Welcome to The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup this Thursday. We hear that Currencycloud hires industry experts for COO & CTO roles, while HUBUC partners with Transact Payments.
Investments and funding rounds
Mortgage technology provider Twenty7Tec has invested an undisclosed amount in AI technology firm Meet Parker. The Meet Parker chatbot for the mortgage, insurance and property sectors will be integrated into the Twenty7Tec platform over the next 12 months. Twenty7Tec sales director Phil Bailey will take on the MD of Meet Parker role for 15 months, following the investment.
Vesttoo, an alternative reinsurance and investment platform, has raised $6million in a Series A funding round led by Hanaco Ventures. The round is part of Hanaco’s broader investment strategy in Vesttoo. The funding will be used to further develop Vesttoo’s insurance-linked program offering, a security-based investment portfolio.
Briqpay, a SaaS company for B2B payments, has closed a seed round of €2million. The round was co-led by partners from eEquity, Mantle Advise and previous backer 31 Atlantic. There was also participation from Christian Leone and Charlie Chanaratsopon. It’s been almost a year since Briqpay announced the launch of its B2B checkout solution together with the closing of a pre-seed round of €606,000.
InShare recently completed a seed funding round of $5million, led by ManchesterStory and The Hive. The new funds bring the company’s total funding to $7.5million, including previous funds from Avanta Ventures. The funding will help with the buildout of technology, bringing products to market that help mobility companies grow, the launch of new ventures, as well as providing gig worker protections and insurance benefits.
Meanwhile, Sayata, the marketplace for insurance brokers, has raised $17million in series A funding. Team8 Capital and Vertex Ventures led the round, who joined original investors Elron, Kamet and OurCrowd. The funding will support Sayata’s rapid growth by further extending into new insurance lines for small and medium businesses.
Fintech Phos has secured €2million in funding as it moves towards a Series A round later in the year. Led by CM.com, the recent funding round will let the company expand into the US as well as make new hires in its development team. The company recently hired Kristiyan Shahinyan as its chief technology officer, two North American sales directors as well as a US-based advisor to the board. Additional hires are planned for later in the year.
On-premises food and drink order-and-pay application FETCH has unveiled Hamish Morjaria as chairman. He will help further catapult FETCH towards its Series A round and share his expertise in advising startup companies in fast growth situations.
Currencycloud has announced the appointment of Mark Ledsham as the firm’s new chief operations officer. Neil Drennan is also unveiled as the firm’s new chief technology officer. Previously CEO of XE.com, Ledsham will scale the payment company’s underlying compliance and payment infrastructure. Meanwhile, former 10X Future Technologies CTO Drennan takes on responsibility for the build and development for Currencycloud’s platform.
Liz Afolabi is now people director for TotallyMoney, the credit app. She joins from people and culture consultancy Unleashed. Afolabi will oversee all aspects of the employee experience, helping the business on its goal to ‘be the best place to work’.
Meanwhile, payments platform Adyen has named Colin Neil as MD of its UK operations. Working at Adyen since 2018, Neil previously held the role head of commercial. He takes over from Myles Dawson, who is stepping down after nine years in the post, and will Adyen’s UK business navigate market disruptions and continue growth.
Mergers and acquistions
Embark Group has announced its sale to Lloyds Banking Group. Lloyds will acquire Embark Group Limited (EGL) and its subsidiary brands for a consideration of £390million. The sale excludes the Rowanmoor SIPP and SSAS administration business – retained by existing shareholders. Meanwhile, Jackie Leiper, MD pensions, stockbroking & distribution at Scottish Widows will become CEO of Embark at completion.
Payments provider Pushpay has agreed to acquire video streaming platform Resi Media. Pushpay provides a donor management system to the faith sector. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the month. The deal will expand Pushpay’s ability to help organisations increase engagement and expand their digital presence.
Launches and new products
Fintech Nikulipe has launched banklinq, a region-tailored payment method able to connect global merchants to the Baltics market (including Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia). Described as the first local payment method to address regional complexities by combining local know-how and global experience.
FORTUNE has introduced The Modern Board, a thought leadership programme, in partnership with governance, risk and compliance SaaS company Diligent. The Modern Board consists of an editorial content hub curated by FORTUNE’s journalists, a monthly newsletter, as well as quarterly virtual events.
convertCASH, the Singapore fintech, has unveiled a mobile application to revolutionise monthly cash inflow and outflow as well as enhance users’ cash flow capabilities. convertCASH is also partnering with MasterCard to offer users a co-branded digital bank account that rewards them with 10 per cent of cash benefits whenever they make a deposit.
Research and insight
The top 10 UAE banks managed a healthy rebound in profitability and balance sheet metrics, according to the latest Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) UAE Banking Pulse for Q2 2021. The sector’s return on equity has reached its highest level of 10.9 per cent for the first time in the last five quarters.
HUBUC, an embedded financial services powerhouse for B2B SaaS, has partnered with Transact Payments to provide physical cards to its business clients across UK and European markets. The agreement enables HUBUC to now issue products, such as debit and credit cards, to its growing base of business clients.
eToro, the trading and investment platform, has teamed up with engagement banking technology provider Backbase to enhance its digital onboarding capabilities and back-end compliance infrastructure. The collaboration will see eToro adopt Backbase’s digital sales solution to deploy a fully digital account opening experience across its global user base, as well as a new KYC architecture.
Cryptocurrency exchange Bybit signs on two additional professional gaming organisations on e-sports sponsorships. Partnerships with Denmark’s Astralis and Sweden’s Alliance follow its cryptocurrency platform partnership with NAVI.
Hamilton Reserve Bank has completed its end-to-end transformation with Temenos. With Temenos, pre-integrated with Temenos MarketPlace provider authID.ai, Hamilton Reserve Bank anticipates significant growth of its deposit base and wealth management services.
Adyen, the global payments platform, has announced the launch of its integration with Shiji Payments. The new integration simplifies the payment process for hospitality businesses by removing the need for a list of platforms and suppliers which usually includes separate processes.
Meanwhile, travel booking platform Omio has hooked up with embedded insurance company Cover Genius. The partnership enables Omio to offer ticket protection, including for Covid-19, embedded directly in the booking path.
Ajman Bank, one of the leading Shariah compliant banks in the UAE, has signed a partnership agreement with Kamel Pay. Together they will build and implement a highly innovative payments value proposition for businesses and individuals in the UAE. Kamel Pay aims to expand beyond the UAE and become the leading fintech in the MENA region.
Selecta Group, Europe’s route-based self-service retailer, is partnering with Fiserv. The company is leveraging a unique pan-European payments solution from Fiserv that will support payments with global and local card schemes and mobile apps at the point of sale. Selecta is also evaluating a mobile payment app with access to a Selecta loyalty programme.
Meanwhile, Indian B2B digital payments firm PayMate collaborates with Visa and Citi to automate payables based in the region. The partnerships will enable businesses with end-to-end payments automation, saving their time, costs and resources.
There’s also a strategic partnership for Visa and loyalty tech firm Ascenda. The payments network will be first globally to leverage Ascenda’s new Nexus platform, to also help card issuers and fintechs drive customer engagement and instantly launch digital reward programmes.
ila Bank is named ‘Best Consumer Digital Bank’ and ‘Best Mobile Banking App’ in 2021 by Global Finance.
Launched in Bahrain in 2019, ila Bank is a digital, mobile only banking entity in Bahrain powered by Bank ABC.
OKLink, the blockchain big data company, has joined Global Digital Finance (GDF), the industry body championing the adoption of digital finance. As a GDF Advisory Council member, OKLink will promote standards and best practices for the digital finance industry.
Meanwhile, infrastructure and connectivity provider BSO has joined CryptoUK, the UK’s self-regulatory trade association representing the crypto asset community. It says the move will let it contribute to the debate, form new partnerships and shape the strategic narrative. BSO also joined fintech industry body Innovate Finance earlier this year.