The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup this Tuesday looks at the latest global fintech updates.
Funding and investments
Paysend, the international payments platform, has closed a Series B funding round of $125million. The round was led by One Peak, with additional participation from Infravia Growth Capital, Hermes GPE Innovation Fund. Long-term investor Plug and Play also took part. The funding will help Paysend expand its international footprint as well as speed up product innovation.
The pensions challenger Penfold has announced the close of a £6million investment round led by Bridford Investments Limited, concluding with a crowdfunding campaign on CrowdCube. The funds will be used to accelerate growth and expand its team.
Elsewhere on CrowdCube, Curve, a financial super app, has closed the largest ever equity raise on the crowdfunding platform, breaking multiple records during the campaign. The raise hit nearly £10million in funding from 11,795 investors, and Curve plans to use the funds to execute its growth strategy, focusing on international expansion and product innovation.
Habib Bank has become the first bank in Pakistan to invest in a digital fintech startup with its participation in the last tranche of SME lender Finja’s series A1 round. Qasif Shahid, CEO and Co-Founder Finja, said: “HBL’s financial clout, extensive network and progressive leadership will help us support and nurture Pakistan’s most important business segment, the SMEs.”
E-Commerce growth platform Wayflyer raises $76million after advancing over $150million since launching in April 2020, led by Left Lane Capital. With e-commerce sales expected to hit $4.2trillion in 2021, funds from the round will be used to support Wayflyer’s product development and international expansion. The business is set to enter multiple new markets in the coming months.
Meanwhile, Bucharest-based SeedBlink has completed its series a round worth €3million, a third of which came through crowd investing. Its own investment campaign is the largest financing carried out through its platform and the first series A funding on Seedblink.
Cross-border investment pioneers Stockal raise $3million in pre-series A funding as it targets global growth, with the funds to fuel expansion beyond India and the Middle East and develop new services tailored to each market.
Dibsy, a Qatar based payments company, has raised $300,000 in pre-seed funding. Dibsy will invest in hew hires and business development to grow its market share in Qatar, as well as broaden its scope to offer more services around its payment solutions.
Finally, Fraudio has announced it has received $3.3million for its seed round. The startup was founded by operators and technical experts from the Dutch payment ecosystem, who have built a cloud-native centralised AI and machine learning payment fraud detection solution.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has unveiled Lawrence Wong as Minister for Finance and also added Deborah Ong to its board of directors. MAS also announced a reshuffle of existing board members. Lim Hng Kiang is stepping down as deputy chairman but will remain on the board, while a further six board members have been reappointed.
HSBC Bank plc and HSBC Europe Chief Executive Officer Colin Bell recently joined the board of directors at London fintech start-up Quantexa, a data and analytics software company. Other key advisory appointments include Annabelle Bexiga, Simon Collins and Paola Bergamaschi Broyd.
Meanwhile Vesttoo – the alternative reinsurance platform – has hired Robert Schumaker as vice president of capital markets. The former MD at State Street Bank and ex-VP at Credit Suisse will help scale Vesttoo’s insurance-linked programme.
Similarly, Edward Stevenson has been appointed as IQ-EQ’s first-ever head of capital markets. The global investor services group is planning to expand its service line offering, with Stevensons’ experience in global finance to accelerate that growth.
Tandem Bank has appointed Susie Aliker as chief executive officer. Aliker said “I am delighted to be part of the next stage in Tandem’s journey, continuing to develop our banking proposition and helping our customers make money choices for a greener future.”
Finally, Andy MacInnes, former BBC and John Lewis CTO, has moved to Appsbroker, a Google Cloud-only agile systems integrator in EMEA to support businesses to transform at pace towards their digital future.
Thunderbird School of Global Management has opened a new satellite centre of excellence in partnership with Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). Thunderbird Global Innovation Center is located at the DIFC Innovation Hub. It will deliver elite hybrid learning programmes for organisations and individuals.
Checkout.com launches their Barcelona office as a Southern Europe Hub for operations across Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece as e-commerce penetration rate is expected to grow exponentially in the next few years.
InComm Payments has partnered with Visa to launch a first-of-its-kind innovative healthcare benefits solution. The Dual Network Benefit Card allows health plans to deliver benefits such as dental, vision, hearing and other programmes across a wide variety of providers through the Visa network while continuing to offer curated catalogues and directed benefits.
Viva Wallet, a pan-European Neobank, has launched the first certified Tap on Phone solution for both contactless and pin payments in Europe. The POS app for android revolutionises point-of-sale technology for business of all sizes by turning any device into a card terminal.
iBanFirst teams up with global investment firm Marlin Equity Partners to finance organic growth and M&A initiatives. The financial services provider says Marlin will become its biggest shareholder. iBanFirst CEO and founder, Pierre-Antoine Dusoulier, is now the company’s second-largest shareholder following the agreement.
The Spanish Association of Fintech and Insutech and Mastercard have renewed their agreement of collaboration, with the payments company continuing as a strategic sponsor of the association to aid in the advancement of the fintech and insurtech ecosystem.
Meanwhile, Cryptocurrency intelligence company CipherTrace have announced its analytics support for Binance Smart Chain to allow them to track illicit transactions and legitimise the chain for more partnership opportunities.
Inertia and EFG Hermes’ NBFI subsidiaries, PayTabs Egypt and valU, have announced they have partnered to allow Inertias clients to process payments online in a first of its kind agreement in Egypt’s real estate sector.
Canadas largest mutual insurance provider, Beneva, has successfully upgraded to Sapiens Americas laters version of Sapiens UnderwritingPro. “Underwriting is mission-critical to Beneva in achieving its revenue growth and expense reduction goals. Sapiens’ digital user experience, greater configurability and security advances were all important for Beneva in making the decision to upgrade to Version 11,” said Sébastien Nadeau, Director, Individual Insurance Solutions Optimization.
Elsewhere, Help AG, the cybersecurity arm of Etisalat Digital, has partnered with Illimio to build on their existing Zero Trust solutions and services portfolio. The move will drive the evolution of Zero Trust security to stop attackers in their tracks and keep networks secure
In May, S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook on Bahrain to negative from stable due to the increasing risks to the government’s ability to service external debt and maintain confidence in the exchange rate peg. The rating agency expects Bahrain’s economy to rebound in 2021.
The Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS) has added three new silver members; Canonical, the publisher of the Ubuntu Linux distribution; Databricks, an open core cloud data and AI company and Codethink, a provider of open source engineering services. These organisations bring their expertise in solving enterprise challenges through open-source business models to the FINOS community as membership grows to 46.
The UK Government has named Karma Technologies as a supplier in the distribution of vouchers with a potential value of £1.5billion. The fintech is one of 13 companies on the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) supplier framework for this project.
PayBy has partnered with Al May Group, one of the largest supermarket chains in the UAE, to ensure safe, secure and seamless shopping experiences. Customers can now pay using PayBy’s contactless payment solutions.
Banks are blocking payments to crypto exchanges by suspending payments to the sector amid fears that it has become a “hotbed for financial crime”. Barclays, Monzo and Starling customers are among those to have been blocked from transferring money to cryptocurrency platforms such as Binance and SwissBorg.