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Tracking fintech, banking & financial services innovations since 1994
While 2021 was a record year for fintech merger and acquisition (M&A) activity, 2022 is off to a great start.
According to FT Partners, there were 1,485 M&A deals in the fintech space totaling $348.5 billion in 2021. As Square’s $29 billion takeover of Afterpay demonstrated, last year’s massive volume is partially thanks to multiple large deals.
This quarter, only eight of the 21 deals initiated disclosed financial details. Of those, the deal volume added up to almost $5 billion.
While experts predict that 2022 M&A activity will likely see momentum from 2021, there are two aspects to watch out for this year. First, we will not see as many SPACs as we saw last year. This may decrease the number of companies choosing to exit this year. Second, fintech valuations are deflating after experiencing huge rises over the course of the past two years. While the loss in value won’t directly impact the number of M&A deals, it will decrease the deal volume.
Consolidation in the Buy now, pay later (BNPL) industry continues as Zip agrees to acquire competitor Sezzle.
The deal values Sezzle at $355 million.
After the acquisition is finalized, Sezzle will rebrand to Zip and the company’s CEO Charlie Youakim will lead Zip’s U.S. business.
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) player Zip (formerly known as Quadpay) is acquiringSezzle in a deal that values Sezzle at $355 million.
Zip CEO and co-founder Larry Diamond expects the deal will help Zip scale up its operations. “Combining with Sezzle positions us as a leading global BNPL provider and prioritizes our ability to win in the important U.S. market.”
Following the deal, Zip’s customer base will increase from 9.9 million to 13.3 million and the number of merchant partners will grow from 82,000 to 129,000. Additionally, The Financial Review estimates that Zip’s total transaction volume will rise from $8 billion to $10.4 billion, and that almost $6.5 billion of this will be from U.S. users.
After the deal closes, Sezzle will rebrand as Zip and the company’s CEO Charlie Youakim will lead Zip’s U.S. business. “I believe the transaction will position us to win in the U.S. and globally,” Youakim said.
Today’s announcement is yet another indication of consolidation in the increasingly-crowded BNPL space. Industry giant Afterpay sold to Block (formerly Square) on February 2nd. And on February 17th, digital payments firm Latitude agreed to acquire Humm’s BNPL operations.
Australia-based Zip was founded in 2013, seven years before BNPL took off as an alternative payment method. Zip is publicly traded on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASK) under the ticker ZIP. The company allows users to split their purchase into four installments over the course of six weeks. With Zip’s app, shoppers use their Zip Virtual Card to pay for their purchase in installments anywhere that Visa is accepted, both online and in-store.
Similarly, Sezzle allows shoppers to use their Sezzle Virtual Card to pay for purchases in four installments over the course of six weeks. The company also offers a long-term financing tool in partnership with Ally and Sezzle Up, an alternative credit solution that helps shoppers build their credit.
Minnesota-based Sezzle was founded in 2016 and went public on the ASK in 2019 under the ticker SZL. At the time, Sezzle said it opted to list on the ASX instead of in U.S. markets because, prior to 2020, the BNPL model was more commonplace in Australia, given that Afterpay, a major player in the BNPL arena, is headquartered in Melbourne.
“We are excited about our relationship with Discover, as we believe our mission, vision, and values align,” Sezzle CEO and Executive Chairman Charlie Youakim said. “Discover’s capabilities via their network and financial products will enhance our own offerings and provide more paths to financially empower our consumers.”
Today’s announcement is also the fruit of an agreement inked back in February that enabled Sezzle to work with selected merchants on the Discover Global Network. Discover SVP of Global Business Development and Acceptance Jason Hanson underscored the benefit that BNPL provides to its merchant partners, and also noted that the partnership would boost Sezzle’s ability to “grow its business and provide new payment opportunities.” To this end, as part of the collaboration, Sezzle also will join a dedicated referral program that will introduce Discover’s credit and debit card products to its customers.
Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Sezzle enables consumers to make purchases at more than 34,000 participating retailers, and pay for those purchases in four, interest-free installments over six weeks. Approval decisions are available instantly, and using Sezzle has no impact on the consumer’s credit.
The explosion in interest in Buy Now Pay Later payment schemes has been a boon for companies like Sezzle that were helping consumers shop today and pay tomorrow before it was cool. Last month, Sezzle announced partnerships with Target and Barstool Sports, and the company continues to affirm its plans for an initial public offering in the U.S. – having launched publicly on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) in 2019.
Ally Financial’s Ally Lending announced this week it is now offering financing on buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) platform Sezzle. The new collaboration enables select shoppers to pay for purchases over time using Ally’s installment loans or Sezzle’s BNPL installment offerings.
If a purchase is eligible for an installment loan from Ally, the shopper will see the message “financed by Ally” at checkout. Loans will be available for purchases of up to $40,000 with terms ranging from three to 60 months. This broadens the availability of financing typically available on Sezzle, which currently limits shoppers to four installments paid over the course of six weeks on purchases up to $2,500.
“We’re on a mission to financially empower the next generation,” said Sezzle CEO Charlie Youakim. “With Ally Lending’s personalized, flexible financing solutions now available on our platform, we’re able to offer even more options for consumers to budget their purchases and responsibly pay for what they want and need.”
Today’s news comes during a time when both online shopping and BNPL are on the rise. Over the past year, BNPL increased 17% in Gen Z populations and 21% for millennials.
Sezzle initially went public on the ASX in July of 2019, and now has a market cap of over $777 million, a figure that is almost 5x higher than it was at the start of 2020. The company announced earlier this month it will IPO in the U.S. later this year.
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) company Sezzle is planning to strike while the iron is hot.
The Minnesota-based firm, which is already publicly-listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), is hoping to capture U.S. investors, now that the BNPL trend has exploded in this continent. Plans for the public listing are still in early stages. Details, such as the timing, price, and use, have not been revealed.
Prompting the plan to list is the company’s recent growth. According to its latest earnings announcement, Sezzle added 400,000 customers and recruited 7,300 active merchants in the first quarter of this year. This boost brings the firm’s total users to 2.6 million and total merchants to 34,000. Not surprisingly, the surge in usage helped increase the company’s first quarter income, which was reported at $22.3 million.
Sezzle initially went public on the ASX in July of 2019, raising $30 million on its first day of trading. The company now has a market cap of over $777 million. This figure is almost 5x higher than it was at the start of 2020. Sezzle’s move to the U.S. public markets follows its competitor, Affirm, which debuted on the Nasdaq at the start of this year.
Sezzle’s BNPL technology allows customers to split their ecommerce purchases into four installments with only 25% down and no fees. The offering is currently available to shoppers in the U.S., Canada, and India, and will soon be offered to residents in Brazil.
In February, Sezzle teamed up with Discover to work with select merchants on Discover’s network to help them provide their customers with additional payment options. Last September, the company launched a virtual payments card that helps customers benefit from Sezzle’s BNPL tech when they make purchases at brick-and-mortar stores.
Sezzle was founded in 2016. Charlie Youakim is CEO.
One of the major players in the Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) game, Sezzle, is teaming up with Discover this week. Through the partnership, Sezzle will work with select players on Discover’s network to provide their customers with additional payment options.
The merchants will be able to use Sezzle’s interest-free, BNPL payment technology to process payments on Discover’s network. Sezzle anticipates the partnership will help boost its business development efforts by connecting with Discover’s established relationships.
“Our merchant partners are always a top priority and we know that providing them with additional payment options, such as a buy now, pay later structure, can be beneficial, especially in the current economic environment,” said Discover’s SVP of Global Business Development and Acceptance Jason Hanson. “We are able to leverage our unique technology capabilities and vast network of merchant relationships to provide Sezzle the ability to grow its business and provide new payment opportunities.”
Founded in 2016, Sezzle currently reaches 2.2 million active customers. Last September, the company launched a virtual payments card that helps customers benefit from Sezzle’s BNPL tech when they make purchases at brick-and-mortar stores. The company launched on the Australian Stock Exchange in the summer of 2019 and has a current market capitalization of $1.1 billion.
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).