Jahez, Deliveroo and Carriage, directly to restaurants by POS system automation, has raised $65million in a Series C funding round. The round featured DST Global Partners and Redpoint Ventures, as well as existing investors OMERS, Newion and Smartfin. Deliverect’s founders also invested in the round.

Fintech Bite Investments has closed its pre Series A+ funding in a round corner stoned by JMP Group LLC, an investment banking and alternative asset management firm. “We believe strongly in Bite’s mission of democratising access to alternative investments,” said Joseph Jolson, chairman and CEO of JMP Group.

Huspy, a Dubai-based proptech startup, has raised a funding round led by VentureFriends with additional participation from Amir Farha (Cotu), B&Y Ventures, Plug and Play, and large regional family offices. The company offers a licensed mortgage platform offering home financing products with no paperwork involved.

Meanwhile, revenue management platform Chargebee secures $125million in series G funding. Co-led by new investor Sapphire Ventures and existing investors Tiger Global and Insight Venture Partners. Chargebee is now valued at $1.4billion.

There’s also funding success for Digital Asset. The blockchain software developer raised $120million in a growth round from 7RIDGE and Eldridge. In addition, Carsten Kengeter and Veronica Augustsson of 7RIDGE have joined the Digital Asset board.

Fresh from a partnership with Visa, Belfast-based fintech loyalBe has secured $1million investment. The oversubscribed investment round was led by Techstart Ventures with support from Co-Fund NI and angels. The company plans to use the funds to expand into the Irish market with its bank-linked loyalty solution.

loyalBe Raises $1million

Further investments

UK fintech 3s.money’s latest funding round has led to a business valuation of £40million-plus. The Series B £3million round was led by TMT Investments PLC. It will use the investment to money to strengthen its workforce and further expand its multi-currency business accounts into new markets.

Decentralised finance firm Yieldly has banked $1.4million from investors including Borderless Capital, Longhash Ventures and CMS Holdings. Other additional investors include OKEX’s Block Dream Fund, Neo Global Capital, Kosmos Capital, LD Capital, Kernel Ventures and IBMR.io.

Meanwhile, Accenture Ventures has backed Nigeria-based fintech company Okra. The open finance platform enables developers to build personalised digital services and fintech products. Okra will also have access to Accenture’s global innovation network.

Finally, Cape Privacy – the global encrypted learning platform – has raised $20million in Series A financing. The round was led by Evolution Equity Partners, as well as Tiger Global Management; boldstart Ventures; Version One Ventures; Faktory Ventures; Haystack and Radical Ventures.

Job moves

Face authentication firm iProov has added Paul King, former chief security officer at Cisco UK, to its company’s advisory board. His expertise in implementing enterprise-level threat management will bolster iProov’s work in this area to deliver continued protection to its customers and end users.

James Hicks as joined payment provider Nets Group as chief strategic partnerships officer for its merchant services division. Based in Frankfurt, Hicks will strategically enhance the relationships, processes and solutions of Nets and its key strategic partners.

Alistair Stuart
Alistair Stuart

Apex Group, the global financial services provider, has appointed Alistair Stuart to the newly created position of head of digital banking. Additionally, it has also hired Ankit Shah as head of digital banking business development and Neale Croutear-Foy as chief technology officer, digital banking.

Meanwhile, Mollie has appointed Eli Leenaars, vice-chairman of global wealth management at UBS as its new chairman. Muz Ashraf, principal at TCV has also joined its supervisory board. Leenaars will step down from his UBS role on 31 May 2021. The appointments follow Mollie’s €90million Series B round raise in late 2020.

Insight and milestones

Over half of CEOs at building societies view open banking as an opportunity, according to a report published by Whitecap Consulting in partnership with the Building Societies Association (BSA). However, just over a third say that they have not yet assessed its benefits for their business. Only a further 10 per cent view it as a potential threat.

New data from Uswitch has revealed that £10.4million worth of CEO fraud took place in 2020. While only £3.9million has been reimbursed for these cases. The UK is the hardest hit in Europe, followed by Ireland, Denmark, France and Luxembourg. Investment scams saw the largest financial impact in the UK with £135.1million lost in 2020.

TransferGoMoney transfer firm TransferGo has achieved £3billion in international money flows and more than 10 million customer transactions. In addition to these milestones, it has unlocked 95 new markets through its industry partnerships with Mastercard and Visa, and unveiled Turkey as its first send-market outside of the European Economic Area.

R3’s Development Fund has reached the milestone of $10million in capital deployed across 30-plus investments. The Fund invests in innovative startups building apps on R3’s enterprise blockchain platform, Corda, as well as its confidential computing platform, Conclave.

Launches

Fintech Plum has launched an AI-powered money manager. Money Maximiser keeps money in the customer’s Plum account earning interest, then streams a personalised weekly spending amount back to their bank account. Customers maximise their return while having an automatic budget set for them.

Saudi Payments, under the supervision of the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA), has launched Saudi Arabia’s instant payments system ‘sarie’ in cooperation with IBM and Mastercard. The introduction of ‘sarie’ is in line with Saudi Arabia’s Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP) under Saudi Vision 2030, which targets achieving 70 per cent non-cash transactions by 2030.

Global financial literacy company Strive has unveiled a child-friendly physical piggy bank to integrate with leading crypto wallets. The aim is to empower kids to learn and manage their own digital currencies in a fun, safe and responsible way. Strive also plans to introduce a piggy bank mining edition, designed to mine Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Skyflow Vault

Skyflow has launched its Payments Data Privacy Vault, a zero trust data vault designed to securely store and process sensitive payments and PII data. The vault, delivered as a simple API to fintech developers, can be deployed in less than a day.

Pleo has launched its new ‘Bills’ invoice automation solution in the UK. It offers free GBP to GBP domestic wire transfers – enabling businesses to save vital funds on accounts payable when paying their invoices, while keeping on top of bill payments and supplier relationships.

Meanwhile, Atos and DreamQuark have unveiled Sustainable Investment Brain – a digital platform for banks and insurers that is dedicated to socially responsible investment. It is also compliant with the principles of transparent artificial intelligence as set out in the proposed European regulation.

Partnerships

Business payment solution provider Safenetpay has joined forces with payments firm Banking Circle to further enhance its cross border payment offering. Utilising Banking Circle’s multi-currency accounts, Safenetpay’s business customers can now access additional currencies and FX rates.

Path Solutions, a provider of AAOIFI-certified software for Islamic banks, has signed a partnership agreement with Bank of Abyssinia. In addition to its advanced automation capabilities, the all-inclusive system helps the bank offer Sharia-compliant products.

ekkoekko has chosen fintech Paynetics AD to power the end-to-end banking service of its new climate friendly business. As the issuing bank, Paynetics will enable card issuing for Mastercard’s one card scheme; transactional processing in collaboration with partner Global Processing Services (GPS) and coordination with Thames Technology for recycled plastic card production.

There’s a partnership for smart home company Gamgee and Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Together they will develop machine learning algorithms that enable seamless identification of multi-vendor IoT devices to better protect and integrate diverse systems.

EQ Credit Services (part of Equiniti Group plc) is supporting Welsh businesses with Development Bank of Wales. The fully scalable platform will support the 72 per cent increase in loan customers due to the Covid-19 Wales Business Loan Scheme. The loan scheme is now fully subscribed with more than 1,500 applications received in one week.

Banca Sella and Workinvoice have joined forces to develop digital financial services for corporates. One of the first services is a ‘factoring as a service’, that allows companies to unlock liquid assets from their collection and payment cycle. This will be followed by a ‘digital reverse factoring’ service for medium-sized companies.

Hi55 Ventures has partnered with Mastercard to launch a salary access card, enabling people to access their pay as soon as they’ve earned it. Similar to a debit card, the card gives employees direct access to money they’ve earned in real-time, with a limit in line with their earnings

More collaborations

Meanwhile, AccessPay has launched an open banking cash management solution for corporates in partnership with Yapily. Harnessing Yapily’s infrastructure, AccessPay has expanded its cash management product to mid-market and enterprise businesses.

Technology group Prytek has added credit capabilities to its onboarding platform Karbon following an investment in CRiskCo. CRiskCo, a platform that makes loan application processes digitally accessible for SMEs, says partnering with Prytek will allow it to broaden its services existing clients in Mexico, USA, and Australia.

Co-operative Insurance Companies, which offers insurance protection in Vermont and New Hampshire, has selected Sapiens America to transform its financial, compliance and reinsurance systems. Co-op is implementing Sapiens advanced insurance solutions to help manage the increasing volume and complexity of its insurance strategy.

Meanwhile, Capitolis partners with Refinitiv to offer access to its suite of optitmisation products through Refinitiv’s Trade Notification platform. The announcement follows a $90million Series C funding round for Capitolis.

“At Refinitiv, we are always open to collaboration and pleased to welcome new publishers on our network such as Capitolis, whose collaborative platform is changing the ways in which financial institutions optimise their balance sheet exposure.”

Dean Berry, group head of trading and banking solutions for Refinitiv

Finally, Checkout.com, the cloud-based payments provider, has been selected by online game developer Wargaming for online card payments for its PC games on specific markets. Checkout.com’s platform leverages real-time FX currency conversion to convert each payment into Wargaming’s preferred currency at the point of transaction.

Author

  • Claire works across print and online as Editor for The Fintech Times.

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