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Previsico hires partnerships manager to support accelerated demand in UK and US

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Previsico hires partnerships manager to support accelerated demand in UK and US

Previsico has appointed a partnership manager to support the insurtech’s bid to drive business development across the UK and US insurance markets.

Johnny Stubbs (pictured) has taken on the role, after serving as UK head of insurance and business development at Getsafe and, before that, operations manager at insurtech unicorn Zego.

He will work closely with Previsico’s chief executive and operating officers to drive business development across the UK and US insurance markets, with responsibility for building plans to help clients and partners achieve their strategic goals.

Stubbs will also work in parallel with the marketing team to develop co-marketing, sales and client enablement programmes, focused on the insurtech’s live flood forecasting solution.

Commenting on Jonathan Jackson, chief executive officer of Previsico, said: “Johnny brings a wealth of experience from the insurance and technology sectors within the fast-paced start-up environment. He is extremely knowledgeable with the proven skills to develop successful partnerships. He comes at a time of growing demand for our services and will be a real asset to Previsico and our clients. We are delighted to have him on board.”

Stubbs’s appointment marks another step forward in Previsico’s expansion strategy, following Foresight Group’s investment in the insurtech.

In March 2021, Previsico partnered with Zurich and BT in a market-first pilot across 5,000 UK locations to plug a major flood forecasting gap around surface water flooding and significantly reduce the cost of false alarms.

Image source: Previsico

Thought Machine and Trade Ledger integrate platforms

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Thought Machine and Trade Ledger integrate platforms

Trade Ledger and Thought Machine have unveiled an integration that aims to provide a fully integrated technology stack for commercial lenders and banks.

API-driven data exchange between the two fintechs will enable banks using Vault Core to add Trade Ledger’s loan origination and management capabilities.

Thought Machine, from offices in London, New York, Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne, serves banks and financial institutions such as JPMorgan Chase, Intesa Sanpaolo and Curve, with its cloud native core banking engine, Vault Core.

They will now be able to configure and launch new products such as secured loans and invoice and asset finance through Vault via the integration with Trade Ledger’s lending-as-a-service platform.

London-based Trade Ledger is currently scaling globally to accommodate “a fast-growing client base” of global trade banks, regional and national banks, and alternative finance providers. To date, the fintech has raised £16.6 million of funding.

Commenting on the partnership, Shivani Jaswal, partner manager at Thought Machine, said: “Introducing Trade Ledger to our expanding and evolving Integration Library allows banks to add commercial lending products with super-fast origination, automated data ingestion and implementation of risk policies for decision support.”

Martin McCann, chief executive officer and co-founder of Trade Ledger, said: “Our partnership with Thought Machine demonstrates the value that the Trade Ledger platform is giving commercial lenders at a time when access to business finance could be highly influential on long-term customer retention.”

“The ease with which the Trade Ledger capabilities can be integrated into the Thought Machine platform means banks can increase their competitive advantage in building new working capital offerings that are fit for purpose in the current challenging economy.”

Image: Trade Ledger

Brite Payments hires compliance director

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Brite Payments hires compliance director

Stockholm-based instant payments provider Brite has hired Lisa Edström as its new compliance director.

Edström’s recruitment underpins the fintech’s “compliance-first approach to payments innovation”.

Brite Payments, hot on the heels of 12 months of hypergrowth and a rebrand, has secured a senior compliant executive in Edström.

She has held senior compliance positions at payments and financial services businesses including GE Capital, Klarna and most recently Zettle (formerly iZettle).

In her new role, Edström (pictured) will lead Brite’s global compliance function throughout its ambitious growth strategy.

Commenting on Edström’s appointment, Lena Hackelöer, founder and chief executive officer at Brite Payments, said: “I first met Lisa when we worked together at Klarna, and I am so pleased that she is joining our team at Brite. Lisa’s arrival is crucial to our expansion plans, to ensure that our solutions adhere to all regulation and compliance requirements.”

“Her move is a testimony to Brite’s second-generation approach, as she contributes a wealth of highly relevant experience in international payments giants.”

Image: Brite Payments

Denim rebrands and raises $126m

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Denim rebrands and raises $126m

Denim, a recently rebranded fintech serving the freight and logistics industry, has raised $126 million of funding.

Pelion Venture Partners led the series B round. It included $26 million of equity financing and $100 million of debt financing.

Denim said the funding is a combination of equity to scale its platform and debt financing to provide working capital to freight brokerages. Along with its new capital, the US fintech also reintroduced itself as Denim.

Bharath Krishnamoorthy, chief executive officer and co-founder of Denim, which provides flexible financing and automation tools that reduce daily payments and collections tasks, commented: “The core challenge our clients face is adapting to the pressures of an increasingly complex and unpredictable supply chain. Freight brokers—and the shippers and carriers they work with—must find ways to evolve how they do business together with smarter tools.”

“Denim is pioneering the financial enablement market to meet this challenge, benefiting all parties along the supply chain. With the support of our investors, we’ll continue to scale and serve our clients while strengthening our position as a payments ecosystem that powers the supply chain.”

Last year, Denim quadrupled its revenue, and this year facilitated nearly 60,000 jobs between shippers, carriers and freight brokers through its platform.

Denim will leverage the new funding to scale its team and fuel product expansion efforts to meet the growing needs of the $134 billion freight broker market.

The series B funding round also included participation from Crosslink Capital, Anthemis, Trucks VC, FJ Labs, Tribeca Early Stage Partners, and Refashiond Ventures. In total, Denim has raised $165 million in three years.

Image: Denim

PayPal appoints new chief product officer

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PayPal appoints new chief product officer

PayPal has appointed former Expedia executive John Kim as its new chief product officer.

Kim (pictured) will take over from current chief product officer Mark Britto on 26 September. Britto will remain with the payments company for a transition period before retiring at the end of this year.

In his role as PayPal’s chief product officer, Kim will lead the consumer and merchant product and engineering teams, working to advance company’s position as a leader in digital payments and commerce for consumers and merchants around the globe.

Kim joins PayPal after a decade at Expedia Group, where he served most recently as president of Expedia Marketplace. In this role, he oversaw strategy, product, technology and operations for all lines of business, including lodging, air, car, cruise, and activities.

He has also worked at HomeAway/Vrbo, Yahoo, Overture, Accenture, Bank of America and Pelago.

Commenting on the appointment, Dan Schulman, president and chief executive officer of PayPal, said: “I’m thrilled to welcome John Kim to the PayPal team. John is an outstanding leader with a proven ability to build and lead high performing global teams that drive new and innovative product development. Developing new products at scale that engage customers and merchants through an exceptional user experience requires a unique combination of talents, and we’ve truly found these in John.”

Image: PayPal

FNZ to acquire specialist wealthtech provider DIAMOS

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FNZ to acquire specialist wealthtech provider DIAMOS

Wealth management firm FNZ has agreed to acquire DIAMOS, a specialist wealthtech provider based in Germany.

DIAMOS serves the entire wealth management sector, including asset managers and banks, with a strong footprint in Germany. It is also active in Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg.

FNZ said the acquisition will “strengthen” its global client proposition by adding advanced product and service solutions to its existing end-to-end wealth management platform, primarily in fund administration and alternative investments.

Commenting on the acquisition, Adrian Durham, group chief executive officer of FNZ, said: “We are excited to be making another significant investment in the German wealth management sector and are delighted to partner with the DIAMOS team, given their successful record and deep knowledge of the market.”

Wilhelm Velten, owner and chief executive officer of DIAMOS, added: “We are thrilled to be joining FNZ as we continue to transform the industry. In partnership, we will now accelerate the growth trajectory that DIAMOS has achieved by leveraging the strength and global expertise of the FNZ team.”

“DIAMOS’ clients will benefit from FNZ’s global scale and investment. Our employees will be critical to delivering on this ambition, which offers even more exciting long-term career opportunities in the future.”

Image: FNZ Group

Kani Payments hires COO

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Kani Payments hires COO

UK data reconciliation and reporting fintech Kani Payments has appointed Dan Clappison to the role of chief operating officer.

Clappison will “bolster the leadership team and drive operations across the company as it continues to grow and scale”.

A payments executive with more than 17 years of experience, Clappison has held roles at Newcastle Building Society and TSYS, as well as Virgin Money, where he was part of the team that launched the Virgin Money credit card business.

In Clappison’s new role at Kani Payments, his key responsibilities will include overseeing the reporting and reconciliation teams, as well as liaising with customers on their operational requirements.

In addition, Clappison will join chief executive officer Aaron Holmes, chief marketing officer Melissa Beckett and chief technology officer Steven Licciardi on the new senior leadership team, who together will focus on business operations, growth, product and talent.

On his appointment at Kani Payments, Clappison commented “A business cannot scale without a solid foundation and established operations. I want to ensure that, as we continue to grow, our clients have confidence that Kani Payments will continue to provide a great, reliable service and they know that we can support their businesses as they continue to grow.”

Holmes added: “As part of our growth we have been strengthening the senior leadership team and addressing all areas of the business, to now also include operations and sales. In turn, this means we have strengthened senior guidance throughout the customer journey. It’s fantastic to have Dan on board as we embark on this exciting period of growth.”

Images: Kani Payments

Why card and mobile money interoperability are critical to empowering African consumers and entrepreneurs

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Why card and mobile money interoperability are critical to empowering African consumers and entrepreneurs
Dare Okoudjou is founder and chief executive officer of MFS Africa

When I founded MFS Africa more than a decade ago, I set a simple measure of success for the business. To facilitate access for my mother’s honey business in Porto-Novo, Benin, to collect payments from her customers from across the continent—and to make the process as easy as a phone call.

When it comes to Africa and financial empowerment, we must acknowledge that consumers have the same wants and needs as consumers everywhere else in the world. Africans on the continent want to order the latest clothes, and electronics and have them delivered quickly. We can agree that mobile money has done a lot to expand financial inclusion, but more is needed if they’re to seamlessly make purchases outside their countries and the continent. We must enable interoperability between mobile money and cards.

That is, ensuring that merchants are able to accept payments from any consumer, whether they’re using mobile money or a card and whether they’re online or offline. To understand the scale of the opportunity that interoperability represents, it’s worth taking a look at the African retail sector. In a sector worth hundreds of billions of dollars, online retail accounts for just 1% of sales, against a global average of 15%. Interoperability between cards and mobile money has the potential to not just bring that ratio more in line with global standards, but to grow the sector as a whole. The appetite, after all, is clearly there.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw African ecommerce sales grow 42% between 2019 and 2020. Imagine what the growth will be like as people are able to buy and sell seamlessly, no matter where they are and what channel they use.

Beyond the mobile money narrative

This focus on interoperability represents a slight shift from the mobile money narrative that’s dominated discourse to date (some might argue that even this narrative has been overly focused on the success of MPesa in Kenya, with people elsewhere on the continent simply seen as unbanked).

In many ways, it’s understandable that so much focus has been put on the mobile money narrative in Africa. Its growth has been nothing short of explosive. According to GSMA’s 2022 State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money, African mobile money transactions grew 39% in 2021 to reach US$701.4 billion, accounting for 70% of the global total. As a result, many of the world’s largest digital merchants—including the likes of Spotify in partnership with dLocal—have started accepting mobile money payments.

By 2025, it’s estimated that some one million young people across Sub-Saharan Africa will have some kind of informal employment in the mobile sector, with many of them working as mobile money agents.  Much of mobile money’s growth has been down to the fact that many Africans—around 57% of people on the continent, approximately 95 million people—do not have a traditional bank account. But for all the acceptance of mobile money, there are still instances where cards are the preferred payment method for consumers and merchants alike.

It’s imperative, therefore, that we change the narrative from one where Africans will never have to adopt cards because of mobile money. Instead, we need to look towards facilitating interoperability between mobile money and cards and promoting adoption at scale. 

Making payments truly borderless

For the African fintech revolution to reach its true potential, interoperability cannot be confined to the continent. It needs to be completely borderless.

That means that African consumers and businesses alike should be able to make payments to any destination, whether it’s online or offline. For us at MFS Africa, that means connecting mobile money to the rest of the world. Card networks very much appear to be the best way of doing so. It’s something that we’ve been working on for some time, too. In 2019, for example, we concluded an agreement with Visa to connect our MFS Africa HUB to the Visa Network to enable card issuing at scale. It was a slow burn, but with the recent acquisition of US company GTP, we’re in a prime position to accelerate interoperability.

We’re not the only ones thinking this way either. The recent launch of the Mpesa Global card with Visa underscores how quickly international players are waking up to the need for interoperability. We are now at the point where the dream of every mobile money user having a card attached to their mobile money accounts is a feasible reality. In order for our continent to achieve the potential of the fintech revolution, mobile money needs to keep evolving and interoperability is key to that.

Images: Canva and MFS Africa

Alloy raises $52m ahead of global expansion

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Alloy raises $52m ahead of global expansion

Regtech firm Alloy has raised an additional $52 million of funding to accelerates its growth to address the global demand for fraud prevention tools.

The New York-based firm, currently in series C, now holds a valuation of $1.55 billion.

The $52 million of additional investment was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Avenir Growth, with participation from existing investors Canapi Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Avid Ventures, and Felicis Ventures.

Alloy claims to support more than 300 banks and fintechs companies with fraud, credit and compliance decisioning, through an API-based platform that connects to more than 160 data sources, automates identity decisions during account origination, and monitors them on an ongoing basis.

Over the past 12 months, Alloy has seen revenue more than double and processes more than a million decisions daily, for the likes of Ally Bank, HMBradley, Gemini, Ramp, and Evolve Bank & Trust.

The regtech firm, which launched in 2015, recently announced plans for its global expansion into 40 countries across North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Asia Pacific.

Tommy Nicholas, co-founder and chief executive officer of Alloy, said: “We feel incredibly lucky to have partners that not only understand the impact of our investments into our platform and in expanding globally but also proactively come to the table to support them.”

“With this newest investment we’ll be able to accelerate our growth and better address the global fraud challenges that companies are facing.”

Image: Alloy

Digital bank Trust launches in Singapore

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Digital bank Trust launches in Singapore

Trust, a new digital bank backed by Standard Chartered Bank and FairPrice Group, has launched in Singapore.

The digital bank launched with an offering that includes a credit card, savings account and family personal accident insurance.

It aims to bring a new standard of banking to Singapore and enable significant savings on everyday expenses through the FairPrice Group and Income ecosystems.

Backed to the tune of S$400 million by shareholders Standard Chartered Bank, FairPrice Group and NTUC Enterprise, Trust is able to give its customers access to deals on items such as groceries.

Commenting on the launch, Dwaipayan Sadhu, chief executive officer of Trust, said: “We are hugely excited to launch Trust in Singapore and delighted to introduce a breakthrough client experience enabled by our best-in-class technology platform.”

“Through listening to our customers and by leveraging the strengths of our partners, we are committed to bringing real tangible value to our customers in Singapore through accessibility and convenience, and making Trust a part of their everyday lives.”

Image: Trust

SumUp launches new consumer payments app

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SumUp launches new consumer payments app

Small business payments provider SumUp is expanding into the consumer space with a digital wallet designed to make shopping locally easier and more rewarding.

The UK-based fintech’s first ever direct-to-consumer offering, the SumUp Pay app offers a secure payment mechanism for consumers and comes equipped with several features, including a virtual card and an integrated loyalty scheme focused on supporting local businesses.

SumUp Pay is now available for free in the UK, Germany and Italy via Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store. New customers are also entitled to receive a £10 points bonus on signing up to be spent at any SumUp merchant.

Pedro Branco, head of consumer business at SumUp, commented: “Today is a proud day for everyone at SumUp as we expand our product offering into the B2C space for the very first time. Our all-in-one loyalty e-wallet app not only offers a convenient payment mechanism for consumers to pay bills, purchase goods, or transfer money to their friends, but also rewards them for each penny they spend.”

“With SumUp Pay, we hope to create a mutually beneficial ecosystem between local businesses and consumers, by incentivising millions of people to shop locally and providing our merchants with yet another tool to support and help them grow their business.”

Image: SumUp

Validus lines up US$100 million securitisation facility

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Validus lines up US$100 million securitisation facility

Validus and Citibank have established a US$100 million securitisation facility.

Collateralised by small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) loans originated by Validus in Singapore, this is the first time a large global bank and a fintech have worked on a deal of this kind and structure in Southeast Asia.

The facility is also supported by First Plus Asset Management, a Singapore-based multi-asset investment manager focused on Asia structured credit and equities.

Since the facility was established in Q2 2022, Validus doubled its borrower base in Singapore and grew its loan book by 60% across Validus Group over the same time period.

Validus said this tracks similarly stellar growth across the group, which has grown its monthly volumes by more than 8x and tripled its loan book over the last 24 months.

Milena Naitoh, head of corporate development at Validus, said: “This collaboration with Citi underscores the quality of our origination, credit portfolio management, strength and resilience of our business, in today’s market environment. With this evolution in our financing strategy, as well as the support of Citi as an established player in the asset-backed securities space, we are now even better positioned to support the growth of SMEs with accessible and effortless business finance.”

Naitoh added: “As Validus continues to extend its position as a leading all-in-one SME finance platform in Southeast Asia, this securitised lending structure, together with a diversified financing and product strategy, will enable us to grow at a much greater scale. We are honoured that Citi has chosen to collaborate with us on this landmark securitised lending transaction with a fintech start-up in Southeast Asia, and we are looking at replicating this transaction playbook across other markets.”

Lei Tie, co-founder and head of structured credit at First Plus, commented: “We are thrilled to be part of the transaction, which has established a gold standard for non-recourse asset-based financing for Southeast Asia, and to be able to support Validus on their next phase of growth.”

Validus is currently raising its series C equity round for an undisclosed amount.

The combination of the securitisation facility and series C equity funding will further drive the fintech’s expansion plans as it starts to introduce neo-banking products in other Southeast Asia markets.

Since its launch in 2015, Validus has disbursed over US$1.6 billion across more than 65,000 loans to small businesses in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.

Image: Validus

Jenius Bank to launch in the US

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Jenius Bank to launch in the US

Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and subsidiary SMBC Group are launching Jenius Bank, a new digital consumer banking business in the US.

Jenius Bank will launch in the coming months with personal loans and then expand its offerings with savings and checking products within its first year.

A consumer research programme has also been established to drive product designs with direct customer input.

The new bank will deliver a “100% digital banking experience”, as a new division of Manufacturers Bank, a California state-chartered bank that is a wholly owned subsidiary of SMBC Group.

John Rosenfeld has been appointed as president of Jenius Bank. He has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including serving as the founder and president of Citizens Access, an online direct bank of Citizens Bank.

Commenting on the launch, Kazuhisa Miyagawa, chairman and chief executive officer of Manufacturers Bank, said: “With the launch of Jenius Bank, we have the rare opportunity to build exceptional products from scratch that uniquely meet the needs of today’s digitally-native consumers who need and expect more.”

Image: SMBC Group

Hello Alice launches small business credit card with Mastercard

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Hello Alice launches small business credit card with Mastercard

Free small business platform Hello Alice has launched a new credit card in partnership with Mastercard and First National Bank of Omaha.

The Hello Alice Small Business Mastercard is designed for small businesses of all kinds, so it will be offered as a traditional credit card or as one with additional provisions to help with credit-building.

The card also provides small businesses with access to tools and services such as expert business advice, insights, cashback, and a rewards programme based on completing business-advancing activities on the free Hello Alice platform.

It is part of Hello Alice’s larger Equitable Access to Capital programme, which provides financial products, tools and education for owners to scale their businesses, including its own grant fund providing security deposits for high-potential but credit-challenged small business owners.

By 2025, Hello Alice estimates that approximately $70 million in grants could fund credit enhancements for approximately 30,000 business owners, unlocking up to $1 billion in credit access.

Commenting on the new credit card, Elizabeth Gore and Carolyn Rodz, co-founders of the small business platform, said in a joint statement: “We designed the Hello Alice Small Business Mastercard to meet the needs of small business owners where they are, breaking longstanding barriers to mentorship, access to credit, and overall financial health for those who have traditionally been denied access.”

Linda Kirkpatrick, president for North America at Mastercard, added: “The launch of the Hello Alice Small Business Mastercard is an important step in our mission to build a more inclusive digital economy by providing small businesses with the financial tools and capital they need to thrive, while also advancing our half-billion-dollar commitment to help close the racial wealth and opportunity gap for Black communities.”

Entrepreneurs who are women, people of colour, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, veterans or people with disabilities are targets for the new card, as the small business platform attempts to help these groups overcome barriers to capital access.

In its own Small Business Capital Access Study, the platform found that 78% of small business owners claim access to capital is limiting their ability to manage their day-to-day operations, with Black (84%) and Multi-Racial (82%) owners over-indexing on this claim.

Image: Hello Alice

Finexos secures investment to launch new credit evaluation solution

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Finexos secures investment to launch new credit evaluation solution

Credit evaluation fintech Finexos has raised £695,000 of funding to push for market launch.

Growth Capital Ventures led the investment in UK-based Finexos, which was founded in 2018. The round was oversubscribed by almost 40% from the initial target.

The funding will support Finexos’s market entry strategy as the fintech rolls out its solution to several key pilot partners looking for a more accurate way of evaluating credit worthiness.

Finexos uses open banking, artificial intelligence and machine learning to measure financial capability without the need for a credit score

Its solution uses more than 220 pieces of data to give an assessment of how a consumer or business manages cashflow, rather than the usual 12 assessed during the traditional credit scoring process.

Finexos believes that its solution will help the many people currently excluded from mainstream credit due to the way scoring is traditionally carried out.

Mark Fisher (pictured, left), the fintech’s founder, explained: “Finexos can deliver high-impact outcomes for underserved consumers and SMEs and will increase loans originated, at a lower default rate, for providers of credit.”

“Finexos combines advanced technologies, commercial acumen and a strong business and operating model to solve an important social and financial issue.”

“We are moving at pace and seeing significant traction with customers, utilising technology to provide better outcomes for consumers and lenders that can, overtime, replace the outdated and inefficient way credit scoring works currently.”

Norm Peterson (pictured, right), co-founder and chief executive officer at Growth Capital Ventures, commented: “Over 12 million people in the UK alone are in the high-interest, revolving credit trap as a result of legacy credit scoring. Millions of people are paying to high interest rates due to a low legacy credit score—even though we now have access to the information to readily prove that such a low credit score can be entirely unjustified.”

“With the Finexos solution developed and ready to take to the market, the platform is set to transform credit scoring, increasing loan origination while simultaneously reducing default rates for lenders.”

Images: Finexos

Pie Insurance adds to executive team

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Pie Insurance adds to executive team

US insurtech Pie Insurance has appointed two executives to its leadership team.

Ekta Aggarwal has joined Pie, which provides workers’ comp insurance for small businesses, as chief product officer. Erin Mesick has joined as vice president of finance.

Both Aggarwal and Mesick will “leverage their unique experiences at industry-leading companies to fuel innovation and effectively support Pie’s next phase of growth”, according to the Denver, Colorado-headquartered insurance provider.

A former Microsoft and Amazon executive, Aggarwal has more than 20 years of experience leading product and engineering teams at major technology companies.

As chief product officer at Pie, Aggarwal will be responsible for scaling the product team and driving innovation across the insurtech’s roadmap.

Mesick, previously a vice president at Realtor.com where she held leadership roles in finance, strategy and operations, will oversee the financial planning and analysis team at Pie.

She will also be responsible for leading the strategic finance functions, including financial planning, budgeting, forecasting, and KPI reporting.

Commenting on the appointments, John Swigart, co-founder and chief executive officer at Pie, said: “We’re honoured to have Ekta and Erin join our team of Pie-oneers during a pivotal period of maturation for the company. Both are deeply connected to serving our customers and are passionate about Pie’s mission of enabling small businesses to thrive.”

“Ekta’s expertise in executing on incredibly complex product visions and fostering world-class talent will be invaluable, and Erin’s ability to seamlessly manage risk and forecast for both large enterprises and growth stage companies will be critical to Pie’s long-term success.”

Image: Pie Insurance

Vyne to serve businesses through new Wix partnership

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Vyne to serve businesses through new Wix partnership

Bank account-to-account payments provider Vyne is now targeting small and medium-sized businesses via an integration with Wix.com.

UK businesses that set up a website using Wix will gain access to Vyne’s open banking payments infrastructure, enabling them to offer their customers the ability to pay directly from their mobile banking app.

Vyne said the integration will create a “frictionless payment process” that will help to improve merchant checkout conversions by offering online checkout, payment by SMS, chat or email, and QR codes for static or dynamic payment content.

The fintech is also offering auto-onboarding to Wix merchants in the UK, giving them the ability to sign up and complete the know-your-business process necessary for open banking in a matter of minutes.

Once approved, merchants gain access to Vyne’s merchant portal and its advanced reporting capabilities, as well as features such as transaction filtering, refunds, payment statuses, reconciliation, and settlement.

Luke Flomo, chief revenue officer at Vyne, commented: “Trading conditions are tough right now, and rising card scheme fees paired with other macroeconomic challenges are hitting the smallest merchants the hardest. That’s why we are launching an open banking proposition for SME retailers in conjunction with Wix, so merchants of all sizes can benefit from open banking’s lower fees and instant settlement.”

“This is an exciting step on our journey to create an ecosystem that redefines the payment experience for merchants and consumers. It’s made even easier by the self-onboarding functionality we have developed in-house, which enables merchants to onboard and integrate account-to-account payments into their checkout quickly and easily.”

Image: Vyne and Wi

India’s Jar raises $22.6 million

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India’s Jar raises $22.6 million

Jar has raised $22.6 million in a series B round that values the savings fintech at $300 million.

India-based Jar plans to use the new funding to expand its workforce and strengthen its technology stack, according to The Economic Times.

Tiger Global led the series B round, along with several other existing investors. There was also participation from new investors.

Jar previously raised $32 million in a round led by Tiger Global in February.

The fintech, headquartered in Bengaluru, aims to help consumers save while gaining access to investment opportunities, starting with gold.

Image: Jar

Zolve appoints chief compliance officer ahead of hiring push

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Zolve appoints chief compliance officer ahead of hiring push

Zolve, the startup neobank providing cross-border financial services for immigrants, has appointed Douglas T Hamilton as its chief compliance officer and announced plans to hire new staff in India and the US.

The neobank, headquartered in Bangalore with an office in New York, said the former Gemini Constellation, BlockRize, Petal Card and American Express executive “will play a key role in strengthening compliance and contributing to Zolve’s business growth and expansion”.

Commenting on his appointment, Hamilton said: “I am excited to join a highly dynamic and vibrant team at Zolve, which is at the cusp of a new chapter in its journey of growth and innovation.”

“Compliance is an integral part of the financial ecosystem, and I look forward to applying my expertise and learning in this area to contribute to the company’s vision of providing hassle-free financial services to global citizens.”

Zolve raised $15 million of seed funding in February 2021 and another $40 million in one of India’s largest series A funding rounds several months later.

This funding enables Zolve to press ahead with its next stage of development and the neobank intends to expand its team in both of its current locations.

Explaining Zolve’s hiring plans and recent appointments, Raghunandan G, the neobank’s founder and chief executive officer, said: “Being a dynamic solutions and services provider in the fintech space, Zolve is always on the lookout for talented and dynamic professionals. We are currently looking for candidates to join our teams in the US and India.”

“Douglas T Hamilton’s recent appointment as chief compliance officer has further strengthened our core team. We welcome him onboard and look forward to having more new colleagues in the coming weeks and months.”

Image: Zolve

Remitly Global to acquire migrant worker remittance platform for $80m

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Remitly Global to acquire migrant worker remittance platform for $80m

Remitly Global has struck a deal to acquire Rewire, an Israel-based financial services platform provider for migrant workers.

The deal, a mix of cash and stock and worth approximately $80 million, is subject to Israeli and Dutch regulatory approval, with Remitly aiming to close in the second half of 2022.

Founded in 2015 with offices in Tel Aviv and Amsterdam, Rewire’s remittance platform “builds deep customer relationships and is geographically complementary to Remitly”, which serves the same set of customers.

Rewire’s customers create an account with which money can be stored to be remitted at any time. This approach deepens relationships with customers and provides additional flexibility and convenience. Additionally, Rewire’s product development and engineering teams add further capacity and expertise to a seasoned Remitly team.

Commenting on the acquisition, Matt Oppenheimer, co-founder and chief executive officer at Remitly, said: “We share with Rewire a deep commitment to our customers and that mission. Peace of mind starts with a trusted means for sending money home for critical costs. Rewire accelerates our progress as together we will continue to bring to market trusted financial services that are inclusive and accessible to all.”

Guy Kashtan, chief executive officer and co-founder of Rewire, commented: “We see a huge opportunity as we combine forces to accelerate the adoption of some of the innovative products we have developed to enhance the lives of customers sending money around the world and managing their finances.”

Images: Remitly Global and Rewire

SigFig hires chief product officer and director of digital wealth products

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SigFig hires chief product officer and director of digital wealth products

Financial services software firm SigFig has appointed Amanda LaFerriere as its chief product officer and Clifford Schoeman to the role of director of digital wealth products.

The San Francisco-headquartered firm, which develops products for banks and wealth management firms, is aiming to enhance and grow its wealth offering of discovery and remote collaboration solutions.

Mike Sha, chief executive officer and co-founder of SigFig, said: “We believe that innovation happens when we bring people together from different disciplines, and I am confident that Amanda and Cliff’s depth and breadth of experience in product design, development and execution will add tremendous value to our financial institution clients.”

Before joining SigFig, LaFerriere spent the last four years as head of product at C2FO, where she was responsible for driving the product vision, strategy and roadmap.

SigFig highlighted her “innovative thinking and fintech product-savvy”, which were recognised when she won the 2022 Corporate Woman of Achievement Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners in Chicago, as key reasons for her appointment.

Schoeman has spent the last decade building leading digital wealth solutions implemented by multi-billion-dollar firms.

Most recently, as head of intelliflo advisers, he managed product, strategy, and operational functions providing wealth technology, trading, and investment management solutions to advisers.

He also played an integral role in the development and growth of Jemstep, a startup acquired by Invesco.

Image: SigFig

abrdn acquires stake in UK digital securities exchange Archax

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abrdn acquires stake in UK digital securities exchange Archax

Wealth management firm abrdn has concluded a deal to become the largest external shareholder in Archax, the UK’s first regulated digital securities exchange.

Launching later this year, Archax will provide access for institutional investors to blockchain-based digital assets. It is the first and only digital securities exchange to win approval from the UK Financial Conduct Authority with permissions covering trading, custody and brokerage.

The exchange will serve as a route through which investors that abrdn works with can access new investment opportunities offered by digital assets.

Abrdn will also work with Archax to connect investors to existing offerings in a new way via tokenisation and facilitate a shift towards greater operating efficiencies through the adoption of new technologies like blockchain.

Commenting on the investment, Stephen Bird, chief executive officer at abrdn, said: “Archax is one of the most promising UK players in this next expected high growth area in finance—the use of digital and tokenised securities with same-day settlement. In that sense, the growth of the digital investment market is about much more than cryptocurrencies.”

“With Archax, we will have a meaningful footprint in this fast-developing market—which is likely to evolve in a multitude of different ways that are relevant to our core businesses. This investment not only provides an opportunity for substantial financial benefits, it also creates a partnership with some of the leading thinkers in an area that has the potential to play a substantial role in the future of finance.”

Archax chief executive officer Graham Rodford commented: “It is extremely exciting to have abrdn as a strategic investor in our business. We see this as a massive statement of belief in what we have built at Archax, as well as being a key milestone in our evolution and for the digital/tokenised world as a whole.”

“We look forward to working with abrdn closely to provide a new universe of users with access to our services, as well as creating new innovative tokenised products that will trade on our marketplace.”

Image: Archax and abrdn

Central Payments raises $30m and spins out from Central Bank of Kansas City

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Central Payments raises $30m and spins out from Central Bank of Kansas City

US banking-as-a-service provider Central Payments has completed a $30 million growth equity raise and spun out from Central Bank of Kansas City.

The existing management team, led by founder and president Trent Sorbe, will remain in place and a board of directors will be announced soon.

Central Bank of Kansas City will continue as an investor, issuer and strategic partner of Central Payments, which the community bank founded in 2014 in partnership with Sorbe.

Central Payments runs Open*CP Fintech API Marketplace and is among the fastest growing prepaid card issuers in the US. It is also preparing to share plans for its Falls Fintech accelerator, which focuses on fast-tracking market readiness for early-stage financial technology startups.

Castle Creek Capital led the round, with additional investment from Launchpad Capital.

The transaction served as the inaugural investment for Castle Creek Launchpad Fund I. Launchpad Capital, an Oakland-based venture firm, recently announced its joint venture with Castle Creek and the closing of its new $90 million fund, raised from 34 community banks.

Proceeds from the fundraise will be used to facilitate strategic growth initiatives such as additional investments in technology, product and staffing.

Commenting on the news, Sorbe said: “Since inception, we have remained steadfast in our belief that new technology and the stability of a bank charter create opportunity for banks in fintech and embedded finance, while others may have perceived a threat. This raise will enable us to continue trailblazing with our Technology | Charter | Choice approach.”

Image: Central Payments

Finix raises $30m for embeddable payments

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Finix raises $30m for embeddable payments

Finix has raised $30 million of new capital, despite what the US fintech describes as “the more challenging economic environment this year”.

The fresh funding brings Finix’s total raised to $133 million and was achieved at an increased valuation.

Finix, headquartered in San Francisco with an additional office in Chicago, is a “payments technology company for software platforms”, offering modular and configurable products and services for target clients to manage their own operations.

New and existing investors that participated in this round include The General Partnership (TheGP), Franklin Templeton, American Express Ventures, Acrew Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Cap Table Coalition, Homebrew, Insight Partners, Inspired Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Precursor Ventures, PSP Growth, Vamos Ventures, and others.

Commenting on Finix’s potential despite the current economic environment, Dan Portillo, co-founder and managing partner at TheGP, said: “The payments space is surprisingly young—only nine percent of payments are digital today. And if the last two years have taught us anything, businesses with modular and configurable payments technology are best equipped to benefit from commerce moving online.”

“TheGP invested in Finix because we believe they are the only payments provider that offers software platforms the flexibility needed to succeed as they scale.”

Image: Finix

Imburse partners with Sapiens to provide access to global payments

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Imburse partners with Sapiens to provide access to global payments

Imburse, a cloud-based payment middleware provider, has a struck an integration partnership with insurance software firm Sapiens International Corporation.

The partnership will enable insurers that work with Sapiens to connect to the global payments ecosystem through a single connection, giving them more choice in how they pay, and their policyholders receive, claims payouts.

It will also bring cost reductions in integrating with payment providers and technologies.

Commenting on the partnership and its benefits, Oliver Werneyer, co-founder and chief executive officer of Switzerland-based Imburse, said: “Getting payments right is vital for the customer experience as well as business efficiencies. It is the one capability that creates a significant amount of costs and resource drain for insurers.”

“Sapiens deliver a low-code platform for enabling insurers to digitise and improve their customer experience. At Imburse, we simplify how insurers deploy payment capabilities for collections and payouts.”

“The combined capabilities of Sapiens and Imburse will enable insurers to connect to the global payments ecosystem through one single connection giving customers more choice in how they pay and receive claim payouts.”

Amanda Ingram, propositions, alliances and ecosystem manager at Sapiens, said: “We’re delighted to be able to partner with Imburse and offer our customers the benefit from Imburse’s middleware solution through our unique tooling feature.”

“We are striving to constantly improve premium and settlement capabilities an even more streamlined customer experience, and this partnership with Imburse is bringing us one step closer to transforming the insurance industry as a whole.”

Images: Imburse and Sapiens International Corporation

German fintech Serrala appoints new CEO

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German fintech Serrala appoints new CEO

Serrala, a financial automation and B2B payments software provider, has appointed former Collenda head Hartmut Wagner as its new chief executive officer.

Wagner formally takes over from current chief executive officer Sven Lindemann on 15 August and will be tasked with continuing the acceleration of Germany-headquartered Serrala’s ongoing global growth and innovation programme.

Previously chief executive officer at Collenda, a credit management and collections software company, Wagner has also held senior leadership positions at Micro Focus, Hewlett Packard, and Exact, where he led the cloud business unit.

Lindemann, Serrala’s chief executive officer since 2011, will remain closely connected with the company as a significant minority shareholder and member of the supervisory board.

He will facilitate the chief executive officer transition while contributing further with his expertise in product strategy as well as mergers and acquisitions.

Commenting on his appointment, Wagner said: “It is an exciting time to be joining Serrala as it paves the way for the future of finance globally. As a business committed to innovation and driven by a team of highly skilled experts, Serrala is well positioned to become the number one global trusted partner in financial services automation.”

Lindemann added: “We have embarked on an exciting journey starting out as a family-owned, pure cash and treasury solutions provider to become the innovative cloud and software-as-a-service-oriented organisation we are today. After building a successful company we now have a customer base that includes among the largest corporations worldwide.”

Image: Serrala

Entries open for Insurtech Isle of Man and F10 acceleration programme

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Entries open for Insurtech Isle of Man and F10 acceleration programme

Insurtech Isle of Man has launched a joint acceleration programme with F10 for growth-stage startups and is now accepting applications.

Interested insurtech startups can apply immediately. The programme will begin this September and run for four months.

The Isle of Man is a globally recognised insurance centre known to be a hub of knowledge and expertise, while F10 is an established global innovation ecosystem with a track record in connecting fintechs of all kinds with experts and mentors.

Selected insurtech startups will receive coaching on open innovation and collaboration best-practices, personalised mentoring, as well as the opportunity to work with leading insurers.

They will also have the opportunity to access the F10 global network and attend sessions on a variety of topics crucial to scaling their business, including marketing, branding and sales.

Insurtech Isle of Man and F10 are focused on identifying and admitting insurtech startups in wealth management and investment, customer onboarding, and issuance and management of policies.

The focus of the new programme will be on high impact solutions with the potential for insurtech startups to collaborate with leading insurers in the region.

It will also include high-visibility pitching opportunities for participating startups during the Scotland Fintech Festival, taking place this autumn, as well as the final demo day event to conclude the programme.

Michael Crowe, chief executive officer of Finance Isle of Man, commented: “The maturity and scale of the existing insurance sector on the island offers a gateway to a global market for insurtech businesses and this programme will enable participating startups to deliver high-impact solutions in collaboration with some of the region’s leading insurers.”

Marc Hauser, head of F10 Europe, said: “We are excited to announce this one-of-a-kind acceleration programme in collaboration with Insurtech Isle of Man. Having worked in the industry myself, I experienced the tremendous potential first hand and am convinced open innovation is the best way to make fast progress.”

“Together with leading insurers and Insurtech startups, we will explore and realize relevant use cases. The whole team at F10 is looking forward to accelerating the creation of a thriving Insurtech ecosystem on the Isle of Man.”

Image: Insurtech Isle of Man and F10

UNOAsia lands pre-series A funding ahead of digital bank launch

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UNOAsia lands pre-series A funding ahead of digital bank launch

Singapore-based fintech UNOAsia has secured US$11 million in a pre-series A round ahead of the commercial launch of its digital bank in the Philippines.

Creador led the funding round, bringing UNOAsia’s total raised to US$44.5 million and making the private equity firm its biggest investor.

The funding will support UNOAsia’s growth and enable the fintech to achieve the commercial launch of UNO Digital Bank, which is now a live operating bank under closed-loop ‘beta’.

UNO Digital Bank provides accounts boasting immediately available virtual cards, competitive interest rates and access to credit. It is launching in the Philippines but plans are in place to expand throughout Asia.

Creador cited the Philippines’ underbanked population, which it said stands about 45 million people, as a primary reason for its investments in UNOAsia so far.

Image: UNOAsia

Sharegain appoints head of business development

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Sharegain appoints head of business development

Securities lending fintech Sharegain has hired as its new Samuel Tuliebitz as head of business development.

Tuliebitz, who most recently led fintech strategy for J.P. Morgan’s international private bank, will build on UK- and US-based Sharegain’s existing partnerships with top-tier banks and wealth managers, and drive the company’s strategic expansion plans into new markets and geographies.

Commenting on his appointment, Tuliebitz said: “I’ve had the great privilege of meeting and assessing a significant number of top fintech companies for JPM’s investment bank and private bank. Sharegain—without a doubt—was the most innovative of them all, uniquely delivering monetisable value into institutional capital markets, as well as retail wealth, which I found to be remarkable. I’m thrilled to be joining such an incredible team at this pivotal time.”

Boaz Yaari, founder and chief executive officer at Sharegain, said: “We’re delighted to have Sam on board. First and foremost, because he is a terrific person and a natural leader. And second, because Sam has a proven track record of working with, understanding, and commercialising, new technologies.”

“I have no doubt he’ll be an excellent addition to our team, as we rapidly scale-up the business, add more top tier banks and wealth managers as clients, and look ahead to our planned launch in the United States later this year.”

Image: Sharegain

Genesis Global secures strategic investments from Bank of America, BNY Mellon and Citi

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Genesis Global secures strategic investments from Bank of America, BNY Mellon and Citi

Genesis Global, the provider of a low-code app development platform for financial services, has raised $20 million in new funding.

The “strategic support” from potential customers Bank of America, BNY Mellon and Citi “demonstrates their confidence in low-code as an accelerator for the next wave of IT innovation”.

Stephen Murphy, chief executive officer of Genesis, which tripled its revenue and the size of its team last year, added: “We are excited to be working with these partners on multiple innovative projects.”

The new funding follows the fintech’s $200 millions series C round in February. Citi first invested in Genesis, a US fintech with offices in Miami, New York and Charlotte, as well as London, Leeds, São Paulo and Dublin, in late 2020.

Commenting on the Genesis platform, Nikhil Joshi, North America head of markets technology at Citi, said: “The platform eliminates repetitive, non-differentiating work core to many financial industry applications, freeing developers to focus on innovative work and making technology departments more productive and more strategic.”

Image: Genesis Global

Investment in UK fintech increases despite global slowdown, reports Innovate Finance

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Investment in UK fintech increases despite global slowdown, reports Innovate Finance

The UK fintech sector is continuing to grow with investment reaching $9.1 billion so far this year, according to Innovate Finance.

This figure represents a 24% year-on-year increase from the first half of 2021. The association, which represents UK fintechs, said the $9.1 billion investment came from 294 deals compared to $7.3 billion across 375 deals during the same period last year.

The UK is an outlier for attracting investment during the first half of 2022. The total capital invested into fintech globally reached $59 billion, which was flat year-on-year compared to 2021.

This capital was spread across 3,045 deals—slightly fewer than 2021 when 3,401 deals were completed in the first half of the year.

Countries that saw notable drops in investment in the first half of 2022 include Mexico, the Netherlands, South Korea, and China. 

Commenting on the results, Janine Hirt, chief executive officer of Innovate Finance, said: “It is fantastic to see that UK fintechs are continuing to secure outstanding levels of investment—this is a testament to the strength of our ecosystem, including our innovative entrepreneurs and founders, strong and diverse talent pool, and a supportive government and regulatory framework.”

Image: Innovate Finance

Trovata adds two open banking executives to lead expansion into Europe

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Trovata adds two open banking executives to lead expansion into Europe

US fintech Trovata has made two key appointments ahead of an expansion into Europe.

Vladimir Pintea has joined the fintech, which automates cash workflows through multi-bank API data aggregation for corporate finance and treasury teams, as vice president of open banking engineering.

Lisa Gutu has taken up the role of vice president of business development.

Both have joined Trovata’s senior team to expand the fintech’s platform with new bank integrations and services to broaden its reach from the US to the UK and EU marketplaces.

Pintea and Gutu (pictured, left and right), who previously led the business and product teams at Salt Edge, “are among the open banking pioneers in the European market”, according to Trovata, contributing significantly to the continent’s evolution from the very first basic, money management, multi-banking pilots to more complex open banking payment and treasury management use cases over the past eight years.

Their experience in product, legislation and a deep understanding of client needs will help expand Trovata’s platform services and add more depth by combining open banking and open finance across Europe.

Commenting on the appointments, Brett Turner, founder and chief executive officer at Trovata, said: “While open banking is nearing a tipping point, Vlad and Lisa have played a big role for the past several years as true pioneers in the space driving change and innovation.”

“I’m thrilled to have them as part of our senior team to help us bridge geographies as a global platform for businesses to freely manage cash.”

Image: Trovata

Brazilian fintech Neon raises US$80 million for credit card fund

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Brazilian fintech Neon raises US$80 million for credit card fund

Brazil-based fintech and digital bank Neon has raised US$80 million in its first credit rights investment fund (FIDC) focused on credit cards.

The funding will enable Neon to continue expanding its portfolio of credit products in a “sustainable and balanced way”, as the fintech works to improve “the lives of working Brazilians”.

Neon, founded in 2016, aims to simplify financial services for consumers and reduce inequalities. It claims to currently have more than 15 million customers and ended 2021 with a total credit portfolio of US$ 270 billion.

Its fund focused on credit cards now holds US$170 million in equity and will be managed by asset management firm Empírica.

This is Neon’s second fundraising in the private credit market this year, following the more than US$ 40 million raised for its private payroll deductible FIDC at the beginning of 2022.

Jamil Marques, chief financial officer at Neon, commented: “The funding endorses the strength and positive history that we have been building in the management of the credit portfolio over the last few years.”

“Today our credit engine is mature and the FIDC resources will give us the strength to continue expanding our portfolio in a sustainable and balanced way in the medium-long term. The focus continues to be on the Brazilian worker, and always with the mission to reduce inequalities by building paths to credit.”

Neon recently launched the elastic limit, which makes it possible to expand credit for one-off purchases, based on credit assessment.

The fintech already offers personal loans, payroll loans and credit cards without annuity with special conditions. Neon plans to launch new solutions that will help its customers to consciously access credit throughout the rest of the year.

Image: Neon

Insurtech Cover Genius acquires embedded ticket protection specialist Booking Protect

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Insurtech Cover Genius acquires embedded ticket protection specialist Booking Protect

US insurtech firm Cover Genius has acquired Booking Protect, a specialist in embedded ticket protection for ticket sellers, platforms and live event companies.

The acquisition will give UK-founded Booking Protect’s 350+ partners and its clients the ability to offer embedded ticket protection worldwide through XCover, Cover Genius’s end-to-end global distribution platform.

Angus McDonald, chief executive officer and co-founder of Cover Genius, said: “It’s a natural fit for us to team up with established leaders in specialty fields like ticketing who have built a great service and end-to-end solution at the expense of traditional insurers whose legacy systems contribute to poor customer outcomes and stunted growth for partners.”

Simon Mabb, chief executive officer at Booking Protect, added: “We started Booking Protect to provide peace of mind to customers who are buying tickets via sellers and events and their upstream ticketing platforms, especially small-to-midsize players.”

“With the pandemic exposing the need for comprehensive coverage, we believe that now is the time to join forces with Cover Genius to scale our technologies and expand the reach of our mission. We look forward to continuing to serve our partners and help businesses provide a seamless customer experience in their time of need.”

SumUp launches Magic Pay for hospitality sector

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SumUp launches Magic Pay for hospitality sector

SumUp has launched a new QR code payment solution for the hospitality sector.

Called Magic Pay, the new solution from the UK-based payments provider enables multiple people to scan a QR code and receive a copy of the bill, which can then be split, tipped and paid, including via Apple or Google Pay.

The solution can deliver the receipt via email and requires no app, account or admin.

SumUp conducted a three-month trial featuring more than 100 restaurants in the UK for the new solution and found that on average, almost half of guests chose the QR code payment method.

Tips for staff increased by 38% on average thanks to the prompt in Magic Pay. They also saved about 12 minutes in time per table.

With the trial concluded, only two out of the more than 100 restaurants that participated stopped using Magic Pay, which integrates with SumUp’s point-of-sale solution.

Commenting on the launch, Joseph Flynn, head of order and pay at SumUp, said: “SumUp has spent a decade at the side of entrepreneurs and SMEs. Our mission is to make business life as simple and efficient as possible—and to remove the stress of taking payment. Magic Pay will provide a win-win for merchants and customers alike through its easy integration and user-friendly design—just scan, split, pay.”

Image: SumUp

Starling Bank achieves first full year of profitability

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Starling Bank achieves first full year of profitability

Starling Bank has achieved its first full year of profitability.

The digital bank swung to a pre-tax profit of £32.1 million for the financial year ending 31 March 2022 from a pre-tax loss of £31.5 million for the period to 31 March 2021. Revenue for the same period to 31 March 2022 was £188 million.

Starling’s previous financial year, to 31 March 2021, covered a 16-month period to reflect a change in the timing of its financial reporting.

In the three months following its latest accounts, Starling has continued to grow at pace and in June 2022 achieved an annualised revenue run rate of £331.2 million driven by year-on-year lending growth of 72% to £4 billion.

The bank has also continued to build on the mortgage capability it gained through the acquisition of Fleet Mortgages in July 2021, with more than £2 billion of mortgages now on the balance sheet as at June 2022.

This growth in lending has been funded by Starling’s growing deposit base, which increased by a further £600 million in three months.

Commenting on the results, Anne Boden, founder and chief executive of Starling Bank, said: “With our first full year of profitability, we’ve placed ourselves firmly in a category of one. As an innovative digital bank with a sustainable business model and a strong balance sheet we are generating our own capital and we stand apart from both the old banks and other challengers.”

Image: Starling Bank

Funding Circle hires vice president of engineering

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Funding Circle hires vice president of engineering

Funding Circle, the UK-based peer-to-peer lending firm focused on small businesses, has appointed Bruno Tavares as its vice president of engineering.

Tavares brings more than 20 years of technology experience to the role.

He has “a clear track record of growing engineering teams and scaling products across a diverse range of sectors”, including digital healthcare (Elephant Healthcare) and sports streaming services (DAZN), according to Funding Circle.

Tavares joins Funding Circle as the fintech continues developing its multi-product, multi-channel offering to enable small businesses to “borrow, pay, spend—anytime, anywhere”.

New products include FlexiPay, a short-term finance product that enables businesses to spread any UK invoice over three months, and an embedded finance solution that allows partners to natively embed Funding Circle into their own website.

Commenting on the appointment, Swati Lay, chief technology officer at Funding Circle, said: “I’m really excited to be welcoming Bruno to the team. As we expand the set of products that we offer to small businesses, Bruno’s experience of scaling and nurturing great engineering teams will play an invaluable part in delivering on Funding Circle’s 2024 plan.”

Tavares added: “I’m delighted to be joining Funding Circle. I’ve been impressed with what the team has built: a technology platform that has allowed more than 120,000 SMEs access fast, simple finance. The future is even more exciting; these new products and tech capabilities will make a huge difference in the lives of small business owners, and I can’t wait to get involved.”

Image: Funding Circle

FinTech Australia appoints Nick Kavass as its first policy lead

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FinTech Australia appoints Nick Kavass as its first policy lead

FinTech Australia has appointed former federal government adviser Nick Kavass as its first policy lead.

Kavass brings to the role at the national association for Australian fintech startups nearly a decade of experience across government agencies, including the Treasury and the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). He most recently served as a policy adviser for former assistant treasurer and housing minister, Michael Sukkar.

The new role will coordinate with policy partners and members to help formulate and progress FinTech Australia’s policy agenda in areas such as payments, buy now pay later and crypto.

Commenting on the appointment, Rehan D’Almedia, general manager at FinTech Australia, said: “This is an exciting and key appointment for the organisation. With a new government in power, we’re looking to step up the rigour of our policy support for our members and build on the extensive groundwork that the organisation has laid over the past few years.”

“Nick’s experience at two key agencies that interact with the ecosystem—Treasury and ASIC—make him invaluable in helping us articulate our policy agenda.”

Kavass said: “It’s an honour to take on this new role at FinTech Australia. I’ve interacted with the peak body over the years on policy matters, and it has served as a key voice in shaping the government’s stance on important regulatory issues.”

“I look forward to working with Rehan and the broader fintech community to navigate what is shaping up to be a complex framework of policies for the sector. I suspect I’ll be meeting many of our members at Intersekt in September, which will set the policy agenda for our work over the next 12 months.”

Kavass’s appointment follows the launch of tickets for FinTech Australia’s annual conference, Intersekt. Sales launched two months ahead of the event in anticipation of a sell-out.

TurnKey Lender raises $10m of new funding and appoints chairman of the board

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TurnKey Lender raises $10m of new funding and appoints chairman of the board

TurnKey Lender, a provider of lending automation and embedded financing software, has closed a US$10 million funding round.

The fintech plans to use the funding “to take advantage of new opportunities in embedded lending adoption macro trends across North America, Europe and Southeast Asia”, from its bases in Singapore, London, Kuala Lumpur, Warsaw and Austin, Texas.

Founded in 2014, TurnKey offers an all-in-one SaaS platform that automates the digital lending process, serving 180 clients and 50 million end users in more than 50 countries.

Its software is used by traditional, alternative, and embedded lenders such as fintechs, telecoms, retailers medical, and B2B lenders, including Esusu, Globe Telecom and aMark.

OTB Ventures led the fintech’s latest funding round, with participation from early backers including DEG and Vertex Ventures.

TurnKey Lender has also expanded its leadership team with the appointment of Christian Moralesas as chairman of the board.

Moralesas participated in the funding round and brings more than 40 years of senior experience in leading global tech institutions to the role.

Dmitry Voronenko, chief executive officer and co-founder of TurnKey Lender, said: “We are pleased to have raised our latest level of funding and to continue partnering with great investors. This will turbocharge the next stage of our growth. We believe that embedded lending will soon be part of any customer relationship globally.”

Image: TurnKey Lender

Insurtech firm wefox raises $400m

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Insurtech firm wefox raises $400m

Germany-based insurtech wefox has closed a series D funding round worth $400 million.

The equity and debt round gives wefox a post-money valuation of $4.5 billion.

A digital-first insurance company that sells policies through intermediaries, wefox intends to use the new funding for product development and expansion across Europe before moving into Asia and the US.

It’s aiming to achieve a revenue target of $600 million by the end of 2022, after doubling revenue last year to $320 million and generating more than $200 million in the first four months of this year.

Julian Teicke, chief executive officer and founder of wefox, said: “This new valuation of $4.5 billion is a clear validation of our business model, which focuses on indirect distribution via agents rather than direct. This makes our business one of the most credible insurtechs in the market right now.”

Teicke added: “wefox now has more than two million customers and we aim to reach three million customers by the end of this year. It is further proof that wefox is trusted and testament to our focus on prediction and prevention, rather than the traditional approach of repair and replace.”

“We are making insurance 10 times better through technology. As a result, our customer experience is simple and fit for purpose for the way we live today.”

Mubadala Investment Company led the equity raise portion of the series D funding round, with participation from Eurazeo, LGT, Horizons Ventures, OMERS Ventures and Target Global.

Ibrahim Ajami, head of Mubadala Ventures, said: “Unlike most direct-to-consumer insurtechs, wefox acts as an ecosystem enabler—empowering the various distribution channels instead of competing with them. This model has allowed wefox to scale quickly and sustainably, providing brokers and customers alike a platform that seamlessly digitizes the insurance market.”

Image: wefox

ID-Pal secures €7m in series A funding

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ID-Pal secures €7m in series A funding

ID-Pal, the global identity verification provider, has raised €7 million in a series A funding round to further fuel expansion into international markets.

The new funding will allow the Dublin-based identity verification company to further scale its global sales and marketing efforts to meet the growing demand for its solution, which performs document verification, facial matching, liveness testing and address e-verification in real-time, following its official UK launch earlier this year.

Inspire Investments led the latest round, with participation from Act Venture Capital, which have has now taken part in ID-Pal’s last two rounds. Inspire Investments is led by Derek Delaney, chief executive officer at Waystone, and is the private holding company for the management of Waystone.

ID-Pal’s series A comes off the back of a significant period of growth with both employee and customer count doubling over the past 12 months.

The company has achieved significant success internationally in both the SME and enterprise spaces. Customers include One4all, Zurich, Elavon, Trident Trust, BDO, American National University, and the recent J.P. Morgan-acquired Global Shares.

Along with a host of strategic partnerships with market-leaders such as HID Global, RiskScreen, Sherpa Technologies, Temenos and Vesta, ID-Pal’s funding further seals its reputation as one of the leading identity verification providers operating in the market.

Commenting on the new funding, Colum Lyons, chief executive officer and founder of ID-Pal, said: “Raising €7 million in series A funding is a milestone achievement for our company and a testament to the product the team has built.”

“ID-Pal identified a clear gap in the market in 2016 that traditional providers were not serving. We designed a solution that brings agility, convenience, and compliance to businesses of any size. Whether you are an SME or enterprise client, our global coverage and seamless user experience stands out from what other providers offer.”

“The faith in our product shown by Inspire Investments and long-time champions of ID-Pal, Act Venture Capital, signals their confidence in the trajectory that we are on.”

On investing, Delaney said: “I first saw the opportunity in early 2019 and what struck me then was the strength of the CEO and the calibre of the initial team.”

“We believe a good product is secondary to leadership, but across the first seeding round we saw the product go from strength to strength and by the time the third round came the strength of the product, management and clients were all on a par.”

Delaney continued: “As such, the five Waystone management who have been invested in ID-Pal across multiple rounds felt we could confidently present the full series A to our colleagues. Something we have never done and would not without this level of certainty. 35 colleagues subscribed and these are all people who understand the AML/KYC world. We look forward to seeing Colum lead this incredible journey.”

Mambu gains access to Visa DPS through new partnership

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Mambu gains access to Visa DPS through new partnership

Cloud banking provider Mambu has struck a partnership with Visa to utilise Visa DPS, one of the largest processors of Visa debit transactions globally.

Germany-headquartered Mambu said the globally focused partnership will give its customers a “seamless connection” to Visa DPS for end-to-end card issuing and processing.

Kevin Trilli, chief product officer at Mambu said: “Customer demand for card services is growing rapidly, whether it is incumbent financial institutions or fintechs. Strategic partnerships and interoperability of service providers offer the best value, choice, and flexibility for clients, whether they are embarking on digital transformation or scaling a new card programme.”

“This is a major step to bringing more simple, transparent and connected services to any company offering financial services.”

Trilli continued: “We’re creating an opportunity for our customers to transform, scale and achieve operational excellence with this integration. Institutions can create their unique customer payment card experiences on Mambu, regardless of whether it is a deposit or loan account and get it rapidly to market.”

“They can then leverage the issuer processing capabilities of Visa DPS to deploy new products and solutions for their customers. This partnership will enable our customers to create powerful, digital-first payment solutions and experiences.”

Todd Brockman, senior vice president and global head of issuing solutions at Visa, said: “Today’s banking and payment landscape requires agility, and an architecture that can easily adapt to the rapid pace of innovation in our industry. We’re excited to bring our modern API-based processing capabilities to Mambu’s growing marketplace of composable payment solutions and believe our collaboration will create tremendous value for our clients and their cardholders.”

Insurtech YuLife aims to take wellness global after $120m series C

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YuLife aims to take wellness global after $120m series C

Insurtech company YuLife has raised $120 million in a series C funding round.

UK-based YuLife plans to invest the capital in a geographical expansion and scaling its range of products “that improve lives and reward wellbeing”.

The series C round, led by Dai-ichi Life with support from existing investors, take the insurtech company’s total raised since 2016 to $206 million.

Those investors backed a company that aims to upend an insurance industry that is “not fit for the future due to low trust, low perceived value and low engagement”, as a “wellbeing crisis” grips the globe.

YuLife’s flagship product, group life insurance, centres on an app that gamifies wellness, rewarding policyholders when they complete activities.

The insurtech company claims that more than a third of its policyholders engage with it every day, compared to once a year for the average insurer, while 87% report an improvement to their wellbeing as a result of having YuLife as their insurer.

YuLife now covers more than 500,000 policyholders across small to large businesses, with $50 billion+ of cover in place.

Image: YuLife

Chip enhances savings experience with TrueLayer Payments

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Chip enhances savings experience with TrueLayer Payments

TrueLayer, an open banking provider in Europe, and wealth fintech Chip are teaming up to deliver an improved customer experience through dramatically faster account payments.

Through the partnership, users of UK-based Chip’s wealth-building app, which provides investor access to real assets, diversified funds with the likes of BlackRock and savings, can “easily and securely” connect their primary bank account to the app using Payments Initiation.

“This improved process means customers can fund their account with confidence, with their payments arriving in the Chip app swiftly,” the wealth fintech explained.

“Real-time payment confirmation provides Chip with additional assurance that every transaction has been authorised and funds received.”

The collaboration builds on Chip’s previous partnership with TrueLayer that enabled secure bank connectivity to analyse transaction data and make savings recommendations to its users.

The new TrueLayer partnership also removes transaction fees associated with cards and other payment methods such as Apple Pay, and promises higher payment acceptance and faster settlement.

Simon Rabin, chief executive officer and founder at Chip, commented: “Chip’s ambition is to give the customer a one-stop-shop for growing their money and building wealth. Open banking with TrueLayer has been part of our offering for a long time and when it came to examining how to improve payments, extending that collaboration was the obvious choice.”

“Together we are delivering a seamless funding experience that will help Chip customers to meet their financial goals and build their wealth.”

Nick Tucker, head of financial services at TrueLayer, added: “As we experience changing market conditions and a cost-of-living squeeze, helping people save in an easy and transparent way is critical. That’s why we’re delighted to be extending our relationship with the team at Chip.”

“It has been focused on helping people save through a hassle-free digital service that offers a variety of flexible and tailored savings and investment options. We look forward to further extending our collaboration as Chip continues to roll out new features and investment options.”

Image: TrueLayer and Chip

TPAY MOBILE appoints new CEO

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TPAY MOBILE appoints new CEO 2
Sahar Salama and Gaston Aussems

TPAY MOBILE, the mobile payments provider serving the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, has appointed Gaston Aussems as its chief executive officer.

Founder and current chief executive officer Sahar Salama will move into a group chairwoman position, and will work closely alongside Aussems over the coming months to ensure a smooth leadership transition for the company.

Commenting on his appointment, Aussems said: “I’m incredibly excited to be taking the baton from Sahar at such an exciting time for TPAY MOBILE. The company’s mission of empowering underserved regions’ digital economies is something I wholeheartedly support, and I look forward to being part of the next stage of its journey.”

Aussems was chief executive officer of European payments giant Mollie for more than seven years, where his leadership proved crucial in the company achieving its unicorn valuation in 2020.

He has since spent two years as a venture partner, at firms including Atlantica and Antler, and a board member of impact investor Oikocredit, as well as various fintechs and telecommunications companies, including Yolt and Talk360.

Explaining the leadership changes at the mobile payments provider, Salama said: “All of us at TPAY MOBILE should be so proud of everything that we have achieved. We changed the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa for the better by delivering cross-border micropayments at scale, and significantly improving financial inclusion in the region.”

“While we were always ambitious in our vision of what TPAY MOBILE could become, we never imagined that our services would be so rapidly adopted by our partners and customers, and this makes me excited for what the future holds, especially as TPAY MOBILE expands its payment capabilities to new digital merchants and non-digital services.

Salama continued: “The time is now right for someone new to take TPAY MOBILE to the next level, and I trust that Gaston is that person. His experience of successfully scaling a complex, multi-country payments company, combined with his technical background, product-focused mentality, and global, entrepreneurial mindset, makes him the perfect person to execute TPAY MOBILE’s ambitious plans. I will be moving on to focus on a purely strategic and advisory role for the group in this exciting next growth phase for TPAY MOBILE.”

Babatunde Soyoye, current chairman at TPAY MOBILE, commented: “It has been a pleasure to partner with Sahar over the years and witness the passion, hard work and dedication that has helped grow TPAY MOBILE into the innovative company it is today. Sahar laid a great foundation in building a unique mobile payments network of merchants and Telcos across Middle East, Africa, and Turkey.”

“The next phase of growth is about building on this incredible platform to make TPAY MOBILE the market leading digital merchant acquirer and mobile payments enabler in its markets and we believe that Gaston will help us achieve this.”

Image: Canva

SumUp raises €590m

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SumUp raises €590m

Payments fintech SumUp concluded a €590 million funding round last week that gives the company an enterprise value of €8 billion.

The capital injection will fund product development, expansion into new markets and “value-adding acquisitions”.

Founded in 2012, UK-headquartered SumUp has become a premier payments partner to merchants and businesses, providing free business accounts and cards, online stores, an invoicing solution, and in-person and remote payments services, all via an app that integrates with the fintech’s proprietary card terminals and point-of-sale registers.

SumUp’s team of more than 3,000 people supports merchants in 35 countries worldwide, with Peru being the fintech’s most recent new market.

In recent years, SumUp has also expanded into point-of-sale solutions, and with the acquisitions of Goodtill, Tiller, and Fivestars, the fintech is rapidly expanding its footprint within the restaurant and retail sectors.

Commenting on the new funding, Marc-Alexander Christ, co-founder and chief financial officer at SumUp, said: “Our ability to organically grow 60+% through the challenges of recent years shows that we are there for merchants when they need support most. I am very proud of the team for completing a successful financing round in the current market with marquee investors—it’s indicative of our strength, execution, and potential.”

The round, a combination of debt and equity and brings SumUp’s total capital raised to €1.5 billion, was led by Bain Capital Tech Opportunities, with participation from funds managed by BlackRock, btov Partners, Centerbridge, Crestline, Fin Capital, and Sentinel Dome Partners, among others.

Darren Abrahamson, a managing director at Bain Capital Tech Opportunities, added: “SumUp has continually evolved to empower a growing and diverse field of small businesses with payment solutions and tools to efficiently connect with their everyday consumers.”

“We’re proud to contribute our deep fintech and payments experience to aid SumUp’s remarkable ability to push the boundaries and lead an incredibly competitive industry.”

Image: SumUp

PayRetailers sponsors payments category at this year’s Europe FinTech Awards

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PayRetailers sponsors payments category at this year’s Europe FinTech Awards

Representatives from PayRetailers are attending major fintech industry gala the Europe FinTech Awards 2022 in association with ID-Pal on 7 July, in the payments firm’s capacity as official sponsor of the Payments Tech of the Year category.

The Spanish company described its sponsorship “as a great opportunity to support the achievements of all the companies and talented individuals within the fintech sector”. The awards ceremony is taking place in London next week.

It is also an ideal chance “to forge and strengthen invaluable connections within this global community”, as PayRetailers presses ahead with its own ambitions to achieve the best outcomes and technological progress within Latin American financial services. 

As an expert in the region and thanks to its ongoing commercial growth, PayRetailers recently acquired Pago Digital from Colombia and Paygol from Chile, with both companies joining the multinational PayRetailers Group.

These acquisitions increased PayRetailers’s presence and improved its position as the processor of payments in Latin America within fintech and online payments.

PayRetailers continues to expand its equipment and technology in order to strengthen its robust and inclusive payment infrastructure. Its all-in-one API allows international companies to offer the local payment solutions preferred by consumers in Latin America’s most strategic markets, through a single, convenient and flexible integration. 

The Europe FinTech Awards offers for the second consecutive year the opportunity to examine and recognise the whole of European fintech. It rewards those who lead the way in innovation, using technology to address challenges and create opportunities, improving user experience, and changing the way in which business is carried out.

As a Spanish company flying the flag for Latin America, PayRetailers is “relishing” the opportunity to take the stage as a sponsor and a supporter of the fintech industry.

Franklin Templeton launches Asian fintech incubator

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Franklin Templeton launches Asian fintech incubator

Asset management firm Franklin Templeton has officially opened its first Asian fintech incubator in Singapore.

The Franklin Templeton Singapore FinTech Incubator is a joint incubation programme for early-stage startups launched in partnership with F10 Global.

Located in the heart of Singapore’s business district at the 80RR FinTech Hub, the incubator focuses on supporting early-stage fintechs in the areas of blockchain, digital distribution and wealth management technology, insurtech, sustainability, data science, and predictive behaviour analytics.

Franklin Templeton will provide startups in this incubator with a minimum of US$150,000 each in seed funding.

Commenting on the launch of the new incubator, Tariq Ahmad, co-head of the Asia Pacific at Franklin Templeton, said: “In line with the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s push to nurture a culture of innovation in the financial services sector, we are delighted to officially kick off the launch of the Franklin Templeton Singapore Incubator programme, which demonstrates our commitment to supporting the next generation of fintech startups.” 

“The official opening of the incubator comes at a time when fintech startups are poised for further growth across the region. We will continue to seek collaborations with agile and promising startups to strengthen Singapore’s role as a regional innovation hub and deepen collaboration within Asia Pacific’s vibrant fintech ecosystem.”

Franklin Templeton’s Singapore fintech team is responsible for the ongoing management and operation of the incubator. Margaret King, vice president of fintech partnerships and corporate strategic investments, said: “Singapore’s role as the leading fundraising and innovation centre for Asia Pacific startups has been growing on the back of rising fintech fundraising levels.” 

“With the stewardship, expertise and support of our local Singapore-based fintech team, we seek to support creative startups across the region through the inaugural Franklin Templeton Singapore FinTech Incubator.”

“This programme also builds on the success of our fintech incubator in Silicon Valley, and we encourage more startups in Asia Pacific to join our programme to catalyse innovative solutions in fields such as blockchain, alternative data, wealth management and green tech. Together, we can transform the way asset management is delivered and experienced across the region.”

BetterData was the first startup selected from more than 30 applications to the incubator. The fintech provides a one-stop data platform that aims to enhance data quality, bridge gaps and correct biases using AI models and privacy-preserving techniques.

Franklin Templeton said BetterData “helps to improve data-driven processes, reduce costs with near-instant data access and increase revenue streams in the financial services sector”.

In addition to seed funding, selected startups will be able to utilise Franklin Templeton and F10’s incubation curriculum, including two years of residency and individualised milestone-based programming, and receive extensive mentoring and guidance.

Applications for the Franklin Templeton Singapore FinTech Incubator are open, with the first phase of the programme commencing next month.

Image: Franklin Templeton

Citi chooses METACO for digital asset custody

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Citi chooses METACO for digital asset custody

Citi has selected METACO to develop and pilot digital asset custody capabilities.

Switzerland-based fintech METACO will work with Citi to develop a platform to enable clients that use the global bank’s custody network to store and settle digital assets “seamlessly and securely”.

Citi plans to fully integrate METACO’s digital asset custody and orchestration platform, Harmonize, into its existing infrastructure, to develop and pilot the capabilities. 

The technology capabilities developed under the partnership will be deployed in Citi’s institutional client group.

Okan Pekin, global head of securities services at Citi, commented: “We are witnessing the increasing digitisation of traditional investment assets along with new native digital assets. We are innovating and developing new capabilities to support digital asset classes that are becoming increasingly relevant to our clients.” 

Adrien Treccani, chief executive officer and founder of METACO, added: “We are pleased to team up with Citi, one of the largest securities services firms, to support them in their vision to bridge digital and traditional assets. This initiative is a market-defining moment for institutional adoption of digital assets.”

Pine Labs acquires API fintech Setu

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Pine Labs acquires API fintech Setu

Merchant commerce platform provider Pine Labs has struck a deal to acquire API fintech Setu.

This is the third acquisition for India’s Pine Labs in 2022. Setu, based in Bengaluru, provides modular API infrastructure for fintech products and services.

The fintech claims there is strong demand for its products across retail, banking, insurance and lending, with use cases including bill payments and collection and electronic signatures.

Commenting on the announcement, B Amrish Rau, chief executive officer at Pine Labs, said that Setu will “make an incredible addition to the Pine Labs platform” because embedded finance and opening banking “are going to be the way forward” in India and beyond.

Rau added: “Setu is a team of builders and entrepreneurs, and together with the Pine Labs team will tackle hard problems to solve in the ecosystem.”