Don't miss this week's interview recommendation with Arjun Thyagarajan, co-founder and CEO of Wise, a provider of digital banking services used to help small businesses and help them grow through partnerships. Link here.
Have you seen the latest illion Credit Card Nation report? The coronavirus has accelerated the decline of credit cards in Australia. In the 11-month pre-pandemic period, there was a net loss of 80,000 credit cards per month, which jumped to 116,000 cards per month in the four months from March 2020. Overall, illion has found that Australia has lost a whopping 1.6 million credit cards since October 2018, worth $11.6 billion in credit card limits. Link here.
NOW, ON TO THE SUMMARY OF LAST WEEK'S DIGITAL BANKING SPACE
Read the latest chapter in the Built for Mars UX studies. This one focuses on analyzing the entry-level card readers, and the user experience of connecting these devices to their apps. It also compares these readers to new mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) initiatives, such as the Visa ‘tap to phone’ technology. In summary, the incumbent provider Verifone performed considerably worse than iZettle, Square and SumUp. Link here.
Angel Investors Syndicate. Join now! Link here.
Snoop closes £10m crowdfunding effort, Starling Bank eyes acquisition to grow SME lending, and Revolut set to hire a CCO to lead new division.
Financial management app Snoop has closed its first crowdfunding effort after raising over £10m from more than 1,700 investors. The crowdfunding campaign, which was launched on crowdfunding platform Seedrs back in September, was launched in conjunction with the government-backed Future Fund, which added £5m to the total effort. Link here.
Starling Bank will “probably” acquire a lending platform within the next year or two, its chief executive has revealed, as the challenger bank seeks to grow its small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) loan originations. Speaking at the LendIt Fintech Europe 2020 virtual conference in October, chief executive Anne Boden said that Starling Bank is rapidly expanding the SME side of its business and SME loans now make up the largest segment of its overall book. Link here.
Revolut is on the hunt to find its first-ever chief commercial officer to build an ambitious new sales stream. A job advert on LinkedIn reveals Revolut is looking for a new CCO to sell “platform services” to medium and large retail merchants; a marked shift from its existing model. According to insiders, hiring a CCO to target merchants forms part of Revolut’s plan to grow a full-stack financial platform, where retailers such as Amazon can offer goods and services to Revolut’s 12m customers within the app. Link here.
A UK based fintech for parents and kids called Strive launched with the announcement of the acquisition of a popular digital piggy bank company GoSave in an all stock deal. With 50% of the UK population considered financially vulnerable (FCA.org.uk) the need for easy solutions to teach kids about money and engage their parents in the process has never been greater. This need has been sped up by recent COVID events and the rise of cashless society. Link here.
Smart spending app HyperJar is offering free Kids Cards for 6-15-year olds. Children get their own prepaid Mastercard, paired to an adult HyperJar account, while parents get instant payment notifications and can set individual spending limits for each child via the app. Link here.
Mode has bought out the 45% minority interest in operating subsidiary JGOO from Pure NZ Gateway Ltd, giving it full control of its associated partnerships with Tencent and Alipay. The transaction includes the purchase of JGOO's technology and the rights associated to it. The technology provides a payment gateway for UK merchants allowing them to accept payments from WeChat Pay and Alipay. As part of the transaction, Mode has acquired the payment-system technology by way of an irrevocable, perpetual royalty free licence, including the ability to sub-licence the associated software. Link here.
Dutch lender ING is undergoing a dramatic realignment of its digital banking plans after 41.4% drop in net profits. Maggie, ING’s project creating a standardized customer experience across in four European countries, is to be “considerably reduced”. In an investor presentation, ING describes the cross-border integration at the heart of the program as “discontinued”. Link here.
Vivid Money, a mobile banking startup funded by Russia's Tinkoff Bank, has raised €15 million in a Series A round to support expansion and product development. Founded in 2019 by Artem Yamanov and Alexander Emeshev, the app-only bank formally launched in Germany in June. Using the Vivid Money app, users can open an account for free in just a few minutes and manage their finances via their smartphone. Link here.
Tenth, an "unapologetically black" digital neobank is gearing up for launch with the mission of eradicating the wealth gap for Black America. The Black Lives Matter movement has led to a renewed focus on America's wealth gap and the financial services industry's role in it. Now entering the fray is Tenth, named for W.E.B. DuBois' book The Talented Tenth. Co-founded by Asya Bradley, who has previously worked at fintechs SilaMoney, Socure and Synapse, and Donald Hawkins, founder of Griffin Technologies, Tenth aims to help "ERASE the wealth gap for Black Americans through legit financial education". Link here.
Radius Bank, a forward-thinking digital bank, announced today the next step in its partnership with API (application programming interface) banking leader Treasury Prime with the launch of their Commercial API Banking Platform and corresponding sandbox testing environment. With API Banking, Radius has expanded its Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) digital platform by giving commercial clients leading-edge technology to help facilitate and simplify their corporate banking needs. The sandbox is a critical component because it enables developers to explore Radius’ APIs for their particular use cases and test how the API would work in their application. Link here.
Nubank released a new feature to its users. Now, it is possible to use a portion of your NuConta balance to generate an additional credit card limit, in a total of five steps. The new function can be found directly in the app. Link here.
Australian fintech Finspo has raised $2.7 million in Series A funding, which will enable further product development and take-to-market activities. The investment comes as Finspo prepares to launch its free, easy-to-use service that will help Australians save on their banking. Link here.
Savii is a digital banking app and Visa prepaid debit card with flexible parental controls for 11-18-year-olds. Dubai-based Savii planning to launch in UAE in early Q1 2021. Savii offers a digital banking solution that enables parents to educate their children on how to manage their money responsibly while giving children the financial independence to earn, budget, save and spend in an increasingly cashless and digital society in which they are currently unbanked. Link here.
Temenos, the banking software company, announced the appointment of Phillip Finnegan as Managing Director for the Pacific region. Finnegan will be responsible for customer engagement and regional strategy in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. He brings 20 years’ experience in financial services technology to spearhead Temenos’ continued business growth and support the rapid pace of banking innovation in the region. Link here.
Ziglu, the challenger and fully FCA authorised Electronic Money Institution, has announced the appointment of James Sullivan as its Chief Legal Officer. James joins Ziglu from Monzo where he was Head of Legal and Acting Company Secretary. At Ziglu, his key responsibilities will include growing the team, supporting and protecting the business as it continues on its trajectory of product growth and international expansion. Link here.
CEO and co-founder of Revolut Nikolay Storonsky has been named the UK’s first fintech billionaire Storonsky, a native of Russia but now a British citizen was named in the Telegraph’s Tech Hot 100 ranking of fintech leaders. It had been previously estimated that Storonsky’s stake in digital banking service Revolut was around £363m, but according to the Telegraph, his net worth has skyrocketed to £1.06bn. Link here.
Nano Home Loans, a newly branded lendtech formerly known as Verteva, has landed a new chief product officer (CPO) from Volt Bank. Shaun Lordan served as Volt’s head of payments and partnerships for three years. Volt landed Australia’s first restricted banking licence in May 2018. “It’s not every day you start a bank,” says Lordan in a LinkedIn post announcing his departure. His move to Nano coincides with the fintech’s emergence out of stealth. “I am proud to announce that we wrote our first home loan in October 2020,” says Lordan. 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!