This week’s edition of Finovate Global takes a look at recent fintech developments in Germany where green banking, embedded finance, and open banking are the themes at the top of this week’s fintech headlines.
First up, Berlin-based Sustainability-as-a-Service innovator ecolytiq announced that it was teaming up with Slovakian financial institution Tatra Banka. The climate engagement fintech will provide Tatra Banka with the technology the firm needs in order to launch new green banking functionality on its online banking brand, Blue Planet. The new feature, which will be made available to Tatra Banka’s more than 600,000 customers, will enable users to monitor the impact their transactions may have on the environment (for example, with CO2 emissions), provide users with ideas on how to reduce their environmental impact, and offer rewards for spending that is environmentally friendly.
Founded in 2020, ecolytiq demonstrated its technology at Finovate’s developer event, FinDEVr 2021, which was held as a part of FinovateSpring that year. Putting accurate data at the center of the ability to move toward greater environmental sustainability, ecolytiq demonstrated how its open knowledge graph and streaming technology keep its data relevant and current. More recently, the company announced a strategic partnership with exceet Card Group, makers of sustainable payment cards made from wood and, the following month, teamed up with French sustainable neobank Green-Got.
Peter Golha, a director at Tatra Banka said that the institution believed it had a a role to play in the transition toward a more environmentally sustainable economy. “Not only have we a chance to change our own trajectory, but also a chance to live the topic of sustainability alongside our clients,” Golha said.
Founded in 1990, Tatra Banka was the first private bank to be established in Slovakia. Winner of the TREND Bank of the Year award for two years in a row, Tatra Banka announced this spring that it had achieved its greatest profit to date, reporting $164 million (EUR 162.1) in consolidated profits for the financial year 2021.
Second, German financial management platform for businesses Airbank inked a deal with Klarna Kosma this week. Klarna Kosma is an open banking platform launched by Swedish e-commerce innovator Klarna this spring. Seen as a rival to fellow Finovate alum Tink and its open banking platform, Klarna Kosma offers financial institutions, fintechs, and merchants connectivity to more than 15,000 banks in 24 countries around the world via a single API. Kosma was made possible in many ways by Klarna’s acquisition of direct, bank-to-bank payments company SOFORT in 2014, and Klarna has been developing and expanding the service ever since.
“Over the past year, the demand for Open Banking services from financial institutions and fintech startups has reached a tipping point,” Klarna Kosma VP Wilko Klaassen said. “(This) is why we have built a dedicated business unit which brings together engineering, product management, sales and marketing all together in the same team to focus on this $15 billion, fast-growing market.”
Airbank will leverage its new relationship with Klarna Kosma to “accelerate” its expansion into European markets and beyond. Airbank enables businesses to consolidate their bank accounts in a single location, allowing them to more easily automate bill management, make payments, and manage their finances. Companies also can use Airbank’s platform to track their financial transactions and forecast future liquidity. The partnership with Klarna Kosma will make it possible for Airbank to securely access account information from thousands of banks around the world, expand more aggressively, and better serve its SME customers that have global requirements.
“By the end of this year, we will serve over 50 counties, making Airbank the most comprehensive global banking solution for SMEs in the industry, with the ability to connect bank accounts from almost anywhere in the world,” Airbank founder and CEO Christopher Zemina said. “We are delighted to have Klarna Kosma as an experienced and dynamic partner that shares our ambition to shape the future of B2B financial management.”
Lastly, early in the week we learned that Berlin-based embedded finance startup Monite had teamed up with Codat, a U.K. firm that offers a universal API to enable access to consented business data from banking, accounting, and ecommerce platforms. The partnership will enable both SaaS platforms and financial institutions to integrate invoicing and billing functionality into their apps. This will allow platforms and institutions to offer businesses a unified solution for managing their financial operations.
In a statement, the CEOs of both Monite and Codat praised the great variety of financial apps and platforms dedicated to serving SMEs. The challenge, according to both Monite CEO Ivan Maryasin and Codat CEO Pete Lord, is that the variety can be overwhelming for many small businesses. “What’s still missing are the ‘super apps’ that bring everything together,” Maryasin said. “It can be time-consuming to manage and get the most out of them all,” concurred Lord.
Founded in 2020, Monite has raised $7.8 million in funding for its technology that empowers financial institutions and platforms to offer financial services such as multi-banking, AP automation, invoicing, and more to their customers. London, U.K.-based Codat neared unicorn status last month upon raising $100 million in Series C funding. The investment took the company’s total funding to more than $176 million and gave Codat a valuation of $825 million. The round was led by JPMorgan Partners, and featured participation from Plaid and Shopify.
Founded in 2017, Codat began this year with the announcement of a partnership with Moody’s Analytics to enhance small business lending.
Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.
- FIS’ Worldpay announced its expansion to South Korea.
- According to the Wall Street Journal, Jack Ma will relinquish control of Chinese fintech Ant Group.
- Fintech News Singpore took a look at “fintech momentum” in Indonesia.
- PayGate, a payment gateway based in South Africa, has enabled Samsung Pay as a payment method for its merchants.
- Business Daily African profiled Tanzanian payments company Nala and its potential expansion into the Kenyan remittance market.
- Colombian payment platform Minka announced plans to leverage its technology to enhance money movement in Africa.
Central and Eastern Europe
- Austrian fintech Helu.io, which specializes in providing financial solutions for SMEs, raised more than $10 million in Series A funding.
- Rubicon, a fintech headquartered in Albania, announced an expanded partnership with Mastercard.
- Latvia’s Crassula, a white label cloud banking software company, teamed up with Canadian open banking solutions provider Salt Edge.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- Cartona, an Egyptian B2B platform that digitizes the country’s traditional trade market, raised $12 million in Series A funding.
- German fintech Moonfare announced plans to expand to the MENA region.
- Damane Cash, a payments company and subsidiary of Bank of Africa, teamed up with Paysend to enable money transfers to Morocco.
Central and Southern Asia
- Dbank, a fintech startup headquartered in Islamabad, Pakistan, secured $17.6 million in seed funding.
- M2P Fintech, an India-based API infrastructure provider, acquired digital identity platform Syntizen.
- Indian neobanking plaform Fi raised $45 million in Series C funding in a round led by Alpha Wave Ventures.
Latin America and the Caribbean
- Banca Afirme chose Mexican cloud payments and financial messaging company Volante Technologies to upgrade its payments infrastructure.
- Brazilian digital identity verification company CAF secured $19.4 million in funding this week.
- Colombia’s financial industry regulatory authority URF decreed that financial institutions and fintechs in the country to enable Open Banking.