Welcome to Tuesday’s The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup – packed to the rafters with the latest job appointments, partnerships and funding rounds. Dive in!
London-based insurtech Zego has appointed Catherine Barton as its new chief insurance officer. She joins from underwriter Talbot, where she was chief financial officer. Barton’s appointment follows several growth milestones for Zego, including its launch in the Netherlands last month. The insurtech also doubled its headcount in 2021 and is preparing to take several new products to market in 2022.
Epos Now, a cloud-based payments provider, hires Richard Nolan as chief people officer. Most recently, Nolan was chief people officer at THG, a global ecommerce technology firm. He will drive innovative people strategies while harnessing a culture embedded by innovation and empathy.
Meanwhile, Cassava Technologies has named Tesh Durvasula as the new CEO. of Africa Data Centres (ADC). He is responsible for driving growth, innovation and strategy of Cassava Technologies’ data centres to meet Africa’s accelerating demand for data and digital infrastructure.
By Miles, the pay-by-mile insurance provider, has unveiled a slew of senior hires to help amplify growth in 2022. Todd Zino is named chief product & technology officer, while Ed Naish has joined as VP of marketing. Their appointments follow Asha Singh‘s appointment as chief people officer and Maddy Howlett as chief commercial officer in 2021.
Chile’s outgoing President Sebastian Pinera has appointed central bank adviser Rosanna Costa as the monetary policy entity’s new president. Costa replaces Mario Marcel – named finance minister in the incoming government of Gabriel Bori.
Additional job moves
Xero Limited appoints Brian McAndrews as an independent non-executive director. His CEO experience includes leading Pandora Media, a streaming music provider, and aQuantive, a digital marketing services firm. He will stand for election by shareholders at Xeroʼs next annual meeting.
FinTech Australia has appointed financial services investor Andrew Porter as its new CEO. The appointment comes as the organisation gets set to play in a leading role in dealing with the government on policy matters regarding new payments technology, cryptocurrency and blockchain innovation.
Meanwhile, TrueLayer, the open banking platform, has expanded into Sweden with the appointment of Karl Hagner as country manager. Hagner will define and manage commercial strategy in the country, alongside chief revenue officer Max Emilson. The launch in Sweden follows its recent European expansion in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland and Portugal.
Papaya, a mobile bill payment application, has hired Bryan Haynes as chief revenue officer. Shemika Jones is also named chief compliance and risk officer. Haynes and Jones will help drive Papaya’s expansion across the US. Papaya also revealed it is actively seeking qualified candidates for a variety of positions.
Fintech solutions provider MonetaGo has appointed Oswald Kuyler to the newly created role of head of strategy, Europe. Kuyler will lead MonetaGo’s European expansion, spearheading the company’s growth in the region. He joins following a tenure as the first MD of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)’s Digital Standards Initiative (DSI).
Even more job news
Logiq, a provider of mobile fintech solutions, has announced executive management team appointments for its spin-off subsidiary GoLogiq. Matt Brent is named CEO and executive chairman while Thet Twe Aung is appointed chief technology officer. In addition, Eddie Foong is appointed chief product officer.
EBANX, the payments fintech company, names Paula Bellizia as the Brazilian unicorn’s new partner and president of global payments. Bellizia joins EBANX during a period of rapid growth and expansion. Over the past eight months, the company has opened an office in Mexico and also secured the acquisitions of Brazilian fintechs Remessa Online and Juno.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Youth FinTech Association has established an advisory committee and appoints new council members. Dr. Calvin Choi, founding chairman of the Association will serve as the chairman of the new committee. New council members also include Dagang Feng, The Hon. Benson Luk, Joseph Chan and Wang Xin.
Finally, Tintra PLC unveils Dr Vanessa Neumann as an independent non-executive director. Dr Neumann will help drive the Group’s next stage of growth and development. Tintra recently closed the first tranche of its $10million funding round, with the announcement of an initial $3million investment at a valuation of $100million.
UK fintech startup Weavr has joined forces with digital agency Mediaworks to help drive its ambitious growth plans. Mediaworks will held drive wider brand awareness for Weavr through its content creation and digital PR services.
Payment firm Lemonway experienced a growth of 76 per cent in transaction volumes and 65 per cent in revenues last year. The European fintech also announced the signing of 100 new clients and the creation of 70 positions, its workforce increasing from 90 to more than 160 employees.
2021 was also a successful year for B2B property insurance platform Ceta Insurance with its highest number of sales ever. During 2021, Ceta’s team took 64 per cent more calls in 2021 than the previous year. It also saw a seven per cent rise in conversations with brokers, resulting in an 88 per cent lift in sales.
Wirex, the digital payments platform, has launched its services in the US. After partnering with Zero Hash, Checkout.com, Visa and Sutton Bank, distribution has begun on its debit card across America. Wirex seeks to ‘revolutionise payments in the US’, offering the ability to buy, hold, exchange and sell US dollars as well as 37 different cryptocurrencies from an app.
The government of Cabo Verde has launched a project to propel the development of capital markets in the country. The Bank approved a $350,000 grant from its Capital Markets Development Trust Fund to help develop the country’s first-ever Capital Markets Masterplan. The funds will also facilitate the expansion of domestic fixed-income markets by upgrading existing infrastructure.
Qatar FinTech Hub (QFTH) has announced the Wave 3 Demo Day for its flagship Incubator and Accelerator Programs, which will take place virtually on 14 February 2022. The Incubator and Accelerator Programs attracted more than 500 fintech entrepreneurs and startups from more than 50 countries.
Investment and funding news
SuperSeed, a venture capital firm, has completed the first closing of its new fund at £31million, targeting a final close of £50million. Superseed invests in startups focusing on business and industrial automation. So far, it has invested in a total of 15 companies including AI Build, Integrated Finance, Kleene and Duel.
Binalyze secures $10.4million in seed funding to develop its real-time enterprise forensics platform. The investment will also accelerate Binalyze’s expansion in the US, Europe, and other key global markets. The investment, led by OpenOcean, brings total funding to date to $11.7million.
There’s also funding success for MENA’s AI-powered software solutions provider Mozn as it raises $10million. The Series A round was led by Raed Ventures with additional participation also from Shorooq Partners, VentureSouq and Sukna Ventures.
Alumni of London Business School (LBS) raised almost $4billion of funding for its companies in 2021. It reveals that more than 100 businesses developed and over £100million seed capital raised by those in LBS Incubator programme over the last 12 years.
Fintech Bold has bagged a $55million Series B investment led by Tiger Global Management. General Atlantic and Endeavor Catalyst also took part. Bold plans to leverage the new funds to expand its product and service offering as well as to accelerate geographic expansion and hire new talent.
Meanwhile, Flexio – a B2B payments platform in Latin America – raises a $3million seed round. The round was led by Costanoa Ventures with participation also from Soma Capital, Latitud Fund, Omri Mor, Daniel Kahn and Diego Oppenheimer. Flexio will use the funding to accelerate product production.
Finally, British alternative lender SME Capital has scooped new investment to expand its offering in the under-served lower middle market. The investors, from Mustard Kick, Hambleden Capital and Karan Capital, will join the company’s board as part of the deal.
Barclays announces strategic partnership with global corporate venture builder Rainmaking to drive fintech innovation. The Rise Start-Up Academy, a non-equity digital programme targeted to early-stage fintech companies, has opened for applications. A FinTech Venture Studio will also go live later this year and focus on co-developing new fintech ventures.
Meanwhile, credit app TotallyMoney has chosen Bud‘s open banking platform for a partnership to improve access to credit approvals for its customers.The partnership will harness live open banking data, bringing it together with credit report, eligibility and TotallyMoney’s own product data.
ELEVEN, a global sports streaming provider, has chosen Gr4vy’s cloud-native payments orchestration platform to quickly implement customers’ locally preferred payment methods worldwide on its global OTT platform ElevenSports.com. Through PayPal – implemented through the Gr4vy platform – ELEVEN is now able to have recurring merchant-initiated transactions without the need to involve the consumer.
Education-to-employment provider Generation Australia will embark on a three-year partnership with Bank of America to support First Nations Australians. It’s part of Bank of America’s $1.25billion, five-year global commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity for historically marginalised communities.
Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) has forged a partnership with Postpay, a buy now, pay later provider in the Middle East. CBD will provide support to Postpay including transaction banking, debt funding and e-commerce solutions allowing Postpay to focus on growth and support to its customers and merchant partners.
Sustainable payments fintech HELPFUL and Mastercard, are partnering with the Scottish Grocers’ Federation. They will trial micropayments for Scotland’s single-use drinks containers Deposit Return Scheme. The scheme aims to reduce Scotland’s CO2e emissions by 160,000 tonnes a year.
Climate-focused fintech Algbra has announced a partnership with Mastercard including joining the payment network’s Priceless Planet coalition. The partnership also includes support to grow Algbra’s card business and global marketing projects. Algbra’s offers a sustainable card as well as the ability to make direct charitable donations to UK-registered charities.
Meanwhile, fintech group Mode Global Holdings has entered into a partnership with e-commerce platform Heroes, to help employees of the firm take some of their monthly salary in Bitcoin. Employees can receive their Bitcoin salary straight into a Mode wallet – a secure and FCA registered Bitcoin wallet.
Payments provider Sokin has teamed up with Visa as the London-based fintech prepares to roll-out its inclusive Global Currency Account and debit cards across Asia Pacific.
“This partnership with Visa is fundamental in Sokin being able to help people in Asia Pacific countries and territories access inclusive and cost-effective financial service products.”
valU, a buy now, pay later fintech platform in MENA, and The American University in Cairo (AUC) have signed an agreement to offer convenient and affordable financing plans for individuals seeking to pursue an undergraduate or a graduate degree at AUC, enabling them to pay through valU.
Tech Mahindra partners with Yellow.ai to ‘transform enterprise customer experiences with conversational AI’. The partnership is aimed at redefining the way enterprises connect with customers, employees, and vendors. Tech Mahindra and Yellow.ai will work towards developing next-gen conversational-AI solutions to elevate omnichannel capabilities.
LiveMore Capital, the specialist lender for later life mortgages, has introduced a new Term Interest Only mortgage for over-50s. An alternative to LiveMore’s existing RIO offering, the new product lets customers take out a new mortgage or remortgage for a fixed term, calculated according to affordability.
HOKK Finance launches HOKK Premium – an aggregator that lets users place their ETH and USDC into smart contracts that relay the token to aggregator contracts such as AAVE, which then lend out the ETH and USDC to earn the user a passive yield. Owners of NFTs instantly earn yield in USDC for simply holding the NFT.
Emirates Islamic has launched an Emarati Family Savings Account. It enables account holders to invite family members to open separate savings accounts under an over-arching family tree account. The account can include up to 10 family members.
UAE start-up Aladdin.life is expanding its current online marketplace for mobile and broadband services to a smart, multi-sector, AI and blockchain-enabled shopping and rewards platform. The new Aladdin Magic platform is targeting mobile service users with the 100 per cent value back to be extended to multiple sectors through partnerships with brands and retailers, online and offline.
Mergers and acquisitions
Fiserv, a provider of payments and financial services technology, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Finxact, a develop of a cloud-native banking solution. Fiserv was an early investor in Finxact and, under the terms of the agreement, Fiserv will acquire the remaining ownership interest for approximately $650million.