For those worried about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on VC investment across Europe, the latest report from Pitchbook should make for welcome reading.
According to the report, VC deals in Europe totaled €10.6bn in Q3 2020. That’s one of the strongest quarters on record, bringing year-to-date funding to €29.5bn and meaning it’s on track to eclipse the €37.2bn raised in 2019.
Read more here.
A new study by Built for Mars is out!
This study analyzes the experience of signing up to 4 of the major point of sale (POS) payment services in the world. In summary: the challenger providers were cheaper, simpler, faster and more efficient. And not just a little bit—considerably so.
Find out more here.
NOW, ON TO THE SUMMARY OF LAST WEEK'S DIGITAL BANKING SPACE
Conversational banking has itself a new challenger in Bella, a US-based firm promising “compelling AI messaging technology”. The entrant wants to offer coordinated checking and savings accounts. Like many up and coming new banks in the US, it offers no maintenance fees, and no minimum balance requirements. Its unique offering is a “karma account” through which users can accrue points towards gifts for other Bella customers. Bella promises prospective users the ability to customise their accounts with photos and hashtags. It plans to issue a contactless Visa debit card compatible with Samsung Pay, Apple Pay and Google Pay. Link here.
Snoop, the free app that helps people find ways to save has agreed a new partnership with GoCompare. The agreement will enable Snoop customers to perfectly time their motor and home insurance switches using GoCompare’s comparison service. Link here.
Also, Snoop is about to land more than £5.7 million. The start-up, which is headed up by former Virgin Money CEO, Dame Jayne-Anne Gadhia, has been crowdfunding on Seedrs since September. More recently, it launched a 20% discount for investors. At the time of writing, the fintech had raised £5,722,400 from 1,421 investors. One is the UK government’s Future Fund, which is matching the round and hence makes up half of the total. Link here.
Years in the making and after the lender’s challenging banking license approval, Zopa today launched its new credit card. Zopa’s colorful card boasts a handful of novel features, including a ‘Safety Net’ option that ringfences part of a customer’s available credit for emergencies, and real-time credit balance updates. The card also includes all the fintech-y features one would expect from a new card+app product in 2020, including instant notifications on purchases, spending categorization, the ability to freeze the card, and block certain types of purchases like gambling. Link here.
London-based digital bank, Novus, is in the midst of launching its sustainable lifestyle application. The firm calls its product the “next generation digital banking and lifestyle app for a sustainable future”. Novus will provide the usual challenger bank fare of payments, money management tools, budgeting, and savings pots. The fintech says it will allow users to track the impact of their spending with “every payment” and contribute to charitable causes automatically. Customers can pick and choose which charities they can donate to via the app’s interface. Novus is currently taking suggestions on sectors it should help support. Link here.
Yatta, a new financial management app from Dublin, is set to launch. The fintech is still in its early stages of development and will be looking for potential partnerships. Yatta emerged from stealth mode earlier this month. The AI-powered solution is the brainchild of former Ignition Advice executives Alan Quinlan (chief executive officer) and Colm McLoughlin (chief commercial officer). Link here.
N26 recently announced that will introduce a custodian fee of 0.5% on transactions over $59,000 (€50,000). Custodian fees in Germany are usually introduced from $118,000 (€100,000) (Comdirect starts at $295,000 (€250,000)). Premium accounts named ‘Metal’ will be excluded from the new fee, said N26 spokesperson. N26 did not want to give any further details about the motives. Link here.
Vybe, a challenger bank aiming to provide financial services to teens, is planning a European launch next year. Vybe plans launches in the UK and France. The fintech emerged in September 2020 and offers a free payment card for users aged 13 to 18 years old. Link here.
PPS (formerly PrePay Solutions) has revealed that it has teamed up with money management app Yolt to power the fintech’s inaugural debit card. Yolt first announced the launch of its debit card debut just over a week ago in unison with the release of its completely redesigned app after months of top-secret beta testing. Link here.
Brex introduces instant payouts, Jassby to introduce virtual debit card for kids, and SoFi launches credit card.
Brex introduced new features tailored to solving the cash flow pain points of growing ecommerce businesses. The launch of instant payouts and ecommerce-specific rewards alleviate growth barriers faced by ecommerce companies and furthers Brex’s mission to reimagine financial systems so every company can realize its full potential. Link here.
Jassby, Inc. announced an exclusive agreement with Mastercard to power its new Virtual Debit Card for kids. Accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the release of a virtual debit card has been a priority for Jassby as parents are concerned about their kids handling cash, according to recent survey results. Link here.
Green Dot is investing in and partnering with startup Gig Wage to bring banking and financial tools to gig workers. Green Dot has led a $7.5 million Series A funding round for Gig Wage, with additional participation from Continental Investors, Techstars, and Rise of the Rest. In addition, Gig Wage will use Green Dot's Banking as a Service platform to design and deploy customised banking and money movement products. Link here.
SoFi launched its first-ever credit card, which incentivizes healthy financial habits and delivers on its mission to help people get their money right. Carrying no annual fee, the card, for which Mastercard is the exclusive card network, provides up to 2% unlimited cashback when redeemed into SoFi Money or SoFi Invest accounts, or used to pay down SoFi Student Loans or SoFi Personal Loans. The card is launching today to an initial batch of SoFi members, while interested individuals can join the waitlist. Link here.
Also, SoFi received preliminary conditional approval on its application for a national bank charter. SoFi first applied for a banking charter back in 2017. The bank charter, if it gets final approval, figures to bring several benefits to SoFi. It should lower the company’s cost of funds, which would level the playing field with traditional banks. And it could make it easier for SoFi, over time, to offer more product choices in the deposit realm. Link here.
Customers in the US can join the waitlist for Coinbase Card, a Visa debit card that allows crypto to be used for payments and purchases online and in-store as well as for ATM cash withdrawals. Coinbase Card also introduces new opportunities for customers to earn up to 4% back in crypto rewards. Link here.
Wise closed a $12M Series A. This funding round was led by e.ventures, with participation from Grishin Robotics, and with continued investment from seed investors – Base10 Partners and Techstars. Wise has raised $18M to date. Link here.
New US-based challenger bank, Flyp, is launching soon, with the aim of improving financial literacy. The founding team behind Flyp includes two former Wells Fargo executives. Link here.
NorthOne, an established digital bank for US-based small businesses, notes that they’ve launched a new desktop mobile banking feature that allows customers to manage their finances on a computer as well as from their mobile devices. NorthOne has partnered with Radius Bank to offer banking services. NorthOne is based in Canada with offices in San Francisco and New York. According to a note shared with Crowdfund Insider, NorthOne decided to introduce this feature after “consistent customer feedback.” Link here.
Klar has attracted attention in Mexico and in the world for its business model, which allowed it to raise a very important amount of resources with which it presented a disruptive product to the market, exponentially increasing demand, to also achieve a first round of capitalization in record time. Link here.
TCS announced that Volt, Australia’s first neobank, has partnered with the company to power Volt 2.0, its next-generation Banking as a Service (BaaS) platform. Set to launch in 2021, Volt 2.0 will leverage TCS BaNCS, a global payments solution, to expand the bank’s offerings to include NPP, BPAY and DE, enabling full-service banking capabilities for all its customers. Volt will work closely with TCS to incorporate the real-time capabilities of BaNCS for payments, along with API-based access to open banking components that are not dependent on traditional legacy structures. The end-to-end solution provides full back-end support, the flexibility to integrate leading technologies, and connect with an extended ecosystem to offer innovative new products and services. Link here.
Razer Fintech is deepening their collaboration with FWD Singapore (FWD), the leading digital insurance provider in the region, by providing insurance coverage to its users in Singapore as part of the recently launched Razer Card – a Visa prepaid card solution unveiled recently by Razer Fintech and Visa. FWD will offer $100,000 complimentary term life insurance coverage to each of the first 1,337 users who qualify to be Razer Premium Card holders. Link here.
88% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore would consider switching some services to digital banks, according to a 2020 Visa Study on Digital Banking and SMEs in Singapore. These findings come as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) looks to digital banks to help support the underserved SME segment with the expectation of three wholesale banking licenses to be issued in the second half of this year. Link here.
Revolut Singapore has made a number of additions to its growth team in Singapore, bringing onboard digital strategist Sam Chui as marketing manager, and media specialist Deborah Tan-Pink as communications manager, finews.asia has learned. Chui joins from local marketing agency GoodStuph, while Tan-Pink resigns from her role as CEO of an edtech startup to join the company. She previously spent more than 10 years in lifestyle publishing, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan Singapore. The pair will report to Pam Chuang, Revolut Singapore's head of growth. Link here.
TymeBank looks to empower small and micro businesses to accept card payments, powered by Network International, the leading enabler of digital commerce across Africa and the Middle East. A digital-only bank, TymeBank offers a modern alternative to traditional banking brands and aims to make banking more accessible and affordable to all South Africans having already recruited 2.2m consumers in the past two months. Link here.
Copper, an app-based banking startup targeting teens, has brought in Chime executive Daniel Gonzalez as vice president of customer experience and compliance. The hire comes on the heels of a $4.3 million seed funding round as Copper, which has built a waitlist of tens of thousands of users and gears up to move out of beta. At Copper he will lead customer experience for an app and debit card offering that connects parents and teens to teach the kids how to make smart financial decisions. Link here.
This ends my weekly digest. Let me know if there are any questions or news/insights worth mentioning in next week's digest. Until the next!