Every Wednesday, we delve into the latest fintech updates from across the UK. This week brings updates from HSBC, Tink, IPPR, Storfund and Ripple.
Storfund joined forces with ManoMano
UK fintech firm Storfund has partnered with ManoMano, the largest marketplace for products and services in the DIY, gardening and home improvement sector in Europe, making its financing service available to the marketplace’s extensive seller base.
Storfund’s financing service, which advances payments for sales, increases access to cash without adding debt. Users can turn the service on and off as needed, offering flexibility to respond to the peaks and troughs of seasonal demand and consumer behaviour.
Oliver Whelan, chief revenue officer at Storfund, said: “ManoMano is a fantastic win for us. It is one of the success stories of e-commerce through its clear-sighted vision of looking after both consumers and sellers”.
UK venture capital enjoys growth
The UK remains the leading destination for VC investment in Europe, with $15billion raised in 2023; according to data from HSBC Innovation Banking and Dealroom’s new Q3 2023 outlook report on Venture Capital in the UK.
UK venture capital also appears to be growing again: in Q3 2023, $4.9billion of venture capital was invested in the UK, up 14 per cent from the previous quarter.
Belfast, Glasgow and Birmingham emerged as the UK’s fastest-growing city regions in 2023.
Meanwhile, the top segments for UK tech investment in 2023 include biotech, energy storage, and clean energy – at over $1billion each.
Traditional credit checks are harming UK consumers
Higher loan rejections and limited traditional affordability checks are impacting UK consumers’ ability to access credit to help make ends meet, according to new research from Tink, the fintech market leader in open banking.
Around 29 per cent of respondents run out of money before the end of each month, while many are using credit (25 per cent), instalment or delayed payment options (23 per cent), and loans (16 per cent) to cover essential costs.
Tasha Chouhan, UK head of banking and lending at Tink, said: “With many traditional credit checks making it difficult for people to gain access to loans, those who most need financial support are resorting to desperate measures.
“By prioritising investments in data-driven lending models, lenders can make more informed credit decisions to widen credit access to those who can afford it, while protecting struggling borrowers from getting into financial distress.”
IPPR urges policymakers to enable innovation
With the eyes of the world on the UK’s global AI summit next week, IPPR is warning that policymakers could miss the moment as the summit’s focus on self-regulation will lead to AI being monopolised by a few global players.
The latest IPPR report sets out an alternative vision, one which encourages innovation, but also introduces supervision and thoughtful regulation to ensure small businesses can also play a part in the AI revolution, and that it delivers for the public good, and not just for the profits of a small number of firms.
Bhargav Srinivasa Desikan, senior research fellow at IPPR, explained the crossroads the AI sector finds itself in: “We are on the cusp of a new technological revolution. But it can go one of two ways, either AI follows the same path as social media and hoards power in the hands of a very small number of global companies, delivering profit over purpose, or it can deliver for the public good.
“This is not the time to bury our heads in the sand on how to manage the growing opportunities and risks of AI – we have the tools to make it work.”
Ripple enhances infrastructure
Ripple, the leader in enterprise blockchain and crypto solutions, has partnered with Uphold, the Web3 financial platform. The new partnership will see Uphold provide Ripple with enhanced crypto liquidity capabilities to underpin and enhance its cross-border payments infrastructure.
Uphold explained that the move also highlights how the capabilities of its platform can be used by enterprises to make efficient crypto-to-fiat transfers and bank payouts.
Pegah Soltani, head of payments product at Ripple, said: “Our new partnership with Uphold enables us to enhance our underlying infrastructure and Uphold’s deep liquidity expertise further underpins Ripple’s ability to offer fast and flexible cross-border payments around the world. We see this as the start of our relationship and are excited about what the future holds.”