On the radar this week:
Q&A with Sandipan Chakraborty of SONECT
WiseWorks AI, a bank communications platform, raised $1.2 million
Peakflo, building Bill.com for Southeast Asia, raised around $3 million.
Quiltt, a low-code business-focused infrastructure provider, raised $4 million.
Finli, a business payment management service, raised $6 million in seed funding.
Supy, a restaurant payment software provider, raised $8 million in seed funding.
Asset Class, an Irish investment management product, raised an $11.6 million Series A.
Griffin *, a UK banking-as-a-service provider pursuing a bank license, raised £12.5 million (disclosure: which The Fintech Fund invested in).
Lucinity, a financial crime compliance program for banks, raised a $17 million Series B.
Gnosis Safe, a digital wallet protocol, raised $100 million.
Pico, a financial infrastructure developer, raised $200 million to accelerate its M&A activity.
Motive Partners raised $2.45 billion for its new fintech fund.
Q&A with Sandipan Chakraborty of SONECT
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
Sandipan is the founder and CEO of SONECT that introduces sharing economy in cash logistics. After spending 12 years at Credit Suisse as a Senior Program Manager and delivering some of the largest IT initiatives of the bank successfully in payments, core banking and regulatory compliance, Sandipan decided to quit his job, risk his family and venture into the unknown with SONECT as he identified an opportunity to bring efficiency in cash handling and thus reduce the cost of it. He and his co-founders gathered a team of industry experts for advice, raised capital from prominent investors and grew the company from scratch in no time. The company is now a multi-award winning fintech headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland with 3 offices globally and having international customers including major global retail banks.
WiseWorks AI raises $1.2m
WiseWorks AI, the communications intelligence platform, has secured a $1.2m investment to build a one-stop solution for financial institutions to analyse surging virtual communications for compliance and to automate everyday tasks.
The heavily oversubscribed round was led by Veridian Ventures, with investment from funds including Silicon Valley-based R42, SyndicateRoom’s Super Angel fund, and Istcapital, joining initial investors Founders Factory. The funding will be used to expand the team and accelerate product development.
WiseWorks is backed by serial entrepreneur and AI veteran Dr. Ronjon Nag, founder of R42, who has founded and advised speech recognition companies sold to Motorola, RIM/Blackberry, and Apple.
The startup is hoping to help regulated firms such as financial institutions, which are required by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations to record and keep relevant communications for up to seven years.
Peakflo’s bid to build business payments for Southeast Asia attracts capital, customers
During the most recent Y Combinator startup batch, Peakflo stood out to TechCrunch. The company’s simple pitch — Bill.com for Southeast Asia — fit neatly into the broader narrative of the world increasingly digitizing its workflows and the generally hot market we’d seen for fintech companies.
At the time, we noted that “there are huge revenues to be found in helping companies spend and receive money,” adding that Peakflo was likely “ready to raise,” having already reached $13,000 worth of monthly recurring revenue (MRR).
So when Peakflo reached out with some fundraising news, we took the call. I spoke with co-founder and CEO Saurabh Chauhan about Peakflo’s fundraising, historical growth, plans for its new capital and its revenue targets.
For businesses seeking low-code fintech infrastructure options, there’s a Quiltt for that
Quiltt is wrapping its warm low-code fintech infrastructure blanket around startups and small businesses that want to create financial services for their customers, but don’t have the budget resources for a big engineering team.
Ruben Izmailyan and Mark Bechhofer came up with the idea for Dallas-based Quiltt about five years ago while working together on a personal financial app. While pitching their automated budgeting app, they began receiving inquiries from people who weren’t so much interested in the budgeting tool as they were about the data engine around it and integration work they were doing.
“We realized that was a much better place for us to be spending our time, so we pivoted into an infrastructure business,” CEO Izmailyan told TechCrunch. “We were bootstrapping for the most part, and for the previous business, that made more sense, but for this, it made much more sense to build on the venture route.”
So they got started building the version of Quiltt that exists today. That includes API integrations with fintech providers, like Plaid, Spade and ApexEdge, and a suite of no-code user interface modules for users to experiment with on top of its data platform
Finli puts service-based business payment management in the palm of your hand
If your service-based business is still collecting paper checks and only knows clients by their first name, Finli has an app for you.
After building mobile technology for fintechs and payment companies for the past 20 years, Lori Shao, CEO of Finli, started the mobile-first payment management company nearly 3 years ago when she noticed that she was around technology all day but still using a checkbook to manage household services, like landscaping and after-school programs.
The San Marino, California–based company is focused on microbusinesses, which according to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, 9.9% of U.S. businesses are small businesses.
These are businesses that are often using five or more services, like QuickBooks, to manage their client billing and payments. Shao believes many business owners end up abandoning those services because they are complicated, expensive and heavily reliant on owners knowing a lot of information about their clients, over and above a first name and mobile phone number.
ResTech Startup Supy Raises $8M in Seed Funding
The United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based ResTech startup Supy has raised $8 million in seed funding.
The round was led by BECO Capital, with the participation of existing investors including Valia Ventures and Cotu Ventures. New investors who joined the round also included Global Ventures, AMK Investment Office and others.
Supy said it plans to invest the funding in its tech and launch its payment solution to help suppliers reconcile invoices while enabling restaurants to better manage their cashflow.
Supy provides software for the hospitality sector that helps businesses optimize their ordering and supply-chain processes. The software incorporates tools for invoice, cashflow and procurement management, as well as point-of-sale and enterprise resource planning integrations.
Founded in February 2021, Supy has grown from focusing on single restaurants to being able to serve more complex operations and larger restaurant chains in UAE and Saudi Arabia.
So far this year, Supy processed over 250,000 orders from restaurants and suppliers, and opened shop in five new cities. The application is now available to hospitality businesses in all major cities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Supy said in a press release emailed to PYMNTS.
Asset Class Secures $11.6 Million Series A Funding Led By Canapi Ventures to Help Democratize Private Capital Investing
DUBLIN–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Asset Class, a financial technology (fintech) company headquartered in Dublin with offices in New York and London, announced today that it has completed a $11.6 million Series A funding round, led by fintech-focused venture capital firm Canapi Ventures with participation from new and existing investors, including Live Oak Ventures, Plexus Capital and Total Technology Ventures.
Formed in 2020, Asset Class provides a range of innovative, custom investment management software solutions to clients across financial sectors, with a focus on private equity, venture capital, financial advisory and commercial lending. Since announcing a seed round of $3 million from Angel Oak Ventures last year, Asset Class has achieved impressive growth as private equity and venture capital fund managers and commercial loan lenders have turned to the firm’s bespoke solutions that help raise capital easily and efficiently and manage the complete end-to-end investor life cycle. Asset Class now services more than 300 funds, totaling $33 billion in assets under management, and a network of over 15,000 accredited investors.
“As we’ve grown, we like to say that the venture capital, private equity and commercial lending firms we work with come for the technology we provide and stay for the network we offer,” remarked Ferdinand Roberts, CEO and founder of Asset Class. “Our client-first approach has led us to achieve incredible growth, and this new round of funding will only propel us further on our mission to offer a completely integrated, end-to-end investment management platform in the alternatives space.”
The growth capital will allow Asset Class to focus on expanding its employee headcount, specifically in the areas of software and business development. Asset Class intends to capitalize on the positive tailwinds impacting the industry, which include growth in the number of private capital funds and accredited investors seeking access, a digital-first landscape, and trillions of dollars of cash ready to be deployed into the alternative fund strategies that Asset Class serves.
Fintech Griffin raises £12.5m as it seeks banking licence
Banking as a service fintech company Griffin has raised £12.5m in a funding round to support the development of its API banking platform.
Based in London, Griffin is building a full-stack platform that aims to streamline the performance of financial services.
Among Griffin’s list of services is the tracking of funds and the management of compliance tasks.
The company has also applied for a banking licence so that it can provide open banking services and full bank accounts to clients for the sending and receiving of payments.
With the new funds, Griffin has now raised a total of $27m (£22.4m). The company previously raised £6.5m in November 2020.
“With this injection of funding, we can continue to innovate, scale our business, and focus on building the best banking platform possible,” said David Jarvis, co-founder and CEO of Griffin.
The investment round was led by Notion Capital, a regular backer of software as a service (SaaS) startups.
“SaaS is finally eating the financial services sector the way it has every other industry, and Griffin will empower fintechs to build and launch financial products with a single secure and modern SaaS platform,” said Stephen Chandler, managing partner at Notion Capital.
“I’m thrilled to support the team as they rewrite the way companies interact with banks and accelerate growth.”
LUCINITY RAISES $17 MILLION IN A SERIES B FUNDING ROUND TO PROVIDE BANKS WITH PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS TO FIGHT FINANCIAL CRIME
REYKJAVIK, Iceland, July 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Lucinity today announced the closing of a $17 million Series B investment round, led by Keen Venture Partners and joined by Experian and its major existing investors, Crowberry Capital, Karma Ventures, and byFounders.
Lucinity’s mission is to Make Money Good™ through Human AI. By delivering user-centric compliance systems augmented by artificial intelligence (AI), Lucinity has helped various banks and FinTechs increase their compliance productivity by over 50%. This results in thousands of hours now spent on actually fighting financial crime instead of making sense of complex and noisy data.
Recent customers of Lucinity that join a range of banks and FinTechs include Pleo, a $4.7B FinTech used by 20,000 companies that chose Lucinity as its central hub for financial crime prevention, and Visa’s Currencycloud, a part of the world’s largest global payment platform.
Lucinity also recently announced partnerships with Experian and Seon. With Experian, Lucinity is delivering next-generation ongoing Know Your Business (KYB) and risk assessments, while its collaboration with Seon is centered around a joint anti-money laundering and fraud prevention solution.
“It’s exciting to see Lucinity’s ground-breaking change ripple through the compliance and risk spaces. Our Human AI is transforming our clients’ productivity, and our partnerships are creating incredible productivity innovations for customers to leverage,” says Guðmundur Kristjánsson (GK), founder and CEO of Lucinity. “This successful funding round will help fuel our rapid growth as we expand our customer base, partner network, global team of experts, and product offering.”
Gnosis Safe Raises $100M And Rebrands As Safe
Multi-signature wallet protocol Gnosis Safe has raised $100M in a funding round led by venture capital firm 1kx and will rebrand as “Safe”.
Gnosis Safe users – a group that includes Bitfinex, BitDAO and Vitalik Buterin – manage more than $38B in assets, according to data from Dune analytics (that figure was just over $100B in February). Earlier this year, holders of Gnosis’ governance token GNO voted to spin off Gnosis Safe.
“In order to get Gnosis Safe to the next level, an ecosystem should be established around this new account standard,” co-founder Lukas Schor argued in the proposal to separate the protocol from Gnosis. “The spin-off will also enable the Gnosis Safe project to have an even stronger focus on its mission: increase adoption of smart-contract-based accounts.”
In addition to 1kx, the 60 investors include Tiger Global, Kraken Ventures, Digital Currency Group, Blockchain Capital, Coinbase Ventures and a number of industry veterans, such as Hasu of Flashbots and Lefteris Karapetsas of Rotki.
“As both a user and developer I find @gnosisSafe as an indispensable tool for every crypto user,” Karapetsas tweeted Tuesday, “and it is my hope to see it grow for the next billion users.”
Pico Signs Agreement with Golden Gate Capital for $200 Million Investment to Accelerate Next Phase of M&A Activity
NEW YORK, July 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Pico, a leading provider of mission critical technology services, software, data and analytics for the financial markets community, today announced it has signed an agreement for a $200 million strategic investment from Golden Gate Capital, a leading private equity investment firm. The capital will be used to pursue strategic M&A opportunities that further enhance Pico’s comprehensive global ecosystem of best-in-class technology and services, as well as other general corporate purposes.
“We have made significant investments in global expansion, product innovation, operational excellence and in our organization, thereby laying the foundation to support the next wave of substantial growth. We are thrilled to have Golden Gate Capital as an investor and strategic partner supporting us to continue leveraging our leading global technology and data platform to provide additional services for our clients,” said Jarrod Yuster, Chairman, Founder and CEO of Pico. “Golden Gate Capital’s deep financial services experience and track record of successful acquisitions at their portfolio companies will help advance our strategy.”
Pico was founded in 2009 to address the macro trends in electronification of markets across all asset classes. Since then, it has consistently anticipated market requirements and now offers comprehensive financial services trading cloud infrastructure, connectivity, data, software and analytic solutions spanning 55 data centers traversing all key global market centers in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Pico sits at the center of a complex ecosystem powering mission critical applications for more than 430 clients, including the top 25 global banks, 39 exchanges, electronic market makers as well as premier asset managers.
With this investment, Pico will continue to build on the strategic investments it has made in its high-performance, resilient infrastructure and in continuing to extend its data offering and market coverage across all regions and asset classes. Pico has a proven record of acquiring and integrating companies into its technology platform. In 2019 it acquired market leading trading and enterprise analytics solution Corvil Analytics and has continued to enhance its capabilities. It is replicating this strategy with the January 2022 acquisition of Redline Trading Solutions, a provider of multi award-winning trading and market data software solutions. Strengthening its technology platform with Redline gives Pico a significant opportunity to access the $36 billion  addressable market for global data consumption, in addition to the growing $130 billion market infrastructure addressable market.
Motive Partners raises $2.45 billion for new fintech fund
Fintech-focused PE firm Motive Partners has raised $2.45 billion ffor its latest flagship fund.
The firm focuses on growth equity and buyout investments in software, investment and information services companies in North America and Europe, serving five primary subsectors: banking & payments, capital markets, data & analytics, wealth & investment Management, and insurance.
Commitments already lodged from the new fund include investments in ten companies – InvestCloud, Insurify, Wilshire, Trumid, Motive Capital Corp II, CAIS, FNZ, Forge Global, BetaNXT and Backbase.
In total, Motive Partners has over $5.5 billion in regulatory assets under management.