The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup brings you the latest global fintech stories this Thursday. Paysafe’s Skrill digital wallet has expanded to the US with currency platform Coinbase, while Jumio has secured a $150million funding round.
On the move
Atidot, the AI and machine learning provider for life insurers, has appointed Valentina Isakina as senior advisor. Isakina will also join Atidot’s advisory board. Her previous roles include advisor for the Office of Tony Blair, strategy for Nationwide Insurance and consulting roles at McKinsey & Company.
Cristóbal Conde is now non-executive chairman at fintech firm Fimatix. He’s tasked with identifying opportunities to acquire other fintech and govtech firms. The hire follows the recent appointment of Tim Howarth as chief executive of Fimatix.
Fintech company Cashflows has strengthened its leadership team with three new hires. Francesco Tirelli joins as chief customer officer, while Graham Hiom is head of new business. Additionally, Stephen Fowler joins as head of account management. Cashflows also unveiled plans to develop new products and services.
The CEO Leadership Alliance – Orange County appoints Jasmine Pachnanda to the role of senior vice president. CLA-OC is focused on growing Southern California into a ‘recognised global superhub for artificial intelligence’.
Meanwhile, RTGS.global, the cross-border liquidity network, has added Jean-Michel Godeffroy and Lord Chris Holmes to its board of advisors. The organisation says the appointments will help the organisation to solve financial friction which is currently estimated to cost the global economy $15trillion per year.
GeoComply Solutions Inc, a geolocation fraud prevention company, has appointed Tim White as general manager of its fintech and OTT streaming business. He will drive the worldwide expansion of GeoComply’s products, as well as manage the roll-out of the company’s international partner programme.
Northern Trust Front Office Solutions has named Nichole Mann as head of operations administration. Meanwhile, Nora Tiller joins as head of client solutions. Front Office Solutions is an integrated, cloud-based service and data platform that enables investment offices to view and analyse data.
Allica Bank has appointed four new relationship managers in order to boost support for brokers and drive new lending. Michael Mann and Maria Fraughan join as business relationship managers. While Daniel Kneafsey and Craig Edwards join to expand the footprint of its new asset finance division.
Global small business platform Xero has acquired Tickstar, the e-invoicing infrastructure business. The acquisition is part of Xero’s strategic priority to drive the adoption of cloud accounting globally. It also aims to help small businesses get paid faster using cloud technology.
UK financial wellbeing platform Wagestream has snapped up fintech startup Earnd Australia. The acquisition sees Earnd Australia’s leadership, product, customer and local market expertise become part of an expanded Wagestream Australia team. Wagestream closed a £20million Series B funding round last year.
Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank and JCB International have launched the TPBank JCB credit card. Holders of the card can access JCB’s global acceptance network of 35 million global merchants. In addition, TPBank also offers valuable gifts for card members with highest spending amount in each month.
The Saudi Central Bank has granted licences to International Digital Solutions Co and Azm Fintech Co for payments services provision. It boosts the number of licences to 13, in addition to two payments companies obtaining initial approval. The Bank wants to empower the fintech sector and attract a new segment of investors and companies to work under its supervision.
Obligo has been recognised as the ‘Most Promising Israeli-Founded Fintech Startup in Lending and Financing for 2021’ in an event hosted by Citi, Visa and Israel Discount Bank. The awards were selected by 30 financial entities and venture capital funds operating in Israel.
Gaming lifestyle brand Razer has smashed records in revenue, crossing the $1billion milestone. It has also turned profitable on a GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) basis. Additionally, it has unveiled market share gains for its hardware business and exponential growth of its services segment.
Ubitquity, the enterprise blockchain-secured platform for real estate, has joined the Government Blockchain Association. The GBA is a US-based non-profit, membership organisation promoting blockchain related solutions to government requirements.
By 2022 more than one billion people will use Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, research says. Every week 11 per cent of online shoppers worldwide buy via smartphone. While 34 per cent of them claim making this their primary payment method. The study conducted for Payvision by Kaleido Intelligence reports on the latest trends and forecasts in mobile wallets usage across the globe.
The African Development Bank and the Climate Investment Funds have joined forces to produce a study of the role of green banks and national climate change funds in mobilising finance to support low-carbon, climate-resilient development in Africa. The study is expected to underpin development of a multi-country climate finance initiative in Africa.
The Central Bank of Kenya, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are conducting an online survey on Kenyans living abroad. The survey covers efficiency and cost of remittance channels, the difficulties encountered in remitting cash or non-cash transfers, as well as investment opportunities in Kenya.
UK fintech Phos and Nordics fintech innovator maxaa have forged a partnership aimed at merchants across the Nordics and Baltic region. Together, phos and maxaas will deliver merchants a fully digital cash register, as well as payment solutions in a single bundle. In addition, the partnership will offer retailers a one-stop-shop to help merchants digitise their payment operations.
Paysafe’s Skrill digital wallet has expanded to the US with currency platform Coinbase. Customers across 37 states and territories can now buy and sell multiple cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin, using the wallet.
FX and Crypto trading technology firm Gold-i is expanding in the Middle East and India through a partnership with UAE-based EMEA Global Financial Consultancy. Gold-i says partnering with the ‘best resellers in key geographical regions’ is vital for its global growth strategy.
SEB and Google Cloud have entered into a strategic, long-term partnership to accelerate the bank’s digitisation journey. They will collaborate on new products based on data, analytics, and AI in order to create better user experiences.
Ballast Equity Management has plumped for Clearwater Analytics, the global SaaS solutions provider, to support its accounting and reporting. Clearwater will provide Ballast with daily investment data reconciliation, client invoicing, composite management, client statements, and other tools.
Savings app Chip has selected investment technology provider Seccl to power its soon-to-launch investment platform. Seccl will act as custodian and ISA manager for the new investment proposition. Chip’s platform is due to launch to the general public in April 2021.
Fondeadora, a challenger bank in Mexico, has turned to ID verification firm AU10TIX to boost the speed and security of its customer onboarding. Fondeadora uses AU10TIX’s solution for Mexican identity document verification, liveness detection, as well as face biometric authentication. It has also plumped for AU10TIX’s collaborative platform for synthetic fraud detection.
Mastercard is working with Liberty Tax in order to offer direct stimulus payments and tax return funds through prepaid cardholder accounts. With the Netspend Liberty Tax Prepaid Mastercard, eligible Americans can receive quick and secure access to their stimulus and tax return payments.
Blockchain and cryto provider Binance is building a strategic partnership with CapBridge Financial, Singapore’s private markets platform.
“By joining forces with CapBridge, Binance will be able to work with a fully licensed firm to broaden services securing compliance with local regulations.”
RSK Bitcoin smart contract network and the RIF platform have integrated the DeFi AMLT Oracle, created by global regtech provider Coinfirm. All operations conducted on RSK’s protocol will be fully covered with automated proprietary risk assessments from Coinfirm’s C-score.
Funding and investments
AI-powered digital identity verification firm Jumio has secured a $150million funding round from Great Hill Partners. The growth capital represents the largest funding round in the history of digital identity and will fuel innovation and automation. Following the investment, Great Hill partners Nick Cayer and Matt Vettel will join Jumio’s board of directors.
Aiven has raised a $100million Series C funding round. The investment was led by Atomico, with participation from World Innovation Lab and Salesforce Ventures as new investors. Aiven plans to deepen its investment in open source software and further expand globally.
The valuation of Airwallex has increased to $2.6billion with a capital raising of $100million in a further Series D extension. To date, Airwallex has secured almost $500million and the extension lifts its Series D funding to $300million. The round has been led by Greenoaks with additional support from Grok Ventures, Skip Capital and ANZi Ventures.
Payment app Osu raises £2.25million in its mission to support the UK’s self-employed. Its recent seed round was led by Creandum with additional support from Ada Ventures, Breega, Firstime, Amelia and Ulysses. The investment will further Osu’s growth and support the development of new products and services, as well as bolster the Osu team with new hires.
Cybersercurity company SCADAfence has secured $12million in funding aimed at accelerating growth. Led by existing investor JVP, the round also included strategic investor Rapid7. The company plans to significantly expand its US operations, as well as strengthen its suite of operational technology and internet of things (IoT) cybersecurity solutions.
Meanwhile, Kenya-based financial services firm Equity Group Holdings has secured a $100million loan facility from German Investment Corporation, the UK’s CDC Group and Dutch bank FMO. It is the firm’s third loan, having secured $50million from the International Finance Corporation in September and a $100million facility from DFI Proparco in October.