News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

escalator ascending into light

1.UK – FinTech 


Finextra reports: 

“Santander has teamed up with Prosegur Cash to launch an in-store digital cash management service in Spain that puts the notes and coins merchants accept straight into their bank accounts. 

The Cash Today service is designed to guarantee the cash merchants collect is held in a secure device and contractually insured.

It mirrors the benefits of card payments so clients can have the cash the device confirms immediately in their Santander bank account. Users can also track all transactions on their Cash Today device in real time online.

Prosegur Cash collects the cash and provides change and also has a dedicated call centre for the service to solve customer queries and incidents.

The partners say they are targeting supermarkets, logistics, restaurants, service stations, pharmacies, tobacco shops and other businesses.” 



2. UK – FinTech 


The Fintech Times reports on Starling Bank’s chunky valuation: 


“Starling, the UK digital bank, has extended its oversubscribed £272million Series D funding round announced in March 2021, following a £50million investment by Goldman Sachs Growth Equity (“Goldman Sachs”), taking the total raised in the investment round to £322million.  Pre-money, Starling was valued at £1.1billion. 

Starling now has more than two million current accounts, including 350,000 business accounts. Its deposit base has increased from approximately £1billion just over a year ago, to now more than £6billion. 

It is the fastest-growing bank for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe and now holds a 6% share of the UK’s SME banking market. It is on course to report its first full year in profit by the end of its next financial year-end. 

The new funding announced by Starling will support its continued rapid and now profitable growth. 

Following the initial Series D funding round, Anne Boden, founder and CEO of Starling Bank, said, “Digital banking has reached a tipping point. Customers now expect a fairer, smarter and more human alternative to the banks of the past and that is what we are giving them at Starling as we continue to grow and add new products and services. Our new investors will bring a wealth of experience as we enter the next stage of growth, while the continued support of our existing backers represents a huge vote of confidence.” 



3. International – FinTech 


IntellectEU makes an announcement 


“VELMA is an AI platform that enables financial advisors to provide personalization in every aspect of the customer lifecycle. 

The platform learns from both client and product data to increase customer satisfaction and make advisors more efficient and effective.

Traditional asset managers aim for a minimum capital requirement of 200,000 to 300,000 euros for which personalized investment advice is provided. However, a recent report found that 60% of these high net worth individuals are unhappy with the level of personalization provided and 33% are uncomfortable with the high costs. These trends signal the need for a transformation of the current way of working. A transformation in which technology and the smart use of data are central.” 


4. International – FinTech 

Crowdfundinsider reports: 

“China is reportedly expanding its virtual yuan experiments to more local cities, however, there’s no exact timetable for its official launch, central bank Vice Governor Li Bo stated during an annual meeting on Sunday (April 18, 2021) of both Chinese and foreign policymakers, senior executives and prominent academics. 

As first reported by Reuters, China has taken the lead when it comes to developing a central bank digital currency or CBDC in order to streamline the existing financial system, while potentially attempting to address the threat from permissionless, decentralized cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin from dominating the global financial ecosystem. CBDCs may also help speed up local and international payments. 

In 2020, China had introduced its CBDC testing in Suzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Xiong’an. 

Li further noted that testing had revealed that the issuance process and distribution mechanism of the virtual renminbi or e-CNY is actually compatible with the traditional financial system. It may also help with minimizing the overall impact on the existing banking sector. 

China is committed to enhancing the e-CNY’s ecosystem, by improving its security and reliability, while also providing a proper set of legal and regulatory guidelines, Li added while attending the Boao Forum in the nation’s southern island province of Hainan. 

The State-backed virtual currency will be used by local residents and foreign visitors to the Beijing Winter Olympics which is scheduled to take place in 2020, Li confirmed. 

Li also stated that the focus of creating the digital yuan will mostly be for local use while working cooperatively with other nations to identify a solution for conducting international payments in the long term. The potential internationalization of the digital yuan will be somewhat of a natural process, and the country’s aim is to not actually replace the US dollar or other world currencies, but allow the markets to decide what’s best, Li claims.” 


5. International – FinTech 


AltFi reports: 

“Sweden’s largest loan marketplace Lendify has been acquired by new digital banking challenger on the block, Lunar. 

The Nordic challenger bank is hoping to grow its consumer loan offering and expand its operations in Sweden thanks to its purchase of the alternative lender.  

While specific financial details of the acquisition are yet to be disclosed, Lunar will acquire Lendify’s loan book, which is worth around €300m with 40,000 active savings and loan customers.  

“Lendify has for several years been considered one of Sweden’s hottest fintechs and was an early innovator of consumer lending with their peer-to-peer platform,” Ken Villum Klausen, founder and CEO of Lunar Group said.  

“We want to augment our customer deposits and accelerate pan-Nordic growth, and Lendify is the perfect fit in terms of risk appetite, culture and future vision,” he added. 

Rather than paying a lump sum for the Swedish alternative lender, Lunar has purchased all remaining shares of Lendify and will welcome all of Lendify’s investors and employees on board.”