The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup on Tuesday 23 January 2024 serves up the latest partnerships, funding updates and appointments.
Funding and investments
Ozone API, the open banking API platform, has raised a £8.5million Series A round to fund its continued global expansion. The Series A round was led by Gresham House Ventures, a growth equity investor. The company plans to use the investment to build the team and The company plans to use the investment to build the team and support all emerging standards and provide the tools for banks to monetise open APIs.
Fintex Capital, the investment firm specialising in private debt, has expanded its mezzanine financing for ThinCats, the leading alternative provider of business loans to mid-sized UK businesses. As part of this transaction, Fintex Capital made a further £5million available to ThinCats, taking its total mezzanine exposure up to £12million. This is financed by Fintex Specialty Finance UK.
On-demand pay company DailyPay has bagged $175million to fuel growth. The funding is split between $100million of expanded secured credit facility capacity provided by Citi and more than $75million in equity financing, which valued the company at $1.75billion on a pre-money basis. It will be deployed to accelerate DailyPay’s product innovation and to drive its expansion into adjacent categories and new markets.
MorganAsh, a support services provider to the financial services and utilities sectors, has appointed Johnny Timpson OBE as its new chairman, subject to FCA approval. The news comes as MorganAsh expands its operations across all regulated sectors – helping firms better manage consumer vulnerability, by using the MorganAsh Resilience System (MARS).
Alba Bank, the UK challenger bank for SMEs, has strengthened its leadership team ahead of its planned market entry, hiring Michael Mustard as general counsel and company secretary. He joins from Aldermore Bank where he was interim general counsel. Mustard previously held roles at Tesco Bank, RBS, and Citi. He trained in accountancy at PwC and as a lawyer at Brodies LLP and Allen Overy.
FinTech B2B Marketing has added two members to its advisory board – Nim Haas and Miranda McLean. McLean was part of the founding team at Banking Circle and is currently CMO at LHV Bank. She also held roles at Thomson Financial, S&P, Equifax and Reuters. Beyond her primary responsibilities as global CMO at BPC, Nim also serves as an advisor to the Global Fintech Impact Forum, as well as the NextGen Payments & RegTech Forum.
INNOPAY, a consulting firm specialised in digital transactions, has promoted Mounaim Cortet to the firm’s partnership. In his new role as managing partner, Cortet will continue to support financial institutions with the transformation of their business and operating models. Additionally, as head of INNOPAY’s German office, he will also continue to spearhead the company’s expansion and growth into new markets.
SAP has appointed Marwan Zeineddine as its new managing director for UAE operations. Having held senior roles across SAP since 2012, Zeineddine will focus on supporting the digital transformation and AI capabilities of companies in the Emirates. Prior to his promotion, Zeineddine was SAP’s executive director of strategic industries in the UAE.
Bristol-based invoice finance provider Optimum Finance has appointed Keira Matley as relationship manager, as well as Hannah Ansell as relationship manager support executive, to consolidate and sustain new business growth. In 2023, Optimum Finance also added 12 new starters across the business.
Mangopay, a payment infrastructure provider for platforms and marketplaces, appoints Liz Oakes to its board as a non-executive director. Oakes was most recently based at Mastercard, where she held executive roles in the company’s payments businesses as well as other global positions leading strategy, market and product development.
Premialab appoints Philippe Jacson as head of business development in Asia and Middle East. Based in Dubai, Jacson will lead business development in this market segment. Before joining Premialab, Jacson served a wide range of institutional clients investment banking leadership roles including MSCI, Merril Lynch and BNP Paribas.
Continuous authentication company Zally hires Paul Wilshaw as its chief design and product officer, as well as Prabhu Prakash Ganesh as its chief technology officer. The strategic additions underline the company’s focus on building an expert leadership team ahead of its forthcoming Beta launch.
Industry association the American Fintech Council (AFC) reveals Martha O’Malley, assistant general counsel at Prosper Marketplace, has been elected to serve as chair of its board. Prosper is a founding member of AFC and O’Malley has served as a board member since inception, including most recently as chair of the board budget committee.
Network International has strengthened its senior management profile with the appointment of Jamal Al Nassai as group managing director for merchant services MENA. In this role he will be responsible for strategic planning and execution, business development and value propositions for merchant and government partners across all the group’s MENA markets.
UAE’s RAKBANK has teamed up with Playtomic, the Padel community of racket sport players, to offer its customers access to wellness opportunities. It offers its cardholders complimentary premium memberships to the Playtomic app, coupled with discounts on court bookings.
Bank payment company GoCardless has extended its relationship with UK charity Comic Relief until 2026, enabling Comic Relief to continue using GoCardless for Direct Debit to collect recurring donations all year round. This will enable Comic Relief, which started working with GoCardless in 2019, to take more donations outside of its yearly Red Nose Day fundraising campaign.
Mashreq is providing Dar Al Marefa School, Dubai’s only bilingual (English and Arabic) IB Curriculum school, with a 10-year sustainability-linked loan (SLL), reflecting its commitment to sustainable finance. As well as increasing teacher professional development targets, the SLL also supports an increase in the number of scholarships offered by the school.
Mashreq has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the UAE-based fintech firm Fils, to develop a corporate carbon offsetting offering that helps corporate and institutional clients to integrate carbon offsetting directly from their Mashreq corporate accounts. The agreement represents the first step in Mashreq’s development of specialised carbon-offsetting financial products.
Liberis, an embedded business finance solutions provider, has unveiled a two-year extension of its strategic collaboration with Worldpay, the payment processing technology company. Worldpay and Liberis will collaborate on product innovation, enabling Worldpay customers to potentially access funding within a four-click application experience. They also provide personalised revenue-based finance to small businesses.
Royal Exchange General Insurance Company Limited (REGIC), Nigeria’s oldest and largest insurance provider, has embarked on extensive digitalisation of its internal business operations using the Kissflow low-code platform. As a result, 75 per cent of the company’s enterprise operations now run on Kissflow’s platform, yielding a significant degree of automation and substantial enhancement to the efficiency of operations.
Satchel, a European digital banking provider, is set to enhance its compliance standards through a strategic partnership with regtech AMLYZE. With this partnership, Satchel and AMLYZE aim to establish new benchmarks in digital banking compliance, reshaping the landscape of the financial technology sector.
Liminal, the digital asset custody and wallet infrastructure provider, forges a strategic partnership with Dubai-based Encryptus, a fiat off-ramp solutions provider. This collaboration aims to transform the digital asset space by offering a compliant and consolidated pathway for institutions to convert crypto to local currencies seamlessly.
Cornerstone FS, a foreign exchange and payments solutions company, has signed an agreement with Mastercard to launch a corporate card scheme. Under the agreement, Cornerstone can issue commercial cards co-branded and supported by Mastercard for the Group’s corporate customers. The Group expects to launch the corporate card scheme during Q3 2024.
Plannix, a personal finance hub that helps with wealth tracking, portfolio management and financial planning, teams up with Salt Edge, the open banking company, to enable users from Italy and beyond to connect and view all their bank accounts in one place instantly.
Mergers and acquisitions
Genesys, an AI-powered experience orchestration company, has entered into an agreement to acquire Radarr Technologies, an AI-based social and digital listening, analytics and consumer engagement company. Following the acquisition, Genesys will use Radarr Technologies’ social media insights as a source for its 360-degree customer view fuelling Genesys AI.
Private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe has agreed to acquire a majority stake in EquiLend, a global fintech for the securities finance industry. In addition to the acquisition, WCAS has committed a further $200million investment to support global organic growth initiatives and acquisitions by EquiLend.
FNZ, the global wealth management platform, has completed the acquisition of Luxembourg-based B2B fund platform ifsam. The acquisition strengthens FNZ’s global proposition for both asset managers and distributors, adding advanced product, research, data and service solutions to its existing end-to-end wealth management platform.