Newsletter 9th Jan. 2020

Happy New Year! While we hope you had a quiet time during the holidays, we can assure you there was plenty going on in the European FinTech scene, so this will be a longish newsletter- including an interview with blockchain and crypto investor Max Lautenschläger of Iconic Holdings, a wrap-up of key FinTech M&A deals in 2019, tips on raising a Seed round, a hilarious take on startup performance metrics, and our usual round-up of key funding rounds.

The FinTech Forum newsletter – covering the latest thinking from European FinTech founders, investors and financial institutions, as well as key funding rounds and M&A 2014 – turns six years old this month. For a glimpse of FinTech history, check out our year-end newsletter from Dec. 2014. T
7 Questions with Max Lautenschläger of Iconic Holdings

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.

Born and raised in Heidelberg I started my professional career in consulting and after a few years, I transitioned more towards finance. In particular, the alternative investment space has always been very attractive to me. This is why I decided to do the MBA program at the Frankfurt School of Finance and in parallel, I did the CAIA designation.

Fintech’s largest mergers and deals in 2019

Some big deals were announced in 2019 as fintech finding soared and firms looked towards consolidation as a way to offer new services and products to their customers. Some big fintech deals were announced in 2019.  FinTech Futures has collected some of the biggest headline-grabbing deals from this year in one place, whether completed or announced.

London-based Receipt Bank secures €65.4M to help businesses save time and money

…Founded in 2010, Receipt Bank connects accountants, businesses, and bookkeepers to unlock the value of accounting data. It supports over 300,000 businesses, and 35,000 bookkeepers and accountants, and processes over 5 million documents each month. In a recent development, Receipt Bank raised €65.4 million Series C funding in a round led by Insight Partners along with participation from Augmentum Fintech and existing investors Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) and Kennet Partners.

London-based Omnio raises €15 million to boost its cloud-based digital banking platform

London-based fintech startup Omnio has announced closing a private placement, raising €15 million via the issue of 23,077 shares at a rate of €650 per offer share. Omnio, founded in 2018, specialises in the delivery of banking and payment solutions for business. The fintech startup offers banking-grade financial services through its cloud-based digital platform and back-office services.

Dublin-based Tines raises over $15 million for cybersecurity automation tool

Tines, the Dublin-based cybersecurity automation startup, has raised an additional $11 million from Accel and Index Ventures, just weeks after securing $4.1 million from Blossom Capital.

Eoin Hinchy and Thomas Kinsella founded the company in 2018 to help security analysts automate repetitive, manual tasks without knowing how to code.

DreamQuark Secures Euro 14M in Funding

DreamQuark, a Paris, France-based developer of an AI platform for financial services, secured Euro 14M in funding.

The round was led by Alma Mundi joined by AG2R LA MONDIALE, NewAlpha Asset Management and Keen Venture Partners, and historical shareholder CapHorn.

Austrian FinTech Bluecode raises €12 mn for boosting market presence

Austrian mobile payments company, Bluecode has raised €12 million from its existing investor European Private Venture Capitalists, according to news reports. The development follows the company’s fundraise worth €11.2 million in 2018, and another gain of €1.9 million this year from Horizon 2020.

FintechOS banks £10.7 million Series A to grow automated, plug-and-play digital services for financial organisations

FintechOS, a Romanian-born and London-based startup, has raised a £10.7 million Series A to expand its platform and app marketplace for financial institutions looking to digitalise. The round was led by Earlybird’s Digital East fund and OTB Ventures, with existing investors Gapminder and Launchub Ventures chipping in, as well.

Abaka completes Series A funding round with $6.5 million investment

ABAKA, the London-based digital retirement solutions provider, has today announced that it has completed its Series A funding round with a joint investment of $6.5 million from Thames Trust, Ace&Co and Downing Ventures. The news means that total investment in ABAKA to date has now reached $10 million, with the firm receiving one of the biggest investments in technology for the pensions and retirement space.

Upvest secures €7 million for fintech blockchain APIs that lower barrier to investment

Berlin-based Upvest has raised €7 million for its fintech-ready blockchain API. The round was led by Notion Capital, with support from Partech Ventures and Holtzbrinck Ventures. The startup provides fintech-ready APIs, making it easy for any company to store financial assets on the blockchain and opening up the investment playing field to the masses.

Romanian startup Typing DNA raises €6.2 million in Series A funding to create ‘typing identity’ for security

TypingDNA, the Romanian startup that offers ‘frictionless authentication based on how you type’, has raised €6.2 million from Gradient Ventures, Techstars Ventures and Gapminder…TypingDNA offers additional security solutions, using the biometric fingerprint of a person’s typing style. Put simply, they analyze the way we type to find patterns that then create our own “typing identity”. This can be further used to replace passwords or reinforce the security of a password.

Aylien Secures €5M in Series A Funding

Aylien, a Dublin, Ireland-based provider of AI-powered risk intelligence and financial analytics solutions, raised a Series A funding round of €5m.

The round was led by Finch Capital, joined by existing investors, Atlantic Bridge University Fund, SOSV, and Enterprise Ireland. Finch Capital’s Partner Hans De Back has also joined Aylien’s board of directors.

HSBC tops up OpenFin Series C with $5 million investment

HSBC has joined a Series C financing round in OpenFin, bringing the total amount raised by the desktop OS operator to $22 million and total funding to date to $45 million. Founded in 2010 by former ICE executive Mazy Dar and Chuck Doerr, OpenFin provides a foundation for banks to more easily upgrade desktop applications across front and back office functions. The company says it currently supplies more than 200,000 desktop applications to more than 1500 buy-side and sell-side firms.

Longtime bootstrapped FISCAL Technologies raises £3.6 million with help of ScaleUp Group

FISCAL Technologies, a UK-based provider of forensic risk management solutions, has raised a £3.6 million Series A investment with the help of ScaleUp Group (SUG), a tech entrepreneurial advisory group. The round was led by Octopus Investments’ Development Capital Team, with participation from Calculus Capital and members of SUG

Spanish Fintech Twinco raises €2.5m to make our products more ethical

Supply chain finance is nothing new, but Twinco’s pitch is that it can help companies behave more ethically and provide workers, many of which are in Bangladesh, with better conditions. Launched in 2018, Twinco has financed more than $2m in loans as part of its first financing programme in partnership with a Spanish fashion house. Nolasco says the Series A round, led by Finch Capital, will enable the company to scale its team as it prepares its second finance programme.

Rebank Raises $2.8M in Seed Funding

Rebank, a London, UK- and San Francisco, CA-based company that is building an enhanced banking experience for high-growth companies, raises $2.8m in seed funding. The round was led by ADV, with participation from YC, Oriza Ventures and angel investors.

London-based genesis raises $1.8 million for its low-code capital markets software

London-based genesis, an international capital markets software company, has raised $1.8 million from Illuminate Financial Management and Tribeca Early Stage Partners. The startup has now raised $5 million since its first ever round in November 2018. genesis bills itself as the ‘low-code’ platform for capital markets software development, so that financial service providers can build their own solutions faster and simpler.

Monzo close to raising up to £100m ahead of further funding next year

Digital challenger bank Monzo is in talks to raise up to £100m in the next few weeks ahead of plans for a significant new funding round in 2020.

The banking start-up is understood to be planning to raise between £50m and £100m early next year as part of an extension to its last £113m deal secured in June.

ING spins out bond analytics fintech Katana

ING is to spin out bond analytics platform Katana, the latest graduate from the Dutch bank’s fintech incubation labs. Originating as a prototype applications in 2018, London-based Katana uses a machine learning algorithm to scan the entire bond market to detect anomalies and help investors surface profitable trading opportunities.

How to Raise a Seed Round in B2B

Fundraising is foreign territory to a lot of B2B companies—and inexperience can lead to regret. On the other hand, having a war chest is almost always a competitive advantage, so given the right terms, it can very often be worth the risk. While fundraising is rarely neat and tidy, there are some steps that can help you raise a seed round with a bit more confidence.

How Index Ventures plans to take European startups global

Investor Danny Rimer has funded founders across the world. Now he’s returned to London to help create the next tech giant. In 1993, Harvard undergraduate Danny Rimer was browsing a neighbourhood news stand when he came across a “weird magazine that looked like nothing else”. Rimer, an art lover, was immediately drawn to the graphic design. “It looked like the future,” he says.

The magazine was the first edition of WIRED…

[DRAFT] Investment Memo: Earnest Fund 2

For the past two decades Earnest Businesses have sometimes been given another name: lifestyle businesses. Primarily VCs looking for the next Facebook or Uber, to their determinant, have dismissed business plans with an exceptionally high chance of building a $25m or $100m business with minimal capital by quipping “that’s a nice lifestyle business but it’s not venture backable.” The time has come to put this kind of thinking finally to rest.

Four Snarky Performance Metrics Startups Can Use To Wow Investors

…The Crunchbase Unicorn Leaderboard lists 538 startup unicorns with a combined valuation of nearly $2 trillion. Because these valuations aren’t rooted in reality (or fundamentals), investors need new performance metrics to gauge a startup’s progress. In the world of business, our longstanding adherence to GAAP (Grievously Archaic Accounting Principles) is giving way to SAAP (Startup Accepted Accounting Principles).