Digital payments alone could become a $100 trillion industry, according to PwC. And that’s just one component of the global Fintech industry. This channel tackles the lenders and buyers, the obstacles and achievements, and the trends and trend makers leading the ongoing technological evolution in global finance.
In a deep-pocketed bid to grab a share of India’s digital payments market, Indian behemoth Reliance (NSE: RELIANCE), fintech Infibeam Avenues (NSE: INFIBEAM), Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), and Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) have come together to form a “New Umbrella Entity” (NUE). The NUE will bid to set up a payments network to compete with the UPI payments system operated by the National Payments Council of India (NPCI).
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The tables have turned. There was a time when banks sought to acquire fintechs for their technology and customer reach. But the acquisition of Radius Bancorp by LendingClub (NYSE: LC) is the first case of a fintech, the largest of its kind in the country and listed, buying into a bank. And the acquisition makes eminent business sense. It could, therefore, set off a new trend in such deals.
Personal lending platform LendingClub has agreed to acquire FDIC-regulated, Boston-based online bank Radius Bancorp in a cash (75%)-cum-stock (25%) deal worth $185 million. This is the first time that a US fintech has bought up a bank.
SoftBank steps up LatAm focus with $1B investment plan. SoftBank Group has upped the ante in its gambit to profit from financing promising startups in Latin America. Its $5 billion Softbank Innovation Fund, launched in March 2019, plans to spend $1 billion in 2020 to bankroll LatAm ventures in e-commerce, health care, and fintech.
BlockFi Inc. provides consumer financing services. Its platform offers loans to crypto-asset owners who collateralize the loan with their crypto-assets. On the other hand, its BlockFi Interest Account (BIA) lets depositors put their crypto to work and earn monthly interest payments in the asset-type that deposited with BlockFi. The company raised $30 million in its Series ‘B’ funding round, led by Valar Ventures.
EasyEuro, the Platform for SMB Remittances Between China and Europe, Raises $4M. EasyEuro is fintech that focuses on digital banking and global B2B remittances, especially between Europe and China. This week, it raised $4 million in a pre-A funding round. (BusinessMole)
The round was led by Shanghai-based Ally Capital, with participation from seed investors SwiftPass, Geoswift, Huashan Capital and Unity Assets.
Challenger bank N26 asks UK customers to shut accounts by April 15.
N26 has announced its departure from the UK on account of Brexit in a blog post.
“With the UK now having left the European Union, we will in due course be unable to operate in the UK with our European banking license,” the Berlin-based N26 said. “As a result, we will be leaving the UK and closing all accounts in the coming months.”
In a press release, N26 blamed the “timings and framework outlined in the Withdrawal Agreement,” but said it fully respected the decision that had been taken.
Australian Legislators Pass Law to Enhance ASIC’s Fintech Regulatory Sandbox. The amendments passed on Monday extend the scope and timeframe fintechs can spend on the existing ‘sandbox.’ The ‘Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 2) Bill 2019‘ allows more businesses such as fintechs to test a wider range of new financial and credit products and services without a licence from ASIC for up to 24 months.
The Sezzle payments platform, which enables credit-starved shoppers to “buy now, pay later,” now boasts of one million customers across the United States and Canada.
Launched in 2016, it took Sezzle Inc (ASX: SZL) all of three years to build a base of 500,000 customers. However, between August 2019 and today, the fintech has doubled that number to a million.
Real Estate Analytics Startup HouseCanary Raises $65 Million. The funding will allow HouseCanary to develop the most accurate valuations in the property sector. The round was led by Morpheus Ventures, Alpha Edison, and PSP Growth, and it brought HouseCanary’s aggregate funding to $130 million.
International Money Express, Inc. (NASDAQ: IMXI), a cross-border remittances and payment services company operating primarily in Latin America and the Caribbean, announced its partnership with Ripple, the provider of enterprise blockchain solutions for global payments.
Fintech firm Reich & Tang has reached a deal with Smiley Technologies, a developer and provider of core banking solutions to U.S community banks.
Community banks typically struggle to keep up with their larger competitors on high technology solutions. Smiley Technologies has worked with smaller banks to modernize and streamline core banking applications and services. These services help improve the efficiency of data management.
Card giant Visa and global fintech leader AirWallex announced a global partnership to offer the Airwallex Borderless Card, a B2B card-based payment solution.
Offered initially only in Australia, the card will be introduced in the UK and Hong Kong later this year.
The companies announced the card at Pause Fest 2020, a leading innovation festival held in Melbourne.
With new-fangled fintech disruptors snapping at their heels, two legacy payment processor giants in Europe have joined forces in an $8.6 billion mega-deal. French payment company Worldline will acquire domestic rival Ingenico to create the industry’s number four player.
The Jenfi fintech targets small businesses that are underbanked…even in Singapore. It has an Innovative Lending Model For SMBs in Southeast Asia. Jeffrey Liu and Justin Louie, who worked together at the GuavaPass startup, started Jenfi.
UK the Epicenter of Fintech in Europe, says Report. The fintech sector in the UK raked in a record $4.9 billion in investments during 2019, despite political turmoil from Brexit.
Policygenius, an online marketplace for comparing and buying insurance products, announced the successful raising of $100 million via its Series D funding round.
Jennifer Fitzgerald and Francois de Lame founded Policygenius in 2014. Its digital platform connects consumers with reputed insurance carriers. It is the fastest growing life insurance distributor, having issued $45 billion in life cover till date. Policygenius has grown annualized revenues to $60 million, a 10 times increase since 2017 and the culmination of its C Round Funding.
Ethical online lender LendUp announced Thursday its achievement of having disbursed aggregate loans worth $2 billion on its platform.
Founded in 2012, the company’s main goal is to help anyone improve their financial condition. Along the way, it has handed out 6.5 million loans at an average ticket size of $300.
FinTech: Founding Member Standard Chartered Boosts Investment in Contour, the Blockchain Trade Platform
Standard Chartered invests an undisclosed amount in Contour.
Contour is a global trade finance platform that runs on R3’s Corda blockchain. It specializes in digitally creating, exchanging, approving, and issuing Letters of Credit (LCs). Last week, Contour announced the success of a series of live pilot tests in 14 countries and a global trial with over 50 banks and corporates.
CurrencyCloud Gets $80 Million From Top Notch Investors Including Visa. London-based startup CurrencyCloud builds remittance APIs for money transfer businesses.
It’s software you are never likely to see. It works in the background when you make a money transfer across borders. CurrencyCloud builds these APIs (as the software is called), and more than 350 companies were using it as at end-2019.
The Global X FinTech Thematic ETF (FINX) has rallied more than 32% over the last 12 months. Shares have climbed from a 52-week low of $24.49 per share to $32.40 this week. The fund aims to replicate the performance of the Indxx Global FinTech Thematic Index.
There are too many fintechs out there, but many can’t survive on their own.
A Barron’s analysis of likely deal-making in the fintech sector after the landmark Visa-Plaid deal shows a mixed picture.
Fundbox, the fintech startup that finances SMEs, is planning a potential IPO. Fundbox has appointed Marten Abrahamsen as its CFO effective this January. Abrahamsen was previously a partner at The Chernin Group LLC, a Los-Angeles-based investment firm. Before that, he managed Coatue Management LLC’s investments in Grab Holdings Inc. and Jet.com Inc., an online retailer. He also worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs
Northwestern’s VC arm joined a $3.5 million funding round for U-Nest Inc., a California-based financial services mobile app.
U-Nest was founded by Ksenia Yudina, CFA, MBA. The U-Nest app facilitates saving for college and other educational expenses. It helps parents and families to find the right 529 college savings plan.
Visa Snaps Up Fintech Network Plaid for $5.3 Billion. Plaid allows people to connect their finances to apps.
Fintech applications need to connect up with a user’s financial accounts to deliver true benefits of immediate updation and convenience.