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Tracking fintech, banking & financial services innovations since 1994
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) is having a moment in fintech. And one of the leading players in the space is expanding its innovations into the offline realm.
Minnesota-based Sezzle unveiled its virtual payments card this week, helping users benefit from its BNPL technology during their in-store shopping trips. The company has partnered with card issuing platform Marqeta to power its new virtual card.
Sezzle virtual cardholders will be able to use Sezzle’s installment payments technology in-store at retailers that already accept Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as online. The purchases are interest-free and can be split into four installments, paid out over six weeks.
“As traditional, in-store retail re-emerges, it’s critical that we support our merchant partners by giving them new tools to jump-start sales, both online and in-store,” said Sezzle Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Killian Brackey. “As a proven solution for driving incremental sales and new customer growth, we are thrilled to publicly announce an easy way for U.S. retailers to offer Buy Now, Pay Later in store.”
The in-store user experience is simple. At checkout, consumers authenticate themselves and tap their phone at the point-of-sale terminal, which will activate their Sezzle card.
Sezzle’s news comes on the heels of PayPal’s announcement that it plans to add a BNPL competitor. The payments giant revealed on Monday the launch of Pay in 4, a short-term payments installment product for U.S. customers.
Four-year-old Sezzle, which listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) last summer, has seen a recent uptick in adoption, spurred by the economic effects of the coronavirus. The company added 325,000 new users in the second quarter of this year, up 326% from the same period last year. Sezzle has a market capitalization of $848 million.
Two of the biggest themes in fintech – digital identity and the rise of fintech in Central and Eastern Europe – meet in the latest announcement from biometric authentication specialist and Finovate Best of Show winner iProov. The company’s facial recognition technology now makes it easier for users of SK ID Solutions’ Smart-ID Service in countries like Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to renew their accounts without having to visit a physical bank branch.
“This is a major development for all digital identity providers,” iProov CEO Andrew Bud said. “Estonia has proved, for the first time, that a remote, automated, biometric ID verification service can deliver the highest possible levels of security.”
Recognized as equal to a handwritten signature throughout Europe, Smart-IDs enable users to authenticate themselves and provide permissions online using a smartphone app. iProov’s facial recognition technology adds a three-second scan to compare the image of the user to the image on their presented ID document to help defend against fraud and identity theft.
Smart-ID also leverages NFC-based ReadID document verification technology from InnoValor.
Financial crime risk management innovator Featurespace will be helping Enfuce combat fraud and money laundering courtesy of a newly announced partnership. Enfuce, a financial services firm based in Finland, will use Featurespace’s ARIC Risk Hub to enhance its ability to protect its customers from fraud and financial crime.
“Our clients deserve industry-leading services that allow them to freely and fully concentrate on the success of their core business, without worrying about ever-evolving fraud,” Enfuce co-founder and chair Monika Liikamaa said.
ARIC Risk Hub offers real-time transaction monitoring for fraud and financial crime, enabling institutions to identify and act against anomalous and potentially dangerous behavior as it occurs. The technology also reduces the number of false positives by as much as 70%, keeping anti-fraud processes efficient. Featurespace introduced its fraud-fighting technology to Finovate audiences at FinovateEurope 2016.
Here is a round up of recent news from our Finovate alumni.
Sezzleunveils new logo along with its first annual report.
Flybitsexpands its executive team in New York, Toronto, the U.K., and Dubai.
Yseop and Automation Anywhere join forces to scale intelligent automation.
Lighter Capitalappoints Kevin Fink at CTO and Patricia Elliott as CSO.
InCommlaunches Roblox gift cards in France and Germany.
Finovate Alum Features and Profiles
Revolut’s $500 Million Round Boosts Valuation to $5.5 Billion – Global financial platform Revolut has secured its place as the U.K.’s most valuable fintech.
Dealing with Deepfakes in Fintech – The fintech industry is ripe with security firms, such as iProov, that use AI to combat both video and audio deepfakes with anti-spoofing technologies.
Envestnet | Yodlee Acquires Indian Data Aggregator FinBit.io – Envestnet | Yodlee has acquired another asset in its strategy to further grow and develop its data aggregation and analytics business.
Meet Sonect: Cash Network Builder, Finovate Newcomer, Best of Show Winner – What’s better than having a large pizza with all your favorite toppings delivered to your front door? How about a side order of cash, saving you a trip to the ATM or bank branch?
Azimo Taps Ripple for Cross-Border Payments to the Philippines – Fueling these payment transfers is Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) solution that uses XRP to source liquidity and complete money transfers within three seconds.
Lendio Lands $55 Million to Match Small Businesses with Lenders – The investment more than doubles the company’s previous funding, bringing its total to $108.5 million.
SheerID Expands Identity Marketing Platform – The move enables brands to identify and acquire new customers across the globe.
It is hard to imagine having a better start to your week than Plaid had seven days ago when the innovative fintech (and Finovate alum) announced that it had agreed to be acquired by Visa for $5.3 billion.
But the €90 million ($100 million) raised by Swedish open banking platform Tink on Monday is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, the funding, which is the company’s largest to date, is a reminder that investment interest in (and funding for) companies dedicated to developing the infrastructure that connects consumers, banks, and the financial technologies is very much in abundance.
“Our aim is to become the preferred pan-European provider of digital banking services and to offer the technology needed for banks, fintechs, and startups to leverage the opportunities of open banking and enable them to successfully develop financial services in the future,” Tink co-founder and CEO Daniel Kjellén said in a statement.
The London-based money transfer firm, founded in 2012, promoted its COO Richard Ambrose to CEO back in August, as Azimo founder Michael Kent took what TechCrunch referred to as a lateral move to become executive chairman. Today, Fintech Futures, Finovate’s sister publication, reports that the company has appointed Dora Ziambra to the post of Chief Operating Officer. Azimo also promoted its head of finance Tatiana Okhotina to the post of Chief Financial Officer.
“We’re fortunate to have the depth of talent to fill these top roles internally,” Ambrose said in a statement. “We’re lucky too that Azimo will continue to benefit from the experience and leadership of these two outstanding women.”
Here’s our weekly roundup of the latest news from our Finovate alumni:
Union Bank to leverage technology from FIS for core banking.
Italy-based CREDEM leveragingWorldline’s Payment and Liquidity Hub software CRISTAL to process Target2 payments
POS software Vend partners with Klarna to offer retailers more flexible payment options.
U.K. food retailer The Co-operative to deployACI Worldwide’s fraud management solution, ReD Shield.
A partnership between TransferGo and Currencycloud will enable the money transfer company to enter 14 new markets.
YellowDogforges reseller agreement with Annex Pro.
Bankable cozies up with Plaid to allow its bank customers to connect with their users’ bank accounts.
Ohpenappoints former Tesla marketing leader Corinne Aaron as new head of marketing.
Segmint to acquire WAND’s Product and Service Taxonomy division.
CuneXuscelebrates 2019 success with a 40% year-over-year increase in consumer reach.
Three Key Lessons We Learned from Plaid – Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Visa is acquiring Plaid for a deal that’s worth $5.3 billion. The fact that they were so widely used at such an early stage is a testament to the quality of their code, but there are also a few key lessons to take away from their success.
ITSCREDIT’s Joao Pinto on the Digital Lending Opportunity – ITSCREDIT is a spinoff from ITSECTOR and is a fairly new player in the digital lending space. In this interview, Pinto talks to us about the digital lending opportunity, how his company fits into the current state of this fintech subsector, and what we can expect to see next.
Kasasa Enhances its Take-Back Loan – Community bank marketing expert Kasasaannounced a partnership with Carleton today in which Kasasa will integrate Carleton’s insurance and debt protection calculations into its Kasasa Loan.
Plinqit Brings Rewards-Powered Financial Literacy to First Community Bank – One day in the distant future, children will be educated in basic financial literacy as readily as they are taught algebra. Until then, solutions like Plinqit from HT Mobile Apps will be valuable tools for credit unions and community banks looking for novel ways to engage and educate their members and customers.
Credit, Data, and Cryptocurrencies: Graychain Rebrands as Credmark – The company that is bringing credit data clarity to the cryptocurrency industry is entering 2020 with a new name.
Tradeshift Lands $240 Million as it Inches Toward Profitability – The San Francisco-based company will use the investment to boost expansion efforts and gear toward a “direct path to profitability in the near future.”
Backbase-as-a-Service Helps Banks Leverage the Cloud to Innovate and Scale – The solution makes the company’s broad portfolio of digital banking offerings available to FIs looking to accelerate their ability to develop and offer new technologies to customers.
Also on Finovate.com
Visa to Acquire Plaid in $5.3 Billion Deal – “Today marks an important milestone for our company and for fintech,” company co-founder and CEO Zach Perret wrote on the Plaid blog earlier today. “What started with two founders building in a cramped conference room has become an incredible network that enables millions of consumers to interact with over 2,500 digital finance products.”
Not Another 2020 Trends Prediction Post (Seriously, It’s Not!) – We’re taking a look at the trends you can expect to see on stage next month at FinovateEurope. To keep things simple this year, we assessed the themes at a very high level and broke them down into three categories: the big, the little, and the trends in-between.
Singapore’s Digital Banking License Space Race Accelerates – Is there anyone out there who is NOT trying to secure a digital banking license in Singapore? The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced last week that has received 21 applications for digital bank licenses.
MogoSpend Offers Credit, Cashback, and Help Reducing Your Carbon Footprint – The new digital spending account from Canadian fintech Mogo does more than help Canadians get control of their finances. The solution also offers cardholders generous cashback rewards and a way to make a positive impact on the environment by reducing their carbon footprint.
Getsafe Expands its Insurtech to the U.K. – If your insurance company is offering you drone insurance, you know it’s not your grandmother’s insurance agency. Germany-based insurtech Getsafe does just that– and the company announced today it is expanding its home contents insurance offering (though, sadly, not its drone insurance offering) to users in the U.K.
Raisin’s New Acquisition Gives Company Access to the U.S. Market – European deposit marketplace Raisin announced today it acquired New York-based Choice Financial Solutions.
French Fintech Lydia Locks in $45 Million – TechCrunch reported this morning that French mobile payment app Lydia has raised $45 million (€40 million) in a round led by Tencent.
Visa’s Tap to Phone Brings Contactless Payments to mPOS – With Visa’sTap to Phone app arriving pre-installed on the new, enterprise grade smartphone from Samsung, a broad range of merchants will have access to yet another way to accept payments from customers.
INTL FCStone Acquires International Bank Transfer Firm – Headquartered in Germany, GIROXX offers international bank transfers and currency hedging. INTL FCStone plans to leverage this technology to expand its current client base to small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Alternative ecommerce payments company Sezzle made its public debut this week. The Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) under the ticker SZL.
Within two hours of listing, Sezzle was being traded 82% above its opening price of $0.83 (AUD $1.22). The company was ultimately able to raise $30 million on its first day of trading. Sezzle will use the funds to attract more retailers to its platform, which currently boasts just over 5,000 merchants. The company will also enhance support for its 430,000 clients.
Why Australia? Sezzle is the first one to admit it has no plans of operating in Australia in the near future. The company’s reasoning for listing on the ASX is that the country’s investors are more familiar with Sezzle’s buy now, pay later model since one of its rivals, Afterpay, is based in Melbourne. Sezzle CEO Charlie Youakim explained this in further detail during an interview with Bloomberg yesterday.
Sezzle’s technology, which allows customers to split their ecommerce purchases into four installments with only 25% down and no fees, is only available for shoppers in the U.S. and, as the company just announced this week, Canada. It is also available for merchants regardless of their location across the globe as they seek to expand their North American customer base.
When asked about international expansion, Youakim told Bloomberg in an interview, “The product lends itself to expanding internationally,” he said. “We’re researching new markets but the vast majority of our focus is in North America.”
The company makes money not by billing users, but by charging merchants, which face a 6% + $0.30 fee on each transaction. And the model seems to be working. From March 2018 to March 2019, Sezzle’s merchant sales grew by 16x to $28.3 million. In exchange for the fee, merchants are paid upfront and don’t inherit the risk of the customer not paying back all of their installments.
Sezzle demoed its alternative payment platform at FinovateFall 2018. Prior to today’s IPO the company had raised almost $117 million.
Alternative payments specialist Sezzle has raised $5.6 million in funding in advance of its debut on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) later this year. The financing was led by Continental Investors of Chicago, and featured participation from a total of 10 investors. Sezzle plans to raise $6 million in the current round, which was described as a “pre-IPO” round by the Australian Financial Review.
Sezzle hopes to raise between $20 million and $30 million via initial public offering on the ASX. The company admits that it has no plans to begin operations in Australia, and that the listing on the ASX was to take advantage of the investment interest that Afterpay, a Sezzle rival based in Melbourne, has enjoyed since its own arrival on the ASX. Sezzle CEO Charlie Youakim noted that investors in Australia have been quicker than investors in the U.S. to embrace what he called “the potential of the payment method.”
Sezzle empowers consumers by enabling them to make purchases and pay for them in four, interest-free installments, payable every two weeks. The company’s merchant partners have recorded higher average order value and higher conversion rates since adding Sezzle to their checkout systems. More than 3,500 stores currently offer Sezzle as an option.
Sezzle’s funding comes just a few months after the company announced that its Shop Now Pay Later option would be available on the 3dcart ecommerce platform. Founded in 1997, the Florida-based, Inc. 5,000 company has more than 22,000 merchants using its technology to build and manage online stores and shopping carts, and engage in content marketing.
“By providing our merchants with an easy way to allow customers to finance their purchases, we open up possibilities for both retailers and customers,” 3dcart founder and CEO Gonzalo Gil said.
Sezzle demonstrated its technology at FinovateFall 2018. Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the company was named to American Inno’s Top Minnesota Startup Fundings of 2018 in December, the same month the company announced the hiring of new Chief Risk Officer Jamie Kirkpatrick.
Also late last year, Sezzle picked up a $100 million line of credit from Connecticut-based investment firm, Bastion. The financing helped Sezzle promote its pay-in-2019 initiative with online retailer Tobi during last year’s holiday season. Sezzle also partnered with Priority Payment Systems last fall, which began offering Sezzle’s alternative payment option to the 174,000+ merchants on its network.