Future of FinTech | Edition #34 – Aug 2022
Greetings, FinTech Addicts!
Curious about recent developments in the FinTech universe? We are back to quench your thirst with a steaming cup of FinTech cuppa brewed just for you. Get a flavour of our Future of FinTech newsletter with six captivating themes filled with the latest affairs around the FinTech industry! ☕
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This Time For Africa: Amid the global capital retreat in the first half of 2022, FinTech is proving its mettle in the African markets, where the region remains least hit by the venture capital (VC) retreat due to the opportunity posed by the increasing size and maturity of African economies. VC investment in Africa reached $1.8B in the first quarter of 2022 alone, a 150% increase compared with the same period in 2021. Read more here.
Edition #34 is here to enliven your week with global FinTech happenings that are sure to have the gears of your mind running!
Here’s the TL;DR:
The headlines last week made for some flashing events, as The Commercial Bank of Ceylon launched a wearable banking product for its Flash digital account holders who use Apple Watches.
Products and services came in all shapes and forms, though – with CoinDCX inaugurating its mobile platform Okto, Nubank infusing a reward system into its platform, and DBS Hong Kong unfolding its new “LiveBetter” app for encouraging the idea of a sustainable lifestyle.
Sustainability was also on the mind of the Financial Conduct Authority, which devised a new advisory committee to the FCA’s Board for its ESG-related responsibilities.
Continuing the newness spree was the Saudi Central Bank, as it granted permits to two new FinTechs under its regulatory sandbox, and Kenanga, as it partnered with the Ant Group to develop its mobile platform to support its super app ambitions.
And as if that already wasn’t super enough, Brankas and Kaya Founders also joined hands to launch the ‘Open PHInance Challenge’ for budding startups. Bringing more flavour to the partnerships of the week was Square, as it tapped Clearpay to provide UK customers with a taste of BNPL services. However, not all bonds are meant to be, and the cancellation of the partnership between Afterpay and Westpac proved to be an example of the same.
For the longer read, let’s get going –
The Open Finance segment was humming with notable initiatives across different segments, with numerous collaborations stacking up as the major event.
Speaking of stacking, Stackin’ partnered with MX to enable secure financial data sharing and account connectivity within the Stackin’ app.
Deutsche Payment collaborated with Token to launch PayThisWay, a solution for account-to-account payments and Open Banking that enables fast, smooth, cost-efficient, and secure direct payments between accounts. This partnership will significantly accelerate Berlin-based Deutsche Payment’s growth path. PayThisWay is underpinned by Token’s Open Banking platform and connectivity.
Nationwide joined forces with Moneyhub to integrate Open Banking payments technology in their application, allowing members to start earning a higher rate of interest on their money right from day one.
On the other hand, Lloyds' partnered with AJ Bell to give investors the option of funding their investment accounts directly from their bank accounts, without using card providers such as Mastercard or Visa as an intermediary.
Brankas also made the headlines for its ‘PHI’nomenal move with Kaya Founders to launch the inaugural Open PHinance Challenge, a programme to generate innovative, high-value open finance products for early-stage startups in the Philippines.
What’s more – Raqmiyat, a leading systems integrator and digital transformation solutions, partnered with Codebase Technologies (CBT) to accelerate digital banking transformation in UAE & KSA.
In other news, Mexico City’s Open Finance API platform Belvo received investment from Citi Ventures to develop Open Banking capabilities while creating omnichannel and deeply personalised digital experiences and products for the benefit of customers. The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) granted permits to Lean Technologies and Mod5r to provide Open Banking Solutions, bringing the total number of permitted FinTech companies operating under its Regulatory Sandbox to 38. The Central Bank of Kuwait also made the bulletin for its plans to test a new Open Banking product by launching it in the local market within the Regulatory Sandbox and applying the same to banking transactions of volunteer customers to fully assess and evaluate the product before the final launch in the market. Meanwhile, HSBC UK rolled out sweeping Variable Recurring Payments (VRP) to all its personal and business customers who use Open Banking services.
The Digital Finance space was brimming with some exciting kick-offs and innovative product scoops. As more players step into the digital arena, this is what they had to offer –
First Federal Bank of Kansas City premiered its First Federal Digital Banking platform, powered by enterprise solutions provider Narmi to further streamline the financial management experience for its users.
Arab Bank launched a banking platform ‘Taleeb Plus’ that caters to physicians' banking requirements and provides a comprehensive and personalised experience.
The Commercial Bank of Ceylon introduced a wearable banking product for Apple Watch users to check their account balances on the go.
Japanese Bank SMBC, a descendant of Mitsui, launched a digital alternative - ‘Jenius Bank' in the US to target digitally native consumers.
Nubank introduced a reward system for transactions and bill payments to encourage its customers to progress towards their personal financial goals.
While the above-mentioned products have already been rolled out, Marcus by Goldman Sachs delayed its launch of consumer checking product until next year.
Adding a breakthrough post to its journey, Zopa Bank reached the ~$2.34B deposit mark after only two years of launching its challenger bank.
On the partnership and M&A foreground, Florida-based Nymbus selected Red Hat OpenShift for developing its in-house approach, running on Nutanix HCI, a hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solution to engage rapid growth for its platform. Bradescard, a subsidiary of Banco Bradesco SA, acquired Ictineo to enter the retail banking space in Mexico.
In addition to fluttering digital activities, after reporting a full-year profit in the year 2022, the founder and CEO of Starling Bank, Anne Boden, grabbed headlines for stating that within a year or two, the bank will be able to generate a return on equity (ROE) of 30%.
With some intriguing partnering moves, the Embedded Finance industry seemed vibrant. Let's take a look at the past week's affairs –
FinTech platform KreditBee partnered with Cashfree Payments to offer customers an option to convert their online purchases into EMIs at the time of checkout itself for non-credit card holders. Embedded Finance platform Railsr joined forces with Elmore to offer specialist FinTech insurance to its customers around the world, with cover including cyber, crime, directors’ and professional indemnity insurance. LazyPay collaborated with Dukaan to expand its Pay-Later service into the SME/SMB ecosystem. This partnership will offer BNPL solution to small sellers and entrepreneurs across various categories. All the while, payments provider Square integrated with Clearpay to introduce a buy now, pay later (BNPL) feature in the UK. That’s not all – Shoplazza and Klarna formed a strategic partnership to provide a variety of online payment options to Shoplazza's 360,000+ merchants. The collaboration gives international customers more diverse and convenient payment options and better conversion rates for merchants to achieve business growth. DigiKhata also joined hands with UK-based FinTech Kuunda to extend liquidity solutions to millions of micro and small businesses that actively use the DigiKhata App.
While many players in the industry collaborated, Australian payments company Afterpay ended its partnership with Westpac Banking after Afterpay cancelled a smartphone app it was running with the bank. Afterpay plans to focus on integrating its products with those of new owner Block, closing “Money,” the personal finance app it began running with Westpac last year.
In addition, Australian BNPL firm Zip posted a wider annual loss, signalling a lacklustre outlook for fintech firms in the wake of soaring inflation. BNPL operators, particularly, have recently seen their valuations collapse as reduced customer spending and rising interest rates have squeezed their margins and pushed the firms’ funding costs higher.
The DeFi landscape continued to buzz with news of plentiful partnerships and launches that provided it with the required zest for the week.
On the partnerships front, Sullivan Bank partnered with Bakkt to leverage Bakkt Crypto Connect to enable Sullivan Bank customers to buy, sell, and hold Bitcoin and Ethereum, while also providing the full strength of Bakkt’s platform, including compliance, tax reporting, educational resources and customer care. MMFinance partnered with Kyber Network to integrate with KyberSwap, a decentralised exchange (DEX) aggregator. The partnership allows users to get the best rate for their trades. Meanwhile, Loop Finance collaborated with SubQuery to power their DeFi NFT Marketplace while also extending their SubQuery connections to the DEX using Trade Views enhanced graph data.
Moving on to launch-based events, CoinDCX launched Okto – a mobile platform that will host other decentralised apps and won’t require users to remember the long string of words as their passwords, while also providing exposure to Web3 for the users. Defi Kings ($DFK) was in the headlines for the launch of a crypto lending service, which aims to capitalise on the great demand for loans in the crypto space. $DKL will start accepting loan requests on September 1, 2022, with approvals and funding in as little as 24 hours from when an application is received. Additionally, Ultron Foundation launched UltronSwap, a system of DeFi applications, providing fast, secure, and scalable transactions by harnessing the Ultron network.
Wondering what else is emerging in the Web3 universe? We have just the right thing for you – the Web3 Weekly Wonderland, covering the many segments of this blooming universe!
The Platform Finance space experienced quite the eye-grabbing affairs as numerous players teamed together to make a difference!
Provenir partnered with Decentro, a full stack API infrastructure platform, to enable plug-and-play banking integrations for NBFCs, FinTech lenders, and banks through the Provenir Marketplace. The partnership also aims to allow NBFCs and FinTech Lenders with automated KYC and banking workflows and address the SME sector's $1.1T credit gap.
Payment solution provider Mangopay partnered with Hublify to serve medium-sized, German-speaking companies that plan to scale in the eCommerce channel.
Malaysia’s Kenanga teamed up with China’s Ant Group for its mobile development platform as the firm looks to launch a wealth management and financial services super app.
And to add more sweetness to the cuppa of FinTech tea, Tata Neu was in the news for its plan to enter stock brokering service, aiming to target existing users who are already on the Neu app. The addition of a stock broking service should make it a more attractive proposition for users, already sitting with nearly 16M downloads on the Play store. It doesn’t end there – Southeast Asian super app service Grab expanded its pilot subscription program called GrabUnlimited to more of its markets as the response from the users was encouraging.
The Green Finance sphere continues to rule the industry as more and more businesses promote and embrace environmental sustainability. Getting into the thrilling developments from last week –
On the launch-based events, international asset manager Robeco launched Sustainable Investing Open Access Initiative to open up access to its sustainable investing intellectual property, providing clients and a group of academics with free access to its proprietary Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) company scores. DBS Hong Kong introduced LiveBetter, a one-stop digital sustainability platform in its digibank app that encourages customers to foster a more sustainable life.
Onto the fundings round, renewable energy developer Arevia Power raised a significant structured investment led by global alternative asset and private equity investor, KKR, to support the development of solar and wind projects by Arevia across the US Carbon management platform provider Carbon Direct raised $60M in growth capital, in a funding round co-led by BlackRock & Temasek’s Decarbonization Partners, and Quantum Energy Partners to further fund its carbon management platform.
Coming to the various regulatory activities, The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) made the news for its plans to establish a new advisory committee to the FCA’s Board to work on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues, and is looking for expressions of interest from stakeholders to join. State of Texas moves to boycott energy companies as subject to potential divestment, placing BlackRock, Credit Suisse and UBS on the divestment list for “Boycotting” fossil fuel companies in Anti-ESG Backlash.
And lastly, Fathom partnered with Reask to provide insurers, banks and ESG-focused investors with an unparalleled view of risk data on the combined impact of flood and wind events including hurricanes, tropical cyclones and typhoons.
Some other happenings in the FinTech universe 🪐
To satisfy your wondering taste buds, we present to you some additional noteworthy advances in the FinTechaverse –
Healthcare FinTech Nitra raised $62M in a seed round, while also launching a Visa Business card for physicians,
London-based digital finance provider Muse Finance raised a $20M debt facility to support UK small businesses,
Teen-focused FinTech startup Zywa raised $3M in a seed funding round, and
Jeitto secured $889K in funding led by Rise Ventures.
We love hearing about new initiatives in the community, which is why we want to feature/sponsor and bring to light the many industry participants who are driving the vehicle of FinTech innovation forward! If this sounds like something you’d be interested in then:
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!
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