In today’s The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup, account-to-account payments startup Vyne raises $15.5million in seed funding.
Funding and investments
Vyne, the payments platform, has secured $15.5million in seed funding from investors including Hearst Ventures, Entrée Capital, Triplepoint, Seedcamp, Venrex, Founder Collective and Partech. Plus angel investment from Alex Chesterman, Charlie Dellingpole and Will Neale. It will use the investment to increase international coverage and bring new use cases to market.
Insurtech unicorn bolttech has announced the extension of its recent $180million series A funding round led by Activant Capital Group. It brings the series total to $210million with additional investors EDBI and Alma Mundi Insurtech Fund. It is the largest ever Series A round for an insurtech.
Identity software firm cheqd has secured a $2.6million investment to support the launch of its product later this year. Outlier Ventures, Evernym, TitanBlock, Torque and 3GR backed the latest round, as well as a consortium of private investors. It brings the total raised by the company to $3.3million.
TrueLayer, the open banking firm, has closed a $130million fundraising round led by new investor Tiger Global Management LLC with additional participation from global payments technology provider Stripe. The new funding will further scale TrueLayer’s business and deliver product development and innovation. It will also be used to continue the firm’s geographic expansion.
UK-based money app Ziglu is launching a second round of crowdfunding. It aims to raise £1million through equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs in conjunction with a Series A fundraise. Ziglu offers customers access to Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano, Chainlink, Dogecoin, Ether, Litecoin, Polkadot, Solano and Tezos.
Finally, Book Salon, a Finnish payment and booking service provider specialising in wellness companies, has closed a €1million seed funding round. The round was led by Big Bets VC with additional support from Sontek Ventures and Lennu Keinänen. The funding will be used to further expand its operations and prepare for further growth in Europe.
Global dispute resolution provider Chargebacks911 has strengthened its operational team with the appointment of Jennifer Lichner as SVP of operations. She joins newly-appointed Brad Dillahunty as chief product officer and SVP at the firm. Prior to her appointment, Lichner was head of dispute management operations at Accertify.
Plastiq, an intelligent payments platform, has appointed Kerry Hatch as president. Hatch, who has spent the majority of her career at American Express, will lead efforts externally with key financial services and technology partners to build a robust payment platform ecosystem.
Decentralised payment ecosystem Divi Project has unveiled two new senior appointments and a promotion. Chris Airola has been appointed chief product officer at Divi Labs, while Joshua Caleb joins Divi as chief innovation officer. In addition, Nick Saponaro, Divi’s chief information officer has been promoted to CEO. The trio will help accelerate growth following Divi’s recent launch of its decentralised mobile wallet.
Meanwhile Capital.com has appointed Chul Lim as CEO for Asia. Based in Singapore, Lim will oversee Capital.com’s expansion into East Asia , as well as other markets in the Southeast Asian region. Capital.com aims to gain a Capital Markets Services licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore by early 2022.
Jeff Dworin is appointed sales executive for Americas at United Fintech following a move from State Street. He will focus on sales of capital markets products in addition to building awareness of the United Fintech brand. Dworin will leverage his buyside network and e-FX experience to drive sales across the region.
Further job moves
AnaCap Financial Partners, a mid-market financial services private equity investor, has revealed the spin-out of its analytical technology platform and team into a standalone business. The new entity Equipped AI Limited is a data analytics and technology service that provides consulting in conjunction with softare platform Minerva. Equipped announces the appointment of industry veteran Douglas Trafelet as director of business development.
Visa has promoted two senior company leaders – Kelly Mahon Tullier to vice chair, chief people and administrative officer and Julie Rottenberg to executive vice president, general counsel. Tullier takes over from Jennifer Grant, Visa’s chief human resources officer, who steps down at the end of the year.
Private equity firm Motive Partners has named Jeffery W. Yabuki as chairman and founding partner. He joins from payments firm Fiserv. He will co-lead Motive Partners with founder and managing partner, Rob Heyvaert. Yabuki will support the scaling and institutionalisation of Motive’s integrated operating model.
Meanwhile, fintech Yabx has appointed Eunice R. Gatama as director for Africa business. Yabx is poised for market expansion and launching new service offerings to cater to customer needs. Gatama has previously worked with NCBA Bank Kenya and mobile network operator Safaricom PLC.
Matthew Clower has joined Treasure, a fintech company providing cash management solutions for SMEs, as chief technology officer. The hire follows Treasure’s Seed + funding secured from investors led by Peter Thiel and Jump Capital. This capital boost, along with Clower’s appointment, will help further drive Treasure’s expansion plans.
Finally, Fox Williams has strengthened its fintech practice with the appointment of Peter Finch, who joins from Hogan Lovells. He is Fox Williams’ sixth partner hire in the last 18 months. The firm has praised Finch’s ‘significant experience’ in advising fintech companies on regulated products as well as advising institutions investing into fintech companies.
Entrust has snapped up Antelop Solutions. With the Antelop acquisition, Entrust will make it easy for banks to add secure, fully digital credit and debit cards to their mobile wallets. The acquisition is expected to close in several weeks pending the satisfaction of certain closing conditions.
Payments fintech Neo has cleared $1billion through its multi-currency accounts since its launch in June 2020. Neo now has more than 200 corporate clients across Europe sending and receiving payments daily, as well more than 3,000 global banks connected to its Bank Identification Code (BIC) on the SWIFT network.
European investment platform Robo.cash reached €300million in total funded loans in September. It also saw its number of investors cross the mark of 19,000.
These results show that we are moving in the right direction. Thus, we follow market trends, integrate new products and bring even better transparency to our investors who are largely involved in these achievements.”
UAE-headquartered Shorooq Partners has opened a new office in Bahrain, headed by partner Samir Yamani. The new office is the fifth location for the rapidly expanding VC which has built a presence in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan as well as the UAE. The new Shorooq Partners Bahrain headquarters is based within Bahrain Fintech Bay (BFB).
Further company updates
Banking group Emirates NBD has recorded 34 million contactless transactions in eight weeks as part of its ‘Get Together. Go Contactless’ campaign. The campaign’s success builds on the bank’s continued efforts to encourage and accelerate use of contactless payments. Spend per active card has grown by 67 per cent year over year while transactions per active card have increased by 47 per cent.
Modulr, the UK-based payments-as-a-service API platform, has opened offices in the Netherlands as the springboard for it’s EU-wide expansion in 2022 and 2023. Modulr is also in the process of applying for an EMI licence from the Dutch central bank, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), while currently operating at a pan-European level by passporting its Irish EMI licence.
Dubai International Financial Centre issues amendments to the Employment Law and Regulations. The amendments reflect the Centre’s ‘continuing commitment to maintaining a transparent and robust legal and regulatory framework aligned with global best practice’.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has unveiled plans to open data centres in the UAE in the first half of 2022. The new AWS Middle East Region will consist of three Availability Zones and become AWS’s second region in the Middle East. It gives organisations access to advanced Cloud services and technologies to drive innovation.
Financial health platform Hastee and Udrafter, the online marketplace offering paid micro-internships, are named winners of Nesta’s Rapid Recovery Challenge. The two winners will each receive an additional £200,000 – bringing their total challenge funding to £475,000 each. The Challenge looked for innovative tools and solutions that offer post-pandemic support.
Barcelona-based community fintech 11Onze is set to launch El Canut – the next generation asset holder for its customers in Europe in October. It offers customers the choice to have all their banking accounts in one place – be it France, Germany, UK or Spain. In addition, El Canut lets customers manage all their payments, transfers, savings and loans from one app or login.
Logiq, a provider of e-commerce and fintech solutions, plans to launch its first-ever super app in Indonesia that combines all of its mobile e-commerce and fintech solutions into one mobile app for easier access and greater interoperability. It will provide access to the company’s PayLogiq e-Wallet, GoLogiq hyper-local food delivery as well as its mobile fintech platform for microlending.
Partnerships and collaborations
Payhawk, the platform that combines expense, payment and invoice management, has unveiled an integration with Apple Pay. Customers hold their iPhone or Apple Watch near a payment terminal to make a contactless payment. Or they can also use Apple Pay on iPhone, iPad and Mac to make purchases in apps or on the web in Safari.
PayU, the payments and fintech business of Prosus, has teamed up with AU10TIX, the identity management company. The partnership validates identities in seconds, supporting PayU with its merchant onboarding and re-verification processes. AU10TIX’s deep learning algorithm can also recognise when an ID is manipulated.
The SOFTSWISS Game Aggregator announces a new partnership with Brazilian game provider Pipa Games. The gaming content from the LatAm studio will further strengthen the game aggregator’s position in the market. The provider supports the Brazilian Real, as well as the Euro and US dollars, with plans to soon launch new local LatAm currencies this year.
Feedzai, the Cloud-based financial risk management platform, and banking-as-a-service platform Solarisbank AG have announced a multi-year partnership. Solarisbank uses the packaged Feedzai Solutions that can assess risk for single and cross-channel transactions in an agile and easy-to-deploy way.
NymCard, the MEA BaaS provider and card issuing and processing platform, has signed an agreement with Arab Financial Services (AFS), the MEA digital payment solutions provider, in order to support the region’s fintech ecosystem. The agreement will support emerging business use cases and enhance the extent of digital adoption across MEA.
The Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) and the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) have entered into an agreement supporting the regulation, offering, issuance, listing and trading of crypto assets and related financial activities within DWTCA’s free zone. The agreement establishes a framework that allows DWTCA to issue the necessary approvals and licences for the conduct of financial activities relating to crypto assets.
Paymentology, the banking digitisation, payment and data firm, is now live on Temenos MarketPlace. The collaboration offers Temenos banking clients a pre-integrated solution to deliver innovative card products with spend controls and enhanced features, backed by secure cloud-native payment processing technology.
Charitable Impact has implemented Smonik Systems‘ automated data extraction process. The implementation will help it quickly and easily extract data from bank and broker statements. More than $875million has been donated by 14,0000 people across Canada via Charitable Impact’s platform to 10,000 different charities.
Meanwhile Network International is collaborating with Ezetap to help UAE merchants overcome the challenge of long checkout queues in stores. The Ezetap smart payment solution will support UAE merchants looking to enhance customer experience and safety measures.
Research and insight
Payment solutions provider Checkout.com has launched its annual MENAP Payments report. The Digital Transformation in MENA and Pakistan: Why Payments are Key to Unlocking More Growth and Opportunity report highlights the development of the region’s e-commerce and fintech sectors in the past 12 months, and demonstrates the growth opportunity for merchants in this maturing market.