As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.
Middle East and Northern Africa
SoFiannounces $500 million investment led by Qatar.
Emirates NBD to leverage technology from Amazon Web Services to build an AI-enabled “bank of the future”.
New partnership between Turkey’s Isbank and Yandex.Checkout to support transactions in rubles for Russians shopping online in Turkey.
Central and Southern Asia
Strandsstrikes digital banking deal with India’s Tech Mahindra.
BankBazaar to offer financing options for customers of furniture and home products marketplace Pepperfry.
Amitabh Kant, CEO of Niti Aayog, a premier think tank of the Indian government, sees a $31 billion Indian fintech market by 2020.
Latin America and the Caribbean
Brazilian exchange brokerage, Frente Corretora de Cambio, goes live with cross-border remittance solution powered by Ripple technology.
World Finance features Sao Paulo among its Top 5 Emerging Fintech Hubs.
IMFBlog looks at how fintech can lower remittance costs in Latin America.
The central bank of Indonesia, Bank Indonesia, unveils its Quick Response Indonesia Standard (QRIS), a new QR code system.
Mastercard and UOB partner to introduce the UOB Retail Business Metal Card designed for APAC SMEs.
B2B cross border payments company TransferMate picks up payment license in Singapore.
In a round led by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), personal finance solution provider SoFi has raised more than $500 million in equity funding. The new capital gives the San Francisco, California-based company a valuation of $4.3 billion, and will drive investment, the company said in its press release, in continued innovation and growth. SoFi’s total capital now stands at $2.3 billion.
QIA CEO Mansoor Al-Mahmoud highlighted SoFi’s long-term vision, which has enabled the company to evolve into a major personal finance platform for both lending and wealth management. “We strongly believe in SoFi’s approach, and their dedication to build a transformational financial platform that is rapidly disrupting consumer finance,” he said.
In his statement, SoFi CEO Anthony Noto underscored the company’s transformation, as well. “Over the last year, we’ve worked aggressively to grow SoFi from a desktop lending business to a broad-based, mobile-first financial platform enabling members to borrow, save, spend, invest, and protect their money,” Noto said.
With more than 700,000 members and 7.5+ million registered users, SoFi offers a variety of personal finance solutions in lending and wealth management. These include the company’s student loan refinancing and mortgages offerings, as well as newer products like SoFi Invest and SofiMoney.
SoFi Invest, launched at the beginning of the year, is a stock and ETF trading and investing platform that also allows for automated investing. SoFi Money combines the best of checking and savings accounts into a single account with a 2.25% APY and an app to facilitate mobile spending, saving, and payment.
Earlier this month, SoFi announced that it was introducing an exchange-traded fund based on the gig economy, GIGE. The actively managed fund – run by Toroso Investments – enables investors to participate in the stock market gains of companies like eBay, Lyft, Square, and Twitter. In April, the company teamed up with Lemonade and Root to add to its insurance offerings.
SoFi, in partnership with Quovo, participated in our developers conference, FinDEVr New York 2017. At the event, the two companies led a presentation, How Quovo and SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication, which won the duo a Favorite FinDEVr Alum award. SoFi was founded in 2011.
Financial services startup SoFi is building out its insurance offerings with the help of two insurtech startups.
The San Francisco-based company teamed up with Lemonade and Root, adding three types of insurance to the company’s existing portfolio. An integration with New York-based Lemonade will provide home and renters insurance, while Ohio-based Root will offer an auto insurance option.
Until this month, SoFi’s insurance offering was limited to life insurance, a product made possible through a partnership the company initiated in 2018 with California-based Ladder.
“Protecting yourself and your assets is a critical and often overlooked piece of your overall financial well-being,” said Anthony Noto, SoFi CEO. “People come to SoFi to get their money right, and we’re pleased to now provide them with more tools to be able to do so by partnering with companies that share our values in ease of use, transparency, and efficiency.”
The new insurance offerings aim to be simple to understand and transparent about pricing and benefits, without agents, middlemen, or phone calls. SoFi said that its client base requested more affordable insurance offerings. Over the past year, the company counted 8,000 conversations between financial planners and under-insured or uninsured clients.
Lemonade uses AI to craft an insurance policy tailored to each customer. With the company’s chatbot interface, users can select and start their coverage in 90 seconds. The charge is structured as a flat fee– homeowners insurance starts at $25 per month and renters insurance starts at $5 per month– and claims are paid in three minutes.
With Root’s auto insurance, drivers can potentially save up to 52% over their current coverage. The company uses data from clients’ smartphones to measure driving behavior and habits, offering better rates to better drivers. “Our priority at Root is to put the power back into consumers’ hands by making auto insurance clear and understandable,” said Alex Timm, Root Insurance co-founder and CEO. “We’re excited to partner with the SoFi team as a means for members to have access to more affordable, accurate and fair auto insurance.”
To boost interest in its existing life insurance product, SoFi announced it is offering $25 for life insurance applicants to invest in stocks, ETFs, or SoFi’s roboadvising. This comes as a response to research findings that indicate that millennials are misinformed about the costs and benefits of life insurance.
Founded in 2011, SoFi offers a range of millennial-focused financial products and resources. SoFi’s addition of the new insurance offerings “fulfills its ability to offer members every financial product they may need at any stage of life.”
At FinDEVr New York 2017, the company gave a presentation in combination with Quovo titled How Quovo and SoFi Perfected Bank Authentication. SoFi has raised $2 billion from 29 investors across 11 rounds of funding.