The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup takes a look at the latest international fintech stories, including partnerships, job moves and funding success stories.
Dubai Islamic Insurance & Reinsurance Company PJSC (Aman), has added three new members to its board, including its first female board member. Maha Khadem Khalfan Khadem Al Mheiri, as well as Omran Mohammedsaleh Mahmood Hussain AlKhoori and Mohammed Ahmed Abdulla Mohammed Al Malik, join as part of Aman’s ‘ambitious growth plans’.
Stage 1 Ventures operating partner Scott Carmel will join the Aliaswire board of directors following its investment in the digital payments firm. In addition, Chris Gardner joins Aliaswire’s board as an individual member, while Kristen Pulkkinen is named chief marketing officer. Aliaswire secured $6million in its first institutional funding.
Meanwhile, Mashreq Bank has appointed Wisam Mahmood and Victor Penna as the new co-heads of its global transaction banking team. The pair ‘bring significant leadership experience in key areas that are vital to Mashreq’s future operations and strategy’.
The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) has unveiled Nandika Buddhipala as president of its Sri Lanka National Advisory Council. He takes over from Nihal Fonseka, who became founding president in 2011. The CISI Colombo office recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary.
Sir Ronald Cohen has joined the advisory board of Millennium Global’s new fintech arm MillTechFX after he also invested in the firm. MillTechFX’s counterparty banks include ANZ, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Citi, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, NatWest, Standard Chartered, State Street and UBS.
JDX, the global financial services consulting firm, has appointed Mark Croxon as global head of market infrastructure. Croxon previously worked at Thames Bench, a consultancy business he founded. His mission is to support the development of JDX’s global solutions capability.
Further job hires
Dave Mays is now an independent board member at Canadian fintech Reach. Mays, founder of parcel logistics and distribution firm Landmark Global, will ‘drive Reach to the next level of growth’. Reach also recently welcomed Sarah Hermary as head of HR and Lohrasp Seify as head of data.
Nina Amin, former KPMG partner, has joined JPIN VCATS, the venture capital firm for Indian and British cross-investment. JPIN VCATS is looking to connect all the major business hubs of India with their counterparts in the UK.
Meanwhile, Digiterre, the software and data engineering consultancy, has unveiled Patrick Bishop as sales director. He joins from Scott Logic where he was head of business development. Jeremy Toop is also appointed senior business development executive to support the continued growth of the business.
Stephan von Massenbach has joined DIGITEC as managing director, chief revenue officer for its new London office. DIGITEC, a provider of FX Swaps technology and data, said the new sales office is in response to a growing number of enquiries from banks and trading desks located in London.
Finally, wealth management firm Blacktower Financial Management has named Gavin Pluck as group managing director. Founder and former group MD John Westwood is now group chairman. During the past 12 months, Blacktower has established licenced companies in both Cyprus and Grand Cayman.
Mergers and acquisitions
IDnow has agreed to acquire ARIADNEXT, a French company specialising in remote identity verification and digital identity creation. IDnow said the combination with ARIADNEXT is an important step towards its ‘vision of building the pan-European leader for identity verification-as-a-service solutions’.
KGISL, a global IT services provider, has completed the acquisition of AETINS as part of its growth strategy in the insurtech space. Following the deal, KGISL enters the UAE market as well as a new domain – life insurance and takaful insurance.
Meanwhile, Payoneer and FTAC Olympus Acquisition Corp have completed their business combination. As a result, a new public entity under the name Payoneer Global Inc is now listed on the Nasdaq stock market. The transaction includes a $300million PIPE investment from investors including existing investor Wellington Management.
Funding and investments
Finance for Tomorrow has launched Investors for a Just Transition – a global investor engagement coalition promoting the transition to greener low-carbon economies. Bringing together asset managers and asset owners of the French financial ecosystem, the coalition currently represents €3.6trillion.
Ghanaian fintech Zeepay has completed $7.9million Series A funding. The funding, led by investing group I&P, is a hybrid of both equity and balance sheet funds to support its operations. Zeepay enables digital remittances from the diaspora to mobile wallets, bank accounts and visa cards across 20 markets in Africa.
LOQR, a Portuguese fintech startup, has secured a Series A investment round worth €8million. The investment included the participation of Iberis Capital and Semapa Next, as well as current investors, including EDP Ventures, BiG Start Ventures and HCapital. It will use the funds to continue to invest in the digital transformation of the financial sector, to strengthen its international expansion, as well as invest in technology and innovation.
Carrot, South Korea’s digital-only insurance provider, has doubled its capital through a $90million rights offering. Carrot is also celebrating after attracting 200,000 subscribers to its pay-per-mile auto insurance cover. The company’s existing shareholders, as well as T-Map Mobility, participated in the latest capital increase.
EIS, a digital platform provider for insurers, has announced a growth investment of more than $100million from TPG, a global alternative asset firm. The funds will help accelerate product development, as well as support geographic expansion. TPG invested out of TPG Tech Adjacencies, its fund focused on flexible capital solutions for the technology industry.
Finally, Yalla Xash, a Morocco-based fintech startup, has closed a $675,000 Series A funding round. The investment from Maroc Numeric Fund II will be used to extend services to other countries in the coming months.
Partnerships and collaborations
UBL, the Pakistan digital bank, partners with Temenos and NdcTech to modernise and scale its digital banking strategy. Through the collaboration, UBL expects to ‘hyper-scale its digital footprint and provide a modern online banking platform’ that covers the entire customer lifecycle including customer onboarding, deposit, loan originations and digital servicing.
There’s also a partnership for Gusto, the cloud-based payroll company, and bookkeeping fintech Xendoo. Together, they’ve launched Xendoo Payroll, helping small and medium business owners pay employees and track key insights.
Checkout.com has partnered with BigCommerce. BigCommerce’s 60,000 global merchants can now access Checkout.com’s payment platform. For merchants, this means direct access to Visa, Mastercard, American Express, as well as alternative payment methods including Alipay, Bancontact, Boleto Bancário, EPS, Fawry, Giropay, iDEAL, KNET, Multibanco, OXXO, Przelewy24, Qpay, SEPA Direct Debit and Sofort.
Paysafe has further extended its relationship with Microsoft to enable online cash transactions on Microsoft Store on Xbox through paysafecard. The e-cash payment tool is now available on Xbox consoles in 22 European countries. Paysafe recently leveraged Microsoft Azure’s open and flexible cloud computing platform and tools for its US payment processing services.
B2B spending firm Pleo has teamed up with open banking specialist Salt Edge to implement its PSD2 compliance solution. Pleo’s SME customers now have the possibility to access their accounts or initiate payments directly from third-party apps.
Emirates Development Bank and First Abu Dhabi Bank partner on a credit guarantee, co-lending programme for SMEs in UAE. Under the agreement, FAB will offer up to AED100million financing to SMEs, while 50 per cent of the facility amount will be either guaranteed or co-lent by EDB. The programme also supports UAE startups by offering financing facilities of up to AED1million, with 60 per cent guaranteed or co-lent by EDB.
Meanwhile, Medius, a provider of spend management solutions, has unveiled a partnership with TransferMate, the payments infrastructure as a service firm. The collaboration offer Medius customers an integrated way to make international payments without leaving their existing spend management platform.
There’s also a partnership for Mastercard and Bahraini fintech Eazy Financial Services. The partnership will support the expansion of Eazy’s services, as well as improve access, opportunities and connections within the country’s digital payments ecosystem. It will also provide SMEs and micro merchants in the region with digital payment tools.
Rational Group, home of FX and payment companies RationalFX and Xendpay, has plumped for TruNarrative to boost its customer onboarding and identity verification processes. TruNarrative’s SaaS platform enables businesses to detect fraud and identify risk via a single API.
Fraud fighters SEON has unveiled a partnership with VCC Live, the cloud contact centre specialist. Through this partnership, both businesses will tackle fraud for contact centres in the banking, financial services and insurance sector.
Global Processing Services has joined forces with Currencycloud in order to widen access to cross-border payments for financial institutions and fintechs. The combined value proposition will help businesses offer customers compliance and regulatory infrastructure, as well as cross-border payments infrastructure and real-time FX for overseas card transactions.
Crown Agents Bank is selected as a new banking partner by Cambridge Global Payments. The partnership means Cambridge Global Payments Solutions can expand its global banking footprint to facilitate payments across emerging and frontier markets in APAC and Africa.
While Tribe Payments has agreed a partnership with ClearBank to provide Tribe’s fintech customers with access to payment schemes. Tribe Payments’ Bank Connect solution has been integrated with ClearBank’s API first platform. Tribe’s fintech can now integrate Faster Payments, CHAPS, BACS and Direct Debit payments.
iDenfy, a global ID verification service, has teamed up with Clearshift. The currency exchange and international transfer services firm said the partnership with iDenfy means it can simplify ID verification for clients while reducing fraud.
Finally, Paysafe, the payments platform, has expanded its partnership with FOX Bet. The US sports betting firm has now strengthened its Michigan sportsbook’s payments offering with the Skrill digital wallet and paysafecard e-cash solution. Paysafe is already integrated with FOX Bet’s Colorado, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania offering.
Jingle Pay, a UAE money service business, has unveiled a hybrid model where customers can choose to open an Islamic account or opt for a conventional alternative. It says it is the first money service business with Shariah certification following a review by Shariyah Review Bureau.
Wombat Invest boasts it has become the UK’s cheapest ISA provider for people wanting to choose their own stocks. The micro-investing platform has reduced its annual platform charge from 0.45 per cent to 0.1 per cent. As well as allowing investors to buy curated UK, US and EU shares, Wombat also offers theme-based exchange-traded funds.
The UAE is to host its first influencer combat event. Social Knockout will feature Rashed Saif Belhasa, better known to his YouTube followers as Money Kicks. The event also plans to run completely on cryptocurrency transactions. KoKoSwap tokens will be used for transactions for all purchases related to the event. While photographs will be auctioned off as non-fungible tokens.
Klarna has joined The Climate Pledge and the Race to Zero campaign. The Climate Pledge is a commitment co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism to reach net zero carbon emission by 2040. While Race to Zero is a UN-backed global campaign to halve all global emissions by 2030.