1.UK – FinTech
“French alternative lender for the self-employed Mansa has raised €18m.
The deal is made up of €6m in equity capital from Anthemis Group and Founders Future and €12m in debt from a Franco-British fund to finance its loans.
Mansa, which launched just 12 months ago with an initial €2m seed round has 20 employees but plans to double its workforce through this new round of financing and to begin international expansion to the UK market.
It specialises in loans to freelancers and the self-employed, having originated €1.5m in loans in 2020. Mansa aims to finance more than €2m of lending per month with this new round of financing. Its average loan size is c.€3,000.”
2. US – FinTech
“Alternative lender Capital On Tap has hopped across the pond, choosing the US as its second international destination.
The B2B lender will provide much-needed financial support for SMEs across America, offering its business credit card to firms as of today.
To help with its launch stateside, Capital On Tap has teamed up with WebBank, which will both issue and provide the lending required to launch the fintech’s cards.
Zoe Newman, head of international expansion at Capital On Tap, said: “The team worked tirelessly to get the product prepared for launch. Covid-19 and the subsequent economic downturn have meant challenging times for SMBs and the Capital on Tap business credit card will provide access to crucial working capital and also a range of features built just for SMBs.”
3. International – Fintech
“The EU's top regulator has questioned the use of blockchain technology in the creation of a European Single Access Point (Esap) for company financial and sustainable investment information.
The European Commission wants to create a single publicly-accessible platform to pool financial datasets as part of its goal to achieve a fully-fledged capital markets union.
Much of this information is currently stored in multiple formats and disparate databases scattered across member states. The Commission believes that this fragmentation stifles innovation and constitutes a competitive disadvantage for the EU capital markets in terms of attractiveness, compared to capital markets in other jurisdictions, such as the US.
The aim is to establish a single access point as well as an EU harmonised approach for the IT format for companies’ information.
The Commission is running a European Financial Transparency Gateway (EFTG) pilot project to assess the feasibility of using blockchain technology as the basis for a dedicated platform for sharing data.
In its response to the consultation, the European Securites and Markets Authority (Esma) has reminded the Commission that the pilot may be unworkable under General Data Protection rules if it supports the immutability of data stored on the blockchain.
"Esma understands the term 'immutable' to mean that the information stored in the Esap might not be deleted once uploaded in the blockchain," states the regulatory body
"Esma encourages the Commission to consider the interaction between such feature and the rights of the data subject, in particular the right to rectification and the right to deletion in accordance with Article 16 and 17 of GDPR.
"Furthermore, information submitted in the company registers might be legally required to be deleted (e.g. after 10 years, in case of errors, etc). Whilst Esma does not hav ea view with regards to the technological solution which may be used to implement the Esap, and remains available to explore the potential of blockchain for the purpose of the Esap, Esma recommends that such questions are carefully considered by the European Commission."
Esma chair Steven Maijoor stresses the body's full support for the initiative, but cautions against setting unrealistic goals given the wide-ranging scope of the project.
“Esma is ready to take up a central role in setting up and running the Esap (and) supports an increased use of structured data formats whenever appropriate," he says. "However, in light of the complexity of the project, Esma encourages the EC to carefully weight the scope of the Esap versus feasibility and operability."
4. International – FinTech
A little bit of catch-up from Africa… The Fintech Times reports:
“The Bank of Ghana has launched a regulatory and innovation sandbox pilot as part of its mission to promote and support fintechs, as well as drive financial inclusion.
The sandbox will provide a forum for financial sector innovators to interact with the sector regulator to test digital financial service innovations while evolving enabling regulatory environment.
It will be available to banks, specialised deposit-taking institutions and payment service providers including unregulated entities that have innovations that meet the sandbox requirements.
According to the Bank, it would prefer products and services leveraging blockchain technology, remittance, crowdfunding and e-KYC (electronic know your customer) platforms. In addition, it wants services in regtech (regulatory technology), suptech (supervisory technology), digital banking, and products targeting women financial inclusion and payment solutions for MSMEs.
The aim is to find products that drive inclusion by reducing time-to-market; allows regulators to learn about innovations faster; as well as reduces the cost of innovation for innovators. The sandbox pilot has launched in collaboration with EMTECH Service LLC.
“The Bank of Ghana through this project, would like to reaffirm its commitment to addressing the financial inclusion needs of the unbanked and underserved persons and businesses,” the Bank stated.
Ghana is regarded as a fast and stable economy in the continent and this is reflective in its growing financial and fintech sector. Much of its financial services activity and wider tech as a whole lies in its capital and largest city of Accra.”
5. International FinTech
“Codat, the API-based platform for business data, has received strategic investments from PayPal Ventures and American Express Ventures.
The FS giants join a Series A round that was led by Index Ventures last year for London-based Codat, which is now set to target the US market.
Codat uses a single API to directly ‘plug in’ to the software used by small businesses - allowing banks, fintechs and other FS players to access everything from the company’s accounting software to payment terminals recording real-time transactions.
The technology cuts out the need for unwieldly Excel documents and PDFs sent via email, simplifying the process of sharing information. For banks and fintechs, the company says it helps them scale and speed up their offerings to millions of small businesses.
The firm was founded in 2017 by CEO Peter Lord, COO Alex Cardona and CTO David Hoare, who had worked together at what is now MarketFinance, a peer-to-peer invoice finance platform.
It has built up a strong customer base in Europe, with clients including PayPal-owned iZettle, which uses Codat's technology to transfer point of sale transaction data into their merchants' accounting software.”