Bitpanda Backs Fintech Innovation in Poland; ThetaRay Inks Deal in Spain

There’s no better time than the present to plan for the future. That’s the approach taken by European fintech Bitpanda, which announced earlier this week that it was investing €10 million ($12 million) to launch a technology and innovation hub in Poland. The initiative will be headquartered in Krakow and will employ 300 engineering professionals with diverse backgrounds to “develop innovative and challenging projects” to improve finance and bring “transparency” to investing. Bitpanda co-founder and CTO Christian Trummer will lead the effort.

 “While staying true to our goal of tearing down financial barriers, innovating with speed in a more nimble and proactive manner is just as critical as looking at Bitpanda’s assets through a different and forward-looking lens as the company gains momentum,” Trummer said in a statement. “I’m confident that we will be able to attract the most skilled professionals from the whole region, running from Backend Developers, Software, Machine Learning and QA Engineers to Product Owners and Scrum Masters.”

The hub announcement comes in the wake of Bitpanda’s $52 million Series A round in September – led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures – and follows the company’s successful 2020 expansions to Spain, France, and Turkey. Bitpanda’s Series A was among the largest in Europe this year.

“Placing Bitpanda’s first Technology & Innovation Hub in Krakow, with its globally-renowned developers, an exciting local tech scene and geographical proximity to Vienna, was a pretty clear choice for us,” Bitpanda co-founder and CEO Eric Demuth said. “It’s the best asset to attracting the right talent who can help Bitpanda pursue innovation of the highest standard.”

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Vienna, Austria, Bitpanda is a leading European neobroker that specializes in digital asset investing. This fall, Bitpanda teamed up with Raiffeisen Bank International to bring blockchain-interoperability to banks in the EU. Th company also launched its Bitpanda Crypto Index (BCI), which provides an automated way for cryptocurrency investors to buy multiple cryptocurrencies at once and more readily diversify their holdings.

Big data analytics platform Thetaray, which made its Finovate debut five years ago at FinovateFall in New York, announced late this week that its Anti-Money Laundering for Correspondent Banking solution has been selected by Spain’s Cecabank. The wholesale bank will use the AI-powered technology to analyze SWIFT traffic, risk indicators, and other data to identify anomalies that can signify criminal activity.

“We were already using traditional rules-based systems, but we wanted to increase our ability to monitor cross-border transactions,” Cecabank Compliance Head Alfredo Oñoro said. “When an industry colleague recommended ThetaRay’s AML solution for correspondent banking, we immediately reached out and began discussions.  We are extremely impressed with ThetaRay’s technology and excited to share its capabilities with our bank customers and, if so requested, with our regulators.”

ThetaRay’s anomaly detecting algorithms are relied upon by corporations in financial services, industrial manufacturing, and critical infrastructure to defend against a wide variety of threats and cybercrimes, ranging from money laundering to terrorist financing. ThetaRay offers fraud detection, ATM security, and an early threat detection capability that minimizes false positives, enabling firms to modernize their legacy systems with a compliant, cost-savings solution.

“This announcement serves as notice that ThetaRay’s AML for Correspondent Banking solution is not just for global financial institutions,” ThetaRay CEO Mark Gazit said. “It is also a perfect fit for mid-sized banks aiming to improve their AML controls. Cecabank plays a crucial role in the Spanish market, and we are very pleased that they’ve chosen ThetaRay to help secure their customers’ cross-border transactions.”

ThetaRay’s partnership with Cecabank comes in the wake of a similar collaboration the company announced with Banco Santander over the summer. With offices in Israel and New York City, ThetaRay has raised more than $81 million in funding. ABN AMRO Ventures and Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) are among the company’s investors.

Interesting in learning more about fintech in Latin America? This week on the Finovate blog we featured an article from non-profit organization Invest Puerto Rico that makes the case for untapped opportunity on the island.

Fintech is growing fast, at a rate of 25% per year through 2022. Puerto Rico’s close proximity to the world’s financial center – New York City – gives island-based fintech firms the opportunity to remain connected while taking advantages of key local benefits such as STEM talent, local financial literacy, and attractive tax incentives. 

Read the rest.

Here is our look at fintech around the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • PayCentral and Mastercard team up to launch new online payments platform for SMEs, DigiCentral.
  • Interswitch Group, a Nigerian digital payments company, partners with Kenya-based Credit Bank to launch a multi-currency prepaid card.
  • South African fintech Ukheshe acquires mobile payments startup Oltio

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Germany’s Solative, which provides indices and index solutions to the financial services industry, raises $60.4 million in growth funding.
  • Irish core banking technology provider Leveris inks partnership with Czech bank, Česká spořitelna.
  • Polish fintech SMEO, which provides online factoring services to small and micro-enterprises, locks in €4 million in funding ahead of its planned international expansion.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Digital open banking app sync secures license from the Qatar Financial Centre Authority.
  • Central Bank of Oman unveils fintech regulatory sandbox.
  • IBS Intelligence reviews the top four fintechs disrupting payments in the UAE.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Pakistan’s SadaPay obtains approval from the State Bank of Pakistan for pilot launch in 2021.
  • India Posts Payments Bank and the Indian Department of Posts introduce new digital payment app, DakPay.
  • Bangalore-based payments platform Cashfree raises $35.3 million in round led by Apis Partners.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazilian financial market intrastructure company B3 partners with Genesis to access its low-code application platform.
  • Mozper, a debit card for kids and their parents, goes live in Mexico following $3.5 million seed funding round.
  • BNAmericas looks at Azimo’s partnership and expansion plans for Latin America following its alliance with Uruguay’s dLocal.


  • Singapore and Thailand announce plans to link their national payment systems in 2021.
  • Malaysia’s AFFIN Bank launches new corporate internet banking platform for SMEs, AffinMax.
  • Vietnam Briefing examines the rise of Vietnam as a startup hub.

Photo by Jade from Pexels