This Week in Fintech: TFT Bi-Weekly News Roundup 26/04

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This Tuesday’s The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup brings you the latest appointments, partnerships and funding rounds.

Job moves

SmartStream Technologies announced the appointment of Scott Kaffl as global head of business development for SmartStream RDU (Reference Data Utility), based in New York. Kaffl will continue to grow the SmartStream RDU business by onboarding new clients who need reference data services to solve complex data, and regulatory reporting requirements.

Luis Fernandez, VP of customer success, Toqio

Fintech SaaS provider Toqio has appointed Luis Fernandez as its new VP of customer success. He is one of the latest senior hires to join the Toqio team, which has scaled from 17 to almost 100 in 2021 and recently expanded its services into the Spanish market.

Multrees Investor Services, a provider of outsourced platform, investment administration and custody services, announced the appointments of Ian Catherall to the newly created role of head of change and proposition management and Martyn Johnson, who will be joining the business as programme director.

Ralf Ohlhausen a luminary of the European payments landscape chairing the European Third Party Providers Association (ETPPA) and co-chairing the Berlin Group’s Open Finance Advisory Board, will be joining Answer Pay as executive adviser to support the growth of Request to Pay across Europe.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Nium, the global platform for modern money movement, announced a definitive agreement to acquire Socash, a Singapore-based alternative payments network platform. The acquisition provides Nium with the team and technology to enable multiple forms of local payment acceptance for digital commerce, especially in emerging markets.

European provider of digital identity and electronic signature solutions, Signicat, is acquiring all shares in the UK-headquartered anti-fraud company Sphonic for an undisclosed sum. With this acquisition, Signicat will be able to extend its leading existing identity platform with Sphonic’s know your customer (KYC), know your business (KYB) and anti-money laundering (AML)  solutions. 

Funding and investments

Starling Bank has completed an internal fundraise of £130.5million at a pre-money valuation of more than £2.5billion. A spokesperson said on the fundraise: “This will enable us to continue our growth and to build a war chest for acquisitions. We are looking at a number of potential targets.”

MetaLend, the bank for the digital economy, today announced the completion of a $5million seed round of financing led by Pantera Capital. As a global-facing protocol, MetaLend works with guilds and gamers from around the world, helping them solve their financial needs. The company is in partnership with Vietnam’s Ancient8 to provide the guild and its users with loan solutions and plans to sign with more guilds in the near term.

zenda, MENA’s first fintech app for families has announced it has secured a $9.4million oversubscribed seed round. zenda currently addresses pain points around the payment of school fees – in particular, the lack of convenience and flexibility in payment options for parents and the poor collection of payments for schools.

Partnerships

Rewire, a cross-border financial services platform tailored to the unique needs of migrant workers from developing countries in Asia and Africa, has partnered with specialised payments platform, Paysafe to enable access to financial services for cash-reliant consumers across Europe.

Fi911 and Alpha Fintech have announced a partnership. APAC regional acquirers and PSPs will be able to leverage the Fi911 SaaS dispute management platform (“DisputeLab”), delivering turnkey intelligent automation and end-to-end processing.

Children’s financial education app, Gimi has partnered with ABN AMRO, one of the biggest banks in the Netherlands, to help educate young customers about personal finance and provide them with a safe platform to handle their bank accounts. The co-branded app, which was developed in only 90 days, allows the bank’s young customers to easily handle their money through their connected bank account using Open Banking. This partnership makes ABN AMRO the first bank in Europe to launch an educational tool designed specifically for children and their parents, to help directly address the issue of youth financial illiteracy.

Nexio, a provider of payment orchestration, announced its partnership with dispute technology specialists, Chargebacks911. The new alliance will allow Nexio to benefit from Chargebacks911’s end-to-end dispute management offering, protecting and defending its merchants against fraudulent activity.

Skyflow announced a partnership with Plaid, a data network that powers the tools millions of people rely on to live healthier financial lives. The partnership will make it easier than ever for developers to build applications with data privacy infrastructure via a simple API.

Banca Sella partnered with Italian fintech Fido to simplify its onboarding of customers to its current accounts. Fido’s algorithm, based on artificial intelligence, can assess each account opening request received by Banca Sella and allow the verification of the user’s identity with a reduction of almost 70 per cent in the time required for the manual verification of data.
Announcements and Launches

AstroPay has launched a new in-app feature, Transfer, which enables users to transfer money to even those contacts who don’t have an existing AstroPay account as long as they are in the same country. Available in over 150 countries, this new functionality makes transferring money between digital wallets even easier and is commission-free.

Banking-as-a-service provider (BaaS) Contis is set to launch a new processing solution to accelerate the company’s growth in the UK and EEA listed countries. The new solution, called process.pay is certified by Visa and Mastercard to process any credit, debit and prepaid card transactions globally. The technology will form part of Contis’s evolution of paytech solutions as it continues to evolve in line with the changing needs of the payment sector for the digital age.

On-chain asset management Nous Systems will supplement its fundraising strategy with a scheduled bond offering later this month. The European blockchain start-up seeks to democratise access to investment with its decentralised investment vehicle Nous Fund, due to launch later this year.

FlexxPay, MENA’s rapidly-scaling tech platform for earned income access, has announced its expansion into Egypt. The business has quickly grown across the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and now enlarges its presence in MENA with the opening of a new office in Downtown Cairo. FlexxPay estimates that around 20 million people across Egypt could benefit from early wage access.

UK-based fintech Paysend has announced that it has opened its Americas headquarters in Miami. The move embraces Miami’s reputation as America’s new fintech capital, with a growing community of venture capital and fintech startup firms flocking to the area to take advantage of proximity to LATAM markets as well as an influx of top entrepreneurial and technology talent.

In light of the holy month of Ramadan, Cashew Payments, a UAE’s buy now pay later (BNPL) provider, is donating a meal for every transaction made when utilising Cashew Payments during the month. The initiative aims to support food provision to those in need and is in line with the UAE’s societal values of being generous and helping the less fortunate.

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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