News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

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1.UK – FinTech 


AltFi reports:

Revolut has officially launched as a bank in ten European countries, using its Lithuanian banking licence to do so. 

As of today, Revolut now offers protected deposit accounts in Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Malta, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. 

To utilise the protected accounts, Revolut’s eligible customers just need to upgrade to Revolut Bank to gain access to a wider range of services the fintech now offers.  

Virgilijus Mirkės, Chief Executive Officer of Revolut Bank, said: “Launching the bank in ten new European markets will provide a greater level of security and confidence for our customers, and will enable us to launch a host of new products and services in the near future.” 

To date, Revolut has amassed over 15m customers worldwide in nearly 40 different markets. 

The digital banking service processes more than 100m transactions a month, with customers able to send money globally and hold and exchange 31 currencies in the Revolut app. 

While the fintech is busy launching fully-fledged bank accounts in countries across Europe, Revolut is still yet to do so here in the UK. 

Earlier this year, Revolut finally submitted its application for a UK banking licence after operating as an e-money institution for nearly six years. 

If the fintech’s application is successful, Revolut’s customers will finally have access to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which will protect deposits held in Revolut accounts up to £85,000 per person. 

Revolut was first granted a European banking licence from the Bank of Lithuania back in 2018 and launched its first bank accounts in the country in May of last year.” 


2. UK – FinTech 

Finextra reports: 

Countingup, a London-based startup offering users a business current account with built-in accounting software, has closed a £9.1 million Series A investment round led by Framework Venture Partners. 

Gresham House Ventures and Sage joined the round, the proceeds of which will be used to push growth and make hires.

Launched in 2018, Countingup now boasts more than 34,000 customers for its two-in-one app, which promises to automate bookkeeping and tax tasks while encouraging good recordkeeping.

In addition, customers can easily share accurate, real-time bookkeeping data with their accountants - eliminating the pains of re-authorisation requests, data lags, duplicates, and inaccuracies. 


3. UK – FinTech 

Barely a day goes by without a host of open banking partnership announcements at the moment, and today it’s Atom Bank and Wombat Invest’s turn, reports AltFi.


Atom Bank is partnering with Credit Kudos to better assess SME loan applications, while Wombat Invest is working with TrueLayer to enable instant open banking deposits for its customers. 

For Wombat, the change already means that 82 per cent of its one-off deposits, which previously relied on card payments, are now being facilitated by TrueLayer’s Payments API. 

“This doesn't come as a great surprise,” said Jamie Morton, TrueLayer’s UK country manager. “We've witnessed a significant uptick in conversion rates with our Payments API, outstripping both card and alternative payment methods.” 

On Atom Bank’s end, the partnership with Credit Kudos will roll out slower, starting with instant income verification and features to improve its secured small business lending, and with plans to expand the features to unsecured business lending and even residential mortgages by the end of the year. 

In the future Atom Bank believes the open banking insights will enable it to lend to even smaller businesses without assets, while at the same time reducing the bank’s risk of defaults.” 

4. International – FinTech 

Crowdfund Insider reports: 

“Australia is currently home to at least 733 active Fintech firms, up considerably from 629 back in September 2019, according to the KPMG Fintech Landscape 2020 map. This represents an increase of 104 firms that joined the nation’s financial technology industry between September 2019 and December 2020. 

The infographic provides a snapshot of Australia’s Fintech sector, which reveals several key trends that have become prominent during the past year. 

For instance, the blockchain and crypto space experienced the most growth with 49 new Fintechs being launched to focus on these initiatives. It’s followed by Fintechs specializing in lending services which saw 26 new firms being added (some businesses reclassified from the payments sector since KPMG’s Fintech Landscape 2019 map). The Australian Insurtech sector saw 24 new firms being added to the list. 

Fintech segments that saw companies suspend operations or leave the sector in 2020 include those offering services related to crowdfunding, data and analytics, Regtech, and Wealthtech. 

Daniel Teper, national Fintech lead at KPMG Australia, noted that the financial technology sector in Australia continued to grow steadily last year with several new firms making changes to their business models to cope with changes following the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Some Fintech sectors saw consolidation or changes to their business strategies, a trend that will continue as the industry continues to mature, Teper noted. 

The maturing of Australian Fintech sector is evident when we consider the growing number of post-revenue businesses. The 2020 EY Fintech Australia Census, published in October of last year, reveals that out of over 100 domestic Fintechs surveyed, around 78% reported that they were post-revenue and 98% had been in the market for at least 2 years.” 


5. International – FinTech 

Finextra reports: 

“PayPal is in early-stage talks to buy Curv in a deal that would value the digital asset security firm at up to $500 million, according to media reports. 

Earlier this week Israeli outlet Calcalist reported that an unnamed bidder was looking to pay between $200 million and $300 million for Curv. Bloomberg and Coindesk have both since claimed that PayPal is the interested party with a price tag of up to $500 million.

PayPal has not commented but last year it outlined plans to support cryptocurrencies across its consumer and merchant network. The firm has also been linked with a failed effort to buy crypto custody and trading outfit BitGo.

Curv - which raised $23M in Series A funding last year - provides multi-party computation security technology to safely transfer, store and manage any digital asset on any blockchain or DLT.

The company's products are currently in production at global investment firm Franklin Templeton and crypto-native institutions such as eToro and Genesis.”