Fintech Funding: Crypto platform FalconX secures $150M, clears $8B valuation

Are happy days here again for cryptocurrency? Crypto platforms and coins have taken severe hits in what can only be described as a pessimistic market: Crypto giant Coinbase reduced its workforce by 1,100 in the second quarter, while executives from exchange platform Gemini noted the onset of market instability as cause for a 10% staff […]

Phos Launches Off-The-Shelf SoftPoS for Payment Service Resellers

Phos is to launch a white label SoftPoS app for payment service resellers through its partnership with payment solution and infrastructure provider Paynt.

Once resold, the off-the-shelf solution will enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), sole traders and specialist merchants to turn any smartphone or tablet device into a contactless payments terminal.

One of the benefits of this approach is that it requires no additional hardware, enabling merchants to make use of the mobile devices they already have – rather than investing in costly physical terminals.

The solution aims to remedy key issues for resellers, improving merchant acquiring and day-to-day management by automating the onboarding process and merchant account setup.

It will also provide data and customisable reporting capabilities that will be able to be accessed via API or a web-based interface.

Sam Kohli, CEO of Paynt, explains how its latest white-label solution is in response to the rising demand for payment acceptance capabilities, and that the company is “delighted” with its latest partnership with phos, which will bring its new product into fruition.

Brad Hyett, CEO, PhosBrad Hyett, CEO, Phos
Brad Hyett

Phos CEO Brad Hyett added that the new app will allow payment service resellers to deliver a solution for a “historically underserved audience…by removing the complicated, expensive and time-consuming app development and certification process,” identifying how the solution will allow resellers to expand their offering.

The collaboration with Paynt is the latest in a string of partnerships for phos, including collaborations with UK-based payment solution provider UTP, cashless fundraising firm Givestar, and AZUL – part of Grupo Popular – in the Dominican Republic.

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

Shariyah Review Bureau to Supervise Tribal Credit’s Sharia Compliance For New Corporate Cards

To review, certify and supervise Shari’a compliance for its new corporate cards and working capital products in Islamic markets, Tribal Credit, a global company from Silicon Valley that provides integrated financial solutions for startups across the Middle East and emerging markets, has partnered with Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB), a GCC based Shari’a advisory firm.

With this announcement, Tribal Credit has become one of the first standalone credit and expense management solutions to offer Shari’a compliant products in MENA.

SRB has been at the forefront of Shari’a advisory for more than seventeen years and leads in providing Shari’a certification, Islamic product structuring and Shari’a Audit services to international financial institutions, asset management houses, fintech, insurance firms, and alternative wealth management organisations.

Amr Shady, CEO and co-founder of Tribal Credit said: “As a result of the partnership with Shariyah Review Bureau, we will also maintain a dedicated Shari’a supervisory resource to ensure that our products remain Shari’a compliant”.

He also adds, “through our deep knowledge of the corporate cards and financing market in the startup and SME eco-system, we expect to unlock new potential for businesses and investors with this new partnership.”

Tribal Credit is strengthening its network and strategically managing the Islamic financial ecosystem in order to adapt fast to constantly changing business needs and deliver innovative credit card and financing solutions to startups and SMEs in the coming years.

Speaking about the engagement of SRB’s services to oversee its Shari’a compliant side of the business, Duane Good, Tribal Credit’s, co-founder, and president, said: “SRB’s experience in Islamic financial markets and deep understanding of the evolving needs of credit and expense management will enable us to develop secure, 360° and powerful Shari’a compliant finance solutions that provides startups in emerging markets with flexibility and financial control.”

Yasser S. Dahlawi, CEO at SRB, said: “Our establishment is a trusted partner to clients worldwide seeking to attain Shari’a compliance in their products and investments. Our multi-sector product certification and development consultancies all under a single roof have become quite a hit with our existing client base.” Commenting on the partnership, Dahlawi added, “We are pleased to have formed this relationship with Tribal Credit. We will bring a seasoned team of experts with unique scholarly expertise to ensure ongoing Shari’a compliance.”

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

Revolut Launches BNPL Offering in Europe: ‘Pay Later’ to Be First Used in Ireland

Revolut, the financial super app with more than 18 million customers worldwide, is rolling out its pay later product, ‘Pay Later’ in Europe as it continues to expand its suite of products to help people get more from their money. Revolut Pay Later is the first pay later product in Ireland that uses an approved credit limit, designed to focus on affordability, putting the customer in control of when they want to use Pay Later rather than being restricted to certain merchant partnerships.

Beginning this week, some Revolut customers in Ireland will be eligible for early access to Pay Later, which will gradually roll out to all users in Ireland – where 1.9 million adults have a Revolut account. Pending the sign-ups for Pay Later, Revolut will look to offer the product in additional markets from the end of 2022 and beyond, with Poland and Romania to be the next markets gaining access to the product later this year.

Qualified customers can use Pay Later for purchases up to a maximum of €499, with any of their Revolut cards, including when paying with a Revolut Disposable Virtual Card which provides an extra layer of security for online transactions.

Customers can spread the cost of a purchase across three monthly instalments with the first instalment paid upfront by the customer at the time of purchase followed by two monthly instalments. The fee of 1.65 per cent per purchase is repaid as part of the final two instalments. Fully integrated within the app, once approved, customers can activate Pay Later on-the-go with one tap. Customers can view their Pay Later balance in the Cards section and in the Pay Later hub. If a customer would like to repay the instalments early, there are no additional fees to do so.

Whether it’s a new washing machine, hotel booking, or a birthday gift, customers can use Pay Later at any merchant that accepts Revolut online or in store. Unlike other pay later products, merchants do not sign up to Revolut Pay Later, and Revolut does not charge them for Pay Later transactions. It also offers a more robust assessment as it approves the credit limit before the transaction rather than offering an instalments payment method at the point of sale.

The fintech checks customer affordability by linking to customers’ existing bank accounts through open banking. Revolut will assess customer suitability and affordability for ‘Pay Later’ through an underwriting process.

Pay Later is another tool to help customers manage their spending all from one app. The Buy Now Pay Later market in Europe is set to grow to £680billion over the next five years. Revolut’s ‘Pay Later’ offering meets the growing consumer demand for this personal finance tool, while offering it in a responsible way, with a heavy emphasis on customer affordability and suitability.

Joe Heneghan, CEO Revolut Europe, commented “Pay Later is an exciting and fast-growing area of personal finance and consumer spending, and we are excited to add Revolut Pay Later to our financial super app.

“Revolut Pay Later gives our customers more control and flexibility over their personal finances, in a responsible way, by enabling them to spread the cost of purchases over three instalments. This encourages people to pay within two months, rather than calling on overdrafts and credit cards which don’t carry the same emphasis on quickly paying back the amount borrowed.”

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

Visa Expands She’s Next Initiative To Egypt Following CIB and USAID Partnerships

Visa, the digital payments company, has launched its global She’s Next initiative in Egypt to economically empower local women entrepreneurs and SMB owners. The initiative is launched in partnership with Commercial International Bank (CIB), a bank in the Egyptian private sector, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the international development agency and a catalytic player driving development results.

She’s Next, empowered by Visa, is a global advocacy program that brings practical insights and tools to women-led small businesses, including networking, mentoring, and funding opportunities.

Since 2020, Visa has invested +$2.2million in over 200 grants and coaching for women SME owners through the She’s Next grant program globally including US, Canada, India and Ireland.

Women business owners across Egypt can join She’s Next and apply for funding and access peer networks and educational resources that help to address the challenges revealed in a recent Visa study of women entrepreneurs. Key findings include:

  • A majority of women – 69 per cent – said getting funding for their ventures had been a challenge, with 77 per cent using their personal savings to start their businesses. Fifty-three (53 per cent) also cited finding a business partner as a key challenge, with four in six women concerned about the long-term success of their startups.
  • Three in 10 women (32 per cent) admitted that gender stereotypes have negatively affected their work as an entrepreneur, with 80 per cent saying they felt that societal approval or disapproval played a role in their choice of career or business.
  • Two in three women said they currently accept both cash and cashless payments from their customers. More than half (53 per cent) of women said they would use the additional funding to invest in advertising and marketing.
  • Being financially independent ranked as the top motivation when starting a business, followed by the desire to realise a dream, to achieve a balance between ‘home and work’, and to be a leader and responsible for the results of their business.

The areas women entrepreneurs said they wanted to learn more about were how to better set goals for profitability of their businesses, how to develop stronger strategies, and ways to survive the continuing impact of covid-19. The She’s Next initiative includes a series of mentoring programs that provide women entrepreneurs with access to practical insights from women leaders in the public and private sectors, as well as valuable tools and educational resources they need to grow and develop their businesses.

She’s Next, powered by Visa, will also deliver significant networking and capacity building opportunities in partnership with USAID.s. She’s Next is one part of a new partnership agreement between USAID and Visa to empower Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), with a special focus on women-led small businesses. This partnership will facilitate the use of electronic payment platforms to promote financial inclusion and foster inclusive economic growth. Through this collaboration, hundreds of MSMEs will receive capacity building training, and opportunities to join online markets, digitalise their supply chains, and introduce digital payment systems to their customers. E-commerce opportunities will also be expanded to enable further economic opportunities, especially for women-led small businesses.

Malak El-Baba, Visa Egypt’s country manager, commented: “Women who own and manage businesses face a unique set of challenges including access to capital and peer networks as well as societal pressures. That’s why we are excited to help women business-owners across Egypt today through the first She’s Next grant program and offer access to coaching and support through IFundWomen as well as that injection of $10,000 in capital. We are also honoured to be partnering with CIB and USAID, who will help us in our mission to not only empower women entrepreneurs, but also create for them a supportive environment in which they can grow and thrive.”

“We are proud of this partnership, which falls in line with CIB’s strategy to support small- and medium-sized enterprises and empower women led-business. Through ‘She’s Next,’ we plan to harness the power of Visa’s global brand and network to build awareness of women entrepreneurs, invest in them, and provide them with the tools and funds to build their businesses in Egypt,” said Hany El-Dieb, head of business banking segments, products and credit relations management at CIB.

USAID acting mission director Mark Driver said, “The US Government reaffirms our commitment to empowering women through this new partnership. Through USAID and Visa’s collaboration, five Egyptian women-led businesses will have the chance to win a $10,000 grant to grow their business Hundreds more women entrepreneurs will acquire new skills through training, and have access to learning resources to take their careers and businesses to the next level.”

This new grant program builds on Visa’s commitment to digitally enable 50 million small businesses around the world to kickstart recovery from the covid-19 pandemic.

As the trusted engine of commerce, Visa is also providing access to entrepreneurial knowledge and tools to unleash businesses in the digital era via Visa’s Practical Business Skills platform. The Visa She’s Next Grant Program will further support small businesses, with a particular focus on unlocking the potential of the most promising women entrepreneurs.

Women entrepreneurs in Egypt from all industries and sectors are invited to participate in the Visa She’s Next Grant Program. The winner will receive one of five $10,000 grants, a one-year IFundWomen coaching membership, and access to resources such as the workshop library and community of entrepreneurs.

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

Regulatory Reporting Remains Highest Priority for Finance Firms Despite Some Costs Doubling

As pressure on the compliance function grows in a fast-moving and increasingly complicated regulatory and operational landscape, almost 90 per cent of financial services firms have reported increased compliance expenditure over the past five years, with one in 10 saying costs have doubled.

In this light, 44 per cent of firms are planning to invest more in regtech solutions in the next 12 months to cope with the growing pressure on the compliance function, while a further 41 per cent expect to continue investing the same amount as they did in the 12 months prior.

However, the cost of compliance is rising with demand, with almost all financial firms encountering increased compliance costs over the past five years, while costs have doubled for one in 10.

This insight was brought to light by SteelEye in its ‘Compliance Health Checkreport, which was largely based on the compliance technology and data analytics firm’s survey of 170 senior compliance and risk professionals working within the UK and US financial service sectors.

Regulatory change and data fragmentation continue to be a challenge

Of the 170 professionals surveyed, 44 per cent states that they struggle with challenges related to data management. This included overlaying communications and trades to mitigate market abuse risk, using management information (MI) efficiently to demonstrate the risk and the consolidation and normalisation of structured and unstructured data.

A fifth of firms identified having to keep pace with regulatory changes as the biggest challenge in meeting regulatory obligations.

Opinions were split on dealing with regulators. While 42 per cent said that regulators are now more challenging to deal with, 48 per cent said they now find it easier to deal with the regulator, which could be down to technology making compliance processes more streamlined and straightforward.

When asked if they think firms are well equipped to handle more stringent regulatory rules over the next five years, encouragingly, three-quarters of respondents believe financial services firms are in a good position.

Compliance teams burdened with fragmented and manual processes

Administrative and repetitive tasks dominate compliance professionals’ work, pointing to the need for greater automation and digitalisation within the sector. In light of this half of the respondents reported that at least half of their firm’s compliance staff engage in administrative or repetitive tasks.

The survey demonstrated a clear trend toward centralised compliance management, with 56 per cent of respondents working within one team that oversees compliance for all branches and regions in which the company operates.

Meanwhile, a mere 12 per cent reportedly deploy a decentralised model where compliance is managed directly within individual jurisdictions, while it’s understandably more common for large organisations at 18 per cent.

In contrast, 88 per cent of small firms’ compliance management is fully centralised. Centralisation of the compliance function can enable businesses to be more strategic and allow for richer learning across multiple jurisdictions. However, this hinges on a strong data foundation for the business as a whole.

Regulation, surveillance and data management top of the priority list

When asked about their top two investment priorities for the year ahead, regulatory reporting ranked first overall.

However, when breaking this down by region it becomes clear that regulatory reporting is a leading investment area in the UK, whereas communication surveillance is the top priority in the US, particularly among banks.

This is unsurprising given the fact that US regulators are clamping down hard on communications rules. Last year’s $200million fine for J.P. Morgan by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) demonstrated the importance of adequate monitoring of employee communications.

Firms are reaping the rewards of machine learning in compliance

Thirty-one per cent of firms said they have fully implemented a degree of AI or machine learning (ML) in their compliance processes. A further quarter are investing in the technology but are still in the implementation stage.

The subsections of larger firms and US-based respondents are even further along in that journey, with 75 per cent and 95 per cent respectively having partly or fully implemented AI and ML in compliance. And those that have implemented AI are reaping the benefits, including a marked improvement in the quality of their MI.

However, many firms are yet to take advantage of the potential of AI. Forty-four per cent have not started looking at AI’s possibilities for compliance. One cause of slow adoption might be the need for a strong data foundation which is necessary for successful AI deployments.

Speaking on the challenges that today’s compliance professionals find themselves currently facing, SteelEye CEO Matt Smith describes “keeping abreast with regulatory change, improving data quality and managing risks and controls within the business” as some of the main contenders.

SteelEye CEO Matt SmithSteelEye CEO Matt Smith
Matt Smith

However, the good news is that the benefits of using technology to remedy complex compliance challenges are now being fully realised, with Smith adding that “85 per cent expect to invest the same amount or more in regtech in the next 12 months.”

“Technology and data are key to establishing future-proofed compliance processes and procedures,” he comments. “It is great to see that a large proportion of firms view the enhancement of data quality as a top priority and that most firms are actively investing in technology.”

Smith adds that by prioritising how disparate datasets are consolidated and making better use of data firms can “more easily address regulatory change and other compliance challenges that will emerge down the line.”

The company remains “hopeful” that compliance programmes and compliance teams will be made more efficient by the influx of these investments.

“Doing so can enable the compliance function to pivot from reactive investigations and firefighting to a more proactive model for compliance management and risk detection.”

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

Real Estate Secondary Market Platform Launched by Shojin

Shojin, an FCA-regulated online real estate investment platform, has launched its secondary market offering to accommodate bespoke deals as the fintech scaleup continues to lower barriers to entry to the online property investment market.

Once the investment opportunity in a Shojin product has closed, the investor will then have the ability to list their investment on the secondary market, setting the number of units they are looking to sell and the price per unit. This market will function in a peer-to-peer format, like eBay, where a buyer and seller negotiate directly through offers and counter-offers to come to an agreeable price.

Shojin’s current investment threshold is £5,000, but the introduction of a secondary market will lower the minimum investment ticket size to £100, enabling more people around the world to create wealth by investing a fractional amount in real estate projects.

Sellers will have the ability to exit projects early releasing capital for upcoming or unexpected expenses, rather than staying in projects for the entire duration. Buyers will be able to participate in projects they may have missed on Shojin’s primary market and invest at different stages of project risk.

Both parties can be opportunistic and look to strike a mutually beneficial deal based on their risk and return appetites, along with real estate market sentiment. The negotiation capability of Shojin’s secondary market facilitates all these benefits which will ultimately increase investor confidence.

Jatin Ondhia, CEO of Shojin, said, “As a business, we are always looking for new ways to lower the barriers to entry to property investment. The introduction of a secondary market not only brings a larger number of prospective investors into the fold, but it means they can access the market with a lower initial investment, while simultaneously increasing liquidity for existing investors.

“Adding new investment opportunities to our platform is extremely exciting for us. As a business, we’re at an important inflection point within the real estate investment space. Having made our first investment outside of the UK and with substantial resources in place, we’re ready to continue with our global expansion plans.”

The launch of the secondary market follows Shojin’s Series A first tranche raise of £3million via a global pool of investors at a company valuation of £49million. Earlier in the year, Shojin secured a £5million underwriting facility provided by a London-based family office with a provision to increase it to £10million as the pipeline grows. Having focused exclusively on the UK property market until recently, closing its first non-UK real estate investment in Malaysia, the launch of the secondary market will help create liquidity to draw in new investors as Shojin sets its sights on new investment opportunities across the globe.

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

Alt Lending week ended 24th June 2022

ECB Calls Crisis Meeting on Yield divergence

Last week the ECB convened an emergency meeting in order to discuss the widening yield gap between the weaker and stronger members of the Eurozone. There is nothing new about this. By all accounts they kicked the subject about and then did very little.  In particular however they were looking at the increasing differential between German and Italian yields. The problem is that bond holders are once more getting jittery about Italy’s ability to repay its debts. The same goes for Greece, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus etc. for the life of me I cannot understand why they are worried now. None of these countries are ever going to repay their debts. The best you can hope for is for it all to be rolled over at somewhat increased rates in perpetuity. Or you could try and sell the worthless paper to the ECB before the yields make the economies concerned completely unviable overwhelming their ability to pay. Until all this debt can be mutualized this will keep coming back. Mind you don’t think the Germans will like where mutualization would lead them. They have long memories where inflation is concerned.

Deutsche checks up on its Bankers

The compulsory  requirement is intended as a response to the news that some bank employees were using encrypted software to have a chat. JP Morgan was fined $ 200 million by regulators last year  for failing to keep records of their employees conversations on private mobile devices. I find it astonishing that regulators can insist on this type of thing. Don’t employees have a right to privacy of any kind. Moves like this are the kind of thing that I would expect Putin to use. If regulators are indeed this paranoid then I suggest that they subject themselves to a mental health check up. As for the employers. They should be ashamed of themselves and should have pushed back on draconian interventions like this. Regulators are not the Stasi? Or perhaps they are. I am glad to be clear of people like this.

Global Central Banks Everything Bubble turning to Everything Bust.

Further to the ECB’s travails mentioned above today’s Telegraph points out the rating agency S&P is warning that higher rates may lead to the Italy entering a downward debt spiral. At the same time both Equities and Fixed Income  are falling like stones perhaps putting an end to the 60/40 so called risk averse strategy favoured by so many investment houses. For lenders higher rates will be a nightmare as creditors have to make a judgement on pulling the rug from borrowers that are overwhelmed by higher rates. The tide is going out rapidly and we are about to see who has been skinny dipping. Innovative strategies are going to come to the forefront shorting overvaliued equities might become more commonplace. Does the market have the expertise to deal with this in the least painful manner? We’ll soon see.

Howard Tolman is a well-known banker, technologist and entrepreneur in London,  We have a self imposed constraint of 3 news stories per week because we serve busy senior  Fintech leaders who just want succinct and important information. For context on Alt Lending please read the Interview with Howard Tolman about the future of Alt Lending and read articles tagged Alt Lending in our archives. Daily Fintech’s original insight is made available to you for US$143 a year (which equates to $2.75 per week). $2.75 buys you a coffee (maybe), or the cost of a week’s subscription to the global Fintech blog – caffeine for the mind that could be worth $ millions.

The Key to Compliance: A Conversation with Justin Beals, CEO of Strike Graph

Innovation and regulation are the ying and yang of financial technology in many respects. To this end, we caught up with Justin Beals, co-founder and CEO of Strike Graph, to talk about the relationship between fintech innovation and fintech regulation, and why compliance is something that successful fintechs are taking seriously.

Founded in 2020 and headquartered in Seattle, Washington, Strike Graph specializes in helping companies secure critical security compliance certifications. These are the certifications that can both impact revenue and reduce the time to close, as well as demonstrate the maturity of an organization.

Why banks and financial services companies need a compliance partner.

The challenge (for banks) is that the standards that you’re trying to meet can be complex. It’s important to not only have technology, but (also) a provider of that technology with intelligence about how to meet the standard so that you don’t essentially spin your wheels trying to do things that don’t necessarily make you more secure and don’t necessarily impact compliance.

So when revenue is on the line – and that’s what the challenge is here – being unable to represent a security posture that meets certain standards (means) you might not get that partnership, you might not get that contract … You really need to do it efficiently and effectively and be able to maintain it for a long period of time.

On the role an effective compliance partner can play to help financial services companies

I think one of the secrets about compliance practices is that if there’s some aspect of your business that isn’t applicable to the standard, you’re actually not required to be assessed to it. And so what’s really important is to customize your security posture according to the types of risk that your business is meeting in the marketplace, and then respond to those risks. Then, (you are) able to talk to the assessor and say, “hey, look, you know we don’t necessarily have this particular risk. It’s not something we solve for and therefore it’s not something we need to be assessed for.” That way you get through the compliance process as efficiently as possible.

On Strike Graph’s approach to helping financial services companies meet compliance obligations

The secret sauce at Strike Graph is that we have a very intelligent SaaS platform that helps our customers customize that particular security posture based upon the risks that are impacting their business.

This is impacting any B2B company that’s sharing data. And that’s really how we describe our marketplace. And, of course, fintech handles some of the most precious transactions and pieces of data, and they have a long history of things like PCI DSS where compliance is really important. So they really do understand the value of having a good compliance practice.

Check out the rest of our interview on FinovateTV.

Photo by Pixabay

5 reasons to scale loan origination digitization

Data across the board shows continued growth for commercial and industrial loans since the last months of 2021. A recent Federal Reserve survey shows that during the fourth quarter, a net 21.7% of bank loan officers reported higher demand for commercial and industrial loans, up from a net 7.6% who said the same three months […]

BMO Financial Group taps UiPath for unattended bot implementations

Robotic process automation (RPA) initiatives have created “millions of dollars” in value for BMO Financial Group, but the bank’s efforts are now shifting to automation for risk and cybersecurity. A digital workforce of bots has saved countless labor hours at BMO Financial Group, the U.S. subsidiary of $805.9 billion BMO, via automation of manual workflows, […]

Glia Acquires Finn AI for Undisclosed Sum
  • Digital customer service firm Glia agreed to acquire conversational AI technology company Finn AI.
  • Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Glia Co-founder and CEO Dan Michaeli said that Finn AI is a strong fit for Glia because of its technology, market approach, and company culture. 

Digital customer service firm Glia is enhancing its offering with its recent acquisition of conversational AI technology company and fellow Finovate alum Finn AI.

Financial terms of the agreement, which will integrate’s conversational AI solutions into Glia’s customer service platform, were not disclosed. Glia Co-founder and CEO Dan Michaeli said that Finn AI is a strong fit for Glia because of its technology, market approach, and company culture. 

“This marks a new chapter for Virtual Assistants: Verticalization with Scale,” Michaeli said. “Generic ‘one-size-fits-all’ bot providers have largely failed to meet the full potential of conversational AI, leading to the emergence of vendors focusing on specific industry verticals. Until now, none of the financial services bot vendors have been able to achieve widespread adoption on their own.”

Finn AI Co-founder and CEO Jake Tyler said that joining forces with Glia will offer Finn AI scale. Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Vancouver, B.C., Finn AI aims to transform customer engagement and increase financial literacy with its AI-powered conversational banking technology. Among the company’s clients are ATB Financial, BECU, United Federal Credit Union, EQ Bank, Civista Bank, and Truist Momentum.

According to the press release, Finn AI and Glia have a lot of shared clients, and Finn AI’s technology is already integrated into Glia. Post-acquisition, the company’s leadership team will take on leadership positions within Glia. As for Finn AI’s Canadian headquarters, Glia plans to use the location to establish a “Conversational AI Center of Excellence.”

Glia was founded in 2012 as SaleMove. The company offers digital communication choices, on-screen collaboration, and AI-enabled assistance tools. Glia, which has taken home 10 Finovate Best of Show awards for its live demos, most recently showcased its tools at FinovateSpring 2021. Finn AI also boasts accolades from the Finovate audience, having taken home two Finovate Best of Show awards for its demos at FinovateAsia 2016 and FinovateFall 2017.

Payments Solution Provider SumUp Raises $624 Million at a Valuation of $8.5 Billion
  • E-commerce payments enabler SumUp raised $624 million (€590 million) in a combination of equity and debt financing this week.
  • The funding round was led by Bain Capital Tech Opportunities.
  • This week’s investment gives SumUp a valuation of $8.5 billion (€8 billion).

In a round led by Bain Capital Tech Opportunities – and featuring participation from funds managed by BlackRock, btov Partners, Centerbridge, Crestline, Fin Capital, and Sentinel Dome Partners – e-commerce payments innovator SumUp has secured an investment of $624 million (€590 million). The funding gives the London-based company a valuation of $8.5 billion (€8 billion). SumUp co-founder Marc-Alexander Christ said in a statement that the capital will “enable us to continue to build out our product ecosystem, expand into new markets, (and) pursue value-adding acquisitions.”

The funding was a 50/50 mix of debt and equity and includes SumUp’s first equity infusion since 2017. The company’s total funding stands at $1.6 billion – most of which is debt financing. SumUp secured €750 million in debt funding in 2021.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Christ called the company’s new valuation “true and fair”. This statement comes months after it was reported that SumUp was seeking an investment that would give the company a significantly higher valuation – to the tune of $21 billion (€20 billion). Christ suggested that the current valuation reflects “the price people put on the company in the worst of markets” and that SumUp’s valuation was unlikely to move any lower in the future.

SumUp won Best of Show in its Finovate debut at FinovateEurope 2013 in London. In the years since, the company has grown to serve more than four million businesses with its payment solutions that range from card readers and point of sale solutions to business accounts and invoicing. The company began this year teaming up with Worldpay from FIS to support its global expansion efforts. SumUp will use Worldpay’s global acquiring services, including authorization, clearing and settlement, dispute management and data insights.

Also this year, SumUp announced a referral deal with Latin American and European e-commerce platform PrestaShop. The partnership gave “hundreds of thousands” of merchants on the PrestaShop platform access to SumUp’s product suite of payment solutions and business tools. Nearly 300,000 websites rely on PrestaShop’s technology, and the company sees its collaboration with SumUp as part of its strategy to enable more merchants to launch and scale their businesses.

“By partnering with PrestaShop, we will continue to expand our support for digital transformation of small businesses, by ensuring their products and services are also available online for their customers,” SumUp Head of Sales and Partnerships James Henry said. “Our partnership will enable merchants with a seamless and secure payment experience for all major credit and debit cards, an important tool in enabling small business success in today’s environment.”

Founded in 2012, SumUp is headquartered in London. Daniel Klein is founder and CEO.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin

Behind the Idea: Episode Six

As a result of aging paytech stacks, traditional financial services providers are losing market share and revenue to new digital-first companies. A recent IDC InfoBrief found that 73 per cent of FIs globally currently have paytech infrastructures that are not equipped to handle payments for 2023 and beyond. As a result, more and more payments are being processed by non-traditional FIs, whether that’s payment service providers or digital banks. By 2030, 74 per cent of consumer payments will be handled by these types of organisations.

From the assets being transacted to the companies processing them, payments are changing. Changing consumer preferences require both traditional providers and new entrants to keep up. That’s why Episode Six‘s payment solutions are powering market-leading payment propositions across the globe by giving banks, fintechs, and brands the power to create digital payment products with incredible speed and quality.

John Mitchell, CEO, Episode Six

John Mitchell is CEO and co-founder of Episode Six and has decades of fintech and payments expertise. He is known for leading and growing companies and startups. Mitchell was the CEO of several payments companies, as well as the primary architect and strategist of Netspend Corporation’s early sales and distribution strategy.

What has been Episode Six’s response to financial technology innovations?

New methods of paying are being developed at the fastest rate in decades. These innovations are likely to have grown as a result of open API technology and pandemic necessity. Digital-based financial solutions are expected to grow in demand as more people live device-driven lives.

However, many businesses face payment workflows and technology design in legacy platforms that are steeped in traditional value definitions for asset classes, which create significant problems for interoperability, integration, and the creation of new products. Therefore, value-agnostic platforms are key to enabling payments flexibility. That’s why at Episode Six, we provide a highly configurable and extensible digital ledger and payments system for financial institutions, fintechs and other innovative companies of all sizes. This allows them to effortlessly design and manage products that consumers and businesses want and need. Our proprietary technology was built from scratch and is designed to be future-proofed, meaning whatever new ways there are to pay, Episode Six’s customers can provide them.

How has this changed over the past few years?

While the payments industry has been constantly changing, back-end infrastructure across financial institutions hasn’t. The payments infrastructure has largely been built based on requirements that are no longer current. Whether it’s contactless payment, QR codes or cryptocurrencies, the evolution of payments is accelerating.

Platforms need to ensure they’re future ready. The speed that new payment types are appearing means that to advance payment propositions, companies need to use platforms that are prepared to allow them to handle both current and future channels. Moreover, understanding the value of the ecosystem has never been more important. There are multiple points in payments ecosystems where payments players can fulfill potentially lucrative roles. I’d recommend being creative in forming partnerships and seek platforms which can enable this creativity.

Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside the company?

We’re a company of engineers and entrepreneurs, constantly looking to improve our products and ensure we’re providing a truly unique and differentiated proposition. We give freedom to banks, fintechs and brands to design and launch digital payments products with unmatched speed across any imaginable unit of value. We’ve architected the most adaptable and extensive payments platform with high product configurability.

Our Series B funding last year, where we raised $30million, allowed us to grow with a new intensity. We’ll continue to invest heavily in our products and people as we launch ourselves into the next phase of growth.

What fintech ideas have been implemented?

We offer a growing library of 550+ APIs and 100 plug-ins that allow businesses to introduce and customise almost any imaginable capability or product feature—simply and quickly.

With our highly-tuned platform, everything works seamlessly, removing the issues that arise from piecemealing disparate solutions together.  Accounting and transaction flows are simplified yet far more capable.

Our solutions are highly performant, simple to implement and deploy—and can be used anywhere in the world. That means you can bring new products to market at speed.

What benefits have these brought?

These benefits have allowed our clients to create unique products, go to market faster, make smart enhancements, and expand globally.

Our technology has helped global FIs like HSBC create leading digital payment products.  Our platform, Tritium, supports e-wallets, neobanks in Japan, and FIs and fintechs on multiple continents

Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?

Financial services providers have made aggressive efforts in the past year to integrate their products and be at the center of their customers’ financial lives. What this approach has done has blurred the lines between providers and what services they offer, from traditional firms offering crypto products to telco firms offering payment services. As a result, we are witnessing a land grab in financial services today. For financial institutions the more products and services they can offer and integrate, the more they can cross sell, the more they can ‘own’ the customer.

The challenge here is that time is limited. Depending on the region, there are perhaps 24 months of furious land grab ahead of us before battle lines are drawn and consumers choose their primary providers. For most financial providers, they need to have the underlying technology to offer different services, a quicker way of ensuring they have this is by partnering with companies that already offer this technology.

 Can these challenges be aided by fintech?

Yes, FIs need to move fast to stake their claim before someone else does. Working with fintechs, with focus and spending on future ready paytech solutions, can help to quickly develop and integrate new capabilities to improve utility for customers and vie for a larger share of business.

Final thoughts…

Traditional FIs will continue to lose consumer payments market share, and corresponding revenue, until they have infrastructure that is able to support new ways to pay. Competition in payments is increasing. There is a land grab taking place for the hearts, minds and wallets of consumers the world over. FIs need to be able to process value in whatever form consumers demand – fiat, crypto and gaming currencies, loyalty points and value denominations that don’t exist today. That requires paytech infrastructure that’s fast to deploy, highly configurable and future ready. Data shows that FIs are investing, but also suggests that they’re focusing on maintaining a quickly diminishing position, rather than ensuring an ability to compete in the future.

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

GoHenry Tackles the Financial Literacy Gap With Salesforce Collaboration

Customer relationship management provider Salesforce has announced its collaboration with GoHenry, as the necessity for financial education remains prevalent.

The prepaid debit card and app, which provides financial education for six to 18-year-olds, is to leverage the technology of Salesforce, including centralised collaboration through Slack and the deployment of both its service and marketing clouds, in an attempt to close the financial literacy gap among this demographic.

With the service cloud, GoHenry can send employees on a guided journey to help log cases faster, while automated processes and centralised data give employees the right tools to serve customers quickly and efficiently.

Employees can continuously improve how they use the technology by leveraging Trailhead, Salesforce’s online learning platform. In addition to this, its marketing cloud is helping to deliver personalised onboarding and engagement journeys for customers.

With over 100 member service agents, Slack acts as the company’s digital HQ, connecting its people, tools, customers and partners in a central hub that also provides flexibility to working environments

Combined, these innovations are helping GoHenry achieve its goal to make every kid smart with money as it looks to advance its pressing agenda. The combination is also set to help the company connect more data and processes, break down silos and unlock richer metrics across the entire organisation.

The app is currently experiencing a period of rapid growth, with its member base increasing from one million to over two million across the UK and US in the past two years. Leveraging Salesforce technology GoHenry is scaling and optimising its operations to meet growth needs.

The app’s COO and co-founder Louise Hill describes financial education as the company’s “number one priority,” emphasising that the deployment of Salesforce and Slack has been “crucial” for its ambitions to scale while helping more young people to become “money confident.”

GoHenry is just one of many apps and services seeking to advance financial education and inclusion among young people. In an attempt to target the right people at the right time, many in the space are turning to the power of social media.

Social platforms have long been identified as an effective avenue to reaching and influencing the right audience; given the vast number of youth users who sign up for the service.

Ola Majekodunmi, the founder and CEO of All Things MoneyOla Majekodunmi, the founder and CEO of All Things Money
Ola Majekodunmi

Pioneering this space is Ola Majekodunmi, the founder and CEO of All Things Money, a prominent social media channel and website that shares daily updates and insights into money management techniques, beneficial services and up-to-date news on the wider financial industry.

Very much like GoHenry, All Things Money exists to educate its 12,400-strong audience, who all primarily fit into the youth demographic, about financial matters that matter.

When speaking exclusively to The Fintech Times, Majekodunmi emphasised the effective use of social media as a tool for financial education.

“It’s no secret that the vast majority of people are now on social media,” she comments, “which has enabled people to spread facts and information with ease which has created a surge in the level of financial education now being taught online on various different platforms from Tik Tok and Instagram to Twitter and

“Social media has enabled these ‘personal finance influencers’ to reach a much wider audience than ever before which in turn has helped tackle the existing financial literacy gap in the UK!”

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

XBRL News about ESG, technology and EU trends

Here are the three most relevant developments in the world of structured reporting we became aware of in the course of last week. 

1  ESG practitioners detail top reporting challenges

2  Calculations, new formats, and formula: latest technical updates from XBRL International

Much of the presentation was devoted to discussing the upcoming Calculations v1.1 specification. Although this specification provides only an incremental change to current XBRL calculations functionality, it was clear from other presentations during the conference that this update is keenly anticipated.

Trying to keep up with engineers’ work is challenging, but always rewarding!

3  ESEF in practice: third instalment considers sustainability reporting

In case you missed it, Accountancy Europe’s third ‘ESEF in Practice’ webinar, held with event partners Toppan Merrill and Workiva, is now available to view in full online, along with a brief event recap. This series always brings interesting insights from a range of expert speakers, and the latest instalment was no exception.

This program is definitely worth checking out in detail if you’re interested in what’s happening with digital reporting in Europe. 


Christian Dreyer CFA is well known in Swiss Fintech circles as an expert in XBRL and financial reporting for investors.

 We have a self-imposed constraint of 3 news stories each week because we serve busy senior leaders in Fintech who need just enough information to get on with their job.

 For context on XBRL please read this introduction to our XBRL Week in 2016 and read articles tagged XBRL in our archives. 

 New readers can read 3 free articles.  To  become a member with full access to all that Daily Fintech offers,  the cost is just USD 143 a year (= USD 0.39 per day or USD 2.75 per week). For less than one cup of coffee you get a week full of caffeine for the mind.

GoCardless Introduces Its Latest Open Banking Features to the German Market

GoCardless has launched two of its latest open banking features in Germany, offering one-off payments and fraud prevention capabilities. 

The direct bank payment solutions fintech has unveiled two open banking features through the introduction of Instant Bank Pay and Verified Mandates.

The fintech’s Instant Bank Pay feature allows merchants to take instant, one-off account-to-account payments from new and existing customers without sabotaging the benefits of bank debit for their recurring payments.

This service would be applicable when during an initial payment when setting up a bank debit (e.g. signing up for a physical box subscription), purchasing additional goods or services, or topping up an account outside of a customer’s regular payment schedule for example.

Although bank debit is preferred in Germany, with consumers citing it as their top way to pay for subscriptions, household bills and instalments, it is not suitable for one-off payments because it doesn’t provide instant visibility of payment authorisation, something that has forced many merchants to turn to card payments, often with high fees attached, or time-consuming manual bank transfers.

The open banking feature addresses an issue that is particularly acute for recurring revenue businesses. According to the company’s own research, 88 per cent of German merchants engaged in a recurring payments model have a need for collecting additional one-off payments.

The feature aims to supply businesses with the flexibility to collect both recurring and one-off payments with near-instant confirmation. The service achieves lower costs through reduced admin and reconciliation time, plus savings from avoiding high card fees.

The Instant Bank Pay feature can be integrated directly into a merchant’s checkout and can also distribute payment request links. Similar to a mobile wallet payment, payers are connected to their bank and can authorise payment directly from their bank account.

In tandem with the launch of Instant Bank Pay, the fintech is also launching its Verified Mandates service, which uses open banking to verify customer information automatically as part of the flow of setting up a new direct debit mandate.

The service aims to reduce the common risk of payment fraud, particularly amongst B2C companies processing a high number of transactions. Thirty-five per cent of businesses in Europe rank payment fraud among the top threats facing their business today, and in Germany, 53 per cent of merchants report losing up to five per cent of annual revenue due to fraud.

At the moment, businesses are forced to accept fraud risk — and the potential for losses — or purchase additional fraud solutions. With Verified Mandates, GoCardless offers merchants a way to stop fraud before it happens, without compromising the customer journey.

Alexandra Chiaramonti, general manager of continental Europe at GoCardlessAlexandra Chiaramonti, general manager of continental Europe at GoCardless
Alexandra Chiaramonti

Citing the rapid and promising adoption of open banking, with 64 million active users projected in Europe by as early as 2024, Alexandra Chiaramonti, general manager of continental Europe at GoCardless, comments that the launch of these two latest features is “enabling German merchants to get ahead of the curve,” and that the company is “excited to offer this new technology” to assist merchants in addressing a series of challenges, including “high card fees to payment fraud,” in conjunction with “offering consumers a more secure … way to pay.”

The introduction of Instant Bank Pay and Verified Mandates in Germany is the latest development in GoCardless’ open banking roadmap. Earlier this year, the fintech launched Verified Mandates in the UK and announced a variable recurring payment (VRP) agreement and pilot with NatWest Group, in addition to its first VRP customer, Nude.

GoCardless is slated to release its VRP proposition in line with the industry roll-out in the UK next month, and Instant Bank Pay and Verified Mandates across Europe later this year.

  • Tyler is a Fintech Junior Journalist with specific interests in Online Banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

Embedded insurance catches on, more segments join in

Within embedded finance, insurance is provided as a native feature in the platform, marketplace or ecosystem. Not entirely new, bancassurance is one variant that has existed for long. In its current avatar, embedded insurance offers advantages for all involved, including tech players, carriers and consumers. A primal constraint in insurance distribution has been that purchase is disparate from the product or service covered, resulting in poorer data for carriers and lesser relevance for customers. It seems logical that tech players would be better suited to distribute such insurance due to superior control of customer journeys, compared to insurers.

Besides, the tech stack of insurers has suffered from inflexibility and difficulty in integration. This has sprung up a range of enabler start-ups, offering APIs for distribution, claims and even full stack, white-label solutions. Given that platforms are expected to control 60% of new sales by 2030, insurers that lag or don’t innovate, risk erosion of their profit pools.

Prevalent forms of embedded insurance include:

  • Mortgage lenders offering title insurance
  • Ticket and event organizers offering event insurance
  • Car rental businesses offering rental insurance
  • Phone insurance bundled with purchase of the phone.

A successful embedded insurance program tends to comprise:

  • A digitized product (quote, bind and issue transaction seamlessly)
  • Short-term, subscription-based, and frictionless product
  • Pre-underwritten insurance products
  • The pricing of coverage a fraction of the main product/service.
  • Target channel partners are specific and grouped.

A pertinent example of an embedded offering is Bundle from Insuritas that delivers a suite of solutions that enables financial institutions, payment, and retail platforms to operate their own labelled, full-service insurance agency. Owners benefit from expanded wallet share, increased retention, and recurring revenue. Insuritas handles the agency platform and APIs, leveraging virtual and live agents with comprehensive marketing automation. With Insuritas, residential home loan originator Northpointe Bank realized an 84% growth in insurance policy sales in one year. Customers respond to a personalized email tied to their mortgage process and receive a quote, in a seamless journey where Northpointe Bank works with Insuritas to grow the agency alongside the bank.

Embedded insurance is integral to the concept of ecosystems and facilitates offering of holistic solutions to customers’ risk requirements. Such ecosystems have survived the first few years of hype. Among others, digital MGAs are capitalizing on the opportunity by carving out niches and partnering with merchants and brands to offer embedded insurance where incumbents are non-existent. Regardless of who takes the lead, embedded propositions are an opportunity for all market participants.

Another insurtech company Bestow, offers new embedded insurance technologies that empower businesses of myriad sizes to bundle life insurance within existing customer ecosystems. Customers can apply for, and once approved, purchase up to $1.5 million coverage in a jiffy within the partner’s application. A medical exam isn’t mandated. Bestow’s life insurance infrastructure handles the gamut of the purchasing experience for partners from pricing estimates to instant underwriting to policy issuance.

With ecosystem partners focusing on core competencies of product management or supply chain, they often lack the wherewithal to successfully launch insurance products. Devoid of a clear-cut strategy to go to market, going solo is a risky and daunting proposition. Only the largest platforms can afford dedicated teams – mid-market players find it necessary to partner. Hence, digital players are seeking value in embedded solutions, although it can take time. One plus is that augmenting the shopping experience for its customers serves as an effective marketing and retention tool. While the transactions and digital assets might get increasingly commoditized, the core value creation is from the ecosystem with its data that can benefit customers, providers and suppliers. In time, partners would have the opportunity to graduate from embedding insurance services to offering insurance-as-a-service.

Cover Image

You get 3 free articles on Daily Fintech. After that you will need to become a member for just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day) and get all our fresh content and our archives and participate in our forum.

Issue #369 – Green, Easy, Inexpensive: 3 Keywords For The Future

FinTech Weekly is ©
and published by the

Jan Kus

An der Bottmühle 5

50678 Cologne



Inhaltlich Verantwortlich gemäß TMG und Paragraph 55 Abs. 2 RStV: Jan Kus (Anschrift wie oben)

Haftungshinweis: Trotz sorgfältiger inhaltlicher Kontrolle übernehmen wir keine Haftung für die Inhalte externer Links. Für den Inhalt der verlinkten Seiten sind ausschließlich deren Betreiber verantwortlich.

Challenger Banks Have a More Positive Sentiment Attached Than Traditional Banks Finds Talkwalker

Consumer intelligence Talkwalker has released its latest report, High Street vs Challenger Banks. It examines how the future of banking in the UK is seeing rapid and irreversible change, with challenger banks hot on the heels of high street banks.

High street banks lead the way with the lion’s share of voice in the sector, with Barclays (34.4 per cent) and HSBC (27.4 per cent) being spoken about the most. This is in part due to huge peaks and clusters in conversation around popular culture and sport such as football, with Barclays sponsoring the Premier League.

While challenger banks such as Starling and Revolut are often mentioned in the same sentence, Revolut sets itself apart as the brand being spoken about and engaged with the most with the highest market share of voice (8.9 per cent) amongst the challenger brands. Themes here are far more customer-centric, talking less about the world in broad terms and more about payments, platforms, and plans.

Overall, net sentiment for all of the banks is low. High street banks are spoken about more by consumers, but not favoured. Challenger banks come out on top with more positive sentiment than high street banks. Starling Bank has the most favourable net sentiment score (-4.4 per cent), whilst high street bank NatWest fairs the worst (-36.6 per cent).

The biggest issue for both high street and challenger banks and the number one factor driving the decision for people to switch banks is customer service. Sustainability and ethics are also seen as the big drivers, but for positive reasons.

HSBC can be seen advertising bank accounts for those people with no fixed address, and climate-crisis-fighting initiative Tech Zero attracting the likes of Revolut, Starling Bank, and Monzo.

Topic analysis identifies fraud, crime, and support as key conversation drivers; challenger banks are surrounded with far more operational conversations about the app, access, and their account.

The report distils twelve months of data by analysing shared and earned media as challenger banks experience significant growth and are increasing their share of the market.

Whilst the likes of Monzo, Starling, Revolut, and Monese are experiencing growth, it’s worth noting that these challenger banks combined, are the same size as NatWest – the bank with 12.5 million customers and over 1.8 billion log-ins to the app every year.

Jack Richards, marketing manager UK and Nordics at Talkwalker says: “The world is changing. Consumers are more demanding, more urgent, and more unpredictable than ever, and brands are struggling to keep up. By analysing up-to-the minute insights and pulling data from a range of sources, brands are able to obtain a holistic view of the marketplace and identify opportunities to help them close the consumer closeness gap. This in turn helps them challenge or maintain their brand position.

“The rise of challenger banks is an example of some of the most successful innovation, diversification, and differentiation any industry as established as banking has ever seen.”

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.