Q&As with Paykey and Fin VC; Early Stage European FinTech deal this week include Urban Jungle, Mosdex, Upvest, Instanda, Cleo

European FinTech deal this week include Urban Jungle, Mosdex, Upvest, Instanda, Cleo

We feature Q&As with Sheila Kagan of Paykey and May Wang of Fin VC

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 Sheila Kagan of Paykey

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your company.

I joined PayKey in March 2020 after years of working as a chief executive at a variety of public and private tech companies in the advertising and gaming industries. Throughout my life I’ve been drawn to the dynamics of the banking industry, and once the opportunity came, I knew PayKey is a FinTech uniquely positioned to leave a mark on an industry that is traditionally lagging behind.

At PayKey we are putting banks at the forefront of embedded banking, by weaving the financial services customers need within their everyday lives. Our patented mobile keyboard

solution allows customers to access a variety of mobile banking services including P2P payments, loans, investments and more within all the social & messaging apps they are regularly using like WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and others. With our solution, banks can contextually bring their services to where customers today chat, transact, and make their financial decisions.

7 Questions with May Wang of Fin VC

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

I’m an investor at Fin VC, a B2B Fintech/Insurtech focused global venture capital, based out of San Francisco. Fin VC is a team of FinTech nerds with capital, based in SF/NYC and focus on FinTech SaaS in the US and EU/UK. We deploy out of 3 strategies: Regatta (pre-seed, checks of $100K-$1M), Flagship (Early Stage – Seed->B, checks of $1-10M) and Horizons (Growth – C+, checks of $25-50M+, primary/secondary) and have an operating value playbook focused on global BD, corp dev, capital formation, product/GTM, key talent sourcing, and board leadership.

Personally, I’m an avid traveler and a global citizen who has lived in 4 countries across 3 continents. When not at work, you’ll find me hiking/surfing in the summer and skiing in the winter. I’m also mentoring students from underrepresented communities, and an advisor at a Uganda-based NGO.

London insurtech Urban Jungle scores £16.5 million for European expansion

The insurance provider plans to double its customer base by the end of the year and create 100 new jobs in the U.K.

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.”

North American-based venture capital investor Intact Ventures invests in early-stage companies and are backed by a global insurer to support the growth of portfolio companies across multiple geographies. They manage $400 million across two funds

Mosdex Raises $20 Million in Funding

Mosdex, a Helsinki, Finland-based cryptocurrency arbitrage platform startup, raised $20m in funding.

The round was led by Evli Bank PLC with participation from the venture division of Lifeline Ventures, NordicNinja VC, Petteri Suorsa, Magnus Eskelinen and Jouni Väisänen.

The company intends to use the funds for:

  • global expansion of its platform,
  • purchasing other blockchain-based companies, as well as
  • opening up offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Tokyo and Dubai.

Launched in 2022, Mosdex provides a platform designed to automate cryptocurrency arbitrage platforms for cryptocurrency exchanges, consumers and institutions. Developed by a group of developers with expertise in finance, machine learning, and blockchain engineering software, the solution allows users to easily conduct cryptocurrency arbitrage.

The company also plans to advance products, budgets, and derivative tools for the market.

Evli Fund Management Company Ltd is a Nordic fund management boutique established in 1989 focusing on institutional investors. Their funds are actively managed with an ESG overlay, a long time-perspective and focus on free cash flow.

Berlin based Fintech Upvest Acquires $42M via Series B Led by Bessemer Venture Partners

Berlin-based infrastructure Fintech Upvest announced the closing of a $42 million Series B round – “one of the largest German Fintech funding rounds in 2022.”

Bessemer Venture Partners is leading the Series B “with Earlybird and ABN AMRO Ventures doubling down as previous investors and participation of Notion Capital, Partech, 10x Group, Speedinvest and Maximilian Tayenthal (N26).”

The raised capital will be used “to advance Upvest’s Investment-API, lay the ground for the internationalization, and gradually expand Upvest’s team.”

Since its Series A, Upvest is “backed by the venture capital firms Earlybird, HV Capital, Notion Capital, ABN AMRO Ventures, Speedinvest and Partech, as well as the fintech founders Maximilian Tayenthal (N26) and Felix Haas (IDnow).”

Upvest’s product offering is “fully up and running in the market and enables fintechs to offer their end customers products in the field of capital market investments, from ETFs and stocks to crypto assets.”

Upvest built “the first end-to-end cloud native core banking system for investments and is one of the few financial institutions in Europe owning all BaFin licenses for securities and crypto brokerage, and custody.”

Designed as a plug-and-play solution with fully-fledged process automation at its core, Upvest’s API and core banking system “help Neobanks- and brokers, as well as established banking players, to significantly save on the cost side since they do not need to develop their brokerage and custody infrastructure from scratch.”

With more than 135 IPOs and 200 portfolio companies in the enterprise, consumer and healthcare spaces, Bessemer supports founders and CEOs from their early days through every stage of growth. 

Bessemer’s global portfolio includes Pinterest, Shopify, Twilio, Yelp, LinkedIn, PagerDuty, DocuSign, Wix, Fiverr, and Toast and has $19 billion of assets under management. Bessemer has teams of investors and partners located in Tel Aviv, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, New York, London, Boston, Beijing and Bangalore.

Insurance services infrastructure provider Instanda banks $45 million

Led by Toscafund, no-code insurance products management and distribution software maker Instada now shifts into high gear, targeting further traction across Europe, UAE, Japan, and US markets.

London-based Instanda has raised $45 million in a Series B funding round. The company provides a no-code core infrastructure for insurers, allowing them to deploy and orchestrate product portfolios quickly and easily, ten times faster the industry norm, according to Instanda. The new capital will be used to expand the company’s market presence across Europe, UAE, Japan, and US markets. Since 2016 Instanda has raised approximately $73 million.

“Instada’s no-code insurance core platform was built by insurers for insurers based on the belief that technology should be used to accelerate change and innovation at low cost,” explained CEO and co-founder Tim Hardcastle. “This is what sets Instada apart from the crowd. No other platform allows carriers and MGAs across all lines of insurance to fully embrace the diversity of insurance and respond to the anticipated change in consumer needs and behaviour.”

Servicing some 70+ clients globally, Instada counts Atlanta (part of Ardonagh Group), Hamilton Fraser (part of GRP Group), HDI Global SE, and Standard Bank, amongst its client base, with the company adding 21 new clients in 2021 alone.

Headquartered in London, Toscafund Asset Management LLP is an independently owned asset manager that provides investment solutions to respond and capitalise upon ever-evolving market conditions. With multi-billion $ assets under management, the firm’s investment platform spans financials, small to middle capitalisation equities, private company credit, commercial property and private equity.

Fintech Cleo raises additional $80m following backing from Brussels investor Sofina

UK financial app Cleo has raised an additional $80m following backing by Brussels tech investor Sofina. 

The funding round took place over months but was finalised following pressure on valuations of growth companies, Sky News first reported. 

Sources close to the deal told the outlet’s City editor Mark Kleinman that the backing raised Cleo’s valuation by a five-fold to around $500m.

The $80m funding was the latest of several rounds, as the previous one took place a year and a half ago when Cleo raised $40m from investors. 

Existing backers include VC Balderton Capital and LocalGlobe, as well as the founders of Skype and Wise. 

The new capital injection will help the company – a digital assistant that gives financial advice to Gen Z customers – expand services as well as recruit more staff. 

Despite its UK birth, the company made the US its primary market.

While Cleo declined to comment, Sofina told Sky News: “We are excited to form this partnership with Cleo, a company and App that is truly loved by its users, many of whom Cleo already had a positive impact on.”

Sofina is a Belgium-based investment company listed on the Brussels stock exchange and a supportive partner of entrepreneurs and families managing growing companies. Sofina invests both directly and through Private Equity funds. Its geographical scope is Europe, the United States, and Asia

Fintech Rewire acquires prepaid card provider Imagen

Israel-based fintech Rewire has acquired Imagen to provide prepaid debit cards for migrants in Israel.

The acquisition is Rewire’s first and means the fintech can now provide prepaid debit cards for migrants in Israel, a service it has already rolled out in its other locations across the UK and Europe. The move comes after Rewire signed partnership agreements with value SIM provider Lebara and payments platform Paysafe. The fintech also recently rolled out insurance products for migrants in its British and European markets.

Rewire’s prepaid card is a solution for economic migrants who may struggle to open a bank account when they first arrive in their host country. With no permanent address or credit history, migrants are left underserved by traditional banks, as per the press release. Through technology and strategic partnerships with key financial institutions, the company is able to bridge this gap and provide financial services that work for migrants’ unique cross-border financial needs.

Imagen currently operates more than 30,000 active prepaid MasterCards connected to the Bank of Jerusalem. It works directly with organisations that employ migrant workers and enables employers to pay salaries directly onto the card. Once money has been loaded onto the card, it can be used in the same way as any other debit card. The acquisition brings Rewire a step closer to its aim of providing a holistic migration package that serves migrants and their families throughout their time overseas.

Imagen’s officials stated that becoming part of the Rewire family made sense for them. Imagen’s solutions are tailored to those who cannot open a conventional bank account, and working migrants make up a large part of our customer base. By integrating their prepaid card into the Rewire portfolio, their existing customers will have augmented access to additional financial services that they may have been excluded from in the past.–1257036

Shard Credit Partners launches £75 million venture debt fund to back fintech and SaaS firms

With typical loan sizes in the range of £2-6 million per borrower, the fund will complete around 15 investments per annum during the three-year investment period

Venture debt is becoming increasingly popular with high-growth technology companies globally in recent years.  While the asset class is highly developed in the U.S., the venture lending market is in its infancy in the U.K. 

Betting big on the untapped potential, UK-based alternative investment fund manager Shard Credit Partners has unveiled its maiden tech-focused £75 million venture debt fund. The fund will make investments in senior secured loans with equity warrants to VC-backed businesses in the SaaS and fintech sectors in the U.K.

The fund will target borrowers with annual recurring revenues of at least £2 million, that are finding it increasingly difficult to source long-term financing from traditional lenders. Typical loan sizes will range between £2-6 million per borrower, with maturities of up to five years. It will complete around 15 investments per annum during the three-year investment period.

According to the company, the fund has already completed two investments with total commitments of £6.5 million ahead of first close. This included the fund’s first exit in December 2021, PassFort.

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