Early stage European FinTech deals include Stableton, Lightyear, Clim8 etc. We feature Q&As with Matilde Limbert of BiG Start Ventures and Mark Watters and Dinos Daborn of AxeTrading.
Scaling Enterprise FinTech: with Matilde Limbert of BiG Start Ventures
1. A year since the first lockdowns- is this is a good time to be building or scaling an Enterprise FinTech (/ InsurTech) firm in Europe?
As a preamble, let me point out that it’s never a one-line straight answer.
From what we’ve seen, the initial effect that lockdowns have caused in many sectors, including the Financial sector, was a freeze. With huge uncertainty as to what the future was holding for the global and local economies, no one was daring to move – projects were frozen, budgets were frozen and openness to Fintech/Insurtech solutions was not a priority. Very soon we watched the situation reverse, especially for enterprise solutions in cases where these were the key to enable the digital presence of organizations, thus its perseverance through a lockdown.
I believe this push towards digitization has led to a higher degree of trust on the potential of these ‘technological commers’ which are responding to unique challenges in each sub-vertical, as solutions such as digital financial services, ecommerce, cyberinsurance, among others, gained huge relevance and spotlight, but also as technology enables to create and seize new opportunities. Urgency has led to greater adoption, which in turn has led enterprises to realize the real and living need of financial technology and the potential of partnerships and collaborations.
I believe it is undoubtedly a delicate time for Europe, from which the Financial Sector will not be exempt. But I also believe that Fintech, being a catalyzer for adaptability and innovation, will be crucial in the transformation we are facing ahead not only in the Financial Industry, but any industry that somehow uses Financial Services.
Scaling Enterprise FinTech: with Mark Watters and Dinos Daborn of AxeTrading
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
We, Mark and Dinos, met when we worked together at Bloomberg in London. Later we got in contact with Ralf Henke (a Germany-based financial technologist) to discuss our idea for a modern, innovative fixed income trading solution. Ralf became our other co-founder. Soon after we created AxeTrading, a fixed income trading software company that enables unique market making, quoting, bond pricing and order execution.
These two Q&As are part of Scaling Enterprise FinTech | The Handbook, featuring Q&As on the journey to scale, lessons learnt etc. with 16 founders and 10 leading investors.
Swiss fintech Stableton closes seed funding round
Stableton Financial (Stableton), a European Fintech platform for Alternative Investments, has closed its seed funding round.
The financing round was led by digital finance investor DEWB, a German private equity firm with an investment focus on asset management and companies whose technologies and business models are significantly shaping the digitalisation of the finance industry.
In addition to DEWB, existing shareholders and other renowned investors and entrepreneurs from the venture capital and hedge fund industry, family offices and strategic management consultants, among others, participated in this significantly oversubscribed financing round.
Lightyear, a stock trading app created by early Wise employees, lands €1.2 million
London- and Tallinn-based Lightyear, a new commission-free investment platform created by the early minds of Wise (previously Transferwise), has landed around €1.2 million pre-seed funding. The round was led by Taavet Hinrikus (co-founder of Wise) and Sten Tamkivi, (co-founder of Teleport), as well as with Jaan Tallinn (co-founder of Skype). Angel investors such as Ott Kaukver, Wander Rutgers, and Kaarel Kotkas also participated.
Founders Martin Sokk and Mihkel Aamer met back when they were early employees of Wise (previously Transferwise), and from the list of investors in this round seem to have kept some good connections. Created by the duo in 2020, the aim of Lightyear is to reduce the barrier of entry to investing and banish the usual high fees, hidden costs, and complicated nature of investing.
London-based positive-impact-on-climate-change fintech Clim8 secures up to £2 million in “media for equity” deal with Channel 4 Ventures
London’s investment platform for consumers wishing to have a positive impact on climate change, Clim8 has secured up to £2 million from Channel 4 Ventures, the UK’s largest “media for equity” fund. As you might have already guessed, Clim8 is trading equity in the company for the high-profile brand awareness that UK broadcaster Channel 4 can offer.
“Purpose is at the heart of Channel 4’s vision so we’re delighted to invest in this ambitious sustainable purpose-led business through our innovative media-for-equity model,” comments Channel 4 Ventures’ Vinay Solanki.
Amsterdam-based Fraudio secures €2.7M to help companies fight financial crimes; here’s how
In this digital age, financial crime against banks and other financial services institutions are accelerating rapidly. Hence, there is a growing demand for fraud detection solutions.
As a result, the integration of fraud detection systems with AI, machine learning, and analytical technologies is expected to boom market growth in the coming years.
According to the report from Fortune Business Insights, the global fraud detection and prevention market size is projected to reach $106.71B (approx €87.8B) by 2027 at a CAGR of 24.4 per cent.
Zurich-based digital promissory note fintech FQX raises $4.7 million in seed funding
Zurich’s short-term financing and payment tool FQX has raised $4.7 million in seed funding in a round led by Earlybird Venture Capital. The raise also saw participation from SIX Fintech Ventures and unicorn hybris co-founder Carsten Thoma. The funding is expected to help scale the company’s transaction volume.
“Short-term financing markets are widely fragmented and inefficient today, with $65 trillion+ in annual transaction volumes globally.
Anorak Raises £5M in Funding
Anorak, a Farnborough, UK-based automated life insurance advice platform, raised £5m in funding.
The round was led by Outward VC with participation from Nic Kohler, the former CEO of Hollard, Paul Evans, Chairman of Allianz PLC, and board member of Bupa and SwissRE Europe, Charlie Delingpole (CEO and founder of ComplyAdvantage), and Will Neale (Founder of Fonix and Grabyo).
The company intends to use the funds to accelerate the expansion of its distribution and partners network, while investing in its fully automated advice platform.
Led by CEO David Vanek, Anorak provides a platform that helps people to understand their financial liabilities, providing them with online tailored advice and making sure they get the right cover in place.
London’s insurtech startup Urban Jungle raises €9 million
London-based contents insurance startup Urban Jungle has raised €9 million in its latest funding round that saw participation from existing investors Mundi Ventures, Eka Ventures, and several Angel Investors, including Rob Devey. The firm is reporting that its largest raise to date will be used to continuing scaling operations and add new insurance products to the lineup. Urban Jungle has raised a total of €18.3 million.
Founded in 2016 by former Google and Facebook developer Greg Smyth and Jimmy Williams, Urban Jungle acts as a managing general agent and uses data and machine learning to detect fraud and increase access to insurance, specifically targeted at a younger demographic.
Qumata Closes $10M Series A Funding
Qumata (fka HealthyHealth Group), a London, UK-based life and health insurance underwriting tech company, closed a $10m Series A financing.
The round was led by MMC Ventures with participation from AdirVentures and a number of other family offices, as well as existing investors including TMT Investments PLC.
The company intends to use the funds to accelerate global expansion of the current offering, after launching the product commercially with multiple large, listed insurers in Europe, Asia Pacific, the UK and North America.
Led by Luca Schnettler, CEO, Qumata is a building a Life and Health Insurance Underwriting company that uses digital data (about individual health and wellbeing through mobile devices and wearables) to calculate the risk of diagnosis for over 800 conditions, along with Extra Mortalities and Morbidities, saving applicants hours filling out long questionnaires or visiting the doctor.
16 Millionen für Finleaps Versicherungs-Startup Element
Das Berliner Insurtech Element hat zwei neue Investoren. Die Investmentgesellschaft Witan Group und der luxemburgische Fintech-Investor Ilavska Vuillermoz steigen ein und erweitern zusammen mit Bestandsinvestoren wie Finleap, Signal Iduna und Mundi Ventures die Finanzierungsrunde aus dem vergangenen August um 16 Millionen auf nun 66 Millionen Euro. Vuillermoz ist beispielsweise auch in N26 und Penta investiert. Die digitalen Versicherungen von Element können Firmenkunden unter eigener Marke vertreiben. Damit nahm das Finleap-Startup im vergangenen Jahr nach eigenen Angaben 6,8 Millionen Euro (brutto) ein, im Jahr davor waren es 4,3 Millionen Euro.
Cushon Raises £26M in Funding
Cushon, a UK-based fintech pension and savings provider, closed an overall funding round of £26m.
The £6m equity raise was led by Augmentum Fintech. A further £20m in credit facility has been committed from AshGrove Capital, a pan-European specialty lending firm.
The company intends to use the funds to finance rapid expansion and product development plans, following its acquisition of another master trust pension scheme. The raise enables the acquisition of Construction First Limited, scheme funder of the Workers Pension Trust (WPT) scheme. WPT is an auto-enrolment MT in Northern Ireland where it supports over 5,000 employers and more than 110,000 employees with pension investments of more than £330m.
Rapyd launches venture arm to invest in early-stage fintech startups
Payments-as-a-service platform Rapyd has launched a venture arm to invest in early-stage fintech startups.
The firm says the new unit will largely work with startups after their Seed round and through Series B funding. In addition to capital, Rapyd Ventures will provide access to its fintech-as-a-service capabilities and network of partners, offering startups strategic advice and giving them opportunities to scale-up faster.
Arik Shtilman, CEO and co-founder of Rapyd, comments: “The innovations that we are seeing in the payments industry are not evenly distributed.
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