Finovate Global: Ant Financial’s Big Buy; Neobanks Ready for Takeoff

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

  • Ten African subsidiaries of Societe General to benefit from enhanced payment processing capabilities courtesy of new partnership with HPS.
  • South African challenger bank TymeBank moves toward a formal launch in late February.
  • The IMF blog reviews the prospects for fintech innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Fintech Futures interviews Pavel Novak, CEO of Czech Republic-based P2P lender, Zonky.
  • iSignthis acquires Lithuania-based banking software provider, Baltic Banking Services (BBS).
  • Partnership between Yandex.Checkout and Tinkoff Bank supports direct payments to online stores by way of Tinkoff’s app and online banking offering.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Abu Dhabi Commerical Bank (ADCB) goes live with its PFM app, MoneyBuddy, which uses technology from Strands.
  • Dubai-based neobank Xpence prepares for launch.
  • Saudi Arabia banking regulator opens regulatory sandbox to test fintech solutions.

Central and South Asia

  • State Bank of India to help finance digital invoice discounting marketplace, Invoicemart.
  • The Daily Star considers the “promise of fintech” for Bangladesh.
  • Reliance Realty announces plans for a fintech center in Navi Mumbai, India.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • PYMNTS.com looks at the Mexican government’s efforts to leverage fintechs to help make it easier and less expensive for Mexicans living abroad to send money home.
  • Brazilian SME lender Adianta raises $2.18 million ($8 million reals) in round led by DGF Investimentos.
  • Colombian fintech Open Vector signs memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support development of open banking in South America.

Asia-Pacific

  • Ant Financial to acquire UK currency exchange firm, WorldFirst in $700 million deal.
  • Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOB) to debut its digital bank, TMRW, in Thailand.
  • Visa announces plans for an innovation center in South Korea.

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.

Central and South Asia

  • Visa takes minority stake in Indian payment gateway BillDesk.
  • Swift India partners with MonetaGo to pilot blockchain-based banking.
  • India FinTech Forum (IFF) announced the 20 companies recognized at its India FinTech Awards (IFTA), including Finovate alums Hydrogen, iProov, Ocrolus, and James Finance.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Elevar Equity leads $5.25 million investment round for Uruguayan fintech, Bankingly.
  • Banco Original, a Sao Paulo, Brazil-based FI, to deploy FICO Origination Manager and FICO Application Fraud Manager.
  • First Data launches Clover Mini and Clover Flex in Argentina.

Asia-Pacific

  • Finastra gives Singapore banks top marks in its inaugural Open Banking Readiness Index.
  • FinLab accelerator introduces its smart business transformation program for Thailand small businesses.
  • SmartPesa brings its softPOS contactless card acceptance via NFC phone running Android – to Singapore and South East Asia.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • South African financial services company, Discovery, to launch “behavioral bank.”
  • Nigeria’s central bank proposes fintech licensing regime to help manage cyber risk, capital adequacy, and operational oversight issues.
  • A “hands-off” attitude toward regulation is credited for helping boost Uganda’s emergent fintech sector.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Poland’s Braintri merges with iCompass.
  • The Polish Financial Supervision Authority names the Heart as one of operators for its regulatory sandbox for companies developing fintech solutions.
  • Ingenico Group teams up with Russia’s Sberbank to enable MOIR card payments for online purchases.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Study from Mena Research Partners calls for major gains in fintech funding in the MENA region over the next ten years.
  • Egypt Innovate features ten Egyptian startups “following the world’s fintech trend.”
  • The Tehran Times looks at the “challenges and opportunities” of fintech innovation in Iran.

Top image designed by Freepik

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.