Czech Buy Now Pay Later Firm Twisto Secures €16 Million

We’ve now reached the point in the Buy Now Pay Later revolution in which BNPL companies are investing in other BNPL companies. Today we learn that Zip, a Buy Now Pay Later firm based in Australia, has joined Elevator Ventures in leading a $19.5 million (€16 million) funding round for Twisto, a buy now pay later company based in the Czech Republic.

“We want to teach people to take advantage of payment tools the right way,” company CEO Michal Smida said, “to help them improve their family budgets and better manage their cash flow, especially during the time of COVID.”

Also participating in the funding were Finch Capital, Velocity Capital, ING Bank, and UNIQA, an insurance corporation based in Austria. Twisto’s total capital now stands at more than $61 million (EUR 50.5 million). The company will use the additional capital to help fuel further expansion across Europe. “(The funding) is a huge step that helps us continue in our mission to become a leading app in CEE region,” the company wrote on its LinkedIn page this week.

Twisto, which made its most recent Finovate appearance at our European conference in 2018, is a pioneer in the Buy Now Pay Later market in Central and Eastern Europe. Approximately 170,000 consumers have used Twisto’s app, leveraging the company’s risk-scoring engine to access deferred financing options on goods purchased online. Twisto offers consumers an interest-free, three-installment payment option, and also provides paid, premium plans that include features like Split the Bill, Twist Card with Google Pay, and Family Travel Insurance.

Smida believes that Twisto can play a role in changing attitudes toward credit in Europe, and encourage more Europeans to pursue better financing alternatives. Late last year, Twisto teamed up with ING Bank Śląski to invest $4.5 million (PLN 17 million) to develop Twisto Poland, and extend the company’s operations in the CEE. Twisto was founded in 2013.


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Minna Technologies Raises More than $18 Million in Funding

Sweden-based Minna Technologies has secured more than $18 million (€15.5 million) in new funding to help bring its subscription management technology to more banks around the world. The Series B round was led by Element Ventures, and featured participation from MiddleGame Ventures, Nineyards Equity, and Visa. Minna Technologies now has raised more than $27 million (€23 million) in funding.

“Over the past four years, the subscription economy has exploded from Spotify and Netflix to even iPhones and cars,” Minna Technologies co-founder and CEO Joakim Sjöblom explained. “It’s becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to keep track of the payments and harder for banks to handle inquiries to shut them down. Minna’s tech improves the procedure for banks by simplifying the process, as well as providing an in-demand digital product that consumers are starting to expect from their financial institutions.”

Minna Technologies enables banks to offer their customers a better way to manage what analysts say are an average of 11 monthly subscriptions valued at €333 a month for European consumers. Rather than having to deal with each vendor or merchant separately, users of Minna’s solution can manage subscriptions directly via their banking app. The technology will also notify subscribers when free trial offers are nearing expiration to help users avoid accidental overpayment. Minna said that its technology has helped retail banking customers at partners Swedbank and ING save more than €40 million.

The subscription economy – driven by demand for products and services like online streaming and on-demand shopping – has grown by more than 3.5x since 2012, the company noted. A growing number of companies in the pre-digital economy are also taking advantage of the subscription model. As one example, automaker Volvo introduced a subscription service in the U.K., Care by Volvo, last fall. The new offering includes servicing, road tax, and maintenance as part of its “genuine, flexible alternative” to car ownership.

Element Ventures partner Michael McFadgen praised Minna as a company that was “revolutionizing financial services” for consumers and highlighted the ability of fintech innovation to provide banks with potential additional revenue streams, as well. “This is a clear example of the liberating services Open Banking promised us and we’re excited to be part of this journey with Minna,” McFadgen said.

Founded in 2016, Minna Technologies demonstrated its technology at FinovateEurope 2019 in Berlin, Germany. Last summer, the company announced a partnership with ING Belgium, enabling the bank’s 1.8 million customers to manage their subscription commitments without leaving the bank portal.


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Blend Raises $300 Million for Mortgage and Consumer Banking Services

Shortly after expanding its offerings to include consumer banking tools, fintech innovator Blend announced it has landed $300 million in new funding.

The series G financing round was led by Coatue and Tiger Global, and brings Blend’s total funding to $665 million. With the investment, Blend is also seeing its valuation nearly double to $3.3 billion, up from $1.7 billion just five months earlier.

In a blog post, company CEO Nima Ghamsari said that Blend will use the funds to fuel “aggressive plans” for this year. “We want to build the banking software infrastructure for the future,” said the CEO, “with an end-to-end digital experience for any consumer banking product and a complete homebuying and financing journey from start to close.”

Blend offers banks no-code, drag-and-drop workflows to help them customize the end user experience and launch new products quickly in response to consumer demand.

The company launched in 2012 with a focus on helping banks revamp the mortgage application process for consumers. Last September, Blend introduced a consumer banking suite, a set of tools to help banks focus on more than just the lending process. The suite includes modules to help banks launch their own deposit accounts, credit cards, personal loans, vehicle loans, and home equity line of credit offerings.

Last year, Blend facilitated $1.4 trillion in loans, more than double what it did in 2019. The company counts 285+ lender partners, which together are responsible for around 30% of all mortgage volume in the U.S. Partners include BMO Harris Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, and Wells Fargo, which sees more than 75% of its mortgage applications submitted via its Blend-powered application tool.

In addition to growing its loan volume and client portfolio, Blend also grew its team. The company added more than 200 employees last year remotely via Zoom, a move that increased its team by more than 60%.

“Today’s news is just another step in Blend’s journey; we’re in it for the long haul, and we look forward to continuing to build the best lending and banking experiences for all,” said Ghamsari.


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MX Raises $300 Million in Series C Funding; Becomes Fintech’s Latest Unicorn

Some fintech observers may have gotten an inadvertent peek at the news yesterday. But today the big funding rumor has been confirmed: Less than a week after announcing its strategic partnership with fellow Finovate alum Hydrogen, money experience innovator MX is back in the fintech headlines with word of a $300 million fundraising.

TPG Growth led the round with a $150 million commitment. Also participating were existing investors CapitalG, Geodesic Capital, Greycroft, Canapi Ventures, Digital Garage, Point72 Ventures, Pelion Venture Partners, and Regions Financial Corporation. The Series C round takes MX’s total capital to $505 million and increases the firm’s valuation to $1.9 billion – making MX fintech’s latest unicorn.

In a statement, company CEO Ryan Caldwell said that in addition to hiring more talent, MX will use the capital to boost its platform’s data collection and enhancement capabilities. He specifically mentioned the importance of “scaling and finding additional ways to market” which underscores MX’s recent forays into embedded finance and its just-announced partnership with Hydrogen.

“The financial industry is at an inflection point as organizations look to become not only intermediaries, but true advocates for their customers by offering personalized insights and data-driven money experiences,” Caldwell explained. “Along with incredible partners, we are helping financial institutions and technology companies accelerate their digital roadmaps and launch next generation services and apps that will fundamentally transform how people interact with their money.”

MX helps businesses turn raw, unstructured data into valuable, insight-rich assets. This empowers them to build new solutions and services for their customers, drive growth, and boost brand loyalty. In addition to cleaning and categorizing data, MX’s technology adds key metadata that enables companies to better fight fraud, make faster loan approvals, and help their customers make better financial decisions.

In the funding announcement, Derek Zanutto of CapitalG praised MX’s ability to “leverage data strategically” and favorably compared MX’s potential impact on the financial industry to that of Netflix in the streaming content space and to Amazon in the e-commerce space. TPG Growth’s Mike Zappert noted that his firm was committed to investing in the digital transformation that is sweeping through financial services and sees MX as a big part of it. He called MX’s technology “a clear differentiator” that has delivered “tremendous growth for the Company over the last 12 months.”

MX currently works with more than 2,000 banks, credit unions, fintechs, and other companies, and includes 85% of digital banking providers among its partners. This has given the Lehi, Utah-based company a combined reach of more than 200 million consumers. A multiple Finovate Best of Show winner, MX last demonstrated its technology at FinovateFall 2019.

Modularbank Secures €4 Million in New Funding

Digital banking platform Modularbank has secured a $4.8 million (€4 million) investment in a round led by Karma Ventures and Blackfit Capital Partners. The company, founded in 2018 and headquartered in Estonia, said that the seed funding will help it establish operations in the U.K., as well as add engineering and product development talent to meet its expansion goals.

Modularbank’s banking-as-a-service technology leverages APIs and microservice architecture to offer a core banking solution to serve both retail and business banking customers. And because Modularbank is, in fact, modular, companies can select the specific services they want – core banking, deposits and savings accounts, assets and collateral, lending, financial accounting, and payments – to build the solution that best fits their needs.

“Increasingly, people are demanding more flexible and convenient services that fit around the way they work and live and in response, there is a wave of digitalization and embedded finance on the horizon, beginning to build,” Modularbank CEO Vilve Vene explained. “To harness this momentum there is a real need for lean, yet sophisticated core banking technology and that’s where Modularbank comes in, as we do exactly that. Modularbank was set up to enable banks and other customer-facing businesses to devise and roll out personalized banking services quickly and easily.”

Also participating in the round were Plug and Play Ventures, Siena Capital, and Ott Kaukver, angel investor and former CTO of Twilio and Skype.

Modularbank made its Finovate debut at FinovateEurope in 2019. Since then, the company has collaborated with Germany’s Senacor Technologies and announced a strategic partnership with payments processor NETS Estonia. In December, Vene was named one of the most impressive women in fintech in 2020 by Fintech Futures.


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Glia Lands $78 Million in Series C Funding

In a round led by existing investor Insight Partners, multi-channel digital customer experience specialist Glia has raised $78 million in capital. The Series C round takes the company’s total funding to $107 million, and will be used to help scale the company’s digital customer service offerings with an emphasis on product development and an eye toward potential strategic acquisitions.

“Just as Zoom has transformed the way consumers communicate with colleagues, family and friends, Digital Customer Service is changing the way businesses support and engage with customers,” Glia co-founder and CEO Dan Michaeli explained. “This is an area that has gone mainstream, as evidenced by Facebooks’s recent billion-dollar acquisition of Kustomer.”

Glia’s fundraising comes as the company reports growth of more than 150% in 2020. This is due in part to the impact of COVID-19 related lockdowns and Work From Home policies that drove consumers and employees alike toward digital channels for commerce and work. Glia’s platform enables customers to communicate with businesses using any channel – voice, text, video – and to seamlessly transition between those channels during the interaction. The technology allows customer service representatives to guide customer journeys, increasing personalization and efficiency and boosting customer satisfaction and retention rates.

Insight Partners Lonne Jaffe praised Glia’s platform for providing the tools required for businesses to engage customers digitally and “communicate through the customer’s channel of choice.” Dan Brown, founder and CEO of Interactive Intelligence, who also participated in this week’s investment, added that Glia represents a solution for companies that are “still focused on moving antiquated, on-premises telephony systems to cloud contact centers that essentially offer the same functionality.” Brown added that if he were to build his company again today, “I would take Glia’s approach.”

Founded in 2012 and headquartered in New York, Glia last demonstrated its digital customer service technology at FinovateWest Digital 2020, earning Best of Show honors. Formerly known as SaleMove, Glia has teamed up with more than 150 financial institutions, insurance companies, and fintechs, most recently partnering with intelligent virtual assistant company Interface, and fellow Finovate alum and AI-powered chatbot developer, Finn AI.


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Mambu’s Valuation Soars to Over $2 Billion After $135 Million Investment

SaaS banking platform Mambu is even more prepared to support the banking-as-a service trend that’s sweeping the fintech industry. That’s because the Germany-based company received $135 million (€110 million) in new funding this week.

The investment was led by TCV, followed by new contributors Tiger Global and Arena Holdings and existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Runa Capital, and Acton Capital Partners. TCV General Partner, John Doran, will join Mambu’s board of directors.

The company also disclosed a new valuation of more than $2 billion (€1.7 billion), which places it in the fintech unicorn club (two-times over!).

Mambu will use the funds to accelerate growth and boost its presence across the globe. Specifically, the company announced intentions to deepen its footprint in Brazil, Japan, and the U.S.

“As an increasing number of challenger and established banks sign on to prepare themselves to thrive in the fintech era, we have, and will continue to provide them with a world-class platform on which to build modern, agile customer-centric businesses,” said Mambu CEO and Co-founder Eugene Danilkis. “This latest funding round allows us to accelerate our mission to make banking better for a billion people around the world and address one of the largest, most complex global market opportunities that’s still in the infancy of cloud.”

Mambu was founded in 2011 and emerged as one of the pioneering players to move banking software to the cloud. Since then, the company has seen success from its concept of composable banking that allows clients to build a banking experience to suit their needs without being tied to a specific vendor, product, or technology. This shift away from legacy core banking platforms, along with plug-and-play integrations, helps banks future-proof their systems to better serve their customers. Among Mambu’s customers are ABN AMRO, N26, OakNorth, Orange, and Santander.

Today’s news comes after a strong period of growth for Mambu. The company has seen around 100% YoY growth and is planning to support it by doubling its team to more than 1,000 by next year.


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Divvy Brings in $165 Million for Expense Management

Corporate card and expense management platform Divvy is starting off the new year with new cash. The Utah-based company closed a $165 million series D investment, boosting its total funding to $417 million.

The new round also crowns Divvy with unicorn status; the company is now valued at $1.6 billion. New investors Hanaco, PayPal Ventures, Whale Rock, and Schonfeld participated, as well as previous backers NEA, Insight Venture Partners, Acrew, and Pelion.

Divvy will use the funds to “invest heavily in product development and engineering in order to accelerate [its] future roadmap.”

Divvy was founded in 2016 and offers free expense management software combined with corporate credit cards to provide its clients visibility and control over their budgets. Among the company’s clients are Noom, Solo Stove, Rhone, EyeCare Partners, the Utah Jazz, and the Atlanta Dream.

“The best in every vertical choose Divvy,” said Divvy CEO Blake Murray. “We’re not just building for tech startups—we help businesses across the country by providing the capital and financial software they need to thrive. We’re fortunate to be able to build for companies of all sizes and we’re grateful to everyone who has helped us get here.”

Because managing expenses is a key element in helping small businesses survive a financial crisis like the one brought on by COVID, Divvy is in the midst of a growth spurt. Since March of last year, the company has seen a 500% increase in monthly sign-ups.

According to TechCrunch, Divvy’s competitors in the space include Ramp, Teampay, and Airbase. Each of these startups has closed a major round of funding recently, indicating the expense management space is heating up. The fact that Divvy offers its software for free is likely to offer it a leg up over some of its other competitors.

“With its compelling free software, Divvy is poised to become a key part of the financial nervous system for businesses,” said Peter Sanborn, Vice President, head of corporate development at PayPal and managing partner of PayPal Ventures.

Trust Science, Alternative Data, and the Path to Financial Inclusion

With $7.5 million in fresh capital and a green light from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for its “Credit Bureau 2.0” moniker, Finovate newcomer Trust Science enters 2021 even better prepared to fulfill its mission of empowering lenders who serve un- and underbanked communities.

“Between 64 million and 100 million Americans, adult consumers, cannot be scored for credit, or scored properly. In the world, it’s three billion adults,” Trust Science founder and CEO Evan Chrapko explained during his company’s Finovate debut in 2019. “We’re here to solve that problem and give deserving people the credit that they deserve.”

Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Trust Science is part of the burgeoning subprime credit risk analysis industry. In recent days, Trust Science confirmed both that it has boosted its total capital to $11.5 million and that it had secured trademark approval for its AI-powered, dynamic credit scoring platform – Credit Bureau 2.0.

Trust Science’s platform leverages AI and machine learning to generate profiles that can be used to provide credit scoring for thin file and no-hit consumers. The solution uses alternative and unstructured data, such as the size and scope of social networks, message and data sentiment, and other factors to “expand the scorable universe” of potentially worthy borrowers and to provide better product fits for all customers.

Since its FinovateSpring appearance, Trust Science has forged partnerships with Inovatec Systems, Vergent Loan Management Software (formerly eSoftware Solutions), and was nominated as AI Company of the Year by the Canadian FinTech and AI Awards. Just under a year ago, the company hired former Equifax executive Jeremy Mitchell as its Chief Data and Analytics Officer. As part of his 20 years of experience in alternative data and analytics, Mitchell was part of the original development team that built VantageScore, a rival to the traditional FICO score.

“Trust Science is building solutions that benefit both the consumer and the lender,” Mitchell said when the appointment was announced. “This decade will see the world expect Alternative Data and AI to be harnessed for good, like Financial Inclusion.”

We cannot yet speak for the decade and alternative data. But we already know the role alternative data has played in supporting financial inclusion over the past year, as the health and economic consequences of COVID-19 have put severe financial stresses on small businesses, their workers, and their families.

Chrapko addressed this challenge – and opportunity – in a CEO Letter early last year as the lockdowns were taking hold across the world. “Individuals and businesses are already feeling financial shortfalls,” he wrote. “Lenders like you are going to need to make decisions about a growing number of individuals within the context of a volatile and uncertain market.”

With concerns over new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus forcing more lockdowns and social distancing, the pressure on lenders is not likely to relent any time soon. Leveraging alternative data – via partnerships with companies like Trust Science – may help them make more accurate, fairer, credit decisions to ensure that thin-file borrowers get the help they need and lenders take on only the risk they can afford.

Neobank Oxygen Scores $17 Million in Series A

Digital banking platform Oxygen secured $17 million in new funding today. The Series A round featured participation from a sizable array of investors ranging from Runa Capital and Rucker Park, to fintech entrepreneurs like Plaid co-founder William Hockey and celebrity athletes like NFL wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Added to the $7 million in seed funding the company picked up just over a year ago, this week’s investment takes Oxygen’s total capital to $24 million. In its announcement, the company noted that the financing will enable it to add talent, accelerate growth, and continue to develop its consumer and SMB banking solutions.

“This investment not only validates what we’ve built but also enables us to continue pursuing our vision of building financial tools that integrate seamlessly with the digital world of today and delight our customers,” Oxygen CEO Hussein Ahmed said. “We founded Oxygen because we wanted to provide financial services in the same way people interact with technology in their everyday lives.”

With an emphasis on both consumer and small business banking, Oxygen brands itself as the bank for “free thinkers, rebels, and entrepreneurs.” The challenger bank offers personal accounts with no monthly fees, cashback rewards, up to two-day early deposit, an Oxygen Visa debit card, and multiple virtual cards. Business customers benefit from these features also, as well as business management tools for making cash flow projections, integrating accounting solutions, creating LLCs, and mailing checks from the Oxygen app. Both personal and business accounts are FDIC-insured through Oxygen’s partnership with The Bancorp Bank.

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Oxygen has gained more than 125,000 accounts and achieved revenue growth of more than 900x since launching at the beginning of last year. In May, the company announced a partnership with CPI Card Group to develop its own personal and small business debit cards. Tearsheet.co profiled Oxygen founder Ahmed in December.


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Finovate Alums Raised $3.9 Billion in 2020; $472 Million in Q4

Finovate alums raised more than $472 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. This sum brings the total raised by alums this year to $3.9 billion. Given the relatively sharp fall-off in Q4 funding this year, the fact that 2020’s investment total not only rivals that of last year, but also approximates our all-time, alumni investment high mark from 2018, is noteworthy.

Previous Annual Comparisons

Q4 of 2020 saw a retreat from the strong investment trends that have characterized the final quarter of the year since 2016. This year’s fourth quarter funding total was more reminiscent of the levels reached in Q4 2015, when 28 alums brought in more than $302 million in funding.

Previous Quarterly Comparisons

  • Q4 2019: More than $876 million raised by 21 alums
  • Q4 2018: More than $800 million raised by 19 alums
  • Q4 2017: More than $730 million raised by 23 alums
  • Q4 2016: More than $700 million raised by 26 alums

The top equity investment of the quarter was the $103 million raised by Tink in December, followed by the $60 million raised by both Microblink and OurCrowd. Interestingly, our top three investments were in alums with significant, non-U.S. business.

Top Quarterly Equity Investments

  • Tink: $103 million
  • Microblink: $60 million
  • OurCrowd: $60 million
  • DriveWealth: $56.7 million
  • eToro: $50 million
  • M1 Finance: $45 million
  • Five Degrees: $27 million
  • Bluefin: $25 million
  • NetGuardians: $19 million
  • Wise: $12 million

Here is our detailed alum funding report for Q4 2020.

October 2020: More than $148 million raised by seven alums

November 2020: More than $60 million raised by three alums

December 2020: More than $264 million raised by seven alums


If you are a Finovate alum that raised money in the fourth quarter of 2020, and do not see your company listed, please drop us a note at research@finovate.com. We would love to share the good news! Funding received prior to becoming an alum not included.

Microblink Raises $60 Million for its Computer Vision Tech

AI-powered computer vision software innovator Microblink landed $60 million in funding today. The investment marks the U.K.-based company’s first round of funding since it was founded in 2014.

Growth equity firm Silversmith Capital Partners led the round. Microblink plans to use the capital to accelerate product development, boost its go-to-market strategy, and expand its team.

“As enterprises increasingly move towards automation, we are excited to reinvest in our existing business and explore new ways our computer vision platform can solve pain points for companies across a variety of industries,” said Microblink CEO and Cofounder Darren Bassman. “We believe Silversmith is the perfect partner for us on the next leg of our journey.”

Microblink’s computer vision products help businesses and organizations across multiple sectors digitize documents, automate processes, and eliminate manual data entry. The company’s “hundreds of millions” of end customers use its technology to scan billions of documents each year to prove their digital identity by scanning their ID, make a payment online by scanning their credit card, and collect data about their purchases by scanning their receipts.

“Microblink’s world-class product and technology teams have unlocked real-world applications for artificial intelligence and machine learning,” said Silversmith General Partner, Sri Rao. “Customers leverage the platform to power experiences for millions of end users that require the ability to verify an ID, scan a receipt, or automate the capture of payment data from their device of choice. Microblink’s customer centricity and product leadership serve as a strong foundation from which to scale rapidly, and we are thrilled to support the company in this next phase of growth.”

As part of today’s deal, Rao will join Microblink’s board of directors, serving alongside Bassman and Microblink Cofounder Damir Sabol.


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