News

B2B Fintech Radar: July 27, 2022

On the radar this week:

Q&A with Christoph Bourguignat of Zelros

Ride Capital, a German wealth structuring software for private investors, raised €3 million.

Resolve, a medical billing and payments startup, raised a $3.3 million seed round.

Fairplay, a software to tackle bias in lending decisions, raised a $10 million Series A.

Hero, a French B2B payments provider, raised €12 million.

Meow, a crypto corporate treasury provider, raised $22 million.

Canvas Medical, an EMR and medical billing platform, raised a $24 million Series B.

Lightyear, a UK investment platform, raised $25 million and launched in 19 countries.

Apiture, a developer of front-end software for smaller banks, raised$29 million.

mx51, an acquirer and merchant payment tech provider, raised a $32.5 million Series B.

Zebedee, a payment processor for the gaming industry, raised a $35 million Series B.

Pulley, a cap table and equity management provider, raised a $40 million Series B.

Smart, a UK retirement investment advisor, raised £40 million.

Fonoa, an Irish tax compliance software, raised a $60 million Series B.

Sanctuary Wealth, a provider of a platform for investment advisors, raised $175 million.

Q&A with Christoph Bourguignat of Zelros

1.​ Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.

Zelros is a software editor specialized in artificial intelligence for the insurance industry. After working at AXA Data Innovation Lab and Datarobot I cofounded Zelros together with Damien Philippon and Fabien Vauchelles in 2016. Today Zelros counts 50 employees operating in 3 countries (France, Germany and Italy) and doubling size each year. Our technology is used daily by thousands of advisors and agents from 15+ leading insurers and bancassurers.

http://www.fintechforum.de/scaling-enterprise-fintech-with-christoph-bourguignat-of-zelros/

Ride Capital Raises €3M in Funding

Ride Capital, a Berlin, Germany-based fintech startup, raised €3m in funding.

Backers included Lea-Sophie Cramer, Verena Pausder, and angel investor and professional football player Mario Götze.

The company, which has raised a total of €8m since its foundation, intends to use the funding to accelerate its growth and become a digital private bank.

Co-founded by Christine Kiefer and Felix Schulte, Ride Capital develops software and platform solutions in the field of wealth structuring for private investors. With services such as wealth structuring, provision of a tax advisor platform, and automated securities booking, the company has taken the initial steps towards becoming a digital private bank. The first building blocks are a free RIDE business account (in cooperation with the banking-as-a-service platform Swan) and investment opportunities in alternative assets.

So far, Ride has served more than 1,200 customers with a total of €250 million in assets under administration since the launch of the platform in September 2020.

Resolve Raises $3.3M in Seed Funding

HANOVER, N.H.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Resolve, a startup on a mission to make healthcare bills fair, today announced the completion of a $3.3M seed funding round led by AlleyCorp, with additional support from the founders of category defining companies such as Funding Circle, Collective Health, Collective Medical, Nomi, Compass, Seamless, and more.

On top of rising inflation and a looming recession, 50% of Americans are currently in medical debt. Resolve reviews, negotiates, and lowers medical bills on behalf of patients with expertise on both the insurance and provider side. Once its proprietary data algorithms identify pricing issues, coding and/or billing errors, trained negotiators work to secure fair rates or appeal insurance denials. To date, the company has relieved nearly $20M in medical debt, averaging 60-65% savings.

“Our healthcare system is flawed, complex and difficult for even the savviest consumers to navigate,” said Braden Pan, founder and CEO, Resolve. “Throughout our work, we’ve found that medical bills are riddled with errors, overpriced, and often improperly covered by insurance. This funding will allow us to grow our ability to help people struggling with medical bills and reach a world where an everyday medical bill doesn’t bankrupt an everyday American.”

Currently, Resolve employs 22 full-time staff, with plans to soon add a number of positions including Chief of Staff, Head of Product, and a number of software developers.

“Far too many patients experience the dual burden of both a medical event and the medical debt that follows,” said Brenton Fargnoli, MD, Managing Partner, AlleyCorp Healthcare Fund. “We’re excited to support the compassionate, dedicated Resolve team as they help patients tackle excessive medical bills and put a dent in the $200 billion of medical debt facing Americans.”

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220718005136/en/Resolve-Raises-3.3M-in-Seed-Funding?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

FairPlay Raises $10M in Series A Funding

FairPlay, a Los Angeles, CA-based provider of a “Fairness-as-a-Service” solution for algorithmic decision-making, raised $10M in Series A funding.

The round was led by Nyca Partners, with participation from Cross River Digital Ventures, Third Prime, Fin Capital, TTV, Nevcaut Ventures, Financial Venture Studio and Jonathan Weiner. 

The company intends to use the funds to grow its engineering and data science teams and expand its products into the insurance, marketing and fraud industries.

Launched in 2020 by CEO Kareem Saleh, FairPlay provides algorithmic fairness solutions that empower lenders to identify and mitigate bias in their credit models, increasing profitability and financial inclusion. The company’s AI fairness techniques reduce algorithmic bias for people of color, women and other historically disadvantaged groups to enhance fairness in financial services and other industries.

FairPlay offers two APIs. The first API provides Fairness Analysis, analyzing a lending model’s inputs, outputs and outcomes to identify if disparities exist and for which historically disadvantaged groups. The second API, Second Look, leverages Fairness Aware AI technologies to re-underwrite declined loan applications for borrowers from protected groups. The technology assesses whether applicants declined by the primary algorithm resemble ‘good’ borrowers in ways that weren’t previously considered. The result is that more applicants from underserved groups are responsibly approved for loans, reducing bias and increasing lenders’ profitability.

B2B payments startup Hero secures €12mn in fresh funding

French fintech startup Hero has secured €12mn in funding to scale its B2B payments platform for SMEs, barely seven months after the company was launched.

French fintech startup Hero has raised €12.4mn to scale its B2B payments solution, just seven months after starting out.

The round is being led by Paua Ventures, Embedded/Capital and Rapyd Ventures. Further investment comes from angel investors including Guillaume Princen of Stripe, Phillippe de Passorio of Adyen and Peter O’Higgins of Revolut.

Hero’s full-stack payments solution is aimed towards SMEs, which it says remain underserved by incumbent banks. The fledgling startup is building a horizontally integrated payments platform that lets business customers handle both sides of a transaction, including procure-to-pay for clients and order-to-cash for suppliers. While invoice factoring is commonplace for large companies, Hero is bringing it to the masses.

The platform also features transparent underwriting to offer instant financing terms, resting on a proprietary data and risk engine; plus seamless integration with third-party software including ERPs and accounting tools.

https://fintechmagazine.com/articles/b2b-payments-startup-hero-secures-12mn-in-fresh-funding?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

Meow, a crypto corporate treasury startup founded by ex-Gemini staffers, has raised $22 million in a round led by Tiger Global

Meow, a startup that provides a compliant-first approach to investors for investing in cryptocurrency, has announced that it has closed on $22 million in Series A financing. The round was led by Tiger Global. QED Investors also participated in the round along with leading cryptocurrency exchange FTX, and others.

Alex Cook, Partner, Tiger Global, “Meow’s prioritisation of risk management and compliance is filling a gap in the market for corporate crypto treasury management. We are excited by the vision to build a comprehensive suite of treasury and payment products, and the team has the right set of experiences to deliver on the roadmap.”

The latest investment would be used to hire across the engineering and marketing & sales team. The startup will also focus on accelerating their global presence in crypto markets.

Frank Rotman, Founding Partner and Chief Investment Officer at QED Investors said, “With the rise in globalisation and the increasing use of web3 infrastructure, businesses are increasingly facing the need to transact in more than their native currency. This shift puts pressure on finance teams to ensure they have the right type of currency in the right account at the right time to conduct business. Meow is building tools to address this problem, especially for those companies that need help managing their crypto assets and payments.”

The start-up was launched in early 2022 by Brandon Arvanaghi following seed financing from cryptocurrency industry leaders and investors, including Coinbase Ventures, Gemini Frontier Fund and Lux Capital. The founder’s aim is to make the startup a ‘one-stop shop’ for corporate finance.

“Nobody believed us when we said corporations would want to participate in crypto markets,” said Brandon Arvanaghi, Co-Founder and CEO of Meow. “Access to crypto yield is just the beginning. We’re coming for it all. We’re committed to making Meow the one-stop shop for corporate finance.”

https://www.peoplematters.in/news/technology/meow-secures-22-million-in-tiger-global-led-series-a-funding-34616

Canvas Medical, ‘the Tesla of EMRs,’ raises a $24 million Series B round

When Andrew Hines started Canvas Medical in 2015 he couldn’t have predicted that telehealth would go from niche to norm or that a pandemic would inspire entrepreneurs to launch a new fleet of digital health startups that needed fresh infrastructure. He just knew he wanted to build software for physicians like his wife, who wasted hours a day on data documentation.

“I thought there has got to be a better solution,” Hines told TechCrunch. “I started Canvas to design the software with the right data structure and right workflow to be able to have a positive impact on patient health outcomes.”

Canvas, an electronic medical records (EMR) startup, helps 15 types of stakeholders ranging from physicians to insurance companies to social workers keep better track of their patient data through a workflow system that autofills information in a document — rather than through a series of drop-down menus — which makes it faster and easier for users.

Now, the San Francisco-based startup just raised $24 million in Series B financing in a round led by M13, with participation from existing investors including Inspired Capital, IA Ventures and Upfront Capital.

For Inspired Capital COO and partner Mark Batsiyan, the need for Canvas was clear right away, as his wife has also had to work with bad EMR systems in her career. Inspired invested in the company’s Series A round in April 2021 before doubling down for the Series B this year.

UK Fintech Lightyear Launches in 19 EU Nations, Acquires $25M in Funding

Investment platform Lightyear has announced a $25M Series A equity round “led by Lightspeed Venture Partners.”

The company’s seed investors, Mosaic Ventures, Taavet+Sten and Metaplanet also took part in the investment round “alongside a number of new and existing angel investors.”

Joining Lightspeed in this new investment round is “the Virgin Group – an organization which champions driving positive change through new technologies and joins the Series A as an investor.” The fresh funding comes “at the same time as Lightyear’s expansion into 19 European markets, just nine months after it launched in the UK.”

Lightyear combines multi-currency accounts “with unlimited access to global markets so customers can invest freely without hidden fees.”

The European launch “enables customers from 19 different countries to now access thousands of US and European stocks in addition to Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).” Countries part of this first European rollout “include Ireland, the Baltics and most of Western Europe such as Spain, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands and France.”

Lightyear was “founded by ex-Wise duo Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer to bring a global mindset to the European investment world.”

Traditionally, if investors in Europe want access to international markets they are hit with transaction and custody fees, “but most notably, hidden foreign exchange fees.”

With their multi-currency accounts, where you “can add, hold and invest in different currencies, Lightyear seamlessly bridges the gaps between international markets for customers.”

Since launching to the UK market last year, Lightyear has “tripled its stock universe, launched an industry first social investment feature – Lightyear Profiles – and added a suite of new products and features to bolster its data and education offering, all accessible in the app for free.”

https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2022/07/193710-uk-fintech-lightyear-launches-in-19-eu-nations-acquires-25m-in-funding/?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

Small-bank-focused Apiture raises $29M

Digital banking solution developer Apiture has scored $29m in a funding round, which was led by Live Oak Bank.

Contributions also came from unnamed existing investors.

With the capital, the company plans to expand its sales and marketing efforts, accelerate its product development initiatives and meet increased demand for the Apiture Digital Banking Platform, which is currently used by over 300 banks and credit unions in the US.

The company has an API-first strategy that helps clients implement their own digital banking services. These include consumer banking, business banking, accounting opening, data intelligence and more.

Apiture CEO Chris Babcock said, “Our platform is built by bankers, for bankers, which uniquely positions Apiture to deliver best-in-class solutions that help financial institutions of all sizes level the playing field with national brands.

“We appreciate the confidence our existing investors have demonstrated in our business through this fundraising round. It is worth noting that two-thirds of the capital we have raised in this round has come from investors that are also Apiture clients, including Live Oak Bank, Pinnacle Bank, and BHG Financial. Their investment both underscores and reinforces the strength of Apiture’s solutions in a competitive market.”

https://member.fintech.global/2022/07/15/digital-banking-api-developer-apiture-closes-29m-funding-round/

Payments startup mx51 raises $32.5m

Payments technology company mx51 has successfully raised $32.5 million in a Series B round led by an undisclosed global fintech investor. Major existing investors including Mastercard, Acorn Capital, Commencer Capital, Rampersand and Artesian participated in the latest financing.

mx51 empowers banks, acquirers and merchants to keep ahead of rapidly evolving shifts in payments technology. Since closing its $25 million Series A round last year, which occurred within 12 months of launch, mx51 has since doubled global headcount to over 100.

The company is also on track to more than double revenues this calendar year and as a key technology partner driving innovation for banks and acquirers is aiming to become the payments solution of choice for merchants.

mx51 CEO and co-founder Victor Zheng said: “Thanks to our partnerships to date, we estimate we now have the means to access a significant share of Australia’s merchant market. With this new capital, we’re poised for an aggressive rollout over the next few years, first in Australia and then abroad.“

In addition to expansion, mx51 will also use the funds to double down on its core in-store, online payments and merchant dashboard solutions. It will also develop further capabilities to assist with fraud prevention and data-driven customer insights.

Zheng added: “We’ve succeeded on the back of our sharp focus on simplifying the merchant payment experience, and empowering banks and acquirers to innovate around legacy technology and to keep pace with changes in the payments sector.”

https://www.finextra.com/pressarticle/93420/payments-startup-mx51-raises-325m?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

Zebedee raised $35M from investors including Square Enix for blockchain game payments

Zebedee has raised $35 million in a new round of funding to further develop its Bitcoin-based payment systems for games and integrate with new partners.

The Hoboken, New Jersey-based company hopes to transform games by adding new revenue streams powered by cryptocurrency, blockchain, and other technologies.

Zebedee enables programmable payments and small transactions to power economies for virtual worlds with near-zero fees. That is, it takes the big transactions fees out of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and enables much smaller transaction sizes.

Kingsway Capital led the round. It was joined by global merchant bank The Raine Group as well as video game giant Square Enix. Existing investors including Lakestar and Initial Capital also participated in the round.

Pulley Raises $40 Million Series B Led by Founders Fund

SAN FRANCISCO, July 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Pulley today announced a $40 million Series B led by Keith Rabois at Founders Fund. Existing investors, including Stripe and Elad Gil, also participated. This latest round follows a year of rapid growth for the company, which supports over 1,700 companies with stakeholders across 80 countries.
Pulley is a cap table and equity management platform. It gives founders and employees the tools and equity insights to make more informed decisions about hiring and fundraising, while staying compliant in terms of taxes and accounting.
“Equity is a company’s most valuable asset,” said Yin Wu, Pulley’s co-founder and CEO. “We’re excited for Pulley to take a new approach to equity management. We help companies make better decisions about equity allocation, before they get recorded on the cap table.”
In a bear market, better tools for fundraising and hiring have become more important than ever. Early equity decisions can be difficult to navigate, especially for new companies, and mistakes are expensive to correct.

To help startups in this fundraising climate, Pulley announced today the launch of its free plan, Pulley Seed. New customers with fewer than 25 stakeholders can access Pulley’s core features for free and save thousands on legal fees. These tools help companies model and compare different funding scenarios, raise capital, and set up equity grants for employees.
Keith Rabois is joining Pulley’s board and believes the market is underserved and growing quickly.
“Equity decisions are harder than ever before, but the tools to manage them have not kept pace,” said Rabois. “Pulley is not just bringing the cap table online and automating it. They’re layering on the tooling and insights to help customers be better owners and stewards of their equity.”

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pulley-raises-40-million-series-b-led-by-founders-fund-301585284.html

CIBC Innovation Banking injects £40 million growth financing to UK fintech Smart

CIBC Innovation Banking is pleased to announce £40 million of growth financing for London-based Smart, a leading retirement technology provider. Smart will use the capital to expand its market growth, accelerate the launch of strategic products, and undertake acquisitions.

Smart launched in 2015 with the goal of making pension auto-enrolment and administration simple for businesses and their employees. The company has since expanded to work with financial institutions and governments across the world, including through its core technology platform Keystone.

“We’re delighted to have CIBC Innovation Banking support Smart, helping us accelerate our near-term growth ambitions, increase our presence in core markets, and roll out product initiatives to transform retirement across the world,” said Eoin Corcoran, Chief Financial Officer of Smart. “Our technology is already helping more than a million people save and plan for retirement. We operate across four continents, and our growth plans will soon take us beyond ten million users. Our company is uniquely positioned to capitalise on the $62 trillion global retirement savings market, and this facility will strengthen our ability to do exactly that.”

“We’re thrilled to be supporting Smart as they continue to scale their offering for retirement technology to savers across the globe in partnership with financial services organizations, governments, and state legislatures,” said Sean Duffy, Managing Director in CIBC Innovation Banking’s London, UK office. “Smart and its team have provided solutions to more than 100,000 companies and we look forward to being part of their growth journey through the development of new strategic products.”

Smart is also backed by Legal & General, J.P. Morgan, Link Group, Natixis, Barclays, Chrysalis Investments, DWS Group, and Fidelity International Strategic Ventures.

https://www.finextra.com/pressarticle/93396/cibc-innovation-banking-injects-40-million-growth-financing-to-uk-fintech-smart?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

CIBC Innovation Banking injects £40 million growth financing to UK fintech Smart

CIBC Innovation Banking is pleased to announce £40 million of growth financing for London-based Smart, a leading retirement technology provider. Smart will use the capital to expand its market growth, accelerate the launch of strategic products, and undertake acquisitions.

Smart launched in 2015 with the goal of making pension auto-enrolment and administration simple for businesses and their employees. The company has since expanded to work with financial institutions and governments across the world, including through its core technology platform Keystone.

“We’re delighted to have CIBC Innovation Banking support Smart, helping us accelerate our near-term growth ambitions, increase our presence in core markets, and roll out product initiatives to transform retirement across the world,” said Eoin Corcoran, Chief Financial Officer of Smart. “Our technology is already helping more than a million people save and plan for retirement. We operate across four continents, and our growth plans will soon take us beyond ten million users. Our company is uniquely positioned to capitalise on the $62 trillion global retirement savings market, and this facility will strengthen our ability to do exactly that.”

“We’re thrilled to be supporting Smart as they continue to scale their offering for retirement technology to savers across the globe in partnership with financial services organizations, governments, and state legislatures,” said Sean Duffy, Managing Director in CIBC Innovation Banking’s London, UK office. “Smart and its team have provided solutions to more than 100,000 companies and we look forward to being part of their growth journey through the development of new strategic products.”

Smart is also backed by Legal & General, J.P. Morgan, Link Group, Natixis, Barclays, Chrysalis Investments, DWS Group, and Fidelity International Strategic Ventures.

https://www.finextra.com/pressarticle/93396/cibc-innovation-banking-injects-40-million-growth-financing-to-uk-fintech-smart?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

Coatue backs Ireland-HQ’d tax software startup Fonoa with $60m

Fonoa, a Dublin-based startup that helps companies like Uber and Zoom with their tax compliance, has raised a $60m Series B round from some of the world’s most well-known investors, including Coatue, Index and Dawn Capital. 

The investment makes Fonoa one of Ireland’s best-funded tech firms.

What does Fonoa do? 

Fonoa, set up by three ex-Uber employees, calls itself a one-stop-shop for corporate taxes: it automates taxation processes for ecommerce businesses with an API. Currently businesses that operate across different countries have to deal with complicated and fragmented tax regulations. Fonoa’s platform determines and calculates the right amount of tax to pay, regardless of differing fiscal jurisdictions. 

The platform is used by companies such as Uber, Zoom, Booking.com and Teachable. 

The company is based in Ireland, but its employees are distributed across over 20 countries and its operations centre is in Croatia; the founders are also Croats.

https://sifted.eu/articles/fonoa-tax-software-coatue-ireland/?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

Sanctuary Wealth Receives $175M Growth Investment From Kennedy Lewis Investment Management

Sanctuary Wealth, an Indianapolis, Indiana-based provider of a platform for the next generation of elite advisors, closed a $175m investment from Kennedy Lewis Investment Management.

The company intends to use the funds to accelerate its M&A strategy and the organic growth of its partner firms, including advancing key priorities that will enhance technology solutions and talent management initiatives.

Launched in 2018 and led by Jim Dickson, CEO, Sanctuary Wealth is a holistic wealth platform for advisors who desire to own their businesses and values, allowing them to access the resources of a much larger organization.

To assist partner firms, Sanctuary Wealth has built out the range of solutions on its multi-custodial hybrid platform including a new bespoke alternative investments platform, a Turnkey Asset Management Program (“TAMP”) offering, insurance solutions, family office services, legacy planning, consumer and business lending solutions, as well as access to a technology stack integrated into a best-in-class work station.

Currently, the firm’s network includes 79 partner firms in 26 states across the country with approximately $25 billion in assets under advisement.

Power’s Portage Closes $655 Million VC Fund as Tech Values Fall

Portage Ventures, the venture-capital firm owned by Power Corp. of Canada, closed a $655 million fund to seek a new batch of financial-technology investments around the world and take advantage of a recent tumble in valuations.

The firm’s third fund, Portage III, raised money from 34 institutional investors from nine countries, with about half of the backers new to the firm, Portage said Thursday. The fund is almost twice the size of the firm’s $335 million second fund.

“With the secular tailwinds in fintech, we thought it was a great time to be in fintech over the last few years,” Felesky said in an interview. “With this correction in valuations, it’s an even greater opportunity.”

Startups with more efficient, less capital-intensive business models are now in favor, while larger, consumer-focused firms that have to spend a lot on customer acquisition are more challenging, he said.

Portage is owned by Sagard, the alternative-asset-management arm of the Desmarais family’s Power Corp. financial conglomerate.

That ownership structure informs Portage’s investment process, which includes seeking out startups that can partner with Power Corp. companies or other backers of its funds. Investors in Portage’s previous funds have struck almost 60 partnerships with portfolio companies. About half of Portage III’s investors are financial firms using the fund partly as a way to learn about industry trends or eventually strike deals with firms that Portage invests in, Felesky said.

https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/powers-portage-closes-655-million-vc-fund-as-tech-values-fall#:~:text=PMN%20Business-,Power’s%20Portage%20Closes%20%24655%20Million%20VC%20Fund%20as%20Tech%20Values,a%20recent%20tumble%20in%20valuations.

Leading Auction House Christie’s Launches Web3 and Fintech Venture Arm

On Monday, Christie’s, the leading British auction house founded 256 years ago in 1766, announced the launch of a new venture fund called Christie’s Ventures. According to the announcement, the company’s venture arm plans to focus on “[Web3] innovation, art-related financial products and solutions, and technologies that enable seamless consumption of art.”

Christie’s Ventures to Foster ‘Web3 Innovation, Art-Related Financial Products’

The British auction house Christie’s has revealed a new venture fund that aims to support “emerging technology and fintech companies.” The firm said that it plans to work in unison with its portfolio startups in order to accelerate growth and push Christie’s activities into innovative directions.

“Christie’s Ventures will start by exploring three broad categories,” the company said on July 18. “[Web3] innovation, art-related financial products, and solutions and technologies that enable seamless consumption of art.”

With premises located in London, New York City, and Hong Kong, Christie’s is the largest second-largest auction house in terms of auction turnover behind Sotheby’s and above the auction firm Phillips and China Guardian.

Christie’s has been into digital currency and blockchain solutions for some time now. In September 2020, the auction house sold the first bitcoin artwork ever when Christie’s presented Block 21 of “Portraits of a Mind.”

The following year, the auction house accepted bitcoin (BTC) for a painting worth $6 million. The painting was crafted by Keith Haring and sold at Christie’s “20th/21st century” sale in London.

https://news.bitcoin.com/leading-auction-house-christies-launches-web3-and-fintech-venture-arm/?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email