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Wealthtech TIFIN raises $109m to pursue continued growth

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Wealthtech TIFIN raises $109m to pursue continued growth

Wealthtech firm TIFIN has closed a $109 million series D funding round and achieved a valuation of $842 million.

US- and India-based TIFIN plans to use the series D funding, alongside capital from previous fundraises, to support its growth.

The wealthtech will focus on expanding the use of Magnifi among consumers and Distill among asset and wealth enterprises, while moving into new international markets and launching additional fintech innovation initiatives.

Founded in 2018, TIFIN aims to bridge the gap between investors, intermediaries and asset managers using artificial intelligence (AI)-powered fintech.

Its divisions include Magnifi, a search-powered marketplace for investments and Financial Answers, a demand and data generation platform for advice and investments.

TIFIN Wealth, meanwhile, provides a collection of personalization components to advisers, wealth managers and other intermediaries, while Distill is an AI-powered analytics and intelligence platform to drive digital distribution for asset managers and wealth enterprises.

The latest funding round, which brings TIFIN’s valuation to $842 million, follows a series B round worth $184 million and a series C worth $447 million over the past year and reflects growth in its product offerings, users and revenue, according to the wealthtech.

Global investment manager Franklin Resources and fintech-focused investment firm Motive Partners joined the series D round alongside previous strategic investors, which include Hamilton Lane, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Morningstar and Broadridge.

Rob Heyvaert, founder and managing partner of Motive Partners, will join the TIFIN board as part of firm’s investment.

Commenting on the series D round, Dr Vinay Nair, founder and chief executive officer at TIFIN, said: “We are delighted to have Franklin Resources and Motive Partners join us on this journey, as well as Rob joining our board. We look forward to working with them and learning from their globally recognised expertise and connectivity in our space. We are also grateful for the support from existing investors including Hamilton Lane and J.P. Morgan.”

Image: TIFIN

Airwallex appoints new EMEA GM to continue regional growth

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Airwallex appoints new EMEA GM to continue regional growth

Airwallex has appointed Pranav Sood as its new general manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to oversee the cross-border payments fintech’s next phase of growth in the region.

Sood will be responsible for an EMEA team of more than 100 people and continuing the strong growth trajectory the fintech has experienced in the region since 2019.

He will be in charge of its strategy, growth, operations, product development and talent across the EMEA, while being a director designate of Airwallex in the UK and the Netherlands.

Airwallex’s new EMEA general manager joins from GoCardless, where in his most recent role as vice president of small business he led a global, cross-functional team responsible for all aspects of the customer journey and the majority of the company’s revenue. 

During his tenure, Sood oversaw a doubling in GoCardless’s SME revenue, growing its active customer base to around 75,000.

In his almost five years at GoCardless, Sood also took on other leadership roles, leading its growth into North America, Australia and across Europe, as well as company strategy and fundraising.

Commenting on the appointment, Jack Zhang, co-founder and chief executive officer at Airwallex, said: “I am excited to welcome Pranav to Airwallex as we strengthen our foothold in EMEA. His fintech expertise alongside his strong track record and ability to scale businesses will be invaluable as we continue to grow our presence in the region, providing a full suite of payment solutions through our diversified product stack.”

“I look forward to having Pranav onboard, as we look towards becoming a truly global technology business that supports the entrepreneurs, business builders and makers with opportunities in every corner of the world.”

Sood said: “Globalisation and digitalisation have driven an explosion in cross-border payment volumes over the past few years. Airwallex sits at the heart of both of these trends, with its financial infrastructure already enabling thousands of businesses around the world to grow without borders.”

“Over the past couple of years, I’ve witnessed the business’ rapid growth across EMEA and I couldn’t be more excited to be joining a stellar EMEA team at such a critical juncture.”

Image: Airwallex

Global identity verification provider ID-Pal launches in the UK

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Global identity verification provider ID-Pal launches in the UK

ID-Pal, an identity verification provider, is formally entering the UK market following six years of exponential growth.

The technology company, based in Dublin, Ireland, supports businesses of all sizes in more than 30 sectors, across Ireland, the US, EU and UK.

Current clients include large enterprises such as Grant Thornton and Zurich International, as well as smaller and medium-sized businesses such as UK Adviser and Trust My Travel.

It was also the winner of Best Customer Facing Experience at the 2021 Pay360 Awards and its most recent awards include Best Customer Facing Experience at the Pay360 Awards and IT & Fintech category winner at the Irish Times Innovation Awards 2022.

The accelerated move to online during the pandemic, paired with the recent growth in new legislation including potentially conflicting regimes such as the 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (6AMLD) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), has made businesses and their customers particularly vulnerable to the reputational and monetary damage caused by financial crime. 

Led by founder and chief executive officer Colum Lyons, ID-Pal has developed a fully customisable solution for identity and address verification to protect businesses against these risks, available off-the-shelf or as an API/SDK. 

The GDPR-compliant solution is ISO 27001 certified and can be configured for any jurisdiction or legal requirement in any language in just minutes, offering more robust compliance that is adaptable to support businesses of all sizes.

ID-Pal offers coverage of more than 6,000 ID documents across 200 countries and jurisdictions using a multi-layered approach that includes biometric, facial matching, liveness testing, address verification and document checks.

Commenting on the formal launch in the UK, Lyons said: “The way in which identity verification has been done historically is just not sustainable in our digital-first mobile-ready world. Verifying identity documents manually is inefficient and insecure, and the risk of data flight and simple human error can make businesses vulnerable to fraud.”

“Our unique blend of ID checks, all powered by a completely technology-first process, means multi-layered verification takes place on any ID document in real time. Using AI and machine-learning offers greater accuracy in correctly classifying a document and reduces the margin for error and need for manual intervention.”

“We’re looking forward to officially launching in the UK market and empowering more businesses with simple, secure convenient identity verification for their business and their customers.” 

Image: ID-Pal

Open banking fintech Yapily to acquire Germany’s finAPI

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Open banking fintech Yapily to acquire Germany’s finAPI

Open banking fintech Yapily has agreed a deal to acquire finAPI.

FinAPI is a leading provider of open banking solutions in Germany and the deal will make Yapily a major open banking payments platform in Europe. 

Together, they have enabled customers to process a combined total of $39.5 billion in payment volumes and connect to more than one million monthly active data users over the past year.

The acquisition will double Yapily’s customer base, bringing more than 50 large enterprise firms in the financial, insurance, and IT industries to its platform.

Yapily said the acquisition will give it a clear leadership position in the UK and Germany, while providing it with entry into new markets such as Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. 

The open banking fintech’s customers will also benefit from a number of finAPI solutions, including identity and age verification and legally compliant KYC checks, and digital account checks that can be used for automated credit scoring.

Commenting on the acquisition, Stefano Vaccino, founder and chief executive officer at Yapily, said: “This is a hugely exciting milestone for Yapily on our journey from disruptive start-up to ambitious scale-up.” 

“Within three years from launch, we have commercialised our platform, grown our customer base, and now have the largest open banking payments volumes in Europe. Working with finAPI, we can gain more speed, agility, and depth to accelerate innovation and shape the future of open finance in Europe and beyond.”

German credit bureau SCHUFA will sell its 75% stake in finAPI to Yapily as part of the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval and expected to complete in H2 2022.

The credit bureau will continue to use finAPI’s products and services, as well as cooperate on further product development, in the run up to completion of the acquisition and beyond.

Dr Florian Haagen, founder and chief executive officer at finAPI, commented: “Yapily’s core DNA as a fintech and open banking enabler is equally aligned with our belief in an infrastructure-first approach.”

“From the products we’ve built to the industries our customers operate in, our complimentary offerings mean that together, we are perfectly placed to spearhead Europe’s open finance agenda and make the financial lives of millions of people more resilient, simple, and secure.” 

Tanja Birkholz, chief executive officer at SCHUFA, added: “Our strategic focus is to further strengthen client centricity. Open banking is one of the technological levers advancing Europe’s digital economy.”

“How transparently and appropriately the benefits of these technologies can be utilised will be very important for our customers and stakeholders. We know the customers’ needs, and together Yapily and finAPI will accelerate innovation to meet them.” 

Image: Yapily

AgriDigital raises $17m+ for digital grain management and finance platform

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AgriDigital raises $17m+ for digital grain management and finance platform
AgriDigital co-founders Emma Weston, Ben Reid and Bob McKay

AgriDigital, a provider of a digital grain management and finance platform, has closed an AU$25 million (US$17.42 million) capital round.

The Australia-based fintech is currently undertaking continued product development and market growth across Australia and North America. The new capital will support this work as AgriDigital improves its customer experience and accelerates onboarding for new users.

Commenting on AgriDigital’s plans, chief executive officer and co-founder Emma Weston said: “Our focus is to ensure that all of the grains industry has access to the tools for growth in the digital age. This means grain management software that operates in real-time, can be used in the paddock, the office or at the weighbridge by all of a farm or grain company’s employees, and that enables our customers to collateralise their grain assets to get same day access to working capital.”

Weston continued: “Part of what makes us different is our focus on the whole supply chain, we are not just for farmers or just for traders, we are for the whole supply chain. This capital raise supports us to improve the experience for our existing customers and to accelerate onboarding for new users, so that they can get their work done as efficiently as possible for the lowest cost in terms of time, reduced errors and training time, improved decision-making and reporting.”

“We are doing this now in Australia and the US; and there is a lot of growth in front of us. We aim to be the global leader; the team is motivated and ready.”

Aimed at farmers, grain buyers and traders, brokers and storage operators, AgriDigital’s digital grain management platform has grown to be the largest in Australia, according to the fintech. 

AgriDigital claims 15% of all grain produced in the country being transacted at the sale, delivery or storage point through its platform, which has more than 14,000 users.

Weston said: “With almost 25 million tonnes transacted through AgriDigital last year at a value of over $6 billion and $150 million financed by us so far; we have big growth targets for AgriDigital Finance in 2022.”

The new capital is a mixture of debt and equity. AgriDigital was backed by Square Peg Capital and one of Australia’s largest family offices in its initial capital raise in 2017.

AgriDigital brought on food system investor 1st Course Capital alongside an increased commitment by Square Peg Capital in 2019, and has now broadened its investor base to include a large global investor with experience in debt finance.

Square Peg Capital’s Tony Holt commented: “Over the past three years, Emma, Ben, Bob and the team at AgriDigital have proven that by digitising the supply chain you can then finance and manage risk across that supply chain in new ways, and they are committed to making this available to every farmer and grain business in one of the world’s largest commodity markets.”

Images: AgriDigital

Bitstamp appoints new global CEO

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Bitstamp appoints new global CEO
JB Graftieaux

Crypto exchange Bitstamp has appointed JB Graftieaux as its new global chief executive officer.

Graftieaux succeeds Julian Sawyer, who has decided to pursue other opportunities, and took over on 7 May.

Graftieaux, who joined UK-, Luxembourg- and US-based Bitstamp in May 2021 as the fintech’s Europe chief executive officer, has 20 years of experience in crypto and payments, including more than a decade at PayPal and eBay.

In his last role at eBay, he was managing director of Europe, where he led the ecommerce giant’s regulatory operations for payments and served on the board of directors for several entities.

From 2014 to 2016, Graftieaux served as Bitstamp’s chief compliance officer and led the fintech’s bid to become the first regulated cryptocurrency exchange in Europe.

Since rejoining Bitstamp last year, Graftieaux has accelerated the fintech’s growth in Europe, securing several institutional partnerships and growing its headcount.

Commenting on his appointment, Graftieaux said: “As the longest-running and highly trusted crypto exchange in the world serving millions of users, our strategic vision is to help build the financial ecosystem of tomorrow.” 

“Together with our highly experienced executive leadership team, and more than 500 employees, we are well positioned to continue to accelerate crypto access for our valued clients and partners across the globe. As global CEO, I look forward to building on this strong foundation.”

Graftieaux’s appointment as global chief executive officer follows several significant months for Bitstamp, including the launch of Bitstamp-as-a-Service in North and South America.

Bitstamp-as-a-Service, which helps financial institutions provide simple, secure digital asset exposure to their customers, has been available to European clients for the past five years.

The fintech has also recently obtained registrations and licences in North America and Europe to accelerate its business, and established several major partnerships with banks and institutions.

Nicolas Huss, chairman of the board of directors at Bitstamp, said: “JB was with Bitstamp in its early days, and has admirably led our European business over the past year. We’re pleased to welcome a CEO with such an impressive track record, and very much look forward to the contribution and perspective he will bring to the company in his new role.”

Images: Bitstamp

Rapyd launches means for businesses to expand and support local payments

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Rapyd launches means for businesses to expand and support local payments

Payments fintech Rapyd has launched a new product designed to help businesses expand into new markets while supporting local payments.

Virtual Accounts, available on Rapyd’s fintech-as-a-service platform with Collect, Disburse and Wallet, enable businesses anywhere in the world to accept local bank transfers across 40+ countries in more than 25 currencies.

This initial coverage includes the US, UK, EU and APAC regions. Clients Kadmos, a global salary payment platform, and Kontempo, an embedded payment solution for B2B ecommerce, are already using Virtual Accounts.

Khyati Soparkar, head of global product marketing at Rapyd, commented: “One of the key factors that holds businesses back from expanding globally and reaching the next level of growth is the lack of infrastructure to support local payments.”

“Virtual Accounts provide businesses the confidence to grow worldwide knowing they have a trusted payments solution in place. Now, it’s never been easier to reach more countries, currencies and customers—all businesses need is one Rapyd account.”

Image: Rapyd

New chair of the board appointed at Swedish payments fintech Payer

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New chair of the board appointed at Swedish payments fintech Payer 2
Dominik Belloin

Dominik Belloin is the new chair of the board at Sweden-based payments fintech Payer.

Belloin, a board member since September 2021, succeeds Annika Javestad, who served in the role during the fintech’s development toward becoming an end-to-end payments company serving enterprise clients in the European market.

Payer’s new chair of the board brings 34 years of international experience in financial services to the role, gained as an adviser and principal for Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Oddo, the Bertelsmann Group and Kepler Cheuvreux.

Peder Berge, chief executive officer of Payer, commented: “I’m thrilled to have Dominik Belloin as chairman of the board, someone who will greatly contribute to the acceleration of our journey to become a global leader in B2B payment solutions.”

Belloin, whose appointment is subject to regulatory approval, added: “Digital payments are massively disrupting business flows. Payer, with its complete toolbox, is particularly well positioned to help those clients who wish to turn this trend to their advantage.” 

Images: Payer 

Taxfix raises $220m

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Taxfix raises $220m

Tax app provider Taxfix has raised $220 million in series D funding to drive growth and product portfolio expansion.

The fintech, based in Berlin, Germany, has achieved unicorn status with a total valuation of more than $1 billion.

The funding comes after Taxfix achieved “strong revenue figures” and reached the milestone of more than €1 billion in tax refunds returned to users of its smartphone- and web-based tax management app in October last year.

Taxfix has also hired more than 100 new employees in Q1 2022 to bring its total team size to 500+ people.

The fintech has kicked off its product portfolio expansion with the launch of a dedicated version of its service to support pensioners, as well as a free service, called Instant Refund, that enables users to receive half of their tax refund within one business day of filing their tax return.

Teachers’ Venture Growth (TVG), part of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, led the series D funding round, with participation from existing investors Index Ventures, Valar Ventures, Creandum and Redalpine.

Taxfix chief executive officer Martin Ott commented: “With this funding, we will continue to drive rapid international growth and the expansion of our product offering to develop additional financial services.”

“In addition to doubling revenue in the first quarter of this year, we expanded into Spain, another important European market. I am particularly pleased that our team continues to grow—because this momentous landmark would not have been possible without the dedication and motivation of our very talented employees.”

Avid Larizadeh Duggan, managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at TVG, will join the Taxfix board.

Duggan said: “We were quickly won over by Taxfix, the team and the vision behind the company and its products. Similar to Taxfix, Ontario Teachers’ is mission-driven and here to provide people with a secure and stable future.”

“It is exciting and inspiring to meet a team with bold ambitions and shared values, building a product that can be used by millions of people to improve their financial wellbeing. We are very much looking forward to working with Martin and Taxfix on fulfilling their vision and making it easy, affordable and anxiety free for anyone to file their taxes and manage their finances.”

Image: Taxfix

Regtech ALT/AVE forms advisory board and raises £500k+

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Regtech ALT:AVE forms advisory board and raises £500k+
Sarah Ronald, Keith MacDonald and Dag Lee

UK regtech startup ALT/AVE has made three appointments to its advisory board and secured a funding boost of more than £500,000.

Keith MacDonald, former head of EY Wealth Management, Sarah Ronald, a serial entrepreneur and government digital adviser, and venture capitalist and private equity investor Dag Lee join the regtech startup’s newly created advisory board, alongside chief executive officer and founder Chris Ansara and chair Phil Shelley. 

Each advisory board member has also become an investor in ALT/AVE, contributing personally to the company’s latest cash injection of £530,000. 

The new funding will support further development of ALT/AVE’s product suite and technology offering, as well as further commercialisation. Existing investors also participated in the round.

ALT/AVE’s flagship product docStribute allows companies to deliver private, confidential and mandatory documents to customers digitally, via immutable hyperlinks, using distributed ledger technology. The product can exist and function alongside, or replace entirely, existing portal systems.

Shelley said: “docStribute was launched in response to a major problem in the financial services industry; existing communication channels are heavy users of carbon, represent significant cyber risk, and are expensive whilst often offering the customer a poor experience. In launching a product that uses the Hedera Hashgraph network, ALT/AVE is providing a safe and secure channel that reduces emissions and that offers customers a positive experience.” 

Commenting on the appointments and funding, Shelley added: “I am delighted to complete our second fund raising of £530,000 with strong support from existing and new shareholders.”

“I am also delighted to welcome new advisory board members who I am confident will enable the company to continue growing. Each of the three new appointments bring unique and very relevant experience as well as broad connectivity that will help ALT/AVE continue its rapid progress.” 

Images: ALT/AVE

SEPAexpress joins Banking Circle Group

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SEPAexpress joins Banking Circle Group
Anders la Cour and Franz Guttenberger

SEPAexpress is joining the Banking Circle Group technology platform for global commerce.

Banking Circle Group has acquired Germany-based SEPAexpress, which provides whitelabelled account-to-account payments for payments service providers, merchants and corporates in Europe.

SEPAexpress joins YouLend and Biller on the Banking Circle Group technology platform, which is spearheaded by licensed bank Banking Circle SA.

The combined group is able to offer global cross-border payments, accounts and liquidity management, along with a range of ecommerce solutions, including revenue-based financing, business payments and card issuing, business-to-business buy now, pay later services, and account-to-account payment methods. 

Launched in 2017, SEPAexpress now processes millions of transactions on a monthly basis and plans to extend further in the account-to-account space with open banking and other services.

Banking Circle Group said the acquisition gives SEPAexpress immediate access to technology infrastructure and financial resources to accelerate its growth. It will continue to operate autonomously and is aiming for triple digit growth in 2022.

Franz Guttenberger, chief executive officer at SEPAexpress, explained: “By joining the Banking Circle Group ecosystem we will be able to capitalise on the established infrastructure and financial resources to realise our vision of extending our services across Europe.” 

“Businesses across the region need to be able to focus on their customer propositions and, by utilising our services, they don’t need to worry about the payment process.”

Anders la Cour, chief executive officer at Banking Circle Group, added: “The quality and simplicity of the solutions from SEPAexpress are without compare in the industry. Its suite of offerings is a natural fit with the Banking Circle Group ecosystem and we’re excited to have the company on board to serve the ever-growing payment needs of businesses worldwide.”

Images: Banking Circle Group and SEPAexpress

Starling Bank raises £130.5m to build acquisition war chest

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Starling Bank raises £130.5m to build acquisition war chest

Starling Bank has completed an internal fundraise of £130.5 million at a pre-money valuation of more than £2.5 billion.

The UK digital bank said the funding will be used to “continue our growth and to build a war chest for acquisitions”.

“We are looking at a number of potential targets,” a spokesperson said.

Starling acquired specialist buy-to-let mortgage lender Fleet Mortgages in a £50 million cash and share deal last year and continues to expand its Marketplace integrations, most recently with PensionBee.

The latest fundraise follows last year’s £50 million extension to its oversubscribed £272 million series D funding round, led by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity.

That investment took the series D round to £322 million.

Image: Starling Bank

Talus Pay hires former JPMorgan Chase exec Bryan Fricke

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Talus Pay hires former JPMorgan Chase exec Bryan Fricke
Bryan Fricke

Talus Pay, a US-based provider of payment processing solutions for small and mid-sized merchants, has appointed Bryan Fricke as its chief revenue officer.

Fricke joins the fintech after serving in executive relationship management and sales operations roles at JPMorgan Chase for more than seven years.

In his new role, Fricke will be responsible for the performance, strategy and alignment of all revenue generating go-to-market channels encompassing sales, marketing, product and customer success teams.

Commenting on the appointment, Kim Fitzsimmons, chief executive officer at Talus Pay, said: “I have worked with Bryan for nearly two decades and am thrilled to have him join the Talus Pay team.”

“Bryan’s deep payments expertise and connections will be a tremendous asset in spearheading rapid growth and expansion.”

A seasoned executive with almost three decades of payments experience, the fintech said Fricke is adept at building, leading and retaining high-performing sales teams to increase effectiveness and bottom-line results.

Prior to his time at JPMorgan Chase, Fricke spent 18 years with First Data, now Fiserv, in various sales, sales training, telesales and account management roles.

Fricke commented: “The culture at Talus Pay, under Kim’s leadership, is just fantastic. I am very excited to have the opportunity to play an instrumental role in driving strong revenue growth, and to work with such an amazing group of people.”

Recur Club raises $30m for alternative financing push

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Indian fintech Recur Club raises $30m for alternative financing push

India-based fintech Recur Club has raised $30 million of seed funding to develop its alternative financing solution into “the most founder friendly platform to raise growth capital”.

The fintech, based in New Delhi and founded by co-chief executive officers Abhinav Sherwal and Anirudh Bhardwaj, claims that more than 550 clients have accessed its solution since launch. 

Recur Club said the seed funding will be invested in new hires and expansion of its solution across India and into new markets where there is demand for alternative sources of financing.

Its solution serves as a trading platform where companies to trade their contracts or subscriptions in return for upfront capital without diluting equity.

InfoEdge Venture, Village Global, Titan Capital and other investors contributed the seed funding, as a combination of equity and debt allocation.

In a blog post announcing the news, Sherwal said: “The trust placed in us by our investors have strengthened our resolve to become the most founder friendly platform to raise growth capital.”

“With the introduction of a new asset class, Recurring Revenue, we strive to revolutionize financing and democratise access to capital for all founders.”

Avaloq goes live with first client in Taiwan

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Avaloq goes live with first client in Taiwan

Avaloq has successfully implemented its core banking system at Cathay United Bank to support the bank’s continued growth.

The Avaloq Core Platform will cater to increasing demand for private banking services from onshore Taiwanese high-net-worth individuals.

This go-live marks a key milestone for Avaloq, a provider of core banking software, digital banking and digital wealth management, and Cathay United Bank following a relaxation of Taiwan’s wealth management regulations in 2020.

That relaxation permitted select financial institutions to offer a broader range of financial products and services to domestic clients, according to Avaloq, in a bid to increase the competitiveness and scale of Taiwan’s private banking industry.

Avaloq’s core banking system covers a comprehensive set of financial products, from securities and exchange-traded funds to foreign exchange and lending, while ensuring regulatory compliance across multiple jurisdictions through a single application.

The Avaloq Core Platform enables banks such as Cathay United Bank and wealth managers to streamline their back and middle office by efficiently managing key business processes, including trades, corporate actions and reporting.

Pascal Wengi, managing director for North Asia at Avaloq, said: “The successful go-live of the Avaloq Core Platform creates a solid foundation for Cathay United Bank to transform its private banking business.”

“And as Taiwan’s onshore private banking market continues to mature, we look forward to supporting banks and wealth managers in catering to this growing client segment.”

Robert Fuh, chief executive officer of private banking at Cathay United Bank, added: “Avaloq’s core banking system will support our continued growth by efficiently processing sophisticated financial products and monitoring compliance in our various growth markets.”

“This will help us to create a one-stop service for our clients in Taiwan and allow us to focus even more on providing highly personalised investment advice.”

PensionBee and HyperJar win big at the UK FinTech Awards 2022

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PensionBee and HyperJar win big at the UK FinTech Awards 2022

Last night’s UK FinTech Awards 2022 ceremony saw 14 outstanding fintechs and three professionals at the top of their games prevail across 20 categories.

PensionBee was the night’s big winner, picking up Pensions Tech of the Year as well as the prestigious FinTech of the Year for “putting people and the planet at the heart of its offering”.

The fintech also won the Diversity & Inclusion Award for the “breadth and range” of its work in this area.

The other big winner at the UK FinTech Awards 2022 ceremony, which was held at Leonardo Royal London St Paul’s, was HyperJar.

The fintech secured Personal Finance Tech of the Year and was also named Startup of the Year for being on “a rapid upward trajectory that’s changing the way a younger generation interacts with financial services providers, using novel technology, savvy communication and a product that works”.

An independent panel of experts, who give their free time to assess submissions and were chosen for their expertise, experience and positions in financial services, compiled the shortlist of finalists for the 2022 awards.

Judging panel chair Nicola Anderson, who is chief executive officer at FinTech Scotland, said in the digital programme for the awards: “I’m delighted to have been involved in this year’s awards and to have had the opportunity to experience, learn and be inspired by the fantastic fintech innovators that are all working hard and developing future digital fintech solutions that will shape the way we do finance in the UK.”

“There is significant fintech talent represented at these awards and many fintech enterprises that, I have no doubt, will become household names across all the regions of the UK in the near future.”

Attendees of the black-tie event were treated to a fantastic night full of networking, socialising and celebrating, with a host, three-course meal and live music.

There was also a silent auction to raise funds for the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal as well as introductions and participation from UK FinTech Awards 2022 sponsors Claims Media, Fundsquire, ID-Pal and The Apprenticeship Guide.

The UK FinTech Awards will return in 2023. FinTech Intel also organises independently judged awards for Europe, the US and Asia—and all three are currently open for submissions.

Fundsquire’s non-dilutive R&D and Grant funding

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Fundsquire non-dilutive R&D and Grant funding

Entrepreneurs experience myriad challenges when it comes to raising capital to fuel their growth, especially at the early stages of their business, and that’s where Fundsquire comes into play.

Fundsquire, a global scaleup, based out of the UK, Australia and Canada, provides frictionless capital to game-changing companies around the world. It offers startups and scaleups an important alternative to selling equity, by providing fast-growing businesses access to growth capital that they may not otherwise have, affordably and quickly. The goal is to make non-dilutive, strategic funding as straightforward, frictionless, and personalised as possible for innovative businesses across the UK. 

Fundsquire offers businesses a range of non-dilutive funding solutions for companies at all stages of growth. This includes R&D Advance funding, Grant Advance funding and Revenue Advance funding.

The R&D Advance funding solution allows companies to use their future R&D tax credit refund as collateral for accessing growth capital, months in advance.

The Grant Advance funding solution allows companies to leverage their government grant programmes to access their future, eligible grant capital in advance.

Last but not least, the Revenue Advance funding allows businesses to access up to four months of their average monthly revenue to conduct activities that further grow their revenue.

To enable seamless funding, Fundsquire has heavily invested in building its technology platform to complement its lending framework. This platform is fully integrated with banking and accounting platforms and allows Fundsquire’s process to leverage technology to de-risk lending and helps customers access a simple, easy platform to get funding, in as little as five days, allowing them to be one of the fastest lenders on the market.

Fundsquire also brings an expansive community of partners across the globe—ranging from advisers to investors—to give their clients a broad toolbox of connections and perks to take their business to the next level. This approach to integrated services offers not just a wealth of resources to their clients, but also early engagement opportunities for partners and clients both.

Fundsquire is invested in helping grow the UK fintech community. This includes sponsoring the UK FinTech Awards, ecosystem partnerships and providing easy and quick non-dilutive funding to help businesses access funds while protecting their equity. Non-dilutive funding can help fintechs accelerate their next move.

Many businesses utilise the funding to reinvest back into their R&D tax credit claim at the end of the year. This results in customers being able to keep up with operational costs, control their R&D timelines, accelerate their next move and make strategic investment decisions. Fundsquire’s funding also allows the startup to plan its cash flow accordingly, and race past the competition in technology and marketing investment, allowing for better products and genuine innovation.

Since 2017, Fundsquire has funded more than 200 companies globally, with over £37 million in growth capital, and is excited to continue playing an important part in bringing innovative ideas to the forefront. Fundsquire’s goal is to empower businesses to innovate, scale, and reach their potential.

Zevoy raises €15m for roll-out of expense management solution in Europe

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Zevoy raises €15m for roll-out of expense management solution in Europe

Finland-based expense management fintech Zevoy has raised €15 million in a series A round to fund launches in eight new markets during Q2 2022.

Zevoy, which was founded in August 2020 and currently provides its expense management solution to businesses in markets such as Finland and Sweden, expects to secure a credit institution licence in 2022 ahead of launching in eight new European countries. 

The fintech will bring its brand of all-in-one physical and virtual business cards to the new markets, enabling more companies to scan receipts, match purchases with receipts, and manage and forward expenses digitally.

Christoffer Rosqvist, chief executive officer of Zevoy, said: “We foresee a fintech race taking place during 2022 and Zevoy is gearing up. In Finland and Sweden alone, we are adding on 100+ new customers per month and we feel confident that we have what it takes to replicate our secret sauce on eight new markets this upcoming quarter only.”

Blossom Capital led the series A funding round, with European investors Maki.vc and Brightly Ventures also participating.

Ophelia Brown, founder at Blossom Capital, commented: “The Zevoy team has a successful track record in financial services and their experience shines through as they clearly understand the needs of business users today.” 

“By offering credit and prepaid debit, as well as an easy-to-use and intuitive expense management system, Zevoy can serve any business, small or large. Opening up the addressable market in such a way has driven rapid growth and we’re excited to support the team in turning their vision into a reality.”

Paysafe installs former FIS executive as CEO

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Paysafe installs former FIS executive as CEO

UK fintech Paysafe has appointed Bruce Lowthers as its new chief executive officer and executive director.

Lowthers, who joins Paysafe after 15 years at FIS, will succeed Philip McHugh on 1 May.

McHugh is stepping down as chief executive officer and as a member of Paysafe’s board of directors, after taking the fintech public.

Daniel Henson was appointed to the role of non-executive chairman in March and Lowthers’s appointment completes the transition.

Paysafe, a provider of payment processing, digital wallet and online cash solutions, said it has appointed a new chief executive officer with a strong reputation as a results-focused leader who has driven transformation, innovated at speed and enhanced customer experiences for multiple global organisations, including FIS, one of the world’s largest fintechs.

Commenting on the appointment, Henson, chairman of the Paysafe board, said: “Bruce is an exceptional executive whose proven track record of driving sustained results and enterprise value is second to none.”

“In particular, he has successfully scaled and transformed many global organisations. Paysafe is at an exciting inflection point on its journey and we are confident Bruce is the right leader to take it to the next level of growth.” 

Lowthers added: “Paysafe has a highly differentiated and innovative payments offering and is at the forefront of enabling improved payments experiences for both businesses and consumers around the world.”

“I am excited by the significant growth opportunities ahead for Paysafe and by the financial outcomes and value we can achieve for our customers, employees, and shareholders as we scale the global business. I am thrilled to be joining the talented Paysafe team at such a pivotal time!”

Capital on Tap lands $200m funding facility for US growth

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Capital on Tap lands $200m funding facility for US growth

Capital on Tap, a provider of business credit cards, has secured a $200 million funding facility to support its growth in the US.

The fintech launched in 2012 and claims to have provided over £3.5 billion of funding to more than 125,000 small and medium-sized businesses across the UK and US.

Capital on Tap, which provides business credit cards whose features include employee spending controls, reporting and rewards, expanded into the US last year, setting up an office in Atlanta, Georgia, and launching its product there.

The new funding facility, provided by HSBC and Värde Partners, will enable Capital on Tap to provide its US credit card to more small and medium-sized businesses, as the fintech actively recruits to add to the team of 50 it currently employs in Atlanta.

Alan Hart, chief financial officer at Capital on Tap, commented: “With the closing of this facility, we are looking forward to expanding our ability to provide essential funding for small businesses across the United States. We are thrilled to be joined in this mission with Värde Partners as well as extending our already international relationship with HSBC.”

Plaid appoints its first head of Europe

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Plaid appoints its first head of Europe

Open finance data network and payments platform Plaid has appointed Ripsy Bandourian as its first head of Europe. 

The appointment of Bandourian, who spent eight years at Booking.com leading teams across product, marketing and partnerships in Amsterdam, is designed to support the US-headquartered fintech’s next stage of growth as it continues to expand across continental Europe.

Bandourian will lead business strategy and operations for Plaid’s Europe arm, after her time at Booking.com as well as her roles at Apple, McKinsey and Goldman Sachs.

Plaid has appointed its first head of Europe to oversee teams in London and Amsterdam, following its launch in the UK, the release of its full-stack open banking solution to support data and payments, and expansion across continental Europe.

“With one integration, companies can now access the best of open banking across Europe and North America. This is just the first step on our mission to unlock financial freedom across the world,” explained Bandourian in a blog post announcing her appointment.

“We have a massive opportunity to enable innovators to create products and services that better suit people’s needs—just as we have since Plaid’s early days. In the coming months, I will meet with many people across Europe’s digital financial ecosystem to understand their needs and how Plaid can help.”

Car finance fintech Carmoola raises £27m

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Car finance fintech Carmoola raises £27m
Two of Carmoola’s co-founders, Amy McKechnie and Aidan Rushby

Brand new UK car finance fintech Carmoola has raised £27 million of seed funding.

Carmoola will use the seed funding to develop its car finance product and launch the initial stages of the business.

The fintech claims to be able to deliver a finance decision within 60 seconds via a smartphone app. Armed with a Carmoola card, users can then purchase their vehicle online or visit a dealership.

Carmoola provides finance secured against the value of the vehicle, which is vetted for accident history, mileage adjustments and outstanding finance, while bypassing traditional underwriting processes, loan management systems and brokers.

It also plans to offer insurance and buy now, pay later options for tyres, maintenance and servicing in the future.

Aidan Rushby, chief executive officer and co-founder of Carmoola, commented: “There’s an incredible fintech revolution going on. And yet, car financing seems to have been forgotten about. It’s like a complete old banger.” 

“The freedom to go shopping anywhere, knowing what you can spend, without sending off reams of forms and payslips, puts the consumer immediately in control of their car purchase.”

Jaguar Land Rover investment fund InMotion Ventures, VentureFriends, BCI, Truesight Ventures and Clocktower Ventures participated in the seed funding round.

Alex Smout, principal at InMotion Ventures, said: “Up to now car finance has been clunky and intimidating, leaving many feeling frustrated and trapped. Carmoola has reinvented how people pay for cars, focusing on transparency and flexibility to give consumers confidence in the process and access to a greater range of vehicles.”

PayRetailers acquires LatAm payments companies

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PayRetailers acquires LatAm payments companies
PayRetailers founder and chief executive officer Juan Pablo Jutgla

PayRetailers has acquired Chile’s Paygol and Colombia’s Pago Digital as part of its aim to create a seamless, barrier-free and open ecommerce payments platform in Latin America.

The payments fintech said the acquisitions will give Paygol and Pago Digital access to its extensive knowledge, marketing resources and financial investment, all of which will help them to grow at scale.

For Spain-headquartered PayRetailers, the acquisitions expand its presence in Latin America, where it already has seven offices. The fintech also plans to move into Central America and the Caribbean. 

PayRetailers aims to simplify B2B ecommerce through a single, intuitive and effective Latin America online payments platform. A key part of its strategy is to identify, select and acquire ideal candidate companies.

Paygol and Pago Digital “perfectly fit” the fintech’s acquisition criteria, providing innovative technologies and financial product suites, a clear customer focus, robust financial safeguards and cross-border payment capabilities, alongside extensive presences within local markets.

PayRetailers founder and chief executive officer Juan Pablo Jutgla said: “Countries, communities, companies and individuals are being transformed by ecommerce. Hyper-local access to vast international markets will generate new investment, jobs, education and opportunity for millions across our continent.”

“Both Pago Digital and Paygol share our vision of democratising financial inclusion and clearly demonstrate a commitment to local communities through sponsorship. Today’s acquisitions take us closer to a seamless, barrier-free and open e-commerce payments platform that will bring financial inclusion from Tierra del Fuego to Punta Gallinas.”

Carlos Varas, chief executive officer at Paygol, commented: “Paygol believes passionately in the power of local knowledge to bridge international borders. It’s an understanding that we share with PayRetailers as we now move forward together—to truly unleash the potential of e-commerce businesses across Latin America.”

William Talero, chief executive officer at Pago Digital, added: “Pago Digital was founded on a vision of simple and accessible online payments. We’ve come a long way in 10 years and are now excited to move to the next level with PayRetailers: sharing technologies, expertise and insights to bring our customers ever-greater opportunity.”

Digital private bank Alpian lands licence and financing for launch

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Digital private bank Alpian lands licence and financing for launch

Switzerland-based private digital bank Alpian has secured a banking licence and closed a CHF19 million ($20.34 million) extension of its series B round.

The banking licence, granted by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, and financing enable Alpian to launch to the public in Q3 2022.

Alpian’s majority owner, Fideuram – Intesa Sanpaolo Private Banking, supplied the financing to support the deployment of its private and online banking services in Switzerland.

Schuyler Weiss, chief executive officer of Alpian, commented: “Since 2019, we have built what will become Switzerland’s first digital private bank. With the funds raised during the series B+ and with its new standing as a licensed Swiss bank, Alpian is well equipped to launch its offering.” 

Luca Bortolan, head of direct banking at Fideuram-Intesa Sanpaolo Private Banking, added: “From the beginning, we have seen Alpian as a great opportunity to invest in the development of digital private banking. Alpian will bring both strategic and synergy driven value, demonstrating our proactive commitment of addressing the needs of its current and future clients.”

US savings platform Plinqit appoints head of sales and partnerships

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US savings platform Plinqit appoints head of sales and partnerships

US savings platform provider Plinqit has named Peter Petras as vice president of sales and partnerships following a period of significant growth for the fintech.

Plinqit recently raised $5 million in its latest series A funding round as the fintech continues to license its app, which helps users to save and pays them for consuming and interacting with content designed to improve their financial literacy, to banks and credit unions.

Current Plinqit clients include Bank of Michigan, Chelsea State Bank and 4Front Credit Union.

As Plinqit continues to expand, Petras will support the company’s overall growth strategy, which includes platform and system integrations such as the recently announced partnership with financial services SaaS provider Jack Henry.

Petras joins Plinqit with more than 20 years of experience, previously serving as director of sales for Array, a financial enablement platform specialising in embeddable tools and whitelabelled solutions. Prior to that, he was an adviser for Conductiv, an artificial intelligence-powered, data decisioning conductor for lenders.

Petras was also vice president of business development for BankMobile, now BM Technologies, one of the largest digital banking platforms in the US.

He held additional leadership and business development roles within the industry, including LifeLock. He was also one of the core employees at Lending Club, joining in 2006 when it was founded.

Commenting on his appointment, Petras said: “Joining Plinqit was a natural next step. Their mission to provide powerful solutions that not only encourage greater engagement for institutions but increase financial literacy for their users aligns with my vision for the industry. I look forward to supporting Plinqit’s goals in an increasingly crowded digital marketplace.” 

Plinqit founder and chief executive officer Kathleen Craig said: “Plinqit continues to reach new growth milestones, making it critical that we grow our team with the industry’s very best—and Peter is one of those.”

“Peter joins our team with not only an impressive background, but an approach to the industry that parallels ours. As more financial institutions tap Plinqit both to increase engagement with customers and members and as a powerful acquisition tool, he will be invaluable.”

Finance management fintech Mosaic closes series B round

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Finance management fintech Mosaic closes series B round

Finance management fintech Mosaic has closed a $25 million series B funding round.

The series B round takes the US fintech’s total raised to $46 million over the last 12 months.

Launched in 2019, Mosaic operates a “strategic finance platform” that gives chief finance officers a view of data from a number of systems and planning tools for timely predictions and forecasting. 

The fintech, whose customers include Pipe, Fivetran, Sourcegraph, Drata and Kandji, said the series B round “gives us a war chest to accelerate the future of strategic finance”. 

Some of the funding will be invested in increasing Mosaic’s headcount by 140% this year, after growing 400% in the last 14 months.

Mosaic also plans to roll out new features, starting with Topline Planner to give businesses flexibility for revenue modelling, and enter into deeper integrations with other systems.

Founders Fund led the series B round, with participation from General Catalyst, XYZ, Fifth Down Capital and Friends & Family Capital.

Archie launches freelancer hub and raises $4.5m

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Archie launches freelancer collaboration hub and raises $4.5m

Freelance-focused fintech Archie has launched its first product to help businesses onboard, manage and pay independent workers.

The new US fintech, based in New York City, has also raised $4.5 million of funding from B Capital Group, Mac Ventures, Worklife Ventures, Hof VC, Dash Fund, Day One Ventures, Behance founder Scott Belsky and other company founders. 

Archie’s first product is a “seamless collaboration hub” that enables businesses to manage, pay and monitor freelancers, covering everything from onboarding and contracts to payroll and tax. 

Up and running since April 2021 before its general release this week, the product has grown to more than $15 million in payment volume run-rate, up eight times since July last year alone. 

Commenting on the launch, Yunas Reguero, co-founder of Archie, said: “We’re building the onramp for both sides to unlock the magic of the freelance world. With all these new and decentralised ways of both working and earning, we are excited to bridge that gap and accelerate trends in freelance hiring.”

Spend management fintech Yokoy raises $80m

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Spend management fintech Yokoy raises $80m

Spend management fintech Yokoy has raised $80 million in a series B funding round.

Yokoy said the new funding “will further feed into the continued growth of our business and team”. 

The fintech recently set up a European base in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and plans to expand further into Europe and beyond over the course of 2022. 

Yokoy will also hire more staff and enhance the technologies underpinning its spend management platform, including artificial intelligence, automation and security systems, as well as advance its Yokoy Pay offering.

The series B fundraise follows the fintech’s $26 million series A round in October 2021.

The fintech has raised more than $107 million in total since its launch in 2019 to fund the growth of an enterprise spend management platform covering expenses and supplier invoices, as well as smart corporate cards.

Yokoy claims to have grown 400% year on year and serve more than 500 enterprise customers, including ASK Chemicals, On, and Bitpanda.

US investment firm Sequoia Capital led the latest funding round, with participation from Speedinvest, Visionaries Club, Zinal Growth, and all existing Yokoy investors.

Philippe Sahli, co-founder and chief executive officer of Yokoy, said: “Over the last three years, we have proven that we understand the needs of our customers and that we can build innovative, enterprise-grade products that address their problems.” 

“In the end we do not want to be just another company that automates processes or that claims to have better company credit cards—we want to change the way companies spend money at its core. Given the trust that our investors have put in us, we are sure that we are on the right track.”

Revolut appoints CEO to lead Brazil launch

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Revolut appoints CEO to lead Brazil launch
Glauber Mota

UK digital bank Revolut has appointed Glauber Mota as its chief executive officer in Brazil ahead of its launch in Latin America’s largest market.

Mota, a seasoned banking professional with a range of senior roles under his belt during his time at investment bank BTG Pactual in Latin America, will lead Revolut Brazil with Felipe Lachowski, head of strategy and operations for the digital bank in the country.

His immediate focus will be on quickly building a team of local talent to lead Revolut’s expansion in Brazil.

At launch, Revolut Brazil will start offering accounts and international cards before gradually introducing all of the features and products available on its app.

Revolut will be among the first UK fintechs to reach Brazil, amid an ongoing international expansion into markets such as Singapore, Australia, the US and Japan.

Commenting on the appointment, Nik Storonsky, chief executive officer and co-founder of Revolut, said: “As Latin America’s largest market, Brazil is a key strategic priority of Revolut’s international expansion drive. We are pleased to welcome Glauber to our team.”

“With his wealth of experience in the financial sectors and an outstanding track record, we’re delighted that Glauber is joining Revolut. Brazil is an important market in our expansion strategy with a huge supply of talent, and we’re excited to tap into that talent pool to help Revolut go from strength to strength.”

Mota added: “[T]he Revolut product offering is unbeatable for Brazilians who continue to embrace ecommerce and begin to travel abroad again. I am very excited to lead the team and bring Revolut’s superapp complete offering to Brazil.”

The appointment of Mota to lead the launch in Brazil follows the expansion of Revolut’s US leadership team with the additions of Yuval Rechter as general manager and Danil Ovechkin as head of growth.

PensionBee and Starling Bank broaden integration

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PensionBee and Starling Bank broaden integration 2

PensionBee pensions are now available to all Starling Bank business and personal customers though the fintechs’ marketplace integration.

Sole traders join the owners of limited companies in being able to access PensionBee through the Starling app, along with personal customers.

The fintechs have strengthened their two-way API integration through the development of new features using open banking technology. They originally partnered in 2018 when PensionBee became the digital bank’s first financial services Marketplace integration.

PensionBee enables users to access all of their pensions on one platform. Through this integration, mutual customers can now also do so through the Starling app and make contributions.

Jasper Martens, chief marketing officer at PensionBee, commented: “We’re delighted that PensionBee is now available to all of Starling’s business and personal customers through all of its marketplaces. It couldn’t be simpler for Starling customers to manage their pension savings without ever leaving their banking app.”

“Together PensionBee and Starling have a long history of innovation and we look forward to making it even easier for our customers to manage their money for today alongside their  money for tomorrow with further product features in the future.”

Will Boocock, head of Marketplace and business support at Starling, added: “Saving for a pension often ends up as another thing to do on a to-do list. Our new sole trader PensionBee partnership makes saving for the future much quicker and easier as you can sign up via the Starling Bank app allowing you to combine old pensions and invest in new ones.”

Nium appoints general counsel

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Nium appoints general counsel
Dylan Lowrey

B2B payments provider Nium has appointed Dylan Lowrey as general counsel to lead the fintech’s efforts to reduce regulatory complexities in global money movement.

The appointment is a promotion for Lowrey, who joined Nium in 2021 as head of regulatory affairs and product law.

In that role, Lowrey helped the fintech to launch new services in complex emerging markets, while expanding its global licence portfolio. 

He previously led the global payments product legal team at Stripe and served as vice president and acting US head of legal for corporate banking at Barclays. 

As general counsel at Nium, Lowrey will lead the fintech’s legal, regulatory and policy teams, while continuing to implement new product and licensing strategies.

A key mission of Lowrey’s will be to “work closely with Nium’s customers to eliminate the regulatory complexities associated with their global payments”, according to the fintech.

He will continue to report to chief executive officer and co-founder Prajit Nanu and is based in the fintech’s San Francisco co-headquarters.

Commenting on the appointment, Nanu said: “We’re proud to elevate Dylan to the role of general counsel at Nium. It’s his deep payments expertise, legal acumen and outstanding leadership that have earned him this trusted opportunity.”

“As we continue to grow and expand operations around the world, Dylan will be instrumental in ensuring we have the best-in-class legal and regulatory strategies to achieve our aggressive goals, for both our customers and our company.”

Ramp plans rapid scaling after hitting $8.1b valuation

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US fintech Ramp plans rapid scaling after hitting $8.1b valuation
Ramp co-founders

Ramp, a US finance automation platform and corporate card provider, has raised $750 million in new financing, bringing the fintech’s valuation to $8.1 billion.

The round included $200 million in fresh equity funding led by Founders Fund and with participation for existing and new investors, as well as $550 million in debt financing to support the company’s rapid scaling.

This debt financing includes $300 million from Citi and an additional $150 million from Goldman Sachs, which doubled its commitment to $300 million.

Ramp has now raised more than $1 billion in financing since its founding in March 2019.

The fintech, headquartered in New York, enables businesses to manage their spend and become sustainable. Its suite of finance tools include corporate cards, expense management, bill payments and accounting integrations. 

It’s now in a position to scale after reaching 5,000 clients, growing its revenue by nearly 10 times in 2021 and overseeing more than $5 billion of annualised payments volume.

Commenting on the new financing, Eric Glyman, co-founder and chief executive officer at Ramp, said: “We are pursuing an extraordinary opportunity to overhaul an industry that historically has been misaligned and out-of-touch with the needs of its customers.”

Cowen launches digital asset division for institutional investors

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Cowen launches digital asset division for institutional investors

US broker-dealer and investment management firm Cowen has launched a new division to give institutional clients secure and compliant access to the digital asset ecosystem. 

Cowen Digital offers full-service trade execution and custody solutions, in partnership with PolySign’s Standard Custody & Trust and prime brokerage solutions provider Digital Prime Technologies. 

Fifteen months in the making, the division has been trading crypto on behalf of clients for several months.

The new division, with Drew Forman now at the helm, brings “proven expertise” in traditional finance to support and assist institutional clients as they plan and execute their digital asset investment strategies, underpinned by its own integrated institutional-grade infrastructure.

Institutional investors that utilise Cowen Digital for digital assets will benefit from access to aggregated liquidity, high-touch and low-touch trading, streamlined operational and capital efficiencies, and post-trade reporting. 

They will also get to trade directly from Standard Custody’s cold storage solution, avoid pre-funding requirements and receive flexible net settlement arrangements, and access expert analysis from Cowen Research and its policy experts, Washington Research Group.

Although not offered at launch, the firm plans to add the ability to trade derivatives and futures, as well as provide access to financing solutions and institutional DeFi and NFTs.

Commenting on the launch, Jeffrey Solomon, chair and chief executive officer of Cowen, said: “Through Cowen Digital, our clients now have access to the crypto and digital asset markets with our institutional quality and fully integrated end-to-end execution and custody capabilities. Cowen is committed to outperforming for its clients by staying at the forefront of innovation.”

BNPL fintech ChargeAfter raises $44m

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BNPL fintech ChargeAfter raises $44m

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) fintech ChargeAfter has completed a $44 million series B funding round.

The Phoenix led the series B round, with participation from Citi Ventures, Banco Bradesco, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, and existing investors.

ChargeAfter’s new funding follows a strategic investment and partnership with Visa, bringing the company’s total amount raised to $60 million.

The New York-, California- and Tel Aviv-based fintech operates a BNPL consumer financing network that provides shoppers with access to credit from multiple lenders with a single application at the point of sale, as well as bespoke whitelabelled BNPL platform services for global banks and financial institutions.

Meidad Sharon, chief executive officer and founder of ChargeAfter, said the investment will enable the fintech “to accelerate growth and further diversify our global lender and merchant networks”, while “scaling strategic partnerships by providing leading banks, lenders, financial institutions, and industry partners a turnkey whitelabel BNPL platform of their own”.

BOND.AI hires CTO and head of technology

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BOND.AI hires CTO and head of technology
Kent Llewelyn and Amit Dhongde

BOND.AI, a US fintech that provides a suite of artificial intelligence tools to financial institutions, has made two new key hires.

Kent Llewelyn and Amit Dhongde have been appointed to the newly created executive roles of chief technology officer and head of technology, respectively.

Llewelyn was previously chief information/technology officer at TAB Bank, while Amit Dhongde has worked at both Accenture and Cognizant.

In this new role at BOND.AI, Llewelyn will drive the development of the fintech’s Empathy Engine, a suite of AI-powered tools for understanding consumer behaviour based on combinations of financial and other data, to meet the demands of banking and credit unions customers. 

Dhongde, meanwhile, will help streamline processes and procedures for BOND.AI’s India-based development team. 

Uday Akkaraju, chief executive officer of BOND.AI, commented on the appointments: “Kent is the perfect person to take BOND.AI’s Empathy Engine to the next level and his insight and understanding of the banking industry gives us a new perspective on how we can bring financial wellness to everyone.” 

“Amit’s vast experience in IT puts him in a class that few others have achieved in his field, and his leadership will further push our development team to make our Empathy Engine the best financial wellness platform in the world.”

The new appointments at BOND.AI follow the arrival of Yogesh Asudani, formerly of Nokia and Microsoft, who joined the fintech as executive vice president of partnerships to help develop and launch its corporate and consumer-focused business.

Canada’s central bank partners with MIT to explore digital currencies

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Canada’s central bank partners with MIT to investigate digital currencies

The Bank of Canada and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are exploring how advanced technologies could affect the potential design of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Canada’s central bank will spend 12 months on the project, carried out in collaboration with MIT Media Lab’s digital currency initiative team, to experiment with potential technology approaches and determine how a CBDC could work. 

The project forms part of the Bank of Canada’s wider research and development agenda on digital currencies and fintech and came with the caveat that “no decision has been made on whether to introduce a CBDC in Canada”.

Canada is not the only country exploring CBDCs. The Bank of England is planning a consultation on their implementation this year, following publication of the foundational principles report from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and a group of seven central banks in 2020.

Mass Fintech Hub appoints new advisory board

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Mass Fintech Hub appoints new advisory board

Mass Fintech Hub, a public-private partnership designed to support the fintech ecosystem in the US State of Massachusetts, has established its first advisory board.

The advisory board is made up of various technology, financial services, academic and political leaders from across the state. They will provide strategic direction for and promote Mass Fintech Hub’s initiative to make Massachusetts the premier destination for fintech. 

Mike Kennealy, the state’s economic development secretary and co-chair of the Massachusetts Fintech Working Group, said: “We’ve seen a boost in membership and an expansion of our impact on the community, so we’re in a great position to add industry advisors who can help us strengthen the fintech ecosystem.” 

The new Mass Fintech Hub advisory board 

  • Jay Ash, Massachusetts Competitive Partnership 
  • Sean Belka, Fidelity Investments  
  • Sarah Biller, FinTech Sandbox 
  • Cait Brumme, MassChallenge 
  • Mark Casady, Vestigo Ventures 
  • Stephen Cecchetti, Brandeis International Business School  
  • Suelin Chen, Cake 
  • Mike Fanning, MassMutual (co-chair)  
  • Yasmin Cruz Ferrine, Visible Hands 
  • Dean Laura Haas, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Manning College of Information & Computer Sciences  
  • David Jegen, FinTech Sandbox and F-Prime Capital  
  • Secretary Mike Kennealy, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development at Commonwealth of Massachusetts (co-chair)  
  • Carolyn Kirk, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative 
  • Mike Massaro, Flywire 
  • Alison Mnookin, Harvard Business School  
  • Bob Reynolds, Putnam Investments  
  • Bob Rivers, Eastern Bank 
  • Snejina Zacharia, Insurify

Mass Fintech Hub announced the new advisory board alongside several events planned for 2022, including a showcase of collaboration between corporations and startups in Massachusetts, a careers fair and a bootcamp.

These announcements build on the organisation’s success in 2021, in which Mass Fintech Hub launched, held its inaugural Fintech Bootcamp, hosted several new programmes during Boston FinTech Week, and more than doubled its membership from June to December.

Nigerian mobility fintech Moove raises $105m

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Nigerian mobility fintech Moove raises $105m
Jide Odunsi and Ladi Delano, co-founders of Moove

Nigeria-based mobility fintech Moove has raised $105 million in a second series A funding round.

The funding, from existing and new investors, will enable Moove to expand beyond Africa into seven new markets across Asia, the Middle East North Africa and Europe.

Launched in 2020 and now present in six African cities, Moove provides vehicle financing to drivers of ride-hailing, logistics and instant delivery platforms by integrating with them and using their data to inform credit decisions.

The fintech has enjoyed a rapid rise, closing a $23 million series A round last August and securing $10 million of debt financing more recently.

Since the August fundraise, Moove has also added five new strategic partners, launched two new vehicle classes, expanded into delivery and grown operations from three to six African cities.

Commenting on the second series A round and Moove’s plans, Jide Odunsi, co-founder and co-chief executive officer at the fintech, said: “The Moove model that we’ve pioneered in Africa providing revenue-based vehicle financing to mobility entrepreneurs can be applied anywhere in the world, which is why we’re excited to be expanding to new emerging markets in Asia and the MENA region.”

Existing investors Speedinvest, Left Lane Capital and thelatest.ventures supported this funding round, with participation from new investors AfricInvest, MUFG Innovation Partners, Latitude and Kreos Capital.

Open banking fintech Yapily appoints Selene Brett as its chief legal officer

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Open banking fintech Yapily appoints Selene Brett as its chief legal officer
Selene Brett

Open banking fintech Yapily has appointed Selene Brett as its chief legal officer.

Brett will play a key role in the UK-based open banking infrastructure provider’s strategic growth plans, including its expansion across Europe and the globe as open finance regulations are implemented in new jurisdictions.

She will be responsible for leading the fintech’s legal, risk and compliance functions to deliver strategic advice, improve efficiency and stimulate growth as and when these opportunities arise for Yapily, which closed a series B funding raise of $51 million, led by Sapphire Ventures.

Brett brings deep financial services, fintech, and open banking expertise to the role following an extensive career in legal advisory services.

She has previously held positions at Aon, Royal London, consumer champion Which, and most recently the Open Banking Implementation Entity as general counsel and company secretary.

Commenting on her appointment, Brett said: “I am a huge believer in the transformative power of open banking for the benefit of consumers and businesses. It’s why I can’t wait to continue to play my part in the open banking ecosystem.”

Stefano Vaccino, chief executive officer and founder of Yapily, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Selene to our executive team, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role.”

“As we grow and mature as a company, Selene will play a pivotal role in our company’s direction, commercial agreements, and strategies to enable rapid growth. I’m looking forward to seeing what she and the team can accomplish together.”

Regtech firm Encompass raises $33m to pursue global growth

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Regtech firm Encompass raises $33m to pursue global growth

Encompass Corporation, a provider of automated know your customer (KYC) solutions, has raised approximately $33 million in capital to accelerate its growth globally.

The regtech firm is based in the UK but has opened offices and undertaken extensive recruitment in New York and Amsterdam after 12 months of significant revenue growth and the acquisition of new clients.

Encompass also intends to use the new capital to fund ongoing product innovation and development, undertaken from three main engineering centres in Australia, Serbia, and Scotland. Its solutions digitise and automate regulatory screening and due diligence for corporate KYC. 

Perennial Partners, an Australian investment management company, served as the lead investor, joined by financial services-focused principal investing firm Serendipity Capital, Seven Seat Capital, and fintech investment firm Microequities Asset Management.

There were also follow-on investments from several existing shareholders.

Commenting on the capital raise, Roger Carson, co-founder at Encompass, said: “Today’s funding will help fuel Encompass’ rapid global expansion, especially as we make inroads in North America, with operations driven from New York, and continue to expand our presence in Europe.” 

“Expanding to new markets will add greater value to our business in a way that better serves existing customers and attracts additional global banks as new customers.”

Finxact chosen to underpin launch of new branchless US bank

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Finxact chosen to underpin launch of new branchless US bank

Finxact will provide the banking operations platform for a new bank expected to launch in the second half of this year.

Battle Bank, from Colorado-based Battle Financial, will be a branchless digital bank offering traditional deposit accounts as well as foreign currency and precious metals accounts. 

Frank Trotter and Vincent Amato, both a part of the former group of founders of everBank.com, are leading the development and launch of Battle Bank, with the support of Finxact. 

Finxact’s SaaS platform is engineered to support the scale and regulatory requirements of the largest US-based financial institutions.

Its cloud-native core banking system provides 100% accessibility to all data and functions via a robust set of modern APIs, empowering banks and their partners to rapidly deliver new experiences by creating products on demand and integrating new services as needed. 

Commenting on the selection of Finxact to provide Battle Bank’s banking operations platform, chief operating officer Amato says: “As an open core, Finxact is a platform for the business of banking that has empowered Battle Bank to be the author of a bespoke product ecosystem, selecting the solutions from the best-in-class providers that we believe will best serve our customers.” 

“This level of control and agility is a competitive advantage that with Finxact we will be making part of our foundation.”

Ryan Victor, chief revenue officer at Finxact, adds: “We are honoured to be selected by Battle Financial as the core platform for Battle Bank’s product and service delivery.”

“Throughout our engagement with the bank, it was evident that Vincent and his team wanted a partner that could be flexible and agile as they evaluated prospective solutions for their ecosystem. This selection is validation that Finxact continues on the right path.”

Payments fintech Stax achieves unicorn status

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Payments fintech Stax achieves unicorn status
Sal Rehmetullah and Suneera Madhani

US payments fintech Stax has raised $245 million of funding and achieved a valuation of $1 billion.

Participating investors include Greater Sum Ventures, HarbourVest Partners and Blue Star Innovation Partners, whose founder and chief executive officer, Rob Wechsler, will join Stax’s board of directors.

The funding announcement and unicorn status follow a year of significant growth at Stax, which went on a three-company acquisition spree in 2021 that culminated in a deal for automated surcharging platform CardX.

The fintech currently serves more than 22,000 business customers and software platforms through an all-in-one API that enables them to operate their own payments systems.

Launched in 2014 by sibling co-founders Suneera Madhani and Sal Rehmetullah, Stax has grown 500% in the past three years and processed more than $23 billion in payments.

Commenting on the funding and Stax’s unicorn status, Madhani, the fintech’s chief executive officer, says: “As a minority woman and executive in fintech, I’m no stranger to discrimination and doubt.”

“We share this milestone not just with our team, but every person of colour trying to hustle, build their own business and make history.”

Rehmetullah, president of Stax, adds: “With our new capital and unicorn status, we can ensure our customers have all the tools they need to process and manage their payments.”

TotallyMoney hires head of data to support development of credit personalisation features

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TotallyMoney hires head of data to support development of credit personalisation features
Henry Pearce

Credit app provider TotallyMoney has appointed Henry Pearce to the role of head of data.

The UK fintech company, whose app provides around four million customers with their live credit score for free, says the hire comes as it is ramping up the use of technology to help consumers improve their financial situation.

Joining from Tandem Bank, Pearce will support the development and roll-out of upcoming features, such as providing customers with personalised updates and tips to help improve their credit eligibility based on spending and borrowing patterns.

Commenting on his appointment, Pearce said: “TotallyMoney is completely changing the game when it comes to financial wellbeing. It’s a privilege to be joining a team with so much drive and determination to bring fintech to everyone, helping many to reach their financial goals. I’m excited to get stuck in.” 

Alastair Douglas, chief executive officer of TotallyMoney, added: “Data is fundamental to creating a fairer credit system that supports financial growth, not inhibits it. Henry’s passion and expertise is a perfect fit for us.”

LHV Group to expand into ecommerce with EveryPay acquisition

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LHV Group to expand into ecommerce with EveryPay acquisition

Financial services firm LHV Group is acquiring Estonia-based payments fintech EveryPay in a deal worth €8 million.

LHV Group, also based in Estonia, says the acquisition will enable the financial services firm to expand into ecommerce. 

Launched in 2015, EveryPay connects major banks in the Baltics, several smaller financial institutions and more than 2,000 ecommerce companies and merchants via a card payments and open banking platform.

The platform processes more than 15 million payments annually, worth in excess of €800 million and accounting for about 70% of Estonian online card transactions and approximately 50% of those in the Baltics. 

Madis Toomsalu, chief executive officer of LHV Group, comments: “More than before, we wish to grow business activities related to payment services. This has become an important part of LHV’s strategy.”

ADDX appoints new CEO and targets US$1b of deals on private market platform

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ADDX appoints new CEO and targets US$1b of deals on private market platform
Oi-Yee Choo

Oi-Yee Choo, a seasoned capital markets expert, will lead private market platform ADDX through the next stage of its growth after being appointed as chief executive officer.

Her appointment is designed to kickstart the tokenisation platform’s next stage of growth, beginning with recording US$1 billion of transactions by 2023 and swiftly following its launch in 2020, after becoming one of the first digital securities exchanges to graduate from the Monetary Authority of Singapore Fintech Regulatory Sandbox.

Choo comments: “Reaching a critical mass will signal that we are the primary venue for any issuer or investor looking to deal in private market investments. It will strengthen our ability to achieve our mission of ensuring fair and equal access to the private markets for all—including, ultimately, retail investors.”

“The end game is a much better world than the one we live in—truly diversified portfolios not just for sovereign wealth funds and pensions funds, but every person on the street. Barriers to capital flows will be reduced significantly, allowing funds to reach the worthiest projects. This generates innovation, economic growth, jobs and government revenue.” 

ASSX has chosen a seasoned capital markets expert to lead its next stage of growth. Choo has more than 20 years of experience, gained during role at banks such as Morgan Stanley, Nomura and Citigroup, with a history of working on notable mergers and acquisition and initial public offering deals, including the listing of Suntec REIT and Parkway Life REIT on SGX.

She joined ADDX as chief commercial officer in January 2020 back when it was known as iSTOX, moving from UBS, where she was head of investment banking for Singapore.

In her new role, Choo will oversee a platform whose total transactions exceeded US$150 million in 2021, with the lion’s share coming from individual accredited investors from 27 countries spanning the Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas (excluding the US). 

ADDX expects the pace of its expansion to accelerate further in 2022 and 2023, with the impending launch of institutional and corporate investor accounts, and individual account openings now growing at a rate of 120% per year.

By 2023, the total number of deals completed on the platform is likely to multiply by at least four times to reach 100, up from the 24 deals completed by the end of 2021, according to ADDX.

The ADDX platform uses blockchain technology and smart contracts to automate manual processes in the issuance, custody, distribution and secondary trading of private market products.

The resulting efficiency from this tokenisation allows the platform to fractionalise investments from US$1 million to US$10,000, according to ADDX. This gives issuers access to previously untapped capital pools and reduces both the cost and minimum threshold of fundraising projects. 

In January 2021, ICHX Tech, which operates the ADDX platform, announced a series A funding round worth US$50 million. The fintech company is backed by Singapore Exchange, Temasek subsidiary Heliconia Capital and Japan state-backed investors JIC Venture Growth Investments and the Development Bank of Japan.

ICHX Tech is in the process of creating a new subsidiary to oversee ADDX, which Choo will lead.

Fiserv board elects new chair

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Fiserv board elects new chair
Frank Bisignano

Payments and financial services technology provider Fiserv has named president and chief executive officer Frank Bisignano as its next chair of the board.

Fiserv’s board of directors elected Bisignano to the role alongside the appointment of Doyle Simons as lead independent director. 

Bisignano will replace Denis O’Leary, who is retiring. Dennis Lynch and Scott Nuttall, current directors, are also planning to retire from the board.

In a statement, O’Leary praises Bisignano for his “exceptional leadership” at Fiserv since his appointment as chief executive officer in 2020. 

O’Leary says: “The board has determined this is the right time for Frank to assume the chairman role to lead the next phase of the company’s innovative transformation and integrated growth strategy.”

Bisignano adds: “On behalf of the entire board and management team, I would like to thank Denis O’Leary, Dennis Lynch, and Scott Nuttall for their years of service to Fiserv.” 

“We are grateful for their valuable insights, guidance and tireless dedication to advancing our company for the benefit of all our stakeholders during their tenure.”

An Post partners with Tink to boost money management app

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An Post partners with Tink to boost money management app

Irish postal services provider An Post has teamed up with European open banking platform Tink to deliver better money management services to its customers.

An Post, which also provides omni-channel financial services including current accounts, launched its new money management app last year with a range of features to help customers stay in control of their spending.

The An Post Money Manager app has been upgraded with Tink’s open banking technology, bringing access to data and analytics that will boost understanding of spending behaviour, as well as improve savings management and budget setting. 

Tink says the introduction of its technology simplifies financial management and enables customers to stay on top of their expenses.

Through one API, Tink enables organisations such as An Post to access aggregated financial data, initiate payments, enrich transactions, verify account ownership and build personal finance management tools. Its platform connects to more than 3,400 banks that reach over 250 million users across Europe.

John Rice, financial services director at An Post, says the partnership with Tink “is the next step in our transformation journey, to firmly position ourselves as a challenger to the banks in Ireland, and to give customers access to simple money management tools that will enable them to build their financial confidence”. 

Tasha Chouhan, UK and Ireland banking Lead at Tink, adds: “Our partnership with An Post is an important step for Tink in the Irish market. As the nation’s trusted provider of postal and financial services, An Post is in the perfect position to help simplify money management for its customers through the power of open banking technology.”

Payments fintech Volopay eyes market and product launches after series A

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Payments fintech Volopay eyes market and product launches after series A

Volopay, a Singapore-based corporate cards and bill management fintech, has raised US$29 million of funding in its Series A round through a mix of equity and debt.

The investment round included participation from JAM Fund, Winklevoss Capital Management, Rapyd Ventures, Accial Capital, and fintech veteran and angel investor Jeffrey Cruttenden, along with Access Ventures, Antler Global, and VentureSouq.

The strategic investment will enable Volopay to strengthen its position within the Asia Pacific market and expand into the Middle East and North Africa, where the fintech aims to eliminate high foreign exchange (FX) charges incurred for international payments and provide a uniform platform to access spend data. 

Volopay provides companies with multi-currency wallets to hold money in their base and major currencies and make and manage payments, allowing them to sidestep FX charges levied on international transactions.

Since launch, Volopay has grown to more than 150 employees across the Asia Pacific region. Clients include Funding Societies, Zipmex, Moneysmart, Smartkarma, and Austrionova. 

With the influx of capital, the fintech aims to be adopted as a single solution for cards, invoice automation and bill payments, along with multi-currency business accounts, within its current market and beyond. 

Part of Volopay’s series A funds will be put towards forthcoming market launches, building and innovating new technologies to complement its existing product, and enhancing integrations with enterprise software and project management apps.

Commenting on the series A round, Rajith Shaji, co-founder and chief executive officer of Volopay, said: “We want to take our vision of a unified spend management platform to all companies across the world after our initial markets.”

Neobanking platform Niyo lands US$100m of series C funding

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Neobanking platform Niyo lands US$100m of series C funding

Neobanking platform Niyo has raised US$100 million in its series C funding round.

Accel and Lightrock India led the funding round, with participation from Beams Fintech Fund. Existing investors Prime Venture Partners and JS Capital also participated.

Niyo intends to use the funding for product innovation, marketing and branding, increasing its distribution footprint, and hiring talent.

The India-based fintech, which offers digital savings accounts and other banking services in partnership with banks, says it currently serves about four million customers across its banking and wealth management products, with more than 10,000 new users added daily.

Niyo claims to be processing more than US$3 billion of transactions, making it the largest consumer neobanking platform in India

The fintech launched India’s first fully digital salary account this month and is in the process of launching personal loans, credit cards, integrated foreign exchange and other banking products in the next three months.

Niyo co-founder and chief executive officer Vinay Bagri says: “We are excited to partner with Accel, Lightrock and Beams on our journey as we look to accelerate the mission of taking pathbreaking digital banking products to millions of users in India and positively impact their financial wellbeing.”

Crypto fintech Bitpanda acquires UK custody provider

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Crypto fintech Bitpanda acquires UK custody provider

Crypto fintech Bitpanda has acquired London-based institutional custodian wallet provider Trustology.

Trustology has been rebranded as Bitpanda Custody, allowing the Vienna-based fintech to offer regulated crypto and DeFi custody wallet services in the UK and the EU.

Founded in 2014 in Austria, the crypto fintech claims to remove barriers to investing by harnessing digitised assets and blockchain technology. It now has more than 700 employees spread across 10 offices, with over three million users reportedly using its platform.

The Trustology acquisition is an important step in Bitpanda’s plan to launch a prime brokerage offering under Bitpanda Pro to go alongside its digital asset exchange, where investors can trade cryptocurrencies and assets.

Joshua Barraclough, chief executive officer at Bitpanda Pro, explains: “Bitpanda Custody is part of our strategy to offer a fully comprehensive set of services to our client base and we can now combine [a regulated] institutional-grade custody solution with a leading trade execution venue.” 

“Recently, we have invested a lot in upgrading Bitpanda Pro exchange as well as boosting our liquidity partnerships, so that we can compete with the largest exchanges on execution capabilities. Now we are looking to massively increase our footprint and bring lots more clients to our venues. Importantly we are moving away from an asset under custody pricing model and are not penalising our clients’ growth.”

Bitpanda Custody will initially take custody of the fintech’s own assets across its retail, institutional and whitelabelling businesses.

Commenting on the acquisition, Eric Demuth, co-founder and chief executive officer of Bitpanda, says: “Bitpanda Custody brings us one step closer to building a leading, fully regulated and secure digital investment platform for everyone, new investors and professionals alike.” 

“We can now provide retail customers with world-class institutional-grade custody security, and institutional clients will benefit from innovative custody solutions in order not to only overcome the challenges they face today, but also thrive in the years to come.”

Alex Batlin, founder and chief executive officer of Trustology, adds: “We are really excited to press the Bitpanda turbo button in its mission to make institutional crypto custody safer, faster and easier.”