In The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup this Tuesday, Zopa Bank unveils a $300million pre-IPO funding round while David Curneen joins EML Payments.
Payments provider Paya has named Michele Shepard as chief commercial officer while Balaji Devarasetty joins as chief technology officer. Darrell Winfield, Paya’s chief information officer will focus on Paya’s long-term innovation agenda and product roadmap, in addition to further developing relationships with key clients and prospects across Paya’s verticals.
EML Payments has welcomed David Curneen to the newly created role of group chief operating officer. Most recently, he was Digicel Financial Services‘ group CEO for 32 Caribbean, Central American and South Pacific markets. He will drive and implement EML’s strategic plan, Project Accelerator.
Financial infrastructure API platform Fidel API has unveiled three executive appointments to support its significant growth in response to a record year. Kevin Akerman joins as VP of global strategic initiatives, Mounir Mouawad is VP of payments and emerging products while Carlos Vilhena is named head of engineering.
Meanwhile Mettle, the NatWest-backed business account, has appointed Andrea Himmelbaeur as the company’s first culture and people lead. She joins from fintech Arcus where she was director of people operations and will focus on people-focused strategies.
The API Ratings Agency (TARA) has named four members to its board. In addition to David O’Neill, CEO of APImetrics, members now include Brian Costello of the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence and Don Thibeau, formerly of the OpenID Foundation. Also joining is John Musser, founder of programmable web and API science and Lorinda Brandon, VP of software development at BetterCloud.
Finally, Laurel Powers-Freeling has joined Moneybox, the saving and investing app, as independent non-executive chair. She provides strategic counsel and governance oversight. Last year, Moneybox raised £38.8million in a Series C investment round.
Funding and investments
Tala has unveiled a $145million Series E fundraise led by Upstart with additional participation from the Stellar Development Foundation. New investors Kindred Ventures and the J. Safra Group also joined the round. Tala will use the investment to accelerate the rollout of its new financial account experience. It also plans to grow its team across Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico, India and the US.
Money management app Plum has secured new funding to drive the company’s expansion. The first close of $14million is part of an anticipated $24million Series A. New investors dmg ventures and Ventura Capital join previous Plum backers Global Brain, VentureFriends and 500 Startups.
Digital savings account Chip has closed the biggest equity crowdfund ever held on Crowdcube. The fintech has raised £11.5million from 12,954 investors. Chip raised £1million in under 10 minutes and hit £8.6million in under 48 hours. Following the crowdfund, the company added 6,500 new investors, growing its shareholder community to more than 23,000 and making it the second biggest fintech investor community in the UK.
Zopa Bank announces a $300million pre-IPO funding round led by Softbank. Chimera Abu Dhabi, IAG Silverstripe, Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP, NorthZone and Augmentum Fintech also joined the round. Since its launch in June 2020, Zopa has attracted £675million in deposits for its fixed savings accounts.
Tradeshift says its virtual credit card product Tradeshift Go is on track to process $2.5billion in charge volume this year. That’s a sixfold increase from 2020. With Tradeshift Go, employees don’t have to be cardholders on a commercial card account to access payments. While budget managers can issue pre-approved, encrypted virtual cards.
Digital asset wealth management platform YIELD grows assets to $339million and sponsors West Ham United. Over the third quarter of 2021, YIELD doubled its managed assets. YIELD will feature throughout the Hammers’ communications in order to significantly broaden the reach of digital assets to mainstream audiences.
Encompass Corporation, a provider of know your customer solutions, has expanded into North America, with office headquarters based in New York. Alex Ford has been appointed president of North America in order to drive business growth. Joining Alex in the US will initially be six senior staff members before increasing to more than 10 by the end of 2021.
International fashion group OTB joins the AURA Blockchain Consortium as a new founding member. Aura Blockchain Consortium was created in April 2021 by luxury players LVMH, Prada Group and Cartier. The Consortium aims to address challenges of communicating authenticity, responsible sourcing and sustainability in a secure digital format.
Engagement banking platform provider Backbase Backbase has been awarded Best-in-Class in the latest Aite Matrix Report: US Digital Banking Point Solution Providers, published by advisory firm Aite-Novarica Group. Aite-Novarica evaluated the overall position of Backbase against eight of the other most significant digital banking solution providers.
Tata Consultancy Services has launched an enhanced TCS BaNCS Marketplace – an innovation hub for customers to collaborate and adopt cutting-edge partner solutions. The Marketplace offers an ecosystem of solutions and APIs from fintechs, insurtechs, risktechs, regtechs and other innovators.
Partnerships and collaborations
Open payments gateway Volt has paired up with European payments platform Worldline. Worldline will propel Volt’s payment method across Europe while expanding its global footprint into high-growth markets. Earlier this year, Volt raised a $23.5million Series A.
Cybersource, a Visa solution, and payments firm EBANX have forged a new partnership for payments in Brazil. Cybersource’s clients around the world will be able to access EBANX’s payment solutions for Brazil, and offer their customers in the country the ability to pay online for products and services with local payment methods.
AllianceBlock has teamed up with dua to support the creation of dua.pay, a remittance transaction and payment platform leveraging DeFi to build digital banking service for international deposits. Transactions via dua.pay will require $DUA, a stablecoin cryptocurrency backed by ALBT AllianceBlock’s digital asset.
Meanwhile Railspay partners with Parpera to launch Australia’s first BaaS product in market, after closing $95million. The partnership gives Parpera access to Railspay’s range of embedded finance capabilities, allowing it to rapidly launch and scale financial products in Australia and then globally.
First Internet Bank and ApplePie Capital have signed a loan purchase agreement to provide financing solutions for franchisees. Under the partnership, First Internet Bank expects to purchase $100million of ApplePie’s growth-oriented ApplePie Core conventional loans by year end.
Finally, global payment network Veem has collaborated with Visa. Now, more than 400,000 of Veem’s customers will have access to a new SMB Visa card programme and digital money movement capabilities through Visa Direct, Visa’s real-time push payments platform.
This October at The Fintech Times we are championing the fantastic females in the fintech industry. Around 30% of the fintech workforce are women, and we want to spotlight those who have not only made it to the top, but those who have overcome hurdles, bulldozing a path for the women to follow.
Here we hear from Samantha Yap, Bettina Hosp, Anna Curzon, Andrea Dunlop, Sahar Salama and Lissele Pratt as they share how they paved the way for others to follow.
Samantha Yap, CEO and Founder of YAP Global
“Actions speak louder than words, and I believe by staying focused on building up my firm, I am paving the way for women and minority groups to do the same in the DeFi, Crypto, and PR space. While stereotypes exist in varying degrees, I have never let my race or gender limit what I am able to achieve, and I feel others should not as well.
“Although it is not an external ironclad policy, my team and I will always go the distance especially for panel discussions and press coverage, to ensure that deserving speakers get equal opportunities to shine as thought leaders. This is often more challenging as it takes more time, as we want to weigh all factors and select by merit, but also want to take the chance to elevate those who are underrepresented.
“Internally, for hiring and training employees, we at YAP Global have a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination, and recognition is given fairly based on effort and achievements. I also embrace global diversity by leveraging the different skills sets and experiences of team members, which is a big part of how I’ve been able to expand from five to 20 plus employees from Australia, the UK US, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Germany, and India in just one year.
“In essence, let the quality of your work and accomplishments, and your values as a person define you rather than your race or gender, and you will steadily and surely empower underrepresented groups.”
Bettina Hosp, VP, Operations of Cake DeFi
“I think it’s difficult to take credit for something like this. In an ideal world, every employer is a fair employer — one that ensures that hires are made based on the person’s ability to do the job, and not because of their race, gender or religious beliefs.
“At Cake DeFi, our ‘rope ladder’ consists of progressive initiatives and policies that enable a safe, friendly, and highly flexible work culture. Everyone at Cake DeFi has the opportunity and the right to express their opinions and they are encouraged to share them openly and often, which enables us to understand ways in which we can improve to better support them. We also like to think that we empower our people to forge their own paths to leadership, not simply by working hard and smart, but also by expressing unique ideas that have the ability to positively impact their team and the company. You could say that we operate on a meritocratic basis, with zero tolerance for any work-based discrimination and prejudice.”
Anna Curzon, Chief Product Officer, at Xero
“One of the biggest challenges many women in technology face is the unconscious gender bias that comes with being a minority in your field. In my early years, I often struggled to connect with my colleagues because I was a single mother and everyone on the leadership team was male. I often didn’t see people like me around the table. Relationship building and business was done in the evenings over drinks and it was inaccessible to me.
“As I learned more about the importance of diversity and inclusion and the evidence published about the benefits, the more confidence I grew. I realised the lens I was providing was really important and that being the odd one out in the room meant that you were probably the most valuable because of your unique perspective. It’s irrefutable that having a gender balance leads to better business outcomes, greater profitability and value creation so I do everything I can to ensure my team realises the same thing and can reap the benefits of being afforded equal opportunity.
“I remember when one of our long-serving female product leaders came to me because she was so convinced that we needed to build a cash flow forecasting tool to help our customers. I backed her conviction, purpose-led drive and data-orientated proposal to make a real difference to the lives of our small business customers and as it happened, once the global pandemic hit, cash flow became even more critical for the survival of businesses. Because our product leader foresaw this need and we supported her in meeting it, we were able to provide the first iteration of our short-term cash flow tool to all our businesses and partners at no cost during the pandemic.
“We need to create business environments where everyone can thrive. This is particularly important in the tech sector, where women and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds have historically been shut out of this world. This means enabling people to think critically and understand their privilege and how they can actively use it to ensure everyone feels included. Today, over 60% of the global leadership team at Xero are women and I’m proud that 50% of my product leadership team are women. We have programs in place to foster an inclusive and equitable workplace and this changes everything. For example, it is a requirement for any leadership role at Xero to undertake unconscious bias training and this year we also launched our D&I Leadership training so that all our managers know how to create and lead diverse teams. This is one of the reasons why Xero is included in the 2021 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the second consecutive year. I also believe it’s why my team is the most effective and highly performing team I have worked with in my career.
“Thinking of this important cause, I’m reminded of a quote from Michelle Obama‘s Mum in her book, Becoming – “Bullies are scared people hiding inside scary people” – and that’s why this year, I’m committed to offering everyone in my team the opportunity to undertake Ally Training so we can better understand our individual power and privileges – and learn how to use them for the benefit of others. We are all responsible for creating a safe environment for those around us and I encourage everyone to do an ally training course — it will not only change your life but also the lives of those around you.”
Andrea Dunlop, Managing Director of the Payment Division at the Access Group
“I recognised that in my early career I had been focused on my own career, juggling the challenges, and learning and struggling to navigate the ever-increasing politics of senior leadership. I started to look for help, and it was in that process of looking for help myself that I started to see the same themes come up time and again. The types of experience that I was having were common among many women, I wanted to make a difference not only within my own company but much wider within the industry but just didn’t know how to affect that change.
“I talked through these challenges for women with TonyCraddock, Director General of the Payments Association and we determined that networking for women was a major gap. We agreed to hold an event and invite several people from across the industry, both men and women, to attend with the purpose of asking women what they want out of networking events as a fact-finding mission. This started, I think, a process within me on how I could use my position to raise awareness of the challenges faced by diverse groups, not just within my own company but across the industry and make a difference. To a large extent, in the early days of this process it was about creating events focused around key areas to help develop people, and to promote mentorship and sponsorship across the industry.
“The events helped us to create on-going and self-supporting platforms which helped people build confidence, share knowledge and insight. At these events, I became increasingly confident to talk about my own challenges and struggles and it opened a door to meet new people and to widen my impact on supporting others. From that first networking event to now, I mentor men and women not only within my own organisations but across industry and even back to my old days of serving in the Military, supporting groups likes Ex Military Jobs, Ex Military Careers, Jobs for Ex Military Personnel which is focused on helping servicemen and women to make the jump from the military into civilian roles. In fact one of my mentees is ex-military and he is doing so well in his career in banking now – it’s very inspiring.
“There is no doubt that the way in which I help to make a difference has evolved, and while I still do many gender-led initiatives and belong to many groups like European Women Payments Network (EWPN), I also act as a sponsor for many helping people helping navigate into new roles. I’m also a co-founder of Investfem helping women to raise funding for their businesses. I have also used my experiences to help people through grievance processes in the industry, leveraging my own personal experience of being involved in grievances as a manager, and also my own experience of raising grievances. These can be lonely and stressful situations for many people and I’m pleased to be able to listen and give pragmatic support to help people navigate very difficult situations.
“I do rather unashamedly leverage my network to help others, and there is nothing better than helping to lift others up and see people move on to bigger and better.
“I will always be grateful for those first steps I made and the people that helped kickstart my journey which in turn has enabled me to create my own power network of supporters. I have to say that I personally don’t feel I would be where I am today without all those people that have supported me and continue to support me today. It has taken some time to create that rope ladder for others but it is definitely there in new networking organisations, support networks, and the skills and experiences that I share and I’m proud to do this every day.”
Sahar Salama, CEO of TPAY MOBILE
“There have been positive strides in the drive for workplace diversity, yet for both women and overlooked minority groups, there are still huge inclusion gaps. The question remains, how do we actively change this? How do we encourage a broader, more diverse demographic to show an interest in and enter the fintech world?
“In my experience, the latter is answered by not only focusing on attracting talent but on retention strategies for diverse backgrounds. At TPAYMOBILE, we work hard to promote an inclusive work culture, ensuring resources are purposely allocated to the recruitment of all groups to fill senior positions, and not only encouraging but empowering any group who faces pervasive disadvantage in the broader society to stand up for themselves and what they believe in.
“The lack of parity in the fintech space is partly driven by the belief of some that women, as well as racial and ethnic groups, lack the aptitude or skills to succeed in the fintech industry, particularly at a senior level. This underestimation can be extremely demotivating for those working in fintech and even lead to them walking away from their role, and indeed, the workforce.
“To overcome this obstacle, I have implemented anti-discrimination policies to endorse diversity (like training employees in implicit bias) and accountability practices (like implementing a formal reporting system for discrimination). TPAY MOBILE promotes a culture of effective policy compliance across the organisation. I also ensure that as a company, we offer diversity mentoring and professional development programs to help minority groups who want to gain more experience and move up the career ladder in fintech. It is important to have role models to look up to – but these are not always easy to find.
“At TPAY MOBILE, the message that I pass on to those below is to have confidence. It’s important for people who are breaking into the fintech market to believe in themselves and speak up for their ideas. Regardless of experience, each one of us always has something valuable to add and contribute.”
Lissele Pratt, Director and Co-founder, Capitalixe
“This year I implemented entry-level traineeships at Captalixe, specifically targeted at young women who want to work in finance. Gender diversity is extremely low in this field, and these roles are still very much male-dominated. According to a study carried out by the Financial Conduct Authority, women only make up 17% of FCA-approved individuals. I think it’s imperative to give young women the opportunity to thrive in a finance career. Our first entry-level trainee starts this month, and I plan on making more traineeships available as we continue to grow and scale our business.
“Capitalixe does not require any of our recruits to hold a bachelor’s degree. I’m incredibly hands-on with training my team and believe that anyone can thrive in this industry through hard work and dedication. As a child, I moved around a lot. Before the age of 15, I had lived in Thailand, Spain and England. Because of this, I missed out on a lot of schooling. I wasn’t the biggest fan of school work and knew that university and the traditional schooling route wasn’t for me. Because of this, I understand that, regardless of what educational background you have, it’s still possible to succeed if you are passionate. If I wasn’t given the opportunity to work as a Junior FX Broker at the age of 18, I would likely not be where I am today.
“I’m also a huge advocate for mentoring. I hold monthly mentoring meetings with each and every one of my team, where we discuss their progress and whether they would like additional training. I also mentor two young women interested in entrepreneurship. At present, I hold monthly video calls with them to discuss their goals, ambitions, and I answer any questions they may have. Then, we set out monthly goals and work towards achieving them. These goals could be anything from creating user personas to confidence-building activities like writing down daily affirmations and also working on their needle movers in the business. Recently, one of my mentees launched her own business. It’s been brilliant to see her idea turn into a reality, and I’m excited to help her with its future growth.
“Finally, I recently launched a mastermind group for aspiring entrepreneurs on WhatsApp. Here, we focus on collaboration, brainstorming and peer accountability. People challenge each other to set strong goals and hold them accountable for achieving them. This has proven to be really successful in inspiring these young aspiring entrepreneurs.”
Garry Hamilton, Chief Growth Officer and founder at Equator, shares his thoughts on why wealth managers must invest in tech.
Few sectors have escaped change during the Covid-19 pandemic, but wealth management was met with a perfect storm of issues that will forever alter the industry’s face.
A toxic cocktail of miss-selling, an extended hangover from the previous decade’s financial crisis, and the rapid shift to online and self-managed investments have dealt blows to a historically resilient profession.
Throw in a hefty compliance and paperwork burden, along with a legion of wealth managers reaching retirement age, and it’s fair to say many firms have been buckling under the pressure of a resourcing crisis.
And yet, while all of these events leave the future uncertain, a considerable growth opportunity is within reach. For the time being, at least, consumer borrowing is at its lowest since 1994, with global savings swelling by $5.4tn. In the UK, more fortunate households were able to put away more disposable income during lockdowns, while the recently ended furlough scheme protected millions of incomes.
While we should remember that the pandemic has taken its toll on some people, others will seek ways to grow their wealth. Modern digitally enabled and reputable wealth businesses are in the perfect place to capitalise. But to succeed, they will need to secure funding to drive the digital transformation of their business.
PE’s role in the future of wealth management
There has never been a better time for wealth management organisations to seek funding for growth. Opportunities to bring scale and drive profitability abound – and Private Equity (PE) has the expertise to deliver.
PwC notes that in the last quarter of 2019, mergers of wealth management firms topped $26bn across 50 deals. The deal value is strong for the wealth business, typically courting over seven times EBITDA.
Consolidation and acquisition in the PE space will likely continue to grow. With so much dry powder in PE, the opportunities for consolidation and profit with wealth management businesses are clear.
The technology that will drive a digitally-led future for wealth management requires investment, and that’s the apparent role of PE in this space.
As part of an in-depth study into wealth management digital transformation, we considered the strategy behind investing in a tech stack that’s fit for purpose.
In broad terms, a successful approach is built on eight actions:
Be diligent – Without a strategy in place, acquisition can smash together disparate technologies and actually undermine efficiency until problems are fixed. A robust digital assessment of core business platforms, ERP systems, and sales and marketing solutions is needed to determine the required planning and budgeting.
Harness AI – Cutting-edge technology is already addressing many wealth management pain points, from admin tasks and managing risk to scaling. It’s therefore imperative to assess current AI adoption and plans for its future use.
Beware roadblocks – Technology allows wealth management firms to find new opportunities to improve staff effectiveness and customer experience. Reviewing business needs and obstacles will help firms align existing or new tech to the needs of internal users and external customers.
Optimise CRM – Measuring marketing activity on any scale is tough without having an integrated CRM strategy in place. Integrated, cloud-based CRM is the most effective tool for consolidation and extracting value. The correct configuration will allow the business to exploit automation and drive new fee-earning opportunities.
Choose wisely – At the heart of any web offering is the Content Management System (CMS), the core platform for growing and managing digital presence. Make this a part of due diligence to discover what tech is needed now and for the future.
Be creative – Content is key: research from CMI shows that 72% of marketers believe a focus on content has increased their number of leads. Regularly delivered through careful distribution channel management, thoughtful content can prove a powerful lead generator and loyalty builder.
Improve search – A comprehensive search strategy is a crucial lever for customer acquisition. Get it right, and you have a platform for growth. As you grow and consolidate, ensure that scale and localisation are realised in a strong presence on Google – a strategy linked directly to content production.
Level-up analytics – With a properly implemented setup, a business learns and can adapt its digital operations in real-time. It’s critical to ensure all CRM efforts are measurable and accountable, so web analytics must be robust and accurate. This minimises waste and brings efficiency to sales and marketing operations.
Grasping the opportunity
In a post-COVID world, the opportunity afforded by PE is fast becoming an obligation. Many businesses that cannot scale digitally without funding risk being left behind in a sea of fast-paced, tech-agile competitors as a golden opportunity slip from their grasp.
Conversely, a combination of Private Equity and wealth management points to a bright future. Placing a comprehensive digital transformation strategy at the core of investment ensures value creation, makes a business more easily scalable and delivers a thorough competitive advantage.
As a result, tomorrow’s wealth manager will be digitally enabled and customer-centric.
Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.
Are you on the hunt for a new gig? Well, you have come to the right place. This week, we’re bringing you three brilliant (and interesting) roles that are available on Fintech Times Jobs. So if you are looking for a new opportunity, get applying…
This role on eClerx ABU’s (Analytics Business Unit) leadership team is a unique opportunity to work across diverse problem statements, mentor a team of deeply passionate data experts, have direct access to C-level leaders and their priorities, and have a measurable impact on growth and value-creation. Over the past few years, they have continued to focus on delivering top-quality analytics services and growing their analytics footprint within existing and prospective clients.
eClerx’s Analytics team plays a crucial role in communicating the value their solutions and services can offer in solving the business problems they uncover with existing and prospective clients. In this role, you will collaborate with members of the delivery, sales, and account management teams to discover how clients can derive value from their data, and work to make data more useful across organisations. The ideal candidate is self-motivated and will have previous work experience in the analytics, big data, and/or consulting services industry. He or she will be able to lead by example in taking a consultative approach to discover unarticulated analytical needs of customers and connecting the dots between customer requirements to our solution, service, and consulting offerings, as a trusted advisor to the client.
As a technical practitioner within the field of Data Management and Analytics, this is your opportunity to become a part of a thriving, industry-leading Technology team. As a multinational organisation, Deloitte can offer you the breadth and depth of experience you are looking for. They can provide you with access to state of the art technology, labs and the opportunity to work with clients on high-impact matters, both in the UK and abroad.
This is a multi-disciplinary role that requires the ability to provide outstanding levels of service in a fast moving, constantly changing and flexible environment. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 2-5 years of proven success in enterprise application support and customer service. A technical understanding of hardware, software, development and production support methodologies is desired.
The successful candidate will act as an application support expert for the Data Management & Analytics application environment and be actively involved as a support resource in the incident management process. The candidate will be expected to solve technical issues in an application environment and infrastructure while working with 3rd party vendors for support as needed. The candidate will be expected to contribute to the infrastructure design to drive continuous improvements as well as be accountable for system availability and performance required to meet business needs.
At MarketFinance, their vision is for entrepreneurs to have the time to build the world we all want to live in. Frictionless access to funding helps make that happen. So, they provide entrepreneurs with the right business finance to solve their cash flow issues that get in the way of progress.
This is an exciting opportunity to join a well funded FinTech scale-up as their Head of Talent Acquisition, with the opportunity to have immediate impact and build a world-class talent function and team. After an incredibly successful Series B, MarketFinance has gone from strength to strength and achieved huge growth in terms of team size, bottom line, product offering and additional funding. As a result they are looking to double down on this recent success and grow their team by circa 100 heads over the next 12 months and towards Series C.
Reporting into the VP People, the Head of Talent Acquisition will set and drive the hiring strategy. You’ll be the talent acquisition expert in the company; driving growth through best practice and building a world-class TA team who will support managers in finding and attracting the best talent out there. They take real pride in hiring high performers who share their values and who want to progress their careers.
Rebecca works for our job board partner, Jobbio. Based in Dublin, she has been working as a writer for six years, creating engaging and insightful digital content. She has worked in Dublin, New York and London, and has a Masters Degree in Marketing from DIT.
Ethereum is perceived as better than Bitcoin because it can run smart contracts. The inconvenient truth for Ethereum fans is that you can also run smart contracts on the Bitcoin blockchain and the innovation in this space looks vibrant with projects such as Sphinx on the Lightning Network and Stacks (fka Blockstack).
There are also many blockchain platforms positioning as competition to Ethereum, such as:
As with all blockchains, the winning formula is attracting developers and entrepreneurs to build applications that create network effects on top of the platform. Bitcoin and Ethereum have huge advantages because network effects attract more developers than cool features do (however brilliant & cool & important those features are).
There are two scenarios for how this might play out:
Scenario 1: A Blockchain Layer 1 platform that beats Ethereum and Bitcoin (perhaps using uses Proof Of Stake or better scalability or easier application development).
Scenario 2: Layer 2 platforms on top of Blockchain Layer 1 platforms and apps and middleware built on top of Layer 2 platforms (such as Sphinx). BTC may end up serving as a collateral within smart contract platforms. I am inclined to Scenario 2, because of network effects.
Some subjects are too complex for our short attention spans, so we do 4 posts one week apart, each one short enough not to lose your attention but in aggregate doing justice to the complexity of the subject. Stay tuned by subscribing.
The consumer is driving up economic growth at an unprecedented rate around the world, and Claire Gates discussed with Lloyd Wahed in this week’s Searching for Mana podcast how the ease of paying for what you want to buy is a key part of that.
Claire is the Chief Commercial Officer at the $1B+ valued PPRO, a global provider of payments infrastructure that facilitates responsible credit transactions, making its own revenue from the merchant with the consumer protected and hassle-free.
Claire exudes energy and enthusiasm and talks animatedly about her own journey which has been opportunistic and focused as she started out with a degree in chemical engineering but through an early exposure to sales and a passion for international travel and business, has taken her to a prominent position driving the commercial success of this market leader.
She is a strong advocate of the need for leaders to have a vision for their businesses and their teams and being able to help everyone understand where they fit in. Claire is customer-facing and coaching her people with a clarity of purpose and dynamism. “Find what you enjoy” is vital advice for career development, and she describes her appreciation for effective salespeople and culture, and in particular listening as a key skill in commerce.
Balancing an international commercial career, an infectious enthusiasm for making the most out of opportunities, being a mother and staying fit is an inspiring combination.
Cloud-based expense management software provider Expensify last week filed an initial public offering (IPO) for its common stock with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering are not yet determined. The stock will be offered on the Nasdaq under the […]
State Street saw 22% year-over-year growth in revenue from deployments of Charles River Development (CRD), a front-office software firm it acquired in 2018. The revenue growth was primarily related to professional services and its software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering, which together grew 18% YoY, Chief Financial Officer Eric Aboaf said during today’s third-quarter earnings call. The technology […]
For the third Q3 in a row, Finovate alums have raised at least $1 billion in equity funding. This year’s third quarter is consistent with both the amounts raised ($1.1 billion) and the number of alums securing investment (14) from the same quarter last year.
Interestingly, August continues to be a strong month for alum funding during the third quarter; for a third consecutive year, August investment has exceeded that of both July and September for our Finovate alums.
Previous Quarterly Comparisons
Q3 2020: More than $1.2 billion raised by 14 alums
Q3 2016: More than $500 million raised by 30 alums
The third quarter of 2021 also saw one company, DriveWealth, become far and away the biggest recipient of investment dollars, topping the second biggest fundraiser by 3x. Three companies, M1 Finance, Alloy, and AuthenticID, secured triple-digit investments of at least $100 million.
The top ten equity investments, in a quarter with fourteen total alum fundraisings, represented the lion’s share of Q3’s investment total. Approximately 90% of the quarter’s total funding was represented by Q3’s top ten investments.
Top Ten Equity Investments for Q3 2021
DriveWealth: $450 million
M1 Finance: $150 million
Alloy: $100 million
AuthenticID: $100 million
Ocrolus: $80 million
Paystand: $50 million
Sezzle: $30 million
Dwolla: $21 million
Moneyhub: $18 million
Capitalise.com: $13.8 million
Here is our detailed alum funding report for Q3 2021.
July 2021: More than $469 million raised by seven alums
August 2021: More than $476 million raised by five alums
September 2021: More than $180 million raised by two alums
If you are a Finovate alum that raised money in the third quarter of 2021, and do not see your company listed, please drop us a note at email@example.com. We would love to share the good news! Funding received prior to becoming an alum not included.
One of the first in-person events to launch after the global pandemic, Money20/20 Europe took place in Amsterdam during late September 2021. During the show, The Fintech Times caught up with a number of companies to chew the fat over what the last 18-months looked like for them and what the key focus was now.
This time, Neil Michie – Director of Product Management at Verimatrix, sat down with Editor-in-Chief Gina Clarke, to discuss more.
Verimatrix helps power the modern connected world with security made for people. They protect digital content, applications, and devices with intuitive, people-centered and frictionless security. Leading brands turn to Verimatrix to secure everything from premium movies and live streaming sports, to sensitive financial and healthcare data, to mission-critical mobile applications.
A newly announced collaboration between AI-powered credit and analysis technology company Pagaya and personal financial services innovator SoFi will help more eligible consumers find and secure financing. The partnership will enable SoFi members to leverage Pagaya’s AI network to access a wider range of financial solutions in what Pagaya said is the largest deployment of its technology in the fintech space to date.
“We are excited to leverage SoFi’s sophisticated tech platform, strong brand, and consumer appeal to originate loans through Pagaya’s AI network,” SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said, “extending its business to a broader audience, so more people can access credit and achieve their financial goals.”
Pagaya’s technology and infrastructure enables financial institutions, including lenders and fintechs, to offer their customers access to financial products beyond those available via traditional credit models. Using both AI and machine learning, Pagaya lowers risk for lenders and helps them make better credit decisions. The goal is to provide a better, more positive experience for borrowers, and higher conversion rates for loan providers, as well as improving the overall credit ecosystem.
“As Pagaya grows, it is imperative that we partner with companies that share our vision of providing increased efficiency through our AI network for lenders and access for its customers,” Pagaya CEO and co-founder Gal Krubiner said. “Working with a company such as SoFi, we are able to apply our artificial intelligence in a way to not only help SoFi extend capital to more people, but do so in a way to create less risk for our partner. This creates a symbiotic, win-win-win ecosystem across all parties.”
Founded in 2016 and maintaining offices in Tel Aviv, New York, and Los Angeles, Pagaya became a public company earlier this fall in a $9 billion SPAC merger with EJF Acquisition Corporation. Earlier this month, Pagaya appointed former JP Morgan CMO Leslie Gillin to the post of Chief Growth Officer. Gillin arrives at a time when the company is looking to expand into new markets including personal and auto loans, credit cards, point-of-sale financing, single-family residencies, and more.
SoFi is an alum of our developers conference FinDEVrNewYork in 2017, which the company participated in with financial data platform Quovo. In the years since, SoFi has grown into a digital financial services giant with more than $50 billion in funded loans, and more than two million members who have paid off a total of more than $22 billion in debt. Additionally, the company recently has launched solutions such as SoFi Money and SoFi Invest which offer cash management (including early payday) and brokerage services, in a major expansion beyond its roots as online loan financing and refinancing innovator.
SoFi is a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ under the ticker SOFI and has a market capitalization of more than $16 billion. SoFi is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
Bitcoin resumed its climb toward all-time highs with asset manager ProShares poised to launch the first Bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund.
The largest cryptocurrency gained as much as 5.5% and was trading at about $61,032 as of 7:44 a.m. in New York. It fell both Saturday and Sunday to nearly $59,000. Bloomberg News reported Thursday that the SEC isn’t likely to block the products from starting to trade this week, according to people familiar with the matter.
“We plan to launch the first Bitcoin-linked ETF on Tuesday on the NYSE,” Michael Sapir, chief executive officer of ProShares, said in an interview with Bloomberg.
Bitcoin has more than doubled since the start of the year, though the ride has been volatile as the market confronts narratives from increasing institutional adoption and greater asset-class maturity to a crypto crackdown in China and concerns about energy usage. Other cryptos also gained Monday, with second-largest Ether up about 3.4%. Binance Coin has retaken the third spot in crypto market value after a 17% rally in the past seven days, according to CoinGecko.com.
The technical setup for Bitcoin in its latest rally is a concern for Rick Bensignor, the president of Bensignor Investment Strategies and a former strategist at Morgan Stanley. Depending on Monday’s price action it might “make me think twice about buying Bitcoin now, especially as it’s against all-time highs,” he said in a note Monday.
Bitcoin’s 43% surge so far in October has pushed the crypto into overbought territory, according to relative strength index data. It hit a record high of $64,869 on April 13.
Crypto-exposed stocks were boosted in premarket trading, including exchange firm Coinbase Global Inc., which added 1.3%, and mining company Riot Blockchain Inc., which gained 1.8%. Riot’s U.K.-based peer Argo Blockchain Plc jumped as much as 9.2% in London after winning new buy-equivalent ratings from Barclays Plc and Jefferies Financial Group Inc.
―By Claire Ballentine and Joanna Ossinger, with assistance from Katie Greifeld
One of the first in-person events to launch after the global pandemic, Money20/20 Europe took place in Amsterdam during late September 2021. During the show, The Fintech Times caught up with a number of companies to chew the fat over what the last 18-months looked like for them and what the key focus was now.
This time, Jackie Barwell – Director of Fraud Product Management at ACI Worldwide, sat down with Editor-in-Chief Gina Clarke, to discuss more.
ACI Worldwide delivers the mission-critical real-time payments software solutions that enable corporations to process and manage digital payments, power omni-commerce payments, present and process bill payments, and manage fraud and risk.
Sokin, a global payments provider, has announced a new multi-year partnership with the Miami Dolphins. The three-year deal is Sokin’s first substantial sponsorship agreement in North America and its first with an NFL team.
During the season, Sokin will invest in activations that inspire fans to achieve their MoneyGoals – whether its saving for new merchandise or supporting local community projects – through the benefits of Sokin’s global payments and international transfers.
“Not only does this partnership symbolise Sokin’s intent to revolutionise the global remittance landscape, but it also furthers our portfolio of working with forward-thinking organisations who understand the importance of using tech innovation to help improve the lives of those around us,” added Vroon Modgill, CEO of Sokin. “The US’ diverse migrant culture is a very important market for Sokin, and we wanted to create a payments solution which genuinely supports this demographic, and their payments needs. As a result, we’ve ensured our Global Currency Account has a tremendous footprint on an unprecedented scale compared to other providers in the market. This means we can truly help those people looking to for a better way to manage their money.
“We are thrilled to join forces with the Miami Dolphins as we continue to grow throughout the Americas to help millions of sporting fans and followers around the world have greater access to global payments saving them time and money.”
“The Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium are global brands, and we are excited to join forces with Sokin, a progressive and dynamic organisation on their first NFL partnership,” said JeremyWalls, Senior Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer of Miami Dolphins. “Miami’s culture, demographics and innovative ethos fits perfectly into Sokin’s comprehensive strategy to helps fans and companies achieve their financial objectives.”
Over recent months, Sokin has been confirmed as the Official FX Global Payments Provider for well-known football clubs Arsenal, Everton, Fulham FC and ASMonaco.
Sokin launched its Global Currency Account in August 2021 to give consumers and businesses access to a fairer and more transparent payments system by removing barriers that have historically hindered access and financial inclusion.
Sokin is the first subscription-based global payments solution with unlimited international transfers and cost-effective currency exchange in 38 currencies to over 200 countries and territories for one fixed monthly fee, without hidden charges.
Mashreq, a financial institution in the UAE, has become the region’s first bank to launch an active Application Programming Interface (API) developer portal to encourage the development of new and innovative digital journeys and experiences for consumers.
The platform, which is already active, allows developers from businesses and fintechs to browse APIs, test them in a secure environment and consume Mashreq’s APIs for use in their own applications.
Mashreq’s first flagship API product is NEOBiz Connect, which gives licensing authorities the capability to allow a customer to send a full NEOBiz application directly from their own digital platform, in one click. NEOBiz is Mashreq’s exclusive digital bank for SMEs, which has revolutionised SME account openings and helped to support the growing SME ecosystem in the UAE.
Fernando Morillo, Senior Executive Vice President and Group Head of Retail Banking, at Mashreq Bank, said, “APIs are at the heart of today’s digital revolution and have transformed the traditional customer experience across the world. They provide vital functionality for companies as they seek to develop new and innovative digital journeys for customers, as well as more personalised experiences. Signing up to the Mashreq API Developer Portal will allow users to browse our available API products, and encourage development, engagement, and API innovation. These provide a crucial environment for the advancement of the digital economy and in transforming the digital banking landscape in the UAE.”
The creation and launch of this active API developer portal – already populated with API products – represents a new chapter in fintech innovation. Not only will more APIs become regularly available, but companies and customers will have the ability to bring their own API ideas to the portal, creating an ever-richer ecosystem of API innovation and adoption.
Vikas Thapar, Head of Business Banking and NEOBiz, said, “The launch of the Mashreq API Developer Portal is a reflection of Mashreq’s dedication to fostering and promoting continuous innovation within the banking eco-system. Mashreq will be the first bank in the region to have an active API platform that will enhance the user experience in innovative ways. Now, with NeoBiz Connect opening a business banking account with Mashreq will be very fast and seamless.”
If we were to ask a random sampling of any 100 CEOs in the financial sector if their business would benefit from more customer engagement, I’m certain all 100 would reply with a resounding “Yes!”. If we were to ask how they are going about solving their engagement problem, all would answer with some version of “we are investing heavily in digital transformation.”
The new battleground for banks is not how digitally transformed a business has become but how effective that business is in building meaningful digital relationships with its customers. At Relay, we’ve been helping organizations digitally engage with their customers for eleven years, and the primary lesson we’ve learned is that all business objectives ultimately roll up to a single, universal outcome: creating customers for life — it’s the best single investment a business can make, because a customer for life is deeply invested in a brand, they feel the brand adds value to their world, and, ideally, they can become a brand advocate. To create customers for life we need to build trust. After all, how can we create customers for life if they don’t trust us?
The problem is that the methods and tools we use to engage with customers today are not intended to build trust, which makes them less and less effective at driving business outcomes. For example, automating emails, customer relationship management, personalized web portals, AI chatbots and omni-channel communications are all components of a digital transformation tech sack, but they aren’t designed to build trust.
Back in the day we earned customer trust through one-on-one engagement: Your banker would call you to congratulate you on your new job and offer to help you enrol in direct deposit or guide you towards a banking product better suited for a return on your savings once your nest egg had grown beyond your liquidity needs. In the digital age, financial institutions are trying to bridge that gap with personalized SMS messages, or pop-ups and banners in web portals and mobile apps. But in doing so, they are forcing the customer to come to them, making the customer do all the work and, really, cheapening the meaning and value of the word “engagement”.
Engagement should be personal, right? There’s a big delta between something personalized and something personal. Do clickthrough rates really map to customer lifetime value? And when they do click-through, did they achieve the desired outcome? A user logging in to check their balance is, of course, an essential digital capability — but it’s transaction, not an engagement. Transactional interactions are often errantly referred to as “engagements”, whereas true engagement should be meaningful — how customers feel known, educated and good about their relationship with their bank.
What we’ve learned is that true engagement is the only way to establish trust with customers. The litmus test for true engagement is that it mustn’t be purely transactional. That is, true engagement doesn’t merely benefit some business outcomes, like increasing revenue and reducing costs, it is mutually beneficial for a business and its customers — anticipating and meeting their needs like feeling known, feeling like their time is valued — not making them navigate a maze of links and forms to get something done.
To address this need for true engagement, we’ve created a digital channel through which businesses and customers can meaningfully engage. It’s a 1:1 feed containing the experiences that are most relevant to them. In our world, experiences don’t merely map to outcomes like revenue and cost savings, we believe that fostering and deepening customer relationships through education and information are just as important as getting them through the next most revenue-generating hoop. We’ve partnered with several of the top financial institutions in the United States to identify the key mutually beneficial experiences that foster customer trust in banking. These experiences are natively built into our software, making it easy for multiple product silos to integrate the delivery of those experiences natively with their existing tech stacks. We can start driving more of the highest value experiences that matter to you and your customers at the highest rate on day one.
When I say our goal is to create customers for life, I mean that not only for our clients, but for us as well. We think of our customers as partners, and our goal is to enable our partners to continue creating customers for life through mutually beneficial true engagement.
Linklaters Milan is tax advisor to the first Italian end-to-end platform for the issue and placement of security tokens of investment alternatives for institutional and retail investors (the Security Token & Alternative Investment Sandbox or STAI) promoted by CeTIF, Reply and Fondazione Cariverona. The project is designed and developed in the context of a sandbox process, a collaborative and controlled test environment, open to insurance companies, banks and corporates with the participation, as institutional observers, of Banca d’Italia, IVASS and Consob.
The potential of tokenisation
Tokenisation is the process of issuing a security token via blockchain that digitally and legally represents a real asset. By creating digital assets to represent physical assets, tokenisation has the potential to transform the financial market by enabling physical assets to be owned by wider global pool of investors. Because of their digital nature, security tokens may not only represent ownership of traditional assets like publicly traded equity or bonds, but also traditionally illiquid assets like private placements, real estate, or fine art.
Tokenisation in fact increases the liquidity of traditionally illiquid, non-fractionable assets like real estate; security tokens can be more easily traded than the underlying assets themselves, potentially reducing risk for investors. For investors, this means increased democratisation and the ability to diversify one’s portfolio with access to previously unavailable assets (for example tokenisation of real estate allows a single property to be owned by thousands of investors). The investment process becomes more streamlined and digital reducing costs.
The global perspective
The global tokenisation market is growing rapidly and size is expected to reach $5.8 billion by 2026, rising at a market growth of 20.4% CAGR during the forecast period (Source here). Similarly, Alternative Investment is a market with a strong growth worldwide (ACGR forecast +9.8% at 2025) and in Italy it exceeded 45 billion Euros in 2019 (Source here).
At global level, we are seeing the launch of various projects aimed at using DLT and security tokens, including the integration of security tokens into the security value chain, such as Polymath, Swarm and the Italian companies Blockinvest and WizKey.
The Italian STAI project
The first type of asset class to be tested in the STAI will be Real Estate, which in Italy has reached a market cap of over 7.89 Trillion Euro (2020).
The platform will allow originators (real estate asset owners) to completely or partially divest their assets (by enabling fractional ownership) and the advisors/placers (retail and investment banks) to expand the offer – since fractionalization dramatically reduced the investment threshold – structuring and placing security tokens with institutional and retail investors who, in turn, can diversify their portfolio by accessing a new, more transparent market.
Thanks to Blockchain/DLT technology, the solution also facilitates the onboarding phase (Know Your Customer) compliance by design, simplifying and speeding up all processes (reconciliation, compensation and transfer of security tokens between the parties) and reducing time and costs (dematerialization, shared repository, verifiable and transparent among ecosystem subjects).
With effect from October 2021, the STAI will be available to test issue and placement of security tokens in respect of real estate underlying assets. The platform was designed with a view to scaling up, so subsequently it will also become operational for other types of asset classes such as: credits, private equity/debt, venture capital, ESG rating, works of art and collectables.
Climate Solutions, the climate-focused capital raising, and strategic advisory firm, has announced the launch of Climarket, the online marketplace for institutional investors seeking climate and ESG-focused investment opportunities in private markets.
To empower companies to raise capital at scale and pace in private markets, the digital platform connects banks, family offices, VCs, private equity funds, fund managers, and high net worth individuals with debt and project finance investment opportunities within Climate Solution’s five investment themes of energy transition, sustainable agriculture, net-zero real estate, water solutions, and the circular economy.
All investment opportunities are thoroughly pre-screened using Climate Solutions’ proprietary investment screening tool. The Climarket platform identifies which of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are advanced by each investment opportunity.
To scale the growth of vertical farming, biofuels, carbon capture, and electric vehicle adoption, the platform launches with over $175 million of secured green bond investment opportunities. Having publicly launched less than two months ago, Climate Solutions has already signed over $2.5 billion of equity and debt capital raising mandates with respect to energy transition and vertical farming.
Climarket is powered by Delio’s specialist private markets technology. Their digital tools are already used by more than 90 of the world’s financial institutions to offer investors compliant access to unlisted investment opportunities.
Climarket will expand to include Climate Solutions’ private market equity investment opportunities in the near future.
Simon Puleston Jones, CEO of Climate Solutions, said: “Climate Solutions was founded to address an immediate global problem. Whilst institutional investors are increasingly committing to invest billions, or even trillions, of dollars in climate change solutions by 2030, where can they find quality investment opportunities in which to invest at such scale and pace? Climarket directly addresses their demand and brings much-needed transparency to private markets.”
Gareth Lewis, Chief Executive of Delio, added: “Our mission is to help financial institutions to unlock private markets for their clients. The interest in the impact space from both individual and institutional investors means that the launch of Climarket comes at a vital time, helping to satisfy investor demand and addressing the urgent need for action around climate change. We’re delighted that our technology will support Climate Solutions in connecting investors with companies that are making a positive contribution to the world.”
The digital payments provider NETELLER has announced a new feature for its digital wallet that enables users to withdraw funds directly to a cryptocurrency address.
Users of the NETELLER service, which is part of the specialised payments platform Paysafe, will now find themselves being able to instantly convert and withdraw their fiat balance to an external cryptocurrency wallet. The launch follows the availability of the fiat-to-crypto withdrawal service for Skrill, Paysafe’s other digital wallet, in February of this year.
Using NETELLER’s cryptocurrency service, customers can convert 40 fiat currencies, including the Euro, US dollar, and British pound sterling, into interests in 38 different cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC) and, most recently, Solana (SOL).
This withdrawal feature is already live in ten countries internationally including the UK, Chile, Canada, and Australia, with plans to roll it out in additional countries and add more cryptocurrencies for withdrawal in the future.
“With so much interest in the digital asset space right now we’re excited to announce this new feature for NETELLER’s cryptocurrency service, which is the latest in a series of new additions and enhancements,” said Jordan Stoev, Head of Crypto, Skrill and NETELLER, at Paysafe. “The new withdrawal feature saves both time and money spent on fees for our NETELLER cryptocurrency users by allowing them to move their existing fiat balance to a crypto address of their choosing.”
Funding Circle led the way for fintechs in 2018 as it became the first company in the sector to be publically listed on the London Stock Exchange. Since then, a plethora of fintechs have followed suit hoping to find success, however, questions are starting to be asked whether a traditional IPO is the best way to list one’s company or if going public is even the correct decision to begin with.
Alexander Green is the Chief Evangelist and Co-Founder at Globacap. Green leads business development with institutional partners including VC and PE funds. Green is focused on solving problems for clients and delivering innovative capital markets solutions for Globacap’s customers.
He spoke with The Fintech Times to discuss how an IPO listing may not be in a fintech’s best interests, and that remaining private and in control is a better choice, especially now more options are available to companies who want to generate capital, offload shares, or even exit, without the need to go public. Despite this, Green explains some companies would still want a public listing. For them blockchain tech could provide new routes to liquidity:
Since then, there’s been an explosion of fintech companies looking for the liquidity (and status) that comes with a high-profile IPO. But anyone who follows the trials and tribulations of tech IPOs will know that they’re not without their risks. Funding Circle, for all the impact it had as the UK’s first fintech IPO, struggled on its first day of trading, a situation mirrored famously by Deliveroo earlier this year.
This could be why Wise, 2021’s biggest fintech public offering, didn’t choose a standard IPO, but chose a direct listing instead. Though its shares are still tradeable on the London Stock Exchange, Wise’s listing represents a move away from the traditional, something that might tempt other fintech organisations to do the same.
Recently, we conducted some research into how UK finance leaders view the prospect of IPOs, and our findings reflected an overall desire to ease off on the rush to public listing. A vast majority (87%) of CFOs and finance directors say that they intend to keep their company private for as long as possible and hold off on an IPO. However, this drops to 84% among leaders in the finance sector, and just 78% among leaders in tech.
In the shadow of a year of decidedly mixed IPOs, the time is right to be opening a conversation around alternative routes. As IPOs continue, we will ultimately see more of them fail, but this is because of the inherent faults in the traditional process, rather than that of the company.
Fintech companies represent the cutting edge of UK industry, but so many continue to choose the old, traditional route to liquidity, when they should be empowering themselves to stay private and stay in control.
Wise’s direct listing is the first small step towards breaking down the traditional routes to liquidity, but it still comes with its own risks. IPOs, direct listings and company buyouts are no longer the only options thanks to technological advancements in private capital markets. More options are now available to companies who want to generate capital, offload shares, or even exit, without the need to go public.
And what about the future? Blockchain technology will enable tokenisation of securities and be able to list on exchanges without the requirement of going public. The world outside of finance is starting to understand the benefits of physical asset tokenisation – and it’s also the direction of travel for many financial processes.
Frustratingly, the majority of innovative fintech companies looking to publicly list will actually be using blockchain tech, either as a fundamental part of their business offering, or to support the running of their organisation. Now that these platforms exist, why haven’t they made the leap to start using blockchain in their capital raises and liquidity rounds?
Fintech companies will always see an IPO as a goal, particularly for the buzz it can generate and prestige it can offer. However, what unsuccessful IPOs have taught us is that there are clear, fundamental issues with the traditional process and that companies deserve a wider range of liquidity options.
With the advent of blockchain tech, companies are now able to take back control and gain a new route to liquidity. It won’t be long before companies start to fully utilise the advances brought by blockchain technology, and at that point we’ll likely see a trend of more companies deciding to stay private and taking back control of their own liquidity.