Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World

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.

Asia-Pacific

  • InComm launches Google Play gift cards in Thailand as it celebrates its 10th anniversary in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Bank of Thailand announces plans to develop a central bank digital currency (CBDC).
  • Indonesia’s KoinWorks, an online P2P lending marketplace, locks in $16.5 million in funding.
  • Singapore-based crypto payments startup, Terra, raises $32 million in funding.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Azimo forges strategic partnership with African payments business, Interswitch Group.
  • Nigerian payment startup Paystack picks up $8 million Series A investment in round led by Stripe.
  • South Africa-based bitcoin wallet Luno tops two million customer milestone.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Sberbank becomes Founding Partner of World Economic Forum Centre for Cybersecurity.
  • A pair of fintech entrepreneurs from Latvia have bought Colorado National Bank for $8.97 million.
  • Bank of Russia’s Corporate University hosts workshop on functioning of regulatory sandbox.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Modo teams up with Etihad Airways to build loyalty solution for airline industry.
  • Emirates NBD launches DirectRemit service to the U.K.
  • Forbes Middle East profiles the fintech industry in Lebanon.

Central and South Asia

  • India-based startup PaySpoon to provide mobile-first credit options for consumers.
  • ZestMoney, a digital lending startup based in Begaluru, has raised $13.4 million in Series A funding.
  • Entrepreneur India explains why new entrepreneurs should “consider fintech as a sweet spot.”

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Compass Plus migrates Brazilian prepaid card issuer, BPP, to its platform.
  • PYMNTS.com looks at partnerships between fintechs and traditional FIs in Mexico.
  • Wirecard Brazil introduces new financial features for its entrepreneur customers.

Top image designed by Freepik

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Diebold Nixdorf Receives $650 Million Capital Commitment.
  • Mint Brings User Interface into 2018.
  • A Framework for Your 2019 Fintech Strategy.

Around the web

  • Mitek announces departure of CEO Jim DeBello.
  • The SaaS Report recognizes bpm’online CEO and managing partner, Katherine Kostereva, as one of its Top 50 SaaS CEOs of 2018.
  • ACI Worldwide integrates with tax filing technology firm, SPAN Enterprises.
  • Modo teams up with Etihad Airways to build loyalty solution for airline industry.
  • Vera welcomes Carlos Delatorre as CEO.
  • Temenos launches Temenos Learning Community Engine.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Deutsche Bank Takes Equity Stake in Modo Payments

Payments technology company Modo Payments announced this afternoon it received an equity investment from Deutsche Bank. The amount was undisclosed. Prior to today’s announcement, Modo had raised a total of $11.3 million since it was founded in 2010.

The German bank plans to leverage Modo’s technology to expand its digital business-to-business and business-to-consumer payments. Specifically, Deutsche hopes to extend its payment capabilities into non-traditional channels, such as the mobile wallets and peer-to-peer networks of Alipay, Paypal, M-Pesa, and WeChat.

John Gibbons, head of global transaction banking at Deutsche Bank, refers to payments as the “bloodline of banking.” In the press release, he noted that Modo will give Deutsche “more flexibility” in facilitating non-traditional transactions. “Going forward, we will be able to directly process payments to mobile wallets and app-based payment solutions,” Gibbons added.

“The Modo team is focused on doing the most good for the most people by reducing friction in payments. That is why we do what we do every day, and this partnership with Deutsche Bank is a great opportunity to work with one of the world’s largest payment providers that can implement our technology on a global scale and further our reason for being” said Bruce Parker, founder and CEO at Modo. “We’re excited to see where this relationship can take us and how we can continue creating interoperability between payment systems around the world.”

Modo exchanges payment data across platforms on behalf of banks, payment networks, and providers, enabling them to store, share, and track payment event data. The company presented at FinovateFall 2016, where it showcased its Modo Digital Payments Hub. Late last year, Modo appointed former CEO of Klarna North America, Brian Billingsley, as its Chief Revenue Officer. More recently, the company earned top honors at the ETA TRANSACT Payments Pitch-Off earlier this year.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • PaySimple Adds New Integrations for Targeted Email Marketing.
  • Deutsche Bank Takes Equity Stake in Modo Payments.

Around the web

  • US Alliance Group looks to Fiserv Debit Gateway and Accel Network partnership to support growth.
  • Xero opens new Americas HQ in downtown Denver.
  • Sberbank becomes Founding Partner of World Economic Forum Centre for Cybersecurity.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Modo Payments Wins Top Prize at ETA TRANSACT Payments Pitch-Off

Payments interoperability innovator Modo took home top honors at the Payments Pitch-Off sponsored by fellow Finovate alum Worldpay. The Texas-based company, which demonstrated its Digital Payments Hub at FinovateFall 2016, made their winning case before a judging panel of venture capitalist and payments industry executives, besting nine other participants.

“We couldn’t smile big enough to truly express our excitement,” Modo tweeted, announcing the news. “But trust us we are so excited to win the #ETATRANSACT PitchOff.”

At the event, Modo showed how a merchant could use Modo’s technology to add and remove PSPs into their systems with the “simple click of a button.” Modo provides a cloud-based payments utility that enables interoperability between banks, networks, payments processors, and their partners. Its one-to-many interface takes the friction out of payments by delivering any source of value (traditional or non-traditional) to any destination and back again without requiring any changes to the client’s infrastructure. Modo’s partners include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Alliance Data, and Verifone, as well as fellow Finovate alums FIS and Klarna.

“The Payments Pitch-Off at TRANSACT gives innovative startups the keynote stage to show off their products and services to the industry’s preeminent leaders at the world’s largest payments industry event,” ETA CEO Jason Oxman said. The Payments Pitch-off is part of the TRANSACT conference held by the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA). As the pitch-off winner, Modo picked up a $30,000 cash prize. A $5,000 cash prize for the “audience favorite” was awarded to Menusifu’s Restaurant Go app, a contactless payment solution for diners.

Fellow Finovate alum Sezzle also participated in the competition. Additionally, the event featured its 2018 Star Awards which honored individuals who had “made a significant difference in the payments industry through innovation, business practices, or contributions to the association.” These included representatives from Finovate alums including TSYS, Mastercard, and FIS.

PYMNTS.com interviewed company CEO Bruce Parker about payments in the cloud last month. Modo ended 2017 by adding former CEO of Klarna North America Brian Billingsley as Chief Revenue Officer. The company participated in our developers conference, FinDEVr New York, in 2016, discussing how its Digital Payments Hub can be used to design and manage the complete digital payment transaction lifecycle. Later that year, Modo demonstrated the four components of its technology: Payments System Connectors, Payments Transactions, Credentials Vault, and Digital Experiences at FinovateFall 2016.

Founded in 2010, Modo has raised more than $11 million in funding. The company’s investors include Tim Keith, CEO of Central Texas Partners; John Beletic, partner at Oak Investment Partners; and Jay Kassing, owner of fintech company Marquis.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • HooYu Brings KYC, Enhanced Customer Onboarding to Gold-as-Currency Enabler Glint.
  • Modo Payments Wins Top Prize at ETA TRANSACT Payments Pitch-Off.

Around the web

  • FBI Director Wray highlights Symphony as a model of “responsible encryption” that solves the problem of “going dark.”
  • Luxoft builds blockchain adapter for Appian’s low-code Rapid Application Development (RAD) platform.
  • eToro adds trading support for EOS, expands list to 10 cryptocurrencies.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Finovate Alumni News

On the web

  • Bankjoy Signs Credit Union of Ohio.

Around the web

  • Digital Signage Pulse interviews Neustar’s Kathleen Dundas about the company’s expansion to the digital-out-of-home (DOOH) market.
  • Lendio franchise announced in Seattle Central region.
  • PYMNTS talks to Modo CEO Bruce Parker about payments in the cloud.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Modo Brings on Former CEO of Klarna North America, Brian Billingsley

Cloud-based payment services company Modo Payments has given itself an early Christmas present this year, appointing former CEO of Klarna North America Brian Billingsley as Chief Revenue Officer.

Billingsley’s payments background will play an integral role in expanding Modo’s capabilities. “All I wanted for Christmas was for Brian to join the team, and Santa really came through for this lucky #paymentsgeek this year. He’s honestly the best Christmas present I could’ve asked for,” said Modo CEO Bruce Parker.

Parker and Billingsley have worked together before. In October the two companies teamed up to integrate Modo’s Checkout Event payment service to help Klarna accelerate implementation of its checkout solution for merchants.

Billingsley said he was “blown away” by Modo’s tech when Klarna implemented it. “Modo has incredible talent and technology, and I believe Modo will revolutionize payments over the next few years making complex payments function as we experience email today – it just works,” he added. Billingsley will officially join the Modo team next month.

Founded in 2010, Modo exchanges payment data across platforms on behalf of banks, payment networks, and providers, enabling them to store, share, and track payment event data. The company presented at FinovateFall 2016, where it showcased its Modo Digital Payments Hub. In addition to a partnership with Klarna last month, Modo also teamed up with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Alliance Data, FIS, and Verifone to boost user engagement by creating PayoutCheckout, and Loyalty Events for online retailers.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Modo Brings on Former CEO of Klarna North America, Brian Billingsley

Around the web

  • Azimo launches cash pick-up in the Philippines.
  • Ripple’s XRP overtakes bitcoin cash as 3rd largest cryptocurrency.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Modo Forms Fintech Partnerships to Engage Consumers at the Point of Sale

Cloud-based payment services company Modo partnered with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Alliance Data, FIS, Verifone, and Klarna, last week. The companies have teamed up to boost user engagement by creating Payout, Checkout, and Loyalty Events for online retailers.

Sheryl McKenzie, VP of products and capabilities for Alliance Data’s card services said that the benefit of adding marketing offers and rewards is to “deepen the customer’s connection with the brand and simplify the experience of card-based loyalty programs.”

The three types of user engagement events include:

  • Payout Events
    Helps banks disburse funds across the globe to any endpoint. Fund sources can range from a traditional bank account to a digital wallet. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is among the first to implement Payout Events.
  • Checkout Events
    Enables users to checkout anywhere with any method of payment, including the use of loyalty points, gift cards, and vouchers. Klarna and Verifone are among the first piloting this technology.
  • Loyalty Events
    Allows shoppers to combine multiple rewards and loyalty programs to make a purchase without having to share and manage sensitive identity and payment data. FIS, Verifone, and Alliance Data are among the first to implement this solution.

“We can leverage Modo’s service to seamlessly exchange payment event data across disparate retail systems in store, online and through the mobile channel,” McKenzie stated. “At Alliance Data, we are bringing together the breadth of a large marketing-focused corporation with the agility of a startup partner to accelerate the delivery of innovative payment and loyalty capabilities.”

Founded in 2010, Modo exchanges payment data across platforms on behalf of banks, payment networks, and providers, enabling them to store, share, and track payment event data. The company presented at FinovateFall 2016, where it showcased its Modo Digital Payments Hub. This announcement is the first marketing effort in a long time for the Austin-based company, which just emerged from a two-month “reverse stealth” period last week. Before the quiet spell, Parker was interviewed by Dallas News, revealing his thoughts on the future of payments.