Behalf Brings in Funding from Visa

Alternative small business lending platform Behalf has benefitted from its ties with Visa this week. The New York and Israeli-based company announced it landed an undisclosed amount of funding from the payments giant, marking Visa’s first investment in an Israeli company.

The investment will be added to Behalf’s previous total funding of $306 million in combined debt and equity. As part of today’s deal, Visa will have access to Behalf’s small business clients to market its tokenized Visa Virtual Card, a payment solution that offers businesses instant financing for business purchases. Visa will begin marketing the card in the U.S. and expand to more markets later this year.

“Our network of B2B merchants can fit Behalf seamlessly into their eCommerce flow, receive payment immediately and provide their business customers with more buying power and flexible payment options at checkout,” said Benjy Feinberg, Behalf CEO. “We are proud to partner with Visa with the goal of making purchases easier.”

The partnership is part of Visa’s strategy to promote its products through collaborations with startups and fits with the company’s commitment to invest up to $100 million in fintechs. Shahar Friedman, acting general manager for Visa in Israel, described small businesses as being “the backbone” of the global economy. “This partnership is a result of a close collaboration between the Visa Innovation Studio Tel Aviv and the dynamic Israeli start-up ecosystem to bring the power of the VisaNet global network to promising young companies in Israel such as Behalf,” he added.

Founded in 2012, Behalf offers short-term purchase financing for small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Unlike other alternative SMB lenders such as Kabbage or OnDeck, Behalf does not issue funds directly to the SMB. Instead, the startup pays the small business’ vendors on the SMB’s behalf. Having flexibility in repaying their suppliers helps merchants increase their production and ultimately grow their business.

Feinberg showcased Behalf’s vendor payment platform at FinovateFall 2014. Since then, the company has partnered with FinWise bank to offer SMB clients a broader range of financing solutions and, earlier this year, secured $150 million in debt financing.

Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World

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.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Mookh Africa, a fintech startup from Kenya that has developed a social business payments solution, wins Visa’s Sub Saharan Africa Everywhere Initiative contest.
  • Techpoint declares 2018 The Year of the Nigerian Fintech Startup.
  • Temenos taps Alexandre Menage as new Head of Sales for Africa.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Equities.com reviews the 10 Hottest Places to Launch a Fintech Startup in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Total Croatia News looks at money transfer startup, Aircash, which has gained 15,000 users in the first 12 months of operation.
  • Ukraine’s Financial Stability Council issues digital currency regulating document as popularity of crytocurrency trading in the country grows.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Salaam Gateway discusses how Dubai’s FinTech Hive supports Islamic fintech with the organization’s executive Vice President, Raja Al Mazrouei.
  • UAE-based merchant acquirer Network International introduces e-commerce platform for SMEs.
  • Daily Sabah looks at venture investment in Turkey in the first half of 2018.

Central and South Asia

  • Aurora talks with President and CEO of Telenor Bank, Shahid Mustafa about microfinance and e-commerce in Pakistan.
  • Onfido to Secure Drivers for India’s Largest Rideshare Company.
  • Fortune India interviews PayU India’s CEO Amrish Rau.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Incoming cohort for Startupbootcamp FinTech’s second Latin America-oriented program features fintechs from Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Chile, and Peru.
  • The Sociable profiles Microsoft-backed Imagine Lab Chile.
  • PYMNTS.com looks at how financial institutions in Latin America are coping with cyber fraud.

Asia-Pacific

  • Trulioo extends its identity and business verification service to the Philippines.
  • Personetics Scores Minority Stake Investment from United Overseas Bank.
  • Hong Kong Monetary Authority unveils Open API framework.

Top image designed by Freepik

Finovate Global: Fintech News from Around the World


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.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazilian card processor Conductor to deploy 3D Secure authentication technology from TAS Group later this fall.
  • Distributed check capture specialist Panini and technology distributor J. Fleischman team up to bring check truncation to Paraguay.
  • Visa introduces loyalty program available to issuing banks in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Asia-Pacific

  • TransferWise opens office in Hong Kong as part of expansion into Asia.
  • AsiaCollect, a credit management services provider based in Singapore, raises $4.5 million in funding.
  • Foreign exchange and international payments company, Frontierpay, opens Asian headquarters in Singapore.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South African fintech walletdoc partners with EasyPay to make it easier for consumer to pay monthly subscriptions and utilities.
  • Western Union opens office in Ivory Coast.
  • Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Procurement introduces eGovernment Procurement System.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Albania’s Raiffeisen Bank Shqipëri partners with NF Innova to deploy digital self-service kiosks.
  • Efigence provides UI/UX design, development and implementation for new investment platform from Polish home equities broker, CDM Pekao.
  • Russian SME crowdfunding platform SimplyFi partners with Tochka Bank to offer direct lending to the bank’s business customers.
  • Sberbank introduces support for Google Pay.
  • Western Union partners with Russia’s Post Bank, enabling money transfers via Post Bank’s mobile app.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Kuwait Finance House (KFH) to use VISA’s token service for its mobile wallet.
  • Saudi Arabia-based Maalem Financing to deploy Islamic core banking technology from Path Solutions.
  • Turkish government launches fintech task force to improve fintech ecosystem locally.

Central and South Asia

  • The Economic Times looks at the role of bankers in India’s “coming fintech revolution.”
  • RBS India, the innovation hub of the Royal Bank of Scotland, to launch forum on disability inclusion.
  • PaySend joins Astana International Finance Centre (AIFC), a central Asian fintech hub based in Kazakhstan.

Top image designed by Freepik

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Digital Experience Specialist Configo Launches Cloud Environment.

Around the web

  • Spanish bank IberCaja deploys digital banking technology from Meniga.
  • Fiserv to help prepare European banks for transition to real-time payments.
  • BBVA and Samsung partner to bring iris scanning technology to smartphones.
  • VISA announces bank partnerships in preparation for Visa B2B Connect commercial launch in 2018.
  • Everest Group names billpay service specialist doxo to list of Top 40 FinTech Trailblazers.
  • FST Media interviews Avoka Chief Experience Officer Derek Corcoran.
  • RealtyMogul wins Gold Stevie Award for Company of the Year in the Consumer Services category.

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.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • AutoGravity Partners with Global Lending Services.
  • SelfScore Rebrands as Deserve, Closes on $12 Million in Funding.
  • Credit Sesame Raises More than $42 Million, Unveils Robo Advisor for Credit.

Around the web

  • Avoka extends strategic partnership with Mitek for digital identity verification solutions.
  • Commercial loan origination, CRM are among the new features in Baker Hill NextGen solution.
  • OnDeck partners with Ingo Money and Visa to provide loans to SMEs via debit card.
  • Westpac NZ to transition to real-time banking platform from ACI Worldwide.
  • Regions Bank to add P2P payment and account-to-account transfer solutions from Fiserv.
  • iSignthis announces new agreement with Omnislots.com operator, Dialinvest.
  • Payment Ninja to launch in the U.S. in November.
  • ThreatMetrix and ID.me partner to deliver ID verification for government and commercial digital services
  • Russian bank Lipetskcombank implements new mobile banking app built on Tranzware Mobile Banking from Compass Plus.
  • Accenture and nCino expand alliance to accelerate digital transformation within top U.S. banks
  • Symbiont joins Wall Street Blockchain Alliance as corporate member.
  • Envestnet | Yodlee to integrate risk insight solutions with Fannie Mae’s Ddsktop underwriter validation Service.

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.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Efigence Teams Up with Alior Bank, Telekom Romania to Help Launch Telekom Banking.
  • Mastercard Takes Blockchain Mainstream with API.
  • Zighra Launches Flagship Continuous Authentication Product.
  • Stash Reveals Plans to Launch Mobile-First Banking Service.

Around the web

  • Latvian Bank Citadele secures mobile and online banking with VASCO’s DIGIPASS for Apps and CRONTO
  • Azimo’s momentum continues with triple-digit growth.
  • Visa to offer ThreatMetrix technologies through its Visa ID Intelligence platform.
  • Lendio joins lending platform association.
  • Dream Payments unveils its point of sale solution for First Data’s Clover merchants.

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.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • BankBazaar Receives $30 Million in Funding Round Led by Experian.
  • Feedzai Secures $50 Million in New Funding.
  • BlueVine Lands $130 Million in Debt Financing.
  • Sensibill Brings Receipt Management to Royal Bank of Scotland’s Business Banking Customers.

Around the web

  • Entersekt hires Sherif Samy as SVP for North American operations.
  • Visa and Billtrust team up to streamline B2B payment reconciliation and support automation of virtual card payments.
  • PayPal announces Vemno is now payment option at more than two million U.S. retailers.
  • Narrative Science wins Microsoft Office 2017 App Award for Best Business Value.
  • TransCard partners with ExpenseAnywhere to Deliver Automated Payment Process Management Solutions.

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.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Responsive Tiles from Geezeo Help Banks Build Personalized Digital Experiences.
  • Accenture Acquires Verax to Boost Canadian Operations.
  • Urban FT Bids to Acquire Digiliti Money [UPDATE: Bid Rejected]

Around the web

  • Let’s Talk Payments interviews David Vélez, founder of Nubank.
  • Visa to encourage Australian banks to embrace biometric authentication in new security roadmap.
  • InComm buys distribution rights to American Express’ prepaid reloadable and gift card business in the U.S.
  • Flywire Simplifies Compliance with New Cross-Border Education Payment Requirements in Ireland.

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.

Klarna Earns Strategic Investment from Visa

“My, what a fine, new banking license you have there, Klarna!”

We don’t know if Klarna’s decision to obtain a banking license played a role in Visa’s decision to invest an undisclosed amount in the Swedish payments innovator. But the announcement today that Visa has bought a small stake in Klarna is a big vote of confidence in the company’s apparent determination to diversify its business into other areas, such as card services.

For Visa, the Klarna investment is part of its strategy to open up its ecosystem and support companies that are innovating to make the payment experience more rewarding for consumers around the world. Visa EVP for Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, Jim McCarthy praised Klarna’s proven “expertise in consumer credit and online purchasing” and said the two companies “share a vision for how today’s online and mobile commerce experiences can be as simple as they are in the real world.” Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski called the partnership a “natural fit” and added that it would enable Klarna to bolster its “global presence and product portfolio.”

The funding for Klarna is the third investment in the company this year. Earlier this month, Klarna announced that Brightfolk, a firm held by Anders Holch Povlsen, owner of European fashion giant, BESTSELLER, had acquired a strategic stake in the company. The 10% equity investment was valued at $225 million given Klarna’s valuation of $2.25 billion. And in March, the company raised $5 million (KR46 million) from Nordic early-stage, venture capital firm Creandum. Klarna has raised more than $375 million in total funding.

Founded in 2005 in Stockholm, Sweden and now headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Klarna demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2012. The company serves more than 60 million customers and 70,000 retailers in Europe and North America. TechCrunch’s coverage of today’s Visa investment notes that as of 2016 Klarna was processing 400,000 transactions daily, and generated revenues of $318 million in 2015. TechCrunch also reports that Klarna’s transaction growth is up 50% year-over-year in 2016, and that 17,000 new merchants were added in the last quarter.

Visa demonstrated its technology at FinovateSpring 2010. In 2014, the company’s Visa Developers Program presented The Future of Commerce, a look at how to connect with Visa’s networking using open APIs and SDKs, and led workshops on API-less web, Android SDK, and Apple Pay integration.

PayPal’s Venmo Goes Head-to-Head with Zelle, Square Cash, and… Amazon

PayPal EVP and COO Bill Ready recently reminisced how, in 1998, the company launched its first product, one that allowed users to beam money from one Palm Pilot to another. While the hardware has changed, the “beaming money” idea remains the same. In this race to real-time payments, the San Jose-based company announced this week that it has leveraged the partnerships it formed last year with Visa and Mastercard to offer users faster payments.

The new service will allow PayPal and Venmo users to send funds in minutes instead of the two-to-three day timeframe that is typical with most ACH transfers. Expediting funds will come at a cost, however. Users can expect to pay $0.25 per transaction if they want to send funds in real-time (or up to 30 minutes in some cases). The functionality is already available for select PayPal users and will be available for all U.S. PayPal users with eligible Visa and Mastercard debit cards “over the coming weeks and months” and available to Venmo users later this summer.

Zelle

When compared to Zelle, which runs on its former namesake, the clearXchange network, PayPal’s instant payment option is certainly more expensive than Zelle’s free option. PayPal’s advantage over Zelle is that it offers a standalone mobile and web app, while Zelle– as a bank-owned payments app– is more confined. While there are rumors Zelle plans to launch a standalone app, for now it must be hosted within a bank’s website or mobile app. It is worth noting, however, that PayPal’s model isn’t the same as Zelle’s, which is strictly a payment rails network among a group of banks.

Square Cash

Because of this, it is more fitting to compare PayPal’s offering to Square cash, which offers P2P money transfers and holds a user’s balance until they “cash out” or transfer it back into their checking account. Square also offers an instant money transfer feature, for which it charges a one percent fee.

Amazon

It is also worth watching Amazon in this space. The online retail giant made a move earlier this month to encourage its Prime members to hold a balance in their prepaid Amazon account by offering 2 percent cash back on purchases using their Amazon account balance. Similar to PayPal and Square Cash, Amazon does not pay interest on users’ balances, and thus stands to profit from the cash (which, by the way, cannot be transferred back to a user’s account– it must be used on an Amazon purchase). Of course, Amazon’s balance option is just a glorified gift card (for now). However, if enough users are compelled by the 2% cash back offer, we can expect to see the online retailer debut more banking features, stepping on banks’ toes and into territory PayPal has held for almost 20 years.

PayPal’s Braintree recently presented at FinDEVr New York 2016. The company also showcased its Instant Account Creation feature at FinovateFall 2012. Mastercard and Visa both presented at the first FinDEVr, held in San Francisco in 2014, where Mastercard showed off its Developer Zone and Visa demonstrated its API-less web integration and SDK web integration.