The Fintech Fix 12/10/2022
Welcome to The Fintech Fix, where we cover the biggest fintech stories of the working week. Whether it’s the next groundbreaking trend in crypto, or a new partnership that’s about to change the global economic landscape, this is the place to keep up with the breaking news of the future.
In tennis, doubles is all about strategy. There are more moves to consider, spaces to cover, and people to look out for. It makes for a more exciting game. This concept is very much the centre court in fintech, where everybody knows that success is guaranteed in pairs.
Our first story takes place in the world of trade and includes two of the greatest tennis pros of all time, sisters Venus and Serena Williams have become shareholders and ambassadors to Europe’s first social and community-based trading app, Shares. This comes just after Shares’ $40 million Series B round led by Peter Thiel Fund, Valar Ventures.
Over a third of users on Shares are women, and the company has made its mission to make its platform more accessible and collaborative to a diverse audience.
“Gen Z have a curious way of looking at the world and through the amplification of social media, have been much more open about educating themselves and sharing that information,” said Serena Williams. “ I believe everyone, and especially women, should have the tools and access to information to take control of their finances; Shares is a platform that encourages the conversations we should all be part of.”
We are up in the air with the next partnership, German airline Lufthansa has joined forces with global payments company and airline favourite, Worldline, as their payments provider. Lufthansa is gearing up to build an interconnected and all-inclusive payments platform which can be used by all group members. Worldline’s expertise in the aviation industry has allowed them to create a robust and fit-for-purpose infrastructure that will be ready to use for Lufthansa customers, from selecting payment methods to consolidated reporting capabilities and integration with their core platforms.
This collaboration will see the airline make use of Worldline’s TravelHUb solution, meaning it, along with sister companies SWISS, Austrian Airlines, and Edelweiss will have access to 150 different payment methods and currencies, tokenization and a range of fraud services all through one reporting and settlement channel.
Looking more on the roads, commercial trucking insurtech, Cover Whale Insurance Solutions has partnered with MGA Appalachian Underwriters (AUI), to further expand both companies’ agent and customer network, capacity, and industry impact. The venture will open up Cover Whale’s distribution channels, and broaden its insurance offering to a wider net of American truck drivers. In turn, AUI will deliver a differentiated solution where its retail agent partners can better serve existing and potential clients.
“Truck drivers are our heroes, and our mission is to protect their safety and livelihoods to the best of our abilities,” said Dan Abrahamsen, CEO of Cover Whale. “Partnering with an innovative and forward-thinking organisation like AUI allows us to continue growing our commercial insurance capacity and supporting more drivers.”
Mind the Money
Savings, especially in this economic climate, is a lifeline for many people in the world, so much so that knowing how to utilise them effectively is a risk many choose not to take. Guest contributors Sarah Coles (the Senior Personal Finance Analyst) and Tom Higham (Acting Head of Savings) of financial services company Hargreaves Lansdown, discuss savings rates reaching an inflection point and why people should act now.
“The overwhelming majority of our savings are in easy access accounts, and while this is the right place for an emergency fund of 3-6 months’ worth of essential expenses, once you hold more than this, it’s worth at least considering tying up some of the money in return for a higher rate of interest,” explained Coles.
According to a survey by Hargreaves Lansdown, respondents said that they would need at least 4-5% more interest before they consider fixing. It is incredibly difficult to predict when savings rates have peaked, and when they have, banking customers will already be too late. Coles suggests that instead of waiting, people should consider an amount they would be happy with fixing.
“It’s worth considering moving into a competitive easy access account – where you can currently earn up to 2.5% – until you’re ready to fix.”
Fraud will always be the number one problem in the financial services industry. With fintech and the growing sophistication of cybercrime, partnerships once again show their strengths. Mastercard and machine learning fraud platform, Ravelin, have partnered to deliver a fraud solution for merchants to help them with verifying identities in real-time. Using their Ekata and Ecotha features for verification and fraud insights, Ravelin aims to validate consumer identities without friction.
“We all want secure and seamless experiences,” said Chris Reid, executive vice president of Identity Solutions at Mastercard. “Ravelin shares our longstanding commitment to building and reinforcing trust in the digital economy. By bringing our capabilities together, we can help quick commerce merchants better assess fraud before payment is authorised, improving the checkout experience.”
UK financial software provider Bright has announced its acquisition of tax software firm BTCSoftware Ltd. This move is part of a long-term strategy on Bright’s part to offer an integrated and end-to-end cloud accounting software solution to accounting firms and SMEs. BTCSoftware’s range of services, including its BTCHub solutions, allows accountants to comply with Making Tax Digital (MTD) VAT software rules, all integrated with HMRC and Companies House.
Investing in potential
Crowdfunding is becoming more and more popular, with smart money app Plum planning to launch their third this year. Fintech has a slew of big VCs providing investment and financing, those which include Global Brain, VentureFriends, and Silicon Valley Bank UK, which has recently given Plum £5 million in debt financing. These avenues of funding will be used to help Plum further its European expansion goals and evolve its existing app.
“Many people are struggling with the cost of living, and need help to build their financial resilience,” said Victor Trokoudes, CEO and co-founder of Plum. “Our app is designed to address this, having already made money management easier for over 1.4 million people. So we want to now push further with even stronger features, winning in the European market with our standout proposition”.
The investment management group, The Carlton James Group has announced its flagship fund has completed an equity investment in AI software company AiDock. The startup provides financial institutions with a virtual artificial intelligence workforce that helps automate and streamline backend processes like administration and logistics.
On the investment, Eddie Galantzan, the CEO and Co-Founder of AiDock said: “AiDock’s mission is to empower people and businesses. Our first focus has been on rewriting the global customs operations playbook, utilising machine learning and AI to modernise, automate and rewire the logistics & supply chain industries. We are very proud to team up with the Carlton James Group, investor partners who not only share our vision of symbiosis between humans and machines with conviction but already see it as a reality. We’re thrilled to start working together to make this happen at scale.”
That concludes your weekly Fintech Fix! Stay tuned for another round of big fintech buzz, right here at FF News.
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