.Today’s The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup delivers up a pot of fintech updates, including funding successes and industry appointments.
Antony Stephen is named the new CEO of the bank’s point-of-sale finance business Barclays Partner Finance. His focus will be on growing the point-of-sale finance business in the UK, as well as providing senior leadership to Barclays Cubed, Barclays’ next-generation commerce platform.
Alfi Inc, the ad-tech and content AI SaaS platform company, has appointed Kevin Buchler as vice president UK and Europe operations, as the company looks to expand its European footprint. It has also opened a London office in Waterhouse Square, Holborn. Alfi already has offices in Miami, Denver and Belfast.
Meanwhile Yabx, a fintech venture offering credit products across 12 countries in Africa, has appointed Eunice R. Gatama as director for Africa Business. Gatama has previously worked with NCBA Bank Kenya and Safaricom PLC. Yabx has also revealed it is launching new service offerings to cater to customer needs.
Broadridge has hired Mike Johnson as vice president, global product manager of Derivatives Clearing. In his new role, Mike will be responsible for the continual enhancement of Broadridge’s leading global cleared derivatives platform. He will also leverage strategic client and industry partnerships.
interactive investor, the UK direct to consumer investment platform, has hired Victoria Scholar as head of investment. While Tracy Zhao joins as senior fund analyst. Scholar joins from IG Group, where she was a financial journalist and presented the business news at the firm’s IGTV broadcast channel. Zhao previously worked at The Share Centre.
Encompass Corporation has appointed industry veteran Howard Dilworth as head of sales for its North America operation. He will focus on serving and leveraging existing US clients and opportunities within the region. His appointment coincides with the KYC provider onboarding its first top five US-headquartered bank, alongside other US firms and global banks using the Encompass platform.
Cornerstone, the cloud-based provider of international payment services to SMEs, has expanded into the Middle East. A new Dubai office is led by Robert O’Brien who joins as general Manager APAC and Middle East. His appointment is in line with the Group’s stated acquisition and expansion strategy.
Synechron, the digital transformation consulting firm focused on the financial services industry, has hired Rajeev Batra as MD insurance, North America. He most recently worked at Capgemini and has experience developing insurtech partnerships.
Finally, fintech mx51 has recognised its chief operating officer and chief product officer as co-founders. Magnus Hsu (COO) and Steven Hadley (CPO) have helped mx51 process more than $1billion transactions and raise over $25million within a year of spinning out of Assembly Payments. The pair join CEO Victor Zheng as co-founders in the company while retaining their other role.
Banking software firm Temenos, cloud-native BaaS provider Vodenoa and European digital bank Aion Bank have unveiled a strategic collaboration to accelerate banking as a service deployment in Europe. The first banking services to be launched combine The Temenos Banking Cloud with Vodeno’s card management and payment processing services.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), the Islamic financial institution, has partnered with Spotii, a digital payments provider to introduce a virtual buy now pay later prepaid card in the UAE. ADIB customers can access their Spotii virtual prepaid card via the Spotii Mobile app.
Patch, the API-first platform for carbon removal, is launching a global rewards exchange for carbon offsets in partnership with fintech Ascenda. The portfolio will include projects ranging from traditional reforestation and forestry preservation programmes to disruptive frontier negative emission technologies such as direct air capture, biochar and mineralization.
While EllaLink and BSO launch strategic partnership to develop financial markets between Europe and Latin America. Together they will put in place the ultra-low latency connectivity and infrastructure to enable global trading firms to access the Latin American exchange.
Paynetics UK selects Thames Technology for card production across UK and Europe. The partnership lets Paynetics provide bespoke end-to-end card services to its customers. Thames Technology has Visa, Mastercard and UnionPay accreditation.
There’s also a new partnership for IFX Payments and Volt. The integration between IFX Payments’ virtual IBANs with Volt Connect, for UK and EU-based merchants, is described as a ‘significant development for open banking payments’. The joint solution will also provide the ability to initiate refunds and payouts.
Mastercard launches Strive UK to help micro and small businesses adapt and thrive in the digital economy. Strive UK helps small businesses to build financial resilience and improve growth prospects. The programme offers free guidance, helpful tools, as well as personalised, one-to-one mentoring.
Funding and investments
Brazilian wealthtech Sprout has secured $5.2million investment. The round was led by Y Combinator alongside Public.com and Sound Ventures, Liquid2, Geometry Ventures, HOF Capital, Quiet Ventures, First Check Ventures, Investo and The Marathon Lab. Sprout lets you make investments for $1 in more than 4,000 US stocks, funds and ETFs.
Meanwhile Doconomy has unveiled a $17million investment round. It brings the total invested in the climate impact technology firm to $24million since the start of 2018. The round, led by CommerzVentures, will accelerate the fintech’s growth and expand applied impact metrics globally.
Singapore-based fintech startup Aspire has raised a $158million series B round. The oversubscribed round was led by an undisclosed global growth equity firm. Additional investors include DST Global Partners, CE Innovation Fund, B Capital Partners and Fasanara Capital.
UK-based money app Ziglu has seen its £1million crowdfund oversubscribed in just 81 minutes on the Seedrs crowdfunding platform. Its previous crowdfund had a target of £1million but raised more than £6million. The second round launched on Monday in conjunction with a major Series A fundraise.
Fintech startup Coinrule enjoys a $2.2million seed funding round. Investors include Fitbit founder James Park, Twitch founder Kevin Lin and a fund in which Naval Ravikant is an investor. Coinrule has also joined the YCombinator S21 cohort. The company also plans to expand its user base to more than two million and automate $100billion in crypto trading volume.
Sonovate is named ‘Fintech Company of the Year’ at the Fintech Award Wales in Cardiff. It has also accelerated its recruitment drive in Cardiff, planning to boost its headcount from 108 to 150 by the end of the year. The fintech was also recently tipped to become the first fintech ‘unicorn’ in Wales.
Citi has unveiled a global technology hub at its Bahrain offices with plans to hire 1,000 coders over the next decade. The hub was set up in partnership with labour fund Tamkeen and Bahrain’s Economic Development Board.
Investing platform TradingView has reported record breaking growth over the pandemic, taking its lifetime users to 550 million people across 180 different countries. TradingView, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, also reported a 400 per cent increase in membership accounts and a 237 per cent increase in visitors in the past 18 months.