Revolut raised $80 million, Cashplus reached a 1m payment, and Robinhood is postponing its U.K. expansion

Have you seen the latest article by Scientia Consulting? In their post they cover one of the most buzz-worthy topics in the Fintech world: Online Account Opening.

Find out more here.

Also, I’m looking for angel investors for some very promising FinTechs. If you’d like to know more, don’t forget to sign up.

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REPORT

Did you know that 65% of French youths feel that current banking products aren’t helping them invest, set money aside for travel, or to buy a flat?

The survey of 18- to 35-year-olds released on Monday by OpinionWay and fintech Moka, suggests traditional banks aren’t catering to millennials’ financial demands.

At the same time, 48% of respondents said they have trouble setting money aside each month, and half saying they’ve never invested money before.

The results are from just one study, but it speaks to the opportunity for new financial companies to disrupt high-street banks in France.

Read more here.

PODCAST

Don’t miss Bankonit podcast from John Siracusa interviewing Colin Walsh, Co-founder & CEO of Varo.

After three years and multiple rounds of applications, the FDIC approved Varo’s application to become a national bank that can hold customer deposits. Until now, fintech firms have managed to partner with community & regional banks. Varo is the first consumer fintech of its kind to get the FDIC’s approval.

Listen here.

Another great episode of Miguel Armaza ’s podcast Wharton Fintech, where he is joined by Maelis Carraro, Director of Catalyst Fund and the Impact Ventures Practice at BFA Global.

The Catalyst Fund is an inclusive fintech accelerator supporting early-stage inclusive startups with flexible capital, bespoke venture building support, and connections to investors and corporate innovators.

Listen here.

INTERVIEW

Triodos UK CEO, Bevis Watts, noticeably winces when asked whether he considers his bank to be a “challenger”. He prefers to describe Triodos as a sustainable bank. “We exist to challenge the way banking is done. And that's not really why most challengers exist, most exist really just for competition’s sake,” the CEO says.  

Triodos operates in six countries outside of the Netherlands, with its UK banking arm offering current accounts, savings, ISAs, investment products and business lending.

Read more here.

NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Kudos to Monzo for launching a specialized talent directory. The purpose of their platform is to promote and visualize the talented people who've worked at Monzo.

Search talent here

EUROPE

Revolut raised $80 million, Cashplus reached a 1m payment, and Robinhood is postponing its U.K. expansion.

Digital-only bank platform N26 announced earlier this week it has formed a new partnership with global sports brand Adidas to bring its customers perks on their next sportswear purchase. N26 revealed that its customers will receive a one-time perk on all regular items purchased through the dedicated N26 x Adidas link in the N26 mobile app.

Digital bank Monzo has announced that its gambling block feature has been enabled by 223,000 of its customers, with the number of users over doubling in the past year. The digital bank stated that in addition to restricting cash withdrawals, about 5 percent of its total customer base had enabled the gambling block feature that allows users to avoid both in-person and online transactions to bookmakers.

Revolut announced that it has raised $80 million as part of its Series D round that it announced in February. The new influx of funding comes from TSG Consumer Partners. In February, Revolut raised a $500 million led by TCV at a $5.5 billion valuation. Today’s new funding extends that funding round to $580 million — the company says the valuation remains the same.

Starling Bank revealed the addition of Penfold, a pension platform designed specifically for freelancers and self-employed people, to its marketplace. Penfold allows users to manage and track their pensions and gives customers the ability to top up, contribute and choose where their money is kept and invested. Penfold will be available to Starling’s 180,000 SME customers.

Since opening its payment processing service in April 2019, Cashplus reached a 1m payment with more than £310m transacted in the first year of operation. Cashplus, whose primary business is providing small business credit cards, said it has processed a further 200,000 transactions since May at a value of over £30m.

Plum, the London and Athens-based FinTech that offers a ‘smart’ money management app to help you improve your “financial resilience,” has raised a further $10 million in funding, as it gears up for European expansion.

Robinhood, the U.S.-based stock trading app, is postponing its U.K. launch “indefinitely,” more than a year and a half after the company begun executing on plans to cross the pond. It now intends to refocus its efforts on its home market.

Russia-based Tinkoff’s voice assistant Oleg has acquired a new set of skills for helping the Bank’s customers with their payments and setting spending limits as well as with recurring payments on times and credit card bills in the Tinkoff SuperApp.

Tide, the UK’s leading business banking platform, has announced the start of a new multi-year strategic partnership with Mastercard to further enhance its innovative SME banking services, with Tide becoming a principle Mastercard issuer. Also, Tide is facing a backlash among customers, after it suspended Bounce Back loans and left thousands of small businesses in the lurch.

Lloyds Banking Group (Lloyds) announced a strategic partnership with Form3, a cloud-native payments technology fintech, to accelerate its transformation and enhance the digital experience for customers. The strategic partnership will enable Lloyds to investigate and develop a cloud-native Payments-as-a-Service platform which has the potential to significantly improve the Group’s payment processes, making them more efficient.

Dublin start-up Leveris is aiming to be ‘the Google of banking’. Leveris is a Dublin-headquartered start-up with offices in Prague, Brno and Minsk. Since it was launched in 2016, the business has grown its team to more than 200 employees who have experience in financial services, technology and banking. Founded and led by Conor Fennelly, the start-up’s goal is to imagine a better way to build a bank. It has built an end-to-end core banking platform for both traditional and challenger banks, as well as consumer brands entering the banking and lending space.

TBC Bank 1st digital bank in Uzbekistan and the subsidiary of TBC banking group in Georgia, goes live with Capital Banking Solutions’ open platform: CapitalBanker and CapitalConnect suite as an open back-end API-based solution. Vigorous activity of TBC Bank is a catalyst for changes in the banking sector in Uzbekistan by contributing to the development of the financial services sector and the country’s economy as a whole.

USA

A data breach compromises personal information of Dave customers and there is a major development for the crypto industry.

SoFi’s daily trading volumes have surged as of the beginning of this year, while its user base has dramatically risen, SoFi CEO Anthony Noto said in a televised interview. The report comes as a number of big banks have also reported trading volumes are up as they report their earnings.

Neobank Aspiration, which has more than 1.7 million users, launched its latest initiative, Plant Your Change, in mid-April, a feature that allows debit card customers to round up purchases to the nearest dollar. Funds are then used to plant trees. Also, the company is partnering to provide Postmates Fleet members with access to Aspiration's suite of financial offerings, including Aspiration's Spend and Save account which provides a better and more sustainable alternative to the big banks.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is letting all nationally chartered banks in the U.S. provide custody services for cryptocurrencies. In a public letter dated July 22, Senior Deputy Comptroller and Senior Counsel Jonathan Gould wrote that any national bank can hold onto the unique cryptographic keys for a cryptocurrency wallet, clearing the way for national banks to hold digital assets for their clients. The letter marks a major development for the crypto industry.

SoftBank-backed fintech Kabbage is making a grab at small businesses disillusioned by big banks' PPP rollout by launching its own checking accounts

Dave, which counts billionaire Mark Cuban as an early investor and board member, began to roll out a digital bank account in May to a wait list of 2 million people. So far, Dave Banking has over 100,000 users and CEO Jason Wilk is confident that it will reach 1 million by year-end. However, the company reports that a data breach at Waydev, one of its former third-party providers, has resulted in a large amount of personal data being stolen. Some reports suggest that more than 7.5 million customer records were being hawked for sale on the dark web for a matter of weeks. The data included in the leak consists of names, emails, birth dates, physical addresses, and phone numbers. It has also been suggested that some user passwords (stored in hashed form using the bcrypt algorithm) may be compromised.

Galileo, the global payments platform that powers world-leading fintech companies, financial institutions and investment firms, is welcoming Venmo and Braintree alumnus Amit Jhawar as a special advisor.

LATAM

Ángel Sahagún is the Founder and CEO of albo and he spoke with Efma about how the simplicity of his bank is changing the way Mexicans manage their finances. Today, albo is the leading challenger bank in Mexico with more than 300,000 clients and has raised more than $26 million of investment.

AUSTRALIA

Leading SaaS provider Mambu has announced fast-growing Australian business bank Tyro has adopted Mambu’s cloud-native banking platform to deliver its first term deposit product. Tyro becomes the first Australian ADI to adopt Mambu’s platform following a successful pilot of the term deposit product earlier this year. Described as a ‘technology-led disruptor to the Australian payments industry’, business bank Tyro offers payments and value-adding banking products to more than 32,000 merchants.

Xinja has today revealed plans to launch its very own share trading platform named Dabble. Available inside the Xinja Bank app, Dabble will allow Australian users to purchase over 3,000 US stocks and ETFs (exchange traded funds) without any brokerage costs, though the launch of the platform is still subject to regulatory approval.

86 400, Australia’s first smartbank, has signed a strategic partnership with aggregator Australian Finance Group Ltd (AFG), to further expand its broker distribution network. With AFG on board, one in three mortgage brokers in Australia now have access to 86 400’s smarter approach to home loans.

Parpera is an Australian FinTech with aspirations to improve the economic prosperity of people, communities, and societies, globally. They are building an ecosystem of fair and transparent products and services that help people to effectively set up, manage and grow their business in the new economy.

Banking newcomer Volt is leveraging a fraud protection solution from IBM which uses AI and machine learning to analyze behavioral and fraudulent patterns. During today’s Data and AI Forum hosted by IBM, the challenger bank announced it integrated IBM’s Safer Payments solution into its online banking platform 10 weeks ago.

ASIA

Bengaluru-based neobanking startup Finin has raised an undisclosed amount in Pre-Series A funding round led by early-stage venture capital firm Unicorn India to ramp up its marketing, customer acquisitions and hiring process.

Hong Kong's virtual bank, WeLab Bank, has announced a partnership with Mastercard to launch a numberless debit card to offer greater convenience to customers. WeLab offers services entirely on mobile phones. However, the bank said that a physical card may have wider acceptance across merchants and provide added convenience to consumers’ daily lives, including making payments or withdrawing cash.

AFRICA

Digital challenger Orange Bank Africa has gone live with Temenos to support the bank’s launch and drive financial inclusion in Africa. Through Temenos’ cloud technology, Orange Bank Africa plans to deliver digital banking services in the African WAEMU region, starting with the Ivory Coast.

NOTE: This article was featured in my weekly newsletter on August 4, 2020. Do you want to be the first to read the next weekly overview? Sign up for my Weekly Digital Banking Newsletter here.
 
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