Visa’s Minority Stake in Interswitch Creates Africa’s Latest Fintech Unicorn

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

FinovateMiddleEast returns to Dubai next week, November 20 and 21. Learn about our Day One and Day Two agendas, our demoing companies, and then visit our FinovateMiddleEast registration page and pick up your ticket today.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Yes Bank launches India’s largest banking developer platform.
  • Pakistan-based digital lending platform Finja closes $3 million convertible note funding round.
  • India’s National Stock Exchange launches an open trading API sandbox.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mastercard partners with Mexico’s weex wallet to offer physical debit cards.
  • Colombian fintech Simetrik inks agreement to serve as payment gateway for Mercado Pago transactions.
  • Brazilian lender Banco Inter unveils new e-commerce app.

Asia-Pacific

  • MoneyGram and Wing partner to launch new mobile wallet in Cambodia.
  • Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) agree to locate the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Singapore.
  • New Hong Kong license in hand, Tencent announces plans to build a blockchain-based digital bank.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Visa acquires minority stake in Nigerian digital payments company Interswitch Group, an investment that takes the African firm’s valuation to $1 billion.
  • South African P2P insurance provider Pineapple wins $1.5 million (R22.5 million) in taking home top prize in the Connecticut Innovations VentureClash 2019 competition.
  • Kenya institutes data protection law to support investment in its technology sector.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Billon, a Polish-British blockchain company, joins initiative with Raiffeisen Bank International to digitize the euro.
  • Trusted identities innovator OneSpan partners with Poland’s Bank Millennium.
  • Visa teams up with Georgian challenger bank Space.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • A new interest-free, credit service, Postpay, goes live in Dubai.
  • Executive Magazine looks at the fintech industry in Lebanon and the role of regulation in stimulating growth.
  • Tunisia announces the digitization of its national currency, the dinar, making the first country to convert a portion of its money supply to digital form.

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Saudi Arabia Bets Big on Fintech; Sberbank Unveils Russian Supercomputer

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

Fresh off a successful return to Singapore for FinovateAsia, we are happy to announce that FinovateMiddleEast will be back in Dubai later this month, November 20 and 21. For more information about our upcoming fintech conference in the UAE, visit our FinovateMiddleEast page today.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Saudi Arabia’s Riyad Bank invests $26.7 million in new fintech startup investment program.
  • BankDhofar signs partnership agreement with Oman-based fintech TelyPay.
  • Central Bank of UAE considers new fintech office to help drive innovation in financial services.

Central and Southern Asia

  • A new B2B fintech program for Indian fintechs, FT Slingshot, launched at Hong Kong FinTech Week.
  • Mumbai, India’s financial capital, is seeking to establish itself as the countr’s fintech hub, as well.
  • Eight Indian fintechs, including Paytm and OlaMoney, earn spots in the KPMG and H2 Ventures Fintech 100 list.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mexican cryptoexchange Bitrus introduces new e-wallet geared toward unbanked population.
  • Creditas, a Brazilian digital consumer lending platform, opens new offices in Valencia, Spain.
  • Born2Invest looks at the growth of the fintech sector in Argentina.

Asia-Pacific

  • Tandem Bank, a challenger bank based in the U.K., announces plans for an expansion to Hong Kong.
  • Vietnam’s TPBank forges agreement with Ripple’s RippleNet.
  • International visitors to China have access to a new prepaid card service run by Alipay and supported by Bank of Shanghai.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South African fintech iKhokha offers a blunt assessment of the country’s struggle to attract the talent necessary to grow its fintech industry.
  • The U.K. announces plans to deepen fintech partnership with Nigeria and other Africa nations.
  • Andrew Takyi-Appiah, CEO of Ghana-based Zeepay, talks about the business of remittances and its recent partnership with Moneygram.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Romanian fintech Beez goes live in the U.K.
  • Fiserv inks global agreement with German grocery industry leader ALDI.
  • Sberbank introduces Russia’s fastest supercomputer, the Christofari.

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Stripe Goes Live in Mexico; Revolut in Singapore; Lidya in Poland

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.

Fresh off a successful return to Singapore for FinovateAsia, we are happy to announce that FinovateMiddleEast will be back in Dubai next month, November 20 and 21. For more information about our upcoming fintech conference in the UAE, visit our FinovateMiddleEast page today.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Berlin-based, pan-European digital debt marketplace, CrossLend, picks up €34 million in round led by Santander.
  • Bank of Lithuania names IBM and Tieto as finalists in its LBChain technology initiative.
  • Islamic, mobile-only, challenger bank insha goes live in Berlin, Germany.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Partnership with Diebold Nixdorf helps Lebanese Bankmed become first bank in country to introduce cash recycling.
  • Bloomberg Intelligence recognizes the UAE as the world’s top Islamic fintech hub, with Bahrain as a rising challenger.
  • MAGNiTT and ADGM launch new publication focusing on fintech and venture capital funding in the MENA region.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Pakistan’s JS Bank launches chat banking via WhatsApp.
  • Western Union enables real-time payments and money transfers to India.
  • Paytm president Madhur Deora encourages Indian fintechs to appreciate the differences between Indian and Chinese markets “and adapt accordingly.”

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Stripe makes its Mexico debut.
  • Brazilian fintech Nubank reaches 15 million customer mark.
  • Posnet, a First Data/Fiserv company, helps Argentine consumers make purchases using digital wallets and QR codes.

Asia-Pacific

  • Revolut launches in Singapore after successful 30,000 customer beta.
  • CIMB Bank Singapore completes first structured trade finance transaction on blockchain.
  • In partnership with Compass Plus, Mongolia’s largest bank, Trade and Development Bank (TDB) introduces the nation’s first instant card issuance project.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Nigerian digital SME lender Lidya expands to Poland and the Czech Republic.
  • Fintech Futures features Absa’s Thabo Makoko on the challenges and opportunities in the African payment industry.
  • Ghana government makes plans for a cashless future.

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PayPal Goes to China; Dubai Named Top Ten Global Financial Center

Join us next week as our annual Asia-Pacific fintech conference returns to Singapore! FinovateAsia is one of the best ways for fintech startups and innovative industry veterans from the region and around the world to showcase their latest technologies before an audience of C-level decision-makers, venture capitalists, all-star analysts, and more.

FinovateAsia runs from October 14 through October 15, with an additional Summit Day on October 16. Visit our registration page and pick up your ticket today.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Finovate alums Hydrogen, Sedicii, Strands, and Wealth Migrate earn finalist spots in the South African Reserve Bank’s Fintech Demo Day.
  • Carbon CEO Chijioke Dozie offers Five Lessons Global Banks Can Learn from African Fintechs.
  • Business Tech highlights 12 of the hottest fintechs in South Africa according to the country’s biggest banks.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Alior Bank’s Alior Kantor to deploy Efigence’s EFI4 Digital Banking Platform.
  • Deloitte Romania and FintechOS partner to offer banks digital transformation and automation solutions.
  • Sberbank unveils new “Apply for Mortgage” feature on its Sberbank Online mobile app.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Dubai earns top ten ranking in the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI).
  • Boubyan Bank of Kuwait and Zain Telecom team up to launch a digital Islamic bank.
  • Saudi Capital Market Authority (CMA) authorizes financial technology experimental permits enabling three companies to build an equity crowdfunding platform.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Khatabook, an Indian fintech that helps SMEs track and record businesses transactions, raises $25 million.
  • Varanium Capital launches $28 million venture fund focused on Indian fintech.
  • Indian fintechs await regulatory guidelines for deployment of Video KYC technology.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • OurCrowd to open its 13th global office in São Paulo, Brazil.
  • Colombian small business lender Sempli raises $8 million in Series A funding.
  • EBANX will process payments for Uber in Brazil and other countries in Latin America.

Asia-Pacific

  • PayPal’s Move into China is a Big Deal.
  • Fintech in Asia: From Payments and Lending to the Challenge of Financial Inclusion.
  • InComm partners with Mizuho Bank to expand J-Coin Pay in Japan.

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Kreditech Looks to India for Expansion; Mexico’s Klar Scores $57.5 Million in Funding

Join us in October as our annual Asia-Pacific fintech conference returns to Singapore! FinovateAsia is one of the best ways for fintech startups and innovative industry veterans from the region and around the world to showcase their latest technologies before an audience of C-level decision-makers, venture capitalists, all-star analysts, and more.

For information on how to participate in FinovateAsia as a demoing company, partner, or sponsor, send us an e-mail and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Asia-Pacific

  • Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOB) partners with proptech innovator SoReal to launch SME property valuation solution.
  • Bank of China and IBM announces plans to collaborate on digital transformation, customer experience enhancement, and other innovations in financial services.
  • North Korea announces plans to develop its own cryptocurrency.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • United Bank of Africa (UBA) inks deal with U.S.-based fintech Ovamba Solutions.
  • FairMoney picks up nearly $11 million in funding to help build a new digital bank in Nigeria.
  • Angolan e-commerce platform Roque Online wins Seedstars Luanda pitch contest.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Bulgaria’s third largest bank by assets, Fibank, teams up with Mastercard and Garmin to launch new pay watch.
  • Commerzbank announces plans to sell Polish subsidiary mBank.
  • Warsaw, Poland’s The First News profiles Neontri (formerly Braintri).
  • National Bank of Romania unveils new fintech innovation hub.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • The first digital business bank in the UAE, E20, goes live after 18 months in development.
  • Fintech Abu Dhabi announces strategic partnership with UAE Banks Federation.
  • Turkey’s Takasbank introduces blockchain-based, gold-trading platform.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Courtesy of a partnership with Amazon and Financial Software and Systems, United Bank of India launches voice-powered banking.
  • Sri Lanka’s Sampath Bank introduces new virtual teller machines in the country’s capital city of Colombo.
  • German online lender Kreditech looks to expand operations in India in the wake of $22 million equity fundraising.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mexican alternative credit and debit services provider Klar raises $57.5 million in funding.
  • Mastercard brings its Tap on Phone payment acceptance solution to Costa Rica.
  • Brazilian fintech Creditas looks to lure away British technology talent disenchanted by Brexit.

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ThetaRay Opens Mexico City Office; Dubai’s Foloosi Turns to KSA for Expansion

Join us in October as our annual Asia-Pacific fintech conference returns to Singapore! FinovateAsia is one of the best ways for fintech startups and innovative industry veterans from the region and around the world to showcase their latest technologies before an audience of C-level decision-makers, venture capitalists, all-star analysts, and more.

For information on how to participate in FinovateAsia as a demoing company, partner, or sponsor, send us an e-mail and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Konfio, a Mexican financial services and credit assessment platform for SMEs, picks up $100 million secured credit facility from Goldman Sachs.
  • ThetaRay unveils new office in Mexico City.
  • Crunchbase news investigates the forces behind the “digital banking boom in Latin America.”

Asia-Pacific

  • Clinc’s Conversational AI gives voice to new app from Singapore’s OCBC Bank.
  • South Korea’s Shinhan Financial Group opens accelerator lab in Indonesia.
  • iSunOne teams up with Malaysia Productivity Council to build the world’s first Islamic, blockchain-based financial system.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Nigerian digital-only retail bank Kuda raises $1.6 million in pre-seed funding.
  • Apis Partners acquires majority stake in Tutuka, a payment processing technology company based in South Africa.
  • Techpoint Africa looks at the growth of Nigerian fintech QuickCheck, which helps promote access to credit.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Romania’s Tremend Software Consulting partners with Mastercard Romania to help support digitization of payments.
  • Croatian startup Worig offers a credit rating system for long-term renters in Croatia and throughout the EU.
  • German WEG Bank gains cryptocurrency trading and custody license in Estonia.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Dubai-based Foloosi announces plans to make Saudi Arabia the first part of its expansion across the GCC region.
  • Emirates NBD introduces voice banking via Amazon Alexa.
  • Wamda looks at how UAE-based ride-hailing app Careem is moving increasingly into the payments space.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Indian fintech OkCredit raises $67 million in round led by Lightspeed and Tiger Global.
  • Entrepreneur.com examines how Indian fintechs have leveraged the omnichannel approach to extend their platforms.
  • City of London Mayor to be accompanied by delegation of British fintech companies during upcoming, five-day trade mission to India.

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Mexican Fintech Minu Makes History; India’s Namaste Credit Becomes a Neobank

Join us in October as our annual Asia-Pacific fintech conference returns to Singapore! FinovateAsia is one of the best ways for fintech startups and innovative industry veterans from the region and around the world to showcase their latest technologies before an audience of C-level decision-makers, venture capitalists, all-star analysts, and more.

For information on how to participate in FinovateAsia as a demoing company, partner, or sponsor, send us an e-mail and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Indian online lending marketplace Namaste Credit becomes neobank for micro, small, and medium sized businesses (MSMEs).
  • Forbes profiles social entrepreneur and co-founder of Pakistan’s Tez Financial Services, Nauren Hyat.
  • India-based digital-only neobank YeLo picks up seed funding from Matrix Partners India, Omidyar Network India, Flourish, and Better Capital.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • In one of the largest seed rounds in Mexico to date, a company called minu that provides Mexican workers with instant, 24/7 access to earned wages Mexican workers, has raised $6.5 million.
  • Wayra Peru, the open innovation hub of Telefonica, and Peruvian investment group, The Board, to invest in Colombian fintech, IMIX.
  • Ecuadorian-Colombian digital payments platform Kushki Pagos acquires Chilean fintech QVO.

Asia-Pacific

  • Financial Services Authority for Indonesia (OJK) introduces online registry to spur fintech development.
  • Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) adjusts credit risk management guidelines to accommodate use of big data analysis.
  • Indonesian digital credit platform, Kredivo, secures $20 million line of credit.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Chipper Cash, a San Francisco, California-based cross-border payment startup with offices in Ghana and Kenya, begins operations in Nigeria.
  • South Africa’s AlphaCode invests $1.5 million in a trio of local fintechs: Bright On Capital, Zande Africa, and Livestock Wealth.
  • Nigerian fintech Carbon to expand to Kenya.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Ukraine-based Chatbots.Studio teams up with Yozobi. See Chatbots.Studio live on stage at FinovateFall this month!
  • Russia’s Tinkoff goes live with its social network for investors, Pulse.
  • Eligma, a blockchain and AI technology company based in Slovenia, announces €4 million investment from Pangea Blockchain Fund and Bitcoin.com.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) partners with KPMG to launch the Abu Dhabi Fintech Awards.
  • Egyptian peer lending and savings platform MoneyFellows raises $1 million in new funding.
  • Dubai earns #7 spot in round up of the world’s “top fintech locations of the future” according to Gulf News.

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Indian Fintechs Get Funded; Finastra, Avaloq Bring New Leadership to APAC

Join us in October as our annual Asia-Pacific fintech conference returns to Singapore! FinovateAsia is one of the best ways for fintech startups and innovative industry veterans from the region and around the world to showcase their latest technologies before an audience of C-level decision-makers, venture capitalists, all-star analysts, and more.

For information on how to participate in FinovateAsia as a demoing company, partner, or sponsor, send us an e-mail and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • A partnership between R3 and Dubai’s platform-as-a-service company Wethaq will help digitize Islamic capital markets.
  • Working capital solution provider Demica goes live with supply chain finance technology from Saudi British Bank.
  • National Bank of Bahrain unveils new bulk cash deposit machines with secured with a biometric scan.

Central and Southern Asia

  • BharatPe, a digital payments company based in New Delhi, raises $50 million in new funding.
  • Tech Mahindra teams up with Adjoint to launch blockchain-based enterprise financial management and insurance services.
  • Bangalore-based fintech CRED announces $120 million funding round.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mexican online lender Credijusto announces $42 million investment from Goldman Sachs and Point72 Ventures.
  • Brazilian online personal loan platform REBEL raises $42.2 million via financial loan securitization.
  • Forbes interviews Nubank founder and CEO David Vélez.

Asia-Pacific

  • Finastra taps Wissam Khoury as new head of its Asia Pacific (APAC) team.
  • Flywire partners with Vietnam Prosperity Bank to simplify international tuition payments  for Vietnamese students.
  • Avaloq appoints Imad Abou Haidar as its new Head of Asia.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South Africa’s Nomanini inks $4 million deal with Standard Bank.
  • Brink News looks at the “game-changing” potential of fintech in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • SME financing solution provider Nvoicia takes top honors at Seedstars Ghana competition.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Tremend Software Consulting announces strategic partnership with Mastercard Romania.
  • CIO of AXA Poland Oliver Schemberg talks about the “people-led strategy” behind the success of its digital transformation.
  • SumUp opens new office in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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A Look at Fintech Talent in Singapore; Mobile Money Goes Live in South Sudan

Join us in October as our annual Asia-Pacific fintech conference returns to Singapore! FinovateAsia is one of the best ways for fintech startups and innovative industry veterans from the region and around the world to showcase their latest technologies before an audience of C-level decision-makers, venture capitalists, all-star analysts, and more.

For information on how to participate in FinovateAsia as a demoing company, partner, or sponsor, send us an e-mail and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Business Review looks at the potential for French-Romanian cooperation on fintech innovation.
  • Relex, a cryptocurrency-based real estate development investment platform, inks agreement with Belarus Currency and Stock Exchange.
  • Austrian telecom A1 to begin accepting cryptocurrencies as payment.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Emirates NBD introduces the first graduates of its fintech sandbox.
  • Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) joins the World Alliance of International Financial Centres (WAIFC).
  • Partnership between NilePay PLC and Zain South Sudan brings the first licensed mobile money service to South Sudan.

Central and Southern Asia

  • An investment of $110 million will help power Tala’s planned expansion into India.
  • Khalti, a fintech startup based in Nepal, wins the United Nations Fintech Innovation Fund.
  • Software Technology Parks of India establishes FinBlue, a Center of Excellence in FinTech, to support emerging fintech startups.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Argentina’s largest national private bank Banco Galicia integrates PFM technology from Strands.
  • Citi enables biometric authentication for its institutional clients throughout Latin America.
  • TransferWise announces launch of international transfers from Argentina.

Asia-Pacific

  • Standard Chartered Bank partners with SAP Ariba to bring financial supply chain solutions to companies in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Japanese messaging platform Line teams up with Nomura to launch online brokerage firm geared toward younger, digitally-oriented traders.
  • Singapore FinTech Association and PwC Singapore look at the demand for talent in the local fintech industry.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Ghananian fintech Bezo Money is among the 11 startups to receive an $100,000 investment as part of its graduation from Pan-African incubator MEST.
  • Nigerian startup financial services startup Carbon posts its audited financial information online to promote transparency in the country’s tech market.
  • South African startup Ukheshe raises $500,000 (R7.6 million) for its app that provides payment services for the unbanked.

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South Korean Unicorn Raises $64m; India Tops China in Fintech Deals

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.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Nigerians in the U.S. are exploring opportunities to launch a Nigerian Federal Credit United Union.
  • Kenya’s Wapi Capital partners with China-based mobile device maker Transsion to fund African fintech startups.
  • Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA) admits three fintechs – Pezesha, Innova, and another remaining in stealth mode – to its new regulatory sandbox.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Latvian fintech Mintos tops €3 billion in loans financed.
  • Looking for a cryptocurrency gig in Russia? Coin Rivet examines top options.
  • Mobile operator Orange Poland partners with Ukraine’s PayUkraine to expand its money transfer business in the country.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) announces partnership with Plug and Play and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).
  • MenaFN investigates how Jordanian companies are supporting digital transformation in Iraq.
  • Central Bank of Oman finalizes plans for national payment system in effort to support local fintech industry.

Central and Southern Asia

  • CB Insights reports that the number of fintech deals in India topped those in China for the first time.
  • Female-founded Pakistani venture capital firm, i2i Ventures, announces investment in Pakistani startup Mauqa Online.
  • Indian online investment platform Scripbox acquires rival Upwardly.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Zenus, a challenger bank based in Puerto Rico, gains U.S. banking license.
  • Coindesk looks at how Mexico’s new fintech law may impact the cryptocurrency market.
  • CapitalTech acquires Konsigue, a crowdfactoring startup based in Mexico.

Asia-Pacific

  • Toss, a South Korean P2P money transfer service, picks up $64 million in new funding.
  • Fintech Singapore profiles alternative and micro lenders in Vietnam.
  • Singapore’s Koku, a fintech that specializes in foreign exchange technology solutions, plans expansion into Indonesia.

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