The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup takes a look at the latest international fintech stories. Joompay has become a principal member of the Visa card scheme, while Flashpoint announces the launch of its secondary fund.
On the move
Valour, the Swiss-based issuer of investment products, has appointed Diana Biggs as CEO. In her new role, Biggs will lead the company’s expansion, following the recent launch of Bitcoin Zero. Prior to joining Valour, Biggs was global head of innovation for HSBC Private Banking, where she led on fintech partnerships.
There’s a trio of new senior hires at Glasgow based retirement tool Guiide. New director Philip Hodges joins from a associate director role at Ergo Consulting. While new director Steve Goddard was most recently MD of Goddard Perry Consulting. In addition, Julius Pursaill joins Guiide as a strategic advisor.
Previse’s Steve Dempsey and Niv Subramaniam
London-based fintech Previse has hired former HSBC managing director Niv Subramaniam as its commercial lead. Also joining the artificial intelligence firm is Steve Dempsey as sales director. The pair will help Previse accelerate rollout of its InstantPay solution for SMEs.
Professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) has bolstered its Middle East team with several senior hires. Paul Gilbert makes the switch from A&M’s European based restructuring practice to A&M’s Dubai as MD. While Karim Benhameurlainee joins as MD head of healthcare in A&M’s corporate performance practice alongside new senior directors Sumit Mittal and Dr. Sara Alom Ruiz in the strategy and performance improvement team.
In further Alvarez & Marsal related news, Dr Saeeda Jaffar is appointed an independent board member at United Arab Bank for a term of three years. She is currently the MD for the Middle East office of A&M. Her focus is on strategy, operational turnaround and transformation programmes.
Also on the move…
Advanced fraud and risk management provider Cybertonica is celebrating after adding Carl Clump, founder of Retail Decisions, to its board. Describing Clump as a ‘legendary entrepreneur in the fraud and payments sectors’, the firm says his addition will help it achieve growth at rates faster than the market.
Meanwhile, the British Business Bank has appointed Elizabeth O’Neill as general counsel and company secretary. Previously, she was head legal adviser for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. O’Neill takes up her role from Shanika Amarasekara MBE, who has been appointed as the Bank’s executive committee member responsible for ESG, economics, policy and strategy.
The Israel Innovation Authority has named Dror Bin as its new CEO. He will replace Aharon Aharon. Since 2012, Bin has served as president and CEO of RAD Data Communications. Aharon recently revealed he was stepping down in order to look for new challenges.
Finally, Carsten Höltkemeyer, the former CEO of Barclaycard Germany, has joined auxmoney as executive chairman of its board. In addition, Denis Hall is now chair of the digital-lending platform’s risk committee.
Spotlight on the UAE
Gulf Capital, the growth markets alternative investment firm, has joined HRH The Prince of Wales’ Terra Carta sustainability initiative. It’s the first firm from the Middle East and Africa to join the charter and to commit to a 10-point action plan for sustainability, inclusive of nature, people, equality and prosperity.
Dubai’s IBC Group backed HeTH Data Centers buys 1640 next-gen miners in a bid to become one of the largest Ethereum miners globally. The Canada-based crypto mining pool aims to achieve an aggregate operating hash power of 8 Terahash per second by next year. HeTH capitalises on the current logistics disruptions and miner exodus in Asia.
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) clocked 528,057,108 digital transactions in 2020 across four platforms – website, smartphone apps, virtual assistant (Mahboub) and self-service machines. The biggest bulk of digital transactions were related to licensing, Salik toll roads, parking and journey services.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the international financial centre, has enacted the Data Protection Regulations 2021. Replacing the current Data Protection Regulations 2015, the initiative follows a period of public consultation. The data protection framework is designed to protect personal data, while also remaining balanced and business-friendly.
The consortium of Prism and Abu Dhabi’s Royal Strategic Partners has appointed Matrix International Financial Services to help with financial compliance and fraud prevention measures at Finablr. Matrix will help introduce efficient and effective financial crime systems and processes across the company.
Mergers and acquisitions
Nasdaq has completed the acquisition of anti-financial crime management solution provider Verafin. The agreement to acquire Verafin was first announced in November 2020. Verafin will continue to operate in Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada as a stand-alone organisation. While its capabilities will be expanded to service a global ecosystem of Tier-1 and Tier-2 banks and broker-dealers.
A SAP solutions dream team is on the way as UK consultancy Invenio merges with US-based LSI Consulting. The newly merged organisation will act as a global SAP partner for public services and will operate as a single entity while maintaining its respective brands.
New products and launches
DigiPli has unveiled a holistic onboarding-as-a-service solution to addresses a financial institution’s complete AML and KYC needs. The platform includes AML program design, hosted workflows, integrated data and ID verification tools and other AML advisory services remediation.The regtech firm has also announced the addition of Joseph Polizzotto and Sanjeev Handa to its advisory board.
Sopra Banking Software has launched a Marketplace aiming at accelerating modernisation and platformisation of banking and financial systems. It integrates solutions from numerous fintech partners linked to open banking, security, customer knowledge and engagement, data management and visualisation, documentary management as well as electronic signature.
PayPoint is souping up its digital solution PayByLink in a bid to offer greater support for financially vulnerable users. PayByLink allows companies to send customised payment reminders by email or SMS, enabling quick payments. New enhancements will help customers decide whether to make a single, one-off payment or set up a recurring payment.
Aryza has unveiled enhanced functionality for its Debtsense customers. New features enable financial businesses to review their customers affordability and propose automated changes to their credit limit based on their own rules, that are built into the system. The Debtsense product range is designed to automate and simplify the financial restructuring and recovery journey for consumers.
ZKSwap, a decentralised exchange (DEX) built on ZK-Rollup technology, has launched its mainnet as a layer-2 protocol on the Ethereum network. Developed by L2Lab and backed by a recent $1.7million investment from Bixin Capital, SNZ Capital, FBG Capital and Longling Capital, ZKSwap will improve the DEX user experience.
Meanwhile, Stoke Talent, the freelance management system, has released a new accelerated payment tool. This new capability enables companies to pay their freelancers, consultants, and contract workers within 24 hours in their preferred currency and payment method.
Global Processing Services has sponsored findexable’s Fintech Diversity Radar – a global platform gathering progressive data to understand women’s contribution to the digital economy. A digital scorecard maps the global fintech landscape to identify how and where women are employed and assess progress.
Joompay has become a principal member of the Visa card scheme, allowing it to issue its own cards across Europe. Launched early this month, Joompay is a social finance app with a mission to provide seamless, secure and superfast money transfers across Europe. The Visa card will support Apple Pay and Google Pay and users will be able to customise its design.
London-based payment technology firm BlueSnap has opened a new office in Dublin. As part of the expansion, it has also appointed Eugene McCague, former boss of Arthur Cox, as its chairman of EU Operations. In addition, BlueSnap has secured a payment institution licence from the Central Bank of Ireland.
Fintech Saudi has concluded its three-month Fintech Accelerator Program. 10 fintechs have been refining their product strategy and developing their business models. Last week, a Demo Day gave them the opportunity to pitch their products to potential investors, the media, and the wider business community.
Fintechs AIO – Verified Financial Identity and Finastra have been awarded a $1million grant from the board of governors of the Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation. They will co-develop a digital customer onboarding solution in order to automate the process of establishing the financial identity of a loan applicant in order to meet regulations.
IDEMIA, the augmented identity firm, has signed a corporate partnership with Fintech Australia. IDEMIA will provide support for Fintech Australia’s events, awards and community activities.
Funding and investments
FlexxPay raises $3million
Raqamyah, the Saudi-based fintech peer-to-peer lending platform, has secured a $2.3million pre-series A funding round. The investment was led by Impact46 with participation from Vision Ventures, Mad’a Investment, Alyusur Company, Fadeed Investment and other angel investors.
Fair, a multilingual neobank and financial services platform, opens early bird membership enrollment in March following fundraising success. The ethical, membership-based platform has raised $20million in 40 days. Its services are provided by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC and will offer MasterCard debit card.
Siply, a financial services platform for underserved Indians, has raised $1million in seed funding from investors. Jain International Trade Organisation (JITO) Angel Network and Inflection Point Ventures (IPV), join a group of CXOs from India and UAE-based angel investors.
While, social impact technology company FlexxPay has raised $3million in a pre-series A round. The round was joined by investors including JIMCO, Target Global, Wamda, DIFC FinTech Fund, March Holding, Arzan VC, SuknaVentures, Nuwa Capital, as well as VentureSouq.
Technology investment firm Flashpoint has launched a secondary fund, targeting $200million. It follows a first close of $70million. The fund, aimed at later-stage tech companies, will provide liquidity for early-stage shareholders, as well as allow companies to consolidate their cap tables.
Personetics has secured a $75million investment from Warburg Pincus. The funding will accelerate the global expansion of its AI-driven personalisation and engagement solutions. Personetics is also backed by Viola Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Nyca Partners.
Finally, IW Capital has led a £2.9million growth equity investment for Ubamarket LTD. This top-up investment will be used to accelerate the ”scan pay go’ technology company’s expansion plan into new industries, such as hospitality.