This Thursday’s The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup looks at the latest fintech updates from around the world. Chip works with BlackRock to launch investments ahead of premium launch. While the Fintech Megathon 2021 launches in the United Arab Emirates.
Mergers and acquisitions
Fraud prevention company Sift has acquired Chargeback, a SaaS-based dispute management provider. The move follows Sift’s recent funding round that valued the company at $1billion-plus. The pair will address risk before, during and after user transactions. Initial plans are to bring the Chargeback brand under the Sift umbrella and the combining of teams.
Supply@ME has signed a share purchase agreement to acquire the entire issued share capital of fintech TradeFlow Capital Management. The deal is expected to close by the end of June.
The combination of the expertise in TradeFlow Capital and Supply@ME will broaden our shared geographic footprint and create a global digitised offering which will create a number of benefits from both a funding, technology and customer origination perspective.
Finitive, the data-driven private credit marketplace, has unveiled Andrew Holgate as managing director, head of Europe. He will support Finitive’s objective to expand its platform to more borrower’s globally. Holgate will also develop Finitive’s relationships throughout Europe with non-bank lenders seeking financing.
Zubin Vandrevala is the first vice president of Gr4vy, a cloud-native payments company. He will help drive partnerships and commercialisation of the company’s payment orchestration platform. His addition will also bolster Gr4vy’s growth team to further accelerate key partnerships with new providers and platforms.
Railsbank, the embedded finance platform, has appointed Ben Smith as general manager for Australia as it expands across the Asia Pacific region. Smith will be responsible for managing the strategic direction of Railsbank in the Australian market and will also strengthen its partnerships with customers and key stakeholders. In addition, he will focus on the strategic development of products and operations.
Funding and investments
Buy now, pay later company Sunbit has secured unicorn status following its latest $130million series D funding round. The round was led by returning investors Group 11 and Zeev Ventures, as well as new investors Migdal Insurance, Harel Group, AltaIR Capital and More Investment House. The company plans to expand its merchant footprint to reach more retailers and service providers. Sunbit also wants to develop more products.
Forter, the e-commerce fraud prevention firm, has raised $300million in series F funding led by Tiger Global Management with additional participation from Third Point Ventures and Adage Capital Management. Plus existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, March Capital, NewView Capital, Salesforce Ventures and Scale Venture Partners.
Meanwhile, Resolve has raised $60million to fuel the growth of its embedded billing platform. Launched as a spinout from Affirm in 2019, Resolve boasts ‘overwhelming demand’ for B2B buy now, pay later billing for business purchases. Investors in Resolve include Initialized Capital, KSD Capital, Haystack VC, Commerce Ventures, Clocktower Ventures, Affirm and other top investors.
Coinsilium Group Limited, the blockchain and open finance venture builder, has raised £1.15million through a share subscription and placement. The funds will primarily be used for strategic investment purposes, particularly in the non-fungible token and open finance sectors. It will also be used to accelerate the company’s growth trajectory.
Bright Star Studios has scooped more than $2million in funding from multiple investors for its forthcoming free-to-play massively-multiplayer online roleplaying game Ember Sword. The game gives players ownership of their digital gaming assets using blockchain technology. From today, players can also take part in a digital land sale, which can be tradeable and rented out.
Further investment updates
Meanwhile, fintech platform Stavvy raises more than $40million in series A Financing. The round was led by Morningside Technology Ventures, a private equity and venture capital investment firm based in Cambridge and Hong Kong. Stavvy has also partnered with Flagstar Bank to provide Covid loan relief to consumers.
Paysend has raised $125million in B-round funding to accelerate growth of its global payments platform for consumers and SMEs. Led by One Peak, the round had participation from Infravia Growth Capital, Hermes GPE Innovation Fund, as well as existing investor Plug and Play. The investment will largely be used to expand Paysend’s international footprint following its launch in North America.
Evertas, the crypto insurance company, has raised nearly $5.8million in seed funding. It will use the funding to accelerate product development and build out infrastructure. The funding round was led by Morgan Creek Digital, CMT, HashKey, Wave Partners, RenGen, 4RC, Centrality, Plug ‘n Play, Vy Capital, alongside individual investors.
Finally, brokerage platform Stake has announced a $30million fundraising round from Tiger Global and partners of DST Global. The investment will fuel global growth – including expansion into Europe – as well as investing more deeply in the UK. Expanding the product will also be a key focus as Stake with ‘exciting plans for UK investors’ up its sleeves.
Digital investment platform Wealthify and open banking platform Tink have joined forces in order to ‘transform investment payments’. Tink’s payment initiation service technology will be embedded in the Wealthify app to speed up payments into insurance accounts. The partnership follows Tink’s €85million investment round at the end of 2020.
Atomic, the payroll APIs specialist, has teamed up with financial services platform Welcome Tech to provide financial services to the Hispanic community. The agreement will bring access to digital banking services and automated direct deposits to millions of multi-generational immigrants, many for the first time. There are an estimated 62.8 million consumers of Hispanic origin in the US, according to a 2020 Claritas study.
Meanwhile, REPAY partners with Paysafe to enable US merchants to accept online cash payments. Consumers will have access to 60,000 retail locations to make online cash payments to merchants on the REPAY platform using Paysafe’s Paysafecash solution, with transactions recorded in real time.
Emirates NBD, a banking group in MENAT, has teamed up with IDEMIA, the augmented identity firm, to launch the Emirates’ first payment card from recycled plastic. IDEMIA’s GREENPAY card is made with more than 85 per cent recycled PVC derived from production waste.
FactSet and Alveo announce a joint effort to address ESG data integration requirements for their respective clients. Alveo will make FactSet’s ESG data sets available in its data management platform. While Alveo’s data mastering and analytics solutions will also be included in the Open:FactSet Marketplace.
BEACON RED has joined forces with US infrastructure company Quali to provide innovative cyber solutions in GCC region. The national security technology firm says integrating Quali CloudShell into its offering will speed up configuration from ‘days or weeks’ to ‘a touch of a button’.
Novus teams up with Railsbank and Visa to launch a new impact-driven digital banking app. Through this new partnership, Novus rewards its community with real-time impact points that can be spent, saved and tracked via the app. 15,000 people have signed up to the waitlist of the Novus app which will be available to the wider public this summer.
Lebanese bank depositors are likely to face a financial hit in order for the country’s banks to absorb the cost of the country’s debt restructuring, according to a S&P Global report. It warns that resolving the political deadlock in Lebanon is critical to starting the restructuring process, while delays could complicate a recovery.
Saxo Bank is introducing Crypto FX, to let MENA investors trade in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Clients in selected markets can trade Crypto FX pairs during FX trading hours from Sunday evening to Friday evening. Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin spot pairs can be traded against EUR, USD, and JPY from a single margin account without the need for a crypto wallet or cold storage.
RoboAds has introduced a mobile advertising robot for displaying NFT ART and live cryptocurrency pricing. RoboSignage made its first appearance during the AIBC World BlockChain Summit in Dubai. As well as currency updates and changes, the robot will display real time video analytics.
Emburse, the expense management and accounts payable automation firm, has unveiled the AI-powered Emburse Audit. The offering combines the power of machine learning with a team of independent auditors to provide organisations with accurate and in-policy expense reimbursement. The solution is currently available for customers of Emburse Certify and Emburse Chrome River.
Meanwhile, Chip, the savings and investments platform, has launched the Chip Investment Platform. With funds powered by investment manager BlackRock, the platform will offer easy access to investment funds. It also aims to help users grow their money and build a diversified investment portfolio in ‘just a couple of taps’. The new investment option will be made available to all customers on ChipAI as well as its upcoming premium model ChipX, launching later this year.
BSO, an infrastructure and connectivity provider, has reported 40 per cent year-on-year revenue growth, alongside expanding its network to reach more than 240 points of presence, as well as more than 40 cloud on-ramps. It has also launched advancements to its radio frequency and hollow-core fibre technology, as businesses go digital-first amid pandemic.
DIFC Innovation Hub, Dubai’s first ecosystem dedicated to the fintech and innovation community, is expanding following its official inauguration. The facility is part of the new Dubai Future District. The DIFC Innovation Hub will increase its size four-fold to more than 315,000 sq, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed announced.
Also in Dubai, the Fintech Megathon 2021 has launched. The nationwide megathon is aimed at furthering the development of the fintech industry by bringing together startups. Powered by Fintech Galaxy’s FinX22 platform, the megathon will run until February 2022 on two sprints and will include workshops and training sessions, plus two hackathons to showcase innovations that help better address challenges.
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has updated the regulatory framework for managers of venture capital funds to provider more flexibility in permissible investments in target entities. The FSRA has also enacted amendments that introduce greater flexibility for the payment of fees due to it.