Q&As with DIGISEQ and SeedX Liechtenstein; Early Stage European FinTech deal this week include Getquin, Urban Jungle, Mondu, Trade Republic

European FinTech deal this week include Getquin, Urban Jungle, Mondu, Trade Republic

We feature Q&As with Terrie Smith of DIGISEQ and Cynthia Nadal of SeedX Liechtenstein

If you are an early stage startup in Europe building the next big thing in FinTech, reach out to us: Frank Schwab or Samarth Shekhar.

Check out the B2B FinTech Radar, our microsite focused on SaaS / Enterprise FinTech founders with global ambitions

7 Questions with Terrie Smith of DIGISEQ

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

Hello! I am Terrie Smith. I’m going to start by talking about myself and how I got here When I was 17, I worked at an insurance firm and experienced gender inequality first-hand. Being a tenacious young lady (or maybe just glutton for punishment), I hardened to this, left the company, and moved into the even more male-dominated environment of information technology. And that’s pretty much how it all started.

Today, I’m a mobile payments expert with over 20 years’ experience and a proven track record in product development and management. I have always had a zealousness for innovative payments and NFC technology, and am included in fundamental patents related to provisioning and tokenisation. I managed the development of MasterCard’s MOTAPS solution, a pioneering Trusted Service Manager (TSM) solution and was instrumental in shaping the MasterCard Digital Enable System (MDES), used to support Apple Pay. In June 2014, I started my very own passion project with my friend, Colin Tanner, and together we co-founded the award-winning IoT platform, DIGISEQ.

You may ask… why did I decide to launch a start-up? (I sometimes ask myself that when I am working at midnight). The reality is that it was a move towards personal goals and me attaining control. It was a big risk, no doubt, but I was raised and supported to believe that I can do anything I put my mind to, and I upheld this mantra. Challenging, one might say, but beyond exciting and fulfilling.

Work aside, everyone you ask will tell you I’m pretty much a butterfly – I don’t sit still! If I’m not working, I’m grabbing a coffee, cooking, spending time with my family, or FaceTiming my daughter and the grandkids – there are endless things for me to do and simply not enough time in a day.

7 Questions with Cynthia Nadal of SeedX Liechtenstein

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

My name is Cynthia, I am a Partner at Seed X Liechtenstein. I am an operator turned investor and I have previously worked with different accelerators including Techstars, King’s College and Founders Factory in London. Prior to being an investor I have worked for 11+ years at the fintech unicorn Markit (Now IHS markit, being bought by S&P). I learned there everything I know about great product development, corporate innovation and the hurdles of fast growth (IPO on the NASDAQ in 2014 at $5bn valuation, merger with IHS in 2016, now worth more than $40bn).

Work-wise I like connecting the dots and people, understanding the big problems needing solving and who we can learn from. Having the right network also helps to support founders in their growth.

Some of my spare time is also spent on tech boards that I sit on, and supporting female entrepreneurs across Europe.

Meet getquin: Social network for investors from Berlin scores $15 million to expand beyond DACH

The fintech startup provides an online community where people can discuss and analyse stocks, cryptocurrencies and other investment opportunities

Berlin-based fintech that has created a social investment platform, getquin has wrapped up a $15 million Series A round. The funding was led by Portage Ventures and backed by Horizons Ventures , existing investors embedded/capital and sino AG and angel investors such as N26 founder Maximilian Tayenthal and Scalable Capital founder Erik Podzuweit.

With over 200, 000 users in Germany and the DACH region as of now, the startup aims to expand its English-speaking community to make its service accessible to a broader user base.

Founded in early 2020 by Christian Rokitta and Raphael Steil, the platform provides an online community where people can discuss and analyse stocks, cryptocurrencies and other investment opportunities. It allows users to connect and aggregate their existing brokerage accounts, create and consume content and take part in discussions with other users.

Christian Rokitta, co-founder and CEO said: “While there is already a substantial amount of financial news and content providers, the recent months have shown that people mostly trust their connections and communities when it comes to financial information. The new investment allows us to invest significantly in the product to transform getquin into the primary source of information for investors around the globe.”

Headquartered in Toronto, Portage Ventures is a global investor dedicated to supporting FinTech companies. The Portage team has deep entrepreneurial and industry experience and provides founders with privileged access to the firm’s partners, in-house experts, and broader global ecosystem. Portage Ventures has a presence in Canada, the US, Europe and Asia.

London insurtech Urban Jungle scores £16.5 million for European expansion

London-based insurance technology startup Urban Jungle has raised £16.5 million in their latest Series A funding round. The round was led by North American-based venture capital investor Intact Ventures and Ingka Group, which controls hundreds of IKEA stores globally. The investment was also backed by existing investors, including Mundi Ventures, Eka Ventures and former Prudential UK CEO Rob Devey.

The company had raised €9 million in its earlier funding round last year. The Series A round brings the total amount raised by the business to £32 million. The insurtech firm will use the funding to rapidly scale its home insurance business in the U.K. and add new markets.

Founded by CEO Jimmy Williams and former Google developer Greg Smyth,  it aims to change the insurance industry by putting fairness and transparency at its core. Talking about expansion beyond its home turf, Urban Jungle co-founder and CEO Jimmy Williams said: “We’re already one of the leading insurance brands for the renters and homeowners in the U.K. But our ambition is to become the number one insurance business in the U.K. and beyond. This funding is a big step towards that, and we’ll use it to rapidly grow our customer base and roll out our simple, fair insurance into other markets in the year to come. It will also allow us to create 100 new jobs in the U.K.”

According to the company, it recently hit the milestone of helping 100,000 customers get better home insurance in the country. The platform uses latest technology to help keep insurance affordable for its customers, by offering its customers 100% online services, or through its use of AI and machine learning to catch fraud.

Intact Financial Corporation is the largest provider of property and casualty (P&C) insurance in Canada, a leading provider of global specialty insurance, and, with RSA, a leader in the U.K. and Ireland. Our business has grown organically and through acquisitions to over $20 billion of total annual premiums

Mondu Raises $43M in Series A Funding

Mondu, a Berlin, Germany-based B2B payments company, raised $43M in Series A funding.

The round was led by Valar Ventures with participation from existing seed investors FinTech Collective, Cherry Ventures, and angel investors from Klarna, Zalando, and SumUp, among others.

The company intends to use the funds to scale its BNPL for B2B solution for merchants and marketplaces by investing in its product and customer acquisition across more European countries later this year, starting with Austria this summer, and hire for a wide range of senior and junior positions, including its tech, risk, sales, and operations teams. 

Founded in August 2021 by serial entrepreneurs Philipp Povel and Malte Huffmann as well as Gil Danziger, Mondu provides a Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) solution for B2B merchants and marketplaces. The solution integrates with merchants, and is accessible through APIs, plug-ins, and checkout widgets. The company, which has hired a team of over 100, has served thousands of businesses to date, with customers ranging from beauty and cleaning to manufacturing and raw materials.

Headquartered in New York, Valar Ventures is a VC firm focused on startups outside of Silicon Valley. Valar invests in high-margin, fast-growing technology companies that are pursuing huge market opportunities

European Savings Platform Trade Republic Finalizes €250M Series C Extension

Trade Republic, which claims to be Europe’s largest savings platform, announces a €250M Series C extension.

The investment round is led by Ontario Teachers’, which is one of the world’s largest pension funds and institutional investors, “along with the participation of existing investors.”

The extension is “based on a post-money valuation uplift to €5.0B (previously €4.4B), underlining Trade Republic’s strong business performance and growth.”

Ontario Teachers’ manages the assets of over 333,000 teachers in Ontario, Canada, “with more than C$240B in net assets invested globally.”

This investment is “made by the High Conviction Equities team, which provides flexible, partner-centric capital across the equity capital structure – focusing on companies that are public or on a growth trajectory to go public.”

Ontario Teachers’ is one of the world’s largest pension funds and institutional investors with $227.7 billion in assets under management. They invest in everything from agriculture to artificial intelligence in order to deliver retirement security for 331,000 Ontario teachers

Accenture Acquires ARZ

Accenture’s acquisition of ARZ in Austria will help expand the global IT consulting firm’s banking platform-as-a-service capabilities across Europe, the buyer said. ARZ has locations in Vienna and Innsbruck and operates a technology competence center for innovation and technology services in the banking sector in Austria. ARZ was majority-owned by Volksbanken Group and Hypobanken Group as well as other private banks.
The acquisition will expand Accenture’s cloud-based banking platform-as-a-service offerings, ranging from core banking services to online banking as well as regulatory services for banking clients across Europe, Accenture said. ARZ’s approximately 600 employees will join Accenture and will continue to work in ARZ’s existing offices.
Roland Smertnig, senior managing director in Accenture’s financial services practice in Europe, commented:
“Our vision is to develop an innovative cloud-based banking platform-as-a-service offering for new and existing clients across Europe. By acquiring ARZ, we are expanding our digital transformation capabilities to help banks of the future as they look to move more of their core functions to the cloud, enable new business models, and reinvent the services and experiences they provide to customers.”
Michael Zettel, Accenture’s country managing director in Austria added,
“With this acquisition, we are expanding our team in Austria and will develop a comprehensive center of excellence at the Innsbruck location to serve our clients in Austria and across Europe. The ARZ team has the experience and talent to help us grow and meet our banking clients’ needs now and, in the future, and we look forward to welcoming them to Accenture.”
Gerald Fleischmann, CEO of Volksbank Wien said,
“The move to Accenture is a strategically smart development. Volksbanken and their customers will benefit from the combined expertise, the innovative services and collaboration between ARZ and Accenture.”

Fintech Trustly acquires Ecospend in UK expansion

Swedish banking firm Trustly has acquired British rival Ecospend as it looks to expand its presence in the UK, and improve customer experiences.

Swedish fintech Trustly, a payments platform for digital Account-to-Account transactions (A2A), has acquired UK-based competitor Ecospend, as part of a plan to strengthen the company’s position in the British market.

Founded in 2008, Trustly is a global leader in Open Banking Payments. Serving 8,100 merchants, connecting them with 525 million consumers and 6,300 banks in over 30 countries, the company handles the entire payment journey. 

A licensed Payment Institution under the second payment services directive (PSD2) and operating under the supervision of the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority in Europe, in 2021 Trustly processed over US$28bn in transaction volume in its global network. 

Four years after PSD2 made Open Banking a regulatory requirement in the UK, the market presents a dynamic ecosystem, with rapidly accelerating consumer adoption, and strong transaction volume growth, according to the company.

Metin Erkman, Founder of Ecospend: “Together with Trustly we will be able to further accelerate our expansion in the UK and continue to raise the bar for service excellence to our customers. We will continue to leverage our market-leading technology and bank connectivity in the UK and, together with Trustly, broaden our capabilities to stretch across Europe and further markets. We are really excited to join the Trustly family.”

Crane Venture Partners aims to sweep the leg with new $140 million fund

After raising $90 million for its first fund in 2019, London’s Crane Venture Partners is back for round two with a narrowed investment focus and $140 million in hand.

After posting a >75 percent graduation rate from seed to Series A with its first fund, London’s Crane Venture Partners is back for round two; armed with $140 million and aimed squarely at backing European, Israeli, and American startups. Across both funds, the firm counts over 50 portfolio companies and is looking to repeat, if not improve upon this industry-leading figure.

Crane’s second fund places a heavy emphasis on software and deep tech startups, specifically operating in the open-source, artificial intelligence, data and developer tools sectors.

“The future is being built today by passionate and diverse entrepreneurs from every corner of the world, and our funds focus on exactly those humans,” commented Crane co-founder and GP Krishna Visvanathan, co-founder. “We are in service of our founders and understand that entrepreneurship is a path to professional and personal realisation. When we focus there, the returns naturally follow.” 

Founded in 2015, Crane specifically points to the last five years as a game-changer when it comes to European early-stage investment appetite. 

“When Crane raised its first fund, European and US investors had yet to recognise the caliber and depth of early-stage technical founders to be found across the continent. But with highly visible and successful exits for European technology companies, such as Amsterdam-based Adyen in 2018 and Bucharest-based UiPath in 2021, LPs and other venture capital ecosystem participants have started to invest heavily in the region.”

Parisian investment firm Alven announces new €350 million fund to boost European entrepreneurs

There’s been a lot of chatter in the European VC space over recent weeks. And now, adding to the conversation, Paris-based Alven has just announced its sixth generation fund. The initial target was €300 million, but Fund VI has closed at a hard cap of €350 million – making it the largest early-stage fund raised in France.

Alven VI secured commitments from a wide range of high-quality European, North American and other global institutions, and all investors in the prior fund are reinvesting. Known for its eye for making unicorn investments, Alven has been a part of the success stories of Qonto, Dataiku, Algolia, Stripe and Ankorstore, and now has €2 billion in assets under management.

Launched in 2000, Alven is an early-stage fund centred in Paris but with a global reach. The firm recently opened a new London office and has about 160 European teams backed across Europe and the US. The French investors have extensive experience backing and supporting exceptional founders at the earliest stages, writing cheques to kickstart growth ranging from €100k to €15 million, with substantial reserves for follow on investments.

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