This Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 19/10

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In The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup this Tuesday, Zopa Bank unveils a $300million pre-IPO funding round while David Curneen joins EML Payments.

Job moves

Payments provider Paya has named Michele Shepard as chief commercial officer while Balaji Devarasetty joins as chief technology officer. Darrell Winfield, Paya’s chief information officer will focus on Paya’s long-term innovation agenda and product roadmap, in addition to further developing relationships with key clients and prospects across Paya’s verticals.

David Curneen David Curneen
David Curneen joins EML

EML Payments has welcomed David Curneen to the newly created role of group chief operating officer. Most recently, he was Digicel Financial Services‘ group CEO for 32 Caribbean, Central American and South Pacific markets. He will drive and implement EML’s strategic plan, Project Accelerator.

Financial infrastructure API platform Fidel API has unveiled three executive appointments to support its significant growth in response to a record year. Kevin Akerman joins as VP of global strategic initiatives, Mounir Mouawad is VP of payments and emerging products while Carlos Vilhena is named head of engineering.

Meanwhile Mettle, the NatWest-backed business account, has appointed Andrea Himmelbaeur as the company’s first culture and people lead. She joins from fintech Arcus where she was director of people operations and will focus on people-focused strategies.

The API Ratings Agency (TARA) has named four members to its board. In addition to David O’Neill, CEO of APImetrics, members now include Brian Costello of the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence and Don Thibeau, formerly of the OpenID Foundation. Also joining is John Musser, founder of programmable web and API science and Lorinda Brandon, VP of software development at BetterCloud.

Finally, Laurel Powers-Freeling has joined Moneybox, the saving and investing app, as independent non-executive chair. She provides strategic counsel and governance oversight. Last year, Moneybox raised £38.8million in a Series C investment round.

Funding and investments

Tala has unveiled a $145million Series E fundraise led by Upstart with additional participation from the Stellar Development Foundation. New investors Kindred Ventures and the J. Safra Group also joined the round. Tala will use the investment to accelerate the rollout of its new financial account experience. It also plans to grow its team across Kenya, the Philippines, Mexico, India and the US.

Money management app Plum has secured new funding to drive the company’s expansion. The first close of $14million is part of an anticipated $24million Series A. New investors dmg ventures and Ventura Capital join previous Plum backers Global Brain, VentureFriends and 500 Startups.

PlumPlum
Plum

Digital savings account Chip has closed the biggest equity crowdfund ever held on Crowdcube. The fintech has raised £11.5million from 12,954 investors. Chip raised £1million in under 10 minutes and hit £8.6million in under 48 hours. Following the crowdfund, the company added 6,500 new investors, growing its shareholder community to more than 23,000 and making it the second biggest fintech investor community in the UK.

Zopa Bank announces a $300million pre-IPO funding round led by Softbank. Chimera Abu Dhabi, IAG Silverstripe, Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP, NorthZone and Augmentum Fintech also joined the round. Since its launch in June 2020, Zopa has attracted £675million in deposits for its fixed savings accounts.

Company updates 

Tradeshift says its virtual credit card product Tradeshift Go is on track to process $2.5billion in charge volume this year. That’s a sixfold increase from 2020. With Tradeshift Go, employees don’t have to be cardholders on a commercial card account to access payments. While budget managers can issue pre-approved, encrypted virtual cards.

Football West Ham

Football West HamDigital asset wealth management platform YIELD grows assets to $339million and sponsors West Ham United. Over the third quarter of 2021, YIELD doubled its managed assets. YIELD will feature throughout the Hammers’ communications in order to significantly broaden the reach of digital assets to mainstream audiences.

Encompass Corporation, a provider of know your customer solutions, has expanded into North America, with office headquarters based in New York. Alex Ford has been appointed president of North America in order to drive business growth. Joining Alex in the US will initially be six senior staff members before increasing to more than 10 by the end of 2021.

International fashion group OTB joins the AURA Blockchain Consortium as a new founding member. Aura Blockchain Consortium was created in April 2021 by luxury players LVMH, Prada Group and Cartier. The Consortium aims to address challenges of communicating authenticity, responsible sourcing and sustainability in a secure digital format.

Engagement banking platform provider Backbase Backbase has been awarded Best-in-Class in the latest Aite Matrix Report: US Digital Banking Point Solution Providers, published by advisory firm Aite-Novarica Group. Aite-Novarica evaluated the overall position of Backbase against eight of the other most significant digital banking solution providers.

Launches

Tata Consultancy Services has launched an enhanced TCS BaNCS Marketplace – an innovation hub for customers to collaborate and adopt cutting-edge partner solutions. The Marketplace offers an ecosystem of solutions and APIs from fintechs, insurtechs, risktechs, regtechs and other innovators.

Partnerships and collaborations

Open payments gateway Volt has paired up with  European payments platform Worldline. Worldline will propel Volt’s payment method across Europe while expanding its global footprint into high-growth markets. Earlier this year, Volt raised a $23.5million Series A.

Cybersource, a Visa solution, and payments firm EBANX have forged a new partnership for payments in Brazil. Cybersource’s clients around the world will be able to access EBANX’s payment solutions for Brazil, and offer their customers in the country the ability to pay online for products and services with local payment methods.

Dua Pay

Dua PayAllianceBlock has teamed up with dua to support the creation of dua.pay, a remittance transaction and payment platform leveraging DeFi to build digital banking service for international deposits. Transactions via dua.pay will require $DUA, a stablecoin cryptocurrency backed by ALBT AllianceBlock’s digital asset.

Meanwhile Railspay partners with Parpera to launch Australia’s first BaaS product in market, after closing $95million. The partnership gives Parpera access to Railspay’s range of embedded finance capabilities, allowing it to rapidly launch and scale financial products in Australia and then globally.

First Internet Bank and ApplePie Capital have signed a loan purchase agreement to provide financing solutions for franchisees. Under the partnership, First Internet Bank expects to purchase $100million of ApplePie’s growth-oriented ApplePie Core conventional loans by year end.

Finally, global payment network Veem has collaborated with Visa. Now, more than 400,000 of Veem’s customers will have access to a new SMB Visa card programme and digital money movement capabilities through Visa Direct, Visa’s real-time push payments platform.

  • Claire works across print and online as Editor for The Fintech Times.

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