Future of FinTech | Edition #23 – June 2022
You know what time it is, which is why we’ve kept our tea kettle steaming with some fresh FinTech brew delivered right to you in the latest edition of the Future of FinTech Newsletter! If you're new and curious, read on to find out what happened in FinTech across six dynamic themes and join other FinTech nerds in receiving some fresh Weekly FinTech Brew served right to your inbox every Tuesday! ☕️
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For Or Against? Starling Bank CEO Anne Boden believes cryptocurrencies are a “threat to the safety of our payment schemes.” At the same time, many payment players have recently welcomed digital assets in their ecosystems. A false alarm or fair early warning?
As for the usual, Edition #23 brings you tea straight hot off the fire across the bustling activities of the FinTechaverse.
Here’s the TL;DR:
Railsbank rebrands as Railsr to accelerate digital transformation.
Zopa enters the UK BNPL market via the launch of a new BNPL offering.
Curve and TrueLayer team up to offer flexible recurring payments.
Cake DeFi secures license to operate as a regulated platform in Europe.
Singapore launches green sovereign bond framework for tackling climate change.
That’s not all – the week’s Top 10 FinTech News Stories are also here to sweeten your cuppa and satisfy your curious tastebuds:
For the longer read, let's get going –
The Open Finance space observed several industry participants coming together to integrate tech solutions in driving the organic adoption of Open Banking.
UK credit reference agency Equifax unveiled a new partnership with FinTech Paylink Solutions to enhance its digital affordability solution and allow businesses to understand customers’ affordability quickly and accurately.
Open Banking platform TrueLayer hit the headlines for not one but two partnerships, including that with financial app Curve to bring automatic variable recurring payments and CMC Markets to boost client onboarding and customer payments.
NayaOne, a digital sandbox and FinTech-as-a-Service platform, also integrated Salt Edge to offer its customers easier access to Salt Edge’s Open Banking solutions.
Furthermore, Revolut collaborated with Tink to enable its users across Europe to move money easily into their accounts through Tink’s payment initiation service (PIS).
Yolt and Creditsafe made the news for forming a partnership that will see Yolt’s recently launched Cashflow Analyser added to Creditsafe’s business information platform for business and credit professionals. Creditsafe will then be able to instantly offer its clients access to a customer’s cash flow data to assess its risk profile better.
On the funding front, software startup Codat raised $100M in a Series C investment round led by JPMorgan Growth Equity Partners to build its critical infrastructure and incorporate more integrations into its universal API. Open Banking FinTech Bud also announced its Series B funding totaling $80M. The funding will be used to develop Bud’s models further and facilitate international expansion while enabling Bud to exceed the demands of its growing client portfolio.
Additionally, MX announced that its MX Partner Network doubled the number of its FinTech partners in the past year as the Open Banking platform continues to develop and expand the partner portal to include additional features that streamline the partner experience and set them up for success.
Many players within the Digital Finance sphere joined forces to cater to the demand for real-time digital payments by adding corresponding solutions to their existing frameworks.
Spanish neobank Plazo closed a strategic partnership with Mambu to accelerate the development of cutting-edge lending solutions and fuel its expansion to further consolidate as the go-to financial wellness app covering people’s daily purchase, saving, and lending needs.
Even Allica Bank announced its successful go-live on Mambu, through which it has expedited the delivery of a complex loan portfolio at impressive speed.
On the other hand, Marqeta partnered with global money transfer giant Western Union to offer digital banking users an international payments solution that can be easily tailored.
British face biometrics provider iProov and Nuggets announced a collaboration to merge their services to form a biometrically verified self-sovereign digital ID for web 2 and web 3 identity authentication and online payments.
VaultsPay, a Dubai-based FinTech payment company, and digital payments company Wibmo joined hands to launch an innovative pre-paid card platform that aims to accelerate financial inclusion in the Middle East by seamlessly serving the large population of underbanked people.
What’s more –
Philippines’ Tonik selected Noname Security to help safeguard a critical component of its digital platform and ensure that its efforts factor in robust cybersecurity measures to protect the bank and its customers.
Similarly, Januar chose Tuum as the core banking platform to build account and payment solutions for crypto companies to receive and send payments like any other business.
Zelle and Fiserv also made the bulletin for marking the 1,000th financial institution through their partnership.
Sage partnered with technology and banking leaders Lloyds Bank plc, Satago, and Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) to offer simplified access to finance and boost productivity and performance.
Thought Machine also partnered with Mastercard to launch its Vault Payments cloud-native payments processing platform that enables banks to create payments, consolidate systems, and lower the overhead associated with the execution of cards and payment processing.
When it comes to the various launches, Revolut Business launched its fee-free USD transfers feature for UK consumers, moving one step closer to borderless accounts. Digital bank Zopa entered the UK BNPL market with plans to launch its new offering that will focus on offering credit between £250 and £30,000 and help customers build their credit profiles. Cashplus Bank also unveiled a Mastercard-powered Digital Health Check tool that provides a multi-response questionnaire intended to evaluate SMEs’ capability to seize opportunities in the business world that is ever increasingly dominated by digital processes.
As for the numerous funding rounds, digital financial services startup Klar raised $90M in a funding round to build out its platform and further innovate to develop tailor-made solutions for consumers in Mexico. Engagement banking provider Backbase garnered $125.5M in equity funding at a valuation of $2.6B to expand its product portfolio and further grow its sales and marketing operations. Middesk also raised $57M in a Series B round co-led by Insight Partners and Canapi Ventures to triple its headcount to 120 employees by 2023 and further develop products in the identity management space.
Players in the Embedded Finance segment have been rolling up their sleeves to incorporate embedded infrastructures that will enable them to offer seamless financial experiences.
Speaking of building embedded infrastructures, Railsbank grabbed headlines for rebranding as Railsr, launching a new rewards offering to address the growing consumer demand for experiences and the ongoing evolution beyond Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) to deeper embedded finance experiences. Online payment service provider PayU strengthened its foothold in Africa with expansion into Ghana and several strategic product updates: Payflex in South Africa and both Scan to Pay and Pay by USSD in Nigeria. Tech giant Apple also joined the BNPL space with its Apple Pay Later service, with plans to now extend loans through a wholly-owned subsidiary.
On the partnerships front, Gap Inc. announced the launch of a new suite of credit cards with Barclays as the official program issuer in the US and Puerto Rico through the Mastercard global payment network. Atomic and Bond deepened their existing partnership with the launch of Atomic’s Repay product that allows customers to embed repayment of financial obligations over time directly from their paycheck. Scroll Finance similarly collaborated with Modulr to accelerate its mission to disrupt the homeowner financing sector in the UK.
Moreover, BaaS provider NymCard raised $22.5M in new funding round to grow its teams further and strengthen its service in core markets, forming all the right local partnerships and setups.
The DeFi ecosystem witnessed quite the eventful assortment of activities the past week as industry players gained licenses, formed partnerships, and expanded their operations.
Mastercard was in the news for partnering with Mercado Libre to strengthen the security and transparency of its recently launched crypto program in Brazil. Moreover, Mastercard also inked deals with seven new partners to open NFT access via traditional card payments, including metaverse player The Sandbox along with Immutable X, Candy Digital, Mintable, Spring, Nifty Gateway, and MoonPay. Anubi Digital entered a partnership with Maple Finance to offer all Italian regulated entities the opportunity to participate as "lenders" in Maple Finance's institutional liquidity pools, with the advantage of having a known and guaranteed borrowing counterparty. Payments company Circle agreed to buy Cybavo, a digital asset infrastructure platform that focuses on custody and blockchain application development, for an undisclosed amount to offer "infrastructure as a service" for companies looking to build on web 3. Even Binance made the news for its plans to reinforce its presence in the Philippines through financing traditional Philippine financial firms.
Additionally, Cake DeFi secured its cryptocurrency license from the Registrar of Legal Entities of Lithuania to operate as a regulated crypto platform. With the new permit, Cake DeFi is now authorized to conduct services for exchanging cryptocurrency and providing and administering cryptocurrency custodial wallets in Lithuania. PayPal was likewise granted a full BitLicense from the New York Department of Financial Services while also rolling out several new ways for customers to interact with crypto on the platform.
Numerous brands were looking to expand their range of financial services in the Platform Finance vertical last week.
Nexi and Zuora announced a strategic partnership in which XPay, the gateway of Nexi for e‐commerce, is now powered by payment services from Zuora. The partnership will enable Nexi to expand the range of its e‐commerce services for businesses by integrating a best‐in‐class solution that offers speed and convenience while ensuring maximum security. Fino Payments Bank partnered with Go Digit General Insurance Limited to provide shop insurance policies to small and medium business owners. Checkout.com teamed up with Fireblocks to debut its stablecoin settlement solution that lets merchants make settlements 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including on weekends and holidays, thus increasing access to cash flow and reducing operational complexity.
As for the other activities, Grab Holdings Ltd announced the launch of GrabMaps, a new enterprise service created to address the need for a more hyperlocal solution to power its services. FinTech Ramp added Apple Pay as a payment option for its US clients, thereby lowering friction to web 3 applications. Ebury, a provider of corporate banking services to SMEs that trade internationally, was in the news for buying a stake in KYC and payments startup LoopingOne to develop the LoopingOne product further and start the Electronic Money Institution (EMI) application process at the Dutch Central Bank (DNB). Furthermore, Ualá launched the free platform Aula Ualá in Mexico to offer free content for individuals, companies, and educational institutions with an option to become certified. CRED, an Indian FinTech startup, also raised $140M in a Series F round, valuing the company at $6.4B.
The Green Finance segment was bustling with activities, driven by many innovative product launches and key partnership announcements.
While the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) joined the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, a group of leading African financial institutions partnered with Ghana’s Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the UK-funded FSD Africa to form the African Natural Capital Alliance (ANCA). The alliance will act as an African-led collaborative forum for mobilizing the financial community’s response to nature-related risks and opportunities across the continent. Likewise, Bank of China (Hong Kong), Citi, Crédit Agricole CIB, HSBC, and Standard Chartered became cornerstone members of the Alliance for Green Commercial Banks, a global initiative aimed at bringing together pioneers in green finance to catalyze the financial innovation, investment, and leading practices in emerging markets to address climate and environmental risks.
In other news, Banking Circle ecosystem was in the news for cutting environmental impact for its Money 20/20 Europe stand, where every element of the stand, except the lighting feature, has been created using recycled materials.
Many innovative launches garnered attention with their buzz-worthy moves the past week, including a new Roadmap featuring expert recommendations to scale up environmental markets and catalyze private investment to help fill the annual $6.7B financing gap for UK’s nature recovery. While Societe Generale announced the launch of a new range of ESG-focused solutions for its corporate clients, Singapore launched a framework for green bond issuance by its public sector, with the first sovereign notes likely within months. BNP Paribas Asset Management teamed up with sustainability-focused FinTech Matter to launch SDG Fundamentals, a new data solution that enables investors to analyze companies’ revenue alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On the funding front, carbon insurer Kita raised a $424.6K pre-seed round to develop innovative new insurance products in the emerging carbon removal space. True Green Capital Management (TGC) similarly raised $660M for its True Green Capital Fund IV. In another turn of events, the US Securities and Exchange Commission made the news for investigating Goldman Sachs Group’s asset-management division over its funds that look to invest based on environmental, social, and governance standards. Scotcoin, a Scottish cryptocurrency backed by the Scotcoin Project CIC (Community Interest Company), which aims to harness the power of the coin to help tackle environmental issues, also entered the international market after striking a deal to list on the ProBit Global exchange.
Some other happenings in the FinTech universe 🪐
A few additional affairs from beyond the six dynamic themes to keep you updated on the latest FinTech scoop –
France-based Coinhouse raised $42.5M in its latest funding round,
Indian FinTech Kissht raised $80M to enhance its product offerings,
Ohio-based digital insurance startup Branch announced a new $147M Series C financing,
Brazilian payment platform Zippi announced a $16M Series A round led by Tiger Global, Y Combinator, and
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allowed linking credit cards starting with RuPay to the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).
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.
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