This Thursday’s Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup sees Zopa appoint Graham Robinson as its new chief risk officer. While eKeeper and Burrow rebrand to finova Broker Platform.
Global fintech firm Broadridge Financial Solutions has unveiled Ben Phillips as head of asset management global advisory services. Previously, he worked at Casey Quirk by Deloitte, as well as investment bank Jefferies Putnam Lovell. Following his appointment, Broadridge intends to ‘provide a world-class advisory service for global asset managers’.
Zopa Bank has appointed Monzo’s director of credit Graham Robinson as its new chief risk officer. The digital bank recently raised $300million led by Softbank in a pre-IPO funding round. The company also recently hired Helen Beurier as its first chief people officer.
Meanwhile, Scottish AI software company Aveni names Elizabeth Gooch MBE as the company’s chief revenue officer. The startup also announced the appointment of principal software engineer Edward Asquith and senior software engineer Sam Faulls. Principal designer Chloe Poulter joins the company from IBM while Matt Pattinson becomes lead software engineer at Aveni.
Valour Inc, an issuer of digital asset ETPs, has hired Tommy Fransson as CEO. He joins from Nordic Growth Market where he was deputy CEO for 10 years. Fransson replace Diana Biggs who will move to DeFi Technologies, Valour’s parent company, in the role of chief strategy officer. The company has international expansion plans beyond the Nordics.
Finally, Yapily, the open banking infrastructure provider, has appointed Maria Palmieri as its head of public policy. Prior to joining Yapily, she was head of government relations at Tech Nation. The appointment follows Yapily’s Series B funding raise of $51million led by Sapphire Ventures to expand across Europe.
Mojo Mortgages is relocating its head office to Manchester city centre as the business enters its next phase of growth. The new office at WeWork at Dalton Place follows the announcement it is to be acquired by RVU, owners of Uswitch, Confused.com and money.co.uk. Mojo Mortgages is also currently recruiting for new members of staff to join its product engineering and mortgage advice teams.
Igloo is named in the ‘2021 Inclusive Fintech 50 (IF50)’ from nearly 300 eligible applications globally. In August 2021, it also won ‘Insurtech Initiative of the Year’ at the 6th Insurance Asia Awards. IF50 recognises early-stage fintechs that are helping low-income customers and micro and small enterprises who are affected by the pandemic.
Workpay, a Nairobi-based HR and payroll company, has expanded to Nigeria. It has also launched remote team payrolls for teams across the world hiring in Africa. It opens up the market reach to companies around the world looking to hire in Africa legally without the need to set up a local entity.
Aquarius Financial, a boutique financial services firm, has launched in London. It’s founded by ex-Credit Suisse executive, Leonardo Brummas Carvalho, who will also be the CEO. Aquarius provides a range of wealth management and corporate services.
Mergers, acquisitions and rebrands
Fintech provider finova, formally DPR Group, has announced the rebrand of eKeeper and Burrow to finova Broker Platform – offering brokers a range of digital solutions to enhance their efficiency as well as their customer experience. The rebrand follows ‘years of significant investment’ in the platform, which has seen an 80 per cent growth in the platform’s user base.
Paysafe, the payments platform, has completed its acquisition of German fintech firm viafintech. viafintech, is known under the brand viacash. The acquisition accelerates Paysafe’s growth in Germany and other key markets. Meanwhile, viafintech’s managing directors Sebastian Seifert, Achim Bönsch and Andreas Veller, become part of Paysafe’s expanding ecash solutions team.
First Internet Bank has snapped up Georgia-based First Century Bancorp. It has agreed to acquire all of the outstanding shares of First Century common stock for $80million in cash, which First Internet will fund with available on-balance sheet cash. Upon acquisition completion, First Century Bank will merge into First Internet Bank and will also maintain operations in its current locations.
Klarna, has signed an agreement to acquire PriceRunner. PriceRunner will bring in new features including product reviews, rich product discovery and price comparisons to the Klarna app. While Klarna’s retail partners will benefit from enhanced behaviour insight, increased website traffic and optimised marketing opportunities.
Investments and funding rounds
UK-based banking and crypto app Ziglu has passed £6million in investment on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. The latest crowdfunding campaign, run in conjunction with a Series A fundraise with venture capital firms, will drive continued expansion in the UK and Europe.
Fintech business insurance startup Nimbla has unveiled a £5.1million funding round led by Fin VC with additional participation from Barclays Bank. It will use the funding to expand its platform as well as grow the team. Nimbla has processed more than 67 million invoices worth £2.5billon.
HoneyBook, a financial management platform for independent businesses, has closed a $250million Series E investment round led by Tiger Global Management. Additional investors include Durable Capital Partners LP, Norwest Venture Partners, Citi Ventures and OurCrowd. HoneyBook will use the investment to further advance product development.
British Business Investments, a commercial subsidiary of the British Business Bank, has made a £30million commitment to Mobeus Equity Partners to its Fund V. Mobeus specialises in providing private capital solutions to high-growth businesses.
Additional investment updates
Puls Technologies, the on-demand home repair service platform, has secured a $15million investment as it launches an appliance warranty solution onto its mobile application. The funding round, led by Hanaco Venture Capital, will modernise the insurance market while enabling homeowners to access complete warranty on select appliances.
Open banking platform Tarabut Gateway has concluded a seed round of $13million and pre-series-A funding round of $12million led by Tiger Global. Tarabut Gateway’s solutions lets fintechs leverage open banking to scale their businesses across the region. Tarabut Gateway also welcomes new investors including the Dubai International Fintech Fund, the investment vehicle of Dubai’s International Financial Center (DIFC).
Meanwhile Anthemis Digital Acquisitions has closed its initial public offering of 23,000,000 units. The company is a blank check company whose business purpose is to effect a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganisation or similar business combination with one or more businesses.
Finally, cross-border payments firm Chipper Cash has raised $150million in a Series C extension round led by crypto exchange FTX. Only six months ago, Chipper Cash closed its first Series C round of $100million, led by SVB Capital.
Starling Bank has introduced Bills Manager, to help customers pay their bills on time and better manage their money. It provides customers with the ability to have a Direct Debit or standing order taken from money set aside in any of their ‘Savings Spaces’. Bills Manager is available to all personal and joint current account holders.
Railsbank, the embedded finance platform, has launched a new industry category known as Embedded Finance Experiences. To realise its vision, Railsbank is also launching a new identity; its first significant brand update since it was formed in 2016. It research reveals that 39 per cent of consumers are interested in accessing financial services like credit, loans or investments from brands they love and trust.
Consumer tech subscription firm Grover has launched its first financial services product – a Visa debit card. The Grover Card, issued by Solarisbank, is available in Germany through the Grover app. Purchases are turned into Grover Cash rewards, tracked and redeemed against tech subscriptions.
All-in-one platform Plooto has launched a credit card acceptance feature to help SMBs get paid faster by credit cards to further improve cash flow. Canadian and US small businesses can now collect payments as fast as two business days. Plooto also offers ACH payments, EFT payments, e-transfers, recurring payments, and pre-authorised debits (PADs) agreements.
Financial platform BlockBank has officially launched its V2 AI-powered super application. The all-in-one platform features traditional and DeFi financial services, as well as a robo advisor, debit and credit cards. V2 upgrades BlockBank’s existing mobile application.
Verto, the B2B payments platform, has partnered with Cloud-based clearing bank ClearBank. The collaboration will connect UK and European SMEs with a multi-currency bank account and FX solutions, eliminating barriers to cross-border payments.
TransUnion, an information and insights provider, has won ‘Best Partnership of the Year’ at the National Credit Awards for its work with NatWest to introduce a free credit score service to all their mobile banking app customers in the UK. Using TransUnion’s solution, NatWest’s ‘Know My Credit Score’ feature provides customers with unlimited free access to their TransUnion credit score and score factors.
Evida, the Swedish financial advisory company, has collaborated with embedded finance wealthtech provider additiv. By uilising additiv’s Hybrid Wealth Manager, Evida will offer a ‘hybrid’ selection of full investment services via a SaaS model.
Paynetics, the e-money services provider, has partnered with ClearBank to offer real-time payment and innovative banking services to customers. The collaboration lets Paynetics’ core banking system integrate with ClearBank’s API for near real-time access to its services and solutions. It allows the e-money regulated platform to create brand new services in less than eight weeks, and process payments immediately.
Meanwhile there’s a partnership for personal pension provider Collegia and Nuapay, an open banking firm. With the new collaboration, Collegia says it can onboard a business of 2000 employees in just 90 seconds. Collegia is one of the first clients using Nuapay’s Bank Authenticated Mandates, where members use open banking to sign Direct Debit Instructions (DDIs) to set up recurring pension payment plans.
Payment platform Paysafe is live in Colorado and New Jersey with sports-betting brand SuperBook Sports. Players wagering with SuperBook Sports’ online and mobile sportsbook can now select from a full range of traditional and alternative payment methods.
Xantos Labs, the investment adviser, has unveiled plans for international expansion following its partnership with Currencycloud. Currencycloud gives businesses the capability to move money across borders, and transact globally in multiple currencies.
Embedded finance provider Weavr partners with 11Onze to launch a community-focused banking super app. The super app El Canut allows customers to manage all of their payments, transfers, savings and loans from one app or login.
AllianceBlock, the project building compliant and data-driven products for financial institutions to access opportunities in decentralised finance, has teamed up with Flare Network. Flare’s technology brings Turing-complete smart contracts to all native layer 1 blockchains, starting with XRP, Dogecoin, Bitcoin, Algorand and Stellar Lumens.
Scienaptic AI says Levo Credit Union has chosen its AI-powered platform, enabling the credit union to make faster loan approvals. Implementing Scienaptic’s AI-powered credit underwriting platform will let the community-focused, members-first institution boost credit access for both current and potential borrowers.
Finally, Raisin Bank has launched its banking-as-a-service (BaaS) offering using Mambu‘s SaaS cloud banking platform. All Raisin Bank’s existing customers have moved to the Mambu platform. The bank has additionally created its own architecture on top of Mambu, developing interfaces for embedded banking solutions.
Insights and research
Southeast Asia is experiencing a financial transformation driven by digital payments, according to a new IDC report commissioned by global payments platform 2C2P. E-commerce spending will rise by 162 per cent to reach $179.8billion by 2025 across the region. While digital payments account for 91 per cent of transactions.
Small business owners are feeling optimistic about economic conditions for growth, according to iwoca’s quarterly SME Expert Index of UK brokers. The Index reveals that more than a third of brokers reported the top motivator for applying for unsecured finance was to ‘grow the business’. That’s a 12 percentage point increase from the previous quarter.