Weekly Fintech Newsletter | 2021 #16

Hi, there! Welcome back to another Fintech Weekly Newsletter. In this newsletter, I cover all the major weekly news related to the fintech industry. The newsletter begins with recommended articles, reports, and Fintech maps. I then cover the news highlights for that week before diving into a segment breakdown: payments, investments, BNPL, Insuretech, etc. Thank you for subscribing!

ARTICLE

Georgie Smallwood’s article for Sifted covers why funky new features will win early customers — but by no means do they guarantee sustained growth.

This obsession with speed is fantastic for early adopters. They love new things and even when it comes to their bank they want more functionality, they want new experiences and they really want new cards. 

The challenge with this model comes when FinTechs acquire early adopters who are just interested in trying out the new product on the market, no matter what it is.

To sustain the growth of a successful fintech startup you need to very quickly define your growth strategy. 

👉 Read more here.

REPORT

The report “The State of Fintech in Emerging Markets Report” offers a holistic representation of fintech in three emerging markets. Overall, it has three objectives — to evaluate the investment, product, and inclusivity trends across Africa, Latin America, and India.

The team surveyed over 177 startups and 33 investors across Africa, Latin America, and India.

👉 Read more here


FINTECH MAPS

EUROPE

LATAM

APAC


NOW, ON TO THE SUMMARY OF LAST WEEK'S FINTECH SPACE

FINTECH SPOTLIGHT

Interest from US VCs in European tech companies has accelerated over the past two years, reaching an all-time high last month. 

Less than halfway through the year, American investors have already put €10.1bn into Europe’s startups in 2021, according to Dealroom.co; easily surpassing the €9.3bn invested in all of 2020.

👉 Read more here

FINTECH HIGHLIGHTS

  • FinTech Scotland is developing a ten-year business-led research and innovation roadmap which will support the growth of Scotland’s digital economy and the development of fintech innovation across the UK. Link here.

  • Despite the health emergency, financial inclusion in Latin America made progress in 2020, thanks to the fact that the fintech sector is helping to transform the economic landscape in the region. Link here

  • Fintech investing has been rapidly growing over the last year with more than $22 billion poured into the global sector in Q1 2021 alone. Link here

  • 🇺🇸 Prove, the modern way of proving identity with just a phone number announced the launch of QR Pre-fill. Link here

OPEN BANKING

🇸🇪 Tink has announced the acquisition of German open banking infrastructure FinTech FinTecSystems GmbH in a bid to accelerate its European expansion. Link here

CRYPTO

🇬🇧 Bottlepay is the very first app to facilitate sterling or Bitcoin Inc. payments via Twitter. A single tweet — for example ‘@bottlepay send @recipient £10’ — will instantly send the command to move the specified quantity of sterling from one user’s account to another. Link here

🇺🇸 Brex introduced a cryptocurrency rewards program for business clients, allowing them to redeem points for Bitcoin Inc. (BTC, -7.86%) and ether (ETH, -6.24%). Link here

🇭🇰 Babel Finance, a leading global crypto financial service provider, announced the completion of its strategic Series A fundraising of US$40 million. Link here

🇭🇰 Crypto.com is excited to announce the launch of zero-fee BRL bank transfers and BRL as a payment currency in the Crypto.com App, and Brazilian Portuguese in both the App and Exchange. Link here

Two years after abandoning its stalled ‘CitiCoin’ crypto experiment, 🇺🇸 Citi may be jumping back on the digital asset bandwagon. Link here.

🇺🇸 Tesla has suspended the use of Bitcoin Inc. when purchasing their vehicles due to concerns around the use of fossil fuels and emissions involved with mining, causing the value of Bitcoin to fall by over 10%. Link here

🇺🇸 Facebook-backed cryptocurrency Diem Association is abandoning efforts to gain a payments license from Swiss regulator Finma and instead of switching its focus to the US. Link here

🇺🇸 MoneyGram International is working with cryptocurrency cash exchange Coinme to enable the cash funding and payout of digital currency purchases and sales. Link here

🇺🇸 Gemini now has more than $30 billion in crypto under custody. Link here.

🇰🇾 Block.one, the blockchain software firm backed by Peter Thiel, is pumping $10 billion into a new cryptocurrency exchange subsidiary. Link here.

PAYMENTS

Last week, at 🇺🇸 Square’s fifth annual partner and developer conference, Square Unboxed, the company announced three new developer tools, including early access to the long-awaited Snippets API for Square Online. Link here

On the heels of a $600 million fundraise earlier this year, payments giant 🇺🇸 Stripe has been on an acquisition march to continue building out its business. Link here

🇺🇸 Modern Treasury’s payment operations platform enables companies to instantly close books with continuous accounting, manage payments via dashboard or API, and automatically reconcile cash across multiple bank accounts. Link here

🇺🇸 Marqeta, Inc, the global modern card issuing platform, announced that it is partnering with Swissquote, a leading provider of online financial services, to offer a new app-based card program that gives users control over a range of financial activities, including banking and investing, in a single digital space. Link here

🇬🇧 KogoPAY Group has raised £1 million in pre-Series A funding for its "socially-conscious" banking and payments platform. The funding comes from angel investors in Asia and follows an investment from Singapore fintech Lightnet and a raise on UK crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. Link here

BNPL

Rarely a day goes by that 🇸🇪 Klarna is not making headlines, both good and bad, and it seems that it has decided to tackle misconceptions about its business straight on.

The buy-now-pay-later FinTech is inviting consumers to learn more about its brand through a series of murals digitally designed by famous Spanish artist Ignasi Monreal. Link here

🇺🇸 nate, the artificial intelligence app and universal accelerator for online checkout is making online shopping even easier with the launch of its buy now, pay later option through the app’s automated checkout. Link here

The buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions provider 🇺🇸 Affirm, counted 5.4 million active consumers and 11,500 merchants at the end of its fiscal Q3 2021 (ended March 31, 2021). Link here

FUNDING

🇦🇪 Mamo Pay, a Dubai-based digital wallet and payment platform set up by three former Google engineers, has raised $8 million in a Pre-Series A funding round. Link here

🇧🇷 Divibank, a financing platform offering LatAm businesses access to growth capital, has closed on a $3.6 million round of seed funding led by San Francisco-based Better Tomorrow Ventures (BTV). Link here

🇬🇧 VitraCash, a UK fintech startup that uses AI to select the best card in consumer wallets for each transaction, has closed a pre-seed crowdfunding round of £330,000. Link here

🇬🇧 ilumoni, the start-up app that aims to help people to borrow well, has raised £1.2m in an over-subscribed seed funding round after successfully launching in Beta earlier this year. Link here

🇺🇸 Lili picked up $55 million in a Series B round that it will be using to continue expanding its platform. Link here

Two weeks into May and there have already been a handful of fintech fundraising rounds for a collection of the sector’s up-and-coming companies. Link here

FOUNDERS & INVESTORS

There’s a new and exclusive club for experienced startup operators in Europe: Accel’s scout program. Each Accel ‘starter’ has $200k to invest in any European startups they like (just so long as they aren’t doing anything illegal or unethical). Link here

Venture capitalists have pumped billions into European FinTechs. But how do investors’ portfolios shape up against one another, a decade on? Sifted analyzed the European fintech portfolios of 31 top VCs. They focused on the most active VCs over the past 24 months and the most high-profile VCs across both Europe and the US. Link here

Germany’s business angels — who plug their own cash into fledgling companies — may not be writing huge cheques, but they are playing a critical role in getting the country’s startups off the ground. Link here

Check out the SPAC transaction activity in Q1 2021 & 2020 in the documents below, and/or read the full 🇺🇸 FT Partners “Q1 FinTech Insights” report. Link here

Also, 🇺🇸 FT Partners has prepared a nice document about the Global Fintech Deal Activity for April 2021. According to them, March 2021 has been the most active month ever in terms of FinTech and April looks promising. Link here

🇺🇸 EarlyBird, a Chicago-based FinTech start-up, is encouraging America’s adult population to re-think their gift-giving habits when it comes to theirs and others’ children. Link here.

🇺🇸 Visa has made a "sizeable" equity investment in Remitly to help the digital remittance outfit expand its network in emerging markets. Link here

MOVERS AND SHAKERS:

2020 was a really hard year for the American economy. Millions of people lost their jobs and filed for unemployment. Billions of federal dollars were spent on PPP loans. Link here

Listed fintech group 🇺🇸 Mode has appointed Ryan Moore, one of its directors and principal investors, as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).  Link here

🇬🇧 Moneyfarm, one of Europe’s leading digital wealth managers, has announced Dan Giddings MCSI as its new Head of Business Development UK, starting in June 2021. Link here

Employees at 🇺🇸 GoCardless are to be given the opportunity to work away from home for up to 90 days in a year, with half of the staff saying they would like to "work anywhere in the world". Link here


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This ends my weekly digital fintech newsletter. Thank you for reading to the end! If you liked it, I invite you to like, share and/or leave a comment below. You may find more information regarding my newsletter here.

If there is anything else you think I’m missing, please don’t hesitate to reach out by email at bonjour@marcelvanoost.nl.

If you are looking for my weekly digital banking newsletter (the one divided by regions), you may find it here.

Let me know if there are any questions or news/insights worth mentioning in next week's newsletter. Until the next!

Regards,

Marcel van Oost

marcelvanoost.com