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Nordic challenger bank Lunar announced a new tranche of funding today, boosting its Series B round. The new $21.6 million (€20 million) installment adds to the $28 million (€26 million) the digital bank disclosed in August of last year.
Today’s investment brings the company’s Series B round to $49.6 million (€46 million) and raises its total funding to $74.7 million. Leading the extension round is Seed Capital, with participation from Greyhound, Socii, Augustinus, and Unity Technologies founder David Helgason.
Lunar’s free bank account includes transfers, payments, debit card, billpay, and access to in-app budgeting tools. The Premium accounts offer a fancier-looking card, three personal accounts, travel insurance, virtual cards, and more at a cost of just under $7 (69 krona) per month. The challenger bank also offers a business bank account for $194 per year that integrates with third-party software providers comes with commercial lending opportunities.
Lunar was founded in 2015 and received its banking license in August of last year from the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority. In all, the company touts 150,000 users. Ken Villum Klausen is founder and CEO.
Merchant acquirer EVO Payments, the parent company of EVO Snap, has secured $150 million in cash to help fortify the company’s balance sheet, retire debt, and provide funding for future investment opportunities during the COVID-19 crisis. Private equity firm Madison Dearborn, a major shareholder in the company, led the investment.
“While EVO’s global portfolio represents a diversified mix of merchants across Europe and North America,” the company explained in a statement, “many of these merchants operate in markets that are subject to broad governmental restrictions on movement and commerce, resulting in substantial reductions in merchant transaction count and volumes.”
In addition to the funding, EVO Payments has launched initiatives to lower fixed costs and capital expenditures over the balance of fiscal 2020. The company’s CEO James G. Kelly said that the “long-term fundamentals of EVO’s business remain strong” and that the current strategies will enable the company to continue to grow.
Founded in 1989 and currently active in 50 markets around the world, EVO Payments acquired the technology that powers the EVO Snap development platform in 2013. EVO Snap makes it easy for developers, independent software vendors, and merchants to develop omni-channel and cross-border payment solutions. The company participated in our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley, offering a presentation and workshop on building customized loyalty programs, card-linked offers, and real-time POS rewards.
EVO Payments is publicly-traded on the Nasdaq under the ticker EVOP. The company, headquartered in McLean, Virginia near Washington, D.C., has a market capitalization of $1 billion. EVO services more than 500,000 merchants in North America and Europe, processing 900+ million transactions in the former and 1.7 billion transactions in the latter each year.
Updated: 4/3/20: Added Paystand’s $20 million fundraising from February.
Finovate alums raised more than $1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2020, matching their best, first quarter performance to date from two years ago. In some ways, this year’s haul is even more impressive in that Q1 of 2020 featured half the horses as Q1 of 2018.
It is hard to not be aware of the shadow that the current coronavirus pandemic is casting over funding prospects for fintech ahead of the second quarter of the year. With regard to Finovate alums in specific, the $1.8 billion in funding they brought in for Q2 2019 would be a hard mark to beat in any year – let alone one with the sort of historic challenges we are facing in 2020.
Far and away, the $500 million raised by Revolut was the biggest fundraising of the quarter by our alums. But the nine-digit investments picked up by Tradeshift, Flywire, and Tink would put these companies at the top of any of our quarterly equity investment lists in recent years, as well. And with only a baker’s dozen of alums getting funding this quarter, it is no surprise that the top ten equity investments shown below comprise the vast majority of the quarter’s total at $1.2 billion or more than 99%.
Top Equity Investments
Revolut: $500 million
Tradeshift: $240 million
Flywire: $120 million
Tink: $100 million
Thought Machine: $83 million
Currencycloud: $80 million
Fenergo: $80 million
Lendio: $55 million
Arkose Labs: $22 million
Trusona: $20 milllion
Here is our detailed alum funding report for Q1 2020.
January: More than $440 million raised by four alums
If you are a Finovate alum that raised money in the first quarter of 2020 and do not see your company listed, please drop us a note at email@example.com. We would love to share the good news! Funding received prior to becoming an alum not included.
In a round led by Microsoft’s venture capital arm, M12, anti-fraud solutions provider – and FinovateSpring Best of Show winner –Arkose Labs has raised $22 million in Series B funding. The round, which takes the company’s total capital to more than $36 million, also featured participation from existing investors PayPal and USVP.
“Our platform takes a zero-tolerance approach to cyber-attacks and our team is committed to putting a stop to the global fraud epidemic,” Arkose Labs CEO and founder Kevin Gosschalk said. He praised both Microsoft and M12 for their recognition that the challenge of cybersecurity is to “eliminate fraud, rather than contain it.”
Global Head of M12 Nagraj Kashyap noted that Microsoft was no stranger to Arkose Labs’ work in fraud-fighting. “Multiple Microsoft businesses are already benefiting from this innovative technology,” he said. “With Arkose’s end-to-end anti-fraud platform, enterprises across the globe can better protect against fraud and abuse long-term.”
San Francisco, California-based Arkose Labs offers an authentication system that identifies the context, behavior, and reputation of requests, recognizing them as either authentic or inauthentic. Authentic requests are passed through, while inauthentic requests are remediated with a set of dynamic defenses. Requests that cannot be recognized are processed via a challenge-response mechanism until there is evidence of the request’s authenticity. This process also helps improve the platform’s real-time decisioning, reducing the number of false positives over time.
The platform helps defend against a variety of threats including ATO (account takeover), scraping, spam, gift card abuse, and other fraud. Microsoft Director of Identity Security Alex Weinert credited Arkose Labs for offering a cybersecurity solution that is as efficient as it is effective. “Arkose Labs’ technology is an important component of our multi-pronged approach to minimize fraud without negatively impacting legitimate customers,” he said.
Arkose Labs said that the funding will help drive platform development and fuel global expansion, as well as enable the firm to add talent. The investment comes in the wake of the firm’s near doubling of its customer base and the introduction of a number of platform enhancements. These additions include new functionality for Arkose Detect, the platform’s dynamic risk engine, and for Arkose Enforce, the platform’s adaptive step-up mechanism.
“2019 was a banner year, with our platform detecting and preventing $500 million fraud attacks over the last twelve months,” Gosschalk said in January, “saving our customers hundreds of millions in fraud losses and operational costs.”
Founded in 2015, Arkose Labs was recognized by CNBC in its 2019 Upstart 100 roster. The company’s VP of Marketing and Strategy, Vanita Pandey, and Senior Producer, Hedda Peters, wonWomen in Cybersecurity awards at Cyber Defense Magazine’s Cyber Defense Global Awards last fall.
Natural language processing technology innovator Eigen Technologies has added $5 million (£4 million) to its Series B, taking the round’s total to $42 million and giving the firm more than $60 million in overall capital. The funding comes from ING Ventures and is part of a “broader strategic partnership” that blends Eigen’s NLP technology with ING’s experience in applying machine learning to financial services.
Eigen Technologies co-founder and CEO Dr. Lewis Z. Liu put the investment from ING in the context of the two firms’ years-long relationship. “(We) have found them to have some of the most advanced thinking in the market in the application of machine learning in financial services,” Liu said, “something that comes from their fantastic innovation culture.”
ING currently uses Eigen’s NLP technology in its LIBOR replacement and loan operations. Via the strategic partnership, the companies will accelerate deployment of Eigen’s technology in other areas, including trade finance and small business banking.
Eigen leverages machine learning to extract data from a diverse range of documents, and then integrate that data into the workflows of its customers. The company’s algorithms use pattern recognition to examine words, phrases, and sections of text to help businesses review documents for compliance purposes, automatically extract granular information from asset portfolios, and has applications in fraud identification, contract negotiation, and other activities.
ING Chief Innovation Officer and CEO of ING Ventures Benoît Legrand praised Eigen’s ability to deploy its technology in multiple use cases such as retail and wholesale banking. “This partnership will allow both companies to work closer together when implementing use cases through data and process analysis,” Legrand said, “so as to accelerate Eigen’s advantage in NLP as well as ING’s digital transformation.”
Eigen Technologies demonstrated its technology at FinovateFall 2019. The company has teamed up with more than 25% of the G-SIBs (globally systematically important banks), as well as major asset managers, insurers, hedge funds, and law firms. Eigen was founded in 2014 and has offices in London, U.K. and New York City.
Digital asset exchange platform AlphaPoint has raised $5.6 million in funding. The news follows the company’s last round in 2018 when it pulled in $15 million. Today’s investment brings AlphaPoint’s total funding to $23.9 million.
AlphaPoint will use the cash to further develop its white label exchange and brokerage platform. The New York-based company will also work to create “sophisticated exchange features” such as margin trading, integrated advanced brokerage capabilities, and premium liquidity solutions.
“This capital injection enables AlphaPoint to continue delivering on our mission to enable access to digital assets globally. We are still in the early days of adoption and utilization of blockchain technology” said AlphaPoint CEO and Cofounder Igor Telyatnikov. “Stay tuned in 2020 as we will soon announce the release of a series of new liquidity, leverage, and lending products and solutions to our customers.”
AlphaPoint has also appointed two new members to its Board of Directors, Tim Scheve, President and CEO of Janney Montgomery Scott, and Jan Mayle, CEO and Founder of The Mayle Group. “The blockchain industry is evolving quickly and AlphaPoint is well positioned to help financial institutions cross the chasm and participate in the digital asset ecosystem,” said Mayle. “I look forward to lending my capital markets experience and helping AlphaPoint in its next chapter of growth.”
Founded in 2013, AlphaPoint powers digital asset exchange networks for companies across the globe. The company also maintains the AlphaPoint Distributed Ledger Platform (ADLP), which interoperates with more than 20 ledger technologies to digitize financial instruments, create trading venues, and reduce operational overhead. AlphaPoint is headquartered in New York with offices in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and North Carolina.
U.K.-based, cloud native, core banking technology provider Thought Machine has just secured Series B funding that will help the U.K.-based company expand into the Asia-Pacific. The $83 million raised this week, courtesy of a round featuring all of the company’s existing investors, takes the firm’s total capital to more than $106 million.
Valued at $143 million at the time of its Series A round in 2014, Thought Machine is currently believed to be worth between $220 million and $320 million.
Thought Machine founder and CEO Paul Taylor said that the funding had arrived at a “pivotal stage” in the company’s development, citing both “healthy” revenues and “huge” customer demand. “As well as international expansion we will put further investment into our core technology,” Taylor said, “ensuring that banks will always have the best possible cloud native platform, and allow them to keep up with technology breakthroughs in the future which bring agility, security, resilience, and good economics.”
An alum of European fintech conference, the company demonstrated its core banking solution, Vault, at FinovateEurope 2018 . With this technology, Thought Machine enables both incumbent and challenger banks to operate and compete with a cloud-based offering of their own. Vault offers institutions checking and savings accounts, well as credit cards, loans, and mortgage financing.
Last fall Thought Machine announced a partnership with Standard Chartered’s new digital bank in Hong Kong, and unveiled a new collaboration with Swedish financial group, SEB. Both deals will feature deployment of Thought Machine’s Vault platform.
After expansion to Australia and Japan, Thought Machine plans to go live in the United States later this year.
The news that Jassby, a PFM app for kids, has raised $5 million in new funding is one small step for savings solutions and one giant leap for financial education.
The Family Finance App, which has more than 100,000 users, enables kids to receive money from parents and grandparents, which they can then save, spend, or donate in a safe, supervised “Walled Garden”-style, digital platform. Jassby notes that the combination of a digital wallet and a shopping tool – along with parental participation – will help kids learn responsible financial habits by connecting what they have to what they want. This can be a more effective way of learning than simply studying lessons on smart financial habits and then taking tests and quizzes to see if the material is truly understood and absorbed.
Benjamin Nachman, Jassby CEO, called the promotion of financial literacy “one of our core values.” He added “we have built a cutting-edge system that allows us to partner with schools, sports clubs, and businesses to create a full ecosystem for our users.”
“Jassby has created a holistic digital financial ecosystem for kids, teens and their parents,” Moneta Managing Partner Adoram Gaash said. “(Jassby) deals with the real issue of financial illiteracy, and lets kids use financial services in a very smart way.” The app is currently available as a downloadable iOS solution, as well as a web app.
The round, which takes Jassby’s total capital to $10 million, featured participation from Needham Bank and Moneta Capital, as well as Blumberg Capital, Correlation VC and PnP Ventures. The company said the funding will help speed development and take the app to one million users within a year. Nachman added that the company also plans on raising an additional $20 million later this year to help reach that goal.
Jassby is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, and was founded in 2018. Last fall, the company announced a partnership with Needham Bank to enable banking services for users of its family financial app. The fintech has also teamed up with Boston Siege Football club, signing on the semi-pro soccer club as a corporate sponsor. Boston Siege began wearing Jassby’s logo on its kits and training gear last year. The two organizations are planning on a project involving the club’s payment and revenue infrastructure in 2020.
With more than $1.1 billion (€1 billion) provided to small businesses in the U.K. and Germany, London-based SME lender iwoca announced today that it has received $109 million (€100 million) in debt financing from Insight Investment. The new capital will help iwoca continue its work in funding entrepreneurs in Germany.
The investment takes iwoca’s total debt and equity financing to more than $550 million (€500 million). The company, one of the largest fintech SME lenders in Germany, plans to double its workforce in the country to 100 employees and will use the funds to help scale its loan book to give institutional investors more opportunities to participate in the SME credit market.
“More than 90% of companies in Germany are small businesses, yet many of them suffer from poor access to finance as traditional lenders can’t support them the way they need it,” iwoca CEO and co-founder Christoph Rieche explained.
“Our mission is to change that. With Insight Investment we have found a very agile and responsive partner that complements our mission-driven way of working. They provide the perfect basis for us to enter a new phase of growth in Germany,” Rieche said.
Iwoca has gained more than 50,000 customers since offering its first loan in 2012, and lent more than $1.1 billion (€1 billion) to U.K. and German-based businesses. The company offers short-term financing of up to £200,000, and only charges interest – starting at 2% a month – for the days the borrower actually has the money. Iwoca also makes it easy for companies to apply for a top up in the event that additional financing is required, enabling their credit to grow along with their businesses.
The company partnered with German business banking platform Penta late last year, enabling the challenger bank to launch its credit solution. We took a look at challenger banks in Germany as part of our FinovateEurope coverage this month. Last summer iwoca launched a pair of real-time loan integrations with U.K.-based financial marketplaces Funding Xchange and Funding Options.
Among the first fintechs in the U.K. to leverage open banking to offer a lending API, iwoca has been named to the Deliotte Fast 50 and was recognized by cloud accounting platform – and Finovate alum – Xero as its Financial Services App of the Year in 2018 and its Emerging App Partner of the Year in 2017.
Online marketplace for small business loans Lendiolanded $55 million in combined debt and equity funding today. The investment more than doubles the company’s previous funding, bringing its total to $108.5 million.
The equity portion of the Series E round was led by Mercato Partners’ Traverse Fund, which contributed $31 million, and included contributions from existing investors Napier Park Financial Partners, Comcast Ventures, Blumberg Capital, Stereo Capital, and Runa Capital. Signature Bank led the debt facility with $24 million.
Founded in 2011, Lendio serves as a matchmaker that connects small businesses seeking funding with its network of over 75 lenders. Since Lendio launched at FinovateSpring in 2011, the Utah-based company has funded more than 100,000 loans totaling $2 billion. Over the past two years, Lendio has seen an average year-over-year growth rate of 75%.
CEO Brock Blake called today’s investment a “significant milestone” for the company. “With these funds, we are strongly positioned to grow our existing platform as a trusted loan facilitator that supports both lenders and borrowers, while building out a range of new integrated lending services that get the right loans into the right hands at the right time.”
Lendio will use today’s investment to increase the scope and precision of its flagship loan marketplace; expand lender services functions, which provide lenders access to a white-labeled online loan application; and enhance its small business bookkeeping platform, Sunrise by Lendio. The company launched Sunrise last year after acquiring online bookkeeping startup Billy. The new service aims to help Lendio’s small business clients manage their cash flow and monitor their overall financial health.
“Lendio’s ability to combine data analytics with the human touch to connect small businesses quickly and precisely with ideal lending partners has made all the difference in its success,” said Ryan Sanders, senior investor at Mercato Partners Traverse Fund. “Lendio uniquely solves the problem of inefficient capital for small businesses by bridging lenders and borrowers. They are able to connect both sides and facilitate loans faster and more effectively between small business owners and lending institutions. Lendio’s impressive growth is a result of its technology-backed personalized service which has created a loyal and growing following in the industry.”
Continental challenger banks like N26 may be pulling away from the U.K. market. But that is only creating room for newcomers like London’s social payments app B-Social which has raised $10 million (£7.8 million) en route to its transformation into Kroo, a fully-licensed bank.
The funding, part of a seed round, brings the company’s total capital to more than $17.8 million (£13.25 million). Participating in the round was Karlani Capital’s Rudy Karsan, along with additional undisclosed investors.
“Our seed 2 funding round is another key milestone towards building the greatest social bank on the planet and changing the relationship people have with money for good,” B-Social CEO Nazim Valimahomed wrote on the company’s blog. He noted that B-Social has signed up more than 9,000 users and will soon introduce functionality to enable account funding via bank transfer. Valimahomed also added that the company plans to double the size of its team at its headquarters in Holborn.
Most significantly, the investment will help B-Social as it transitions into becoming a bank, to be called Kroo. Valimahomed said that the company is currently in the final, pre-application phase for obtaining a U.K. banking license and hopes to finish the application process “in the very near future.” He referred to the rebrand as a change to an “exciting new brand that fully embodies who we are – intuitive, talented, empowering, social, and collaborative.”
Founded in 2016, B-Social helps users manage shared expenses. The company’s app, available in both iOS and Android, supports bill splitting and group expense tracking, and instant payments between B-Social account holders. The solution also comes with a contactless debit Mastercard that can be used, fee free, both at home and abroad wherever Mastercard is accepted.
Global financial platform Revolut has secured its place as the U.K.’s most valuable fintech. The London-based company secured a $500 million investment, bringing its total funding to $836 million.
With this, Revolut’s valuation tripled, escalating to $5.5 billion. As a comparison, digital bank Monzo was valued at $2.6 billion last year. Revolut’s funding was led by U.S. investor Technology Crossover Ventures while a handful of undisclosed existing investors also contributed.
The funding will be used to enhance Revolut’s customer experience, grow its workforce, and create new products that entice users to log into their accounts more frequently. As a part of this, Revolut will use the funds to enhance Premium and Metal subscription account offerings. These paid products are not only a significant part of Revolut’s business model, they also show huge promise, growing by 154% last year alone.
“We’re on a mission to build a global financial platform – a single app where our customers can manage all of their daily finances, and this investment demonstrates investor confidence in our business model,” said Revolut CEO and founder Nik Storonsky. “Going forward, our focus is on rolling-out banking operations in Europe, increasing the number of people who use Revolut as their daily account, and striving towards profitability.”
Revolut employs 2,000 people across 23 global offices. The company counts more than 10 million customers and has processed one billion transactions worth $130 billion since it was founded in 2013.
The company has seen significant success since its early days. Just last year Revolut increased customer growth by 169%, boosted the number of daily active customers by 380%, and saw year-over-year financial revenues grow by 354%. The company aims to continue this growth by launching lending services for retail and business customers, extending high interest savings accounts beyond the U.K., improving customer service, and rolling out banking operations across Europe.