This Tuesday’s The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup brings you fintech stories from around the world. Paymentology forms a strategic collaboration with Visa in the Middle East, while Climate First Bank selects Finastra software for values-based banking.
Anju Patwardhan joins Curve as a non-executive director
Curve unveils CreditEase investment leader and former Citi chief Anju Patwardhan as non-executive director. The fintech said it will benefit from Patwardhan’s ‘exceptional experience’ as it gears up a launch in the US, as well as introducing its lending business via Curve Credit.
Egyptian fintech ElGameya has appointed Amr Aboelazm as non-executive chairman, in addition to being an investor in the company. ElGameya also unveiled company founder Ahmed Mahmoud Abdeen as its new CEO. Mobile app ElGameya facilitates the management and collection of money circles referred to as rotating credit and savings associations.
Amish Mody joins global identity verification provider Veriff as chief financial officer. Mody previously served as VP of finance at UK fintech Monese. He is in charge of the financial planning and analysis, accounting, business intelligence and other finance-related matters at Veriff.
Meanwhile, Access Intelligence Group has appointed Tom Golding as COO. He was previously COO at Accuity. The announcement follows the technology firm’s recent £10million fundraise to pursue further global expansion.
Abdulhadi Alherz is the new managing director for the Middle East region for Irish fintech Global Shares. According to the company, the Middle East is a region of huge strategic importance as ‘more and more companies recognise the importance of equity based compensation’. He will be based in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh.
Critical digital infrastructure provider Vertiv has appointed Stephen Liang as chief technology officer (CTO). In addition, Robert Zhu is now president for Vertiv North Asia, while Anand Sanghi is president for Vertiv Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and India.
B-North, the Manchester-based firm building an SME lending bank for the UK, has added Nimisha Patel to its board. The Cabinet Office’s chief digital information officer joins as an independent non-executive director.
Funding and investments
E-mobility venture Tau tops up Series A funding to €6.75million to accelerate wire development and start production. Tau has secured the investment of a consortium of two Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and a German investment manager. As part of the transaction, new investors take an additional board seat for a minority stake.
Embedded finance startup Banxware celebrates €4million seed funding
Scope has closed a new $2.25million round of follow-on seed financing from investors, including Craft, Indicator Ventures, Dan Wright (president at DataRobot), Jon Runyan (GC at Okta). The implementation-as-a-service platform also recently launched product updates including real-time chat and project tracking.
B2B marketplace Vamstar has secured $1.7million seed funding. Led by btov, Antler and Begin Capital, the funding will drive an international roll out of its AI-powered marketplace. Vamstar provides real-time profiling of suppliers and buyers, and matches recommendations.
FINTECH.TV has closed a multimillion dollar strategic funding round led by Brand Capital International. Other investors include Ibrahim Al Husseini, Kris Roil and Brace Young. The raise is designed to support FTV’s global expansion across Africa, Middle East, the Nordics, as well as India.
Fintech Banxware raises €4million in seed round. Force over Mass and VR Ventures led the seed round, joined by HTGF and a group of international industry experts. It is the first external capital the software-as-a-service provider has raised.
While, tickr has raised £2.5million from Ada Ventures. Using tickr, people can put money into specific companies across the themes of people and planet. The platform also recently launched a carbon offset subscription service.
Finally, fractional investment platform Wombat Invest has landed £2million funding. The seed round, led by Fuel Ventures, will help Wombat further develop the platform as well as boots its ability to offer fractional shares in global, household brands.
Mergers and acquisitions
iMining Blockchain and Cryptocurrency has snapped up Canadian company CanETH Staking Services. Backed by Dubai businessman Khurram Shroff, CanEth will become the first staking service to be publicly traded following the acquisition. The deal, expected to be completed by 30 April 2021, will see shareholders of CanETH eventually own 42.13 per cent of iMining.
Merchandise platform Fanfiber, a subsidiary of Fiber Media Holding, has acquired US-based on-demand merchandise company Vardise. Fanfiber offers full-service custom branded and licensed merchandise webshops and sales campaigns to global influencers.
Tandem Bank has unveiled the acquisition of Bank and Client’s £100million mortgage book. B&C’s 300 customers will become Tandem Bank customers on 22 February. Tandem says its mortgage offering is part of its commitment to be the UK’s first good green bank.
Digital money platform Uphold has acquired debit and credit card issuer Optimus Cards. The Uphold platform aims to democratise investments by opening up access to traditionally hard-to-reach asset classes, including cryptos, precious metals, US equities, as well as carbon credits.
Digital transformation firm Atos signs cybersecurity product distribution agreement for the Middle East with Spire Solutions. All Atos’ cybersecurity products will be distributed through Spire’s network of cybersecurity channel partners across their authorised countries.
Auriga, the provider of technology solutions for the omnichannel banking and payments industries, has unveiled a strategic partnership with Belgium-based IT specialist Dilaco. The partnership will help secure critical banking services and infrastructure in the Benelux region.
Corp-Solutions partners with valU in order to provide merchants with immediate access to financing. The company will utilise credit profiles for the merchants calculated by valU’s artificial intelligence modules and algorithms to set the limits and provide approvals in a single day.
While, European payments firm SIA is to support fintech ZEN deliver its digital financial solution to consumers and entrepreneurs in 32 European countries. SIA will process all transactions made using physical and virtual cards issued by ZEN for online and offline payments in more than 150 currencies.
Smart payments provider Credorax partners with online payment facilitator Payrexx to speed up onboarding and streamline payment processes across Europe. The collaboration will enable Payrexx to provide services to Swiss merchants, while bolstering Credorax’s presence in the Swiss region.
Signicat and Mambu hook up to help banks, fintechs and emerging financial service providers increase customer acquisition, improve customer experience and reduce time to market. The partnership delivers identity verification methods to customers as Signicat’s identity platform integrates with Mambu via a single API.
Meanwhile, Japan’s JCB International Co has expanded its partnership with European payment firm Worldline. This established relationship has pivoted to support both the exchange of global ecommerce and the growth of JCB Contactless enablement across Europe.
Expat.com, a full-service platform for expats, is partnering with money transfer providers Transferwise, Transfermate, FairFx and TorFX. The aim is to simplify money transfer between multiple currencies – a common issue for many expats.
LetsTango.com, the UAE e-commerce retailer, is joining forces with logistics firm Aramex in order to fuel cross-border ecommerce in the region. The deal will enable both parties to deliver more than 1,000 Thai products in the UAE and aims to generate revenue over AED20million.
Mortgage technology provider Twenty7Tec has added Reliance Bank to its APPLY module, enabling mortgage intermediaries to submit applications to Reliance from the CloudTwenty7 platform. APPLY users can submit either decisions in principle or full mortgage applications to lenders connected to the system.
Standard Chartered Bank and talent marketplace platform Gloat have announced a multi-year strategic partnership. The partnership provides Standard Chartered workforce with an AI-driven platform that matches employees with a range of career opportunities.
Mastercard is working with global business integration technology firm SEEBURGER to provide more choice on bill payments. The agreement includes a six-month pilot project to test and ready the solution for the market, initially across Europe.
Jordan Payments & Clearing Company has partnered with Software AG and Technology Strategies ME to accelerate the country’s financial inclusion. The new infrastructure will enable JoPACC to offer a suite of unified and standardised APIs for the integration of services with entities, such as government organisations for digital onboarding.
Finally, Finastra is providing banking software to Climate First Bank. Using solutions, including Finastra’s Fusion Phoenix, Fusion Digital Banking and Fusion Total Lending, the bank will launch as a full-service community bank in Spring this year.
Industry Updates and Launches
Payment processor Paymentology has joined the Visa Fintech Fast Track Program in the Middle East. Visa Ready certification assures banks and financial institutions globally that third party payment solutions meet Visa’s security and functional standards.
Yolt Technology Services, the open banking provider, has expanded its account information services to support UK mortgage lenders. It now offers enhanced data insights, supporting lenders’ ability to make swift decisions on affordability and ID verification.
Experian has launched an enhanced and upgraded fraud prevention platform, CrossCore. The platform brings together new behavioural biometrics, device detection and machine learning technology in one package.
Onfido, the global identity verification and authentication provider, is toasting ‘unprecedented growth’. It boasts an 82 per cent increase in global annual recurring revenue and an additional 320 new companies to its roster. Furthermore, its partner ecosystem sales grew 176 per cent year-over-year.
Tink, the European open banking platform is joining Temenos MarketPlace. The platform provides connections to more than 3,400 banks, reaching over 250 million bank customers across 13 European markets.
Meanwhile, SellMyClassic.co.uk – an online classic car sales platform linking private sellers directly to professional classic car dealers – has launched. It offers no upfront costs, no buyer fee and a four per cent+vat seller fee.
Finally, we’ve seen the launch of hivera, a new platform from data solutions provider Automated-Intelligence that helps firms observe their unstructured data. The regtech platform for financial services firms is designed to bring regulatory risk under control.