Fintechs Merge and Rebrand in Vietnam; Tinkoff Launches New Voice Assistant Oleg

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Cross-border digital payments company PPRO acquires Latin American payments provider allpago.
  • Executives from financial cooperatives in Latin America meet with Denver, Colorado-area credit union leaders as part of immersion program sponsored by the World Council of Credit Unions’ Pasantia Tecnica.
  • Brazilian government and bank and insurance regulators agree to establish a regulatory sandbox to support fintech and insurtech development.

Asia-Pacific

  • Vietnam-based payments firms Vimo Technology and Vietnam MPOS Technology merge to become NextPay.
  • Learn more about Vietnam’s fintech ecosystem in this Fintech Startup Vietnam Map.
  • Indonesian fintech provider Achiko announces plans for direct listing on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • African Development Bank launches £100 million fintech fund focused on growing financial inclusion.
  • Ventureburn takes a look at the Nigerian fintech startup scene.
  • African payment service provider (PSP), DPO Group, introduces Africa’s first B2B prepaid, virtual and physical payment card: the DumaCard.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • “Hi Oleg!” Russia’s Tinkoff launches new voice assistant for its banking app.
  • Fintech Futures features Poland’s Braintri in a discussion of how fintechs are leveraging real-time data to help banks improve the customer experience.
  • Are regulations in Hungary an obstacle to fintech innovation? BNE Intellinews considers the case of Hungarian payments company Barion.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • S&P Global Ratings gives Gulf Cooperation Council countries the edge over their neighbors in the Middle East and Africa when it comes to the fintech adoption rates.
  • PayU acquires Turkish fintech Iyzico for $165 million.
  • Citi launches its MENA 2019 Challenge.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Indian challenger bank, Payzello, goes live.
  • Tez, a digital, non-bank microfinance startup based in Pakistan, took home $100,000 in prize money after winning the FinTech Challenge at the inaugural Visa Everywhere Initiative for Women.
  • Inc42 looks at the how India’s current fintech boom is contributing to financial inclusion.

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Finovate Global: Braintri Wins App Prize; Featurespace in Singapore

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Austrian division of private banking and asset management group, LGT, partners with Avaloq.
  • Bank of Lithuania announces updates to its position on virtual assets and ICOs.
  • IKO, the mobile app co-developed by Braintri for PKO Bank Polski, wins first place in worldwide ranking of mobile apps published by British Retail Banker International for second consecutive year.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Finastra brings its core banking technology to Saudi Arabia.
  • Cryptocurrency brokerage based in Kuwait, YallaBit, raises $925,000 in Series A.
  • Arabian Gazette highlights Bahrain’s Manama, Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh, as well as both Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE in its look at Four Arabian Gulf Cities Where Fintech is Thriving.

Central and South Asia

  • Temenos acquires Bangalore-based big data and analytics firm, hTrunk.
  • National Bank of Pakistan introduces its first contactless debit card.
  • Anirban Mukherjee appointed CEO of PayU India.
  • QR code-based payment app BharatPe raises $17 million in round led by Sequoia Capital India.
  • Pan Asia Bank and TerraPay partner to provide instant cross-border payment access to bank accounts in Sri Lanka.
  • Halyk Bank teams up with Fiserv to centralize its cash management process.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Digital challenger bank C6 goes live in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  • Mexico looks at the possibility of forming a digital payments system, run by the central bank, to help make financial services more accessible for the underbanked.
  • PYMNTS.com features Argentine digital challenger bank, Wilobank.

Asia-Pacific

  • Ping An’s fintech subsidiary OneConnect sets up shop in Indonesia.
  • Hong Kong Exchange acquires minority stake in Shenzhen-based fintech.
  • Featurespace goes live in Singapore.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South African digital lender Payabill announces equity stake investment from Johannesburg-based business challenger bank, Sasfin.
  • Kenyan Capital Markets Authority Chief Executive Paul Muthaura speaks about the need for a “conducive environment” for fintech innovation in the country.
  • Nigerian Lagos state government to launch e-procurement platform within the next three weeks.

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Finovate Alumi News

On Finovate.com

  • ID.me Teams Up with VA to Bring Identity Proofing Options to Vets.
  • OmniSci Reports Wide-Ranging Growth in Wake of Rebrand.

Around the web

  • Sberbank customers can now make instant transfers between Sberbank cards and WebMoney wallets courtesy of new partnership.
  • Mobile gifting platform Swych announces it will accept payment in cryptocurrency.
  • Ellie Mae introduces the early adopters of its Integrated Partner Program.
  • Lending Club and U.K. data vendor Brismo team up to provide standardized performance metrics for lending.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate

  • UK-based GBG Acquires IDology in $300 Million All-Cash Deal.
  • NetGuardians Teams Up with Swiss Wealthtech Pictet to Fight Fraud.
  • Finastra Brings its Core Banking Technology to Saudi Arabia.

Around the web

  • BBVA unveils first blockchain-supported structured green bond.
  • Strands introduces Engager 2.0, the newest edition of its AI and machine learning powered financial insights generator.
  • Avaloq’s banking suite goes live with the Austrian division of international private banking and asset management group, LGT.
  • IKO, the mobile app co-developed by Braintri for PKO Bank Polski, wins first place in worldwide ranking of mobile apps published by British Retail Banker International for second consecutive year.
  • Baker Hill earns nomination for The Best Tech in Indiana in TechPoint’s 20th annual Mira Awards.
  • CardFlight’s SwipeSimple now enables more than 50,000 merchants across all 50 states of the U.S.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Braintri Drives Insurtech Innovation in Europe

Braintri announced this week that its insurance subscription platform, hiPRO Connector, is going live as part of a new agreement with Benefia, a division of Vienna Insurance Group. The launch follows a successful deployment of the platform with Allianz, and builds on the Polish company’s recent partnerships with PKO Bank Polski and fellow Finovate alum, mBank.

The platform, developed in collaboration with Polish fintech hiPRO, enables customers to pay for their car insurance in monthly installments – a relatively new option in the industry. Customers provide information such as earnings, employment type, and number of dependents. The Connector randomly selects a participating bank which then reviews the customer’s credit in real-time.

The loans are financed by a bank, rather than the insurer – in this instance, Estonia’s Inbank and Poland’s Alior Bank. Braintri CEO Wojciech Zatorski pointed out that this means insurers are exposed to less risk, and gives banks the ability to sell micro loans. The platform launch will take place over several Benefia sales channels, including mobile.

Braintri’s announcement comes after a year of significant achievements, including the company’s merger with Finovate alum, iCompass, announced in November. Earlier in the year, the company was recognized for its contribution to PKO BP’s IKO mobile app.

“We entered 2019 with the feeling we achieved most of our goals,” Zatorski said in a statement. “Winning over new big brands proves that our efforts in providing the current customers with world-class IT services are noticed and appreciated.” With a nod toward the company’s yet-to-be completed merger, as well as planned expansion internationally, Zatorski added, “This will surely be the busiest year in Braintri’s six-year history.”

Braintri demonstrated its Jiffee payments solution at FinovateFall 2017, earning Best of Show honors. Based in Warsaw, Poland, and founded in 2013, the company returned to the Finovate stage in 2018 to demo its technology as part of FinovateEurope.


Interested in learning more about the latest fintech innovations from Europe? Join us for FinovateEurope 2019, February 12 through the 14, at London’s Tobacco Dock.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Braintri Drives Insurtech Innovation in Europe.
  • Plaid Acquires Quovo in $200 Million Deal.

Around the web

  • Salt Edge joins Temenos Marketplace as the community’s first data aggregator.
  • BBVA leads $12 million Series A round for payments startup Grabango.
  • Cardlytics CEO Scott Grimes appointed board chair of FinTech Atlanta.
  • FICO awarded five new patents for fraud, AI, and advanced analytics technologies.
  • PYMNTS.com interviews Ondot CEO Bharghavan Vaduvur.
  • Akamai Technologies reveals plans to acquire customer identity access management firm, Janrain.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Asia-Pacific

  • Singapore-based InstaReM announces new multi-currency feature to make overseas payments easier for SMEs.
  • Myanmar’s biggest privately-owned bank, Kanbawza (KBZ) Bank picks Finastra’s treasury management solution, Fusion Treasury.
  • Government ministries in South Korea partner for joint blockchain project to improve marine logistics and shipping.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Mastercard Foundation Fund for Rural Prosperity (FRP) invests $2.9 million three companies from Burundi, Malawi, and Uganda to support financial inclusion.
  • Nigerian Stock Exchange extends partnership with Nasdaq to continue using its matching engine technology.
  • Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority releases its “FinTech Sandbox Guidance Note” with an initial focus on robo advisors and blockchain technology.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Intelligent CIO looks at the merger of Polish fintechs, Braintri and iCompass.
  • Mastercard partners with Polish Payment Standard to provide contactless payments.
  • New report from Deloitte and ID Finance analyzes the growth of Russia’s private fintech sector.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Iraq’s Hammurabi Commercial Bank to deploy ICS Banks Universal Banking Software Suite.
  • Ripple and UAE Exchange team up to launch blockchain-powered cross-border remittance payment services in Asia in early 2019.
  • Egypt’s Commercial International Bank introduces nation’s first fintech-focused venture capital fund.
  • Clinc Brings Conversational AI to Turkey’s Isbank.

Central and South Asia

  • Obopay teams up with Federal Bank and Mastercard to offer new pre-payment card in India.
  • Indian digital payments firm ePayLater teams up with Cashfree to bring its credit-based payment option to merchants.
  • YourStory features Pune-based fintech startup, Phi Commerce.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazilian lender Creditoo announces $1.2 million in new funding.
  • IDB, Finnovista report notes that four out of ten Peruvian fintechs has a female founder.
  • Costa Rica unveils new virtual currency, Ecolones, to encourage recycling.

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Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Citi Forges Strategic Partnership with Feedzai.

Around the web

  • Clinc Brings Conversational AI to Turkey’s Isbank.
  • FinTech Futures sits down with TransferWise’s Stuart Gregory to talk about the power of partnerships.
  • Intelligent CIO looks at the merger of Polish fintechs, Braintri and iCompass.
  • Experian launches Experian Boost, an online platform that enables consumers to instantly improve their credit scores by providing additional financial information.
  • Envestnet president Bill Crager is featured in Financial Planning’s 19 People Who Will Change Wealth Management in 2019.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Central and South Asia

  • Visa takes minority stake in Indian payment gateway BillDesk.
  • Swift India partners with MonetaGo to pilot blockchain-based banking.
  • India FinTech Forum (IFF) announced the 20 companies recognized at its India FinTech Awards (IFTA), including Finovate alums Hydrogen, iProov, Ocrolus, and James Finance.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Elevar Equity leads $5.25 million investment round for Uruguayan fintech, Bankingly.
  • Banco Original, a Sao Paulo, Brazil-based FI, to deploy FICO Origination Manager and FICO Application Fraud Manager.
  • First Data launches Clover Mini and Clover Flex in Argentina.

Asia-Pacific

  • Finastra gives Singapore banks top marks in its inaugural Open Banking Readiness Index.
  • FinLab accelerator introduces its smart business transformation program for Thailand small businesses.
  • SmartPesa brings its softPOS contactless card acceptance via NFC phone running Android – to Singapore and South East Asia.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South African financial services company, Discovery, to launch “behavioral bank.”
  • Nigeria’s central bank proposes fintech licensing regime to help manage cyber risk, capital adequacy, and operational oversight issues.
  • A “hands-off” attitude toward regulation is credited for helping boost Uganda’s emergent fintech sector.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Poland’s Braintri merges with iCompass.
  • The Polish Financial Supervision Authority names the Heart as one of operators for its regulatory sandbox for companies developing fintech solutions.
  • Ingenico Group teams up with Russia’s Sberbank to enable MOIR card payments for online purchases.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Study from Mena Research Partners calls for major gains in fintech funding in the MENA region over the next ten years.
  • Egypt Innovate features ten Egyptian startups “following the world’s fintech trend.”
  • The Tehran Times looks at the “challenges and opportunities” of fintech innovation in Iran.

Top image designed by Freepik

Poland’s Braintri Merges with iCompass

A pair of Polish fintechs – Braintri and iCompass – have announced a merger plan that will enable both firms to grow their businesses and expand internationally. Braintri COO Wojciech Zatorski highlighted the opportunity for growth, and pointed specifically to the potential in markets in the EU, the Middle East, Asia, and the U.S. “The partnership is a step forward in Braintri’s strategy to enter global markets,” he said.

Both companies will operate under their existing brands until the merger is completed, after which there will be a rebranding.

Providing mobile banking apps for some of the largest banks in Poland, Braintri has partnered with FTSE large cap banking giant PKO BP, as well as fellow Finovate alum, mBank. The company also worked to help establish Poland’s non-card payment standard, BLIK, currently used by 94% of the country’s population. Braintri is also the developer of Jiffee, a token-based, Bluetooth-powered, mobile payment technology the company demonstrated at FinovateEurope earlier this year.

In a press release, Braintri said it will focus on three main product lines post-merger: mobile applications, big data solutions, and payments. The company also pledged to “further develop its insurtech competence.”

Braintri’s partner, iCompass, is a software provider for major European banks and global payment companies like Mastercard Payment Transaction Services. The firm is a technology provider for Poland’s first mPOS platform, and developed the universal payment gateway, Octopus Payment Hub.

Founded in 2013, Braintri demonstrated its Jiffee payments solution at FinovateFall 2017, winning Best of Show. Headquartered in Warsaw, Poland, the company was awarded the Polish Innovation Award 2018 for both Jiffee and its core banking systems offloading engine, Biffee.