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Prakash Pattni of IBM: Bringing fintechs and banks together

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Praksh Pattni of IBM: Bringing fintechs and banks together

IBM’s Cloud for Financial Services takes care of the security and compliance needs for banks and fintechs that want to join forces. 

Banks want to work with fintechs to adopt the latest technology. But as a lot of these fintechs are in the early stages of their development and are not always familiar with the needs of regulated industries like financial services, their security isn’t always as robust as banks and regulators demand. 

IBM’s solution handles these regulatory requirements, allowing banks to adopt innovations in weeks rather than months. And it lets fintechs demonstrate their regulatory compliance to banks.  

FinTech Intel spoke to Prakash Pattni, managing director of digital transformation at IBM, to discuss its cloud solution, the relationships between fintechs and banks, barriers to adopting new technology, and balancing regulation with innovation.  

Prakash Pattni

Fintechs used to be seen as threats to traditional banks, but now many banks see them as partners. What has brought on this shift in perspective?  

Fintechs were challenging the traditional banks with new innovations, especially in the retail sector, so they were initially seen as somewhat of a threat. 

But what has changed, especially over the last few years, is that banks can see the value they can get from partnering with startups—be that in payments, identity or in any other space.  

While many banks still build solutions themselves, other banks prefer to invest in new technology, rather than trying to invent everything in-house.  

Banks have seen the value in the innovation from fintechs and how they can get to it much quicker with less risk. 

This has led to a real shift in banks wanting to work with fintechs, and are developing these relationships through things like accelerator programmes. 

What are the barriers to fintechs partnering with banks? And how is IBM addressing this issue?  

Startups need to prove to banks and regulators that they are safe and secure and bad actors are increasingly targeting third parties, like startups, to exploit potential vulnerabilities, to gain access to banks.  

All the required due diligence around security and compliance, especially if the startup is not familiar with banking regulations, creates friction and slows down the process of banks adopting new technology from startups.  

IBM has been focusing on addressing this issue and removing these friction points so banks can rapidly on-board and adopt startups. This is also something our banking clients have asked us to help them with.  

This is one of the drivers that has led to our Cloud for Financial Services, which is built for the industry by the industry.  

We have taken on the burden of building controls into our cloud that meet regulations to speed up the onboarding process. This means banks can onboard a fintech in a matter of weeks rather than months or years.  

How big a problem is this in the industry?  

This is a real pain point in the industry that we are addressing.  

Before a bank can use a third party, be that a fintech or other vendor, they will need to complete checks to ensure they meet the security and compliance needs of that bank.  

Fintechs can often struggle here with lots of back and forth with the bank, slowing things down. IBM helps them by onboarding them onto our industry cloud, which meets the needs of the financial services industry and through testing and documenting of these security and compliance needs, so they can go back to the bank and show them they have met all of their needs.  

We have an industry council of over 80 banks and many of these have shared their security and control requirements with us which we have built into our cloud.  

This validation of security and compliance requirements by a trusted partner like IBM speeds up the onboarding process for startups and banks, and avoids the need to repeat the process with every new banking client.  

How do regulators balance the need between tough regulations and allowing enough room for fintechs to innovate? And how does IBM speed things up?  

There needs to be a balance between regulation and innovation. Because if you overregulate, you’ll stifle innovation as it’s too hard for all these startups to get through all the requirements.  

Rather than have everyone hire cybersecurity experts and compliance teams, IBM brings the best of industry practices and does that work for you.  

By taking that friction point out, fintechs can continue to innovate. Even if regulations change, we make the relevant changes on our cloud and keep up to date with these changing regulations. 

We have more than 100 providers that are working with us and have gone through this due diligence and rigour, and being adopted by banks who see the value and benefits. 

Image: IBM  

 

Money20/20: Banks and fintechs urged to avoid the greenwashing trap

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Money2020 Banks and fintechs urged to avoid the greenwashing trap

Amid extreme weather, record high temperatures and swift ice melt, banks and fintechs are being urged to avoid ‘greenwashing’ and do their bit to help tackle the climate crisis.

In the Money20/20 Europe session, Enemy of Greenwashing: How to Provide Authentic & Sustainable Payments?, three panellists identified common mistakes and offered useful tips for helping to create a sustainable future.

Chitua Kalio, global head of services of Giescke+Devrient, which has pledged to end the use virgin plastic in its payment cards by 2030, said: “Pick a place to start. Create an awareness around your footprint. Think about the whole journey of a product, such as a plastic bank card.”

She added: “3b chip cards are issued every year. What happens to them when they expire?”

Joe Crutwell, European general manager of Patch.io, acknowledged that “products labelled as sustainable sell more”, so there is an incentive for banks and fintechs to do this, but they must be wary of greenwashing.

There are challenges for banks in particular. Crutwell said: “Banks are using carbon credits as a way to keep on emitting. There needs to be transparency as to what consumers are buying.”

“We need consistency” around regulations, he continued. “Banks have a huge role to play. They emit CO2. They finance a lot of businesses that may emit CO2.

“Software can bring data to help consumers make more informed decisions. We need the public to change companies. But many companies are afraid of being called out for greenwashing.”

Carl-Johan von Uexkull, chief compliance officer of Doconomy, said: “Customers and shareholders play a key role as they expect companies and banks to act sustainably.

“Banks should act with integrity. They need a plan to reach net zero for their business. They can use carbon removal technology and should hold executives accountable to make these changes happen.”

He continued: “Banks should engage their customers [and think about how to] drive behaviour change in a consumer. Inspire people to make more sustainable choices.

“There is a no one silver bullet. You need to know how you will play a role. What will your business model be? If banks take a first step others will follow.”

Tide was cited as a good example of fintech’s progress. It has pledged to remove 100% of its emissions with durable carbon removal from 2022 onwards, among other promises.

Concluding, Crutwell urged banks and fintechs to identify areas of potential impact and make a plan. Of course, they must do all of this in a transparent way, otherwise they risk receiving the greenwashing label.

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Image: Canva

Money20/20: How your series A&B fundraising decisions can affect your exit

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Money2020 How your series A&B fundraising decisions can affect your exit

Which is better, organic or funded growth? While both have their advantages, funding can accelerate the process, if it’s deployed correctly.

In the Money20/20 Europe session, How Your Series A&B Fundraising Decisions Can Impact Your Exit, Damian Woodward talked through a fintech business lifecycle, valuation and strategic fundraising.

Woodward is principal and co-founder of Bean Partners, which guides chief executive officers of tech companies as they fund, scale and sell their businesses.

This helps them to raise money before it’s an emergency, deploy capital to maximise runway, and maximise their valuation and exit outcome.

The typical pattern of startup fundraising is an emergency raise. This isn’t a sustainable journey and can significantly affect the valuation and attractiveness of a business at exit.

In fact, 80% of businesses that enter a sale process fail to sell, according to Forbes.

Founders in this pattern of fundraising complain about being stuck in investor meetings when they need to be raising money, instead of doing what they do best—building their businesses.

Woodward said: “If you can understand your business lifecycle and the value of your business, you can make strategic decisions.”

A lifecycle includes starting the business and building a team, then developing and growing its product in the angel investment phase. Series A is all about gaining traction until series B, when a founder can asset build, continue to grow and exit. 

Woodward emphasised that founders “need to know their endgame to make a strategic decision plan”.

For example, a founder who wants to exit in five years with £50m will have different ambitions and goals to those that want to achieve unicorn status in eight years.

Knowing where your capital will be spent and deploying it as efficiently as possible is crucial. Woodward said: “A lot of money is spent on people, and they need to deliver what they need to deliver to achieve an uplift.”

Fintech funding has gone down in the last year, early stage VC is decreasing, and mergers and acquisitions are increasing.

This means it is not easy as it once was to fundraise, but investors are still willing to invest in promising fintechs.

Woodward said: “There is a need for funding as you develop your product.” But he warned: “You may need more capital than you think.”

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Image: Canva

Money20/20: Rob Gatto, Paysafe

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Money2020 Rob Gatto, Paysafe
Rob Gatto

Rob Gatto, chief revenue officer at Paysafe, discusses the future of payments with FinTech Intel, including how AI could feature and what needs to be done to break down barriers to adoption.

Can you tell me a bit about Paysafe and your role there?

Paysafe is a global payments platform with a unique two-sided network that serves both consumers and merchants and enables them to connect and transact seamlessly through a variety of payment solutions.

We offer merchants multiple payment methods, which can be accessed through a single point of connection, Paysafe’s API.

Our payments solutions also enable card processing, subscriptions payments, cryptocurrency and FX trading.

I joined the company in 2022 as its first chief revenue officer, charged with spearheading Paysafe’s international sales function.

My task is to increase our market share in all our target verticals. I am early on into the journey, but we are making good progress and I am excited about the opportunities ahead.

What’s the latest research on spending habits and preferred payment methods?

Since 2017, we’ve been interviewing consumers every year to find out how their payment habits, preferences and concerns are evolving against a backdrop of various macro-economic factors.

In April this year, we interviewed 14,500 consumers across 14 countries, and we saw that despite tighter household budgets, demand for travel, leisure and other experiences remains strong with 51% of respondents prioritising them over other discretionary spending.

We saw that consumers are actively seeking deals and discounts, with 67% indicating a higher likelihood of making purchases during sales events such as Black Friday. Nearly half of the respondents (47%) had abandoned their online shopping carts due to budget limitations.

While debit cards and credit cards remain the two most popular payment methods, mobile wallet and digital wallet usage has shot up.

Fifty-two percent of respondents are comfortable leaving home without a physical wallet and rely on mobile wallets such as Apple or Google Pay for their everyday purchases.

Fifty-five percent of respondents believe that mobile wallets will completely replace cards within the next decade.

How comfortable do you think consumers are using AI payments technology?

AI-driven payments have immense untapped potential, although current adoption rates remain low.

Only 14% of respondents currently use AI-driven payment technologies, with older age groups showing the lowest adoption rates.

In terms of comfort levels among consumers, we still have some way to go. Just 10% expressed willingness to use AI-driven payments in the next two years if they became more established.

A majority cited insufficient knowledge about the technology and concerns about data misuse as reasons for their discomfort.

How can these barriers be overcome?

Lack of awareness and knowledge are the primary obstacles hindering wider adoption. In our research, 35% of consumers said they don’t know enough about AI-driven payments technology to feel comfortable using it.

To encourage wider adoption, it is crucial to increase awareness and understanding of AI-driven payment technologies.

Payment service providers and merchants will need to educate users about the benefits of AI-driven payments, such as smoother experiences, convenience and security, in order to break down those barriers.

Addressing privacy and security concerns head-on is also essential. Leveraging consumer awareness of AI being used for risk-scoring, fraud detection, and personalisation by merchants can help drive adoption.

Demonstrating how AI improves customer experiences and safeguards financial data may also alleviate objections and convince consumers of the security and convenience offered by AI-driven payments.

What brings you to Money20/20?

Money20/20 Europe is a key event in our calendars here at Paysafe and we look forward to it every year.

We come to connect with our partners and peers in the industry, identify new opportunities for collaboration and celebrate all things fintech.

It’s a great chance to reflect on the big industry developments of the year and debate those that are coming up.

What are you looking forward to most at the event?

This is my first Money20/20 Europe event since joining Paysafe, so personally I can’t wait to meet with industry connections, old and new, with a fresh focus and an exciting proposition to talk about.

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Image: Paysafe

Money20/20: Bheem Adavikolanu, Altimetrik

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Mone2020 Bheem Adavikolanu, Altimetrik
Bheem Adavikolanu

Ahead of Money20/20, FinTech Intel spoke to Bheem Adavikolanu, chief transformation officer at Altimetrik, on digital transformation for financial services, payments and fintech.

Can you tell me about your role at Altimetrik and what the company does?

I am the business unit head and chief transformation officer for Altimetrik in the EU, UK and Ireland.

Altimetrik is a pure play digital business and digital transformation company focused on financial services, payments and fintech.

Our unique digital business methodology enables global enterprises to drive growth, unlock opportunity with speed, scale and consistency.

What issues are fintech and payment providers facing on their journey to digital businesses?

The biggest issue for fintech and payment providers is to continuously adjust to a changing landscape where every layer faces the risk of disintermediation.

The stack is continuously evolving, and one must evolve to redefine one’s place in the stack. For example, banks are no longer able to control every aspect of their customer’s journey.

New fintechs are emerging that completely transform a layer in the stack such as payments, lending and onboarding.

Every player must accelerate their journey to become a digital business and must do so in the face of some clear headwinds in the form of slowing growth and the fear of recession.

Digital payment giants enjoyed huge growth during the pandemic and are now adjusting to the new realities.

Fintech players, particularly those running on startup money, must focus on getting to profitability as fast as possible before investor money runs out.

Overall, our view is that there is no time to stand still, no matter where in the stack you fit. The only option is to modernise continuously and keep at it.

What brings you to Money20/20?

We are a 10-year-old fintech focused on product development startup with a client list that includes the who’s who in payments and the fintech space, including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union, Citi Bank, BNYM, and DBS among others.

These clients rely on us to modernise their platforms, build new products and experiences from scratch and accelerate their journey to a complete digital business.

We go where our clients go. Money20/20 is a great platform serving as the crossroads across all major trends in the industry.

We are here to learn from our clients and industry stalwarts and share our experiences building the fintechs of the future.

What are you looking forward to most at the event?

We are eager to explore how the industry is adapting to the rapid and profound changes witnessed since our last event in 2022.

Over the past 12 months, we have experienced a series of significant developments: crypto markets have seen a major downturn, Web 3.0 has taken a backseat, questions have been raised about the value of NFTs, small banks are grappling with closures and mounting pressure, and the emergence of generative AI has brought both excitement and apprehension.

Moreover, amid these transformations, the ongoing war in Ukraine and the looming threat of recession in major economies further amplify the urgency of the issues we are addressing.

Money20/20 Europe arrives at a pivotal moment to bring these larger-than-life challenges to the forefront.

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Image: Altimetrik

Money20/20: How to build a bootstrapped fintech business

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Money2020 How to build a bootstrapped fintech business

Startups tend to be judged by the amount of funds they raise and the names behind that funding. Based on the last year, fintechs are underperforming, with funding falling.

The alternative to fundraising is bootstrapping. A session at Money20/20 Europe this morning, How to Build a Bootstrapped Fintech Business, discussed if there is space and opportunities for building a fintech company with minimal or zero funding.

Lucy Rout, founder of Tabuu, and Daria Dubinina, chief executive officer of Crassula, a company that has been bootstrapped since day one, explored the different components.

One of the main early challenges is gaining traction while striking a balance between fundraising and revenue generation and growing the business.

Dubinina said: “When you are bootstrapped your core concern is that it makes money as fast as possible. The pressure is high compared to a funded company. There is pressure to do it fast.

“When you are fund raising you are trying to raise money, then you have to know how to pitch, and raise money and still run business.”

On how to differentiate, Dubinina said: “You can be the same as your competitors but cheaper, faster or more reliable. Or easier to use or have better marketing.”

They also said it’s important to get as much stuff for free as possible, such as using Amazon Cloud, or going through a startup programme with a bank. And fintechs should sell any services they can, even if it’s consulting.

As remote working has taken off in fintech, a distributed workforce can bring added pressure for businesses attempting to establish themselves. To deal with this issue, Dubinina said: “We control the work that our employees do. We control the result of the work if not the time. This will control the performance.”

The use of AI, including ChatGPT, can save time and money, as fintechs can employ fewer people.

But for the people a fintech does hire, how does it grow a team and get them to stay? “Remote work can be a benefit,” Dubinina said. “We found that people don’t work just for money. They want interesting work. And something to help them grow professionally and personally.”

As for a good example of a bootstrapped business, look to Wise, which was bootstrapped for two years and now processes billions of transactions every month.

And how does a fintech go from bootstrapped to profitable? Dubinina said: “The pressure is high. There is a lot of work at first and you won’t have a life.

“When everything starts to work and you start to make a profit you can delegate and get rid of some pressure and have more time.”

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Image: Canva

Money20/20: What’s in your digital wallet?

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Money2020 What’s in your digital wallet

Digital wallets are already transforming the way we go about our daily lives. Jumping on the train, boarding a flight, or buying a cappuccino have all become easier thanks to digital payments and passes.

A panel at Money20/20 Europe, moderated by Jenny Cheng, vice president and general manager of Google Wallet, discussed the digital wallet ecosystem and how these industries are coming together to create an accessible, safe and convenient digital wallet experience.

David Levy, head of product management at SNCF Connect and Tech, and Christoph Beckenbauer, general manager at LEGIC Identsystems, joined Cheng on the panel, to discuss what it will take for a digital wallet to truly replace a physical one.

The main takeaways from the panel were trust and the user experience. Without trust, people won’t feel safe storing their financial information and identification details.

And the user experience must be frictionless, and superior to using a physical wallet, otherwise they won’t make the switch.

On what it will take for customer adoption, Levy said: “There needs to be trust and it needs to be something that you can rely on.

“If customers trust our company they will use the wallet, because they trust the brand. The customer journey is really important.”

Trust will also come down to who owns the data and information. Beckenbauer said: “The information should be owned by the user. It is super important.”

And although there are some people who will always refuse to use a digital wallet, younger generations increasingly do so as standard, so adoption in the future is likely to increase.

Having everything in one place—train ticket, plane ticket, hotel card and ID—will improve the customer journey. But, to achieve this, the stakeholders behind all these essentials need to be brought together.

A lot of work still needs to be done to realise the full potential of a digital wallet. But storing our identification cards in our digital wallets is just around the corner. And in a decade, having a way to store your digital valuables may not be a handy feature, but a necessity.

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Image: Canva

Money20/20: Jeff Parker, Marqeta

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Money2020 Jeff Parker, Marqeta
Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker, senior vice president and managing director of international at Marqeta, is taking to the stage at Money20/20 Europe today to discuss how implementing the newest embedded finance use-cases into a roadmap can increase customer acquisition and bolster retention, while delivering a meaningful financial lifeline to consumers at a time they need it most.

FinTech Intel spoke to Parker before his keynote session, How Embedded Finance Can Help Solve the Cost-of-Living Crisis, about Marqeta, the future of payments and catching up with friends at Money20/20.

Can you tell me about Marqeta and what it offers?

Marqeta is a fintech company that has created a category for modern card issuing and processing.

We provide infrastructure for businesses to build debit, pre-paid and credit card programmes quickly, taking the complexity and time out of card processes by using APIs to create a new payment product or streamline supplier and workforce payments.

We work with some of the world’s most innovative brands across on-demand delivery, expense management, digital banking and more on our platform, including Uber, Klarna, and Instacart, to name just a few.

What does your role involve?

Marqeta was founded in the US and is now rapidly expanding overseas and currently certified to operate in 40 markets.

I am responsible for building Marqeta’s go-to-market and operational functions internationally and advancing the company’s service offerings in its key markets across Europe and APAC.

My main aim is to expand our global operation by facilitating partnerships and combining the power of people and technology to ultimately deliver world-class experiences in the payments space. 

What do you think the future of payments will look like?

At Marqeta, we could talk about this all day, and due to the rapid and continual innovation in the payments ecosystem, would probably come up with a different answer.

But, here’s three key trends.

First, embedded Finance. As the demand for digital financial services continues to grow, embedded finance will play an increasingly vital role in the financial services industry.

Thanks to open APIs, businesses can partner with fintechs to integrate financial services into everyday apps or ecommerce platforms to offer a more convenient and streamlined experience and enable consumers to take control over their finances.

Second, digital ubiquity. There is more choice than ever before in how to pay for things, and this is increasingly digital.

Mobile and digital wallets now store payment cards, allowing contactless payments to be made using a smart device and virtual cards can be used for online transactions without necessarily needing a physical card.

We’ve also seen continued demand for digital banks as consumers increasingly value accessing a full range of banking services from a mobile app.

And third, buy now, pay later (BNPL). In recent times, consumer desire for a seamless payments experience and challenges associated with increasing inflation and cost of living has transitioned into demand for ‘instant credit’.

As a result, we’re seeing BNPL finance move from being a differentiator to an essential element of the customer experience mix.

We also expect to see BNPL providers offer more to consumers, such as additional financial services and helping them to build credit.

What brings you to Money 20/20?

I’m always keen to attend events with innovators and disruptors from across the industry, as this drives connections and conversations about the future of our industry.

You can’t exist in a bubble, and it’s important to take a step back and examine the world of payments if you want to continue being flexible, adaptable, and innovative.  

I look forward to discussing all things fintech for three days with my amazing colleagues and other bright minds from across the financial industry.

I hope to head home with some solid new connections and a whole host of new ideas to explore. Of course, the parties don’t hurt either!

What are you looking forward to most at the event?

Catching up with friends is key, it’s the only event where everyone you know in fintech is in the same location at the same time.

Outside of that, I’m looking forward to giving my keynote and representing Marqeta as I discuss How Embedded Finance Can Help Solve the Cost-of-Living Crisis.

Rising inflation and interest rates have led to tough economic times for many consumers.

Embedded finance, I believe, will play a critical role while providing a meaningful financial lifeline to consumers at this critical time.

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Image: Marqeta

Banking-as-a-service provider Griffin raises £13.5m

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Banking-as-a-service provider Griffin raises £13.5m
Griffin's co-founders, including David Jarvis (right)

Griffin, a UK-based banking-as-a-service provider, announced today that it has raised $13.5m in a series A funding round.

The fresh funds will be used to prepare the fintech for exiting the mobilisation period (authorisation with restrictions), which is subject to regulatory approval.

The funds will also be used to support Griffin’s commercial activities and further develop its embedded finance platform.

The round was led by global VC firm MassMutual Ventures, with participation from existing investors Seedcamp, Notion Capital and EQT Ventures.

Last year, Griffin raised £12.5m in a round led by Notion Capital, and in 2020 raised £6.5m from EQT Ventures.

The latest funding round comes on the heels of Griffin securing a UK banking licence, which allows the fintech to hold a limited amount of deposits and start to offer payment services.

David Jarvis, chief executive officer of Griffin, said: “This funding round not only validates our mission and strategy but also equips us with the resources to continue to deliver our innovative banking solutions to more customers.”

Ryan Collins, managing partner at MassMutual Ventures, commented: “Griffin’s licence and BaaS platform represent unique capabilities in the UK market and enable it to become a pillar for the fintech ecosystem.

“Its comprehensive product suite is tailored to serve fintechs, payment services providers and brands looking to embed finance offerings.”

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Image: Griffin

Chargebacks911 appoints two new board members

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Chargebacks911 appoints two new board members
Guy Harris and Eric M Hoffman

Chargebacks911 announced yesterday the appointments of Guy Harris as its chairman of the board and Eric M Hoffman as president of inter-bank solutions and board member.

Harris, who is attending Money20/20 Europe with Chargebacks911 founder and chief executive officer Monica Eaton, joins the company from Bank of America, following his retirement as head of merchant services at the bank.

Hoffman joins from Apple, where he was director of Apple Pay business development. He also holds the role of president at the Electronics Transactions Associations.

The two new appointments will help to scale the company and capitalise on new revenue streams, as the scope of chargebacks and dispute management increases.

There has been an increase in online shopping over the last few years, which benefits ecommerce providers, but Chargebacks911 notes that “they will be faced with disputes and chargebacks, which are 50 times more prevalent with Card Not Present (CNP) transactions”.

Commenting on the appointments, Eaton said: “We have approached an era that is transforming at an unprecedented rate, both in terms of technology and as an industry.

“To continue to remain a market leader requires grit, diversity and contagious passion.

“Guy and Eric deliver on all three, bringing unmatched expertise to this new era as we propel our award-winning platform, to continue our mission.”

Eaton added: “As chairman, Guy will help steer our strategic vision and global expansion efforts, and Eric is set to make his mark across the business with his hands-on experience and go-to-market prowess.

“I look forward to this next phase in our journey as we continue to challenge the status quo.”

On his new role, Harris said: “To be named chairman of the world’s leading chargeback management platform with best-in-class technology and blue-chip clients is an incredible honour.

“I was attracted to the business by Monica’s entrepreneurial talent, and vision to solve the pain points that chargebacks cause for the entire industry.”

Hoffman said: “I’m thrilled to be entering an entrepreneurial environment with an incredible leadership team to build and scale world class solutions that meet the needs of businesses on a global scale.

“Monica is a brilliant and dynamic leader with a tremendous vision for the tech that serves merchants, PSPs and card issuers.”

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Image: Chargebacks911

Money20/20: Monica Eaton, Chargebacks911

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Money2020 Monica Eaton, Chargebacks911

At Money20/20 Europe, FinTech Intel caught up with Monica Eaton, founder and chief executive officer of Chargebacks911, to discuss chargebacks, the importance of data to combat fraud and networking at the event.

Can you tell me a bit about Chargebacks911 and the solutions that it offers?

We are the world’s first chargeback remediation and dispute management platform dedicated to supporting retailers and financial institutions, to manage the growth of post-transaction fraud.

As a technology platform provider, we provide SaaS solutions and services that manage the end-to-end dispute process.

We support more than 2.5 million merchants worldwide through our platform, and also serve the world’s largest financial institutions, offering modular solutions built for scale and scope.

What can you offer that your competition can’t?

Chargebacks911 has vast experience and knowledge of chargebacks and disputes, based on over a decade of focused domain expertise in working with many of the world’s largest organisations.

We also support the largest number of integrations, and offer adaptive technologies, enabling our clients to dramatically reduce the cost and time associated with integrating. 

One example of post-transaction fraud that has grown substantially since the COVID-19 pandemic, and still remains largely undetected, is friendly fraud (illegitimate chargeback claims).

In fact, we’ve found in our recent Chargeback Field Report that nearly three quarters of merchants surveyed have seen approximately a 20% increase in illegitimate chargebacks from Q4 2022 to Q1 2023.

With our knowledge and expertise, we can continue to educate more merchants and financial institutions about the emerging threats of payments fraud in the rapidly changing ecommerce and retail industry.

In terms of which attributes contribute most to our competitive advantage, this is best summarised through three key differentiators.

First, we have the most domain expertise, having first hand experience from every stakeholder—our people are our greatest asset.

Second, our services and technology are scalable and configurable supported by a guaranteed ROI.

Third, our connections include relationships and know-how that has culminated over the last decade.

Many studies say fraud is going to continue to increase—what do you think can be done to prevent it?

To combat the rise of fraud and first-party misuse, we must focus on the evolution of technology and shift in consumer behaviours.

Our recent field report also found that two thirds of the merchants have seen first-party misuse rise by an average of 28%, but less than one-third of merchants actively engage in proactive management strategies that big data and technology platforms such as Chargebacks911 can support.

Effective fraud prevention requires a two-pronged approach.

First, businesses must engage in a layered strategy that incorporates rich data analytics and decisioning models that use machine learning and/or artificial intelligence.

Secondly, to establish and maintain accurate decisions, businesses require outcome feedback and insights.

Chargeback and dispute data are arguably the most valuable feedback insight to help train fraud models, but real-time access to the chargebacks and standardised interpretation continues to be a pain point.

Utilising platform technologies to automate the retrieval and response mechanisms is vital to ensuring businesses are able to address evolving demands, changing fraud landscapes and expanding datasets.

For example, if a business builds AI models supported by big data, anti-fraud organisations can detect and prevent fraud attacks sooner rather than later, with faster and more comprehensive data insights.

Embracing this technology can not only prevent chargebacks, but also reputational damage and lost revenue.

What brings you to Money20/20?

Money20/20 is such an exciting opportunity for networking and sharing knowledge with businesses, industry leaders, fintech companies and the payments industry.

Many of the attendees will be brands looking for ways to reduce fraud and increase their bottom line.

We can share our own knowledge and insight into why many chargeback claims may be more be fraudulent or legitimate, and also discuss how merchants can use solutions that will bring AI up to speed and address the problems of chargebacks.

What are you looking forward to most at the event?

I’m looking forward to the many exciting panels that will address the surge in chargebacks and fraud across the payments industry.

The Secure AND User Friendly: Is it Possible? panel, for example, discusses how regulators should manage the balance between safe payments, and a streamlined user experience that also works for merchants.

These types of open discussions about incredibly important issues within our industry are the first steps in developing meaningful solutions.

I’m also looking forward to showcasing some of our latest developments with attendees and discussing with them their biggest pain points when it comes to payments.

Feedback from industry leaders about our products helps us to optimise and refine them to meet the needs of retailers, banks and consumers.

This helps to shape our product development to address the problems our industry faces not only today, but in the future, as well.

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Image: Chargebacks911

Money20/20: Bringing transition finance to life with data

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Money2020 Bringing transition finance to life with data

As the climate crisis threat looms ever larger, the McKinsey Global Institute is counting the financial cost of the net-zero transition.

Its report estimates that the net-zero transition will require a staggering $275t in spending between 2021 and 2050, averaging $9.2t per year.

Banks and financial institutions are crucial funding this transition.

To succeed, they must embrace transparency, ESG and innovative data approaches to guide their financing activities, according to a panel at Money20/20 Europe this week.

The session, Sustainable Finance: Bringing Transition Finance to Life with Data, hosted by Matthias Lange, partner at McKinsey, and Maria Patschke, chief executive officer at SAP Fioneer ESG Solutions, explored global banking trends in addressing climate change and showcased SAP Fioneer’s ESG platform, rooted in ESG data, to transform its transition financing efforts.

Lange said: “Banks have a global revenue pool of hundreds of billions of dollars to fight climate change.”

He also noted that we are seeing opportunities for green banking products and initiatives, and opportunities to build green banks.

Moreover, organisations need to adopt a holistic approach, and data and technology should be the foundation for transformation.

Patschke continued: “Companies should be disclosing their carbon footprint.”

And said: “We need to work with other data sources—banks internal data, customer specific data and ESG data.

“Companies need to know their CO2 data in order to make strategic decisions and make sure they are not green washing.”

For companies that can’t track the data themselves, they can outsource to other companies, such as with SAP Fioneer’s platform.

Patschke said: “The ESG dashboard provides everything you need to know about your performance at your fingertips. And it provides transparency which is necessary for decision making.”

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Image: Canva

SEB Embedded and Enfuce partner to launch card programmes

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SEB Embedded and Enfuce partner to launch card programmes

Sweden-based banking-as-a-service provider SEB Embedded has partnered with Enfuce, a card issuing and processing provider, to launch virtual and physical card programmes for its customers.

By selecting Enfuce, SEB Embedded, part of banking group SEB, will be able to add to its current offerings, and provide a full card solution tech stack to its customers.

These new services include exchange rate API, authorisation controls and the option for customers to change their pin.

The partnership will also allow clients to “tap into new revenue opportunities and unlock innovative new ways to expand their customer bases” by adding card-as-a-service (CaaS) and other financial services to their offerings.

Enfuce’s cloud-based platform offers an “agile alternative to existing issuer processing platforms”, with the ability to add modules and services when needed.

SEB Embedded currently serves customers in Sweden and is looking to expand across Europe.

Christoffer Malmer, chief executive officer of SEB Embedded, commented: “SEB Embedded was looking for a provider to help us get new products to market quickly and efficiently, including the extension of CaaS within BaaS.

“Together with Enfuce, SEB Embedded can take a completely fresh approach to delivering financial services to new customer segments and markets.”

Led by co-founders and co-chief executive officers, Monika Liikamaa and Denise Johansson, Enfuce is looking to expand and made a number of senior hires earlier in February to support its growth.

On the partnership, Liikamaa, said: “We’re incredibly excited about our partnership’s potential to deliver compelling embedded financial services, create revolutionary new use cases, smoother payment journeys, and vastly enhanced customer experiences.”

Johansson, added: “This partnership is a game-changer for banks and non-financial companies in Sweden. Offering card solutions traditionally required major investment, rigorous regulatory obligations and dependence on slow-moving core legacy systems.

“With SEB Embedded and Enfuce, clients have a unique opportunity to offer financial services without crossing the line of actually becoming a bank.

“We take care of BINs, licences, products, and compliance so that clients can focus on their customers.”

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Image: Canva 

Money20/20: Ravi Adusumilli, Airwallex

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Money2020 - Ravi Adusumilli - Airwallex

Airwallex is expanding at lighting speed. It sustained its $5.5b valuation during its latest funding round last October, and continues to scale, making now the perfect time for FinTech Intel to sit down with Ravi Adusumilli, its senior vice president of business development and partnerships, to discuss what comes next.

In this interview, Adusumilli tells FinTech Intel about Airwallex’s success and how fintech safeguarding models could have stopped a bank collapse.

He also looks forward to Airwallex’s chief executive officer and co-founder, Jack Zhang, speaking at Money20/20 Europe this week about the fintech’s growth in a borderless, digital economy.

Can you tell me about Airwallex and what it does?

Airwallex is one of the world’s fastest growing financial technology companies today, operating across Asia Pacific, Europe and the Americas

Globally, Airwallex continues to scale at pace, covering more than 150 countries, enabling more than US$50b of annualised transaction volume, and with revenue more than doubling year on year.

We’re continuing to expand our global footprint and recently announced our launch into Israel and the Middle East and have our sights set on Latin America later this year.

There are three sides to our business—business accounts, core api and embedded finance.

Our business account is an all-in-one account to help businesses operate globally. Core API is for businesses looking for powerful and flexible APIs to programmatically manage money. Embedded finance for platforms and marketplaces looks to generate new lines of revenue by embedding Airwallex’s APIs and components.

What is your role at the company?

I hold two roles. I serve as Airwallex’s general manager of Americas and senior vice president of partnerships.

I oversee Airwallex’s entire business in the region, identifying opportunities to drive the company’s regional growth across the Americas.

I also lead an international team across the US, APAC and EMEA, managing the company’s extensive global network of strategic and financial partnerships that are instrumental for our growth globally.

In regard to the recent banking crisis, you mentioned how fintech safeguarding models could have stopped a bank collapse.

Unlike traditional banks, fintechs don’t have the ability to use customer funds for other purposes, such as purchasing bonds.

When funds are held with a fintech company they are ringfenced. This means that funds cannot be used by the fintech for trading, investments or loans—it is essentially untouchable.

In the event of a fintech failing, the funds in the safeguarded account will be returned to the account holder.

The fintech model ensures internal teams have the right governance, data and technology in place to move swiftly and securely.

The recent bank collapses have highlighted the importance of being able to move quickly, which fintechs enable by ensuring the right data and options are available to protect customer funds.

What brings you to Money20/20 Europe?

Having attended both of last year’s Money20/20 events in Las Vegas and in Amsterdam, this is a great opportunity to once again demonstrate how our global payments and financial infrastructure can enable businesses to be borderless from day one.

It’s an exciting albeit busy couple of days, meeting with executives across fintech and financial services, but well worth it from a business development and relationship-building standpoint.

What are you looking forward to most at the event?

This year, I’m most looking forward to hearing Airwallex’s chief executive officer and co-founder, Jack Zhang, speak on the main stage alongside Ingrid Lunden, managing editor at TechCrunch.

During the fireside chat, A Borderless Fairytale or Foregone Conclusion?, Zhung will share just how the company is thriving in the current market, and how it aims to grow in the borderless, digital economy.

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Image source: Airwallex

Money20/20: Caio Costa, PagSeguro

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Money20/20: Caio Costa, PagSeguro

Ahead of Money20/20 Europe, FinTech Intel spoke with Caio Costa, managing director of PagSeguro, which us attending the event, to hear how the payment solutions provider is connecting worldwide merchants to Latin America.  

Can you tell me about PagSeguro? 

We’re a Brazil-based company that provides local payment solutions for businesses from anywhere in the world to sell their digital products to Latin American countries. 

Our solutions cover more than 140 local payment methods and local currencies in 17 Latin American countries, plus Portugal, Spain and Turkey. 

We also provide instant single or mass cross-border payouts to Brazil, enabling merchants to better reach their service providers, local partners, and even social media and gaming users in Brazil. 

What solution does it solve in Brazil and South America?  

Offering local payment methods and local currencies to Brazil and other Latin American markets would traditionally require a lot of bureaucracy, huge time and financial costs, and many processes and personnel in order to define and implement what actually works for each country. 

Merchants can leave all that to us. From Pix in Brazil to PSE in Colombia, and different local card brands to cash-based payments, we allow merchants to offer the preferred methods of each country, with transparent rates, reliable processing, smart fraud prevention and more. All their payment needs for Latin America. 

How does it help companies enter the LATAM market?  

Latin America is a very fragmented region, with major opportunities for cross-border merchants, highly engaged and digitised consumers, but also unstable economics and a lot of inequality.  

With our expertise, we help companies navigate these challenges and better tailor their strategies to reach Latin American consumers, which fundamentally includes our core business—local payments. 

How does it help businesses in South America?  

We offer the most complete payments coverage for 17 Latin American countries, so companies can easily access not only the region’s giants, Brazil and Mexico, but several other countries as well with only one solution. 

What brings you to Money 20/20 Europe? 

Money 20/20 Europe is the most important event of the year for us, where we always make sure to bring our best experts and our newest releases.  

This year we’re releasing our latest whitepaper, The Payment Habits of Latin American Gamers, where we detail the habits and preferences of consumers in Brazil.  

It’s also an opportunity to catch up with other teams and companies, to get a sense of where the industry is going, the main challenges on everyone’s mind and spread the word on the importance of local payments and Latin American opportunities. 

What are you looking forward to the most at the event? 

I’m really excited to see what everyone will think about our new whitepaper. Online gaming is a huge segment in Latin America, with great opportunities for cross-border merchants to tap into.

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Image: PagSeguro 

Enabling business: How payments technology will boost the future of business

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Nick Corrigan, president of Europe at Global Payments

As the year has progressed, we’ve seen many of the predictions made at the beginning of 2023 begin to come to fruition.

Trends around open banking were solidified when the new finance tech hit a milestone of 7m users in January.

And more compelling news on instant payments continues to stream through, as the number of instant payment transactions in Western Europe is now expected to grow five-fold by 2027. 

Although it’s great to see the continued growth of these innovative payments technologies, there’s a lack of focus on how new technology is impacting business for the better, both now and in the short term. 

Between open banking, the metaverse, instant payments, and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), there’s a lot going on in the payments space. 

Accelerating B2B payments  

As digital payments continue to grow in popularity among consumers, businesses have also demonstrated increased adoption to streamline business payments.  

Digital payment solutions are revolutionising the world of B2B payments, catering to businesses’ needs in a space that has been relatively neglected when it comes to innovation.  

As businesses look for new ways to save costs and introduce efficiencies, there’s a renewed focus on eliminating manual intensive tasks, one of which is slow and lengthy invoicing processes.   

As a result, businesses are looking to technology to address these issues. This means that payments providers that can offer digital payments will be in high demand. 

The end advantage of these more streamlined B2B payments processes is efficiency.  

Businesses won’t get bogged down in making sure that their affiliates, providers and suppliers are paid properly, allowing day-to-day operations to run smoothly and granting more time to focus on more crucial matters. 

Making real-time a reality  

The ways in which businesses move and receive money digitally is becoming outdated.  

Businesses are realising that these processes are also expensive, slow and leave their customers, as well as themselves, more vulnerable to fraud. 

In light of this, instant payments have seen huge investment and support from big tech, in addition to becoming embedded into non-financial apps and other digital services. 

As open banking and other real-time payment options develop, 2023 will be an exciting year for digitisation opportunities, including at point of sale and in B2B. 

Indeed, open banking and other instant payment technology has already reached new milestones this year, and so businesses can start to expect a much wider variety of real-time payments options to become available. 

The benefits of this will be game-changing for many SMEs, allowing payments to be complete in a matter of seconds, greatly improving efficiency and reducing the risk of fraud. 

The physical and digital become one  

This year is seeing the physical and digital spaces complete their merger into omnichannel, meaning that consumers will cease to view the virtual and physical worlds as separate, but rather two spaces that flow seamlessly between one another. 

This marks a huge opportunity for many companies to capitalise upon. 

Stadiums and events, for example, are primed to adopt more digital ways of engaging with fans, branching out beyond simply offering virtual tickets, but enabling the whole payments experience at events to run digitally, such as ticketing, merchandise and even parking.  

Another hybrid area to watch is social commerce, where consumers can immediately buy what they see without leaving an app or platform, reducing the steps to purchase significantly.  

Disciplined posture toward new technologies will prevail 

Though efforts to create dramatic advances in technology will always receive attention, higher interest rates and the crypto crash—among other factors—are forcing a more disciplined posture toward new technologies in 2023.  

We can take the metaverse as an example. Commerce opportunities in the metaverse depend on whether consumers will flock to digital worlds or if uptake will have a longer runway.  

As large improvements continue to take place, companies will likely view the metaverse as an extension of their ecommerce strategy, however, we may not see a single large-scale rush towards it.  

Similarly, we’re likely to see more regulation of buy now pay later (BPNL) to stabilise and protect consumers.  

What’s more, it’s fair to say that successes in crypto will occur via effective use cases.  

For example, stablecoins, blockchain technology and CBDCs are more probable winners in the near term because there are real use cases where they can be put to work on a regulated, reputable and compliant basis. 

Ultimately, the market’s continued trajectory down this cautious route regarding furthering innovation, in addition to enhanced efficiency-boosting paytech in both the B2B and B2C spaces, spells good news for businesses, and should encourage them to invest in bringing their payments infrastructure up to date for the benefit of both themselves, and their customers.  

All these factors are enabling businesses to increase their competitive edge and improve customer loyalty by providing safer, more streamlined and positive payment experiences.  

Image: Global Payments  

Nick Corrigan is president of Europe at Global Payments 

ekko forms board of advisers to deliver sustainable growth

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Greentech ekko has formed a board of advisers to deliver sustainable growth. 

The board features experts in climate change, technology and financial services, including Majda Dabaghi, Barney Harrison, Stephen Garland, John Sills, Kimberley Waldron, and Tom Greenwood. 

The advisers will add a “wealth of knowledge and expert insights” to support the company’s business development and growth. 

They will provide strategic input to the ekko team and contribute to dedicated working groups in their areas of expertise.

For consumers, ekko offers a debit card with carbon tracking and offsetting.

Earlier this year, the greentech opened its technology to banks and payment providers with an API that offers the same sustainable solutions and incentives.  

Speaking on the company’s new board of advisers, Oli Cook, chief executive officer and co-founder of ekko, said: “It’s our belief that to have the greatest impact at the greatest scale, we need to collaborate together. 

“Now, with the guidance of our handpicked and massively talented board of advisers, we’re bringing some of the smartest minds in their fields to the table to work with us on creating impact across our business.” 

Dabaghi said: “I believe that every business has a responsibility to tackle climate change, and ekko’s award-winning solutions will help businesses take positive steps in this regard. 

“As an adviser, I will draw on my experience in supporting businesses to take climate action and driving international initiatives that support the [UN’s] Sustainable Development Goals to help ekko maximise their positive impact in collaboration with SMEs, multinationals and climate leaders around the world.” 

Discussing his role on the board, Garland, a serial entrepreneur, said: “Investing my time in such impactful climate initiatives holds immense importance, as it is clear that our present choices are moulding the world of tomorrow.  

“ekko’s unwavering commitment to protecting our planet, driving sustainable progress, and creating a better future makes me wholeheartedly dedicated to supporting their journey and amplifying their influence.” 

Image: ekko  

Read more: Greentech ekko opens its tech to banks and employers 

 

VerifyVASP becomes GLEIF validation agent to increase transparency in crypto

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VerifyVASP becomes GLEIF validation agent to increase transparency in crypto

The Global Legal Entity Identifier Foundation (GLEIF) has chosen VerifyVASP, a Singapore-based regtech, as a validation agent to increase transparency in crypto. 

VerifyVASP can now obtain legal entity identifiers (LEIs) for its virtual asset service provider (VASP) clients “quickly and efficiently”. 

The regtech can then add its clients’ LEIs into its messaging service to provide the identification data needed for “easy and early” compliance with current and anticipated regulatory requirements. 

One upcoming requirement, the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) travel rule, sets out a framework of measures that countries should implement to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. 

It obliges VASPs to “obtain, hold and submit” information associated with virtual asset transfers to identify and report suspicious transactions.  

The travel rule aims to mitigate the risks associated with the transfer of virtual assets.  

By taking on the role of validation agent, VerifyVASP will help to increase adoption of LEIs ahead of the upcoming regulatory deadlines across the Asia Pacific region.  

Shihyun Chia, chief executive officer at VerifyVASP, commented: “As a validation agent, we can use LEI data to greatly streamline VASP identification and facilitate counterparty identification, while supporting our clients with early compliance to upcoming regulations.  

“Counterparty due diligence is one of the main challenges VASPs face due to the level of information required by the FATF’s travel rule.  

“The LEI helps to address this as it delivers consistent, high-quality and globally recognised entity identification which greatly helps both financial market supervisors and participants to assess exposure across marketplaces.” 

Sirgoo Lee, chief executive officer of Dunamu, the operator of South Korea’s largest digital asset exchange Upbit, said: “The crypto industry is shaping markets across borders and expanding rapidly.  

“It is highly expected that VerifyVASP will enable VASPs and other market participants to build a solid foundation of trust in the global marketplace.”  

Stephan Wolf, chief executive officer at GLEIF, added: “There is currently no way to determine if the same VASP is registered with multiple regulators. 

“This leads to uncertainty for national authorities as well as all participants in the global financial system. If all jurisdictions identify registered service providers and other intermediaries via the LEI, and the LEI is consistently exchanged across supervisory authorities, we can create a digitally enabled financial ecosystem.”  

Image: Canva  

TS Imagine adds to its team in the Asia Pacific

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TS Imagine adds to its team in the Asia Pacific

Trading technology provider TS Imagine has added Stephanie Cheung and An Hoong to its team in the Asia Pacific region.  

Stephanie Cheung

Cheung joins as sales director. She was previously strategic account manager at Enfusion, and has held roles at Trust Company of the West and CBRE Investors.  

Hoong joins TS Imagine’s account management team and will be responsible for providing technical account management and support to clients in Hong Kong across trading, portfolio management, and risk management.  

He brings more than 15 years of experience in financial services, including time at Enfusion, Dealogic and Cantor Fitzgerald. 

TS Imagine was formed in 2021 following a merger of Trading Screen and Imagine Software. 

Its software-as-a-service platform provides portfolio and risk management tools, and other trading products and solutions.  

The New York-headquartered company has operated in the Asia Pacific for more than two decades, and has offices in Singapore, Tokyo and Sydney, as well as Hong Kong.  

An Hoong

On the new hires, Rob Flatley, chief executive officer at TS Imagine, said: “Stephanie and An bring extensive experience serving clients across our industry, and we are thrilled to welcome them.   

“We are building a formidable team of seasoned professionals in APAC who will drive our business forward and deliver exceptional value to our clients as we continue to strengthen our presence in the region.” 

These appointments follow TS Imagine’s recent appointment of Sim Johal as head of Asia Pacific, and the launch of two new solutions—TS One and RiskSmart X. 

Image: TS Imagine 

Kiwi raises £80m to provide underbanked US Latinos with credit

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Kiwi raises £80m to provide underbanked US Latinos with credit

Kiwi, a New York-headquartered credit provider to US Latinos, has closed a $75m credit facility and a $4.5m pre-series A funding round. 

The fresh funding will be used to expand its services and reach more customers across the US and Latin America.  

The debt financing was provided by i80 Group, while Advent-Morro Equity Partners, Altio Capital and Independent Capital led the equity round.  

Kiwi’s platform serves Latinos living in the US who may have limited credit data and access to capital.  

Founded in 2020 by first generation immigrants Mariano Sanz and Alexander Schachter, Kiwi offers borrowers with affordable loans, enabling them to build their credit score.  

Kiwi serves 30,000 customers and says it is experiencing a surge in demand for its products.  

The Latino market is the fastest-growing minority segment in the US, and is expected to reach more than 100m in the next few decades, up from the current 60m.  

Mariano Sanz, co-founder and chief executive officer of Kiwi, commented: “We take pride in equipping underserved Latin immigrants with the tools and resources necessary to establish credit and secure access to capital. 

“Addressing the difficulties faced by underbanked consumers in joining the traditional credit system will have the most significant positive impact on their financial lives.”  

Sanz continued: “We remain dedicated to growing and expanding our services to serve more customers across the US and eventually Latin America.” 

Edward Goldstein, managing director at i80 Group, said: “We’re excited to support Kiwi in their mission to promote financial inclusion amongst underbanked Latinos.  

“Kiwi’s innovative approach to credit access and their strong reception from customers make them a leader in the market and position them well to provide essential financial resources to people who need it.”  

Image: Canva  

Read more: SUMA acquires Reel to further help Latinos build wealth 

Bamboo Payment appoints new CEO to lead growth across LATAM

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Bamboo Payment appoints new CEO to lead growth across LATAM

Bamboo Payment, a Uruguay-based fintech, has appointed Francisco León as its new chief executive officer.  

León has been tasked with scaling the business to ensure its accelerated growth across Latin America.  

Launched in 2020,  Bamboo Payment connects international merchants operating in Latin America to 13 countries, to serve unbanked and underbanked customers. 

It’s PAYIN and PAYOUT solutions, which include instant bank transfers, ewallets and plugins for existing ecommerce platforms, allows companies to accept payments throughout the region without the need to have a local presence.  

León is joining Bamboo from PayU, where he also held the role of chief executive officer. Prior to this, he held various roles at Falabella Bank in Colombia.  

Marcelo Perez, Bamboo Payment board member, commented: “Francisco is a proven leader that knows the Latin America payment space like no other.  

“He shares our values and vision for the business, and on behalf of our board, we look forward to working with him.” 

Francisco León

On his new role, León said: “We have plenty of opportunities to unlock the LATAM market potential.  

“We have real flexibility for developing new features and solutions and expanding into new markets when it comes to adapting our offerings to meet the unique needs of our clients.” 

Image: Bamboo Payment  

Money20/20 announces finalists for climate conscious startups battle

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Money20/20 announces finalists for climate conscious startups battle

Money20/20 has announced the finalists for its pitch battle, Europe’s Got Access, which will showcase the most innovative and eco-conscious climate fintech startups across Europe.  

Following on from America’s Got Access, launched at Money20/20 in the US last year, Europe’s Got Access will provide an opportunity for startups to demonstrate their greenest and most groundbreaking products and services. 

The finalists will compete live on stage at Money20/20 Europe, taking place in Amsterdam on 6-8 June.  

The winners will walk away with US$100,000, from Commerce Ventures.  

Judges for the title include Scarlett Sieber, chief strategy and growth officer of Money20/20, Dan Rosen, founding partner of Commerce Ventures, and Katherine Brown, head of sustainability at Visa.  

Rosen commented: “As a thematic investor in financial services innovations, we’re excited to meet some of the brightest entrepreneurs who are building at the intersection of climate and fintech.  

“Our hope is to invest in high-growth companies that also help make the world better.” 

Sieber said: “Europe’s Got Access has been designed to give climate champions and fintech innovators a platform to unite and create a greener financial future.  

“This is very much at the core of what Money20/20 stands for, as the place where the industry’s boldest and brightest voices delve into the challenges we’re facing now and shape together what comes next for the money ecosystem in Europe and beyond.”  

Fintechs that will be pitching at Money20/20 Europe include Net Purpose, Clima Cash and Elijin. 

Samantha Duncan, founder and chief executive officer of Net Purpose, said: “We are the platform for sustainable and impact investors.  

“We provide facts on companies and investment portfolios so investors can effortlessly measure their environmental performance just as they do their investment returns.”  

Klas Klaas, co-founder at Clima Cash: “We have created Clima Cash to unlock the potential of every individual in the fight against climate change.  

“Today people still think that acting green is costly and difficult—we want to change that by paying real rewards to anyone reducing their own carbon footprint.”   

Image: Money20/20 

Starling Bank founder Anne Boden steps down as CEO

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Starling Bank founder Anne Boden steps down as CEO

Anne Boden, founder of London, UK-headquartered Starling Bank, is to step aside as chief executive officer on 30 June. 

Boden will remain on the board as a non-executive director and John Mountain, Starling’s chief operating officer, will take over as interim chief executive officer, until a permanent replacement is found.  

The news comes as Starling announced it had more than doubled its revenue to £453m for the year to 31 March 2023 and record pre-tax profits of £195m, a six-fold increase on the previous year’s £32m.  

Boden founded Starling, which now serves 3.6m customers, in 2014 to the challenge the established banks. 

The app-based bank offers personal and business accounts, software-as-a-service and a marketplace for insurance, accountancy and pensions.  

Anne Boden

On the bank’s success, Boden said: “When I started Starling in 2014, I was told no one ever starts a bank, nobody wins market share and you’ll never make a profit. Today’s results prove them wrong.  

“We’ve succeeded in disrupting an entire industry. I’m immensely proud of these results, which are a testament to how far we have come as a team and how fast we’ve moved as a business.”  

On her departure, Boden added: “I have spent nearly a decade here as both the founder and chief executive officer, a dual role which is unique in UK banking.  

“Now that we have grown from being an aspiring challenger to an established bank, it is clear the roles and priorities of a chief executive officer and a large shareholder ultimately differ and require distinct approaches.  

“As Starling continues to evolve and grow, separating my two roles is in the bank’s best interests.”  

Mountain, who has worked at Starling for seven years, first as chief information officer before taking on the role of chief operating officer for the last year, said: “What makes Starling stand out is that we’ve succeeded in making it both customer-led and technology-led throughout.  

“We’ve firmly established a sustainable business model and I look forward to continuing our work of changing banking for good.” 

Image: Starling Bank  

The benefits of implementing a perpetual know your customer model

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The benefits implementing a perpetual know your customer model can bring to banks

With the release of the Economic Crime Plan 2, and other measures from the UK government aiming to respond to the evolving financial crime threat, banks and financial institutions must also carefully consider their approaches to compliance against this backdrop. 

The global issue of financial crime has been increasingly in the spotlight, with it becoming apparent that, across the financial services industry, the predominately manual compliance processes followed by banks—particularly when it comes to know your customer (KYC) activities—are not keeping pace with expectations. 

During the last few years, banks, with innovation and operational efficiency in focus, have invested significantly in their KYC processes.  

However, with the potential cost of non-compliance and need to meet customer expectations remaining front of mind, now is the time to fully embrace the benefits that trusting in technology, such as dynamic KYC process automation, can bring. 

Outdated processes  

Although institutions are beginning to embark on digital transformation journeys, many still rely on manual systems centred on human involvement.  

In the case of the KYC lifecycle, for example, this not only means processes are cumbersome, but also error-prone, which affects productivity, customer experience and, overall, success.  

Manual KYC also results in analysts spending too much time finding data, and even more time analysing it, to adhere to regulations and, crucially, assess risk.  

Maintaining an accurate view of a customer and understanding risk exposure is essential to safeguarding against financial crime. 

Organisations face an ongoing challenge when it comes to monitoring for changes and investigating alerts whist performing regular KYC reviews. 

With it being most common for institutions to re-assess customer data at intervals of one year for high-risk customers, three years for medium risk, and five years for those considered low risk in a manual system, changes to a customer’s risk profile could long go undetected.  

It is for this reason, among others, that implementing a perpetual KYC (pKYC) operating model, which minimises risk exposure, maintains ongoing compliance and increases overall efficiency, is now both possible and considered. 

Achieving a state of pKYC 

pKYC allows for automated ongoing monitoring of customers, representing a move from periodic customer reviews to a technology-centred and data-driven alternative.  

It uses automation and increasing amounts of data to identify risk faster and more accurately. 

Operational efficiency is also boosted as automation identifies cases where no material change has taken place.  

This means human-led reviews can be focused on those where material change is detected. 

For many across the industry, pKYC is considered as the ‘dream state,’ in that it provides an operating model that improves risk identification, lessens manual burden and increases efficiencies.  

However, as with any major change programme, it requires a cross-functional effort, commitment and time to be successful, with several benefits to be realised along the way. 

From the beginning of a journey towards pKYC, it is important to understand that data is central to an impactful transition.  

Institutions must review customer data against external and internal data sources to assess risk and comply with regulations, with the maturity of an organisation’s use of data—particularly in regard to quality, ease of access, currency and the relevancy of external data sources—being key. 

KYC operations, as we know, are a regulatory requirement and the transition to a new perpetual model requires acceptance and support from stakeholders.  

Quality data is a factor that can improve operational efficiency and customer satisfaction, and thus accelerate the eventual adoption of pKYC. 

The journey to pKYC is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires a long-term strategic vision and mapped-out framework of how to get there, with a focus on what will truly move the needle.  

By leveraging automation, organisations can begin to realise the benefits throughout the various stages of their transformation journey towards the pKYC ‘dream state’. 

Image: Encompass Corporation 

Howard Wimpory is the KYC transformation director at Encompass Corporation

Digital banking group Tyme raises US$77m to fuel expansion

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Digital banking group Tyme raises US$77m to fuel expansion

Tyme, a Singapore-headquartered digital banking group, has secured US$77m in a pre-series C funding round. 

The funds will be used to expand its operations in South Africa and the Philippines, increase its presence in Southeast Asia, and for a partial share buyback.  

Two new investors, Norrsken22, an Africa-focused tech growth fund, and Blue Earth Capital, an independent global impact investment firm, led the round. 

Tyme is still looking for investors for the series C round, which is expected to close later this year.  

Tyme’s offerings include a digital banking platform, called TymeX, its flagship digital bank, TymeBank, which serves more than 7m customers in South Africa, and GoTyme, a Philippine digital bank. 

TymeBank was launched in 2019 and acquired merchant lending fintech Retail Capital in 2022.  

GoTyme launched in 2022, in partnership with Gokongwei Group, to provide affordable and accessible financial services in the archipelagic country.   

David Moore, principal of funds and co-investments at BlueEarth, said: “BlueEarth is excited about backing Tyme’s innovative retail partnership model which enables affordable access to first-class banking products for all consumers, including those most vulnerable or living in remote locations.” 

Natalie Kolbe, managing partner at Norrsken22, commented: “The company offers a unique product with huge customer appeal, which has led to fast and sustained growth. 

“We have analysed a lot of fintechs from across the continent, and Tyme set itself apart with its impressive growth, its differentiated product, and its unique ability to reach and serve new customer groups.” 

Dr Patrice Motsepe, founder and chairman of ARC, Tyme’s majority shareholder, said: “We remain excited and committed to further creating value in building a global digital banking portfolio with our fellow shareholders and partners.”  

Tyme is based in Hong Kong, Vietnam and South Africa, has a tech development hub in Vietnam, and a data centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

Image: Canva  

Austrade selects Encompass to promote global fintech collaboration

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Austrade selects Encompass to promote global fintech collaboration

Austrade, the Australian government’s trade, investment and education promotion agency, has selected Encompass as its envoy to promote global fintech collaboration. 

The Australian agency is partnering with Investment NSW, Invest Victoria and Global Victoria to connect fintechs founded in Australia with businesses in the UK and Europe.  

Austrade is running a 10-day fintech programme as part of the promotion, which includes briefings with the UK’s Department for Business and Trade, UK regulators and representatives of the London Stock Exchange.  

During this time, Australia-based Encompass, which operates a KYC platform, will attend events, such as Money 20/20 Europe, to encourage collaboration. 

Australia has more than 800 fintech companies and a A$4b fintech industry. 

Anastasia Nishnianidze, Austrade’s trade and investment commissioner to the UK and Ireland, said: “Australia ranks 6th in the world for fintech, and it has one of the world’s most dynamic and innovative fintech ecosystems. 

“Austrade’s FinTech Program will provide valuable introductions to major European players in the fintech industry, from banks and regulators to investors.”  

Wayne Johnson, chief executive officer and co-founder of Encompass Corporation, commented: “International collaboration is essential to bolstering innovation and continuing the growth we have seen in not only fintech but throughout the technology sector, with programmes like these playing an important part.  

“With the fight against financial crime also remaining a crucial consideration across the globe, there is much to be gained from encouraging a joint approach to fostering the best in technology and data practices, as well as the pooling of expertise and skills.” 

Encompass is also part of the Data and Technology for Compliance Alliance, a coalition to strengthen the EU’s AML ecosystem.   

Image: Canva 

Germany-based insurtech wefox raises $110m

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Germany-based insurtech wefox raises $110m

Germany-based insurtech wefox has raised $110m to strengthen its insurance and distribution business and develop its technology platform. 

The series D extension round includes a $55m credit facility alongside $55m of cash. 

J.P. Morgan and Barclays provided the revolving credit facility. The cash came from existing and new investors, including Squarepoint. 

Founded in 2015 by Julian Teicke, Fabian Wesemann (pictured), and Dario Fazlic, wefox’s platform connects insurance companies, distributors and customers, to provide access to digital insurance solutions.  

The company has raised more than $1.4b to date. 

Teicke, chief executive officer of wefox, said: “We are delighted to have two of the world’s most prestigious financial institutions—J.P. Morgan and Barclays—supporting our business.”  

“The second close of our Series D round ensures we continue focussing on building an international business with a strong path to profitability.  

“Early Q1 financial performance shows that we are in good shape to navigate the challenges ahead and continue our international growth in a sustainable way.”  

Wesemann, chief financial officer of wefox, added: “The market environment has shifted significantly over the last 18 months and we have enhanced our operating model to capitalise on this new reality. 

“We welcome having both J.P. Morgan and Barclays in addition to our new investors in this second close, which gives us tremendous confidence in steering the company towards profitability.” 

Wefox recently launched its global affinity business, which connects insurance companies with partners to distribute insurance products, increasing its existing channels and reach. 

Image: wefox 

Muse Finance appoints chief operating officer to support growth

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Muse Finance appoints chief operating officer to support growth

UK-based Muse Finance has appointed Julie Ashmore as its new chief operating officer.  

Muse Finance provides a range of finance solutions to businesses, including invoice and supply finance, invoice chasing and cash flow management. 

In her new role, Ashmore will help the company as it aims to reach 30,000 customers and provide £1.5b of SME financing in the next three years.  

Ashmore will lead the company’s sales, operations, user experience and risk functions. 

Bringing more than three decades of experience in fintech, Ashmore was previously chief executive officer of NatWest Rapid Cash. 

Prior to NatWest, Ashmore was commercial director at GrowthStreet, a UK-based fintech that provides an overdraft alternative for working capital needs.  

The appointment follows Muse Finance’s launch of BNPL for businesses as part of its working capital suite of embedded finance products and services.   

Julie Ashmore

On her new position, Ashmore said: “I am looking forward to continuing to support small and medium sized businesses in an industry I am so passionate about.  

“I truly believe that Ann and the team at Muse are those people who will make a huge difference in this industry.” 

Ann Juliano, founder and chief executive officer of Muse Finance, commented: “Julie not only has exceptional experience along with institutional-level professionalism, but she also has a passion for building and creating the best customer digital experience.  

“As we have seen from her many successes, Julie knows how to execute and deliver a tech platform that benefits the client without jeopardising risk.  

“Her addition comes at an exciting time for the business, and her innovative and adventurous mentality is exactly what Muse stands for.” 

Image: Muse Finance 

N26 adds three executives to its leadership team

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N26 adds three executives to its leadership team

Germany-based digital bank N26 has made three senior executive appointments.  

Carine van der Heijden is the new vice president of brand marketing, Kertu-Liina Lehismae is taking on the role of director of digital marketing and global media, and Nicole Heider will be the new director of labour relations and employment law. 

Van der Heijden will lead N26’s next stage of brand development across its creative, prodcution and operational growth functions.  

Prior to N26, van de Heijden was head of brand marketing at Booking.com.  

Lehismae will drive sustainable growth strategies and lead all of N26’s global media efforts. She rejoins N26 having worked for the digital bank in 2018. 

And Heider will oversee N26’s compliance with employment laws and regulations, working closely with its works council, to improve employee experience.  

The former Amazon head of marketplace and prime legal for the DACH region brings 14 years of experience in employment and labour law to the role.  

Valentin Stalf, chief executive officer and co-founder of N26, commented: “We are very pleased to have brought in three new seasoned professionals, with years of experience in their respective fields to help steer the company towards sustainable growth.  

“Each of the new hires has a clear understanding of our mission to build a bank the world loves to use.” 

Van de Heijden said: “N26 is redefining the future of banking with its beautifully simple experience.  

“I look forward to bringing this to life through an impactful brand strategy and fully integrated campaigns, and ultimately driving further adoption through every touchpoint people will have with the brand.”  

Image: N26 

UK fintech Frost announces a new broadband switching tool

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UK fintech Frost announces a new broadband switching tool

Personal finance app Frost has added a broadband switching service to its automated provider switching tool, called Save Assist.  

The UK-based fintech made the announcement on the back of a recent 17.3% broadband price hike in the country, which adds to the rising cost of living.  

Alongside its Visa debit card, the Frost app compares tariffs for household bills and offers tools to manage money and savings. 

Save Assist provides consumers with information, deals and alerts to upcoming contract changes to help individuals manage their money.  

In addition, the app will highlight sustainable broadband providers, it has plans to plant trees in customers’ names for referrals, and Frost says it is getting together with the greenest companies in each sector to get its users the best prices.  

Speaking on the product line expansion, co-founder Pawel Oltuszyk said: “We are proud to be offering such a valuable tool to our customers during these uncertain times.  

“By providing an easy-to-use platform that empowers individuals to make better financial decisions, we hope to help millions of households regain control of their personal finances.” 

Manchester-headquartered Frost recently raised £1.87m in a crowdfunding campaign via Seedrs. 

Image: Frost  

Tuum names new chief executive officer

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Tuum names new chief executive officer

Tuum, an Estonia-based banking platform, has announced Myles Bertrand as its new chief executive officer.  

In his new role, Bertrand will focus on expanding Tuum’s client base and product offering, growing the team, and extending its international footprint to become a “market leader” in core banking.  

Bertrand joins from global B2B digital micropayments platform DT One, where he was chief revenue officer.  

Prior to this, Betrand was managing director at Mambu APAC, where he helped to grow the business across the region. 

Founded in 2019, Tuum provides a modular platform, including core banking, payments and lending to banks, fintechs and SMEs.  

Previously known as Modularbank, the fintech rebranded in 2021 as Tuum, which means “core” in Estonian. 

Tuum’s customers include LHV UK, a provider of banking services to fintechs, such as Airwallex, Coinbase and Wise.  

Myles Bertrand

On his new position, Bertrand commented: “Tuum has developed a highly scalable and functionally rich platform, allowing banks to capitalise on the transformation that is occurring in the banking industry.  

“I am passionate about core banking technology and the impact it will have in transforming the financial services world as we know it.  

“To rejoin this industry as head of the most forward-thinking company in this field is incredibly exciting and I look forward to taking Tuum to the next level.” 

Margus Uudam, founding partner at karma.vc and chairman of Tuum’s board, said: “Demand for next-generation, core banking technology is growing rapidly. 

“Myles’s expertise in this area and in managing global expansion will be a huge asset to Tuum as we seek to build on our leadership in the Nordic market to become a global leader in core banking.” 

Image: Tuum 

Apple introduces Tap to Pay on iPhone in Australia

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Apple introduces Tap to Pay on iPhone in Australia

Apple has introduced Tap to Pay for iPhone in Australia. 

Tap to Pay enables businesses to accept all forms of contactless payments, including Apple Pay, credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets, via an iPhone, removing the need for any additional hardware or payment terminals.  

Westpac and Tyro Payments will be the first payment platforms in Australia to utilise the service, with a number of other platforms and apps expected to follow, including ANZ Worldline Payment Solutions, Stripe and Till Payments. 

Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay and Wallet, said: “Australia is a nation of entrepreneurs and innovators, and small and medium-sized businesses are at the heart of the country’s workforce, employing millions of Australians.  

“The convenience of Tap To Pay empowers Australian businesses to offer easy, secure, and private contactless payment experiences to their customers, and help them run and grow their business.” 

Chris de Bruin, chief executive of consumer and business banking at Westpac, commented: “Our business customers can be onboarded and start accepting quick and secure payments on-the-go within minutes.  

“It’s a game changer for tradies, delivery drivers and businesses like hairdressers, mechanics or florists.” 

Jon Davey, chief executive officer at Tyro, said: “We are excited to provide this new offering to our customers, providing greater flexibility when staff are working on-site or on the move.”  

Image: Apple 

Moolahgo enhances its FX offerings with ICE partnership

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Moolahgo enhances its FX offerings with ICE partnership

Moolahgo, a Singapore-based payments provider, has announced a partnership with Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) to use its consolidated feed, which aggregates cross-asset content from more than 600 global sources.  

ICE is a Georgia, US-based provider of data and technology. By using its feed, Moolahgo will provide its customers with access to real-time FX and crypto market pricing, helping them to make more informed decisions when making foreign currency transactions.  

This data will be available across all of its technology, such as its neobank portal, ewallet and payments-as-a-service platform. 

Founded in 2017, Moolahgo started off as a payments provider to businesses. It has since expanded its services to consumers, including its ewallet app.  

The fintech’s long-term goal is to “transform the payments landscape in Asia”, by bringing the benefits of real-time money flows to the under and unbanked population in the region.  

Moolahgo claims to help foreign domestic workers in Singapore by providing access to “affordable and convenient” financial services.  

Many migrant domestic workers face challenges in the country, including high living costs, debt back home and limited access to financial services.  

To help these workers, Moolahgo offers remittance, payments and (soon to be launched) loan services.  

On the new partnership with ICE, John Hakim, chief executive officer of Moolahgo, commented: “We are excited to work with ICE data services to enhance our FX and crypto data capabilities and provide our customers access to the liquidity pool in Singapore, which is the third largest FX centre globally, behind the UK and US.   

“With ICE’s FX and crypto pricing data, we can provide our business and retail customers a leading data solution that gives them the ability to trade with greater transparency.” 

ICE operates the New York Stock Exchange, offers mortgage technology, and backs crypto platform Bakkt 

Image: Canva 

AMLYZE raises $1m in a pre-seed round

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AMLYZE raises $1m in a pre-seed round

Lithuania-based regtech AMLYZE has raised $1m in a pre-seed investment round, led by Practica Capital, with participation from FIRSTPICK. 

The funding will be used to scale its software-as-a-service business, facilitate international expansion and enhance its product offering.  

Founded in 2019, AMLYZE offers transaction monitoring, risk assessment and case investigation solutions to its clients, currently based in the Baltic States and the UK. 

Due to the rise in financial crime, driven by money laundering, terrorism financing and geopolitical tensions, financial institutions now more than ever need the services that regtechs provide. 

According to estimates from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, financial crime accounts for 2% to 5% of the annual global GDP ($800b to $2t). 

Other fintechs in Europe that are fighting financial crime include Estonia-based Salv, Swiss fintech NetGuardians, and Fourthline, headquartered in the Netherlands. 

Gabrielius Bilkštys, chief executive officer and co-founder of AMLYZE, stated: “Our mission is to help the world overcome financial crime.  

“We consider ourselves industry experts who possess an insider’s perspective on the sector, enabling us to assist financial institutions in meeting escalating regulatory requirements and enhancing their compliance efficiency.”  

Donatas Keras, founding partner of Practica Capital, commented: “AMLYZE, bringing together an outstanding core team on a clear mission, has firm ground and the potential to bring category-defining products to the vast and growing market.”   

Marijus Andrijauskas, partner of FIRSTPICK, added: “The surge in demand for AMLYZE’s anti-financial crime solutions comes as no surprise given the increasing regulatory scrutiny worldwide, which threatens the growth of the fintech industry.” 

Image: AMLYZE 

Zip announces £100m in funding and a $1.5b valuation

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Zip announces £100m in funding and a $1.5b valuation

San Francisco-based procurement platform Zip has raised $100m in a series C funding round, giving it a $1.5b valuation.  

The funding round was led by Y Combinator, with participation from returning investors CRV and Tiger Global. 

Zip also announced a new product, called intake-to-pay, which adds purchase order management, accounts payable automation and global B2B payments to its products.  

With the fresh funding, Zip plans to enhance its offering, add to its team—which grew from 60 employees to 250 over the last year—and open a new office Texas, adding to its headquarters in San Francisco and office in Toronto.  

This latest investment brings Zip’s total funding to $181m. It raised $25m in its series A and $43m in its series B round. 

Garry Tan, president and chief executive officer at Y Combinator, commented: “We continue to invest in Zip because we believe in this outstanding team’s ability to achieve their mission to solve a ubiquitous business problem: spend control.” 

Zip’s customers include Snowflake, Coinbase and Canva. 

Joe Frederick, senior director of procurement and strategic sourcing at Snowflake, said: “Zip’s procurement platform gives us greater collaboration and visibility into spend while delivering a seamless experience for our employees. 

“We chose Zip for its world class visualisation and an experience that requires no additional training for our team. The platform is highly customisable and gives us flexibility to make changes on the fly.” 

Ali Rowghani, investor and board member, added: “There are few enterprise software companies that build products for multiple stakeholders and users within large, fast-growing companies.   

“The launch of intake-to-pay is further evidence of Zip’s groundbreaking innovation in this space. With the rapid expansion of their product in record time, Zip proves yet again that it is the central platform for end-to-end procurement.” 

Image: Canva 

Hazeltree appoints new chief product officer

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Hazeltree appoints new chief product officer

Hazeltree, a provider of treasury and liquidity management solutions, has appointed Jeremy Payne as chief product officer to expand its offerings to investment management firms. 

In the newly created role, Payne will oversee the company’s products, including public and private markets, data insights and payments. 

Hazeltree supplies its cloud-based solutions to hedge funds and private equity firms to improve liquidity, performance and mitigate risk. 

The company is headquartered in New York, with offices in London and Hong Kong. 

Payne joins from Canalyst, a data provider, where he held the same role. Prior to this, he led product management at Oak North, Bloomberg and Capital IQ. 

Over the last year, the company has appointed a new chief executive officer, a chief revenue officer, and a chief financial officer.  

On his new role, Payne said: “I have admired Hazeltree’s pioneering role in treasury and liquidity management solutions for hedge funds and private markets firms.  

“Its solutions are needed now more than ever, and I am very excited to deliver even greater value to our customers.” 

Doug Haynes, executive chairman of Hazeltree, commented: “Expanding Hazeltree’s strengths in product management expands our growth potential.” 

Image: Hazeltree  

Stratiphy launches investing app

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Stratiphy launches investing app

UK-based investment platform Stratiphy has launched its app on the Apple App Store and Google Play. 

The product had amassed a waiting list of 2,500 people ahead of its launch.  

The app uses data to provide insights and analytics to give customers “capabilities that had previously been reserved for financial professionals and investment banks”.  

It offers customised investment strategies, with the ability to determine a range of parameters such as risk level, performance and ESG.  

Founded in 2020, Stratiphy has raised more than £440,000 from 700 investors in 53 countries. 

It says the millions of data points it analyses allows customers to make more informed decisions. And the app’s ease of use is suited to new investors.  

Speaking on the launch, Daniel Gold, founder at Stratiphy, said: “Doing high-quality, consistent research on investments is difficult and time-consuming.  

“What makes Stratiphy stand out in particular is our approach and mindset—we have a strong focus on effective risk management and sustainable wealth generation. 

“Our application is helping to level the playing field by democratising access to sophisticated investing techniques.” 

As well as providing bespoke strategies for consumers, it also serves businesses such as asset managers, lenders and banks.  

Image: Stratiphy 

M-KOPA raises $255m to improve access to credit in Africa

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M-KOPA raises $255m to improve access to credit in Africa

Kenya-based financing platform M-KOPA has raised $255m in debt and equity capital to fund its expansion across Sub-Saharan Africa.  

Standard Bank led and arranged $200m in sustainability-linked debt financing, and Sumitomo Corporation led the $55m equity investment.  

Other investors include International Finance Corporation, Lendable and Blue Haven Initiative.  

Founded in 2010, M-KOPA has issued more than $1b in credit to 3m customers, to buy items such as smartphones, motorcycles and health insurance. 

For example, a customer can pay a deposit to buy a smartphone, which can be repaid in micropayments, so they can own their own phone while building a credit score with M-KOPA and gaining access to a wider range of its products and services.   

The company started in Kenya, and has expanded to Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana, to serve underbanked customers.  

Jesse Moore, chief executive officer and co-founder of M-KOPA, said in a LinkedIn post: “It is amazing to step back and appreciate the acceleration of M-KOPA’s impact over the past decade: it took us 8 years to reach 1m customers, 1.5 years to reach 2m and just over a year to hit the 3m mark. 

“This is not the easiest year to scale in our operating markets, with high inflation levels and currency devaluation making things challenging for our customers and sales representatives. But the team remain committed and are persevering despite the headwinds.”  

Image: M-KOPA 

 

UAE’s Ministry of Economy signs MoU with Presight

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UAE’s Ministry of Economy signs MoU with Presight

The UAE’s Ministry of Economy has signed a memorandum of understanding with Presight, a data analytics company, to drive foreign direct investments (FDI) into new sectors within the country. 

Abu Dhabi-based Presight will use its data, analytics and artificial intelligence in education, healthcare and financial services to attract new investment. 

The agreement will focus on attracting AI companies and technologies, to drive mergers and acquisitions in the sector. 

It also aligns with the government’s efforts to diversify the UAE’s economy and attract talent. 

The signing took place at the 12th Annual Investment Meeting in Abu Dhabi, by Juma Al Kait, assistant undersecretary of foreign trade at the Ministry of Economy, and Dr Adel Al Sharji, chief operating officer of Presight. 

Al Kait said: “The country’s increasing economic openness to the world has contributed to the development of the investment and business environment in line with international best practices. 

“This in turn has boosted FDI inflows to the country in line with the ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision that aims to double the GDP to reach AED 3t by 2031. 

“This cooperation will strengthen the government’s partnership with the private sector and promote promising investment opportunities in the country to accelerate the national FDI agenda.” 

Al Sharji commented: “Our partnership aims to identify and promote promising investment opportunities in emerging sectors, which will attract foreign investment and solidify the UAE’s position as a global investment and business hub.” 

Image: Canva 

NCR appoints new chairman and two CEO-designates

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NCR Corporation appoints new chairman and two CEO-designates

NCR Corporation, a tech provider to banks, retailers and restaurants, has appointed SilverBox Capital co-founder Joseph Reece as chairman of its board of directors. 

The fintech is also moving forward with its plans to separate into two independent companies, one focused on digital commerce and the other on ATMs.  

The ATM business will aim to improve ATM access and introduce new transaction types, including digital currency solutions. 

The digital commerce company will use NCR’s software-led model to serve the retail, hospitality and banking sectors. 

NCR, headquartered in Georgia, US, is planning to re-launch and name each company later this year. 

Tim Oliver, NCR’s current senior vice president and chief financial officer, will head up one company, and David Wilkinson, executive vice president, will lead the other. 

They will continue to work with leadership in their current roles while building out each company’s leadership team. 

On his appointment, Reece, who became an NCR director last year, said: “I look forward to continued partnership with the NCR management team as we work to complete our transition into two publicly traded companies, enhancing shareholder value and keeping our customers first.” 

Michael D Hayford, NCR chief executive officer, commented: “Joe’s deep experience is invaluable in NCR’s ongoing transformation and our successful separation.” 

Speaking on Oliver’s and Wilkinson’s new roles, Reece said: “We are unanimous in our belief that they are the right leaders to take these two industry-leading, technology-driven companies forward.” 

Image: NCR Corporation

RTGS.global appoints chief executive officer and new chair

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RTGS.global appoints chief executive officer and new chair

RTGS.global has appointed Jarrad Hubble as its permanent chief executive officer and Marcus Treacher as its executive chair. 

Hubble has been interim chief executive officer at the company, whose technology enables cross-border settlement and boosts liquidity, since taking over from Dave Sissens in February, who remains as an adviser. 

Treacher has worked at RTGS.global for two years and is taking on the newly formed executive role. 

RTGS.global aim to make the transfer of capital as easy as moving information, by connecting banks and clearing services around the world. 

Over the past 12 months, the company has expanded into the Americas and Asia Pacific regions, doubling its headcount in the process. 

Hubble said: “We are incredibly excited by this next phase of rapid growth for RTGS.global and could not be happier to have Marcus in the role of executive chair to help spearhead our continued progress. 

“I am delighted to assume the role in a permanent capacity and look forward to working alongside our incredibly talented team to deliver on our vision this year and beyond.” 

Treacher added: “RTGS.global’s unique solution can fundamentally change the way money moves around the world, solving the underlying settlement problems that have held back improvement for so long.  

“It’s imperative that we fundamentally re-wire the foundations upon which money moves, and create a better model that serves communities, banks, companies and governments enabling them to benefit more fully from today’s rapidly moving global digital economy.” 

Image: RTGS.global 

Tech Nation acquired by FF Group

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Tech Nation acquired by FF Group

Founders Forum Group (FFG), a global community that supports entrepreneurs, has acquired Tech Nation, a network that supports UK tech startups.  

Early this year, Tech Nation was forced to close after the UK government withdrew a £12m grant and awarded it to Barclays instead. 

The network played a significant role in the UK tech industry over the last decade. A third of UK’s tech unicorns have passed through one of its growth programmes, including Monzo and Revolut. 

FF Group will relaunch several Tech Nation programmes and reports on the UK tech sector as part of its existing portfolio of events and services.  

As part of FF Group, Tech Nation will continue to process the global talent visa for arts, sciences and digital technology workers on behalf of the UK Home Office until a replacement is found.  

Gerard Grech, founding chief executive officer and Tech Nation advisory board member, said: “I am confident FF Group will continue the vital work of Tech Nation, leveraging its influential network to evolve Tech Nation’s existing programmes, foster entrepreneurship nationwide, and supercharge scaleups and high-growth businesses across the UK.”  

Carolyn Dawson OBE, chief executive officer at FF Group, commented: “We’re delighted to be carrying the Tech Nation brand forward and building on the remarkable decade of growth which has resulted in the UK now being third in the world for tech investment. 

“Programmes like Future Fifty, Net Zero, and Rising Stars align succinctly with many of our existing initiatives.”  

Paul Scully, a UK minister covering tech and the digital economy, added: “Startups are at the heart of what makes the UK’s tech sector a success—creating opportunities, innovation, and growth across the UK.  

“We have invested millions over the years to help early-stage and scaling tech businesses go from strength to strength. Founders Forum Group will build on this by continuing the work of Tech Nation, which will complement our ongoing support for the sector.” 

Image: Canva  

Swissquote chooses NetGuardians to fight financial crime

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Swissquote chooses NetGuardians to fight financial crime

Digital bank Swissquote has chosen NetGuardians to enhance its fraud mitigation and comply with AML requirements.  

NetGuardians will use its AI-based solutions to monitor all transactions at the bank and on the Yuh app, a joint venture between Swissquote and PostFinance, another of Switzerland’s banks. 

The software will help Swissquote catch scams, such as authorised push payment (APP), and other types of payments fraud. 

Swissquote is increasing its security as APP scams are set to double globally by 2026 and become a $5.25b industry. 

Joël Winteregg, chief executive officer and co-founder of NetGuardians, said: “We are thrilled Swissquote will be deploying NetGuardians’ AI-based AML transaction monitoring and fraud prevention solutions.  

“Financial crime is an ongoing battle. We want to ensure consumers have a safe and seamless experience.  

“This can be achieved by reducing false positives and alleviating the threat of payment fraud.”    

Lino Finini, chief operating officer of Swissquote, added: “NetGuardians offers one of the best financial crime solutions on the market, helping us to quickly identify and stop scammers and money launderers.” 

Image: Swissquote 

 

Petal raises $35m to improve access to credit

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Petal raises $35m to improve access to credit

Lendtech Petal has raised $35m in funding and spun off its B2B-focused data infrastructure and analytics subsidiary, Prism Data. 

Petal was created to help more people access and build credit, by using personal banking history to evaluate credit worthiness—rather than relying on traditional credit scores and reports—using its proprietary CashScore technology.  

It later established Prism Data to give other financial providers the same infrastructure and intelligence.   

Valar Ventures led this investment, joined by Story Ventures, Core Innovation Capital and RiverPark Ventures, among others. 

The funding also includes strategic investments from Synchrony and Samsung Next. The new investment will be split between Petal and Prism Data.   

Founded in 2016, Petal has now raised $300m in equity capital and more than $450m in debt financing. 

Petal generated more than $80m in revenue last year, putting the company on a path to reach profitability in 2024. 

Jason Rosen, chief executive officer and co-founder of both Petal and Prism Data, said: “Not every new experiment works. But for breakthrough technologies that have proven effective, like the cash flow underwriting we’ve developed at Petal and Prism Data, the time has come to expand to the mainstream.”  

Trish Mosconi, executive vice president and chief strategy corporate development officer at Synchrony, commented: “The Prism Data platform is innovative in providing differentiated consumer insights, enabling financial institutions to make more data-driven decisions.” 

Erin Allard, Prism’s general manager, added: “Prism Data was founded on the belief that open banking, and access to consumer-permissioned bank account transactional data, will change the way consumer finance works—in credit, payments, financial advising and more. 

“With open banking’s arrival in the US, that is becoming a reality. And as an independent company, Prism is well-positioned to partner with financial providers and give them the tools and infrastructure they need to create next-generation products and capabilities.” 

Image: Petal  

 

WhatsApp launches in-app payments for Singapore businesses

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WhatsApp launches in-app payments for Singapore businesses

WhatsApp has partnered with Stripe to allow businesses in Singapore to accept payments directly in its app. 

The new feature is built on Stripe Connect, a payments platform, and Stripe Checkout, a prebuilt payment page. 

Payments can be made through debit and credit cards, and PayNow, a popular system in Singapore, using the WhatsApp Business Platform. 

WhatsApp introduced the same feature in Brazil last month.  

Stephane Kasriel, head of fintech at Meta, commented: “Starting today, people in Singapore can pay their local merchants on WhatsApp in just a few taps.  

“This seamless and secure experience will transform the way people and businesses in Singapore connect on WhatsApp.”  

Sarita Singh, regional head and managing director for Southeast Asia at Stripe, said: “Most people I know in Singapore use WhatsApp to chat with each other. Now, they can pay local businesses using the app as well.  

“The speed and convenience of payments through WhatsApp will help businesses expand their revenue streams with new channels and access a wider customer base.”   

Image: Canva  

US fintech Slash raises $19m

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US fintech Slash raises $19m

Slash, a US fintech built for entrepreneurs, has raised $19m in its seed and series A funding rounds.  

The rounds were led by NEA, with participation from Y Combinator, Menlo Ventures, and other angels and funds. 

College dropouts Victor Cardenas and Kevin Bai built Slash to “empower” existing entrepreneurs to run more profitable businesses, and to “embolden” more people to be self-employed. 

The funding will be used to build on its current offerings, a personal and business account, that can be managed from a single platform, and an account for under 18s, which can be opened with the consent of a parent or legal guardian. 

In the future, Slash wants to add accounting, incorporation, tax filing and invoicing features to its platform. 

On the philosophy behind Slash, Cardenas said: “I like to think that most people, if given the opportunity and the right conditions, will choose to work for themselves. 

“They like working on things that make them passionate, they like working where and when they want and on their own time, and they like feeling like they have unbounded earning potential. 

“My co-founder Kevin and I have spent the past two years, and want to spend the rest of our lives, working to enable as many people as possible to chart their own path.”  

Image: Slash

Microsoft launches Teams payments app for small businesses

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Microsoft launches Teams payments app for small businesses

Businesses in North America can now accept payments over Microsoft Teams.  

The new payments app will allow small businesses in the US and Canada to collect payments from within Teams, on a desktop or mobile, during a meeting. 

For example, a financial adviser can collect payments for consultative appointments, a real estate instructor can do the same for licence-renewal sessions, or a teacher for tutoring classes. 

Microsoft has partnered with GoDaddy, PayPal and Stripe to accept real-time card payments. Businesses can also set advance payment as a requirement to join a Teams meeting.  

This should help the 93% of businesses that have to deal with late payments from customers, which impedes cash flow and damages balance sheets.  

Osama Bedier, president of commerce at GoDaddy, said: “We’ve been busy building out our commerce platform to enable small businesses to accept payments anywhere, so this expansion to Teams’ meetings is a natural extension of that.”  

Bernardo Martinez, vice president of microbusiness at PayPal, said: “Small businesses continue to face many, many challenges. Whether dealing with a cash flow crunch, finding new customers, or expanding to new channels, small businesses need partners to help them solve these problems.  

“Our collaboration with Microsoft allows us to address a common pain point—accepting payments for virtual customer interactions—by providing them with a trusted method that both consumers and businesses know well.” 

Mike Clayville, chief revenue officer at Stripe, said: “Our partnership brings Stripe into one of the world’s most popular collaboration platforms and will help millions of companies accelerate their online revenue growth.  

“With Stripe, more businesses can now accept payments as easily as launching a video conference, chat or virtual presentation within Microsoft Teams.” 

Image: Microsoft  

Standard Chartered expands its partnership with Tazapay

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Standard Chartered expands its partnership with Tazapay

Standard Chartered has expanded its partnership with Tazapay to improve cross-border payments for businesses. 

The organisations have launched a platform that allows global marketplaces and ecommerce merchants to accept payments from local buyers. 

The strengthened partnership will also allow Tazapay to use Standard Chartered’s banking services, including bank accounts, payments and FX solutions. 

This latest development builds on the memorandum of understanding between the two organisations, signed in 2021, and the pilot launch of the digital Escrow-as-a-Service on Proxtera, a Singapore-based cross-border marketplace. 

The partnership has been driven by increasing demand for marketplace platforms. B2B marketplaces are the fastest-growing channel in B2B ecommerce, with sales doubling from $56b in 2021 to $112b last year, according to Digital Commerce 360.  

Anurag Bajaj, global head of bank, broker-dealers and fintech client coverage at Standard Chartered, commented: “Innovation drives a lot of what we do, and the extension of our partnership with Tazapay is another step we’ve taken in our journey towards meeting the growing needs of enterprise marketplaces.”  

Rahul Shinghal, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tazapay, added: “Tazapay is focused on simplifying cross-border payments.   

“With Standard Chartered, we can now serve larger ecommerce merchants and enterprise marketplaces to collect payments instantly in over 70 markets, delivering superior customer experience and conversion rates.” 

Bruno Palma, chief operating officer of business development operations and marketing at WTX.com, an online B2B platform for used commercial vehicles, and a pilot client of the new platform, said: “We find the joint proposition from Standard Chartered and Tazapay to be compelling for both buyers and sellers on our platform.” 

Image: Canva 

Nomo Bank taps Paymentology to improve payments

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Nomo Bank taps Paymentology to improve payments

Nomo Bank has teamed up with Paymentology to enhance its payments service. 

Paymentology’s digital payments platform will speed up Nomo’s transaction processing, improve fraud monitoring and deliver Mastercard virtual cards. 

Paymentology will also offer a real-time data feed that provides spending insights for Nomo customers. 

Nomo, a sharia-compliant cross-border bank, offers customers in the Middle East a range of international banking services, including current accounts, fixed term deposits and multi-currency services. 

The recently introduced multi-currency service, supported by Paymentology’s tech, enables customers to hold, spend and save money in six currencies while avoiding exchange fees. 

This is a key feature as there is a growing demand for cross-border payment services, which surged to $390b globally last year. 

Martin Heraghty, regional director of Europe at Paymentology, commented: “As the demand for sharia-compliant digital products and services continues to grow, Nomo is at the forefront of delivering solutions that cater to the needs of Islamic customers and beyond. 

“With our innovative payments technology, Nomo is paving the way towards a seamless, customer-centric, digital banking future.”  

Sean Gilchrist, chief executive officer of Nomo, added: “At Nomo, our customers want digital banking experiences that helps them transact like a local wherever they are. 

“Paymentology’s technology has helped us build a unique offering for our customers, helping them to conduct cross-border transactions without high fees, directly from the Nomo app.” 

Image: Canva  

Read more on Paymentology in the Middle East: Wio Bank selects Paymentology for card issuing in the UAE 

GMEX launches greentech ZERO13

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GMEX launches greentech ZERO13

GMEX Group has launched a climate fintech, ZERO13, to create a cohesive carbon credit ecosystem. 

Using AI and blockchain technology, ZERO13 will offer digital issuance, trading and settlement for a range of carbon credits and other ESG assets.  

ZERO13 will work to connect banks, fintechs, climate techs and other institutions, to help them achieve net zero. 

Carbon credits are in high demand among corporations and institutions, but GMEX claims a lack of trust, efficiency and distribution hamper take up. 

ZERO13 aims to bridge these gaps to help the carbon credit market grow and develop. 

The global credit carbon market was valued at $978.56b last year. The demand could increase by a factor of 15 by 2030, and up to 100 by 2050, estimates The Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets. 

For the project, ZERO13 has partnered with Verdana Eco-Consortium, Alléo Energy and Pay DIRT to provide transparency, prevent green washing and enhance distribution.  

Hirander Misra, chief executive officer of ZERO13 and GMEX Group, said: “ZERO13 provides a desperately needed, interconnected global carbon ecosystem for all types of participants, in a regulatory compliant manner, to more efficiently match supply with demand.” 

He added: “It’s a privilege to collaborate with Verdana’s Eco-Consortium to digitally address the end-to-end issues in voluntary carbon markets and to unlock carbon credits supply from partners such as Pay DIRT and Alléo Energy, bringing trust by demonstrating full digital provenance.” 

Asad Sultan, chief executive officer of Verdana and co-founder of Eco-Consortium, commented: “To ensure greater credibility with institutional and corporate market participants, the supply of all types of carbon credits should be transparently verifiable and then securely tradeable in regulated markets. 

“Our partnership with ZERO13 aims to make carbon credits and related ESG markets more trusted and efficient using a digitally integrated approach.” 

Image: Canva