This Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 25/02

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The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup this Thursday takes a look at the latest fintech stories from around the world. Neobank ZELF raises $2million in pre-seed round led by 3VC while Velizar Tarashev signs up to moneycorp.

Job moves

Velizar Tarashev

Velizar Tarashev

Velizar Tarashev joins moneycorp

International fintech moneycorp announces Velizar Tarashev as chief financial officer. Formerly CFO at Barclays Private Bank, Velizar is tasked with maximising growth opportunities at the company which recently saw a 35 per cent YoY growth.

Data platform mnAI has appointed Jill Pay as a non-executive director in order to lead its charge towards more gender technology in business. Pay was previously Serjeant at Arms in the House of Commons – the first woman to hold the position. Together, they hope to transform the way in which under-represented business groups are supported and provide billions of data points on women owned and led UK businesses.

Macrobond Financial appoints Howard Rees as chief commercial officer. He will oversee all global sales, customer activities; and strategic partnerships at the financial data provider. Rees most recently worked as head of international sales at US private-equity data and analytics provider Burgiss.

Rally, the fractional alternative investing platform, has hired Nili T. Moghaddam as its first general counsel. Most recently, Moghaddam was at online brokerage Robinhood as one of the first lawyers at the company and later, its first head of litigation & investigations.

Meanwhile, Xavier de Pauw has joined the advisory board of B2B fintech Blanco. Previously, De Pauw was co-founder and CEO of online bank MeDirect, co-wrote a book on wealthtech, and was founder and president of Fintech Belgium.

Funding and investments

FundGuard, the AI-powered SaaS investment management platform, has closed a $12million Series A funding round. The financing is led by Team8 and existing investors Blumberg Capital and LionBird Ventures. Investment will drive product development, entry to new markets, as well as grow the executive team.

Symple Loans, the Australian-based consumer lending fintech, has closed a $15million Series D funding round. It takes the total capital raised to date to more than $130million in combined equity and debt. Symple will use the funds to further accelerate its profitable growth strategy and for targeted investments in new digital capabilities.

Ember

Ember

Ember raises £1.6million Seed Round

Meanwhile, GoodBox, the consolidated platform for digital giving, has closed its latest funding round at £9million. The funding will drive its mission to offer a wider range of solutions that will help non-profits engage more donors and raise vital funds.

Software platform Ember is celebrating a seed funding round of £1.6million, led by fintech VC Anthemis. It will use the funding to focus on product development, recruitment and customer acquisition. Alongside Anthemis, venture capitalist funds Innovation Nest and Spring Ventures also back Ember.

There’s funding success for neobank ZELF – it raises $2million in pre-seed round led by venture capital fund 3VC. The messenger-based bank for Gen Z, also saw participation from Seed Х and Hard Yaka. While other investors include Yair Goldfinger, co-founder of ICQ and Chris Adelsbach, venture partner at Techstars. It will use the funding to expand into Spain, Germany, Poland and Italy, as well as establish its presence in the UK and the US.

While at My Policy, the UK provider of data analytics, there’s investment by Zurich Group. Zurich will also become a long-term insurance capacity provider. My Policy recently launched a usage-based insurance product, JURNY.

Even more funding news

Worker tech startup OrkaTechnology Group has raised £29million in its latest funding round. It will use the capital to fuel the rapid growth of its earned wage access product Orka Pay. Additionally, it will also double its headcount to 50 in 2021 and invest in its portfolio of tech solutions for shift workers.

UAE based secured trading platform North Ladder has unveiled a $5million Series A funding round. Led by regional venture capital firm BECO Capital, the investment will help the company – previously known as BuyBack Bazaar – scale up its technology platform as well as enhance customer experience.

SaaS platform Marquee Equity has secured $3.8million from including Capital One, SignalFire and Arrowroot Capital. It achieved the required finding within two months of the campaign. Marquee connects startups looking for funding to investors.

Open banking platform Tarabut Gateway is toasting a $13million in a seed funding round, led by Target Global. Other investors included Kingsway, CE Ventures, Entrée Capital, Zamil Investment Group, Global Ventures, Almoayed Technologies and Mad’a Investment. The business has plans to hire 40 additional team members across MENA by the end of 2021.

Meanwhile, Singaporean private debt investment platform KILDE has raised $450,000 led by Purple Ventures in pre-seed funding round. KILDE will now further expand to include more digital lenders from the SEA, MENA, and Eastern Europe.

Finally, FENIX has set its sights on rapid Middle East expansion following funding success. It has secured additional $1.2million investment from Saudi Arabia and UAE VC firms Emkan Capital and Panthera Capital Ventures. The micromobility operator previously raised $3.8million at its launch in November 2020.

Industry updates

There’s a new name for TransferWise as well as an expansion of its office in Singapore. Originally launched in 2011 as a money transfer service, the company – now called Wise – has expanded in order to build a cross-border payments network. It expects to hire more than 70 people in Singapore in 2021 for roles including expansion, engineering, product and operations.

Digital payments firm PayPoint is calling on businesses to join its MultiPay platform in order to achieve payment card industry (PCI) compliance. A recent report revealed only 27.9 per cent of businesses comply with the PCI data security standard (PCI DSS) regulations. PayPoint says it can help businesses quickly and easily protect their customer data and comply with regulations.

Tech Mahindra, a provider of digital transformation services, is recognised as a supplier engagement leader for environmental action. It is among nine Indian companies to secure a position in the Climate Disclosure Project (CDP) Supplier Engagement Rating (SER) 2020.

Bank VTB has turned to artificial intelligence in order to prevent fraudulent card transactions. Its machine learning algorithm detects 1.5 times additional attempts by attackers to commit fraudulent transactions compared to previous operating systems.

Saleh Alobeidli & Co and ICLO complete merger

Saleh Alobeidli & Co and ICLO complete merger

Saleh Alobeidli & Co and ICLO complete merger

UAE-based law firms Saleh Alobeidli & Co and International Consultant Law Office (ICLO) have merged. Under the brand ICLO, the merged company will be the first firm in the region to assist clients in adapting to compliance systems for robotics and artificial intelligence services.

Tel Aviv-based devsecops startup Spectral has announced $6.2millon in funding for its developer-first code security scanner. Spectral’s recent data shows that 35 per cent of organisations that have a strong open-source posture had at least one public leak.

Launches

Open Banking Reporting (OBR), in partnership with Profusion and Sisense, has unveiled a new platform to automate monitoring and de-risk lending to SMEs. Called OpenRep, the platform uses Open Banking data and predictive modelling to aid financial institutions with real-time assessments.

Finally, Mastercard and the National Commercial Bank (NCB) have launched a new corporate credit card in Saudi Arabia. The Mastercard Corporate World card aims to maximise companies’ financial control and provide them with full visibility in order to reduce costs and enhance cash flow.

Partnerships and collaborations

Israel Discount Bank has teamed up with Wolters Kluwer to help streamline and enhance the management of its document disclosure practices. The Bank uses Wolters Kluwer’s compliant e-forms package to ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements, as well as reduce turnaround times.

Peru

Peru

Mastercard and ACI Worldwide have unveiled a real-time payments collaboration in Peru. Cámara de Compensación Electrónica (CCE) will utilise the ACI enterprise payments platform to accelerate financial institutions’ access to Mastercard’s instant payment service. The partnership aims to simplify and speed up connectivity for participants to Peru’s new real-time ISO 20022 scheme, which begins testing later this year.

There’s also a partnership for embedded finance specialist Certua and insurance form Covéa Insurance. The collaboration is marked with the launch of the Covéa insurance tradespeople and professional product on insurtech Brisk‘s platform.

Meanwhile, technology provider TrustQuay has signed an agreement with outsourced corporate services provider Centralis. Included in the collaboration is a new TrustQuay portal, which allows Centralis’ end-clients to have a unified view across all their structures, including corporate entities and wealth trust assets.

And finally, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) are working together in order to enhance fintech collaboration. They want to strengthen co-operation between the two jurisdictions in promoting innovative financial services, as well as regulatory development.

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