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Tracking fintech, banking & financial services innovations since 1994
Global payments platform Currencycloud is the latest fintech to catch the eye of Visa, which announced this week that it has agreed to acquire the London-based fintech in a deal that values the company at $963 million (GBP 700 million). The acquisition announcement noted that the pact builds on a partnership that extends back to 2019 and bolsters Visa’s foreign exchange capabilities, enabling them to better serve FIs, fintechs, and other partners, as well as help them explore new use cases and payment flows.
“At Currencycloud, we’ve always strived to deliver a better tomorrow for all, from the smallest start-up to the global multi-nationals,” Currencycloud CEO Mike Laven said. “Re-imagining how money flows around the global economy just got more exciting as we join Visa.” Laven added that bringing Currencycloud’s expertise in fintech to Visa’s network will “enable us to deliver greater customer value to the businesses moving money across borders.”
Currencycloud will continue to operate out of its London, U.K. headquarters and its current management team will remain intact.
The acquisition news comes just a few weeks after the Currencycloud announced a partnership with Global Processing Services (GPS) to expand access to cross-border payments. The collaboration will give fintechs the ability to enhance their current product offerings with products like multi-currency digital wallets and services like point-of-sale foreign exchange.
“For Fintechs, building a multi-currency solution requires a huge effort across multiple functional and regulatory domains,” Currencycloud co-founder and VP of Partnerships & Enterprise Stephen Lemon explained when the collaboration was announced in June. “By working with Currencycloud and GPS, fintechs can reduce the complexity involved and get to market much more quickly for a fraction of the cost of self-building, while vastly reducing ongoing operational risk and overhead.”
A Finovate alum for more than six years, Currencycloud most recently demonstrated its technology on the Finovate stage in 2018, where the company presented its Global Collections product. Since then, Currencycloud has grown into a platform whose APIs have enabled processing of more than $100 billion in transactions for companies ranging from neobanks to financial services corporations. Currencycloud currently supports nearly 500 bank and fintech customers, reaching more than 180 countries.
In a round led by Prosus Ventures and Tencent, Amsterdam-based fintech BUX has secured $80 million in funding that will fuel both international expansion and new product development. The investment also featured a change in the leadership ranks at the company, with founder Nick Bortot handing over the CEO reins to COO Yorick Naeff.
“With this new funding round, BUX will continue to spearhead innovation by implementing advanced features to further shape the future of how Europeans invest,” Naeff said. We are extremely grateful to have top tier investors like Prosus Ventures and Tencent onboard to support us in our mission.”
With half a million customers in the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, France, and Germany, BUX enables investors to buy and sell shares and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), without having to pay commissions. Dubbed the “Robinhood of Europe”, BUX is a response to what Naeff said is a growing awareness of the importance of investing by younger Europeans. Naeff underscored financial uncertainty as a major concern among the younger generation and credited them for realizing that investing is “one of the few viable ways left” to manage that uncertainty. The self-directed nature of investing on BUX’s platform – for shares and ETFs, as well as cryptocurrencies on its BUX Crypto app, and CFDs on its BUX X solution – is another appealing aspect, Naeff said.
“Traditional financial market investing comes with a lot of friction and we firmly believe in the democratization of access to financial services for the next generation of investors,” Head of Europe Investments for Prosus Ventures Sandeep Bakshi said. “The existing solutions are expensive, complex and not designed for younger generations.” Alex Leung, Assistant GM at Tencent, Strategic Development, noted that Bux’s business model does not depend on some of the revenue-raising strategies that have been criticized at rivals like Robinhood. “BUX is the only neo-broker in Europe that offers zero commission investing without being dependent on kickbacks or payments for order flow,” Leung said. “This ensures that its interests are fully aligned with its customers.”
No valuation information was provided as part of the funding announcement. The company noted that its signature BUX Zero solution “has more than doubled its assets under management” in the past three months.
Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.
Central and Southern Asia
Revolutappointed Paroma Chatterjee as its new CEO for India.
The one-day gain for nCino, which trades under the ticker “NCNO,” was the biggest for a U.S. tech company IPO since the dot.com days. The “exponentially oversubscribed” offering was priced at $31 on Monday, above two previous, lower price ranges, and nCino sold just over eight million shares to raise $250 million. The pricing gave the company a diluted market capitalization of $3 billion.
MaxMyInterest Integrates with Morningstar – A new partnership between cash management solution provider MaxMyInterest and Morningstar will give financial advisors a broader range of options when it comes to delivering higher yields for their clients’ cash. Head of Morningstar ByAllAccounts David Johnson said the integration would help “solve the problem of zero-interest rates on cash or cash-like balances for investors.”
The initial integration between MaxMyInterest and Morningstar ByAllAcounts data aggregation service will feature the ability to deliver client balance data into 40 platforms used by financial advisors for client reporting. Morningstar ByAllAccounts leverages AI technology to collect, consolidate, and enhance financial data and, regardless of platform, deliver that information to clients for a unified view of their investment holdings.
Currencycloud Readies for EU Expansion – Currencycloud has been one of our busier alums in recent weeks. The company partnered with fellow alums Ripple and Mambu in June, accessing the former’s RippleNet to better serve SMEs in underserved regions, and teaming up with the latter in an integration that will enable financial services companies to deploy virtual accounts, payments and FX services faster.
This week we learn that the U.K.-based, B2B cross-border technology company has formed a new partnership – this time with Canadian payments and FX platform Shift Connect. The company is seeking Currencycloud’s help as it expands into the U.S., Europe, and the U.K.
Currencycloud also reported this week that it has been granted an e-money license from the Dutch Central Bank. The license, only one of seven the central bank issues to non-banks, will enable the company to store money, operate e-wallets, process payments, and collections. Currencycloud will also be able to “passport” its e-money license to other countries in the E.U., ensuring its ability to continue its expansion throughout Europe. This will remain the case for the company – headquartered in London – after the Brexit transition period is over, according to Currencycloud CEO Mike Laven.
“The Netherlands possess the perfect blend of factors to support our expansion in the E.U.,” Laven said. “It has a strong fintech sector, access to top talent and a safe regulatory environment, which allows us to keep driving forward our services and product.”
Here is the latest news from our Finovate alums.
Sezzleannounces $60 million fundraising on Australian Stock Exchange, consisting of an institutional placement and a non-underwritten share purchase plan.
Backbaseexpands in the Asia-Pacific, opening offices in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.
D1 Capital Partners invests $200 million for a 4% stake in TransferWise, sending the company’s valuation to $5 billion.
United Federal Credit Union to deploy core banking technology from Fiserv.
iProovteams up with IDV Pacific to support identity verification in Australia and New Zealand.
Nordigenfeatured in Silicon Canals’ look at top tech startups from Latvia.
NYMBUSteams up with Payrailz to enable financial institutions to access enhanced digital payment solutions.
Marqeta to power new digital wallet from Swiss fintech YAPEAL.
U.S. Secret Service to use blockchain analytics technology from Coinbase.
B2B cross-border solutions provider Currencycloud is teaming up with Canadian transaction processor Carta Worldwide to bring transparency, accuracy, and cost-competitiveness to international transactions.
“This is an exciting partnership and the first of its kind, combining our respective skills sets to drive innovation and give customers further transparency on their international card payments,” Currencycloud co-founder and Head of Strategic Partnerships Steve Lemon said. He noted that the partnership would put customers “at the center of the offer” and enable issuers to offer real-time foreign exchange rates at the point of sale to fintechs and challenger banks.
The two companies said in a statement that they are presently in the development phase of the collaboration. Their first joint offering is expected in the second half of 2020.
“We are very excited about this partnership,” Carta Worldwide Managing Director EMEA Richard Wray added. “Carta’s innovative processing capabilities collaborating with one of the most reputable platforms in the industry will enable us to deliver some real change to customers across the world.”
Named one of Canada’s top fintechs by the Digital Finance Institute, Carta Worldwide specializes in processing mobile and prepaid transactions. Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Ontario, Canada, and London, U.K., the company includes Vodafone, Westpac NZ, and Novum Bank among its customers.
Offering 85 APIs across four modules – Collect, Convert, Pay, and Manage – that support the full, B2B cross border payments workflow, Currencycloud provides enterprise-grade payments solutions to partners such as Visa and Starling Bank. Headquartered in London and founded in 2012, Currencycloud is regulated in the U.K., the E.U., the U.S., and Canada. The company began the year with an $80 million Series E fundraising round that featured participation of new backers such as Siam Commercial Bank, SBI Group, and Visa – whose SVP and Treasurer Colleen Ostrowski joined Currencycloud’s board of directors.
More recently, Currencycloud announced a partnership with Derivative Path to enable community and regional banks to offer more FX and interest rate derivative trading options to customers. The company has been a Finovate alum since 2012, and demonstrated its Global Collections solution at our west coast conference in 2018.
Derivative Path will embed Currencycloud’s FX technology into its DerivativeEDGE platform, an end-to-end solution for interest rate derivative, FX, and hedge accounting. Together the offering will provide banks with a solution that enables counterparty/order management, electronic spot FX with integrated Request for Quote execution, third party international payments and receipts, and derivatives valuation, as well as compliance reporting.
Derivative Path co-founder and co-CEO Pradeep Bhatia said, “This joint effort will help us leverage our technology capabilities, global infrastructure, and subject matter expertise, to offer banks a platform to manage their FX and payments, a growing need in an underserved space.”
Based in the San Francisco Bay area, Derivative Path partners with financial institutions, buy-side, and commercial end-users to provide over-the-counter, interest rate derivative and FX trading execution and management solutions. Founded in 2013, the company has more than 100 clients and has facilitated thousands of trades with its interest rate, FX, and hedge accounting technology.
Long-time Finovate alum Currencycloud offers 85 APIs over four modules – collect, convert, manage, and pay – that represent the complete B2B cross-border payment workflow. The company has processed $50+ billion to more than 180 countries around the world.
Most recently demonstrating its technology at FinovateSpring 2018, Currencycloud has raised more than $160 million in funding. The company picked up nearly half that sum in a Series E round at the beginning of the year. In February, Currencycloud announced a partnership with U.K. travel money card, Currensea. Mike Laven is CEO.
Two of the biggest themes in fintech – digital identity and the rise of fintech in Central and Eastern Europe – meet in the latest announcement from biometric authentication specialist and Finovate Best of Show winner iProov. The company’s facial recognition technology now makes it easier for users of SK ID Solutions’ Smart-ID Service in countries like Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to renew their accounts without having to visit a physical bank branch.
“This is a major development for all digital identity providers,” iProov CEO Andrew Bud said. “Estonia has proved, for the first time, that a remote, automated, biometric ID verification service can deliver the highest possible levels of security.”
Recognized as equal to a handwritten signature throughout Europe, Smart-IDs enable users to authenticate themselves and provide permissions online using a smartphone app. iProov’s facial recognition technology adds a three-second scan to compare the image of the user to the image on their presented ID document to help defend against fraud and identity theft.
Smart-ID also leverages NFC-based ReadID document verification technology from InnoValor.
Financial crime risk management innovator Featurespace will be helping Enfuce combat fraud and money laundering courtesy of a newly announced partnership. Enfuce, a financial services firm based in Finland, will use Featurespace’s ARIC Risk Hub to enhance its ability to protect its customers from fraud and financial crime.
“Our clients deserve industry-leading services that allow them to freely and fully concentrate on the success of their core business, without worrying about ever-evolving fraud,” Enfuce co-founder and chair Monika Liikamaa said.
ARIC Risk Hub offers real-time transaction monitoring for fraud and financial crime, enabling institutions to identify and act against anomalous and potentially dangerous behavior as it occurs. The technology also reduces the number of false positives by as much as 70%, keeping anti-fraud processes efficient. Featurespace introduced its fraud-fighting technology to Finovate audiences at FinovateEurope 2016.
Here is a round up of recent news from our Finovate alumni.
Sezzleunveils new logo along with its first annual report.
Flybitsexpands its executive team in New York, Toronto, the U.K., and Dubai.
Yseop and Automation Anywhere join forces to scale intelligent automation.
Lighter Capitalappoints Kevin Fink at CTO and Patricia Elliott as CSO.
InCommlaunches Roblox gift cards in France and Germany.
Finovate Alum Features and Profiles
Revolut’s $500 Million Round Boosts Valuation to $5.5 Billion – Global financial platform Revolut has secured its place as the U.K.’s most valuable fintech.
Dealing with Deepfakes in Fintech – The fintech industry is ripe with security firms, such as iProov, that use AI to combat both video and audio deepfakes with anti-spoofing technologies.
Envestnet | Yodlee Acquires Indian Data Aggregator FinBit.io – Envestnet | Yodlee has acquired another asset in its strategy to further grow and develop its data aggregation and analytics business.
Meet Sonect: Cash Network Builder, Finovate Newcomer, Best of Show Winner – What’s better than having a large pizza with all your favorite toppings delivered to your front door? How about a side order of cash, saving you a trip to the ATM or bank branch?
Azimo Taps Ripple for Cross-Border Payments to the Philippines – Fueling these payment transfers is Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) solution that uses XRP to source liquidity and complete money transfers within three seconds.
Lendio Lands $55 Million to Match Small Businesses with Lenders – The investment more than doubles the company’s previous funding, bringing its total to $108.5 million.
SheerID Expands Identity Marketing Platform – The move enables brands to identify and acquire new customers across the globe.
Visa, the International Finance Corporation, BNP Paribas, SBI Group, and Siam Commercial Bank participated in the Series E. Existing investors Sapphire Ventures, Notion Capital, GV, Accomplice, and Anthemis were also involved in the round.
“Currencycloud is re-imagining how money flows around the global economy and embedding it into (the) platforms of the future,” company CEO Mike Laven said. “Transfer of value is fast becoming the newest layer in the modern technology stack, and Currencycloud is positioned to provide the infrastructure to make this happen.” He added that the funding makes Currencycloud “the go-to provider for the next wave of fintech innovation.”
This week’s investment takes Currencycloud’s total capital to more than $140 million. In its statement, the company said that it plans to use the new funds to grow its portfolio of payment methods and further develop its partner ecosystem.”
A global payments platform, Currencycloud offers 85 different APIs across four modules – collect, convert, manage, and pay – that support the entire B2B cross-border payments workflow. The London-based company, founded in 2012, demonstrated its Global Collections offering at FinovateSpring in 2018. Global Collections makes it easier for firms to collect payments from overseas customers by setting up local, virtual bank accounts in their names. This helps keep payment costs low and ensures that payments arrive promptly and in-full with as little, cross-border hassle as possible.
Earlier this month, Currencycloud announced a partnership with TransferGo that will help it launch in 14 new markets in the first quarter of this year. Named to the 2020 Fintech Power 50 in December, Currencycloud previewed its multi-currency accounts solution, Currencycloud Spark, last fall. The technology enables firms to offer their business customers multi-currency accounts that allow them to collect, store, convert, and make payments in 35+ currencies.
Currencycloud has processed more than $50 billion in cross-border payments processed since its inception. The company includes fellow Finovate alums Revolut, Klarna, and Dwolla among its partners.
It is hard to imagine having a better start to your week than Plaid had seven days ago when the innovative fintech (and Finovate alum) announced that it had agreed to be acquired by Visa for $5.3 billion.
But the €90 million ($100 million) raised by Swedish open banking platform Tink on Monday is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, the funding, which is the company’s largest to date, is a reminder that investment interest in (and funding for) companies dedicated to developing the infrastructure that connects consumers, banks, and the financial technologies is very much in abundance.
“Our aim is to become the preferred pan-European provider of digital banking services and to offer the technology needed for banks, fintechs, and startups to leverage the opportunities of open banking and enable them to successfully develop financial services in the future,” Tink co-founder and CEO Daniel Kjellén said in a statement.
The London-based money transfer firm, founded in 2012, promoted its COO Richard Ambrose to CEO back in August, as Azimo founder Michael Kent took what TechCrunch referred to as a lateral move to become executive chairman. Today, Fintech Futures, Finovate’s sister publication, reports that the company has appointed Dora Ziambra to the post of Chief Operating Officer. Azimo also promoted its head of finance Tatiana Okhotina to the post of Chief Financial Officer.
“We’re fortunate to have the depth of talent to fill these top roles internally,” Ambrose said in a statement. “We’re lucky too that Azimo will continue to benefit from the experience and leadership of these two outstanding women.”
Here’s our weekly roundup of the latest news from our Finovate alumni:
Union Bank to leverage technology from FIS for core banking.
Italy-based CREDEM leveragingWorldline’s Payment and Liquidity Hub software CRISTAL to process Target2 payments
POS software Vend partners with Klarna to offer retailers more flexible payment options.
U.K. food retailer The Co-operative to deployACI Worldwide’s fraud management solution, ReD Shield.
A partnership between TransferGo and Currencycloud will enable the money transfer company to enter 14 new markets.
YellowDogforges reseller agreement with Annex Pro.
Bankable cozies up with Plaid to allow its bank customers to connect with their users’ bank accounts.
Ohpenappoints former Tesla marketing leader Corinne Aaron as new head of marketing.
Segmint to acquire WAND’s Product and Service Taxonomy division.
CuneXuscelebrates 2019 success with a 40% year-over-year increase in consumer reach.
Three Key Lessons We Learned from Plaid – Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Visa is acquiring Plaid for a deal that’s worth $5.3 billion. The fact that they were so widely used at such an early stage is a testament to the quality of their code, but there are also a few key lessons to take away from their success.
ITSCREDIT’s Joao Pinto on the Digital Lending Opportunity – ITSCREDIT is a spinoff from ITSECTOR and is a fairly new player in the digital lending space. In this interview, Pinto talks to us about the digital lending opportunity, how his company fits into the current state of this fintech subsector, and what we can expect to see next.
Kasasa Enhances its Take-Back Loan – Community bank marketing expert Kasasaannounced a partnership with Carleton today in which Kasasa will integrate Carleton’s insurance and debt protection calculations into its Kasasa Loan.
Plinqit Brings Rewards-Powered Financial Literacy to First Community Bank – One day in the distant future, children will be educated in basic financial literacy as readily as they are taught algebra. Until then, solutions like Plinqit from HT Mobile Apps will be valuable tools for credit unions and community banks looking for novel ways to engage and educate their members and customers.
Credit, Data, and Cryptocurrencies: Graychain Rebrands as Credmark – The company that is bringing credit data clarity to the cryptocurrency industry is entering 2020 with a new name.
Tradeshift Lands $240 Million as it Inches Toward Profitability – The San Francisco-based company will use the investment to boost expansion efforts and gear toward a “direct path to profitability in the near future.”
Backbase-as-a-Service Helps Banks Leverage the Cloud to Innovate and Scale – The solution makes the company’s broad portfolio of digital banking offerings available to FIs looking to accelerate their ability to develop and offer new technologies to customers.
Also on Finovate.com
Visa to Acquire Plaid in $5.3 Billion Deal – “Today marks an important milestone for our company and for fintech,” company co-founder and CEO Zach Perret wrote on the Plaid blog earlier today. “What started with two founders building in a cramped conference room has become an incredible network that enables millions of consumers to interact with over 2,500 digital finance products.”
Not Another 2020 Trends Prediction Post (Seriously, It’s Not!) – We’re taking a look at the trends you can expect to see on stage next month at FinovateEurope. To keep things simple this year, we assessed the themes at a very high level and broke them down into three categories: the big, the little, and the trends in-between.
Singapore’s Digital Banking License Space Race Accelerates – Is there anyone out there who is NOT trying to secure a digital banking license in Singapore? The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced last week that has received 21 applications for digital bank licenses.
MogoSpend Offers Credit, Cashback, and Help Reducing Your Carbon Footprint – The new digital spending account from Canadian fintech Mogo does more than help Canadians get control of their finances. The solution also offers cardholders generous cashback rewards and a way to make a positive impact on the environment by reducing their carbon footprint.
Getsafe Expands its Insurtech to the U.K. – If your insurance company is offering you drone insurance, you know it’s not your grandmother’s insurance agency. Germany-based insurtech Getsafe does just that– and the company announced today it is expanding its home contents insurance offering (though, sadly, not its drone insurance offering) to users in the U.K.
Raisin’s New Acquisition Gives Company Access to the U.S. Market – European deposit marketplace Raisin announced today it acquired New York-based Choice Financial Solutions.
French Fintech Lydia Locks in $45 Million – TechCrunch reported this morning that French mobile payment app Lydia has raised $45 million (€40 million) in a round led by Tencent.
Visa’s Tap to Phone Brings Contactless Payments to mPOS – With Visa’sTap to Phone app arriving pre-installed on the new, enterprise grade smartphone from Samsung, a broad range of merchants will have access to yet another way to accept payments from customers.
INTL FCStone Acquires International Bank Transfer Firm – Headquartered in Germany, GIROXX offers international bank transfers and currency hedging. INTL FCStone plans to leverage this technology to expand its current client base to small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The newly-released Fintech Power 50 for 2020 features ten Finovate alums. The roster is produced every December and bills itself as “meant to be controversial and provoke debate” while at the same time providing “inspiration to the rest of the industry.”
“Throughout its first year the Fintech Power 50 has seen consistent success for our members and we are very proud of the opportunities that being a member of the Power 50 has offered the companies involved,” Fintech Power 50 Managing Director and co-founder Jason Williams said. “We look forward to continuing the traction we have made this year with the 2020 cohort, with a more ambitious and exciting programme.”
The Fintech Power 50 aims to help fintechs reach a broader audience around the world. Over the course of 2020, the program will offer media partnerships and networking, business development and branding support, and investment and talent acquisition. This year marks the third edition of the program; coincidentally, the 2019 Power 50 featured ten Finovate alums, as well.
“We’re incredibly excited at this announcement, which is clear recognition of Keepabl’s value to customers, and to trusted advisers alike, and our potential to keep disrupting compliance-as-a-service,” wrote Keepabl CEO Robert Baugh in an email.
CREALOGIX CEO David Joyce added that he was “looking forward to exchanging ideas with the renowned digital leaders in this unique group.” He praised the way the roster reflected “the breadth, diversity, and creativity of the global fintech scene.”
The Fintech Power 50 2020 also features ten fintech thought leaders whose names will be familiar to Finovate veterans. Nine of the ten – David Birch, Ghela Boskovich, Theo Lau, Brett King, Jim Marous, Devie Mohan, David Parker, and Ruth Wandhofer – have made major contributions to our Finovate conferences since we expanded our format in 2017. We’ll have to get Mr. Lawrence Wintermeyer, co-founder of Global Digital Finance and the tenth thought leader on this year’s Fintech Power 50, to a Finovate stage sooner than later!
International payments innovator Currencycloudrevealed a new solution this week that will help banks and fintechs go global. The new tool, Currencycloud Spark, will enable financial services companies to offer multi-currency accounts to their business customers. Using the multi-currency accounts, businesses can collect, store, convert, and pay in more than 35 currencies. Currencycloud will offer competitive foreign exchange rates and complete visibility of the entire payments process.
In a blog post, Currencycloud CEO Mike Laven explained the impetus behind the new launch. “Financial institutions have long struggled to help business customers compete on a global scale, relying on a patchwork of banking providers to carry out international transactions, as there was no credible alternative,” he said. “Currencycloud Spark levels the playing field and allows any financial institution to compete in an increasingly inter-connected world.”
Currencycloud Spark is in beta with select customers and will be generally available in the first half of 2020.
The new offering competes with Transferwise, which launched its Borderless Accounts in early 2018. And while it technically does not offer a multicurrency account, Revolut has a competitive offering that allows cardholders to spend in more than 150 currencies at the interbank exchange rate and make exchanges in more than 30 fiat currencies. Less well-known in this space is Spain-based Neo, which launched in 2017 to serve small businesses.
At its most recent Finovate appearance, Currencycloud debutedGlobal Collections, a tool that issues clients with local accounts to speed up payments in the U.S. and Eurozone. The company, which offers an API integration and white label access, has four flagship products: Collect, Convert, Pay, and Manage which help companies manage their cash flow and monetize their foreign exchange offerings.