TDB Digest

TDB Digest – What’s Cooking in the FinTech and Banking Industry (Issue 22)

FUNDING UPDATES

Stripe raises $600m in new funding

Stripe – a payment infrastructure recently announced that it raised $600m funding at a $95B valuation. Primary investors include Allianz X, Axa, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Sequoia Capital, and Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA). This funding will be used to support its European operations and expand its Global Payments and Treasury Network. John Collison, President and co-founder of Stripe, remarked, “We’re investing a ton more in Europe this year, particularly in Ireland. Whether in fintech, mobility, retail or SaaS, the growth opportunity for the European digital economy is immense.”

Koho secures CAD 70M in Series C funding

Koho – a Canadian fintech aiming to provide an alternative to traditional banking services, recently announced that it raised CAD 70M in Series C funding. The round was led by new investor TTV Capital. Returning investors were Portag3 Ventures which followed-on for the Series C round, and Drive Capital, which led Koho’s Series B extension in November 2019. The new financing will be used to create awareness about Koho’s existing product stack. Founder and CEO of Koho, Dan Eberhard remarked, “Koho is a leader and has both the responsibility and opportunity to be a market-defining company and a leader, not just in terms of the consumer FinTech space but in terms of the Canadian regulatory payments ecosystem.”

BlockFi raises $350m in Series D funding

BlockFi – a wealth management services provider for cryptocurrency investors recently announced the completion of its Series D fundraising round. This round was led by new investors including Bain Capital Ventures, partners of DST Global, Pomp Investments and Tiger Global. New investment from this round will be used to augment current core product offering, foster innovation across its product stack and expand into new markets while also provide sufficient capital to consider acquisition opportunities. Flori Marquez, Senior Vice President of Operations and Co-Founder of BlockFi, commented, “Our goal for BlockFi has always been to facilitate cryptocurrencies going mainstream, and each day provides more evidence that is exactly what is occurring. I’m incredibly proud of how quickly we have added new professionals and products to meet market demand, and excited to continue adding talent and products in the months ahead.”

STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

WeLab and Allianz X join forces for a WealthTech proposition

WeLab, a fintech company in Asia, recently announced it has completed the initial close of Series C-1 funding round, led by Allianz X for $75 million. Further, it was also disclosed that WeLab and Allianz X have also established a strategic partnership to drive fintech collaboration across Asia’s financial services landscape. The two companies will work together to roll-out digital wealth management services in Asia as well as move to new markets and grow their product offering. Simon Loong, Founder & Group CEO of WeLab, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Allianz as an investor and strategic partner to the WeLab Group. We see this as a first-in-market 4-way partnership where there are abundant synergies between WeLab, as a fintech leader and a pioneer in digital banking, and Allianz, as a global insurer and asset manager. We look forward to expanding WeLab’s geographical presence and bringing our technology into these new markets with Allianz.”

SUSTAINABLE BANKING

Starling Bank issues debit card made from recycled plastic

Starling Bank – a U.K. challenger bank, recently launched its new debit card which are made from recycled plastic. According to the bank, the new cards will be made from 75% recycled rPVC plastic which comes from EU industrial waste and 25% (chip and laminated surface) from non-recycled materials. The card is also the first UK Mastercard debit card to be made from recycled plastic (rPVC). Anne Boden, CEO and founder of Starling Bank said: “The environment is important to our customers, so launching a recycled plastic debit card was the right thing to do. We’re proud to be a branchless, paperless bank that runs on renewable energy. And now we’re delighted that we’re building on this with our new recycled cards.”

 

 

TDB Digest

TDB Digest – What’s Cooking in the FinTech and Banking Industry (Issue 21)

FUNDING NEWS

Monument raises £28m in Series A funding round

Monument, a challenger bank for Britain’s affluent recently announced that it raised £28m in Series A funding. This round was led three angel investors. The challenger aims to capture a slice of Britain’s affluent savings market in a bid to serve largely underserved affluent community of busy professionals, doctors, lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs and investors. Mintoo Bhandari, co-founder of Monument commented, “As the global and national focus turns towards economic recovery, we are confident that digital-first firms, including Monument, can play an exceptional role in supporting the ‘building back better’ of our economy.”

TymeBank raises $109M in new funding round

TymeBank – a South African digital bank recently announced that it raised $109 million in new funding. This round was led by Apis Partners’ fund – Apis Growth Fund II and by Philippines-based conglomerate – JG Summit. This new investment will allow the digital bank to further expand its product stack and grow its lending portfolio. TymeBank also plans to enhance its insurance, credit cards, and other value-added propositions in the coming months. Mr Tauriq Keraan, CEO of TymeBank commented: “The establishment of digital banks in South Africa is in its infancy. Growth in this particular segment of financial services is only possible with investments from partners who understand and support the growth trajectory of digital banks. We certainly look forward to learning from their experience to enhance our own offering to South African customers.”

Klarna raises $1 billion in new funding round

Klarna – a leading fintech providing banking, payments and shopping services recently announced that it has secured $1 billion USD in equity funding. The round was 4x oversubscribed and included a combination of new and existing investors and closed at a post-money valuation of $31 billion USD. Funds from this round will be used to accelerate international expansion and further capture global retail growth. Further, Klarna announce that 1% of the capital raised  will be pledged to combat key sustainability challenges around the world. Sebastian Siemiatkowski, co-founder and CEO of Klarna remarked: “At Klarna, we solve problems – that is the heart of what we do for both consumers and retailers. Consumers want transparent products to help them bank, shop and pay that reflect the way they live their lives, not just outdated traditional models. Each and every one of us at Klarna will continue to work hard on this, but it is also time for us, with our culture of change, disruption and innovation, to focus on tackling bigger, more complex issues. I believe our industry has a responsibility to help in some way solve global sustainability issues and I hope others will join Klarna in our ambition.”

DIGITAL CURRENCY NEWS

MyBank and WeBank join digital yuan pilot

Tencent-backed WeBank and Ant-backed MyBank have reportedly signed-up to  participate in the digital yuan pilots alongside the six state banks as China’s central bank aims to quickly roll-out central bank digital currency. The digital renminbi will be integrated in the wallet offerings of these two private banks and will function just as that of the other six state-owned banks.

China and UAE central banks have joined “m-CBDC” project

Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) recently announced that the central banks of China and the United Arab Emirates have joined the “Multiple Central Bank Digital Currency Bridge” (m-CBDC) project –  central bank digital currency project to enhance cross-border payments initiated by the HKMA and the BOT. The m-CBDC Project will further explore the capabilities of distributed ledger technology (DLT) by developing a proof-of-concept (PoC) prototype. The project will also explore and facilitate real-time cross-border multi-currency transactions.

DIGITAL WEALTH OFFERING

Citi debuts digital-only proposition in Hong Kong

Citi debuted a digital-only offering “Citi Plus” in Hong Kong. Citi Plus is a  mobile wealth offering  which aims to cater to digital natives. With Citi Plus, digital natives can avail personal finances services and tips integrated within the app. The digital proposition aims to foster financial literacy and help customers make investment decisions on-the-go. With a suite of wealth management products under “Flexi Wealth” such as mutual funds, stocks, customers can efficiently manage personal finance.

TDB Digest

TDB Digest – What’s Cooking in the FinTech and Banking Industry (Issue 20)

FUNDING NEWS

Northmill Bank raises $30 million in new funding round

Northmill Bank, a Sweden-based challenger recently announced that it raised around $30 million in new funding. This round was led by M2 Asset Management and Coeli. The funds raised will be used for continued geographical expansion and to further accelerate the development of new products. This also includes plan to launch in 10 new markets as Northmill with Norway being the next stop.

BharatPe raises $108M in Series D funding

BharatPe – an Indian payment s ervices provider recently announced that it raised $108 million Series D funding round. This round was led by Coatue Management. Other investors such as Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Steadview Capital, Beenext, Amplo and Sequoia Capital all joined the round. This round also witnessed BharatPe return $18M to its angel investors and employees. Ashneer Grover, CEO, BharatPe, commented: “This is just the beginning of our journey and we are committed to building India’s largest B2B financial services company that can serve as one-stop destination for small merchants.”

Mesh Payment raises $13M

Mesh Payments –  a corporate payment processing firm recently announced a financing round with $13 million. The round was led by TLV Partners with participation from Meron Capital, R-Squared Ventures  and a consortium of FinTech founders and investors. According to their website, Mesh Payments allows businesses a one-stop hub to orchestrate, manage, analyze and optimizie, reconcile, and reduce their corporate spend and subscription payments while preventing subscription payment failures that can result in business interruptions.

Personetics raises $75M in growth funding

Personetics, a data-driven personalization and customer engagement solution provider for financial services providers, recently announced that it has raised $75m in growth funding from Warburg Pincus. Personetics is also backed by Viola Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Nyca Partners. David Sosna, CEO and Co-Founder of Personetics, said: “Personetics has set out down this path and has launched its vision of Self-Driving Finance.  We are looking to quickly expand our global footprint with new partners and clients, and support our existing customers with innovative business solutions. We are very excited to be partnering with Warburg Pincus on this journey”.  

ROBO-ADVISORY

Marcus by Goldman Sachs launches investing services for retail customers

Marcus by Goldman Sachs, the retail banking arm of Goldman Sachs recently unveiled its automated investing feature for its retail customers – Marcus Invest. This is a robo-advisory solution which recommends a portfolio of stock and bond ETFs based on a customer’s approach to risk and their investment strategies and timeline. Retail customers can open an account with as little as $1000 and start investing.

PARTNERSHIPS & COLLABORATIONS

Mastercard and MTN announce a strategic partnership

Mastercard and MTN recently announced a strategic partnership to enable millions of consumers in 16 countries across Africa to make global e-commerce payments safely and securely. With this partnership, MTN MoMo (Mobile Money) wallets, consumers and merchants can link to Mastercard’s virtual payment solution and engage with brands and businesses abroad through digital commerce, extending their reach to an international marketplace and unlocking a host of opportunities. This solution will also allow small business owners to purchase from suppliers abroad and pay with the virtual payment solution.

 

TDB Digest

TDB Digest – What’s Cooking in the FinTech and Banking Industry (Issue 19)

FUNDING NEWS

Scalapay raise USD 48 million seed round

Scalapay – a third-party payment solution that enables customers to buy now and pay later (BNPL), announced that it has raised a $48 million seed round led by Fasanara Capital. Other investors also included Baleen Capital, and Italian Family Office Ithaca Investments. Scalapay differentiates its services by not charging consumers interest or other fees. Its business model is based around taking  commission from the merchants on each transaction. By doing this, Scalapay aims to provide an easy and quick BNPL service which will increase conversions and shopping cart size.

NymCard raises $7.6M Series A funding round

NymCard – an Abu Dhabi-based ‘Banking as a Service’ (BaaS) provider, recently announced a $7.6M Series A funding round. This round was led by Shorooq Partners with the participation from other investors such as OTF Jasoor Ventures and VentureSouq. NymCard delivers leading-edge card issuing and processing solutions for financial institutions, banks, and Fintechs in the region. Series A funding will be used to support the growth plans of NymCard within the MENA region. Omar Onsi, founder and CEO of NymCard said, “We have developed the tech stack ground-up giving us speed and agility that no other legacy player can match. Over the past two years, we have served regional banks and Fintechs where one of our clients today is the fastest-growing issuer in Iraq and is the first Neo Bank in the region.”

DIGITAL BANKING

JPMorgan Chase set to launch digital bank in U.K

JPMorgan Chase recently announced it will offer U.K. consumers a completely new banking choice with the launch of its digital bank delivered via an innovative mobile app in the coming months. Using the Chase brand, the bank will provide products and features tailored to meet the needs of customers in U.K.  Gordon Smith, CEO of Consumer & Community Banking and co-President of JPMorgan Chase said, “The U.K. has a vibrant and highly competitive consumer banking marketplace, which is why we’ve designed the bank from scratch to specifically meet the needs of customers here.”

ACQUISITIONS AND EXPANSIONS

National Australia Bank is set to acquire neobank – 86 400

National Australia Bank recently announced that it is set to acquire Australian neobank – 86 400 for AUD 220 million. With this acquisition, NAB aims to accelerate the growth of its digital-only proposition UBank by combining 86 400’s established customer base, brand, colleagues and technology platform. In a statement released by NAB, Chief Operating Officer, Les Matheson said, “The combined business will deliver accelerated innovation and an enhanced customer experience to create a stronger and more competitive banking alternative for Australian customers.” This is also a part of the NAB’s long-term strategy to offer a differentiated digital banking experience to its customers.

Eedenbull expands its operations to North America

Eedenbull – a fintech company specialising in B2B and Commercial Payment technology, recently announced that it has expanded its operations to North America, opening its first office in New York. As part of the expansion, Eedenbull aims to support established and emerging banks in the US and Canada with its commercial payment technology and its Commercial Payments as-a-Service (CPaaS) portfolio, to empower progressive-thinking banks to better service their SME and corporate clients. Nicki Bisgaard, CEO and founder of EedenBull, said, “Challenging market dynamics, coupled with the global pandemic have driven the most forward-thinking banks to adopt secure and advanced payment technology, freeing them up to add client value, gain a competitive edge and to sustainably grow. We look forward to helping the US banking community embrace this innovative payment technology, and to grow our US operation.”

TDB Digest

TDB Digest – What’s Cooking in the FinTech and Banking Industry (Issue 18)

FUNDING NEWS

Rapyd raises US$300 million in Series D round

Rapyd – a Fintech as a Service company recently announced a $300 million Series D financing round. This round was led by Coatue with other new investors such as Spark Capital, Avid Ventures, FJ Labs, and Latitude, along with further investment from current investors General Catalyst, Oak FT, Tiger Global, Target Global, Durable Capital, Tal Capital, and Entrée Capital participating. Financing from this round will be used to grow the company’s presence across Asia, expand payments capabilities in the region and also target strategic acquisitions complementing Rapyd’s existing solutions. Arik Shtilman, co-founder and CEO of Rapyd remarked, “To kick off 2021 with this substantial round of funding to further invest in our platform is a tremendous vote of confidence both in the growing need for local payment solutions that can be deployed at scale globally, and more specifically in our vision and company.”

Brigit raises US$35 million in Series A round

Brigit – a financial health app recently announced a $35 million Series A round of funding. The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from DCM, Nyca, Canaan, DN Capital, CRV, Core Innovation Capital, Shasta, Hummingbird, Abstract, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Secocha, Sound Ventures, and Flourish Ventures. Brigit aim to ease financial stress by creating simple and transparent financial products which put money back in the hands of their members, help them spend wisely, and avoid unfair fees.

Trovata raises US$20 million in Series A round

Trovata – a banking technology aimed at automating cash management recently announced it has raised $20 million in a series A round. This round was led by Wells Fargo Strategic Capital with other investors such as Capital One Ventures and Pivot Investment Partners, as well as existing early investors JPMorgan and Fintop Capital joined the round. Investment from this round will be used to deliver new services, accelerate multi-bank APIs globally, and add more bank distribution partners. Trovata founder and CEO Brett Turner commented, “The pandemic has spurned the need for better cash visibility, bank data in real time, and more proactive cash forecasting. Companies growing and contracting are in need of these things which have only accelerated interest.”

Melio raises US$110 million on a US$1.3 bn valuation

Melio – a B2B payments outfit focused on catering to small businesses recently announced joined the unicorn club after receiving US$110 million in funding. The round was led by Coatue and joined by Accel, Aleph, Bessemer Venture Partners, Corner Ventures, General Catalyst, and Latitude. Matan Bar, CEO of Melio remarked, “Payments are contextual and they want to enable a quicker way to get there. The SMB is underserved. And yes, from a unit economics it’s much better to go after Nike. But this is also to really create some financial inclusion. We want to enable services for the small shop that the big guys already have.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TDB Digest

TDB Digest – What’s Cooking in the FinTech and Banking Industry (Issue 17)

FUNDING NEWS

Rho Technologies raises USD 15 million in Series A Funding

Rho Business Banking – a digital banking platform for high-growth, scaling companies announced a $15 million Series A round of funding. The round was led by  M13 Ventures. The investors in this round include Torch Capital, Inspired Capital and Rogue Capital with angel investors contributing as well. Along with the funding news, Rho also announced the launch of its accounts payable product which will allows users of the business banking platform to fully automate the process. Everett Cook, CEO and Founder remarked, “We’ve developed the modern commercial banking platform built around the way companies operate today: distributed, team-oriented, transparent and built for scale. AP is the next step on our mission to help teams work better together with money.”

Enfusion raises USD 150 million in Series C Funding

Enfusion – an investment management technology solutions and services provider, announced that it has received a $150 million minority investment from ICONIQ Growth. Enfusions serves over 550 clients from nine global offices, and logged in another record  year when it signed on 160 new fund managers in 2020. Thomas Kim, CEO of Enfusion said, “Today, our strategic vision is being stewarded by hundreds of world class technologists, developers, financial experts and service professionals across our global team. As we expand our reach across the global investment management community, our team remains committed to excellence in client experience, innovation and performance.”

CoinSwitch Kuber raises USD 15 million in Series A funding

CoinSwitch Kuber – a cryptocurrency investment platform recently announced a $15 million Series A round of funding. This round was led by Ribbit Capital and Paradigm. The round also witnessed participation from existing investor Sequoia Capital India and angel investor. The funds raised will be used to enhance product, security and technology capabilities, in line with CoinSwitch’s goal to become the de-facto cryptocurrency investment platform for Indian users.

DIGITAL CURRENCY

Agriculture Bank of China to test digital yuan at ATMs

In the ongoing digital yuan trial, Agriculture Bank of China will allow digital yuan to withdrawn and deposited at ATMs. This will be possible with the help of a smartphone app which will allow customers to convert cash and savings to and from the tokenized form. Zou Hua, manager of the bank’s Digital Yuan Innovation Lab, commented, “Agricultural Bank has taken the lead in launching the ATM cash deposit and withdrawal function in the industry to guide Shenzhen residents to adapt to the digitization of cash and explore service transformation.”

CARD PARTNERSHIPS

General Motors, Goldman Sachs and Mastercard to collaborate for new credit card

General Motors, Goldman Sachs recently announced the formation of a multi-year relationship for co-branded rewards-based credit cards with Mastercard. Goldman Sachs will be the issuing bank for the GM’s latest credit programs card and Mastercard will remain the preferred choice of network. The new card are slated for launched in September 2021. Omer Ismail, Global Head of Consumer Business at Goldman Sachs remarked, “Our focus remains on delivering a simple and transparent experience that helps customers manage their spending and borrowing needs better.”

TDB Digest

TDB Digest – What’s Cooking in the FinTech and Banking Industry (Issue 16)

FUNDING NEWS

Oxygen raises USD 17 million in Series A Funding

Oxygen – a digital banking platform announced a $17 million Series A round of funding. The round was led by  Runa Capital, S7V, 1984.vc, EFG Hermes, Rucker Park, and Inventures, in addition to celebrity and prominent fintech investors. Oxygen aims to provide consumers and small businesses flexible and modern banking solutions. Hussein Ahmed, Oxygen CEO said “this investment not only validates what we’ve built but also enables us to continue pursuing our vision of building financial tools that integrate seamlessly with the digital world of today and delight our customers.”

Cred raises USD 81 million in Series C Funding

Cred – a start-up which rewards customers who pay their credit card bill on time, announced that it raised  $81 million in Series C round and bought shares worth $1.2 million its employees. The round was led by DST Global with existing investors such as Sequoia Capital, Ribbit Capital, Tiger Global and General Catalyst also participating in the round. Cred has nearly doubled its customer base which now stands at about  5.9 million which accounts for about 20% of the credit card holder base in India.

Divvy raises USD 165 million in Series D Funding

Divvy –  a financial platform for businesses to manage payments and expenses with features such as real-time transaction tracking and insights into expenses, recently announced that it raised 165 million in Series D Funding round. The investment round included saw existing investors such as NEA, Insight Venture Partners, Acrew, and Pelion and also attracted new investors – Hanaco, PayPal Ventures, Whale Rock, Schonfeld. Funds from this round will enable Divvy to continue to support businesses by providing the required capital to thrive with cutting-edge financial software to manage it.

Mambu raises €110 million in funding

Mambu – a SaaS banking platform recently announced its latest funding round of €110 million in new capital. This round was led by TCV, with additional investment from Tiger Global and Arena Holdings, as well as participation from existing investors such as Bessemer Venture Partners, Runa Capital and Acton Capital Partners. The firm aims to use this capital to accelerate growth and deepen its footprint in over 50 countries with focus on Brazil, United States and Japan where it already operates. Eugene Danilkis, co-founder and CEO of Mambu said: “As an increasing number of challenger and established banks sign on to prepare themselves to thrive in the fintech era, we have, and will continue to provide them with a world-class platform on which to build modern, agile customer-centric businesses.”

ACQUISITIONS AND EXPANSIONS

Wahed Invest is set to acquire Niyah

 Wahed – a US-based Islamic-finance fintech company, recently announced it will acquire Niyah – a UK-based fintech focused on building an ethical banking app for the Muslim community. This acquisition comes in right after Wahed’s most recent investment round led by Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures. With this acquisition, Wahed aims to help the underserved Muslim community in the UK by offering customers access to interest-free financial products including  digital bank accounts, debit cards and investments through an user-friendly mobile app. Not just limited to UK, the fintech aims to eventually expand its services to customers in North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

N26 expands to Brazil

N26 – a German neobank received the greenlight to “carry out credit operations” such as third-party credit analysis and the ability to issue electronic currency from the Brazilian regulator – Brazilan Central Bank. This expansion is an expected one as N26 had indicated an interest to expand to Brazil way back in 2019. While Brazil represents a large underbanked customer segment, N26 will have to compete with the home grown neobank Nubank which currently has over 25 million existing users.

STRATEGIC INVESTMENT

HQLAᵡ secures EUR 14.4 million in Series B Funding

HQLAᵡ – a fintech focused on securities lending and collateral management has secured EUR 14.4 million in Series B Funding. This strategic investment was secured from BNY Mellon, Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas Securities Services and Citigroup, and participation from existing strategic partner Deutsche Börse Group. Investment from this round will be used to help address fragmentation in European collateral market by effectively enhancing connectivity between leading triparty agents, custodians and market participants. Guido Stroemer, Chairman and CEO of HQLAᵡ, remarked,” Closing this strategic investment round with BNP Paribas Securities Services, BNY Mellon, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs is another major step towards market adoption.”

 

TDB Digest

TDB Digest – What’s Cooking in the FinTech and Banking Industry (Issue 15)

DIGITAL CURRENCY

Reserve Bank of Australia to test central bank digital currency (CBDC) in collaboration with NAB, CBA and Perpetual and ConsenSys Software

The Reserve Bank of Australia recently partnered with Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Perpetual and ConsenSys Software – a blockchain technology company to collaborate for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) using distributed ledger technology (DLT). This collaborative effort will explore the potential application and implication “of a wholesale form” of CBDC. Further a proof-of-concept (POC) will be developed for the issuance of a tokenised form of CBDC for funding, settlement and repayment of a syndicated loan. Assistant Governor (Financial System) Michele Bullock said, “With this project we are aiming to explore the implications of a CBDC for efficiency, risk management and innovation in wholesale financial market transactions.”

STRATEGIC COLLABORATIONS

UBS and Partners Group collaborate to launch bespoke initiative to expand access to private markets

UBS – a the leading Swiss bank, and Partners Group – a global private markets investment manager, announced a bespoke long-term initiative which will allow wealth management clients of the Swiss banking giant to expand access to private markets. With this collaboration, UBS’ clients based in Switzerland and select European and Asian markets  will now have access to Partners Group’s private equity buyouts as well as co-investments in certain Partners Group assets, pre-selected by UBS. In the press release, UBS’ executives said, “By teaming up with Partners Group and leveraging the scale and expertise of our two firms, we will give UBS clients unique access to some of the best private markets opportunities delivered in an efficient vehicle.”

Icon Solutions, a British payment solutions and consultancy company, announced a strategic investment from J.P. Morgan

Icon Solutions, a British payment solutions and consultancy company, recently announced a strategic investment from J.P. Morgan. This investment will help Icon grow its technological capabilities and geographic reach thereby helping new and existing customers realise the potential of payments in the real-time, 24/7, open, data-driven world. Tom Kelleher, Co-Founder and Commercial Director at Icon Solutions said, “We will benefit greatly from the scale and insight of a global banking leader and one of the most visionary technology companies in the world, with the flexibility and independence to pursue our innovation and growth roadmap.”

FINTECH FUNDING

UBS launches UBS Next , a USD 200 million strong portfolio, to engage with Fintechs

UBS – a Swiss banking giant launched UBS Next – a USD 200 million strong portfolio which targets investments in the fintech and broader tech ecosystem. With this investment vehicle, UBS is keen to drive existing strategic partnerships, new collaborations within the Fintech ecosystem. UBS Next will primarily pursues direct investments into early stage fintechs and other relevant tech companies. It will also pursue strategic collaboration with Anthemis – a global venture capital fund with expertise in fintech investing. This strategic collaboration will help accelerate investment opportunity identification and deal flow for UBS.

DriveWealth raises $56.7 million Series C funding

DriveWealth, a U.S.-based global digital trading company, announced a $56.7 million Series C round. This round was led by existing investor – Point72 Ventures with participating investors – Raptor Group, SBI Holdings, Inc. and Route 66 Ventures. Two new investors — Mouro Capital and Fidelity International Strategic Ventures also joined the Series C round. With this round, DriveWealth aims to strengthen its current technology stack, focus on strategic acquisitions, and scale its business. DriveWealth Founder and CEO Bob Cortright said, “The new funding from our great investors will only help us improve our technology capabilities to democratize investing.”

RETAL BANKING

Emirates NBD launches flexi credit card

Emirates NBD, a leading bank in Middle East region, recently announced the launch of the Visa Flexi Credit Card. A first-to-market, Visa Flexi Credit Card allows cardholders to customize their credit cards with benefits of their choice. Cardholders can pick and choose features they want thereby complementing their lifestyle and preferences. Flexibility and customization of services is available across subscription offers, concierge services as well as travel related services. Suvo Sarkar, Senior EVP & Group Head, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Emirates NBD commented: “This innovative program is being launched for the first time globally by Emirates NBD and complements our extensive range of card offerings that cater to customers from all walks of life.”

TDB Digest

TDB Digest – What’s Cooking in the FinTech and Banking Industry (Issue 14)

DIGITAL BANKING

Greenwood closes a $3 million seed round

Greenwood recently announced that it had closed a $3 million seed round from private investors to build an online banking platform for Blacks and Latinx. The initial products that Greenwood will offer are savings and spending accounts, black metal debit card with features such as Apple, Samsung, and Android pay, virtual debit cards, P2P transfers, free ATM usage among others. All deposits are FDIC insured and Greenwood plans to partner with “brick and mortar minority-owned banks” to empower historically black banks as well as the black and Latinx community. One of ways its plans to address the lack of fairness in the financial system is to provide a $10,000 grant every month to a Black or Latinx small business owner that is a Greenwood customer. Founders of Greenwood include, Andrew J. Young – former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and an activist, Michael Render – rapper and activist in Black financial empowerment and Ryan Glover – founder of Bounce TV network.

STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

Mastercard and Marqeta extend their partnership

Mastercard, a global payments business and Marqeta, an open API card issuer and payments processor recently announced that they extended their global partnership. With this partnership, the two companies plan to expand to new markets and launch card programs together. As part of their expansion plans, Mastercard and Marqeta plan to expand to Asia Pacific, and several other markets. Mastercard will also make an undisclosed financial investment in Marqeta. The two companies have a history of working together since 2014. They have collaborated and “helped fintechs, digital banks and commerce disruptors across North America and Europe bring innovative card products to market.”

Standard Chartered Bank Singapore partners with Moneythor to launch SC Money Manager tool

Standard Chartered Bank Singapore has partnered with Moneythor, a leading digital banking software provider to deliver an all new AI-powered data-driven personal finance management tool – SC Money Manager. This tool aims to provide AI-powered data analysis of a customer’s personal finance management by deploying Moneythor’s data-driven engine and its API. Customer will now be able to make informed decisions based on their historical trends and patterns and will also have access to insights on expenditure and income among other features, all within the Bank’s flagship mobile banking app. Nauman Bashir, Managing Director, Head of Digital Banking Singapore, ASEAN and South Asia Digital Transformation at Standard Chartered, commented: “We are committed to delivering a best-in-class digital experience to support our clients’ digital banking needs and also their ongoing aspirations to better manage their finances. Through our partnership with Moneythor, we can deliver this in a comprehensive package by making the banking experience more intuitive and personal, and less transactional.”

FINTECH FUNDING

Joko raises €10 million Series A funding round

Joko, a Paris based Fintech, recently announced that it raised €10 million Series A funding round. Leading the funding round were two French venture capitals, Partech and Axeleo Capital who had earlier participated in the seed round too. Joko aims to disrupt cashback rewards and has already partnered with over 1,000 retailers via its platform and boasts of over 500,000 users. The start-up is poised to leverage Open Data initiative enabled by PSD2 (Payment Services Directive 2) by allowing shoppers to connect their bank card to Joko’s app or browser extension. Joko users have now collected over €1 million in cashback from brands such as Carrefour, H&M, Asos, Apple and Nike.

RazorPay secures $100 million in Series D funding round

RazorPay, a full-stack financial solutions company, recently announced that it secured $100 million Series D financing and also achieved the unicorn status. This funding round was led by GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund and Sequoia. Existing investors such as Ribbit Capital, Tiger Global, Y-Combinator and Matrix Partners also joined the Series D round. Having built an advanced payments infrastructure, Razorpay now connects consumers with businesses and accepts payments across multiple channels – whether online, through links, via self-hosted pages or third party branded stores or through a QR code. Razorpay serves global brands such as Facebook, Google and Wikipedia, and domestic brands like Jio, Zerodha and Hotstar along with a host of SMEs and freelancers.

TDB Digest

TDB Digest – What’s Cooking in the FinTech and Banking Industry (Issue 13)

DIGITAL BANKING

Bank of America launches a new digital solution – Life Plan

Bank of America recently launched Life Plan – a new digital experience integrated with its mobile and online banking platform. Life Plan allows the bank’s customers to set and track goals such as finances, family, health, home, work, leisure and giving, adjust these goals in real-time and also avail advisory services by scheduling in-person or virtual appointments with the bank’s financial professionals. Life Plan is powered by Erica – BofA’s AI-driven virtual financial assistant, Preferred Rewards – the bank’s loyalty program and is available in two languages – English and Spanish. David Tyrie, Bank of America head of Digital, Financial Center Strategy, and Advanced Client Solutions said, “Life Plan delivers a personalized experience for every client, providing information that is timely and relevant, aligned to their unique financial goals, and offering a choice of the next best step.”

Step – a bank for teens, launched its banking app

Step, a financial services start-up providing banking services for teens and families, officially launched their banking app last week. Step offers its customers a free FDIC insured bank account which can be opened by providing basic information, a customisable Visa debit card and eliminates all banking fees. At the end of the sign-up process, teen customers will be able to invite their parents to download the app, where parents can unlock the debit card for regular use by their children. According to CJ MacDonald, founder and CEO at Step, “They (teens) expect to manage their money in the same way as their social media but banks have failed to keep up––largely overlooking this generation and their unique needs. Step was built to fill this gap, providing modern financial tools that enable teens to easily manage their money while helping to improve their financial literacy at an earlier age.”

 

FINTECH FUNDING

PayMongo rasies $12m in Series A funding round

PayMongo, a Filipino payments startup, recently announced that it raised a $12 million Series A round led by Stripe. Existing investors Y Combinator and Global Founders Capital and new investor – Bedrock Capital joined Stripe bringing the total investment of the Series A to almost $15 million. Francis Plaza,CEO, PayMongo said, “This new funding will be invested in expanding our products and services, as we build out a much bigger financial infrastructure. There’s still a lot of work to do: from adding more payment options to supporting new business models such as recurring payments, subscriptions and invoicing.”

 

CROWDFUNDING

Clim8 launches crowdfunding campaign

Clim8, a fintech which provides investmentsinsustainable portfolios, recently launched its crowdfunding campaign. The campaign, powered by crowdcube, raised over £560,000 in just 24 hours. Clim8 will soon launch its mobile app which will allow investors to create sustainable investment portfolios. Clim8 aims to introduce conscious investors to its carefully selected companies already making a positive impact on climate change. Companies working in sectors such as clean tech, smart mobility, recycling, clean energy among others will be available on the Clim8 app.

 

DRIVING SUSTAINABILITY

Starling Bank, a United Kingdom-based digital bank recently partnered Trillion Trees, a joint venture between BirdLife International, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to plant trees. With this initiative existing Starling Bank customers can refer as many people as they like. For every successful new customer referral, Starling Bank will donate to Trillion Trees who will plant one tree.