European FinTech deal this week includes Stanhope, Scalapay, Argent, Kevin, Starling Bank, Paddle
We feature Q&As with Enrique Lizaso Olmos of Multiverse Computing and Hala Zahran of AB Accelerator
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
Multiverse Computing. Largest European Quantum Software Company. Backed by the European Investment Council and large VC. Third largest in the world after two American not-so-much-larger competitors. Delivering solutions to financial problems in optimization, machine-learning and pricing that are not correctly answered (or even not answered) with classical computers. Problems that range from $200-300 to $3B in impact in net income. Working for large customers (Top 10 Banks in the world), appeared in the Boston Consulting Group reports, The Economist, Forbes… Single European Company in McKinsey’s Quantum global Technology Council. 24 new patents/year, 34 people now, we are nearly 3 yr old!
Me: Mathematician, 20+ yr in finance (also Computer Engineer, PhD in biostatistics, MBA from IESE Business School -and also MD, yep). I can just speak when my Physics cofounders let me do
7 Questions with Hala Zahran of AB Accelerator
1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, both at work and leisure.
I am an early stage investor focusing on FinTech primarily B2C in MENA and B2B globally. I also spend a lot of time thinking and reading about the future of finance and ways technology can close the wealth gap across the globe and improve lives. I am a strong believer in the power of many, and the depth and breadth of the impact collaborative ecosystems and communities can have. I seek such opportunities.
Stanhope Financial Group Raises USD10M in Series Funding
Stanhope Financial Group, a Dublin, Ireland-based global fintech company that provides businesses with a full suite of banking services, raised over USD 10m in Series A funding round.
The round was led by Gate Ventures.
The company intends to use the funds to develop its product offerings, strengthen the management team, increase its market share, and prepare for the launch of its upcoming affiliate digital assets division, SH Digital.
Led by Kevin von Neuschatz, Group CEO, and Mohit Davar, Executive Chairman, Stanhope Financial Group operates:
SH Payments, licensed as an Electronic Money Institution, which offers businesses banking services to send and receive money globally, including FX, multi-currency accounts, and innovative payments solutions
SH Capital, licensed in the DIFC, Dubai, which allows institutions and family offices to gain access to premium global investment products across all capital markets
SH Digital, which offers cryptocurrency liquidity and trading services.
Stanhope Financial Group has also been granted financial services licences by both the Bank of Lithuania and (IPA) by Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).
Scalapay Raises $27M USD in Funding
Scalapay, an Italian Buy Now – Pay Later provider, raised $27M USD in funding in a Series B extension.
Poste Italiane made the investment.
This funding, an extension of Scalapay’s $497M USD Series B fundraising round, which was announced in February 2022, will go towards the continued expansion and development of the team, product development, and brand building. The company is also planning on expanding its executive team and company board. The additional funding brings total funding to date to $727M USD.
Scalapay is an innovative payment solution for e-commerce merchants across the globe that allows customers to buy now and pay later, without interest. Their BNPL offerings include three options for customers (Pay in 3, Pay in 4, and Pay Later) in which customers are not required to make any payments upfront, and can instead opt to pay in 3 installments, 4 installments, or entirely after 14 days. They are making the purchasing experience more delightful and easy for customers by lightening the financial impact.
Scalapay is an innovative payment solution for e-commerce merchants across the globe that allows customers to buy now and pay later, in three convenient pleasurable installments, without interest.
Argent decodes $40 million to scale DeFi and Web3 super app globally
The UK-based platform is building a single app for all things DeFi and Web3, and is actively exploring new features and verticals, including virtual real estate, gaming, DAOs and NFTs
London-based wallet for Ethereum-based digital currencies and blockchain applications, Argent has raised $40 million in funding to accelerate its mission to build one app for all things DeFi and Web3. The Series B round was led by Fabric Ventures and Metaplanet, with existing investors Paradigm, Index Ventures and Creandum and strategic investors, including Starkware, Jump and Animoca.
Founded in 2017, the platform is enabling customers to buy, trade and earn crypto at the tap of a button, reducing transaction fees from hundreds of dollars to cents, eliminating dated security measures, such as seed phrases, and all within a simple and clean user interface.
Since the launch of its new Layer 2 account last year, it has attracted more than 500,000 users. Going forward, the platform is building a single app for all things DeFi and Web3, and is actively exploring new features and verticals, including virtual real estate, gaming, DAOs and NFTs.
Itamar Lesuisse, co-founder and CEO, Argent said: “For crypto to live up to its potential, it needs to break the stranglehold of big exchanges and incumbent wallets. The experience is too scary, expensive and insecure for most people. Argent fixes this.”
Accel backs Vilnius startup with $65 million
Lithuanian fintech startup that provides advanced account-to-account (A2A) payment infrastructure to replace costly card transactions, Kevin. has raised $65 million in funding.
The Series A round was led by Accel, with participation from Eurazeo and existing investors, including OTB Ventures, Speedinvest, OpenOcean and Global Paytech Ventures. Other angel investors including Harry Stebbings, founder of 20VC; Ilkka Paananen, CEO and co-founder of Supercell; Amitabh Jhawar, former CEO of Venmo also participated.
The Series A funding comes just six months after the company secured its $10 million seed round and brings the total funding raised to $77 million.
Founded in 2018, kevin. offers innovative and convenient payment solutions that eliminate unnecessary intermediaries in the payment process. The company has taken advantage of the huge opportunity presented by open banking. Recently, the startup also dabbled in payments at point-of-sale terminals in physical stores by introducing NFC A2A payment solution with a seamless user experience comparable to that of a card payment.
Starling Bank Raises £130 Million at £2.5 Billion Valuation
Starling Bank, a top digital bank operating in the UK, has raised more money. According to multiple reports, Starling has raised £130 million at a £2.5 billion valuation. It was reported that Starling may use some of the new money to target acquisitions to complement its digital banking operations.
Goldman Sachs Growth Equity was said to lead the round as part of an extension of a Series D round from last year that valued Starling at £1.1 billion. As the valuation has jumped by more than 2X, it probably should be described as a Series E.
Anne Boden, CEO and founder of Starling, was quoted last month on the digital banks stellar growth. Boden stated: “We’ve had some big successes recently, we now have 7.5% market share of the SME market in the UK and we’ve done that in just four years. We’re now the most switched to bank in the UK in the last four quarters. More people are switching to Starling than any other bank and 68% more than our next competitor Lloyds Bank.”
According to Starling’s website, it has over 2.8 million individual accounts. At the beginning of he year, Starling reported that deposit base now stands at £8.4 billion, up from £4.8 billion this time last year, while we’ve expanded our lending from £1.9 billion to £3.1 billion.
As for potential acquisitions, one report said that Starling was eyeing platforms in the lending sector.
Paddle Raises $200 Million in Series D Funding
Paddle, a London, UK-based provider of a complete payments infrastructure for SaaS companies, raised $200m in Series D equity and debt financing at a valuation of $1.4bn.
The round, which brings the total raised to date to $293m, was led by KKR, with participation from existing investors FTV Capital, 83North, Notion Capital, Kindred Capital, and debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank.
The company intends to use the funds to strengthen the growth of its platform and expand its business reach.
Led by Christian Owens, CEO, Paddle provides SaaS companies with a payments infrastructure platform which integrates checkout, payment, subscription management, invoicing, international taxes and financial compliance processes.
The payments infrastructure is used by over 3,000 software companies in more than 200 markets worldwide.
The company has a team of 275 across offices in London and New York, with more hires expected to match its acceleration as a business.
Irish tech unicorn Wayflyer buys funding platform for content creators
After Dublin-based revenue-based financing platform Wayflyer raised $150 million in an all-equity Series B funding round to join the unicorn club at a $1.6 billion valuation in February, the startup is inching up to expand its presence in the influencer marketing space. It has now acquired creator funding provider Peblo.
The new buy will enable individual creators to access up to $2 million in financing, and expects to advance over $500 million to creators over the next year.
Founded in 2019, Wayflyer offers financing and analytics solutions to e-commerce businesses. Following the deal, Peblo will remain a standalone brand and its team of six will join Wayflyer’s team.
There are around 2 million creators globally earning an average of $100,000 each per year. These creators often have to wait up to 120 days to get paid by their partnering brands, which restricts their ability to grow their business. Peblo solves this pain point by providing funding to creators, plugging the gap between upfront cost and client payment. Customers are able to view invoices, brand deals and outgoings on an easy-to-use platform. By enabling creators to pay expenses and increase their spend on content, the platform allows them space to pursue more ambitious brand deals and accelerate their growth.
Peblo will also be able to efficiently connect influencers with relevant e-commerce brands through Wayflyer’s platform, making the process of selecting and brokering influencer agreements seamless.
Neobank Bunq Acquires Belgian FinTech TriCount, Adding 5.4M Users
Neobank Bunq, by acquiring Belgian FinTech TriCount, will add 5.4 million new users, a company press release said, and become Europe’s second-largest neobank, behind Revolut. It will also be updating its app to add features.
The bank will also introduce features like Bunq Jackpot, which gives Dutch, German and French users three chances to win €10,000 every month by using the app.
The users will be able to increase their chances of winning by using Bunq cards, by adding and keeping money in their Bunq accounts, and through inviting friends.
The release also noted that there will be other in-app changes, including upgrading its Home and Community tabs. The Home tab will let users group accounts, cards and other things, to customize the app to meet their needs.
The Community tab will add to ways users can interact with Bunq and other users, with sharing and responding options for posts like a social media app. The release said this will let users improve the experience of the app for others through sharing experiences.
The bank has also been vocal about wanting to boost its mergers and acquisitions, and buying TriCount will let the bank add easy access to various features to help make managing money easier.
“TriCount’s commitment to simplicity, transparency and community perfectly aligns with our own values,” said Ali Niknam, CEO and founder of Bunq.
January Ventures Closed $21M Fund II
January Ventures, a Boston, MA- and London, UK-based venture capital firm, closed its second fund, at $21M.
Fund II investors include institutions like Wellington Management, Bank of America, IDEAL Investments, and The Kapor Foundation.
The fund will continue investing in formation stage B2B software startups. Out of this new $21M Fund II, the firm plans to invest in 35 to 40 companies.
Led by Maren Bannon, and Jennifer Neundorfer, January Ventures provides funding and connects founders to an operator network with more than 100 tech leaders who have worked at over 50 unicorn companies, including Uber, Twitter, Miro, Compass, Toast, Airbnb, Google, Amazon, and Stripe.
January Ventures has proactively built an investor base that reflects the diversity of its portfolio – 60% of its LPs identify as women.
Cipio unveils €202 million fund to back software-enabled businesses in Europe
Targetting B2B SaaS and software-enabled business models, the German company will typically make an investment of €5-15 million in each firm
Munich-headquartered growth stage technology firm Cipio Partners has wrapped up its latest fund with €202 million. Cipio VIII will follow the same investment strategy as its €174 million predecessor fund, CPF VII, which held a final closing in 2017.
According to Roland Dennert, managing partner, Cipio, the company will typically make an initial investment of €5-15 million in each firm. Giving more details about the sectors that will be backed by the recently closed fund, Dennert added: “The fund will focus on B2B SaaS and software-enabled business models such as marketplaces. It will also invest in deep tech businesses such as semiconductors. The current deal activities are particularly strong in big data, cyber security, AI and industrial software applications.”
The new fund has already completed two investments in European growth companies: Nuki, the Austrian smart-home developer, and Navvis, the Munich-based global leader in end-to-end solutions for reality capture and ‘digital twins’.
Felix Haas and other scene heads launch funds with 160 million euros
By entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. This is the motto of the Munich investor network 10x, which has now set up a fund worth 160 million euros. According to the company, the money comes from around 200 founders and 48 business angels who are part of this network. The money pot is aimed at startups that are still in the early stages.
The fund was founded by IDnow founder Felix Haas, Andreas Etten, founder of Ada Health, media entrepreneur Andrej Henkler, Claudius Jablonka, former investor in Plug and Play Ventures, angel investors Robert Wuttke and Jan Reichelt and ex-Friendscout24 CEO Jan Becker. The seven Munich-based companies have known each other for years and are all founding partners of 10x. “The network has grown organically over decades and now we are bundling our activities at 10x,” jablonka writes on Linkedin. In total, the founding partners had previously invested in over 300 startups, it says – including Palantir, Tier Mobility and Volocopter.
The seven Munich residents raised the fund in April 2021. From which founders the money comes and from which countries the people come, is not publicly known. With 10x, they have already financed more than two dozen companies, according to Chrunchbase, including the Indian fintech Savein or the e-commerce startup Zowie from the USA
Valia Ventures Closes Fund II, at $50M
Valia Ventures, a New York, San Francisco, and London, UK-based early stage venture capital firm, closed its second fund, at $50M.
Valia Ventures II brings together a strategic group of limited partners including experienced startup founders, technology executives, international family offices, and institutional investors such as Tiger Global Management.
The fund will be initially investing up to $1M at the pre-seed and seed stages, while reserving additional capital for follow-on rounds. The firm will maintain its generalist approach, investing across sectors including, but not limited to; fintech, healthcare, consumer, and enterprise software.
Led by Khaled Jalanbo, Managing Partner, Valia also runs an active co-investment program, investing $2M to $10M in growth stage rounds of its existing portfolio companies and in select new opportunities.
Portfolio companies include Humane, Lendtable, Relativity Space, Selfbook, and System.
Meet us at:
Money2020 Europe, Amsterdam: 7-9 June 2022
South Summit 2022, Madrid: 8–10 June 2022
SuperVentures Berlin: 14–15 June 2022
Digital Insurance Agenda, Amsterdam: 29–30 June 2022
Meet Our Partners:
IDA Ireland https://www.idaireland.com
Opportunity Network https://www.opportunitynetwork.com/fintech-forum
FinTech Innovators https://fintech-i.com/?sumsrc=ftf
FN FinTech 40 https://www.fnlondon.com