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Tracking fintech, banking & financial services innovations since 1994
In a round led by Tencent, digital wealth management platform Scalable Capital has locked in more than $183 million (€150 million) in Series E funding. The new capital brings the company’s total funding to more than $317 million (€260 million) and gives the Munich, Germany-based firm a valuation of $1.4 billion – making the firm Germany’s, and fintech’s, latest unicorn. Scalable Capital said that the financing will help the company add to its workforce, as well as help support expansion into European markets like France, Italy, and Spain.
“We see huge demand to invest money in the capital markets instead of leaving it in bank accounts,” Scalable Capital co-CEO and co-founder Florian Prucker said. “Our clients can access fully managed globally diversified ETF portfolios and – in the same app – self directed trading in shares, ETFs, crypto currencies, and funds. We also provide a market-leading offering of ETF, stocks, and crypto monthly savings plans. We are planning to launch derivatives trading next.”
Having Tencent as an investor, according to Scalable Capital co-CEO and co-founder Erik Podzuweit, will also help the company improve its appeal to millennial customers who have become increasingly comfortable investing via their smartphones.
A Finovate alum since 2016, Scalable Capital offers banks, insurers, and corporate clients a digital wealth management platform that support automated investing and rebalancing. With customers ranging from ING to Openbank (Santander’s digital bank) to Siemans Financial Services, Scalable Capital provides globally diversified, cost-efficient ETF portfolios that are personalized to the investor’s risk profile.
Scalable Capital currently has more than $5 billion in assets under management. In the wake of this week’s funding, the company plans to add cryptocurrencies to its product portfolio, open a new office in Berlin, and double its workforce this year to 400.
Scalable Capital began the year with a pivot: the company announced in January that it would continue its direct to consumer business in Germany and Austria, but will limit its operations in the U.K. to its B2B business. The cost of customer acquisition was cited as one of the challenges to the company’s retail ambitions in the U.K. and, as such, Scalable Capital decided to focus on expansion and development with its German platform and its B2C and wealth businesses.
Also this year, Scalable Capital announced the appointment of new Chief Strategy Officer Dirk Urmoneit. Urmoneit comes to the company after holding senior positions at index provider Solactive AG and investment banks J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs.
A report earlier this year from PwC highlighted the “changing competitive landscape” for fintech and banking in Nigeria. For those looking to learn more about both the growing impact of technology in financial services in one of the major countries in Africa, as well as the challenge created by COVID-19, PwC’s review provides an comprehensive overview.
The report also concludes with nine recommendations the analysts believe would encourage continued growth in Nigeria’s fintech ecosystem. These recommendations range from making it easier to invest in fintech companies to encouraging partnerships and “strengthen(ing) the synergy between banks and FinTech players” in a mutually beneficial way.
Financial inclusion is a huge part of both the challenge of – and the opportunity for – fintech in Nigeria. The report notes that more than 30 million adult Nigerians do not have or use either formal or informal financial services products or solutions. This represents more than a third of the country’s adult population. And while the report points out that mobile money operators have been among the businesses to help bring more financial services to the underbanked, there are some fintechs that have taken up the cause of financial inclusion, as well. A trio of these companies are highlighted below:
Bankly is a cash digitization and savings platform that caters to Nigeria’s unbanked. The company provides a digital wallet that is secure, convenient, and accessible, and all users require in order to open an account is a phone number. Bankly leverages more than 2,000 agents across 29 of the country’s 36 states to scale the company’s offering.
In operation for just over a year, Bankly has already picked up recognition from the 2019 Innovating Justice Awards sponsored by the Hague Institute for the Innovation of Law. The company has also participated in the GreenHouse Capital accelerator program. Tomilola Adejana (CEO) and Fredrick Adams are co-founders.
Covr Branchless offers banks, insurance companies, and government agencies a suite of applications that enable them to leverage cloud, GPS, and mobile channels to conduct a wide variety of financial processes. Account opening, instant debit card linking, cash withdrawals, fund transfer, billpay, KYC validation and loan origination are among the operations enabled by Covr’s technology.
Covr is owned by Advancio Interactive, a Nigerian technology company focused on sustainable financial access that was founded by Olufisayo Oludare (Managing Director). Covr won Advancio first place at the Startup Istanbul Challenge in the fall of 2017, only the second Africa-based startup to do so.
FairMoney is a online micro lender that provides instant loans from N1,500 to N500,000 (approximately $4 to $1,300), with average loans of about N12,000 ($33-$35). Using the company’s Android mobile app, prospective borrowers apply for financing by answering a few questions and providing some basic financial information. The app analyzes this information – as well as the borrowers geolocation and other factors – to make a loan offer in a matter of minutes.
But what makes the company especially interesting is the fact that it is working to launch a challenger bank. FairMoney raised $11 million in Series A funding last fall for this purpose and plans to expand its offerings to include current and savings accounts.
Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.
Central and Southern Asia
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) encourages government to incentivize the use of QR code transactions and promotes the adoption of open, interoperable standards.
Amazon to offer car and motorcycle insurance in India courtesy of partnership with Acko General Insurance.
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) facilitates recurring payments with its new UPI AutoPay feature.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Brazil’s Central Bank reverses course to authorize payments system involving WhatsApp.
Payscout teams up with Brazilian fintech Rede Celer to grow its payments business in the country.
Partnership between FacePhi and Naranja X will help bring biometric recognition technology to digital onboarding processes for firms in Argentina.
Finovate: Ant Group’s Double IPO Listing Shuns U.S. Exchanges.
Trulioobrings its GlobalGateway identity verification technology to customers in Vietnam.
Crowdfund Insider takes a look at the impact of COVID-19 on fintech lending platforms in Indonesia.
Telco Orange and bancassurance company NSIA team up to launch Orange Bank Africa to serve underbanked communities in Abidjan and Cote d’Ivoire.
Vodacom partners with Ant Financial Services Group to bring Alipay services to South Africa.
Uganda-based digital cross-border money transfer startup Eversend raises $1 million via an oversubscribed Seeders crowdfunding campaign.
Central and Eastern Europe
Germany’s Scalable Capitallands $460 million valuation with new $58 million funding round.
Russian bank Tinkoffunveils new functionalities for its financial and lifestyle services voice assistant Oleg.
EstateGuru, a P2P lending platform based in Estonia, launches a new payment service in partnership with Lemonway.
Middle East and Northern Africa
Oman’s BankDhofar extends partnership with Diebold Nixdorf to improve the customer experience of its ATM network. Bank Nizwa, also based in Oman, announced an extension of its digital payments partnership with Mastercard.
Turkey-based online payments platform Mobilexpress secures $2 million in Series A funding.
Spotii, an e-commerce technology provider based in the UAE, unveils new deferred payment option.
Scalable Capitallanded $58 million (€50 million) for its roboadvisory platform this week. The new funds come courtesy of BlackRock, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, and Tengelmann Ventures.
Today’s round brings Scalable Capital’s total funding to $133 million (€116 million) and boosts the Germany-based company’s valuation to $460 million. Scalable Capital will use the investment to grow in the wealth management and brokerage spaces, and invest in the B2B side of its business.
“In times of COVID-19, our funding round is a powerful signal; it shows that our focused, digital business model is convincing the investors,” said company Co-founder and Co-CEO, Erik Podzuweit. “We will use the additional capital to expand our position as the market leader in digital wealth management and to reach new customer segments with the broker.”
With 80,000 customers across Germany, Austria, the U.K., and Switzerland, Scalable Capital has $2 billion in assets under management. The company offers personalized, fully managed investment portfolios.
Using its risk management technology, Scalable Capital’s B2C offering aims to make investing accessible for everyone by charging simple, transparent fees.
“We established Scalable Capital to make investing easier and better through technology,” said Scalable Capital Co-founder and Co-CEO Florian Prucker. “Not only has our B2C business grown strongly over the last few years, but Scalable Capital’s technology is also used by more and more B2B partners; most recently we launched our partnership with Barclays. With this funding round, we also want to expand our team of currently 130 employees in order to drive our expansion and the further development of our platform.”
The company’s flagship offering is a B2B approach that brings its roboadvisory technology to help banks offer their clients a different flavor of investing. Scalable Capital recently added three additional partners to its roster and now boasts partnerships with firms including Barclays, Gerd Kommer Capital, Raiffeisen Banking Group Austria, ING Deutschland, Siemens Private Finance, Openbank, Targobank, Oskar, and Baader Bank, and others.
Whether you believe our climbing stock markets around the world are a result of massive, coronavirus-fighting monetary and fiscal stimulus, or merely Millennials easing into their family formation years, there’s no doubting the demand for solutions that help investors maximize the opportunities of advancing markets.
This makes the news that Barclays has launched a new digital wealth management service – Barclays Plan and Invest – all the more timely. It also makes the fact that they’ve partnered with Finovate alum Scalable Capital to launch the new service all the more interesting.
“Over the last few months, we’ve seen a rise in the number of people wanting to invest for the first time and it feels more important than ever that we give people the right tools and advice to plan for their financial future,” Dirk Klee, CEO of Wealth Management and Investments at Barclays explained.
“We launched Plan & Invest after listening to our customers, who said they wanted an investment service that gave them the convenience and affordability of robo-advice, but with more of the personalization of Wealth Management.”
Barclays will pilot the new roboadvisory service with current account customers that have at least £5,000 to invest. The solution will be accessible via Online Banking, and features dedicated customer support via telephone. Barclays said that it will add to the service over the balance of the year, including adding it to the Barclays app this summer.
Customers will be able to set up their own personalized investment plans using Barclays Plan & Invest for free. They will be charged an annual fee of between 1.39% and 1.59% once accounts are established and funded; the actual amount of the annual fee is based on the value of the customer’s investments, and is divided between service and product costs.
Founded in 2014 and making its Finovate debut two years later at FinovateEurope, Scalable Capital specializes in leveraging technology to make sophisticated investment management accessible to the average investor. Headquartered in Munich, Germany, and in London, U.K., the company offers investors access to globally diversified, cost-efficient, ETF portfolios based on their individual risk preferences and investment goals.
Among the largest roboadvisors in Europe, Scalable Capital serves more than 60,000 customers and manages more than £2 billion for its clients. The company has raised €66 million in funding, and includes BlackRock, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, and Monk’s Hill Ventures, among its investors.
Munich-based robo-advisor platform, Scalable Capital, has raised a further €25 million in growth capital, two years after BlackRock invested €30 million, writes Jane Connolly of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).
Handelsblatt reports that HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and Tengelmann Ventures also took part in this round.
Founded in 2016, Scalable aims to target high-earning young professionals, who invest an average of €35,000. Customers can answer a list of questions about their experiences and objectives, to receive a recommendation for a portfolio of listed index funds (ETFs).
Although the amount raised is relatively low for the industry, Scalable Capital founder Erik Podzuweit said, in the Handelsblatt Disrupt podcast: “Actually, we did not need the money, because unlike some other business models, each customer pays for the offer.”
He added: “So we took the money and can now grow a little faster and at the same time still keep something in reserve.”
BlackRock acquired just under a third of the company two years ago. Despite the capital increase, the founders still have ownership of more than a quarter of the business.
Scalable Capital demonstrated its technology at FinovateEurope 2016. Last month, the company teamed up with Futurae to add multi-factor authentication to its investment platform. This spring, the company was named to the Wealthtech 100.
The ID Co.Unveils its Income Verification Solution.
FinicityPartners with Pulte Mortgage to Accelerate Asset Verification.
Around the web
CBANChires Mike Snavely as Chief Commercial Officer.
Congrats to 3rd Eyes,ArthaYantra, aixigo, BaseVenture, Capitalise, Entersekt, eToro, Finantix, Fincite, Finhorizon, ForwardLane, Hydrogen, Scalable Capital, Sentifi, Tradeit, Trizic, WealthWizards, WealthForge, and Xignite on being recognized in the Wealthtech 100.
Xero’s new invoicing experience available for all Xero customers and partners over the next two weeks
Nordigenopens new office in Spain to expand operations.
Yseop’s AI solution for Société Générale wins award for most innovative initiative of the year at this year’s Digital Finance Awards. Come see Yseop at FinovateSpring next month.
Contovista and NDGITexpand partnership, enabling Contovista to be implemented via the German NDGIT API marketplace.
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.
Scalable Capital is saying, “Gruetzi mittenand” to Switzerland today. The U.K.-based robo advisor has launched its services in Switzerland, the fourth country to which Scalable Capital has expanded, following launches in U.K., Germany, and Austria.
Describing Switzerland as “an interesting market for every wealth manager,” Scalable Capital Co-founder Simon Miller said that the company made the move knowing it could offer real value to Swiss retail investors. Miller added, “We are the only independent robo-advisor in Europe using three key building blocks to build a truly customer-centric product: professional risk management for every individual portfolio, low cost, and a comprehensive digital service with unparalleled transparency.”
With a Swiss customer phone hotline, as well as a website aimed specifically to serve Swiss customers, the startup has an E.U.-wide approval and can offer its services across the E.U. without having to go through additional application processes. Scalable Capital’s German custodian bank partner, Baader Bank AG, will provide tax reporting and will serve as the custodian bank for all Swiss customers, managing their portfolios in euros.
Scalable Capital was founded in 2014 and now serves more than 20,000 clients with $810 million (£600 million) assets under management. The company holds partnerships with BlackRock, Siemens Private Finance, and Germany’s third-largest retail bank, ING-DiBa.
Scalable Capital most recently presented at FinovateEurope 2016. The company has 70 employees and has raised $49 million. Last spring, Scalable Capital was the only European startup to be recognized on CNBC’s Upstart 25 list.