SumUp Scores $895 Million in Debt Financing to Speed Growth

SumUp Scores $895 Million in Debt Financing to Speed Growth

Courtesy of Goldman Sachs, Temasek, Bain Capital Credit, Crestline, and funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, international payments company SumUp has secured a $895 million (EUR 750 million) debt facility.

“As one of the fastest growing technology companies in the world, this cash injection – in addition to having the built-in option to expand the financing – will significantly accelerate the growth of our customer base, enhance SumUp’s technology leadership position, and drive the development of new services to support our merchants globally,” SumUp co-founder Marc-Alexander Christ said.

SumUp’s funding news comes at a time when the company is adding to its product portfolio in both Europe and the U.K. Much of this growth has come through acquisitions of POS software providers like London-based Goodtill, as well as Tiller, a digital service provider for gastronomy merchants. Separately, SumUp’s recent acquisition of Paysolut, a Lithuanian cure banking system provider will enable the company to fortify the banking services that it offers to its merchants.

SumUp supports more than three million merchants around the world. In addition to its expansion in Europe – going live in Romania to bring the total number of its European markets to 29 – the company has added to its interests in the Chilean market and launched operations in Columbia – the fourth largest economy in Latin America.

At the beginning of this year, SumUp announced that it was working with Shutterstock to give merchants the ability to add high-quality visual images to enhance their online storefronts.

“It’s important now more than ever that small businesses have the means to trade in the e-commerce space in order to take on larger competition,” SumUp European EVP Alex von Schirmeister said. “This partnership with Shutterstock will do just that, giving them more visibility to grow their customer bases.”

Founded in 2011, SumUp made its Finovate debut at FinovateEurope in 2013. Daniel Klein is CEO.

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upSWOT Secures $4.3 Million in Seed Funding

upSWOT Secures $4.3 Million in Seed Funding

upSWOT, a fintech that helps bring business intel to small business owners, has raised $4.3 million in seed funding. Among Finovate’s newest alums, upSWOT offers a data aggregation and business finance management platform that leverages cash flow predictions and business insights to enable banks, insurance companies, and other institutions to better serve their small business and mid-market customers.

“Managing a portfolio of SMB clients is a challenge for every bank, lender, and servicer,” upSWOT CEO Dmitry Norenko said. “Amidst a global pandemic, the financial industry must find new and innovative ways to support this vital customer segment. Our white-label solution helps leading national and community banks gain granular insights into their SMB customers launched within six weeks, and with minimal strain on internal IT or overlap with legacy systems.”

upSWOT’s funding round was led by Common Ocean, a venture capital firm that specializes in early-stage fintechs that are innovating in the financial wellness space. Also participating in the round were CFV Ventures, ICBA, First Southern National Bank, and SpeedUp Venture Group, as well as previous investors. upSWOT said that it would use the funding to grow its business in the U.S., add talent to support “a growing list of deployments with Tier 1 and Tier 2 financial institutions,” as well as continue to add features and functionality to its data aggregation and BFM platform.

upSWOT leverages APIs to aggregate data from more than 120 widely-used business solutions such as Quickbooks, Salesforce, Amazon, and Shopify and provide business owners with predictive analysis and actionable insights. Via partnerships with financial institutions, upSWOT’s goal is to help SMEs that have been left to “fend for themselves” by giving them “modern day tools” to help support cash flow management, debt funding, financial planning and accurate cash reporting.

Founded in 2019, upSWOT demonstrated its white-label platform at FinovateWest Digital last year. A graduate of the Berkeley SkyDeck accelerator, the company includes Raiffeisen Bank International, Privat Bank, D&B, and Mastercard among its customers.

Stripe Rakes in $600 Million in Funding, Boosting Valuation to $95 Billion

Stripe Rakes in $600 Million in Funding, Boosting Valuation to $95 Billion

Ecommerce technology company Stripe announced over the weekend that it recently raised $600 million in funding. The Series H round brings the company’s total funding to $2.2 billion and boosts its valuation to $95 billion.

Investors in this month’s funding round include Allianz X, Axa, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Sequoia Capital, and Ireland’s National Treasury Management Agency.

Stripe will use the funds to expand its Global Payments and Treasury Network and invest in its European operations to support increasing demand in the region. Specifically, the California-based company aims to boost its Dublin headquarters.

“We’re investing a ton more in Europe this year, particularly in Ireland,” said Stripe President and Cofounder, John Collison. “Whether in fintech, mobility, retail, or SaaS, the growth opportunity for the European digital economy is immense.”

Stripe has clients in 42 countries, 31 of which are in Europe. Among the company’s European clients are Deliveroo, Doctolib, Glofox, Klarna, ManoMano, N26, UiPath, and Vinted.

As Stripe pointed out in a blog post, only 14% of commerce happens online. That’s why, as the company’s CFO Dhivya Suryadevara notes, Stripe is “investing in the infrastructure that will power internet commerce in 2030 and beyond.” More specifically, the company is expanding its software and services and is making its technology available to millions more businesses in Brazil, India, Indonesia, Thailand, and the UAE.

“While Stripe already processes hundreds of billions of dollars per year for millions of businesses worldwide, the opportunity ahead is much larger for Stripe than it was when the company was started 10 years ago,” added Suryadevara.

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Taulia Makes $6 Billion Credit Facility Available to Clients

Taulia Makes $6 Billion Credit Facility Available to Clients

Supply chain financing expert Taulia is making a $6 billion credit facility available to its supplier clients this week. The funds were secured through a JPMorgan-led consortium that also includes UniCredit, UBS, and BBVA.

The news comes after Taulia partner Greensill Finance filed for insolvency earlier this week due to its largest client, GFG Alliance, defaulting on its debts. Taulia expects that the credit facility will help its clients that relied on Greensill Finance by offering them access to a different source of liquidity.

To be clear, the financing is not funding for Taulia itself; it is funding to help suppliers on its platform that are linked to Greensill Capital clients.

“Taulia’s priority, first and foremost, has been to enable businesses both large and small to unlock liquidity trapped in their supply chain in order to invest, operate and thrive,” said Taulia CEO Cedric Bru. “In the current environment, with the potential loss of a funder, our commitment to providing choice has become even more paramount.”

Today’s financing is the continuation of Taulia’s strategic partnership with JPMorgan that began in April of last year. Last July, the financier participated in Taulia’s $60 million financing round that boosted the San Francisco-based company’s total funding to $177 million.

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NTT Data Launches New Digital Banking Platform

NTT Data Launches New Digital Banking Platform

Consulting and IT services company NTT Data announced the launch of a new digital banking platform today. The new offering, Platea Banking, helps banks with digital transformation while maintaining their legacy technology.

Platea Banking helps retail banks take a platform-based approach to facilitate a customer-centric focus on the banking experience. The new platform offers banks access to NTT Data’s partner ecosystem and modules, including customer onboarding, lending, planning and financial management, card issuing and processing, payments, and others.

The open banking approach allows banks to select the features they need and move quickly through a platform-based approach that doesn’t tie them down to a single vendor.

“Technology plays a central role in helping banks innovate and deliver next-generation banking services to their customers,” said Global Head of NTT DATA’s Open Banking Practice Manuel Romero. “With consumers demanding digital banking experiences, it is imperative that banks act accordingly to respond [to] their needs. Platea Banking has been built to empower banks, providing them with a path to incorporate cloud-native technology to expand their business, as well as the ability to overcome obstacles such as scalability issues, legacy IT and compliance.”

Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, NTT Data offers a range of IT services and solutions, including consulting, systems integration, and IT outsourcing, for multiple sectors. A Finovate alum, the company most recently demoed at FinovateFall 2019. Yo Honma is CEO.

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Cheese Launches to Support Financial Wellness for Asian Americans

Cheese Launches to Support Financial Wellness for Asian Americans

The launch of Cheese, a digital banking platform dedicated to serving Asian American communities, is the latest instance of entrepreneurs seeking to translate a renewed sense of ethnic identity among many Americans into greater financial wellness, if not empowerment, for those in their communities.

“I have always envisioned launching a digital banking platform that someone like me could easily access but also serves a deeper purpose, with the power to positively impact Asian communities,” Cheese CEO Ken Lian said. “Cheese is that banking platform.”

Cheese includes and Amplify among its chief investors, having raised $3.6 million in seed funding from the two firms in a round that also featured participation from former Wealthfront CEO Adam Nash and Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff. As part of the company’s offering, Cheese accountholders get a debit card (issued by Coastal Community Bank), two-day early advance pay with direct deposit, a 3% deposit bonus for referrals, a 0.3% annual percentage yield, and as much as 10% cash back on purchases at more than 10,000 participating merchants.

And as part of its pledge to support Asian American communities, Cheese will donate $100,000 to nonprofit organizations and community service programs that support Asian neighborhoods and small businesses – especially those impacted by COVID-19. Communities in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City are among the first areas of focus.

The Asian American community is characterized by its diversity and its rapid growth; there are nearly 21 million Asian Americans in the United States. The relatively high income and education levels common in this community compared to other minority communities in the United States makes them an attractive opportunity for providers in financial services – from digital banking to wealth management.

At the same time, the rising number of incidents of violence against Asian Americans in 2021 are reminders that discrimination and racism against Asian Americans continues to be a challenge in a rapidly-diversifying country. In financial services, this issue often manifests itself most acutely with new Asian immigrants who may have language barriers or lack a credit history and struggle to even secure a bank account. Lian, who immigrated to the U.S. from China in 2008, knows this problem well.

“I had been declined multiple times for basic bank accounts,” Lian said, “even with an 800+ FICO score.”

Cheese is headquartered in Pasadena, California. The company was founded in 2019.

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Fintech Innovation Expert Jeremy Balkin Joins JP Morgan Chase

Fintech Innovation Expert Jeremy Balkin Joins JP Morgan Chase

Among the more popular members of our regular roster of Finovate speakers is Jeremy Balkin. An expert in retail bank management, fintech innovation, and strategic digital partnerships, Balkin spent six years as Head of Innovation with HSBC USA where he was part of the team that introduced humanoid robot Pepper to HSBC’s flagship Fifth Avenue branch.

So what’s new? Balkin announced today that he has joined JP Morgan Chase & Company as its new Head of Fintech and Innovation for Wholesale Payments. In his new capacity, Balkin will supervise fintech and innovation initiatives for wholesale payments, as well as help advise the company with regards to potential investments and partnerships with companies that can help JP Morgan become more effective in the space. JP Morgan’s wholesale payments business moves $7 trillion every day.

Balkin most recently shared his insights with Finovate audiences last fall as part of FinovateWest Digital. His discussion centered on how financial institutions can use innovations in customer experience to win new customers and better engage current ones. Adding new services, products, and rewards, Balkin argued, is a better strategy for most financial institutions than “the dead-end of price competition”. This customer-centric approach, which embraces fintech innovation, is all the more vital in a world in which Big Tech is effectively leveraging its digital platforms to offer financial services to its increasingly digitally-native customers.

In addition to his public appearances and work with banks and fintechs, Balkin is also an author. His books include Investing with Impact: Why Finance is a Force for Good and Millennialization of Everything: How to Win When Millennials Rule the World. We wish him luck in his new opportunity with JP Morgan Chase and look forward to seeing him on the Finovate stage again soon.

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NYDIG Raises $200 Million in New Funding to Bring Bitcoin to the Banks

NYDIG Raises $200 Million in New Funding to Bring Bitcoin to the Banks

We noted the $200 million fundraising announced by cryptocurrency solution provider NYDIG earlier this week. Given the investors involved, the amount invested, and the potential implications for further popularization of digital assets, we thought the round was worth a closer look.

New York-based NYDIG is a leading provider of technology and investment solutions for Bitcoin. Founded in 2017 by Robert Gutmann (CEO) and Ross Stevens (Executive Chairman), NYDIG offers banks, corporations, insurers, and high net worth (HNW) individuals financing, custody, execution, and research and advisory services to help them manage their Bitcoin holdings. NYDIG also offers industry-leading expertise in the derivatives markets for institutional investors seeking customized opportunities, from generating yield to establishing hedges.

This week’s financing takes the company’s total funding to $305 million, according to Crunchbase. The strategic partners involved included Stone Ridge Holdings Group, Morgan Stanley, New York Life, MassMutual, Soros Fund Management, FS Investments, Bessemer Venture Partners, and FinTech Collective.

“These partnerships leave no doubt that institutional adoption of Bitcoin has arrived and, further, that NYDIG is the partner of choice for serious financial services firms with the highest fiduciary and diligence standards,” Gutmann said. He announced that the company plans to deliver “an explosion of innovation in Bitcoin products and services” over the balance of the year.

Gutmann also added that the round’s investors will help NYDIG on “strategic initiatives” ranging from investment management and banking to clean energy and insurance. To underscore the point, the company’s statement also reported that life, annuity, and property & casualty insurers currently own in aggregate more than $1 billion of direct and indirect Bitcoin exposure. This exposure is both facilitated exclusively by NYDIG and is held in the firm’s secure, audited, and insured institutional custody platform.

NYDIG has partnered with a number of Finovate alums in recent months. This year alone, the company teamed up with Best of Show winner Kasasa to bring bitcoin wallet functionality to community banks and credit unions. Also in February, NYDIG collaborated with NYMBUS to help financial institutions add Bitcoin products and services to their digital offerings.

“As a notable advocate for financial institutions, Nymbus stood out as a partner to take our vision for Bitcoin and banking to the next level,” NYDIG Head of Bank Solutions Patrick Sells said when the partnership was announced. “As a former banker and technology evangelist, I couldn’t be more excited to bring Bitcoin and banking together, and I see it as a win/win.”

Still Moven: Digital Onboarding Alliance Underscores Financial Wellness Pivot

Still Moven: Digital Onboarding Alliance Underscores Financial Wellness Pivot

In a world of rebrands, reintroductions, and redirections, it is always impressive to see a pivot that sticks.

Moven, which announced its transition toward financial wellness and distributed smart banking a year ago this month, has teamed up with fellow Finovate alum Digital Onboarding. Together, the two fintechs will support user adoption of a turn-key digital bank-in-a-box, making it easier for banks and financial institutions to improve customer engagement on digital platforms.

“The pace of digital disruption in the banking industry is only going to quicken, and financial institutions have to rethink how they leverage digital channels,” Moven founder and Executive Chairman Brett King said. “Providing a new channel is one thing; getting existing and new customers to embrace that channel is an entirely different challenge, and frankly a tremendous opportunity for bankers.”

The partnership brings together Moven’s ability to provide users with data-driven, actionable insights into their financial health with Digital Onboarding’s digital messaging, personalized microsites, and proprietary action widgets to make account-related services more accessible and streamlined. The collaboration recognizes the challenge that digital banks represent to traditional banks and credit unions, and seeks to give them the tools to keep their own customers and better engage new, more digitally-demanding, ones.

“Neobanks are raising billions of dollars and investing heavily in advertising to lure U.S, consumers away from traditional financial institutions,” Digital Onboarding CEO Ted Brown said. “Now is the time for banks and credit unions to double down on investing in their existing customer and member bases. I am excited to collaborate with Moven to help banks and credit unions build long-lasting relationships by motivating financially health behaviors.”

The collaboration between Moven and Digital Onboarding is the most recent, big partnership Moven has entered into since its pivot. Late last year, the company announced that it was working on a turnkey digital bank-in-a-box project with another Finovate alum, Q2. Picking up its second patent for its financial wellness technology in January, Moven also has worked recently with New York-based digital asset manager NYDIG and Japan-based Kyushu Financial Group.

Speaking of NYDIG, the company secured $200 million in funding earlier this week in a round led by Stone Ridge Holdings Group and other strategic partners.

Moven will leverage its relationship with NYDIG to offer banks plugins that will enable them to offer bitcoin-related products. Moven CEO and CRO Kesh Talwar put the NYDIG partnership in the broader context of fintech and cryptocurrency’s parallel, but distinct paths toward prominence. “The growth of fintech platforms and of cryptocurrencies have both been striking, but the two worlds have largely been separate.” And because consumers are most likely to try new technologies when they are introduced by institutions they trust, Talwar sees a clear path to boosting cryptocurrency adoption by enabling banks to play a bigger part.

NYDIG Head of Bank Solutions Patrick Sells concurred. “Many banks have felt left behind with the rise of fintech, but today, banks have the opportunity to capitalize on the fact that their customers strongly prefer them to be in the lead when it comes to Bitcoin.”

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U.K. Challenger Starling Bank Scores $376 Million in New Funding

U.K. Challenger Starling Bank Scores $376 Million in New Funding

In its biggest fundraising to date, U.K.-based challenger bank Starling Bank has secured ($376 million) £270m in funding. The Series D round was led by Fidelity Management and Research. Also participating in investment were the Qatar Investment Authority, RPMI Railpen, and Millennium Management.

Starling hopes to use the capital to grow its lending book and to expand throughout Europe. M&A activity is also on the table for the digital challenger. The fundraising, which remains subject to regulatory approval, will give the neobank a pre-money valuation of £1.1 billion.

Founded by Anne Boden and headquartered in London, Starling now has more than two million accounts, including 300,000 SME business accounts. Starling Bank says that it has 5% of the small business market in the country, as well as deposits of more than £5.4 billion. The firm has made loans valued at more than £2 billion – much of that while participating in the government’s COVID financial relief programs.

“Digital banking has reached a tipping point,” Boden said in a statement announcing the investment. “Customers now expect a fairer, smarter and more human alternative to the banks of the past and that is what we are giving them at Starling as we continue to grow and add new products and services. Our new investors will bring a wealth of experience as we enter the next stage of growth, while the continued support of our existing backers represents a huge vote of confidence.”

Starling reached profitability late last year. Since then, the company has forged partnerships with iZettle, Dingy Insurance, PensionBee, and Finovate alum SumUp. Boden has hinted recently that an IPO could be “two to three years” away for the digital challenger. “I didn’t do all of this to sell out to a big bank,” she said.

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Betterment Acquires Wealthsimple’s U.S. Investment Advisory Business

Betterment Acquires Wealthsimple’s U.S. Investment Advisory Business

U.S. wealthtech player Betterment is building up its assets under management. That’s because the company acquired the U.S. investment advisory business of Canada-based Wealthsimple this week.

Terms of the deal– which notably does not include Wealthsimple’s technology, employees, or operations– were not disclosed.

“As we shift our focus to our Canadian business for the time being, finding a partner for our U.S. business that shared our commitment to putting clients first was our top priority,” said Wealthsimple Co-founder and CEO Michael Katchen. “It’s been a privilege to serve our U.S. clients, and we’re confident that their investments will continue to be in good hands with Betterment.”

To find a suitable home for its U.S. accounts, Wealthsimple selected Betterment in a competitive bidding process for its strong reputation and customer-first mentality. Wealthsimple’s U.S. clients will be moved over to Betterment in June of this year.

“This was an excellent opportunity for us to grow our customer base, and we’ll continue to be aggressive in opportunities that accelerate our business goals,” said Betterment’s newly-appointed CEO Sarah Levy.

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Meniga Enables Carbon Footprinting for Iceland’s Islandsbanki

Meniga Enables Carbon Footprinting for Iceland’s Islandsbanki

Interested in activism that’s truly “global” in its appeal? Then the news that Meniga has partnered with Íslandsbanki, one of the largest banks in Iceland, to launch its new green banking solution, Carbon Insight, should be music to your ears.

“With more and more people around the world growing anxious about the consequences of climate change, the need for solutions and initiatives that empower people to take action to help protect our planet has become a business imperative,” Meniga CEO and co-founder Georg Ludviksson said.

Carbon Insight enables users to estimate and track how their spending decision impacts the environment via their carbon footprint. This footprint is derived via the Meniga Carbon Index, which was developed by a team of data scientists who leveraged environment research into the carbon emissions of various products and services. Carbon Insight works by multiplying spending transaction amounts by a “carbon intensity value” to give the user a reasonable carbon footprint estimate. This information can be used to help inform the user to which activities are potentially more environmentally impactful.

“We have seen great enthusiasm for our Carbon Insight product over the past few months, from banks and other key financial players, which is an encouraging sign from our industry that more green initiatives are still to come,” Ludviksson said.

As part of the partnership with Meniga, Íslandsbanki has agreed to integrate Carbon Insight into its digital banking solution. The Icelandic bank sees the new offering as a way to increase customer engagement and build on its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy.

“Consumers are increasingly interested in improving their carbon footprint and having a positive impact on the environment,” Birna Einarsdóttir, Íslandsbanki CEO said. “Meniga’s Carbon Insight solution will enable Íslandsbanki’s customers to estimate the carbon footprint of their private consumption, identify carbon intensive purchases, and ultimately reduce their carbon footprint while saving money at the same time.”

Founded in 2009, Meniga most recently demonstrated its technology at FinovateFall 2019. Last fall, the company launched in the U.S. and, that summer, announced a $9.4 million fundraising that took the firm’s total funding to more than $43 million.

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