Future of FinTech | Edition #17 – May 2022
As we welcome a new month, we bring you a fresh weekly serving of the latest edition of the Future of FinTech newsletter! If you're new and curious, read on to find out what happened in the world of FinTech across six dynamic themes, and join other FinTech nerds in receiving some fresh Weekly FinTech Brew delivered right to your inbox every Tuesday!☕️
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With Edition #17, the Digital Finance segment takes the lead as the most active segment for the opening week of the month.
Here’s the TL;DR:
Tarabut Gateway becomes the first regulated Open Banking platform in the UAE,
Stripe launches new partner program to drive digital modernization,
ApeSwap successfully launches its first NFT-based token,
Wombat becomes UK’s first investment platform to offer cashback, and
Personetics launches world-first carbon footprint tracking in partnership with ecolytiq.
For the longer read, let's get going –
The Open Finance sector was bustling with attention-grabbing scoop across numerous activities.
On the partnerships front, Swiss-domiciled Open Banking initiative OpenWealth Association announced the addition of Google Cloud as an active member and API service provider to support the development of the OpenWealth API Standard and its distribution through the use of Google Cloud solutions. Open finance data network and payments platform Plaid expanded its Payment Partner Ecosystem via three new European partnerships – Primer, UniPaas, and NoFrixion – allowing vendors and merchants to improve operations and lower costs by leveraging Open Banking. Computer Age Management Services’ wholly-owned subsidiary CAMSfinserv revealed a collaboration with Microsoft India to develop a robust technology foundation for the Account Aggregator marketplace in India that will accelerate digital transformation in sectors such as credit lending, investment advisory, and personal finance management. Enterprise dashboard and analytics solution Klarivis teamed up with MX Technologies to provide financial institutions with new data-driven capabilities and financial insights to make more informed decisions and uncover additional revenue and growth opportunities. While Tac selected Nordigen as its Open Banking partner to establish an easier process for receipt handoff between businesses and accountants, cash flow management company Cashology tapped Nordigen to launch its accounting and budgeting platform. Bonifii chose Mastercard, via its subsidiary Finicity, as its Open Banking provider for its MemberPass credit unions to access consumer-permissioned bank data and inform underwriting for different types of loans. Open Banking platform Tink also further expanded its payment services in Europe as its Payment Initiation Services product went live in the Netherlands, Norway, Estonia, Finland, and Latvia.
Furthermore, Klarna became the first provider to integrate UK’s first Open Banking-powered gambling block, developed by Monzo and Truelayer, which will allow Monzo to extend its gambling block to all Klarna-powered, immediate bank-to-bank payments. Financial technology platform for global commerce Banking Circle Group expanded its financial ecosystem with the acquisition of specialized account-to-account payment method provider SEPAexpress, a provider of white-labeled account-to-account payments for European Payments Service Providers, merchants, and corporates. Tarabut Gateway hit the headlines for becoming the first regulated Open Banking platform in the UAE after being granted a license by Dubai Financial Services Authority to provide money services in and from Dubai International Financial Centre.
The Digital Finance sphere witnessed a plethora of partnerships that turned heads with their collaborative moves.
On the partnerships front, nCino announced that connectFirst Credit Union would deploy the nCino Bank Operating System across multiple lines of business, including nCino’s Commercial, Retail, and Deposit Account Opening Solutions. While American Express teamed up with Billtrust to enable suppliers to streamline acceptance of American Express virtual cards, W2 partnered with Visa to provide compliance solutions and tools for UK business cardholders. Banking platform provider Backbase made the news for being selected by Banque Saudi Fransi and DSK Bank as the firms look to boost their digital transformation and revamp their digital customer experiences. Zvilo, the digital platform unlocking working capital in the Balkans, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mastercard to support Zvilo’s plans to transform the traditional banking sector and revolutionize SME lending in the Balkans by enabling access to short-term working capital across different value chains.
Additionally, Mambu announced that it extended its partnership with Nordiska for an additional seven years to continue supporting the institution’s growing financial services offering and expansion plans. Skaleet, an international FinTech providing a next-generation Core Banking Platform, also announced a partnership with Thunes, the global cross-border payments provider, to complement its existing ecosystem. Grab and Singtel announced that GXS Bank, their digital bank joint venture, and a consortium of Malaysian investors, had been selected to receive a full digital banking license in Malaysia, subject to meeting all of Bank Negara Malaysia’s regulatory conditions. The Malaysian central bank also awarded digital banking licenses to groups led by Shopee owner Sea Group and Malaysian lender RHB Bank, as the Southeast Asian nation seeks to embrace online financial services amid an e-commerce boom. An associate of Ant Group, MYbank, reached a unique milestone as it revealed that the private commercial bank served over 45 million small-and-micro enterprise clients at the end of 2021, representing a nearly 30 percent increase year-on-year, according to its 2021 annual report. The funding space was buzzing with activities as Cogni, a lifestyle-focused digital bank, closed a $23M Series A funding round led by Hanwha Asset Management and CaplinFO. Copper, a banking app for teens with nearly 1 million users, raised $29M to expand into investing. Starling Bank completed an internal fundraise of $163.4M at a pre-money valuation of more than $3.13B. Moreover, Stripe launched a new partner program called Stripe Partner Ecosystem designed to enable companies to connect with the right partners for their specific requirements. QuickBooks by Intuit also made the bulletin for announcing Spreadsheet Sync for QuickBooks Online Advanced to enable two-way syncing with Excel.
The Embedded Finance sphere was witness to an assorted mix of various events.
On the partnerships front, Klarna expanded its partnership with cross-border e-commerce provider Global-e to provide Canadian consumers with greater choice and flexibility at checkout. Leading employee engagement platform Sodexo Engage added charity-backed financial wellbeing app Wagestream to its employee benefits platform to facilitate clients with access to Wagestream via its new financial wellbeing hub. E-commerce software and service provider Miva announced a collaboration with Affirm to help online sellers increase sales and accommodate growing consumer demand for flexible payments by leveraging Affirm’s pay-over-time solution. While Banking-as-a-Service provider Raisin Bank and B2B payment specialist Mondu joined forces to offer a buy now, pay later service to B2B merchants, Indian FinTech udaanCapital teamed up with Northern Arc Capital to disburse credit to over 50,000 kiranas and small retailers. Optty’s $9M funding round following the launch of its BNPL integration platform for retailers was another key event in the embedded space. Sonovate, the FinTech lender providing finance and technology services to businesses that engage contractors and freelancers, moved into embedded finance by launching brand-new cloud-native, API-first features to support its enterprise customers.
The DeFi industry was abuzz with notable happenings as the industry continues to expand across diverse sectors.
Social Life Network and Decentral Life announced the launch of a new SaaS platform for private and public companies that aim to utilize blockchain tokenization as a governance tool or utility token. ApeSwap added NFT-based financial product Treasury Bills to its portfolio to enable users to buy a yield-generating artistic NFT in exchange for selling liquidity in the form of Liquidity Pool tokens, two combined tokens to buy into the liquidity pool to the protocol. Decentralized investment bank Ondo Finance raised $20M in a Series A funding round led by Founders Fund and Pantera Capital, with participation from Coinbase Ventures, GoldenTree, Wintermute, Steel Perlot, Tiger Global, and Flow Traders. DeFi and Web3 outfit Argent also raised $40M in a Series B funding round led by Fabric Ventures and Metaplanet. As for the partnerships, Cross River Bank announced a collaboration with Sardine, a behavior-based fraud and compliance platform for digital wallets and neobanks, to ensure Sardine’s customers have a reliable way to gain immediate access to funds through Cross River’s infrastructure platform. Coinbase-backed Portal teamed up with Mintlayer, a Bitcoin sidechain protocol, to bring Portal’s uncensorable cross-chain DEX functionality to Mintlayer, giving new impetus to Bitcoin-based decentralized finance.
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An eventful number of activities made the week's headlines in the Platform Finance vertical.
When it comes to the various partnerships, the Standard Chartered Capital Markets division joined the community of financial institutions using the Saphyre platform for new fund onboardings and maintenance. Financial super app Curve teamed up with Lewes Football Club, a partnership born out of the brands’ goals and objectives of empowerment. Additionally, Air New Zealand became the latest airline to authorize the sale of its flights on the airasia super app, a commercial collaboration that connects travelers to discover over 20 New Zealand destinations.
As for the other activities, global payments platform Nium announced a definitive agreement to acquire Singapore-based alternative payments network platform Socash to enable multiple forms of local payment acceptance for digital commerce. ICICI Bank also launched a comprehensive digital ecosystem for MSMEs that offers an array of industry-first solutions. Stripe launched its Stripe Partner Ecosystem to empower more partners to deliver modernized financial infrastructure and digital experiences to their customers while generating new opportunities for partners to grow. Furthermore, Wombat became UK’s first investment platform to offer users cashback each time they invest.
In other news, Revolut received in-principle approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to operate a fully regulated cryptocurrency service, enabling Revolut Technologies Singapore to provide digital payment token services. Trustly also grabbed the headlines for being awarded the 2022 FinTech of the Year for Retail Payments by the readers of the FinTech Spotlight report series.
The Green Finance space was astir with an assorted mix of events across various activities.
Personetics was in the news for announcing the launch of Sustainability Insights, a new offering that will help banks meet growing customer demand and regulatory expectations for environmentally responsible banking and sustainable finance. Gatehouse Bank launched a range of green home finance products for UK’s homeowners and landlords, the first Shari’ah-compliant offering of its kind in the UK. Commerzbank also made the news for rebranding its innovation unit as part of a sharper focus on sustainability and green tech firms.
On the other hand, London-based Twig Group acquired mobile phone re-commerce player Mobi Market in a deal worth over $10M to bring another dimension to circular economy services in serving its customer base. CleanSpark partnered with Sustainable Bitcoin Standard to make bitcoin mining cleaner via transparent and verifiable industry standards. Carbon Collective raised a $2.2M seed round for its climate-focused investment, retirement, and robo-advising platform. What’s more – a new report issued by GoCardless named “Payments, Plastics, People and the Planet” revealed that going cardless reduces payment carbon emissions by over 75%, with the rise of the conscious consumer set to continue.
Some other happenings in the FinTech universe 🪐
A few other notable headlines from beyond the six dynamic themes that made for some happening scoop for the edition –
BAYC team raised $285M with Otherside NFTs,
Amazon Japan teamed up with Ayden for payments,
Standard Chartered entered the metaverse with Animoca Brands in Hong Kong, and
Turtlemint raised $120M in its Series E round.
And that's a wrap 👋
We hope you enjoyed this edition of the Weekly FinTech Brew, and we'll be back with more next week!
If you're hungry for more FinTech insights, check out some of our other work at WhiteSight.
Our latest publications include acknowledging the many Setting The Record Straight on Digital-first Banking Taxonomy and Unearthing The Bustle In Green Finance: Earth Day 2022.
If you're someone who likes to read think pieces, you will likely love our monthly blog Fintersections, where our team members analyze the convergence of FinTech with the world.
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