Every fortnight we compile the most important news headlines and updates in the fintech industry covering digital banking, payments, cryptocurrency, and more.
British financial technology start-up Revolut has raised $500 million in a fresh round of funding that values it at $5.5 billion. The investment round was led by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm TCV — an early investor in companies like Facebook and Netflix — and also attracted backing from existing investors Ribbit Capital, DST Global, Lakestar and GP Bullhound. It is now tied with e-commerce payments start-up Klarna as the most valuable fintech start-up in Europe.
Read more about some of the innovative services offered by Revolut.
After shedding several high-profile members, the Facebook-led digital currency project Libra has signed up online commerce giant Shopify. Shopify becomes the first new Libra Association member in four months, stemming a tide in the opposite direction which has seen Mastercard, Visa, eBay, Stripe, Vodafone, Mercado Pago, and booking.com all bail on the project.
Read more about why Facebook’s Libra is facing global criticism here.
B-Social, the London-based fintech building what it calls a “social bank,” announced that it has raised a further £7.8 million in seed funding. Investors include Rudy Karsan from Karlani Capital; most of the investors remain undisclosed. It brings the total capital raised by B-Social to £13.25 million, as the company continues the journey to becoming a fully licensed bank. It also plans to re-brand next month to the new name “Kroo.”
Brazil’s central bank has set out the details of its ambitious new instant payment scheme, which is set to go live in November. The scheme, called PIX, will let citizens, companies and government entities make instant payments 24/7/365 through mobile phones, online banking and ATMs, using QR codes or recipient information such as phone numbers, emails and taxpayer identification.
Check out our article exploring global real-time & instant payment schemes.
SoftBank is set to invest $100 million from its second Vision Fund – the first famous for investments in Uber and WeWork – in UK-based artificial intelligence (AI) start-up Behavox. The AI firm helps banks achieve compliance by monitoring its employees’ behaviour. It is designed to spot instances of internal bribery and rogue trading, two issues many major global banks have been grappling with as of late.
On February 25th, Intuit announced it was acquiring Credit Karma for $7.1 billion. This will allow the company to create a consumer finance platform that works like a personalized financial assistant.
Ally Financial in Detroit has agreed to buy CardWorks, a subprime credit card and consumer finance lender based in Woodbury, N.Y. The $181 billion-asset Ally said in a press release that it will pay $2.65 billion in cash and stock for the $4.6 billion-asset parent of Merrick Bank. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.
TONIK, the first digital-only bank in Southeast Asia, has announced that it has closed a USD6 million round of equity funding, led by regional VC investors Insignia Ventures Partners and Credence Partners. TONIK will use the funding to launch its digital bank in the Philippines, targeting the start of commercial operations in Q3 2020.
Sogexia has been authorized as a payment institution by the Minister of Finances of Luxembourg and has been granted at the same time the European passport enabling the Fintech to operate within the 31 countries of the European Economic Area (EEA). Luxembourg has emerged as a Fintech friendly jurisdiction that has gained prominence following the UK’s exit from the European Union. Sogexia reports that the company has migrated over 180,000 customers from their former British banking partner to their own platform thus mitigating any Brexit risk.
Read more about the potential impact of Brexit on UK and Europe’s fintech scene.