Finovate Global Latin America: Geopagos Raises $35 Million; Paystand Acquires Mexico’s Yaydoo

Finovate Global Latin America: Geopagos Raises $35 Million; Paystand Acquires Mexico’s Yaydoo

Active in 15 countries in Latin America, payments infrastructure provider Geopagos has secured an investment of $35 million. The equity funding round was led by Riverwood Capital and featured participation from Endeavor Catalyst. The sum represents the company’s first institutional financing and will be used to fuel the development of new embedded payments solutions and help the firm expand throughout Latin America.

Geopagos provides financial institutions, fintechs, retailers, software companies and other organizations with end-to-end digital solutions to help them launch or grow their payment acceptance businesses in the area. These solutions include terminals that enable mobile phones to operate as point of sale devices as well as technology that turns websites into e-commerce platforms.

With clients including Santander, BBVA, Banco Estado de Chile, and Finovate alum Fiserv, Geopagos processes more than 150 million transactions and more than $5 billion in volume a year. The Buenos Aires-based company was founded in 2013 by Sebastián Núñez Castro, Julián Lisenberg, Fernando Tauscher, Raúl Oyarzun and Damián Harburguer.

“Latin America is a market with very low card penetration and Geopagos is well positioned as a software enabler and infrastructure provider to boost card acceptance and digital payments across the region,” Riverwood Capital co-founder and managing partner Francisco Álvarez-Demalde said.

Speaking of payments in Latin America, blockchain-enabled accounts receivable and B2B payments company PayStand has acquired Yaydoo, an accounts payable, cash flow management, and liquidity solution provider based in Mexico. Yaydoo is one of the fastest-growing startups in Mexico, with more than 150 employees working in more than six different countries. Founded in 2017 and operating throughout Latin America Yaydoo raised $20.4 million in Series A funding last year and this year was named a “Súper Empresa 2022” and a “Súper Empresas para Mujeres 2022” by Expansión Top Companies México.

“Together, PayStand and Yaydoo will redefine the boundaries of B2B fintech across the continent,” PayStand CEO Jeremy Almond said. “The combined company will be one of the first global B2B blockchain platforms at a significant scale. The resulting company will have processed over $5 billion in payments, added 300 additional employees, and built a network of over 500,000 connected businesses, the largest of any commercial B2B blockchain in the world.”

Founded in 2013, PayStand made its Finovate debut at our developers conference, FinDEVr Silicon Valley, one year later in 2014. The company leverages blockchain and cloud technology to digitize receivables, automate processing, lower time-to-cash, remove transaction fees, and drive new revenue. A member of the 2021 CB Insights Fintech 250 and named to the Inc. 5000 for a second year in a row in 2021, PayStand has secured $86 million in funding, most recently raising $50 million in a Series C investment led by NewView Capital and featuring participation from SoftBank’s SB Opportunity Fund and King River Capital.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean


Photo by Nikita Ananjevs

An Inside Look at New Value: Crypto Trends in Business and Beyond

An Inside Look at New Value: Crypto Trends in Business and Beyond

This is a sponsored post by Ripple, Gold Sponsors of FinovateEurope in London, March 22 -23.

The blockchain industry saw some big changes last year, brought on by a maturing crypto landscape and the development of innovative new technologies.

Ripple set out to better understand and further analyze this rapid evolution through both primary and secondary research.  Our work included surveying more than 2,000 global financial institutions, business, individuals and developers to uncover the key perceptions and trends related to the tokenization, management, and movement of digital assets, as well as the adoption of the core technologies that encompass and underpin these trends.

We are excited to bring you our hot-off-the-press 2022 report “New Value: Crypto Trends in Business and Beyond” which spotlights key findings on the current state of blockchain and digital asset applications, including their benefits, blockers, and future use cases. This report includes a large section on payments, but also expands beyond payments to help the industry better understand how crypto solutions more generally are being used in both financial and business applications worldwide, and, beyond business, by governments and individuals as well.

The report is divided into four sections:

  • Tokenize: establishes the digital representation of value on the blockchain
  • Manage: wields tokenized value through holding, hedging, staking, lending, borrowing, etc.
  • Move: sends value from one place, person or organization to another, i.e. payments
  • Compliance

And within these four sections, it covers a variety of critical topics across the crypto landscape today. These topics include the emergence of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) — notoriety of the former grew rapidly while the latter remained largely in the research and development stage, though a number of countries are actively exploring the technology. While familiar to seasoned players in the space, the use of crypto for Decentralized Finance (DeFi), portfolio and capital management is advancing. And of course, payments leveraging crypto have continued to grow dramatically.

Industry Perception

As we’ve noted, the crypto and blockchain industry is maturing and with that, institutions and enterprises are realizing the potential benefits of applying this technology to their own organizations for a variety of use cases. Interestingly, enterprises tend to be more optimistic than financial institutions on the benefits of blockchain, the potential impacts and the enthusiasm to adopt this technology.

With last year’s explosion of popularity in NFTs, there is a growing number of interested individuals outside of what we’ve traditionally seen in this space. And there is a growing number of use cases that encompass functional NFTs (e.g. for ticketing, or voting) and business-oriented NFTs (e.g. representing real-world assets of various types). Given the agility and power of assets represented on the blockchain, the surge in creative use cases and interest among both individuals and businesses isn’t surprising.

Whether you are considering using CBDCs, NFTs, or cryptocurrencies, or anything else on a blockchain, sustainability should be taken into account. And, we confirmed, there is still a lot of progress to be made in educating consumers, institutions and businesses alike on the differences in carbon emissions between blockchains and the performance advantages of a sustainable blockchain.

Regional Perspectives

The report offers insight into interesting regional differences. Asia Pacific (APAC) is particularly optimistic about the value that blockchain technology can bring to individuals, businesses and institutions in the region. We highlight key findings around why APAC consumers are purchasing NFTs, the potential that APAC enterprises and financial institutions see in CBDCs, and more.

Research results draw parallels between our data on crypto’s positioning in Latin America (LATAM) and recent news of related current events in the region. New Value highlights the distinct stance LATAM financial institutions and businesses have taken on crypto related to payments, inflation and the impact this technology will have in the coming years. While respondents in Europe and North America see the value of these new technologies, they tend to be somewhat less optimistic about their impact than those in APAC or LATAM or MEA.

Looking Ahead

Findings from the New Value Report have far-reaching implications for more than just the financial services industry. Digital assets and the new technologies that drive them will have a profound impact on both the economy and the individual, the government and the artist, the enterprise and the unbanked, and everyone in between.

Download the report here for a comprehensive first look at the exponential climb toward the Internet of Value, and how crypto is paving the way.

FinovateFall’s Best of Show Goes International

FinovateFall’s Best of Show Goes International

FinovateFall 2021 wrapped up a little over a week ago. Our return to live fintech conferencing produced one of our largest number of Best of Show winners (nine) to date. The event also gave us the one of the highest percentage of non-U.S. based Best of Show winners for a FinovateFall event.

This week’s Finovate Global Alumni Profile gives us an opportunity to take a closer look at the quartet of international fintechs that wowed our audiences with their latest innovations in New York City last week.

A Finovate alum since 2016, Bambu has made most of its Finovate appearances at our international shows in Hong Kong, South Africa, Dubai, and Berlin. The company is a multiple-time Best of Show winner, earning its first award in its second Finovate appearance at FinovateAsia in 2017, its second Best of Show award a year later at our conference in Capetown, and its third Best of Show trophy just last week in New York.

Bambu offers a next-generation B2B roboadvisory platform for both financial institutions and fintech disruptors. Powered by the company’s proprietary algorithms and machine learning technology, Bambu’s cloud-based platform has 300,000 end users in ten countries around the world. This summer, the company announced the acquisition of investment management technology provider Tradesocio, a move that will help expand Bambu’s reach internationally.

“After five years of building solid foundations, Bambu is now entering a phase of rapid growth,” Bambu CEO Ned Phillips said when the acquisition was announced in July. “This deal helps us in three key areas: it expands our product offering into stocks and crypto, it gives us a wider global footprint, and enables us to scale our team effectively to match exponential demand. We believe this positions us well for our Series C and ambitions of becoming the global leader in WealthTech.”

Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Dreams earned its second Best of Show award last week at FinovateFall. The company, founded in 2014, is among the more recent Finovate alums, joining our roster last year for our all-digital FinovateEurope conference.

Dreams offers engagement banking solutions that leverage insights from cognitive and behavioral science to enhance financial wellbeing. Launched as a B2C offering, the company has expanded into the B2B2C space, offering its solutions to banks to help them boost digital engagement with their customers. This year at FinovateFall, Dreams demonstrated the savings module of its white-label banking platform, which features debt management and micro-investing functionality, as well as new social/viral features.

Over the past year, Dreams has announced partnerships with Singapore-based financial services software provider Silverlake Symmetri and Ukrainian commercial bank UKRSIBBANK, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas Group.

“Our financial wellbeing platform – which is built upon behavioural science and personal finance management principles – will provide the perfect tool for UKRSIBBANK to help its customers make better financial choices and become more sustainable in the way they handle their finances,” Dreams CEO and founder Henrik Rosvall said when the collaboration was announced. “This partnership will also help UKRSIBBANK safeguard the loyalty of its customers and futureproof its digital banking offering against a growing number of challenger banks and fintechs.”

Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, digital adoption platform Horizn was launched in 2012. The company is dedicated to helping financial institutions leverage micro-learning, social technology, gamification, and advanced analytics to enhance employee performance, fuel client adoption of new technologies, and boost revenues. With a global reach of more than 40 countries in North and South America, Asia, and Europe, the company has enabled its clients to realize 85% employee adoption rates and a 20% increase in mobile platform usage.

Horizn made its Finovate debut in 2017 at FinovateEurope in London. The company earned its first Best of Show honors at FinovateEurope in Berlin three years later, and picked up its second Best of Show award the following year at our all-digital event FinovateFall 2020. “It’s great to see Finovate recognize the impact that Horizn is having on banks worldwide,” company CEO Janice Diner said last year. “While COVID-19 may have accelerated the shift to digital, Horizn ensures bank customers stay digital.”

In addition to their Best of Show winning technology demonstrations, Horizn has also provided Finovate with some of its most compelling keynote speakers. Both Diner and Senior Vice President for Global Sales Steve Frook have shared their insights during the Conference Days component of our Finovate events. Frook’s FinovateEurope presentation, Landing Your First Bank Customer, was a highlight of our Berlin conference last year. And Janice Diner’s epigrammatic reminder that “if you build it they will come is a myth” remains as a good a piece advice for fledgling fintechs as you’ll ever hear.

The rise of fintech in Latin America has been one of the most impressive developments in global financial services in recent years. This is partly why the Best of Show award won by Uruguayan fintech Infocorp last week at FinovateFall feels so special.

Making its Finovate debut in the spring of 2017, Infocorp demonstrated its IC Campaigns platform that enables financial institutions to coordinate marketing and commercial operations via all available channels to better identify the optimal, next action for each client. The technology takes the omnichannel banking and seamless user experience requirements of modern banks to another level by helping institutions set up shorter-cycled, more agile campaigns that deliver increased conversion rates and higher ROI. Last week at FinovateFall, Infocorp introduced its Mobile Native App, a new solution that brings hyper-personalized experiences for every user in a single bank app.

Inforcorp CEO Ana Inés Echavarren spoke to the importance of “the mobile challenge” in a conversation with fintech analyst and thought leader Jim Marous in the weeks leading up to Infocorp’s return to the Finovate stage in September. “Everywhere the mobile channel is the one of choice now among users,” she explained. “Adoptions have gone up in all the implementations that we have in all the countries that we know of.” As far as Echavarren is concerned, this means that there has been a “mindset shift” in which the mobile experience and the user experience increasingly have become synonymous. To this end, Echavarren said, “we are no longer talking about the bank application, but about the user application.”

Founded in 1994 and headquartered in Montevideo, Infocorp has more than 40 successful deployments, 10+ million active users on its platform, and processes more than 120 million transactions a year.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Central and Eastern Europe

Middle East and Northern Africa

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean


Sub-Saharan Africa

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Four on 50: Finovate Alums Earn Spots on CNBC Technology Disruptors List

Four on 50: Finovate Alums Earn Spots on CNBC Technology Disruptors List

For many, at least in fintech, the conversation on innovation has begun to shift from an emphasis on disruption to a focus on the possibilities of collaboration.

But the title of “Technology Disruptor” is still a coveted one, especially in the popular media where talking heads talk about technology trends like celebrities mincing down the red carpet on awards night.

CNBC has been culling the ranks of Technology Disruptors for nearly a decade and, this week, introduced its ninth CNBC Disruptor 50 list. The collection of technology companies is designed to highlight private firms that have helped lead the way out of the COVID-19 era “with business models and growth rates aligned with a rapid pace of technological change.”

See the full list at For now, here’s a look at the four Finovate alums who made this year’s roster.

#7 Marqeta

Like most of the Finovate alums that made this year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 list, Marqeta was first introduced to our audiences via its participation in our developer’s conference FinDEVr SiliconValley 2016.

The company leverages its open API platform to enable its clients and partners to instantly issue and process card payments. With more than $528 million in funding, the Oakland, California-based firm is reportedly readying for a $100 million initial public offering later this year.

#38 Ripple

Does anyone remember OpenCoin? That was the company that Chris Larsen brought to FinovateSpring in 2013 to introduce a new virtual currency and distributed open source protocol called Ripple.

In the years since then, Ripple has grown into enterprise blockchain company with hundreds of customers in more than 55 countries who are using its solutions. The company’s XRP Ledger and digital asset XRP, running on Ripple’s global network, improve and enhance payment services for businesses around the world.

#39 Plaid

An alum of our developers conference FinDEVr, Plaid became a household word in the fintech community when Visa tried to acquire the company in January 2020. That plan was nixed by the U.S. Justice Department, but Plaid has continued on its innovative path to promote open finance via API.

Dedicated to helping connect people’s financial accounts to their apps, Plaid has added key insights to the data access it facilitates via a suite of analytics solutions such as its new income verification product, Plaid Income.

#40 Nubank

International fintech has always been part of the Finovate/FinDEVr beat. Back in 2016, a Brazilian financial services startup with the backing of an impressive array of venture capitalists demonstrated its unique approach to fintech development at FinDEVr New York 2016.

Today, that company, Nubank, is the biggest fintech in Latin America. The company operates as a challenger bank with more than 34 million customers and offices in Berlin and Mexico City, in addition to its São Paulo, Brazil headquarters.

Other fintechs that made this year’s CNBC Disruptor 50 are:

  • Robinhood
  • Stripe
  • Brex
  • Chime
  • TALA
  • Flutterwave

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. from Pexels

Ripple Brings on Kristina Campbell as CFO

Ripple Brings on Kristina Campbell as CFO

Payments network Ripple is bolstering its ranks this week with the appointment of Kristina Campbell as CFO.

Campbell has been tapped to drive Ripple’s financial strategy, accelerate growth, and deliver value to shareholders. She most recently served as CFO at PayNearMe and has also held multiple roles at GreenDot.

“Digital asset technology allows us to rethink and improve the systems and infrastructure around how money moves. With this technology, we will make the global financial system accessible to all,” said Campbell. “Ripple is uniquely positioned to improve global payments in ways that have yet to be defined and I’m excited to be a part of that solution.”

Ripple also revealed that Rosa Gumataotao Rios, 43rd Treasurer of the United States, has joined its Board of Directors. In her role as Treasurer, Rios oversaw all currency and coin production and focused on economic development, urban revitalization, and real estate finance.

“I’ve dedicated my career to financial inclusion and empowerment, which requires bringing new and innovative solutions to staid processes. Ripple is one of the best examples of how to use cryptocurrency in a substantive and legitimate role to facilitate payments globally,” said Rios. “Blockchain and digital assets will underpin our future global financial systems. Cryptocurrency is the what. Ripple is the how.”

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said that the new appointees come “at a pivotal time for the company.” Garlinghouse’s phrase, “pivotal time,” is in reference to Ripple’s international expansion efforts; earlier this spring the company acquired a 40% stake in Asia-based cross-border payment specialist Tranglo. It is also a head nod to the lawsuit Ripple is currently facing.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) alleged that Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen and CEO Brad Garlinghouse conducted an illegal securities offering that raised more than $1.3 billion through sales of Ripple’s XRP currency. Ripple, which considers XRP as a currency and not an investment contract, is denying the allegations.

Backed by SBI Holdings, Santander, Andreessen Horowitz, and Lightspeed, Ripple has raised $294 million and is valued at $10 billion.

Photo by Burak K from Pexels

Finovate Alums and the History of Bitcoin Innovation

Finovate Alums and the History of Bitcoin Innovation

With bitcoin and cryptocurrencies enjoying renewed interest, it’s worth noting that many fintech fans encountered their first bitcoin-related businesses through Finovate conferences.

Here’s a look at some of the companies that have brought their bitcoin and crypto-powered innovations to the Finovate stage.

OpenCoinFinovateSpring 2013 – The company now well-known as Ripple was introduced to Finovate audiences back in 2013. At FinovateSpring that year, Chris Larsen – CEO of a startup called OpenCoin – introduced its virtual currency and distributed open source payment network. Founded in 2012 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Ripple currently has more than 300 financial institutions who leverage its RippleNet blockchain network to power real-time payments.

KlickExFinovateAsia 2013 – New Zealand-based KlickEx unveiled its asset-backed and algorithmic cryptocurrency for institutional and retail users at FinovateAsia in 2013. The company, founded in 2009, recently announced a partnership with the National Reserve Bank of Tonga to launch a new national payment system.

CoinbaseFinovateSpring 2014 – Among the bigger names in bitcoin and cryptocurrency to have demonstrated their technology at Finovate conferences is San Francisco, California-based Coinbase. Debuting at Finovate with its Instant Exchange in 2014, Coinbase has grown into one of the biggest players in the cryptocurrency market with more than 35 million verified users and more than $320 billion in total volume traded on its platform.

AlphaPointFinovateEurope 2015 – With more than $350 million in monthly trading volume and 20 digital currency exchanges operating in 15 countries, AlphaPoint is a leading fintech exchange platform provider for digital currencies. The company demoed version two of its digital currency exchange platform at FinovateEurope in 2015.

CoinJarFinovateEurope 2015 – Australia’s largest and longest-operating bitcoin company, CoinJar demonstrated its platform at FinovateEurope 2015. The Best of Show-winning firm was the first in its market to offer a bitcoin debit card that enabled cardholders to use the cryptocurrency for everyday purchases.

BitbondFinovateEurope 2015 – Berlin, Germany’s Bitbond offers a global P2P bitcoin lending platform that enables anyone with an Internet connection to both get loans as well as invest their savings for interest. The company demonstrated its AutoInvest functionality, which facilitates and automates fund allocation in a portfolio, at FinovateEurope 2015.

itBitFinovateSpring 2015 – New York-based itBit demonstrated its bitcoin trading platform at FinovateSpring in 2015. The company’s technology enables both institutional and retail investors to buy and sell bitcoin. Rebranded as Paxos in the fall of 2016, the company has since highlighted its work in private blockchains and distributed ledger technology.

Blockstack.ioFinovateFall 2015 – Best of Show winning offers a hosted and licensed enterprise blockchain platform that enables financial services companies and others to build applications on their own private blockchain. The San Francisco, California-based company, founded in 2015, was acquired by Digital Asset Holdings for an undisclosed sum before the end of the year.

ArcBitFinovateFall 2015 – With a pledge to leverage bitcoin and blockchain technology to bring banking to the underbanked, ArcBit, which made its Finovate debut at FinovateFall in 2015, offers a mobile wallet specifically designed to give bitcoin owners full control over their cryptoholdings.

CoinalyticsFinDEVr San Francisco 2015 – Our developers conference, FinDEVr is one way that many bitcoin and crytocurrency innovators were able to bring their innovations to the public. Coinanalytics, which offers an end-to-end intelligence platform for the bitcoin industry, is an example of the kind of company developing solutions to make bitcoin a better opportunity for payments, financial services, and IoT.

BlockCypherFinDEVr Silicon Valley 2015 – Another alum of our developer’s conference, BlockCypher offers companies a cloud-optimized, enterprise-grade blockchain platform that enables them to build reliable blockchain apps. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, the company was founded in 2014.

GemFinDEVr Silicon Valley 2015 – Founded in 2014 and based in Venice, California, Gem demonstrated its API which provides a comprehensive security solution for bitcoin apps – without taking control over funds. With a few lines of code, Gem enables developers to provide an interface to their bitcoin apps that gives users better funding options.

LedgerFinovateEurope 2016 – Headquartered in Paris, France and founded in 2015, Ledger designs trusted hardware solutions for bitcoin and blockchain apps. The company’s solutions, including the Nano X and Nano S, provide cryptocurrency owners with a secure, portable way to take and manage their digital assets wherever they are.

StratumnFinDEVr New York 2016 – Enterprise blockchain technology company Stratumn provides firms with the infrastructure and tools they need to to build, deploy, and run blockchain. The company presented the high performance, proof-of-existence engine of its development platform at our developer’s conference in 2016. Jerome Lefebvre took over as CEO of the company from co-founder Richard Caetano in the fall of 2019.

Plutus.itFinovateEurope 2018 – London-based Plutus demonstrated its Tap & Pay and Debit Card solutions that enable consumers to pay with bitcoin or Ethereum at any contactless point of sale. Founded in 2016, the company currently supports more than 26,000 Plutus accounts and credits its users for acquiring more than $100,000 in rewards via its Pluton Rewards program.

Amber LabsFinovate MiddleEast 2019 – Best of Show winner Amber Labs is a bitcoin exchange, wallet, and micro-investment app in one. Headquartered in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and founded in 2017, Amber Labs offers a mobile first, automated investment platform for retail customers looking to buy and sell bitcoin.

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Ripple’s New Report Cites Growth & Challenges in Blockchain Payments

Ripple’s New Report Cites Growth & Challenges in Blockchain Payments

Payments network Ripple, in conjunction with research and advisory firm Celent, recently released their 2020 Blockchain in Payments report. The two conducted a survey to better understand adoption of blockchain-based payments across retail and digital banking, payment aggregators, and money transmitters.

The findings of the study illustrate how far the banking industry has come with regards to blockchain adoption for payments and what challenges lay ahead. In the end, Ripple offers suggestions for helping the blockchain reach mainstream adoption in payments.

The study surveyed 854 respondents across 22 countries who are directly
involved with payment services at their organization and found:

  • 59% of respondents are in production or near production for payments-related use cases.
  • 44% of respondents leveraging the blockchain recorded strong business growth in the past 12 months.
  • 98% of respondents working with the blockchain for payments have also deployed the technology for non-payments use cases.
  • 99% of respondents’ organizations would consider using a digital asset as a currency or as a means to instantly process cross-border payments.

Overall, Ripple found that businesses that have leveraged blockchain technology for cross-border payments cite four benefits: improved data quality, increased data security, cost savings, and business growth. Interestingly, the company noted that COVID-19 has had a net positive impact on the use of the blockchain in payments. Both the pandemic and the economic downturn have increased demand for payments services.

However, there are challenges ahead for the emerging technology. Specifically, Ripple noted difficulties in expediting implementation for financial institutions and securing regulatory clarity as two outstanding issues holding back more prolific use of the blockchain for payments.

With this in mind, Ripple issued three recommendations to help firms fully harness the blockchain for growth. First, governments must increase regulatory clarity. “Without clarity, mature markets will fall behind and be challenged to catch up,” the report notes. Second, integration costs must be lowered. Fortunately, standard APIs and cloud-based services are already helping to bring down costs. Finally, security must be addressed. Though blockchain networks are inherently secure, they must vet participants and prevent bad actors from gaining access.

Photo by Terry on Unsplash

Is XRP the new ESG? Ripple Takes Carbon Neutral Pledge

Is XRP the new ESG? Ripple Takes Carbon Neutral Pledge

Payments network Ripple announced a move today that will make its climate change activist users happy. The company has pledged to be carbon net-zero by 2030 and to decarbonize public blockchains.

“The blockchain and digital asset industry will play a critical role in building a sustainable future for global finance,” the company said in a blog post. “We, as an industry, need to come together to dramatically reduce our collective environmental impact as broad adoption takes hold.”

Ripple plans to decarbonize public blockchains in partnership with the XRP Ledger Foundation, Energy Web, and Rocky Mountain Institute. To achieve this goal, the group is using Energy Web’s EW Zero, an application to find and source emissions-free renewable energy. EW Zero provides an open-source tool that enables any blockchain, not just Ripple’s XRP Ledger, to decarbonize by purchasing renewable energy in local markets in partnership with Energy Web Foundation.

In addition to this, Ripple announced it is:

  • Measuring its own carbon footprint and reducing it by purchasing clean, renewable energy for its offices and business activities
  • Investing in carbon removal technology with the goal of removing all of its emissions by 2030
  • Driving new research with the University College London (UCL) and the National University of Singapore to evaluate energy consumption across digital assets, credit card networks, and cash; and understand environmental impact of crypto adoption

Cryptocurrencies don’t have the same negative environmental impacts as paper currencies, which contribute to pollution, deforestation, and a large carbon footprint. The mining techniques that cryptocurrencies require, however, consume large amounts of energy. This is especially true with Bitcoin. Ripple reported that XRP is 61,000x more energy efficient than Bitcoin, which last year consumed almost as much energy as the country of Portugal does on average.

Ripple is the first major player in the crypto space to make a move like this but it likely won’t be the last. According to a report by Morningstar, over the past three years Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) index funds have doubled in both number and asset size. Ripple’s new environmentally friendly approach will likely piggyback on the success of ESG investing.

Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash

Finovate Alums Earn Spots in CNBC’s 2020 Disruptor 50

Finovate Alums Earn Spots in CNBC’s 2020 Disruptor 50

Six companies that have demonstrated their fintech innovations on the Finovate stage have been recognized this year by CNBC as part of their Disruptor 50 roster for 2020.

This year’s list, the eighth in the series, is marked by the high number of billion-dollar companies, or “unicorns.” Fully 36 of the firms in the 2020 CNBC Disruptor 50 have reached or surpassed the $1 billion valuation mark. Combined, the 50 companies have raised more than $74 billion in VC funding and achieved an implied market valuation of almost $277 billion.

The companies making the cut range in industry from cybersecurity and healthcare IT to education and, of course, fintech. In fact, the top-ranked company in the 2020 Disruptor 50 is none other than Stripe, the $36 billion payments platform founded in 2010. Stripe earned a #13 ranking in last year’s Disruptor 50 roster, and likely owes its first place appearance this year to a major $600 million funding raising – the company’s largest to date – and the economic and social consequences of the global health crisis.

“With many people throughout the world under lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” CNBC’s capsule on the company noted, “the move to shopping online has never been greater. That’s good news for digital payments platform Stripe.”

Stripe was not the only fintech to earn high marks from the 2020 Disruptor 50’s methodology. In addition to the half dozen Finovate alums below, some of the other fintechs on this year’s roster include:

  • Virtual bank WeLab (Hong Kong)
  • Digital mortgage company (New York City)
  • “Buy now pay later” e-commerce company Affirm (San Francisco, California)
  • Challenger bank Chime (San Francisco, California)
  • Banking app Dave (Los Angeles, California)
  • Microfinancier TALA (Santa Monica, California)
  • Trading and investing platform Robinhood (Menlo Park, California)

Also earning spots in this year’s list were a pair of insurtech companies, Lemonade and Root Insurance, as well as cybersecurity and biometric authentication firms SentinelOne and CLEAR, respectively.

Here’s a look at the Finovate alums that made this year’s list.

#5 Klarna

  • Founded: 2005
  • Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden
  • CEO: Sebastian Siemiakowski
  • Valuation: $5.5 billion
  • Previous ranking: #8 in 2016

#8 SoFi

  • Founded: 2011
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • CEO: Antony Noto
  • Valuation: $4.8 billion
  • Previous ranking: #26 in 2019

#24 Kabbage

  • Founded: 2009
  • Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia
  • CEO: Rob Frohwein
  • Valuation: $1.1 billion
  • Previous ranking: #14 in 2019

#27 Trulioo

  • Founded: 2011
  • Headquarters: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • CEO: Steve Munford
  • Valuation: N.A.
  • Previous ranking: #37 in 2017

#28 Ripple

  • Founded: 2012
  • Headquarters: San Francisco, California
  • CEO: Brad Garlinghouse
  • Valuation: $10 billion
  • Previous ranking: First appearance

#33 Marqeta

  • Founded: 2010
  • Headquarters: Oakland, California
  • CEO: Jason Gardner
  • Valuation: $4.3 billion
  • Previous ranking: First appearance

Photo by Malte Luk from Pexels

Ripple Signs First Bank Customer for RippleNet Cloud

Ripple Signs First Bank Customer for RippleNet Cloud

Blockchain payment solutions company Ripple announced this week it has signed Banco Rendimento to RippleNet Cloud. The addition of the Brazil-based bank marks the first bank to leverage Ripple’s cloud-based solution.

This news comes a year-and-a-half after Banco Rendimento joined RippleNet in 2019. “Migrating our payment infrastructure to RippleNet Cloud allows us to provide our customers with a best-in-class experience,” said Banco Rendimento FX Superintendent Jacques Zylbergeld. “Customers can now enjoy more transparency and easier navigation for both submitting payments and trading. RippleNet also allows us access to global partners, offering a standardized solution, and ensuring the integration and onboarding processes are seamless.”

Banco Rendimento considers itself a pioneer in the international payments space and is working to grow the payments ecosystem with high quality, fair cost solutions. With the implementation of RippleNet Cloud, the bank expects it will increase payment volumes by the first quarter of next year.

RippleNet is Ripple’s global payment network that connects 300+ financial institutions worldwide to enable faster, lower-cost payments. Currently, two dozen non-bank financial services companies, including Azimo, MoneyMatch, iRemit, Usend / Pontual, MoneyGram, and Viamericas, are clients of Ripple’s cloud service. And the customer list is increasing. Ripple reported that in the first quarter of this year, 81% of new RippleNet customers opted for cloud deployment and and 30% of all RippleNet payments are now being sent and/or received through RippleNet Cloud.

Earlier this year, Ripple announced that Azimo, in partnership with Thailand’s Siam Commercial bank (SCB), began leveraging RippleNet to launch instant cross-border payments from Europe to Thailand.

Ripple has offices in San Francisco, Washington D.C., New York, London, Mumbai, Singapore, São Paulo, Reykjavik and Dubai, and counts more than 300 customers around the world. The company’s payments network operates in 45+ countries across six continents. Ripple was founded in 2012 and has since amassed $294 million across 13 rounds of funding. Chris Larsen is founder and CEO.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Will a Hackathon Help the Fight Against COVID? A Spotlight on Fintech in Asia

Will a Hackathon Help the Fight Against COVID? A Spotlight on Fintech in Asia

The world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and financial services and fintech companies are no exception. We’ve taken a look at how lenders are working to help small businesses struggling with cash flow challenges, and how firms are offering their services free of charge during the crisis to help businesses continue operating with as little interruption as possible.

Beyond this, a number of institutions around the world have taken more innovative approaches to helping manage the dislocations caused by COVID-19. Stockholm, Sweden-based Swedbank, for example, has supported hackathons in Latvia and Lithuania dedicated toward finding solutions to help businesses and individuals deal with COVID-19 related issues. The firm announced today that it is sponsoring a global hackathon in April, called “The Global Hack” to broaden the effort to get fintechs involved in the effort.

Swedbank is specifically sponsoring the economy track of the hackathon, which Swedbank Head of Digital Banking and IT Lotta Lovén said would help drive innovation in products designed to help keep markets moving.

“We not only dive into topics that will help our customers and industry through these unprecedented times, but the results will also support the local communities and the society as a whole,” Lovén said.

The Global Hack event is also supported by the European Commission, the World Health Organization, The World Economic Forum, and LinkedIn, among others.

The Fintech Times has just published its special edition on Asia – guest edited by The Finanser’s Chris Skinner. And while the timing does not allow for much consideration of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on China’s fintech industry, a handful of articles nevertheless feature worth-reading insights on what that industry might look like on the other side of the current public health crisis.

Foremost among them – and having the most relevance for Western audiences – may be Jim Marous’ article, Tomorrow’s Model for Banking Exists Today. Marous, publisher of The Financial Brand, credits “big data, advanced analytics, modern digital technology and an innovation culture” for what he calls “the spectacular growth of innovative financial services in China.” The fact that this innovation is accompanied by – instead of being ahead of – successful financial inclusion makes the achievements of China’s techfin and fintech enterprises all the more worth learning from.

Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Payments platform Paysafe launches Paysafecash in Latvia.
  • Russia’s second-largest bank, VTB Bank, announces big data joint venture with telecom Rostelecom.
  • Polish payments processor KIR partners with Danish authentication solutions provider Cryptomathic.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • PayBy, a fintech based in Abu Dhabi, begins mobile payment services in the UAE.
  • Dubai-based Rise, which provides banking services to underbanked migrant workers in the UAE, raises $1.4 million in funding.
  • Mobile banking services provider Khazna secures seed funding in round led by Egyptian VC Algebra Ventures.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Recko, an Indian fintech that leverages AI to reconcile digital transaction plans, raises $6 million in Series A funding.
  • Fortune India looks at the impact of COVID-19 on India’s fintech industry.
  • The case for an “urgent adoption” of digital cash in Pakistan.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Uruguayn-Mexican fintech Mozper, which specializes in helping parents financially educate their children, raises pre-seed investment of $770,000.
  • Mexico-based digital payment processor Kushki locks in Series A funding in round led by DILA Capital.
  • Brazil’s Cora adds cash flow boosting feature to its SME platform that enables customers that are observing quarantines to purchasing vouchers today from their favorite merchant for goods and services to be picked up later.


  • Japanese digital banking startup Kyash raises $45 million in Series C funding.
  • Hong Kong virtual bank Airstar Bank pilots its virtual banking service.
  • Ripple to power cross-border payments for Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South African fintech TaxTim teams up with PwC to support expansion to Nigeria.
  • Zeepay Ghana wins approval for mobile money license.
  • Bank of Zimbabwe inks memorandum of agreement with Apollo Fintech to build a gold-based digital currency.

Top image designed by Freepik

Global Fintech and the COVID-19 Crisis

Global Fintech and the COVID-19 Crisis

The fight against the coronavirus pandemic has captured the attention of people all over the world. From medical professionals on the front lines of caring for the sick to small businesses making hard decisions about how to keep their workforces intact during lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, everyone has been touched by the current crisis.

Earlier this week, we took a look at how fintechs and financial services firms are rising to the challenge of the COVID-19 outbreak. Looking at three different areas – safety, digitalization, and service – we saw how companies in countries ranging from Russia and India to the U.K. and the U.S. are lending their insights, talents, and generosity to the cause.

Companies like London-based Aire, a Finovate alum that is offering lenders three months of free access to its credit insight service, are an example of what is happening across the fintech space. “We’re seeing an unprecedented level of change in the market for consumers right now,” company founder and CEO Aneesh Varma said. “Lenders are understandably stretched and struggling to build accurate pictures of their customers in real-time.”

CoinDCX Cashes In: Two weeks ago we interviewed Neeraj Khandelwal, co-founder of Indian cryptocurrency trading platform CoinDCX, on cryptocurrencies and cashlessness. This week, we learned that the company has raised $3 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Polychain Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, and HDR Group. The capital will help the company launch new products, boost R&D efforts and marketing, and build the CoinDCX team.

“As the country’s largest exchange, we are in a position to drive national crypto adoption forward responsibly,” CEO and co-founder Sumit Gupta said. “This successful investment round will go a long way in funding our vision of accelerating India’s growth into a $5 trillion economy.”

Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Kenya-based telecom Safaricom to waive fees for its M-Pesa mobile money service to help customers avoid cash during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Somalia’s MyBank to deploy Sharia-compliant, core banking technology from Path Solutions.
  • Ghana goes live with its Universal Quick Response (QR) Code and Proxy Pay system.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • SME Finance, a factoring services provider for businesses in the Baltics and Poland, picks up 10 million euro investment from new partner, Citadele Bank of Latvia.
  • Berlin, Germany-based, digital business bank Penta raises 18.5 million euros in new funding.
  • The COVID crisis has authorities in Russia decontaminating cash and urging citizens to use digital payments.
  • Erste Bank Hungary deploys mobile security technology from OneSpan.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • DriveWealth announces its first MENA region partnership: a collaboration with UAE-based wealth management firm, Wealthface.
  • Al Ansari Exchange taps Pelican for financial crime compliance.
  • Emirates’ World Investments commits to investment of $255 million in Australian challenger bank Xinja.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Mobile payments company HUMBL forges new partnership with Digital India Payments.
  • Singapore-based anti-fraud solutions provider Advance.AI opens offices in Bengaluru and Delhi.
  • Indian alt lender Vivriti Capital secures $50 million in Series B funding.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mexican SME lender Creditjusto raises $100 million in debt financing from Credit Suisse Group.
  • Brazilian fintech Creditas announces plans to boost staff by 500 by the end of the year.
  • Wirecard teams up with Mexico’s Banca Afirme as the German digital payments solutions provider extends further into the Mexican market.


  • TransferWise teams up with Alipay to enable fund transfers to China.
  • Bank of China launches its AI-based FX trading signal app via Eikon.
  • Thai remittance company DeeMoney goes live on RippleNet.

Top image designed by Freepik