One of this week's podcast recommendation belongs Startup Grind and its fireside chat with Maximilian Tayenthal, co-founder and CFO of N26. Together with his business partner and friend Valentin Stalf, he built one of the first and now fastest-growing mobile banks in Europe. Their vision is to create a retail bank that's flexible, transparent and speaks to today's digital lifestyles. Listen here.
Also, tune in to this episode of the Just Go Grind Podcast with Eytan Bensoussan of NorthOne. Eytan deeply believes that the success of the small business sector is one of the most important causes of our time. It has the potential to reduce income inequality, empower immigrants, and provide disproportionate leadership opportunities for female and minority businesspeople. Creating a banking service that is as modern as these companies is why Eytan started NorthOne. Listen here.
Have you seen the latest Southeast Asia report by the Boston Consulting Group in collaboration with the Singapore FinTech Association? Despite emerging as a global phenomenon, there are relatively few Digital Challenger Banks in Southeast Asia (SEA) today. That is poised to change as new players move to acquire digital banking licenses in Singapore. Alongside this vibrant SEA landscape, traditional incumbent banks have also been stepping up their innovation and digital initiatives. Read more here.
NOW, ON TO THE SUMMARY OF LAST WEEK'S DIGITAL BANKING SPACE
European fintech Revolut has launched silver and gold trading to Australian users starting from this week. While the feature went live earlier this year in overseas markets, this is the first time Australians get access. The neobank officially opened its doors to Australians in August this year after trialing a beta version to limited customers. Link here.
Following its merger with CYBG, Virgin Money’s new identity follows in the footsteps of design conscious fintech brands including Monzo and Starling. Virgin Money approached Pentagram’s Luke Powell, Jody Hudson-Powell and Domenic Lippa to create a fresh look to go with its new proposition, as a brand that shares Virgin’s core values but happens to be in banking, as opposed to a financial brand that happens to be part of Virgin. Link here.
Railsbank, the London-headquartered Banking-as-a-Service platform, has raised $37 million in new growth funding. Leading the round is MiddleGame Ventures and Ventura Capital, which are both existing investors in Railsbank. Also participating is Anthos Capital, Global Brain, Clocktower Technology Ventures, Moneta VC, Mitsui Fudosan and Firestartr. Link here.
Finndon has secured FCA approval for its e-money agent license. This major step for the new digital banking app will enable the neobank to offer current accounts with a range of smart budgeting tools and features that will not only help their customers keep track of their spending, but also teach them how to make their money go further. Link here.
Aidexa, an Italian challenger bank for SMEs, has raised €45 million in seed financing. Founded by Roberto Nicastro, former general manager of Unicredit, Aidexa intends to use a combination of AI and Open Banking to target the seven million businesses in Italy with a turnover of less than €10 million. The startup, which plans to recruit approximately 100 staff in the coming months has set a goal of breaking even within three years and landing 100,000 customers in five. Aidexa currently operates as credit institution, offering loans and investment-related services, but expects to obtain a full banking license in 2021. Link here.
The Swedish neobank Northmill Bank, which improves people's financial life, has become a member of the Swedish Central Bank’s payment system, RIX. It is a system used by all the major Swedish banks and a central hub in the Swedish financial infrastructure. The membership creates the opportunity to add a wide range of new banking products and features to its growing banking offer, as well as adding extra layers of relevance and personalization. Link here.
Upstart Holdings, the California-based fintech lender led by ex-Google exec, Dave Girouard, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO). The start-up filed on 5 November with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The number of shares on offer, as well as the price range of the IPO, are yet to be determined. In the meantime, the fintech has said it will raise $100 million under the ticker “UPST” on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Though this figure is often used as a placeholder to calculate filing fees. Link here.
Faster home loan applications have been the promise of new digital lenders in the last few years. The big banks are slow, and applications take weeks to process, slowing down one of the most crucial and time sensitive steps in the home buying process. This has become an even bigger challenge during COVID-19, with staff at many lenders working from home. New fintech lender Nano (formerly Verteva) is the latest challenger planning to speed up this process. Its product is a home loan application offered via smartphone that can process a home loan entirely digitally. Link here.
YeLo Bank, a digital-only, mobile-first neobank focused on serving mass-market consumers, has won the AWS Startup Architecture Challenge of the Year 2020 India finals. AWS Startup Architecture Challenge is an initiative as part of which AWS Startup customers in select regions get the opportunity to showcase their unique and innovative architecture platforms built on AWS. As a regional winner, YeLo has been awarded $25k in AWS Credits. Link here.
South Korea’s online-only lender Kakao Bank is readying initial public offering planned for next year, while the stock frenzy and demand for entrants is still red-hot. According to sources from the investment banking industry on Wednesday, Kakao Bank sent out letters of request to multiple domestic and foreign-based brokerages including Mirae Asset Daewoo, Samsung Securities, KB Securities, NH Investment & Securities, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citi Global Market Securities, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and UBS. Korea Investment Securities was left out because its parent Korea Investment Holdings and affiliate Korea Investment Value Asset Management are shareholders of the digital lender with a respective holding of 4.9 percent and 28.6 percent. Link here.
In the latest development, Kuda, a startup out of Nigeria that operates a popular mobile-first challenger bank for consumers and (soon) small businesses, is announcing that it has raised $10 million — the biggest seed round ever to be raised in Africa. The funding comes on the back of strong demand for its services and its ambitions — according CEO Babs Ogundeyi — to become the go-to bank not just for those living on the continent, but for the African diaspora. 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!