SoftBank Showers Latin American Fintechs with Millions in New Capital

SoftBank Backs Latin America

Last week, the international fintech buzz was all about the booming investment in African startups. As you can see in our sub-Saharan Africa section below, that buzz continues as analysts wonder how African fintechs can best leverage their good financial fortunes of late.

But this week, it’s all about Latin America as fintechs from Mexico to Argentina lock in triple digit investments. What’s especially interesting is that two of the week’s biggest beneficiaries – Konfio and Uala – have the same participating benefactor in SoftBank.

The investment in Argentina’s Uala was the first time the Japanese-based firm had funded a company from Argentina, but not SoftBank’s first funding in the region. The firm invested $1 billion in Colombian delivery app Rappi in April of this year. SoftBank has a deeper history investing in Mexican startups, having funded payments startup Clip and used car buying platform Kavak. SoftBank is also especially active in Brazil; the firm led a $140 million round for the country’s e-commerce solution provider VTEX in November.

FinovateEurope Goes to Berlin!

It’s not too early to start thinking and planning for 2020 – especially with our first conference right around the corner in February.

After six years of basing our annual European fintech conference in London, Finovate is crossing the channel and setting up our stage in Berlin, Germany next year. Our new FinovateEurope location will also feature a new event format designed to ensure attendees maximize their time at the conference. Take a look at our developing agenda to see what we have in store February 11th through the 13th.

Here’s our weekly look at fintech around the world.

Asia-Pacific

  • Singapore’s FinAccel, maker of Kredivo, raises $90 million in round led by Asia Growth Fund and Square Peg.
  • Maybank Group, the fourth largest bank by assets in Southeast Asia, goes livewith Avaloq’s banking suite.
  • South Korea announces plans to launch opening banking system before year’s end.
  • Vymo brings AI-powered sales coaching to insurance giant Sompo.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Can Africa’s fintech startups learn from the experience of M-Pesa? TechCrunch considers the opportunities now available thanks to recent positive funding trends.
  • A partnership between Smartstream and Union Systems will help African FIs digitize their post-trade environments.
  • QuartzAfrica takes a look at the “niche ecosystems” that are developing amid Africa’s rapidly expanding fintech industry.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Berlin, Germany-based SME digital banking platform Penta teams up with SumUp.
  • First Investment Bank (Fibank) goes live with the first, PSD2-compliant, open banking platform in Bulgaria.
  • Tinkoff GDRs will be included in MOEX Russia indices next month.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • Sudan’s Nile Bank is the latest FI to choose Oracle’s Flexcube core banking solution.
  • Temenos teams up with Egyptian National Post Organization.
  • Dubai Financial Services Authority inks fintech pact with Luxembourg’s Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier.

Central and Southern Asia

  • DriveWealth helps Indian investors access U.S. stocks via new partnership.
  • Indian banking technology provider TCS Financial Solutions migrates three credit unions to a cloud-version of its TCS Bancs system.
  • Paysend introduces worldwide money transfers to Uzbekistan.
  • Sri Lanka’s central bank examines the possibility of applying blockchain technology to streamline KYC processes for FIs.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Uala, a money management app from Argentina, raises $150 million in Series C round led by Tencent and SoftBank.
  • Mexican SME credit assessment specialist Konfio closes $100 million investment from SoftBank.
  • MercadoLibre picks up $125 million loan from Goldman Sachs.

As Finovate goes increasingly global, so does our coverage of financial technology. Finovate Global is our weekly look at fintech innovation in developing economies in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe.

Top image designed by Freepik

Vymo Brings AI-Powered Sales Coaching to Insurance Giant Sompo

One of the largest insurance groups in Asia, Sompo Holdings, is turning to AI to help its field sales teams spend less time consulting and updating customer information on databases, and more time building relationships with actual customers.

The Japan-based insurer announced that it has partnered with Vymo to use the company’s AI-powered, mobile-first sales assistant technology to boost the efficiency and productivity of its agents. The agreement follows a successful pilot project between the two companies that was launched in September.

Vymo demonstrated its Intelligent Personal Sales Assistant technology at FinovateAsia 2018. The app uses contextual intelligence and proactive sales coaching to automatically detect the sales representative’s actions and provide guidance on the optimal next steps to improve outcomes. In addition to leveraging dialler and client integrations and geo-intelligence to automatically log sales activity such as calls, emails, and meetings, Vymo learns from the success of the best performing sales professionals to help others on the platform determine how to better prioritize leads and best engage customers.

“At a leadership level , Vymo enables decision-makers to understand where should the sales and development efforts be,” Anurag Srivastava, Vymo VP-APAC explained last year during his FinovateAsia technology demonstration. At a manager level, he added, the technology solution helps them understand what the sales people are doing on a daily basis, as well as how they can constructively intervene to help them to become better. Srivastava noted that the solution also makes life easier for sales professionals, helping them meet their numbers and “gain predictability into what they are doing.”

Vymo earned a finalist spot in the India FinTech Forum’s IFTA 2019 awards last month. This fall, the company partnered with ABeam Consulting in a move that will help Vymo further expand into Asia-Pacific and Japanese markets. Also this fall, Vymo teamed up with FE Credit, the consumer lending arm of VP Bank to help the Vietnam-based financial institution improve customer acquisition, lead generation, and onboarding. Vymo raised $18 million in funding earlier this year, taking its total capital to $22 million

More than 100,000 sales professionals in 50+ businesses use Vymo’s Intelligent Personal Sales Assistant technology. The company notes that its solution has helped sales teams experience a nearly 2x increase in productivity and sales gains of 30%-50% within the first three months of deployment.

Yamini Bhat is Vymo co-founder and CEO. Founded in 2013, the company is headquartered in New York City.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Vymo Brings AI-Powered Sales Coaching to Insurance Giant Sompo
  • Klarna Picks Amazon Web Services as Preferred Cloud Partner

Around the web

  • Trusted digital identity specialist Signicat partners with payment information service SurePay.
  • 24sessions opens doors at its first regional office in Paris, France.
  • Revolut for Business introduces support for GBP Direct Debits.
  • eXate joins the first cohort of the Velocity Birmingham Fintech Hub.
  • Temenos appoints Michelle Tea as Managing Director for Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific islands.

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.

Nigerian Fintechs Near $400m Week; Ant Financial Eyes License in Singapore

The nearly-$400 million poured into fintech companies in Nigeria alone this week is being remarked upon as a testament to the growing investor interest in sub-Saharan Africa. The three recipients of the new capital in recent days are OPay ($120 million), Interswitch ($200 million), and PalmPay ($40 million). The investors include Sequoia Capital China and SoftBank Ventures Asia, as well as China’s Transsion and Visa.

For comparison, African fintechs raised $357 million in all of 2018, according to a 2019 report from the GSM Association, The Mobile Economy, Sub-Saharan Africa. Quoted in the Financial Times on the week’s funding news, Guaranty Trust Bank chief executive Segun Agbaje credited the payments industry for the surge in investment, calling the growth in the sector “probably like no other on the continent.”

Finovate made its African debut last year in Cape Town, South Africa. For an in-depth look at recent trends in African fintech, check out Jonathan Gregson’s “Africa’s Fintech Makeover.”

China’s impact on international fintech is also evident in the news that Ant Financial is considering applying for a virtual banking license in Singapore. Successfully securing such a license would enable Ant Financial to compete against Chinese incumbents like DBS Group Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ant Financial secured a license to operate a digital wallet in Hong Kong last year.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Brazil’s digital bank Neon raises $94 million in round led by General Atlantic and Brazil Banco Votorantim.
  • Biz Latin Hub’s Craig Dempsey makes the case for Mexico as the fintech sector to watch in 2020.
  • Mexican non-bank wallet service Todito Cash inks partnerships with four financial payment solutions companies.

Asia-Pacific

  • Ant Financial may be one the hunt for a Singaporean virtual banking license, reports Bloomberg, following the online finance titan’s recent scoring of a license to operate a digital wallet in Hong Kong.
  • InstaReM rebrands as Nium, announces cross border payments partnership with Cambodian banking group, PhillipBank.
  • Indonesia’s biggest banking group, Bank Mandiri will use the Avaloq’s Banking Suite to run its wealth management division, which has $14 billion in assets under management.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Nigeria’s OPay raises $120 million in new funding. The investment adds to the $50 million the mobile payments service raised in June.
  • Asilimia, a Kenya-based fintech that helps SMEs access more efficient mobile payment solutions, secures $350,000 in funding.
  • South African digital commerce fintech Vectra wins Seedstars Cape Town competition.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Revolut reaches 250,000 users in Hungary and reports an 8x gain in monthly transaction volume since the beginning of the year.
  • Latvia-based, P2P lending platform TWINO surpasses €1 billion euros in originated loans.
  • Tradeshift moves Bucharest team to larger office in Tower Center, announces plans to hire more staff next year.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • A partnership between BPC and WeNet will bring a new instant payments system to Yemen.
  • ZagTrader wins full certification for its market making technology from Bourse Kuwait.
  • In partnership with the Dubai Financial Services Authority, Wethaq pilots Sukuk issuance on its securities market infrastructure.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Perfios, a fintech software company based in Bengaluru, raises $50 million from Warburg Pincus and Bessemer Venture Partners.
  • Pakistan’s Askari Bank selects Finastra’s trade finance solution.
  • CredoLabNeener Analytics, and Vymo win finalist spots in the India FinTech Forum’s IFTA 2019 awards.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • How Revolut and Mastercard Are Helping Fintech Do Good
  • Keepabl Partners with ClauseMatch to Boost GDPR Compliance
  • More Than $1 Billion Raised by 21 Finovate Alums in Q3 2019

Around the web

  • Gartner names Exagens a 2019 “Cool Vendor.”
  • Trulioo appoints Zac Cohen as chief operating officer.
  • Trustly reaches 100 live gaming brands with its Pay N Play player registration and verification product.
  • Tradeshift moves Bucharest team to larger office in Tower Center, announces plans to hire more staff next year.
  • Globitex taps Salt Edge for strong customer authentication.
  • After Belfast launch earlier this year, Signifyd recruits 63 people with plans to recruit 150 more over the next three to five years.
  • Revolut and Mastercard team up with Save The Children to support Universal Children’s Day.
  • The San Diego Union-Tribune names Jack Henry & Associates a top place to work in San Diego for the fourth year in a row.
  • CredoLab, Neener Analytics, and Vymo win finalist spots in the India FinTech Forum’s IFTA 2019 awards.
  • Chetu ranked as the number two of 50 top software development firms in the U.S.
  • Payments company VoPay teams up with Plaid to offer a new credit card alternative to consumers in North America.

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

  • Voleo Teams Up with Software Development Firm Convergence Concepts.
  • Finn.AI’s New Integration Makes Chatbots More Personal.
  • Ripple to Offer Blockchain Technology through Finastra.

Around the web

  • Salt Edge reaches milestone of 500+ integrated open banking APIs.
  • Tink makes its platform available in the Netherlands.
  • Stratifyd teams with Anexinet to scale delivery of its AI-powered analytics platform.
  • TASCET releases SYM Certain software suite.
  • Microblink earns a spot in the Deloitte Fast 500.
  • Vymo teams up with ABeam Consulting to expand its business in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • YUKKA Lab joins Plug and Play’s incoming cohort for its Insurtech Europe program.
  • Socure wins 2019 API Award for Best in Data APIs from API World.

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.

Vymo Fuels Insight for VP Bank’s FE Credit

Personal sales assistant Vymo recently teamed up with FE Credit, the consumer lending services division of Vietnam-based VP Bank.

Through the partnership, Vymo is handling pieces in FE Credit’s mortgage lending workflow. Specifically, Vymo is helping FE Credit with customer acquisition, lead generation, and onboarding. The India-based company will offer its automated sales tool to help FE Credit’s team of 20,000 sales executives and 8,000 agents become more productive.

Vymo prompts the salesperson to make notes about their sales calls

After the deal is closed, Vymo helps agents follow up with up-sell and cross-sell opportunities and makes it easy to track down missed payments.

Vymo’s sales tool offers multiple ways of driving productivity, beginning with assisting with client onboarding and authentication. The tool also assigns each lead to the best agent for the job based on experience and geographical location, offers next best action suggestions, and sends timely nudges to sales agents. Additionally, by notifying agents of the leads on their mobile device, FE Credit’s team is able to follow up on inquiries within 15 minutes. When a meeting is complete, the app prompts the salesperson to make notes about the client and how the meeting went.

FE Credit, the largest lending organization in Vietnam, initiated the partnership in an effort to work on its ambition of “better, not more,” meaning that it wants to improve upon its existing services before offering consumers more services. Kalidas Ghose, Vice Chairman and CEO of FE Credit, said the company selected Vymo “because of its unique application of automation and AI technology that allows for seamless data capture and contextual recommendations.”

With 140 employees, and 100,000 users on its platform Vymo has raised $23 million since it was founded in 2013. The company demonstrated its sales tool at FinovateAsia 2018 and has since made a major geographical expansion, launching in the U.S. a couple of months back.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Hydrogen Brings its App Building Platform to the Oracle Cloud Marketplace.
  • Vymo Fuels Insight for VP Bank’s FE Credit.

Around the web

  • Blackhawk Network to acquire Edge Loyalty Systems.
  • Trustly to provide Alibaba.com’s European customers with online banking payments via Ingenico.
  • TechCrunch: Revolut ramps up customer support with plans to hire 400 people in Porto.
  •  Xero integrates with enterprise solution GreatSoft.
  • BehavioSec joins the NICE X-Sight Marketplace.
  • Merck Sharp & Dohme FCU deploys trio of biometric authentication solutions from Fiserv.
  • New partnership brings nCino’s Bank Operating System to Allied Irish Banks.
  • Entrust Datacard partners with JPMorgan Chase to pilot email security project.

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.

We’ve Got Funding, How About You?

With FinovateAsia and FinovateMiddleEast coming up later this year, we wanted to pause to take a look at the funding that participants from last year’s shows have received so far this year.

In the first eight months of 2019, four fintechs that participated in FinovateAsia and FinovateMiddleEast 2018 raised more than $23 million combined.

With real funding at stake, what are you waiting for? Apply to demo your tech at FinovateAsia or FinovateMiddleEast today. The application is free and you have nothing to lose!

The Middle East and North Africa startup culture has continued to mature, especially when it comes to early stage companies. Part of the growth can be attributed to the region’s investment in both talent and infrastructure. Coding programs and regional hackathons have not only added to the talent pool of startup recruits, they have also given the startup culture a boost.

In Asia, India has risen as the region’s top country for fintech funding. The $286 million in fintech funding the country raised in Q1 of this year outranks China’s total of $192 million raised for fintechs in that same quarter. Part of the slowdown in China can be attributed to increased regulation in the region.

If your startup is interested in demoing at this year’s FinovateAsia or FinovateMiddleEast conference, contact our demo team at middleeast@finovate.com or asia@finovate.com.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Revolut and Xero Partner on Expense Management Tool.

Around the web

  • Transferwise goes live with new debit cad for customers in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Finastra inks cloud banking deal with U.K. neo bank Gravity.
  • Argentina’s largest national private bank Banco Galicia integrates PFM technology from Strands.
  • Overbond to open three AI analytics labs in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to support R&D in bond pricing.
  • Vymo hires Rajesh Sabhlok as its new Chief Customer Officer, with an emphasis on Japan and APAC.
  • BlueRush announces strategic partnership with InfoSlips.
  • Artivest names Martin Bealieu, formerly executive chairman, as new CEO.
  • Lendio’s marketplace lending franchise program tops $50 million in loans facilitated via its platform.
  • Ignite Sales unveils the latest version of its customer engagement platform, Ignite Neuro 2.0.
  • Salt Edge increases the total number of connected banks in the E.U. to more than 300.
  • Experian unveils new configurations of its Ascend Analytical Sandbox.

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.

Vymo Reels in $18 Million for its Intelligent Sales Assistant

Vymo, the company that helps sales professionals #DoMore when it comes to managing leads and maximizing opportunities, just got a little help of its own. The company announced this week that it successfully closed its Series B round, raising $18 million to grow its business in the U.S. and around the world.

The Series B was led by Emergence Capital and featured participation by existing investor Sequoia India, which led the company’s $5 million Series A in 2016. Vymo’s total equity now stands at $22 million.

“Just as Veeva changed the game for pharmaceutical sales reps, Vymo aims to enable financial sales reps with a platform tailor made for their needs,” Emergence Capital Partner Jake Saper wrote at the firm’s blog discussing the investment. “Vymo is mobile-first, geo-aware, and makes use of contextual data to make targeted suggestions to reps on next best actions like which client or prospect to prioritize.”

Saper praised Vymo as a company that can help sales teams navigate diverse client bases and challenging regulatory environments as they build quality, personal relationships with their customers. He highlighted the company’s partnerships with Allianz, AXA, and Generali, and the high number of registered users of Vymo’s technology – more than 75% – who log on to the platform and take action on a daily basis.

Founded in Bangalore, India, and currently based in New York City, Vymo made its Finovate debut last year at FinovateAsia, demonstrating its Personal Assistant for Sales. The technology boosts the effectiveness of sales professionals by leveraging AI to detect the sales professionals actions automatically, predict the next best steps for the sales rep to pursue, and coach the rep on how to achieve the best outcomes.

The intelligent assistant learns from the best performing sales reps in the organization, and has established a positive revenue impact of 3% to 10% in sales productivity metrics such as conversions, turnaround time, and sales activity per opportunity. More than 100,000 sales reps across 50+ companies and institutions use Vymo to make their sales efforts more productive.

Earlier this month Vymo was featured in Nikkei Asian Review, which took a look at the use of the company’s intelligent assistant by sales professionals in Japan. In May, the company announced a partnership with Microsoft that will help grow the market for Vymo’s intelligent personal assistant solution. Vymo picked up the FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce) Award for Innovation in Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics in March, and began the year with a pair of partnership announcements, teaming up with Vietnam’s FE Credit in February and Zurich Topas Life in January.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Xignite to Power WealthSimple’s New Stock Trading App.
  • Kony Secures $37 Million in Financing from BMO.
  • Sezzle Raises $30 Million in IPO.
  • Vymo Reels in $18 Million for its Intelligent Sales Assistant.

Around the web

  • Deal sealed: Fiserv completes acquisition of First Data.
  • Visa announces strategic partnership with SME banking service Open.
  • eToro enables retail customers to invest in drone technology via its latest portfolio.
  • iGTB to enhance trade finance operations for two Raiffeisen banks, Niederosterreich-Wien and Landesbank Steiermark.
  • CREALOGIX to power new consumer digital investment platform from MeDirect Group.
  • JP Morgan Chase ends loan origination partnership with OnDeck.
  • ThetaRay brings on Idan Keret as Chief Customer Success Officer.
  • GreenDot offers customers 3% cash back on online and in-app purchases and a savings account paying 3% APY.
  • Fintech Finance interviews Olga Feldmeier, Smart Valor CEO.
  • Redrock Biometrics secures a perfect score in Level 1 Presentation Attack Detection confirmation testing by iBeta.
  • SpyCloud expands into Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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.