News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

A beautiful big cloud, at twilight, over a church

1.UK – FinTech

Altfi reports: 

“Two of the UK’s most prolific venture capital firms, Index Ventures and Dawn Capital, both announced funding rounds yesterday as they build up their investment war chests. 

Index, which counts Wise, Robinhood and Revolut among its portfolio, raised $3.1bn across three separate funds it’s launching. 

The cash is split $2bn for its sixth growth fund, $900m for its 11th venture fund and £200m for its first early-stage origin fund. 

“We’ll be investing in companies across sectors, particularly in consumer, enterprise, software infrastructure, gaming and fintech, where we’ve established leadership and expertise,” said Index partner Mike Volpi. 

“We continue to see a lot of opportunity here, while of course we remain open to exploring other new and exciting areas.” 

Meanwhile Dawn Capital, which just this week made a follow-on investment in portfolio company and expense automation platform Soldo, raised $120m for its second later-stage fund. 

The last few years have been particularly kind to Dawn’s fintech portfolio, with iZettle being acquired by PayPal in 2018 for $2.2bn and Tink just last month signing a €1.8bn deal to be acquired by Visa.” 


2. UK – FinTech 


Altfi reports: 

“BNPL fintech Zilch has raised an extra $110m in debt and equity just three months after it announced its $80m Series B, according to Sky News. 

Zilch’s latest funding effort, which is an extension of the aforementioned Series B, was led by Goldman Sachs’ asset management and private credit team and DMG Ventures, the investment arm of Daily Mail owner Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT). 

"As our customer numbers continue to grow, we've taken the decision to raise additional capital to service this phenomenal demand,” CEO and founder Philip Belamant told Sky News. 

"We're delighted that well-respected institutions such as Goldman Sachs and DMG Ventures share our vision of what credit should be in today's world and how that can be delivered directly to customers in the most responsible way." 

The fintech will use the fresh cash to help it expand further into the US, a goal it first outlined back in April when it raised the first tranche of its Series B. 

Zilch will also work on growing its customer base, which currently stands at over 700,000, and continue building its brand profile.” 


3. International – FinTech 

Finextra reports: 

“French spend management platform Spendesk has raised €100 million in Series C funding led by global growth equity firm General Atlantic. 

Spendesk provides finance teams with an SaaS spend management system for full visibility and control on all company spending — with every purchase trackable to a person, a project, and a budget.

The platform combines payments, processes and data, with virtual and physical cards for employees, expense reimbursements, invoice management, automated spend approvals, and budgets.

Having seen revenues double, its customer base reach 3000, and its headcount hit 300 over the last year, the firm will use the new funding to continue hiring and develop its products.” 



4. International – FinTech 


The Fintech Times runs a feature on embedded finance in Fintech. 

“Having set up a business in the agri-food space in a former life, I have shipped more than a few containers of easily perishable fruit across international borders and unfriendly customs check points in freezing road conditions. Each container holds twenty-plus tons of fruit, so there is always a pretty penny riding on each shipment – if the trucker decides to save on his battery and turns off the cooling, condensation easily forms on the boxes the fruit is packed in, and if the box manufacturer turns out to have skimped on the glue, the boxes can come apart at the seams, with the end result being tons of fruit collapsing on top of each other as the truck takes a sharp turn in a snowy mountain pass. You can probably tell I am speaking from experience here. 

So you can imagine I was surprised when somebody recently asked me if embedded finance is the telematics of the fintech world. 

For those that have not heard the term, telematics refers to tiny little devices that can be embedded into trucks or cars, and then broadcast information to interested parties. In the example above, I would have received a message saying that the temperature in the container was rising, or that the driver was going above the speed limit, warning me that a fruit-avalanche may be around the corner. 

There are indeed a lot of similarities here – telematics is embedded into vehicles, and embedded finance seamlessly and invisibly incorporates payments solutions into the processes of all sorts of services businesses. Hence, yes, we can say that the analogy has some merit. 

To take this one step further, we may ask what the big benefit of embedded finance is for businesses. What is the equivalent of preventing crushed pomegranates displayed at the corner of a wholesaler’s warehouse floor? Two recent examples from the European press really stand out in this context: Embedded finance, and companies like QED’s investment Weavr, can really help with the confusion created by Brexit and the new European Payments Initiative (EPI).” 



5. International – FinTech 


Crowdfundinsider reports: 


“This April, over 34,000 CoinList users reportedly bought $33M in Casper (CSPR) tokens during the Casper Token Sale that was carried out on the digital asset platform. The CoinList team noted in a recent update that they are humbled by “the size and commitment of support” from the Casper community, and are now eager to help with making CSPR “available to an ever broader crypto ecosystem.” 

Beginning on July 21, 2021, qualified or “eligible* CoinList users will be able to stake Casper (CSPR) directly via CoinList and earn as much as 14% APY in rewards. 

As explained by CoinList, Casper serves ss a layer-one blockchain created for application development and scalability. It aims “to support enterprise applications without compromising cost, decentralization, or security.” 

Casper uses a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus protocol, known as Highway, in order “to secure the network and verify transactions.” Casper rewards network participants “for helping secure the blockchain through staking.” 

CoinList confirmed that they will facilitate staking for users, “for which CoinList takes a 15% fee from staking rewards.” The platform’s management reminded users that this fee is “assessed only on the rewards earned and not your principal tokens” and CoinList users that “stake their CSPR receive rewards for their contributions.”