The Fintech Fix 02/02/22
Welcome to The Fintech Fix, where we cover the biggest stories of the financial week! Whether it’s the next groundbreaking advancement in Blockchain technology, a new partnership about to change the global, economic landscape or an upcoming startup generating a huge following, this is the place to keep up with the breaking news.
Hot Topics – Africa has become such a powerful hub for promising fintech and/or financial ventures in recent times and our first story highlights exactly that. Integrated Payment Services Limited (IPSL) is a Kenyan company which has just launched its new real-time payment system, acting as one of the industry’s trailblazers in running a national instant payment switch based on ISO20022. Seun Owoeye, Chief Operating Officer at IPSL, noted that the new system will align banks with regulatory directives, improve operational efficiency and ‘ensure best practices for KYC and AML activities using data enriched messaging protocol.’ This will no doubt help improve key investment decisions across the sector.
BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) catapulted to the main stage in 2021, with many wondering if we had already hit the ceiling for the service or if it had merely just begun to scratch the surface. What everybody did seem to agree on was the need for further regulation. With that in mind, Experian announced its launch of the first BNPL Bureau in a move to protect the financial health of consumers. The Bureau will provide greater transparency to the industry and allow BNPL providers to furnish data on all types of point-of-sale products, enabling a comprehensive view of consumer payments, including the number of outstanding BNPL loans, total BNPL loan amounts and BNPL payment status. Greg Wright, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer for Experian Consumer Information Services, commented that the Bureau will ‘drive financial inclusion while ensuring responsible lending. We believe the reporting of BNPL will play a critical role in achieving this.’
Only last year did the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) announce its Open Banking policies to increase the level of competition and efficiency in their financial services sector. Fast forward to today and the Open Banking Exchange (OBE) has just launched in Saudi Arabia. John Broxis, Managing Director, Open Banking Exchange, commented that ‘with our continued advisory and educational work in Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, we look forward to bringing our global knowledge to Saudi Arabia.’ Such educational work will include a series of public events, working groups and member forums to enable financial institutions to discuss market and regulatory topics, beginning with a public webinar on the 9th February 2022.
FF News’ Aniqah Majid, shared an exclusive piece on venture capital and the mitigation of risk in Insurtech, after the sector had a record breaking 2021 raising a total of €2.5 billion last year. Two key observations emerged here. Firstly, Insurtechs are integrating health and risk management solutions into their policies, moving from protection to prevention. Firms such as YuLife use gamification to promote physical and mental health, whilst Players Health exists as a risk management platform for sports athletes, coaches and staff. Secondly, there’s also been a growing attention to niche insures, as venture capital funds have been put towards the likes of Marshmallow, who raised €116 million last year to an immigrant and expat customer base. The space is so interesting and continues to further financial inclusion as we know it.
Rapyd has completed its acquisition of the cross-border trade enabling platform for SMBs and startups, Neat, and will integrate them into their own Global Payments Network. This will allow users to incorporate new companies in minutes, provide eligible businesses with fast working capital through an in-wallet credit line and even accelerate payments to suppliers across Greater China!. ‘Completing the acquisition of NEAT represents a significant step forward in expanding our global capabilities for small and medium business’, said Arik Shtilman, CEO and Co Founder of Rapyd.
Our last ‘hot topics’ come from Brazil. First is our Virtual Arena between Eduardo Goni, Country Manager – Brazil at ACI Worldwide and Edson Santon of Colink Business Consulting, who discussed the transformational period that the Brazilian acquiring market is currently in.
Our second hot topic from Brazil is about Ebury, the global fintech specialising in international payments and how they are preparing to accelerate growth in LATAM following the opening of their Brazilian office. The new office in Sao Paulo gives SMEs in Europe access to a specialist provider of foreign exchange and other corporate banking services in a particularly complex market, as well as access to the wider Latin America region. It also helps businesses within the region simplify international trade. Tom Davies, UK Country Manager at Ebury, emphasised the importance of having ‘an expert partner with boots-on-the-ground to advise and fulfil international payments, hedge against currency risk and provide a high level of operational support and customer service.’
Big Partnerships To Watch – With these partnership stories, I’m normally reporting two companies that have decided to join forces. Today I’m highlighting how Wise, the global technology company which allows businesses to integrate Wise into their own company, has entered 2022 with seven new partnerships. Steve Naudé, Head of Product at Wise Platform noted that ‘each new partner helps move us closer to a world in which money has no borders, a world in which international payments are fast, convenient, transparent and, eventually, free.’ The Wise Platform is now live with more than 20 banks and financial institutions across 4 continents, as well as 12 distribution partners and 11 enterprise partners. Partners include Google Pay, Monzo and Shinhan Bank, South Korea’s oldest and second largest bank.
Stripe and Spotify have announced a partnership which will help podcasters and creators accept payments, launch recurring revenue streams and deepen their connection with fans. Stripe provided the payment infrastructure for Podcast Subscriptions, enabling Spotify to expand the feature to support dozens of currencies for thousands of creators across 30+ countries. In partnering with Stripe to launch Podcast Subscriptions, Spotify has also used a number of other Stripe products including Stripe Billing, Stripe Invoicing, and Stripe Radar. ‘Platforms like Spotify are making it easier for creators to quickly generate recurring revenue from the thing they love doing the most: sharing their stories,’ said Mike Clayville, Chief Revenue Officer at Stripe.
Our third partnership of the roundup comes from Modulr who have agreed to work with Ripple. Together, the two leading FinTechs will make it easier than ever for businesses to run real-time payments internationally powered by Ripple’s financial technology, RippleNet. With Modulr’s technology, global businesses have an alternative to legacy correspondent banking and can now make payments from APAC, North America, LATAM and Middle East regions into the UK and Europe faster, more reliable, and cost-effective. This comes after Modulr were granted a Dutch EMI license last week, helping its mission to enable next generation payments.
Funding – Before I even reveal the latest news in this week’s roundup when it comes to funding, I urge EVERYBODY reading this to listen to the long-awaited Fundraising Rap-Up #19 by Mr Lewis Averillo-Singh that looks at all the dollar dropped during the last quarter of 2021, right here – truly phenomenal!
Having said that, our one and only fundraising story to report this week is from Onramper, the fiat to crypto gateway aggregator, who generated $6M in seed funding led by EQT Ventures. In a world as globalised as crypto, developers should be able to onboard users irrespective of their geographical location. Onramper directly addresses these challenges through its API or widget interface; users can buy crypto without leaving a company’s app or website and businesses can monetise every transaction. Already, the company is achieving 100% Compound Monthly Growth Rate (CMGR), with over 400 fully onboarded clients and a new B2B2C solution that is live.This $6M funding will be used to advance the product roadmap and staff quota over the next 6 months, further bridging the worlds of fiat and crypto.
Transfer News – Our last story of this week’s roundup comes from Corvus Insurance, the leading provider of smart commercial insurance products powered by AI-driven risk data. Corvus announced their appointment of Oliver Delvos, who will come into the firm as Head of International in the summer of 2022. In this new role, Delvos, who currently leads global cyber underwriting at Zurich Insurance Group, will develop and implement Corvus’s long-term operational and organizational strategy for territories outside of the US, with an initial focus on Continental Europe. Phil Edmundson, Chief Executive Officer at Corvus, commented that with Delvos’s ‘vast experience in European and Asian markets — as well as his experience in data and privacy risk — he’s well-positioned to lead Corvus’s international team and develop a winning global strategy.”
So that’s your weekly Fintech Fix! Stay tuned for next week’s dose so that you can stay up to date with the biggest stories of the future.
- Bridge Money Raises $5.8 Million in Seed Funding Led by TMV Read more
- Diego Gutierrez, Vodacom – An Introduction to M-Pesa Read more
- Bybit CEO Calls For Wall St to Embrace Crypto Read more
- Allica Bank breaks into profitability Read more
- Mastercard Expands Partnership with TripLink to Facilitate New Cross-Border Payment Pathways Read more